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.

Raindrops

Unless you wanted to photograph

car wheels sending up spray from the puddle in the gutter to the front of the house,

or pools forming on the garden paths, this was not a day to venture outside. The alliums on the Brick Path are some uprooted by the Head Gardener who wages an annual war against these invasive bulbs.

Rain streamed down the windows, brightened only by Pauline’s welcome lightcatcher.

I was granted one brief easing of precipitation during which to nip out and catch raindrops on bedraggled pansies, shy tulips, damp hellebores, and glistening amanogawa buds.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s superb steak and mushroom pie; roast potatoes; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; firm Brussels sprouts; and rich gravy. Jackie and Becky drank Blossom Hill Pale Rosé, I drank Des Maures Lalande de Pomerol 2016, and Ian drank Cobra.

Road Rage

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Forlorn pasty-faced skies wept for most of the day. After an early lunch Jackie and I drove to Southampton General Hospital to visit Mum. The good news is that she was looking much better and is to move tomorrow to a Rehabilitation Centre at Romsey. We will see what they can do to get her on her feet again. She has already been transferred to a less intense ward ‘for older people’. Joseph and Angela were with our mother when we arrived. They left soon afterwards, but I don’t think it was any thing personal.

Avoiding Millbrook roundabout which we knew to be closed from our direction, Jackie managed to negotiate the terrible Hampshire roads to bring us to the barrier of the one car park in the hospital that had some spaces. Peering through the rainswept windscreen we waited our turn for the barrier to rise for our admittance.

Having driven around for a while inside in search of one of the vacancies, we waded over the uneven paving that is de rigueur for any modern public development. We were directed to Mum’s new ward, which was helpful.

When paying for parking on departure, we considered that one out of three properly working machines was perhaps fortunate.

People, such as taxi drivers, not wishing to park, but delivering patients as near as possible to the front door, do rather tend to cause something of a blockage in visitors’ escape route.

In the direction of our return home, the Millbrook Roundabout was actually open, but we were advised to expect delays. Listening to the thud/squeak rhythm of the windscreen wipers; avoiding being mesmerised by the brake lights we were following; ignoring the temptations of fish and chips; and finding some amusement in ‘Elves Behavin (sic) Badly’ we settled down for the long haul along the A33. In one of those brilliant planning touches we find on Hampshire’s roads more roadworks came into focus further along the way. We were now reduced to one lane, the queue being supplemented by vehicles filtering in from the left.

Jackie took the first opportunity to strike out across the forest by turning into Deerleap Lane. Within very few minutes we were once again breathing fresh air on familiar winding lanes where the only road rage experienced was the alarm sounded by what must surely have been Roman geese guarding a soggy farmyard.

It being our first second wedding anniversary we dined at Fleur de Lys in Pilley. We both enjoyed truffles and celeriac soup with scrumptious fresh crispy bread. Jackie went on to mushroom risotto, while I enjoyed a succulent steak, French fries, and green beans. Mrs Knight drank Blue Moon and I drank an excellent Merlot.

 

Pannage Piglet Paddle

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On a day balmy enough for pink roses, honeysuckle, and solanum to be blooming on the trellis in the front garden, and whatever this flower is in the West Bed (see rusty duck’s identification below),

it seemed rather incongruous to take a trip to MacPenny’s Nursery in Bransgore in search of Autumn colour, but we were not disappointed. The bush rose bringing up the rear of this set of photographs sits in the small garden of Robin’s Nest, the nursery’s cafe, where Jackie enjoyed a scone and a coffee while I went for a wobble in the main garden. I think it rather unkind of her to describe my current gait as such.

There is still a month of the pannage period to go. A motley collection of piglets snuffled their way around the verges of Burley in their frantic search for acorns. One actually sneezed. It wasn’t the black one going for a paddle.

This evening, together with Bill, Jackie and I are dining at Shelly and Ron’s. Should there be anything of moment to report I will do so tomorrow.

Just Too Short

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I took a couple of strolls around the garden with a camera this morning. Sculpture Florence turned her back on the early light streaming from the Rose Garden.

Overnight rain had refreshed fuchsias, geraniums, hydrangeas, and dahlias, in one of which

a bedraggled bee risked drowning.

Our red hot pokers are over now, but other kniphofias of more autumnal hues stand erect in the Weeping Birch and other beds.

White solanum continues to drape itself over the dead tree beside the New Bed.

Spiders lurk everywhere. Look closely at the close-up of the hanging basket at the corner of the Phantom Path.

This afternoon Jackie drove me into the forest.

Along the Rhinefield Road a rather young foal foraged far from his parent who looked to be away in the distance.

A little further along a forest sprite impersonated the upper section of a dead tree escaping the clutches of its parent body.

