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Today we had a further opportunity to watch skilled craftsmen at work. Two men from Crestwood came to prepare the surface for the kitchen flooring. Andy arrived at 7.45 a.m.; Connor some half an hour later. By 10.30 they were on their way to the next of three more jobs for the day. Yesterday Richard had expressed delight that this was the team that would be carrying out the work because they worked so fast. They proved to be human dynamos.
First there was a little tidying and application of masking tape.
Next, tubs of screed material were mixed in the front drive, carried into the house, and poured onto the floor.
Connor wielded the flat, oblong, trowel like the artist he is, while Andy kept him supplied with the viscous material. Despite the cold weather it is clear that the younger man became quite warm.
Jackie and I lunched at Redcliffe Nursery. My choice was Danestream Farm Shop justifiably award-winning steak and kidney pie, carrots, broccoli, and sautéed potatoes with gravy that would have graced Jackie’s table. She enjoyed Shepherd’s pie with similar vegetables. We also bought cheese and pickle and ham sandwiches for our evening meal. These were made with thick granary bread.
On the way through the garden this morning, to continue working on the back drive, I paused to admire Jackie’s two new planters, originally candle-holders from Redcliffe Nursery. They display her usual flair. Turning into the drive, I encountered the trail made by a mole. As this stopped at the site of the bonfire, perhaps last night’s embers were still warm enough to deter it from popping its head out.
Jackie soon joined me and she made good progress pruning the conifers along the side of the fence between us and 5 Downton Lane. Hampered by wire netting through which grew thick brambles and a number of trees, I, however, taking the whole morning, covered about two yards. Three hours and a couple of feet separate these two photographs. After that we stopped for lunch.
A little further down, some fine hardy fuchsias form a splendid hedge. They blend well with the blackberries, which we are picking as we go along. Butterflies are enjoying our long summer. A Red Admiral seemed particularly partial to the blackberries, while the broad shiny leaves of trees we cannot identify bore a Comma and a Speckled Wood.
For variety, I took the longer Downton Lane/coast road route to the shingle beneath Hordle cliff, and returned via Shorefield. A jelly babies wrapper, linaria vulgaris, lichen, and dandelions, one of which attracted a small cricket, lent golden touches to the hedgerows. Variations on this hue were provided by rust stains running down from the iron hinge of a beach hut, and by the tennis ball being held up by a gentleman encouraging four spaniels to pose for their photograph. It was a day for spaniels, one of whom frolicked with a group of four young women.
This evening we dined at Daniel’s in Highcliffe. We each enjoyed haddock and chips, mushy peas, and onion rings. I drank tea, and Jackie drank coffee.