I Closed The Book

On another warm overcast day of humid atmosphere brightened by the end of the morning, most of which Jackie spent in her customary garden maintenance – this time in the Rose Garden , where I joined her in bagging up and transporting to the compost bin some of her debris. I carried out more dead heading, then made a photographic record.

Here Jackie sweeps the paths. The first image displays her clearance of the last set of footpaths; the second is now (8) in the “Where’s Jackie?” series. Bigifying is recommended.

Bees and hoverflies abounded. There are many self-seeded poppies in evidence.

A bejewelled Lady Emma Hamilton clearly hasn’t minded being exposed to the overnight rain.

Here is a view looking towards the Rose Garden from the lawn bed, and another taking the eye across to North Breeze.

White foxgloves speak to the Erigeron in the redesigned Pond Bed.

Now, I must pose a question to my readers.

Delightful as are the sun-dappled pages of David Copperfield, when you have finished gardening for the day and sit on a bench distracted by that very light and shade; by a myriad of insects flitting and descending rose petals floating in and out of dazzling beams; by the sweet scents of the fragrant flowers; by the bright burbling of the water feature, the symphonic notes of a host of birds, the busy buzzing of the bees, the swishing of your lady’s broom, and the drag of her filled trug across the swept paving; broken only by the chimes of a passing ambulance, what do you do?

I closed the book and enjoyed the views before me, occasionally carting weeds to the compost bin.

This evening we dined on a takeaway meal from Red Chilli. We started with prawn purees; followed by Chicken Saag for Jackie and very hot Naga Chilli lamb for me. We shared a plain paratha and special fried rice. The very well cooked and packaged food was ready on time, and, as before far too plentiful for one session. There will be ample to carry over tomorrow. Jackie finished the Sauvignon Blanc, while I did the same with the red Cabernet Sauvignon.

Buzzing On Opium

We received a generous amount of rain overnight and light drizzle during the morning of a generally overcast day.

Jackie continued her work on clearing beds while

I carried clippings and other refuse to the compost bins before a lengthy training session for what Andrew Petcher has termed the Dead-heading Olympics.

Nugget visited me briefly, but otherwise preferred the company of the Head Gardener and her filled trug from which he plucked provender to provide for his latest brood of offspring. The poor little chap was looking very sodden as he ignored the rain for the greater good.

In this image you can find “Where’s Nugget?” (87)

For one brief period before lunch clematis Madame Julia Correvon smiled in the sunshine while sparkling raindrops caused roses, hemerocallises and others to gladly glisten;

a veritable hive of bees clambered over each other buzzing on opium.

This evening we dined on roast chicken; crisp roast potatoes; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; and tender spring greens with green beans, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Malbec.

She Hasn’t Forgotten Us

The morning of this warm and sunny day was rather abortive. One problem I have not yet been able to solve is that there is no longer a link to my About Derrick Knight page at the top of each of my posts. This applies to all my earlier posts. The snippet that appears at the bottom is taken from my Gravatar. Apparently About Derrick Knight is a page, not a post. My efforts to turn it into a post were so unsuccessful that I took a break and accompanied Jackie on a Garden Centre search for a garden arch similar to that shown in these two pictures produced this afternoon:

They show a sparrow perched on one that, supporting a blue solanum, stands beside the Wisteria Arbour now dominated by Paul’s Scarlet rose. We wanted one of these because the natural rust does not eat into it and, more importantly, it is easy to assemble. None was available.

The pictures above were taken during an afternoon visit from Danni, Andy, and Ella, who had, keeping the requisite social distancing come to “wander in the garden and run away”. We welcomed them and sat far enough apart in the patio.

While our great niece wandered among the flowers in the dress made by Nanna Helen, her father ensured she was kept safe and offered the occasional helping hand. As will be seen, she has not lost her penchant for pointing.

Underneath the wisteria our great niece acquired an ornamental ladybird which she clutched for the rest of the trip. She was perfectly happy to put it back and wave goodbye, as she did to us, when it was time to go.

