Sparkling Jewels

Today dawned bright and sunny. Taking her camera with her, Jackie photographed the garden, glistening after yesterday’s rain. I joined her after a while, adding a few images of my own. We have merged our results.

Raindrops bejewelled individual blooms,

and sunshine brightened every view.

While Jackie was working on the lawn, Nugget did, of course arrive to inspect the works.

He took up a viewing station in his favourite New Zealand hebe,

then dropped down onto a bench to carry out a preening session within inches from the Head Gardener. Suitably satisfied with his ablutions he went into hiding in broad daylight.

“Where’s Nugget?” (19).

This evening we dined on tangy fish pie; crunchy haddock goujons; wholesome champ – an Irish dish consisting of mashed potato and spring onions – tender runner beans; piquant cauliflower cheese; and moist ratatouille. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Gajewski Shiraz 2018 – an excellent Australian wine brought by Elizabeth on Saturday.

The Garden Wept

Hanging its head, the garden wept early this morning;

to brighten later;

albeit with less than entirely dry cheeks. Bees basked on sunlit blooms;

as did butterflies like this Red Admiral on the lobelia.

Jackie’s planting

of phlox in the West Bed

brought her little robin, Nugget, out in search of goodies. “Where’s Nugget?” (6)

Here we lost internet connection, so I am sending this from The Royal Oak.

Not For The Birds

This was a day of wind, rain, colder temperatures, coats, and central heating. A bit like Dunedin’s winter.

During a brief period of lessening rain Jackie continued her work on securing sweet peas and other climbing plants; rehanging baskets; and setting other planters back on their perches.

Here are some of the finished projects. The begonias in the penultimate image lost a few broken stems from which Jackie is attempting to produce roots. She is doing the same with a proliferation of pelargoniums.

These ginger lilies happily survived.

Most flowers were bejewelled with raindrops.

This was not a day for little birds to come out and play.

We dined this evening on a second sitting of Hordle Chinese Take Away’ excellent fare with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Shiraz.

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.