The Oval Bed Today

The earlier third of the day was overcast but warm.

On my way through the garden to set out on a walk down

Downton Lane

I photographed several newly opened tulips,

one of which bore a sleepy bee.

Even 30 m.p.h. on our eponymous winding lane is probably too fast at any time, yet it seems necessary to reinforce the limit with plenty of notices along the way.

Prolific primroses,

golden dandelions,

dancing daffodils,

and buttery celandines bear out Susan Hill’s view of spring as ‘the yellow season’ expressed in ‘The Magic Apple Tree’.

Along with hardy white daisies

and rambling purple vinca, they decorate the burgeoning verges,

while bristling blackthorn

adorns the hedgerows.

A felled tree hosts ageing tree fungus.

The downward stretch of Downton Lane is a mostly manageable gently sloping descent.

I turned back at the steepest bend

and made my way home.

A pair of friendly cyclists, two abreast, had at least crossed to the other side as they passed me but I did wonder whether I should carry an estate agent’s snazzy measuring device to ensure a safe distance in these self-isolating times.

On 27th March Jackie had begun revamping the Oval Bed which she photographed.

Later this afternoon she produced images of her finished work.

She also photographed these leaves of crocosmia and day lilies,

and aroused bronze fennel setting off to soar above prize primroses and primulas.

This evening we dined on roasted sausages and new potatoes served on a bed of fried onions; a soft melange of cabbage and leeks; tender runner beans; and crunchy carrots with tasty gravy. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Benguela Bay Shiraz 2018.

Jackie’s having to add a little oil to the sausages because they held no fat reminded us of the gristly and cereal-filled apologies that had put us off bangers for life when we were young. Walls offerings were the anathema of our childhood. It was in France that I first experienced sausages with sufficient meat content.

 

Trapeze

For the last few days we had experienced a cold North East wind. Today was much warmer, and sunnier than we had expected. Jackie photographed the weather vane showing the shift to South West.

She spent much of the day working in the garden where she gathered images of

perky pansies in different containers;

close relatives sprawling comfrey

and bristly borage;

kindred primroses

and primulas;

potted pelargoniums in the greenhouse;

cyclamen clusters;

spirea sprays in white

and, in amber, Japonica leaves.

She focussed on a single creamy daffodil

a pair with peachy trumpets

and a lemon yellow clump leading into the Rose Garden with its tulips in the distance.

More potted tulips cluster on the patio.

Aubretia amble over the Kitchen Bed tiles.

The more tender aeoinium Zwartkof still needs the protection of the greenhouse where

bulbs of Tiger Moon

and Rose Isabella lilies are sending up shoots;

similarly aquilegia

and cobaea Scandens have germinated.

A vigilant jackdaw keeps watch on the roof.

We have now named one of our long tailed tits Burt. This is because, when joining his friends in plundering Nugget’s food supply, he enjoys diving from a

firm wisteria branch to a flexible honeysuckle tendril

from which he can tap on our kitchen window inviting us to catch him.

Try as she might, the Assistant Photographer has never quite managed to grab a clear image of the swinging action. You will have to take our word for it that in this picture he really is

earning his name.

It was a fortunate coincidence that two messages from Gwen Wilson today enabled me to add postscripts to

‘Catching up with your blog posts drew me again to your trapeze performing ancestors.

The Australian newspapers are littered with references to the Dental Riskits. Pages and pages of them. I can easily outline how to look them up if you are interested. This death notice contains some of the most intriguing family history information I have come across.

https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/212220187?searchTerm=”dental%20riskit”&searchLimits=

and her mother and other relatives  / / /

https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/27308369?searchTerm=”dental%20riskit”&searchLimits=sortby=dateAsc

There are so many memorial notices it is clear that Holly’s family were very close and in great distress at losing family members in quick succession. She had many siblings. Her twin sister was particularly bereft.

regards

Gwen Wilson’

P.P.S:

and here is an extract from a comment of Gwen’s on another post: ‘On a whim, I typed a search on Riskit into our digitised newspapers and immediately returned this article from1926. Not Holly – his second wife. . . https://trove.nla.gov.au/newspaper/article/186061378?searchTerm=“riskit”&searchLimits=’

This describes an accident involving a 20′ fall while performing.

