The First Gallery Christmas Show 2017

This morning we visited Margery and Paul at their home in Bitterne. We had been unable to attend the gallery’s Christmas show, so were pleased to enjoy some of the items awaiting collection.

Readers may have noticed that I have been unable to produce a gallery on this site for some months. One of the benefits of the improved internet connection arranged by James, of Peacock Computers, is that this is again possible. It therefore seems appropriate that our friends’ collection should introduce this renewed facility.

I have also taken the opportunity to substitute a gallery for one photograph in ‘Hot Pants’.

From Margery and Paul’s we drove on to Elizabeth’s where spent a couple of pleasant hours before returning home.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s choice chilli con carne and savoury rice. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Malbec.

Havoc

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT AS REQUIRED.

Gusting 50+ miles per hour winds wreaked havoc overnight and today. They are due to continue until tomorrow morning.

Fallen chairs and potFallen chair and potFallen potFallen pot on decking

Pots and chairs, even the new heavy wooden ones, were blown down,

Nicotiana bent

and the taller plants, such as the nicotiana staked up a few days ago,  were bent over once more.

Begonia

Some stems were broken off and, like this beautiful begonia, found their way into vases known as accident pots. These containers are so called because of the occasional mishaps occurring during ordinary maintenance, not the results of elemental vengeance.

Struggling to steer our own course in the face of the gusting blasts, we did a little recovery work, including tying up roses, and laying down items, such as hanging baskets and more chairs, that were likely to suffer. We left the nicotiana because the cane snapped as I tried to insert it, and I couldn’t be bothered to search out another. Especially for the Head Gardener, this was all rather dispiriting. We don’t, just yet, want to be reminded that Autumn is around the corner.

This evening, for dinner, we consoled ourselves with Jackie’s delicious sausage casserole, crunchy carrots, crisp cauliflower and cabbage, followed by steamed suet pudding and cream. I drank more of the Alentejano, and Jackie drank fruit juice.

Katie’s Wake

Storm Katie particularly selected our corner of Hampshire to belabour throughout the night with winds of up to 105 m.p.h. Having heeded the forecast our intrepid Head Gardener brought down many of her pots and protected other parts of the garden. Nevertheless, tears sprang to her eyes when she witnessed the devastation this morning.

Cold frames blown down

The cold frames built last autumn had been smashed to pieces and scattered around the side and front of the house.

Daffodils blown down

One pot of daffodils had been blown from its perch on the front Gardener’s Rest.

Arch blown down 2Arch blown down 1

Two arches have been uprooted;

Broken lamp

that in the front has destroyed a solar lamp.

Broken pot 1

Other breakages include plant pots that can no doubt be replaced from Efford Recycling Centre.

Chairs blown down

Chairs

Plant stand blown down

and planters also took a dive.

The wind continued throughout the day, and rain interrupted the sunshine, so we decided to defer the recovery process until tomorrow, and drive out to see how the forest had fared.

Fallen tree 1StumpStump and fallen tree

This scene near Bolderwood demonstrated that the recent falls of forest giants will eventually merge into the landscape, just as their ancestors have done. Perhaps this rotting stump had been shattered by a wind as strong as that which had ripped the trunk off its neighbour.

Fallen tree 2Fallen tree 3

Fallen tree 5Fallen tree 4

Many other such corpses, recent, and ancient, litter the terrain.

Fallen tree clearance

The last of these trees had been cleared from the road that it had crossed.

Traffic on road

Variable traffic,

Runner on road

and a cheerful runner who had just seen a wonderful rainbow, enjoyed the bright light once the rain had stopped pelting down.

Donkeys 2

In Newtown, near Minstead, the dappled coats of donkeys blended with the sunlit tarmac.

Donkeys 1

When living there, we had watched the house in the centre of this picture being built.

Donkey baby

These two had left their basking baby while they wandered off.

Donkeys 3

Further on, we were obliged to stop and watch another trio able across the road they own.

