An Enforced Eviction

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED.

Wisteria

Early this morning the sun shone on the wall-bound wisteria aiming for the en suite bathroom.

Raindrops on tulip Diamond Jubilee 1

Lingering early raindrops rolled around the Diamond Jubilee tulips,

Raindrops and fly on tulip Diamond Jubilee

onto which a thirsty fly dropped for a drink.

RhododendronRhododendron and pieris

Another rhododendron, leading the eye to the pieris on the grass, is beginning to bloom.

The day dulled over as it progressed. We spent the morning working on the garden. Jackie did some general planting and weeding, and sprinkled chicken pellets over the newly composted beds. Before you imagine otherwise, we do not keep chickens. The pellets come in a large bucket and are marketed as manure.

Vinca

Vinca makes an attractive ground cover, but it does have a tendency to sprawl, take root, and make life very uncomfortable for bed-mates. So it has been for the Weeping Birch Bed. I therefore concentrated my efforts on that. Fast approaching is the warmer weather when a thinner duvet will be in order.

Ladybird on vincaSnail and ladybird on vinca leavesSnail on vinca leaf

A black-spotted ladybird and a tiny striped snail suffered an enforced eviction as I ejected  their shelter.

Brick pillar

Our stone urns and other containers are mounted on dry brick pillars. The ground under one of these subsided a bit last autumn and it fell over. We spent the last few minutes before lunch levelling a space and beginning to rebuild the column.

This evening we dined on succulent roast pork and apple sauce, roast sweet and savoury potatoes, with al dente carrots, cauliflower, and runner beans; followed by rice pudding and blackberry jam.  I drank Reserve des Tuguets madiran 2012, and Jackie drank Hoegaarden.

Henry Croft

EXCEPT FOR HENRY CROFT WHO WILL NOT ENLARGE, CLICK ON IMAGES TO ACCESS GALLERIES THAT CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE.

A day’s unending dreary drizzle dripping from damp, dingy, clouds over Downton provided ample material for Pearly Kings and Queens to refresh their outfits.

Wikipedia tells us:

henry_croft_pearly_king“The practice of wearing clothes decorated with so-called pearl, actually mother-of-pearl buttons, originated in the 19th century.[1] It is first associated with Henry Croft, an orphan street sweeper who collected money for charity. At the time, London costermongers (street traders) were in the habit of wearing trousers decorated at the seams with pearl buttons that had been found by market traders. Croft adapted this to create a pearly suit to draw attention to himself and aid his fund-raising activities.[2][3] In 1911 an organised pearly society was formed in Finchley, north London.[1]

Croft died in January 1930, and his funeral was attended by 400 followers from all over London,[1] receiving national media coverage.[4] In 1934 a memorial to him was unveiled in St Pancras Cemetery, and in a speech to mark the occasion he was said to have raised £5,000 for those suffering in London’s hospitals.[5] The statue was later moved to the crypt of St Martin-in-the-Fields, Westminster. The inscription reads:

In memory of Henry Croft who died January 1st 1930 aged 68 years. The original Pearly King

The pearlies are now divided into several active groups. Croft’s founding organisation is called the Original London Pearly Kings and Queens Association. It was reformed in 1975[1][2] and holds the majority of the original pearly titles which are City of LondonWestminster, Victoria, Hackney, Tower HamletsShoreditchIslington, Dalston and Hoxton. Other groups have also been established over the years. The oldest is the Pearly Guild, which began in 1902.[1][6] Modern additions include the London Pearly Kings and Queens Society, which started in 2001 following a disagreement,[1][3] and the Pearly Kings and Queens Guild.[7] Despite the rivalries, each group is associated with a church in central London and is committed to raising money for London-based charities.[1] A parade of real-life Pearly Kings and Queens was featured at the 2012 Summer Olympics Opening Ceremony.

This evening we dined on succulent slow-roasted duck breasts in plum sauce on Jackie’s splendid savoury rice. I drank Cimarosa Reserva Privada cabernet sauvignon 2015.

Making It Through The Winter

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. THOSE IN GROUPS ACCESS GALLERIES THAT CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE.

Frost on heuchera leaves

Once the heavy overnight frost fringing these heuchera leaves had thawed, the garden was warmed by the sun

which was low enough to light lily leaves and grasses,

while pearly jewels dripped from naked and semi-clad twigs,

Raindrops on rose leaves

and lingering rose leaves.

Autumn-hued hydrangeas hang on to life.

Alliums 2

The first clusters of precocious onion-smelly alliums have pierced the soil,

Leycesteria

and a pendulous leycesteria has already produced its kindergarten mobiles.

Shady Path

Shadows slanted across the Shady and

Brick Path

 the Brick Paths.

Three winter flowering pink Viburnum Bodnantense Dawn,shrubs are doing what is expected of them.

One camellia has begun to flower and has even provided evidence that some flies are capable of making it through the winter.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s brilliant beef in red wine, boiled new potatoes, and piquant cauliflower cheese. I finished the merlot.

Christmas Fairies

CLICK ON ANY IMAGE TO ACCESS GALLERIES WHICH CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE.