Mike Ribble, Burt Lancaster’s character in Trapeze, was so injured in the fall shown above that he could no longer perform. My great Uncle Jack Riskit (John Evans) turned to theatre management after his fall in 1926.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s wholesome chicken and vegetable soup with crusty bread followed by her delicious dried fruit lattice pie and custard.

 

 

The Blue Coat

Suitably equipped for the fray

Jackie joined the queue at Tesco five minutes before opening time. She really felt for the woman in the blue coat.

The orderly social distancing exhibited outside the supermarket was somewhat belied by the few customers who reached past others to claim items they were afraid might disappear. Although we didn’t need any, Mrs Knight reported that toilet rolls were in stock.

Perhaps the fact that the fresh meat, fish, and deli counters were off limits enabled her to

feel relaxed about photographing sheep and lambs along Christchurch Road on her way home.

After watering the pots in the front garden this afternoon – the Head Gardener was to hose those at the back later – I took a trip to Honeylake Wood and back.

This involved walking along Christchurch Road past the closed Royal Oak pub, Downton Garage, Woods used car establishment, and a row of cottages, to the currently fallow field featuring a footpath to the wood.

Sandbags line the pub’s front porch, suggesting the management had not anticipated our current dry spell when the coronavirus closures were required.

This gentleman walking a couple of dogs

back to the kissing gate

was clearly complying with the request to keep canines under control.

Choosing to eschew the gate which others will have touched, I entered via a gap in the hedge beside the disused telephone box and the still active letter box.

I then walked along the edge of the field to the footpath.

Like most local fields this one is fenced by wind-sculpted trees.

The winding path through the wood

slopes down to a bridge over a stream. The photographs above indicate the fleeting nature of the shadow-casting sun. The bridge has been repaired since my last trip down here, but I did not lean on it for the same reason that I avoided the gate.

The banks of the stream were embroidered with gentle yellow primroses.

This evening we dined on chicken thighs of considerable size crisply roasted with potatoes and parsnips; Yorkshire puddings, carrots and spring greens, with which I drank Carinena El Zumbido Garnacha Syrah 2018. Jackie had finished her Hoegaarden while cooking.

Sunshine And Shirtsleeves

Today was one of sunshine and shirtsleeves.

While Jackie worked on the Oval Bed I carried a few trugs of refuse to the compost bin, and a few cans of water to the Head Gardener. It may seem hard to believe that the plants need watering at the moment, but we have not received rain for a while.

We have bright magenta aubretia.

Bees are very much in evidence. Interestingly they seem to prefer yellow flowers, selecting that hue from this pot of tulips, particularly ignoring this

pale pastel specimen nearby.

Celandines have nestled beside one of the

two pots of tulips

brightening the Rose Garden.

We have a number of creamy yellow primroses

and golden cowslips.

Hoping that some would successfully germinate Jackie had buried clusters of wood anemone corms around the beds. We now have numerous clumps.

She is even more delighted to find the first blooms of her new camellia Jury Yellow.

Various euphorbias are also flowering.

Overhead, the copper beech still bears bare branches

The winter flowering clematis Cirrhosa Freckles continues to adorn the iron gazebo;

while summer snowflakes defy the season.

Jackie also photographed snowflakes with daffodils;

honesty which promises to be prolific;

new shoots on a pink carpet rose;

backlit honeysuckle leaves;

and her own perspective on the Rose Garden.

Nugget put in a few fleeting appearances, showed no interest in the worms the Head Gardener was unearthing, and declined to spare the time to pose.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s splendid chicken soup with crusty bread from the freezer. The soup consisted of the compost base made yesterday with plump chopped chicken breasts, crispy bacon, peas and sweetcorn. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank Mezquirez reserva Navarra 2013.