Along the Rhinefield Ornamental Drive dry layers of fallen leaves and pine cones offered a spring to my step and to those of a lone walker. A carved cone marked a route.

Passing the trough on Wootton Common we noticed that it was surrounded by cattle vying for a drink. By the time we had turned round to park the car near the animals, they were all trooping off along the moor.

Ah, not quite all. Just one diminutive creature had been left behind. In vain did this Marshmallow cow, time and again, circle the trough attempting to slake her thirst. Even her neck was just too short. Eventually she hit on a super wheeze. She tried the human spout. I wonder if the next two-legged drinkers will have any idea about who had preceded them.

This evening the three of dined on Jackie’s roast beef; Yorkshire pudding; pigs in blankets; roast potatoes, sweet and normal; crunchy carrots, tender runner beans; and gravy solid with onions and mushrooms. Elizabeth and I drank La vieille ferme 2017, while the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden.

 

 

 

A String Of Pearls

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A week ago we had celebrated Shelly’s birthday at a party in her garden sheltering under a marquee from the sun. Today it was the turn of Ron’s 70th.

Raindrops on marquee with upside down bunting

This time raindrops dripped from that same tent. The 70 bunting, blown by the wind, stuck, upside down, to the awning.

Guests under marquee 1Guests under marquee 2

Of the guests, numbering some forty people, only the hardened drinkers availed themselves of the somewhat soggy outside protection.

Umbrella and shoes

It was definitely a day for umbrellas.

Guest 1Guest 2Guest 3Guest 5Guest 4

Most of the guests gathered inside.

Guests greeting

Some, who knew each other, were pleasantly surprised at each other’s presence.

Helen and Billy

Last week’s event had been mostly for family members. This one was largely attended by friends, but grandparents, like Helen putting on Billy’s shoes

Helen and Max

or simply revelling in Max, were welcome.

Shelly and guest

Great aunts, Shelly

Jackie and Max 1Max 1

and Jackie also made much of Max,

Max and pearls 1Max and pearls 2Max and pearls 3

who maintained a firm grip on Jackie’s pearls;

Billy

while his brother Billy wheeled his cars across the table.

Stephanie and Max

Stephanie did manage to have a go with her younger son when the older generation allowed it.

Bill doing quiz

Ron had thoughtfully provided a quiz spanning the seventy years of his life ‘in case no-one turned up’. He needn’t have worried about that. Bill

Guest doing quiz

and other guests got stuck into this with bemused enthusiasm.

Donna

Donna was perhaps exempt from this game because her partner, Neil, was involved in the marking.

None was more surprised than Jackie and me when we won the competition, possibly because Becky and Ian had arrived after the judging had begun. Our daughter had completed the test on her own and in a hurry, yet scored only one point less than us.

Guest eating jalfrezi 1Guest eating jalfrezi 2

Jackie’s chicken jalfrezi with sag or peas ponir and savoury rice was a great success. All was eaten in a very short space of time except for one helping saved by a guest who wished to wait until he had room for it.

LordBeariofBow’s comment below provides this most appropriate addition:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jg2vtWezWbw   Thanks, Brian.

Shelly’s fish pie and lasagne were also excellent, as were trifle and cakes produced by Jackie’s two sisters. Red and white wine and various beers were imbibed.

Bejewelled

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When I am under the weather it is always a bad headache that does me in. So it was yesterday, but, I am happy to say, this had desisted after a good night’s sleep and, although I remained a bit dizzy I enjoyed wandering around the garden this morning with a camera. I think I understand the expression ‘under the weather’ because I do seem to have headaches when there is that change in pressure that comes with impending storms. And yesterday it rained steadily all afternoon.

Raindrops on geranium 3Raindrops on geranium 4Raindrops on geranium 1Raindrops on geranium 2

This made for plants adorned with translucent pearly precipitations. Geraniums were well represented;

Raindrops on gladiolus leaf

 leaves, such as those of gladioli

Raindrops on poppy leaves

and poppies, bore crystal balls;

Raindrops on black eyed Susan

black eyed Susan sparkled;

Raindrops on begonia

blushing begonias shimmered in shadows;

raindrops on day lily

 strange creatures, food dangling from their maws, lurked behind day lilies;

raindrops on hydrangea

hydrangeas;

Raindrops on hosta

hostas;

Raindrops on rose Lady Emma Hamilton

roses Lady Emma Hamilton,

Raindrops on rose Special Anniversary

and Special Anniversary were all bejewelled.

Bee on rose Peach Abundance

Rose Peach Abundance

Oval Bed with Peach Abundance

Bees, like this one in the Peach Abundance rose, were venturing out again.

This afternoon I watched the Wimbledon men’s quarter finals of tennis on TV.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s wonderful boeuf bourguignon, followed by vanilla ice-cream.