Although Ella was not able to enter the house and root for familiar toys, we were very pleased that she has not forgotten us during the lockdown.

This evening we dined on roast gammon and chicken thighs; sage and onion stuffing; creamy potato and swede mash; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; and tender cabbage, with tasty gravy with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Syrah.

Continuing To Cater

This was another fine, but cool, day.

As usual when Jackie stepped out of the stable door to fill the robin family’s breakfast tray

Nugget appeared in the wisteria before she had opened the cereal jar.

Soon after the Head Gardener had attended to her ever-multiplying avian infants we set out on what was planned as a garden centre crawl. In fact there was such a dearth of bedding plants which were all we could possibly make room for, that we stopped at two.

Ferndene Farm Shop presented its usual, smoothly moving, orderly queues, masked  members maintaining mandatory distance. I loaded bags of compost while Jackie paid for it and added a considerable quantity of bird food.

The next stop was Redcliffe, where there was no queue

and Jackie acquired a few flowers. Needless to say, like all other eating places, the Tea Room was closed.

This afternoon I dead-headed a number of roses.

The climber on the front trellis isn’t quite ready for the treatment, neither is

Perennial Blush along the back drive.

Also in the front garden we have calendula Orange Flush and deep red sweet William. The Euphorbia Mellifera in the background is just one of those we have whose honeyed scent lives up to its name.

The large blousy orange poppy, now past her bloom of youth nurtures a bud to take her place, while

the fully mature rose Margaret Merrill shares her bed with crisp offspring, with younger buds, and with an older relative whose time is done.

This was past siskin siesta time, so greenfinches were up and about drawing upon verdant leaves for camouflage. The clamour of a host of birds and their young filled the air around me.

The owls in this view of the Weeping Birch Bed looking northwards remain silent.

The peach rose beside the patio is pretty prolific.

If this is a bee on an erigeron

what is this?

Nugget Junior now fends for himself

while his Dad continues

to cater for his younger brothers and sisters.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s wholesome chicken, bacon, and vegetable soup with crusty bread from the freezer, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the El Zumbido.

 

“Where’s Derrick?”

Knowing that the temperature would drop and the leaden canopy overhead become a leaky colander throughout the day, we held back Jackie’s sunlit images from yesterday afternoon.

She had transformed this second footpath across the Rose Garden from a few days ago

to this, having also re-fixed the windblown mirror to the back fence. The poppies in the first picture have all been relocated.

Elsewhere backlit borage;

sunlit azalea;

and shadowy lily of the valley also caught her eye.

After lunch today I took advantage of a minor lull in the precipitation from above and photographed raindrops

pendant from solanum;

pearling  libertia;

pooling pelargoniums;

douching heuchera leaves;

bejewelling rosebuds;

caressing Queen of the Night;

refreshing rhododendrons;

purifying pale pink pieris;

cleansing clematis;

and slithering down Viulcan magnolia.

Some flowers, such as hellebores,

pansies,

and diurnal poppies, bowed their heads against the weight of the crown jewels.

While I was wandering around the garden Jackie, from the dry warmth of the kitchen,

photographed me in action.

She even managed “Where’s Derrick?” (1)

and (2)

This evening we dined on prawns: tempura prawns; prawns in hot, spicy batter; seeded prawn toasts; and Jackie’s savoury prawn, egg, and vegetable rice, followed by mixed fruit crumble and custard, with which she drank Heineken and I drank Piemonte Barbera 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Walkers In The Field

On a gloriously warm and sunny Good Friday, being the start of a four day holiday weekend, the government was still urging the public to adhere to the coronavirus lockdown  regulations; the UK reported death toll was now approaching 1,000 in the last 24 hours; and a small but significant minority of people were transgressing and being variously dealt with by the police.

The diurnal poppies that, if regularly deadheaded, will last for another six months have appeared in the back garden.

In the front we have pink cherry,

two different crab apples,

and Amanogawa blossoms;

while clematis Montana and vinca vie for purchase on the low wall.

