Parting Gifts

One of Martin’s tasks this morning was to plant

this gift from our Grandfamily into place in the Pond Bed immediately opposite our dining table.

He also transported the Gingko from that bed up to the Weeping Birch Bed pending our decision exactly where to position it.

This rhododendron blooming in the Palm Bed was just coming into bud when I last photographed it.

Flo and Dillon also gave us a frame of memorable photographs.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy chicken jalfrezi with pilau rice and vegetable samosas.

A New Visitor

Having already drafted yesterday’s post I joined the family on the patio chairs being entertained by Ellie in her bath, during which time I wandered off to have a look at Jackie’s planting from earlier in the day.

A creature that none of us recognised flew silently past my left ear and came to rest on a dry stem not yet removed from, appropriately enough, the Dragon Bed. Unusually, it remained long enough for me to return inside to collect my camera and to photograph it. In fact it remained in situ for much of the rest of the afternoon, circling those who disturbed it and returning to its chosen perch. Later research revealed our visitor to be a broad bodied female chaser – a dragonfly native to our New Forest.

Now I was grasping the camera I photographed a few flowers, each of which bears a title in the gallery.

This morning Jackie unclogged the Waterboy Fountain, and this

afternoon transferred the astrantia photographed yesterday in its pot to the soil in the Pond Bed.

After lunch I converted this post from Classic to Blocks edit and changed the category to Garden. I needed the assistance of Wayback Machine to identify missing photographs which I then traced in my iMac Photos, omitting rugby photos taken from the TV screen because they were not crucial to the post and I had had enough,

My gardening tasks today, partly this morning, partly this afternoon, involved dead heading and weeding.

I then photographed a batch of scenes which should put yesterday’s images into context. Again titles are with the galleries.

This set pictures the Rose Garden.

This evening we all dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away’s excellent fare, with which Jackie, Dillon, and I shared Asahi beer.

Dad Minding The Babies

Yesterday I had featured the bigger picture of the garden. Today, with the diffused light that comes from overcast skies and is consequently much kinder to photographers

I focussed largely on the individual blooms. As usual, the gallery contains individual titles.

Yesterday a frantic flapping and sounds of a rapid departure from behind the Shady Path trellis alerted me to a nest containing three blackbird’s eggs.

Today a male had returned to mind the unhatched triplets. I didn’t get too close.

Flo weeded paths and Jackie continued planting this afternoon.

This evening we all dined on oven fish and chips, green peas, pickled onions and cucumbers with which Jackie and I both drank Phantom River Chilean Sauvignon Blanc and Becky and Flo didn’t.

From One Scent To Another

The usual division of labour applied to garden maintenance this searingly hot day, although Flo had worked until it was too long after dark to see, finishing the last of the compost and plants; and filling our score of watering cans.

As soon as I had prised my nostrils from the scented rose bushes, had a long sit down and a cold drink of water, I staggered round the garden with my camera.

Then I sunk my nose into the bookishly scented ‘Woman in White’ by Wilkie Collins.

Becky joined us this evening and we all dined on pizza, prawns, and salad with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Barolo. The others abstained. Strawberries and cream were to follow.

June Delights

On a day that returned us to warmth and full sunshine, Jackie spent much of it

examining her floral babies and stretching to care for them, while I mostly wandered in and out of the garden with my camera.

We have a number of clematises;

numerous roses;

freshly blooming rhododendrons;

and more welcome alliums.

The Kitchen Path runs alongside the Pond Bed towards the arch bearing a blue solanum.

The Gazebo and Brick Paths are colourfully bordered.

Jackie’s new planting in the Shady Path Bench Bed is burgeoning nicely.

The Byzantium gladioli are standing in several beds, including this one in the Rose Garden; the pink cabana Jumbo emerges from a blue pot; the red Japanese maple still dominates the Pond Bed.

Geranium palmatums, cosmos, dandelions, convolvulus, companula, pansies, and poppies are other thriving blooms.