This morning we awoke to a garden dripping with decorations supplied by the Christmas fairies, some of whom still flitted among the trees:

This afternoon we are off to Lyndhurst for the last of the Christmas shopping, then on to West End to visit Mum then share a meal with Elizabeth at Jewels Indian restaurant. I don’t expect to have enough oomph left on our return to post any more to day, so will report on anything of moment tomorrow.

It’s Beginning To Look A Little Like Winter

CLICK ON ANY IMAGE TO ACCESS GALLERY THAT CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE.

Today’s weather was in complete contrast to yesterday’s. Although it was even warmer, rain persisted throughout the day. For as long as I felt I could risk soaking the camera I crept around the garden with it.

The deciduous trees have now lost most of their leaves; the cryptomeria japonica is sprouting new growth; bright yellow bidens continue to bloom; camellias are beginning to bud; even the blackbirds have kept away from the glistening crab apples. Crazy, I know, but it is beginning to look just a little like winter.

At lunchtime Ian came to collect us and take us, via Emsworth, to Tess’s Christmas event at the Village Shop. Whatever time we get home, I don’t expect to be in a fit state for posting any more, so I’ll do a bit more tomorrow.

The End Of The Roll

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM. REPEAT IF REQUIRED.

We were promised sunshine and showers today. In the end the rain dominated. Consequently I was unable to cut the grass. There was nothing for it but, with the sun on my back when it did put in an appearance, while being dripped on by the trees, to take advantage of the light to photograph raindrops; then hit the massive ironing pile.

Gazebo path

The Chilean lantern bush is on the left of the Gazebo Path, and the yellow bottle brush one to the right. The eucalyptus is in flower.

Raindrops on Bottle Brush Plant

The bottle brushes were well washed;

Raindrops on rhododendron

Heligan Path BenchView from Brick Path across the lawn

as was the rhododendron that has bloomed in the Phantom Bed since these views from the Heligan Path and the Brick Path were last featured.

Raindrops on sweet peas

These sweet peas are now adorning the arch to our right.

Raindrops on peony

Peonies heads are too heavy to be raised

Cordyline Australis

in the Palm Bed, so named for the cordyline Australis.

Elizabeth's Bed

From the Oval Path to the right can be seen Elizabeth’s bed with its bright pink hydrangea;

Rose Garden

and straight ahead through to the Rose Garden, where

Riandrops on Mum in a Million

Mum in a Million

Raindrops on Margaret Merril

and Margaret Merrill have both washed their faces.

Raindrops on Day Lily

This day lily in Margery’s Bed has just had a shower.

Kitchen Bed View

Between shirts I nipped out to photograph this view across the Kitchen Bed from the Patio.

This afternoon I scanned the last few frames on the Devon September 1983 holiday roll of colour negative film featured yesterday, when Mary observed that an image of Jessica and Louisa warranted a close up. This is the next shot in which I have

Jessica and Louisa 9.83 1

first cropped the background,

Jessica and Louisa 9.83 1 Crop

then brought the subjects into close-up.

Jessica and Louisa 9.83 2

Once released, Louisa was quite clear where she wanted to go,

Louisa 9.83 1

but not quite so confident when negotiating the terrain,

Sam 9.83

which hadn’t fazed Sam at all.

Jessica 9.83

Here is Jessica shortly before we left.

Louisa 9.83 2Louisa 9.83 3

Back home, our daughter adopted the usual exhausted mode.

Jackie having returned from her three days away, we dined on Mr Pink’s fish and chips, pickled onions and gherkins, followed by Dorset Apple Cake brought back from Tolpuddle. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Reserve des Tuguets Madiran 2012.

Tears And Laughter

Raindrops on irises

Today was mostly dull and wet, although fleeting sunlight did appear occasionally, for instance to brighten limp, tearful, irises on our back drive,

Hoverfly?

or to reveal this insect I assumed to be a hoverfly drying off in a hedge in the Lyndhurst car park. The yellow/orange may help entomologists to be certain of the identity.

Through the rain, we had made an abortive visit to buy a birthday present to supplement jewellery bought at Christmas, when the shop had been making a big display of the range we sought. They don’t do them any more. We returned home and were cheered up by a welcome visit from Shelly and Ron who, since they were about to go away, brought early birthday presents for Jackie.

In the meantime I scanned another batch of colour slides from the summer of 1980.

Sam 7.80 1

Jessica and Sam 7.80 5

In July Jessica still needed to prop Sam’s head up, either with her hand,

Sam 7.80 4

or by the more usual across the shoulder method.

A number of portraits were made on 2nd August.

Becky 2.8.80 1

Here is Becky, probably gazing upon her new brother.

Jessica 2.8.80 crop

Jessica certainly was.

Michael 2.8.80

I’m not sure what had grabbed Michael’s attention;

Sam 2.8.80 1

or, indeed, Sam’s –

Sam 2.8.80 2

whatever that was, it was worth a laugh.

This evening’s chicken was marinaded in honey and mustard, and delightful it was too; served with mashed potato, carrots, runner beans and ratatouille. Lemon tart and cream was to follow. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and I drank more of the Fleurie.