Shattered tree

I have often photographed this tree, when whole, on Seamans Corner green;

Fallen branch

or this scene, further down the road, before Katie struck.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s choice chilli con carne and savoury rice. I drank more of the madiran, and The Cook didn’t.

The Garage Frontage

Today continued wet and warm, but not so windy, so Jackie was able to reorganise her plants fronting the garage.

This prompted me to produce a variation on the before and after theme. We were never going to use the garage for its original purpose. Soon after our arrival overnight on 31st March/1st April 2014 we began to clear and clean the area, full of rickety metal shelving, containing, among other things, pots of paint, oils, and other unpleasant materials leaking all over the floor on which some of it had coagulated.

I dumped all the shelving in the garden, as one wall at a time was made ready for our IKEA bookshelves.

Library in garage

The first were in place by 7th April.

Garage library

Michael had given us a carpet that we thought would fit the room, but on 17th April it still lay alongside boxes of books that I found far too daunting to lift.

Matthew in garage library

When Matthew visited on 26th, shifted all the cartons, and laid the carpet, it was a huge relief.

Library shelves

Most of the shelves were in situ four days later. Jackie did most of the assembling. We positioned a sheath of disused IKEA wardrobe sections between the back three and the garage doors.

Novels A box

I just had to sort out the books.

Library progress

This was the progress by 1st May,

Library

Six days later, the job was done.

Plants from Walkford

Jackie’s sister Shelly, had fostered the potted garden Jackie had created around our Minstead flat. We reclaimed this on 7th June, and positioned the plants in front of the garage.

Portable garden in front of garagePots in front of garage

By 11th July that same year, it was established in its new home.

Garage frontage

As it is now the time to tidy up for the winter, Jackie bought some wooden trellis to replace the lower, wrought iron structure. She fixed this up today;

Wrought iron fencing

and recycled the iron to extend the piece by the side of the house at the front.

Jackie produced tender roast lamb, crunchy roast potatoes, and crisp carrots and green beans for this evening’s dinner. Dessert was perfect apple crumble with evap.

The Peacock Spring

A welcome visit from Shelly and Ron, to collect the platinum anniversary photographs, broke the monotony of a morning spent on too-long-deferred paperwork. We enjoyed the usual ensuing conversation, naturally involving a certain amount of reminiscing.

Afterwards, beset by the raging gale-force winds, I visited the postbox.

Hanging baskets grounded 1Hanging baskets grounded 2

Despite Jackie’s distressed efforts to bring the hanging baskets and raised pots to protective ground level

Begonia fallenGeraniums and lobelia fallen

some were repeatedly blown over and their contents broken.

We haven’t dared approach the rose garden.

the-peacock-spring-aka-wenn-der-pfau-erwacht-fernsehfilm-grobritannienindien-enpgnh

In 1975 I bought a first edition of Rumer Godden’s ‘The Peacock Spring’. In 1996 the novel was filmed for television. Directed by Christopher Morahan and starring Peter Egan, Nareen Andrews, Hattie Morahan, Ravi Kapoor, with Madhur Jaffrey, this production was well received. It still took me until this year to read the book. I finished it today.

Set in 1959, a slow fuse burns with ever-increasing tension, until the explosive finale of the tale of a tragic relationship. The author’s trademark poetic description and insightful characterisation enables her to build an enthralling story of a flawed family and the conflict of cultural mores. I will not give away details, but can say that the picture to the left here shows the father with his two English daughters who have been brought to India to provide a veneer of respect to his relationship with the woman portrayed.

The Peacock Spring jacket

MacMillan’s publications comes in a striking book jacket designed by David Baxter.

It is not unusual for me to take forty years to read a book in my possession. As with this one, I sometimes wonder why it took me so long.

Cottage pie

This evening we dined on Jackie’s sublime cottage pie, crisp orange carrots and green cabbage. I drank more of the Cuvée St Jainé and Jackie enjoyed Blanche de Namur, a different Belgian wheat beer. The filmy quality of the above photograph comes from the wisps of steam rising from the dish, possibly encouraged by the layer of smoked cheddar cheese over the mashed potato topping.