After lunch I walked along Christchurch Road to the fallow field, down into Honeylake Wood, and back.

My chosen entrance to the field, avoiding the kissing gate was now becoming quite well trodden.

The arable land is fronted by blackthorn hedgerows

with wild flowers such as daisies and dandelions at their base.

Tractor tracks bend round the opening to the wood,

while through the hedge to the far left the screeching of groupie gulls alerted me to ploughing in Roger Cobb’s top field.

Stretching shadows striated sylvan footpaths and attendant celandines.

I stepped into the trees to keep my distance from two male neighbours I had never met before who lived at the corner of Hordle Lane opposite The Royal Oak.

Among the ubiquitous yellow flowers, in various stages of disintegration in their return to the soil

lay broken branches of birch and other arboreal debris.

Velvet moss coated trunks and roots of trees entwined by meandering ivy.

A very shallow trickle was all that remained of a small stream that usually joins

the greater watercourse which would normally cover

this fallen limb against which it now laps and ripples.

This time I crossed the bridge, continued a short distance up the mounting slope. and backtracked past

a clump of starry wood anemones.

A walking couple crossing the field in my direction on my way back thought better of it and turned round to cross the path of

the two gentlemen I had seen earlier as, keeping their distance, they crossed to my chosen hole in the hedge and presumably returned home before I did.

This evening we dined on succulent roast pork; roasted new potatoes in their skins; crisp sage and onion stuffing and Yorkshire pudding; crunchy carrots and firm Brussels sprouts; red cabbage cooked with onions and garlic in red wine with a touch of balsamic vinegar; and tasty gravy, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Mezquiriz.

 

 

 

It Didn’t Seem Politic

The best light of the day was forecast to be seen this morning. And so it proved.

Fairly early on we drove to Tesco’s for petrol; to New Milton Post Office for currency exchange and Christmas stamps; and to Brockenhurst, where, in common with New Milton,

poppies ahead of Armistice Day adorn the lampposts, before making our leisurely way to Hockeys farm shop for lunch.

Our first pause was at Wilverley where a pair of pensive ponies beside the road from Wootton paid no attention to two walkers on the opposite side –

they were more interested in their necking session.

Meanwhile a friendly horse rider emerged from the

 

autumn landscape,

more of which was seen in the forest scenes on either side of

Roger Penny Way.

Jackie decided that I blended in rather well with the environment.

Having, tentatively as always, in second gear, scaled Blissford Hill we encountered a shaggy calf using a scratching post beside Hyde Parish Hall.

Coming across a band of bulls further along the road I speculated about which one may be the father.

Somehow it didn’t seem politic to enquire too closely into the infant’s parentage.

This evening we dined on spicy pizza and plentiful fresh salad with which I finished the Merlot and Jackie didn’t.

 

Estate Agency

Today I watched recordings of the Rugby World Cup matches between Georgia and Uruguay, and between Wales and Australia. Taking breaks from these matches I made crops of Jackie’s photographs, and took the nesting box one myself. It is so good to employ a most competent Assistant Photographer.

Jackie carried out planting, mostly in the Weeping Birch Bed – such as White Ladies asters, and grass panicum Warrior – hindered of course by  Nugget who at one point nipped neatly onto her chair when she left it.Those readers who have missed Nugget in the last couple of posts have nothing to fear, our little robin is here. The scale of this picture showing a flash of Jackie’s jeans and a glimpse of her arm, the trowel beside the tufa on which he stands, and the pair of gardening gloves demonstrates just how little he is.

The tufa on which he stands is, according to Wikipedia,  ‘ a variety of limestone formed when carbonate minerals precipitate out of ambient temperature water.’ Plants grow on it.

He doesn’t take up much room on a trowel, but he can delay the Head Gardener using it.When Jackie was sitting in the chair mentioned above, Nugget would dart from this stone under her seat in search of fodder.

The finely woven wicker-work of his plumage is most intricate.

