Where Was Little Boy Blue?

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Today was another very dull one, but at least the heavily overcast clouds only dropped a little rain, and we managed a dry run into the forest.

 

Alongside Sowley Lane a rape field, determined to outclass MacDonald’s Golden Arches, curved round a sheep field newly fenced off with planted saplings against the backdrop of the Isle of Wight.

 

A troop of cyclists weaved their way around cattle grazing on the verges of the lane, its pools of rainwater reflecting the surrounding trees and bovine browsers.

I know it is the wrong season, and the cows are on the verges, but I did wonder where was Little Boy Blue.

Garden view from kitchen

By the time we sat down to our evening meal, the sun shone across our garden view. We dined on Tesco’s finest fish pie accompanying Jackie’s finestest colourful ratatouille, runner beans, and cauliflower. I drank Casillero del Diablo Reserva Merlot 2017 and the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden

Gold Blends

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Jackie did a great deal of tidying and planting today whilst I carried out a little of the latter.

Landscape bark scattered

We suspected that once the landscape bark in the rose garden began to attract live bird food we would need to sweep the brick path on a regular basis. That time is upon us. Like human babies in highchairs, the carnivorous members of our avian population toss out what they are not partial to.

Our camellias bloom at different times.

Camellia

Whilst this deep red one is at its peak,

Camellias and Japanese maple

a lighter relative fades to meld with the neighbouring Japanese maple;

Daffodils

and these once bright yellow daffodil trumpets have also turned to old gold.

This afternoon I walked to the paddock in Hordle Lane and back.

Rape fieldSky over rape field

Landscape with rape

The golden field visible from our bedroom window

Hedgerow and rape field 1Hawthorn hedge and rape field

blends in the hedgerow with hawthorn

Lichen and rape field

and like-hued lichen.

This evening we dined on pork rib rack coated in barbecue sauce and Jackie’s excellent vegetable rice followed by Black Forest gateau, with which I drank more of the cabernet sauvignon.

 

Eric’s Trampling

Even in the restaurant last night, my camera was not safe from Flo’s clutches. Here is a photograph she took of her mother:Becky

For those of you who have suggested the obvious Birthday/Christmas present, we bought one for this talented photographer a couple of years ago, but she didn’t bring it with her this time.

Letter and Telephone boxes

This morning, albeit painfully, I made it a couple of hundred yards to the post box without a stick. Despite the increasing use of e-mails and texts to communicate in writing we still post letters in these historic boxes. How long the increasingly costly service will manage to survive is open to question. Like most of the country’s telephone boxes this one has fallen into disuse. They remain a tourist attraction in London, but elsewhere the mobile phone has rendered the landmark red cabinets largely obsolete.

No Parking rape fieldGlass jarsCherry blossom

There is a gap in the hedge alongside the field, through which the farmer gains access between the rows of parked cars. Glass jars had been lobbed into the hedgerow where cherry blossom now blooms.

Ornamental cabbage

We have an interesting ornamental cabbage in the garden. I played with maximum saturation on this heavy crop.

Heucheras

The heucheras are now flowering,

Eric's trampling

which is more than can be said for anything planted under the bird feeders where Eric tramples,

Eric 1

before going on walkabout (photographed by Flo yesterday).

The sausage content of Jackie’s classic casserole comprised chipolatas from Lidl combined with Tesco’s finest pork and red onion. The other usual ingredients contributed to the rich, tasty, sauce. Mashed potato; and crisp carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli were the supporting cast. I finished the cabernet sauvignon, while Becky and Jackie drank a melange of rosés.

Fifty Years Ago Today

This morning Jackie and I had a trip to Highcliffe, last home to so many people that it is full of shops with good quality second-hand goods from houses recently rendered unoccupied by infirmity or death.

We went in search of curtains, of which the Sue Ryder shop provided three good pairs, and the Oakhaven Hospice a fourth. A wardrobe was also a requirement, because Flo is coming to stay in a couple of days time, and we want her to have a choice of bedrooms. This we found in the hospice where, in November 2012, we had bought our serpentine table. It will be delivered on the relevant day. We brunched in the Star cafe.Rape field from front bedrooms

Should our granddaughter choose one of the bedrooms at the front she will have a view across fields to a rape crop in the distance.Cabbage whit and hoverfly on hellebore The idyllic back garden was visited this afternoon, among other creatures, by a cabbage white butterfly and a hover fly sharing the sunlight on a hellebore. And is that a caterpillar snaking up between them?

Tulip

The tulips are now so full-blown that they have a kaleidoscopic quality.

Chequerboard by GilesFor my fiftieth birthday in July 1992, my friend Giles made me a chequerboard in stained glass. It now enhances the window at the foot of our stairs.

Fifty years ago today Michael was born.

Vivien & Michael 24.4.64

Here Vivien holds him when he was ten days old.

I have given each of my offspring a stack of albums containing photographs of their childhood. When I phoned Michael today, he told me that Alice had produced a slide show from his albums and they were watching it on their computer.

Early this evening I strolled down Downton Lane to investigate the caravan sites, and in particular the shop. Downton Holiday Park is alongside the lane. A larger and more salubrious establishment is the Shorefield Country Park on Shorefield Road. That has a very well stocked Spar, which will be our village shop.

This evening we dined on Tesco’s finest microwaveable curries; lamb rogon josh for me and chicken jalfrezi for Jackie, with Sainsbury’s vegetable samosas heated in the oven. The oven is definitely meant to be low level, because Jackie, who is herself tall, is not high enough to read the symbols on the control dial. I opened a bottle of Isla Negra reserva cabernet sauvignon 2013 and drank some of it.