Florence at Fiveways stands in front of our newest bench; the Nottingham Castle replica is the oldest.

Weigela and two different erigerons overlook the concrete patio.

This evening we dined on more of the marinaded chicken with boiled new potatoes, and tender runner and green beans, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Shiraz.

Planting And Paving

Here is the next ten of Charles Keeping’s illustrations to ‘Nicholas Nickleby’, scanned yesterday:

‘No-one could have doubted their being twin brothers’

‘ ‘My children, my defrauded, swindled, infants!’ cried Mr Kenwigs, pulling at the flaxen tail of his second daughter’

‘A quiet, little frequented, retired spot, favourable to melancholy and contemplation’. You will usually find a cat or a dog in Mr Keeping’s drawings.

‘The terrified creature became utterly powerless and unable to utter a sound’

Mr Browdie gave his wife a hearty kiss, and succeeded in wresting another from Miss Squeers’

‘Divers servant-girls were almost scared out of their senses by the apparition of Newman Noggs looking stealthily round the pump’

‘ ‘What do you want, sir?’ ‘How dare you look into this garden?’ ‘

‘Miss Squeers elevated her nose in the air with ineffable disdain’

‘A bar-maid was looking on from behind an open sash window’

‘Stepping close to Ralph, the man pronounced his name’

The outside temperature is now hot by our standards. We made more progress in the garden.

Jackie has finished planting her hanging baskets and other containers flanking her favourite view from the stable door and along the Gazebo Path. The red Chilean lantern tree to the left of the second picture, and the yellow bottle brush plant on the right will soon be in full bloom.

These cosmos, petunias, geraniums, and angels wings in containers by the rhododendron can be seen near the end of the path on the right.

I finished the weeding of the footpath through the Weeping Birch Bed. I still have to find some more stones to complete the repair, but I couldn’t manage that today.

These gladioli in a trough outside the kitchen door increase each year.

Love Knot, and Gloriana, with purple aquilegias alongside, are two of the roses coming to fruition in the Rose Garden.

I only normally watch daytime TV for cricket and rugby. Today I made an exception for the 1958 version of Dunkirk, starring John Mills. As I said in my eponymous post, both Jackie’s and my father survived the event, and I had an urge to watch the film for the first time.

This evening we dined on oven fish and chips, baked beans, and cornichons with chilli. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Malbec.

Starburst

Today’s weather was warm, sunny, and dry.

Jackie drove us to Tyrell’s Ford Hotel where we enjoyed a reunion lunch with Helen, Shelly, and Ron. We all missed Bill, who was unwell.

Jackie photographed her sisters and Ron.

We all enjoyed the welcoming environment, the friendly service, and the excellent food. My choices were whitebait starter; a main course of chicken and leek pie, chips, and peas; and Eton mess for dessert, with which I drank Flack’s Double Drop. I had no need of further nourishment later.

I photographed a magnificent rhododendron beside the car park.

On our return home, we meandered into the forest.

We stopped on a verge at the high point of Burley Road. To our left, a lone tree with bright gorse in the foreground stood out against the sky. The pairs of blue arrows lining the road are effective traffic calming measures no doubt designed to protect ponies such as the seen on the surrounding moorland. A may tree can be seen on the left.

Beside Forest Road a solitary cow stopped for a drink in the reflecting pool bearing water crowfoots and starbursts of windblown seeds.

The warm sun played with shadows among the almost human trunks and fallen limbs of trees, the pony-cropped grass, and the bright young bracken stems of Bisterne Close’s woodland.

The Roble Turnberry Bench

This morning we bit the bullet, unpacked, and assembled the new wooden Roble Turnberry bench. The last picture in this gallery shows what I look like when I have just straightened after an extended bending of my knees.

As can be seen from the first of these seated pictures we took of each other, the agony soon passes.

We have moved the new bench up to Fiveways, where we can enjoy the same views as Florence sculpture.

