Robin In Attendance

Jackie and I put in gardening stints early on another warm and sunny day, while Martin continued throughout the day.

Continuing my war with velcro-stemmed sticky Willy, I weeded and dead-headed a little.

Martin came to us on the recommendation of Jackie’s sister Helen. One of the last jobs he carried out for her included extracting a clump of geraniums from her front wall. She gave this clump to Jackie. Today

the Head Gardener separated this into individual plants and positioned them in the soil around the patio border – one can be seen at bottom left of the first two pictures in this gallery.

Accompanied by a pair of Nugget’s progeny

our gardening friend spent the day clearing and tidying more of the Rose Garden. Where’s Martin? (4) is the subject of the first in this gallery.

Here we have pink Festive Jewel with white Madame Alfred Carrière; magenta Roserie de l’Haie with yellow Laura Ford; white Winchester Cathedral; pink Schoolgirl before a yellow climber; pink Shropshire Lad beside Gloriana; peach Crown Princess Margareta; red thornless Zephirine Drouhin; a close up of Roserie de l’Haie; and bright red Altissimo.

This evening we all dined on succulent pork and apple sausages and creamy mash; flavoursome carrots, cauliflower, broccoli and Brussels sprouts, and tasty gravy with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Bardolino.

Recalling The Arrival Of Nugget

Towards the end of the morning we gleefully unplugged all the very costly electric oil-filled radiators that have been devouring our power for the last couple of months. Stuart, from Tom Sutton Heating had replaced the contaminated fuel pump from the boiler and serviced the system. The central heating radiators gurgled with pleasure. So did we.

On perusing earlier posts

this afternoon I believe I found a way to recover the original pictures belonging to them. It is a bit convoluted, so I won’t go into detail here, except to say that I had to enter and save the pictures into the WP media file via my Mac desktop.

This enabled me to preserve the picture of this little chap at the moment he adopted Jackie as his mother, the story of which is one of those recorded in the Mudlarking post. I was also able to repeat him in this post and make a header feature of him.

This led me to another post –

Although that publication bore the header post, it did not appear in its place in the text, and could not be moved. Neither did the other images. Fortunately I was able to trace these in my iMac Photos and apply the procedure mentioned above.

The colouring of our familiar robin suggests I was referencing the very juvenile earlier photographs.

This evening we celebrated the return of an effective boiler by dining at The Smugglers Inn in Milford on Sea, where I enjoyed a plentiful starter of whitebait with salad and tartar sauce followed by spicy Mexican Chilli Burger, salad, and chips; the others, including Ellie, shared a Nachos starter and also chose excellent burgers, namely Moroccan lamb for the ladies, and Cajun chicken for Dillon. I drank Sol Del Oro Merlot 2022, Jackie drank Amstel, Dillon Inch’s cider, and Flo apple juice.

Afterwards we departed the pub in a temperature just below freezing and returned home with bursting stomachs to a warm house.

Where Is Nugget Junior?

Martin has reported a little friend that has followed him around in recent months.

The little robin came and went regularly this morning, surveying our Gardener Plus

continuing to remove unwanted materials to the skip, and levelling the patio preparation.

Today he concentrated on preparing the ground for the sleeper wall.

After each trip of Martin’s this undoubted descendent of Nugget hopped down and investigated the supply of wriggly things exposed.

Where is Nugget Junior? Can you spot him on the edge of the gravel?

This evening we dined on tempura and hot and spicy prawns with Jackie’s flavoursome savoury rice with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Gran Selone.

Sway Open Gardens

Today’s plan was, after an early lunch, to visit as many as possible of the 21 gardens in the village of Sway that were open to the public.

In the event I seem to be experiencing a reaction to yesterday’s Covid booster vaccination so I didn’t trust myself to go wandering about. The ladies therefore left me dozing over a book and

lunched at Rosie Lea while chatting to

a friendly robin. The first gallery of pictures was provided by Jackie, who also took the first two robin shots, while Flo took the third, and all the garden images which are to follow.

They walked around five of the gardens.

The first set are from Tarna on Brighton Road;

then came 4 Buldowne Walk;

followed by Holmlea;

15 Oakenbrow was next;

and finally Ashen Bank in Adlams Lane, where the camera battery expired.

As usual each picture is titled in the galleries.

This evening we dined on the excellent fare of Hordle Chinese Take Away with which Jackie drank Tsing Tao beer and Flo and I didn’t.

“We’ll Leave You Alone Now”

After lunch we took advantage of a spell of sunshine and drove into the forest.

At the Roger Penny Way end of Cadnam Lane

we stopped to converse with the pair of Gloucester Old Spots we often see there; and a robin that we don’t.

Reflections rippled over the stream spanned by the road bridge.

Jackie’s photographs are the last two in this woodland gallery incorporating a large decaying stump.

Further along ponies chomped on hay against the backdrop of a sheep field.

The ford fence that I had reported in a state of collapse on a recent visit has now been repaired; a trio of sows and a solitary pony will now be safe to cross.

On the lane to Bramshaw we kept meeting and passing a friendly equestrienne until I finally called out of the window “We’ll leave you alone now.”

This afternoon’s Six Nations rugby match between Scotland and Wales failed to record, so later I watched the game between France and Ireland.

We then dined on Jackie’s wholesome chicken and vegetable stewp with fresh crusty bread.


Martin spent the morning tidying the back drive beds. He applied his painstaking effort to cutting back excessive growth and cleaning the brick edging. He chopped the refuse and added it to the compost.

