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.

In A Flap

As I walked down to the Back gate to open it for Aaron early this morning I passed

the delicate pastel shades of Penny Lane which will have a powerful fragrance later in the day;

oriental poppies which have stubbornly clung to some petals despite the recent gales;

abundant Félicité Perpétue draped over a dead stump;

and rich red Ernest Morse.

A myriad of bees were already engaged in packing their pollen sacs.

Two masquerading as others were a striped hoverfly and a green shield bug.

A somewhat tattered Red Admiral fluttered by, occasionally pausing to rest.

The roses on the front trellis have been so weighty of late as to pull down their support. It was one of Aaron’s A.P. Maintenance tasks today to strengthen this section.

This afternoon we took a drive into the forest. First stop was Setley Ridge Garden Centre where Jackie bought some more trays of plants and I photographed

a bee on an ageratum.

We then took the Sandy Down route to the east.

There was a little delay on the road to Beaulieu as a foal was shepherded across the road.

At East Boldre several somnolent ponies occupied the road. Others, including a foal, snoozed on the grass. Unmoved, those on the road played havoc with the traffic of which they were oblivious for some time. One dappled grey seemed to have dislodged its reflective collar.

Suddenly, silently, the entire group took off for Masseys Road. The previously recumbent foal soon caught up.

Dangerously foraging on the verge of South Baddesley Road three ducks diced with death. The white one was sent out scouting. Eventually it got in a flap trying to convince its leading companion that crossing the road was not a good idea.

This evening we dined on a rack of pork spare ribs marinaded in sweet barbecue sauce and Jackie’s vegetable rice, with which she drank Blue Moon Belgian style wheat ale, and I drank more of the Ringbolt Cabernet Sauvignon.

One Day In The Garden

Today the sun rose before 8 a.m., took an early lunch, and re-emerged in the evening.

The brighter light picked out the scenes and the plants before my dead-heading of the roses which occupied most of the morning. Clicking on any image to access its gallery will reveal titles and locations.

These post prandial photographs were produced during Phoebus’s siesta.

Apollo’s chariot crossed the sky in time for our pre dinner drinks taken on

the decking.

This gave us a pleasant glow.

This evening we dined on Mr Chan’s excellent Hordle Chinese Take Away Fare with which I drank Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2016. You will have noticed Jackie’s Hoegaarden earlier. She finished it on the decking.

A Glorious Summer’s Day

Jackie spent most of her birthday of gloriously sunny weather continuing her

replenishing and refurbishment of her vast number of plant containers.

In particular she concentrated on the stone urns, pots, and hanging baskets in the

Rose Garden,

into which a small dragonfly glided, coming to rest on the warm paving bricks.

Bees were busy everywhere. Here one loves and leaves a Welsh poppy;

another dives into an Oriental variety;

one more caresses an Erigeron.

The most recently blooming rhododendron also proved attractive.

We have quite a few of those Oriental poppies.

Jackie has also planted up the iron urn in front of the Bottle Brush plant.

These gladioli appearing in the Weeping Birch Bed must have grown from bulbs secreted in the compost from the group outside the kitchen door.

We have more clematises coming into bloom on a daily basis. Clicking on any to access the galleries will reveal the names of those we know.

This afternoon first Shelley and Ron, then Elizabeth, came bearing birthday gifts.

This evening we dined at The Royal Oak with Becky and Ian. This was a lovely occasion on which Jackie was given more presents, including a musical beer mug that had belonged to her father, and a glass cat from her friend Barbara in Amity Grove. Tears ensued. We then got down to the business of eating. My choice of main meal was perfect lean belly of pork; Jackie and Ian enjoyed burgers in brioches; Becky chose junior fish and chips which would have been adult portions in most places. Ian and I chose Eton mess for desert; Jackie chose créme brulée; and Becky, ice cream. The ladies both drank Diet Coke; Ian drank Birra Moretti; and I drank Malbec.

The New Generation

This morning I made a print of this photograph for Danni. I took it at Louisa’s fourth birthday party in May 1986, featuring Ella’s mother just seven months older than Ella is now.

Elizabeth, Danni, and Ella came to lunch, which is why I produced this picture.

Grandmother, mother, and daughter played on the sofa while we all chatted before tucking into the splendid array of cold meats, pies, cheeses, coleslaw, and salad produced by Jackie. The new generation of Keenan motherhood displays the same exploratory concentration as the previous one.

After lunch we visited Highcliffe Castle.

Rhododendrons and giant redwoods are among the shrubs and trees in the grounds,

around which fearless magpies stride.

There is even a view of the Isle of Wight and The Needles.

This evening we reprised lunch with which I finished the Carmenere and Jackie drank Hoegaarden.

A Drum Roll

This morning I rediscovered an album of elderly colour slides I had thought lost. I scanned a selection from May 1989.

Sam managed to set this drum rolling across the lawn at Lindum House;

Louisa preferred the inside drum roll

Kate, our popular child-sitter, was an excellent birthday party emcee. This was Louisa’s seventh.

Jessica took a rest in the hammock.

Late this afternoon we collected the Modus from the excellent Downton Service Station and Jackie drove the newly service vehicle into the forest.

Beside the undulating, winding, road to Burley

we encountered another bay pony pulling up its clear vegetable soup from the bed of a forest pool in which it was reflected among the surrounding golden gorse bushes.

We ventured a short distance along the very pock=marked Honey lane, at the corner of which a grey pony was on sentry duty. A small variegated rhododendron sheltered in the shade along a verge.

At the far end of the lengthy Charles’s Lane

we diverted to Neacroft, where an unusual pair of ducks crossed the road. The female burrowed in the undergrowth while her splendidly top-knotted drake stood guard.

This evening we dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away’s excellent fare with which Jacke drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Pinot Noir.

Ferns Unfurling

This afternoon Jackie drove me to Sears Barbers at Milford on Sea, where Peter cut my hair. We continued into the forest.

This lane is one we traversed at North Ripley.

From high ground near Linford we admired landscapes over farmland. Horses may be seen in some, and a stretch of hawthorn in another.

The Modus is still managing to cope with the narrow, winding, crumbling Holmsley Passage, on the verges of which bracken is unfolding.

Back at home I dead-headed clusters of the diurnal poppies. On the way round the garden I paused to take a few photographs. Blue solanum scales several arches, and the large wisteria drapes its arbour outside the stable door. Sculptural euphorbias tower in the beds, and clumps of erigeron carpet paving stones and walls. Geraniums macrorrhizum are sweetly scented and make good ground cover. Another rhododendron is blooming in the Palm Bed. A wasp makes a beeline for the open flower in the close-up image of this. The last of these photographs is of Libertia.

A number of our own ferns are unfurling.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s deliciously spicy pork paprika, boiled potatoes, crisp carrots, and tender runner beans, with which I drank more of the Garnacha Syrah.