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.

 

 

Refreshment

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Jackie carried out much knowledgeable weeding and planting this morning, whilst I cleared up the discards and conveyed them to the compost pile.

Garden view along Heligan Path

The early sun lit libertias standing in the Weeping Birch Bed,

Rose Garden 1Rose Garden 4Rose Garden 5Rose Garden 3Rose Garden 2Rose Garden 6

and enlivened the burgeoning Rose Garden.

Raindrops on clematis CarnabyRaindrops on clematisClematis Marie BoisselotClematis

Various clematises,

Clematis Montana

including this wonderfully scented Montana festooned over the front wall;

Weigela

the weigela winding down the south fence;

Aquilegias

ubiquitous aquilegias;

Rambling rose pink

the pink rambler on the front garden trellis;

Libertia, geraniums Ingwersen's Variety, campanulas

borders everywhere, like this corner sporting campanulas, libertia, and geraniums Ingwersen’s Variety,

Raindrops on irises

and the long Back Drive hosting splendid golden irises, relished their welcome refreshment.

Fly on primula

A fly alighted on one of the front tub’s primroses.

This afternoon I added a little more to my biography of an era including me. I now have a working title: ‘A Knight’s Tale’. I took more text, and

this photograph from ‘A Sneaky Weekend’

I then made some prints from recent posts for Louisa.

After this I joined Jackie in the weeding, concentrating my efforts on uprooting the more obvious infiltrators, namely the smelly white alliums, clinging ladies’ bedstraw, and golden buttercups occupying the wrong beds.

This evening, there being no table available at the Crown in Everton, we dined at the Smugglers’ Inn at Milford on Sea. Having starters was a mistake. The platefuls were excellent. Mine contained battered whitebait, plentiful fresh salad, and thick wedges of equally fresh bread. Jackie received a huge plateful of bread and olives. Each serving was a meal in itself. An even bigger mistake was, in my case,  ordering succulent sirloin steak, still more fresh salad, a mountain of perfect chips, onion rings, and fried onions, mushrooms and tomatoes. Jackie was treated to a huge bowl of cannelloni. more salad, and an equal number of chips to mine. Neither of us could finish our food, and we did not require a look at the dessert menu. The food was, I hasten to add, all extremely good, and the service impeccable. We both reminisced that, in our prime, we would have managed all this. Jackie drank Amstel, and I drank Doom Bar..

The Stable Door

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The much needed rain fell overnight and persisted as drizzle this morning. This afternoon we could continue in the garden. My contribution was weeding and making photographs. Jackie did the more creative tidying and planting.

Raindrops were left on poppies, heucheras, foxgloves, blue clematis, spider’s web complete with trapped insect, geraniums, rose For Your Eyes Only, rhododendrons, and libertia.

Clematis Marie Boisselot, and lilies benefited from their wash.

Jackie

Jackie, leaning on the stable door, was amused at my wandering around with the camera. I have often mentioned the stable door, so , just in case anyone is wondering, I feel bound to mention that we do not keep horses. There is no point when we can trot off in search of some any time we like. What we call the stable door is

Stable door

this. And yes, we do know that, like much of the house, it needs some attention.

This evening we dined on fish, chips, pickled onions, and gherkins. Jackie drank Peroni and I drank more of the cabernet sauvignon.

An Enforced Eviction

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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

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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

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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.