Two robins who we think are a grandson of Nugget and his female partner have been attracted by the work. Longer term readers will be familiar with our late tame robin and the occasional challenges to find him. Hopefully we are starting a new “Where’s Nugget’s grandson?” with these two, the first being No. 1 and the other No. 2. You may need to enlarge the images.

While all this activity was going on a big bumble bee slept away the morning on a blooming bergenia.

Hellebores and violas are also in bloom.

Owls and burnished Lanarth White hydrangea basked in the warm sunlight.

Snowdrops are now in flower throughout the garden

and on the kitchen table.

Another flower arrangement of Jackie’s consisted of a clutch of hard boiled eggs which took us back to our youth when most eggshells were white. Even in our early adulthood it was the brown shell that was unusual. Until someone decided that brown ones were considered more healthy. It seems that Tesco is in the vanguard of reversing the trend.

At mid afternoon we purchased a few items at Ferndene Farm Shop then took a short forest drive.

Sunlight picked out distant slopes beyond Burley Road and its moorland. The ponies in these landscapes showed interest when I disembarked from the Modus, but turned their backs when they realised I was not carrying food for them.

On the approach to Bisterne Close a field horse looked wistfully across the lane at a pair of

pony cousins enjoying their freedom.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s wholesome cottage pie; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; firm Brussels sprouts; and tasty gravy, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Azinhaga de Ouro Reserva 2019.

Raising Robin’s Interest

At lunchtime Martin showed us the completed raised bed he finished this morning. He has concreted in the galvanised pins, put additional brackets on the corners, sifted and replaced some of the removed soil, and saved the plants that have been dug up.

These primroses may go back in, with a number of bulbs.

The activity aroused the interest of a pair of robins.

We have now agreed that Martin will help us on a regular basis.

This afternoon I published

On another decidedly dingy afternoon we visited Elizabeth who hasn’t been too well.

The sheep field opposite her home in Burnt House Lane, Pilley was well stocked.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s flavoursome liver and bacon casserole; creamy mashed potatoes; crunchy carrots and cauliflower, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Douro.

Last Hours Of The Day

While the overnight gale continued to rant, rave, and spatter our windows we spent the morning continuing the decluttering prompted by our domestic refurbishment. I made considerable headway in dispensing with decades of paperwork.

Late this afternoon, when the wind and the rain desisted, we rewarded ourselves with a forest drive.

At the corner of Brock Hill Car Park serving the Rhinefield ornamental drive a victim of the recent winds, ripped from its rooting place and tossed onto picnic tables lay ready to join

others having earlier suffered similar fates to return to the soil from which they sprang.

A bitter wind made the temperature feel colder than the 3 degrees Centigrade that was recorded. The walkers lending scale to the giant redwoods around them were wrapped up well.

We have learned that robins abandon gardens for the forest during winter. They were much in evidence. This one dropped onto a fungus-bearing post.

From Rhinefield we progressed to pass Burley Manor where two groups of walkers caught the last of the sunlight as they crossed the lawn and its dying trees.

The skies were adopting gentle pastel shades, which strengthened by the time we reached

Picket Post, blessed with Jesus beams on the approach to sunset, more apparent across the moors alongside

Holmsley Passage.

This evening we dined on moist roast lamb; boiled new potatoes and the sweet variety roasted with parsnips; firm broccoli; tasty red cabbage; and tender runner beans; with mint sauce and meaty gravy. Jackie drank Hoegaarden while I drank Duck Point Merlot 2019.

Presents From A Lifetime

For lunch, we visited Elizabeth, Jacqueline. and Frances, at our younger sister’s home in Pilley and naturally continued reminiscing for most of the afternoon.

Later, I scanned or photographed the last of the presents that Mum had labelled for us.

Jackie photographed this Heal’s battery operated carriage clock which I must have bought for our mother more than 40 years ago. My post, “Lymington Quay” details how I managed to persuade Martin Fairhurst of Dials Antique Clocks to repair it 6 years ago.

It was nearer 50 years ago that I gave her these four bird paintings by, as far as I can decipher the signatures, P. Colbert. Each is individually titled in the gallery.

This hollyhock photograph I produced in September 1981.

The cloisonné vase and ceramic basket are from many years ago; the salt and pepper cruets perhaps 20; and the china cup a gift from Jackie more recently.

Destined for Becky are this photograph by Noel Manchee of me running the Windsor Great Park half marathon in 1983;

and this painting she herself made on silk of one of the five stained glass panels from the porch in Lindum House sometime in the 1990s.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy pasta arrabiata with tender green beans, peppers and onions. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2019.


Although the skies were to brighten later, when we drove into the forest this morning light flakes of fluffy snow had already evaporated to integrate with liquid precipitation.

Jackie parked the Modus at Crockford Clump and I squelched across

waterlogged moorland and clambered over undulating slopes the basins of which became their own

reflecting, rippling, reservoirs refilled by pattering raindrops dripping from twigs above into the otherwise silent streams below.

Lichen layered arboreal limbs lay shattered among soggy autumn leaves; a perky robin roamed from tree to tree.

A friendly woman walking her dogs told me about the snow and a herd of deer she had seen earlier. Paddy, one of her dogs, lolloped over to me in search of treats and took no for an answer.

Ponies occupied the tarmac at East Boldre whilst communing with a couple of field horses.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s lemon chicken and savoury rice with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Cotes du Rhone.