Here are some of Jackie’s planted urns, the first containing the last surviving purple tulip; the second, petunias and geranium against honesty in the bed behind; the third, some of her many pansies.

While I was at it, I photographed campion, rhododendron, aubretia, aquilegias, and Welsh poppies fronting the budding Chilean lantern tree.

Later this afternoon we will be driving to the Lamb Inn at Nomansland where we will meet Elizabeth and Danni for our first permitted inside a pub meal since the last lockdown that was forever-ago. I will report on that tomorrow.

Wrong Herd

This morning we each tackled the weeding of the Shady Path from opposite directions. Jackie began in the left hand picture; I progressed in the right. We aim to meet at the bench. The Head Gardener says the last one there is a sissy.

Meanwhile the rhododendrons in the Palm Bed are filling out nicely. Please ignore the wild garlic in the second image.

Having moved the stone urn from the front of the Pond Bed, Jackie carefully planted it up after lunch.

We then took a trip to Ferndene Farm Shop to purchase eggs, salad items, and trailing petunias, after which we drove into the forest.

When we turned into Forest Road a bunch of cattle were occupying the tarmac and the verge. Jackie parked the Modus so I could follow them with my camera. As they left me trailing they rapidly began to disappear from sight. Jackie caught me up and transported me to a point ahead of them.

Most of the cattle crossed the road into woodland opposite.

One young heifer was rather left behind, and stopped for a drink, no doubt to ease its throat,

strained by its incessant efforts to imitate the Isle of Wight foghorn.

Her plaintive bellowing was ignored by the rest of the group.

Eventually, still bawling, she returned to the road and, with the usual awkward gait, walked up the hill and, stretching her neck, stood on the bend further straining her voice. Several hundred yards further on we noticed another small bovine gathering, and Jackie, probably correctly, surmised that she had become attached to the wrong herd. We assumed she would find her own family.

Some weeks ago, my friend Barrie Haynes asked me to review a book by a member of his group. This is ‘In the Dead of Night’ by Richard Allen. It is the sixth in a crime fiction series published by Amazon. I finished reading it today.

Without spoiling the story I can say that it reads rather like a film script, published last year, and, given that it is mostly written from the viewpoint of the interviewing detectives, put me in mind of the contemporary ‘Line of Duty’ series. The author brings his knowledge of police procedures gleaned from his career in the service.

It is, nevertheless, an engaging mystery. The spare prose of the short sentences is packed with precise detail, even to the extent of times being quoted to the minute, as if extracted from a policeman’s notebook. This helps move the pace along. The longer paragraphs do not always flow so well.

Author’s notes, given at the end of the book, differentiate between fact and fiction in the narrative.

My copy is not paginated which made it rather difficult to know where I was at times, and a certain amount of further proof reading would have been helpful.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s savoury rice packed with vegetables and topped with a thick omelette; Lidl rack of pork ribs in barbecue sauce; and tender runner beans, with which the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank Recital Languedoc Montpeyroux 2018.

First Out Of The Traps

A heavy slate canopy kept the light dull and the rain away today.

Jackie continued her clearance work in the Pond Bed (so named because it has been laid out by our predecessors on the shallow base of a pond). She has cleared most of the invasive alliums and even enjoyed the pleasure of planting up a pot.

The Japanese maples are now freer features. “Where’s Jackie?” (7)

My task was weeding the Shady Path. Starting at the Rose Garden end I just about reached Florence sculpture, from where I could observe the

burgeoning of the rhododendron on the corner of the Palm Bed, and listen to the birdsong which had been absent yesterday.

It wasn’t exactly the song of birds that entertained Jackie – more the baby starlings clamouring for food, until their Dad, as soon as the Assistant Photographer raised her camera, sounded the alarm and all became quiet. With considerable patience, she managed a shot of the infant she thinks will be first out of the traps.

This evening we dined on Mr Chan’s excellent fare from Hordle Chinese Take Away, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Malbec.