Whilst at the south end of the garden Jackie also photographed the Back Drive;

its Japanese anemones against the white wall of No. 5 Downton Lane;

raindrops on its out of season poppy

and convolvulus:

clumps of chrysanthemum buds;

sprigs of bright hawthorn berries;

a wood pigeon basking on the warm gravel;

a volunteer nicotiana sylvestris;

and a further clump of chrysanthemums against hot lips.

She photographed the garden as seen from the Heligan Path;

her stumpery;

and one of two pots of pansies in the Rose Garden.

Not satisfied with the third teapot she has offered Nugget through her estate agency,

when she popped out for more plants at Otter Nurseries she bought a purpose built robin nesting box to increase his choice.

Now, “Where’s Nugget?” (31)

This evening we dined on Jackie’s minced beef topped with Lyonnaise potatoes, crunchy carrots and broccoli with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Doom Bar.

 

Guarding The Nest

During a suitable break in the showers this morning I focussed on the refreshed flora in somewhat bedraggled bees in the garden.

Examples are antirrhinums and foxgloves;

Several bees, in their waterproofs, can be seen among these roses, petunias, geraniums, rhododendrons, poppies, and bottle brush plants.

Danni and Ella came to lunch bearing a packet of gloriosa vine corms for Jackie’s birthday. Naturally the Head Gardener planted them immediately.

During the pleasant afternoon that ensued, Danni reflected on Jackie photographing Derrick and Ella.

Later our great-niece slept on the sofa and was photographed by her mother.

Through the window above Ella’s head another proud parent, in the form of a cock sparrow, could be seen, head rapidly swivelling, guarding his nest by the side of the house,

This evening we dined on Jackie’s super spicy pasta arrabbiata and tender runner beans with which she drank Blue Moon and I drank Chateau des Maures Lalande de Pomerol 2016.

Chaucombe Green

This afternoon Jackie drove me to the pharmacy at Milford on Sea to collect a repeat prescription, and then on to Ringwood to buy printer inks from Wessex Photo.

On the way we passed Old Milton’s Chaucombe Green, which is becoming something of a memorial ground.

One of the ‘Lest We Forget’ outlined soldiers, sponsored by Councillor Geoff Beck, stands among autumn leaves fronting a bed planted with winter pansies.

A Flanders poppy decorates a lamppost beside the bordering pavement.

In ‘120 Animal Casualties’ I reported on the tally towards the end of last year posted on Roger Penny Way. I had been under the impression that this was the number of deaths.

Graphic standing silhouettes of those killed total 56. It would appear that the others were injured. As can be seen, no group of those animals who have the right of way on forest roads, went unscathed.

As I am trying to get my head around the new editing facility I cannot tell whether it will be possible for viewers to enlarge these images. I am therefore copying out the text of the Brief History of Milton Village. 

‘The manor of Milton (‘Mildeltune’) is listed in the Domesday Book of 1086 and literally means ‘Middle Farm’. It was part of the lands belonging to Hugh de Port, and the estate was held for him by William Chernet. The Chernet family maintained possession of Milton into the 13th century, although lesser families were managing the estate on their behalf. The most important of these were the Chaucombe (or Chalcombe) family, who were probably the first people to build a church in Milton in the mid 13th century. In 1303 Thomas de Chaucombe was given permission to hold a weekly market on Tuesdays at Milton, as well as an annual fair on the feast day of Mary Magdalene. From 1365 to 1565, the manor was in the possession of the Tyrrell family. The manor passed through various hands in subsequent centuries. The last significant owners were the Bursey family in the 19th century, and in the 1890s the remaining lands of the estate were subdivided and sold.’

I’m sure one or more of my blogging friends will let me know if this has been an unnecessary effort. 

The market mentioned above continues to this day, although at some stage it has moved to Wednesday.

This evening we dined on breaded chicken steaks from Tesco, which Jackie spiced up with very hot ratatouille, served with crisp sautéed potatoes and tender green beans. I finished the Merlot.