Keeping Their Distance

In recent days goldfinches have joined the ranks of birds swooping on the feeders.

We think we may be harbouring an extra long tailed variety.

Mum’s care home is now in total lockdown. Several of us telephoned her in turn.

I believe that is now widespread. Jackie photographed this conversation through a  window at Barton on Sea. The son had left flowers at the door.

The cliff top grassed area was as crowded as any other spring Sunday afternoon, except that all the groups appeared to be keeping their distance from others.

Mudeford harbour was even more crowded, yet people picnicked

and played;

walked dogs;

and occupied benches in company

or in solitude.

Gulls simply winged it overhead or

over the shore at low tide,

while a pack of motor cyclists came along for the ride.

Turning inland,

on Braggers Lane

a jogger maintained his solitude.

Across the landscape in a roughly central position stands All Saints Church, Thorney Hill.

Pools still line Forest Road near Holmsley,

where ponies ponder,

graze,

and reflect.

Early this evening Jackie nipped out to photograph Elusive Eric the pheasant, who evaded her, so she settled for

primroses,

cyclamen,

the Cryptomeria Bed,

the Dragon Bed,

 daffodils and wood anemones.

This evening we dined on succulent duck breasts roasted with new potatoes; with crunchy cauliflower, carrots, and Brussels sprouts. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the El Zumbado Garnacha Syrah, this time 2018 vintage.

 

Cold Soup

Jackie took advantage of the early morning sunlight to photograph

a variety of colourful daffodils;

a striking range of hellebores;

a bee probing pulmonaria;

my dwarf azalea, still thriving after twenty years and several moves;

pale yellow primroses

and their brighter primula relatives;

mahonias,

companula,

wood anemones,

summer snowflakes;

and burgeoning tulips blending with light blue pansies.

When Jackie delivered my muddy red jacket to White’s cleaners last week she was diverted by the purchase of a weighty brass owl, now perched on a lurching post. Its relatives may be glimpsed throughout the beds.

We collected the dry cleaning this afternoon and went on to visit Mum, who, although not quite aware of the global nature of the pandemic, is certainly fully au fait with the precautions at Woodpeckers and the reason for them. Conversation included Spanish flu and the death of Mum’s aunt Holly.

We were required to wash our hands on arrival when our temperatures were taken and pronounced perfect.

As we approached Brockenhurst we spotted a contented pony enjoying the now familiar New Forest vichyssoise soup.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent cottage pie; crisp Yorkshire pudding, sweet potatoes, cauliflower carrots, and broccoli: and tender runner beans, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Marlborough Pinot Noir 2016.

A Closer Look

Elizabeth popped over this morning to collect some wood and nails to repair a fence on a temporary basis until Aaron can do it for her. She fixed a time with him.

Having concentrated on general garden views yesterday I took a closer look at

a variety of daffodils;

primulas and

primroses;

hellebores;

camellias;

anemone Blandas;

 

vinca;

viburnum;

and Amanogawa cherry blossom.

This afternoon I watched the Six Nations rugby international between Scotland and France. Just before half time the game erupted into a 30 man handbags session. One player threw a punch and was sent off. The game deteriorated after that.

Elizabeth, Danni, Andy and Ella came to dinner.

Before hand the usual fun ensued. Elizabeth and Danni graced the white sofa.

Ella has taken a shine to the bell with which Jackie wakes me when I have fallen asleep during Bargain Hunt.

She also has a new game which involves a tender “Aahh” as she settles her Teddy down to sleep;

she is not averse to ditching him when distracted by her Dad.

The meal consisted of Jackie’s sublime beef pie; roast potatoes; crunchy carrots, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts; tender runner beans, and tasty gravy. This was followed by rhubarb crumble and custard. Elizabeth, Danni, and I finished the Cabernet Sauvignon, The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden, and Andy drank Diet Coke,

Jackie served up to eager participants.

 

 

Ella tucks in beside her mother.

Jackie took the two photographs of the infant enjoying her Kit Kat dessert.