Shadows On The Paper

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When our friend John Jones visited to paint and draw in our garden last September, the day was so wet that he was confined to the greenhouse to avoid unwanted drops diluting  his watercolour painting.

Today, even John would not have minded a little rain. He arrived on time, and, with  Elizabeth, we sat for a while on the patio, drinking fizzy lime cordial. Jackie then repaired to the kitchen to prepare a splendid salad lunch which the four of us later enjoyed; and I took John on a tour of the garden so he could choose his vantage point. He said he was spoilt for choice

and settled in the Westbrook Arbour looking down the Phantom Path.

One of our first Japanese anemones stood just in front of him, and an accommodating hosta gathered up fallen geranium petals.

Over lunch we shared memories of childhoods – ours in London, and John’s in Southampton. Horse drawn carts were just one of the similarities we all identified. Many of mine feature in ‘An Historic London Borough’.

After lunch, our artist continued with his work. He spoke of how, in some ways, working in the steady light of a rainy day, had been simpler than with grappling with shadows on the paper.

John's Phantom Path painting

Having taken this first piece as far as he could today,

 John transferred to a shady corner of the Rose Garden. His necessary expressions of intense concentration were softened by his engaging smile.

John's drawing

He left his drawing at this point.

The four of us settled into the Rose Garden with pre-dinner drinks. Then it rained heavily, we got wet and eventually fled indoors. Then the rain stopped.

After drinks Jackie drove John to New Milton station to catch his train home to Southampton.

Jackie, Elizabeth, and I dined at Lal Quilla this evening. Elizabeth enjoyed korai chicken tandoori masala with pilau rice; Jackie chicken shashlik with an egg paratha; and I chicken jaljala with special fried rice. We all drank Kingfisher. As always, the food was excellent and the service friendly and welcoming.

 

Presentable For The Camera

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This morning I wandered round the garden with camera and crutch, but no perch. I began with the patio, and its hanging baskets and planters. The bed and breakfast sign was a Christmas present from Becky and Ian; the basket at its base, Jacqueline’s birthday present to Jackie.

From there I walked along the Kitchen Path,

 

taking the Brick Path to the far end of the garden,

 

and round to the Rose Garden,

where Jackie, who spent the whole day on general maintenance, including much weeding, sweeping, and raking, went to great pains to make this area, on which she had been working, presentable for the camera.

The football World Cup has nudged Bargain Hunt off the TV schedules. This meant that I could not take my usual fix for a post-prandial snooze. So I opted for the match between Egypt and Uruguay. This fitted the bill perfectly.

This evening we dined on succulent pork chops, tasty gravy, new potatoes, runner beans, and crunchy carrots.

Hot

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Sanjha restaurant

Yesterday evening we dined with Elizabeth, Danni, and Andy at Sanjha restaurant in Southampton’s suburb of Shirley.

My interest was aroused when the others pronounced their meals a little hotter than anticipated.  Then I made a start on my lamb mirchan ma ke, served with egg rice and a plain naan.

Wow!

Regular readers will know of my penchant for the flavours of hot chilies. I’ll invariably opt for a naga dish if there is one on the menu. ‘A dish for customers with iron lined stomach. Cubes of lamb cooked with a blend of red chilli powder and fresh green chilies.’ Thus was my choice as described by the restaurant.

Most of the Indian restaurants with which I am familiar are, in fact, Bangladeshi. This is why I had never come across my meal before. The restaurant is Punjabi, and to be highly recommended.

The manager told me that he would never eat red chilies. The item in question only appeared on the menu to satisfy the men coming out of pubs later on, and up for a challenge. As we left, he volunteered to make it milder next time. I surprised myself by saying that would be a good idea. Cobra beer and water had not extinguished the fire.

It is many years since a burning sensation has accompanied evacuation the morning after a curry. I was mildly apprehensive about this, but can happily report that there was no such experience.

This afternoon we trained, generally tidied up, dead-headed, and watered roses, until the mid afternoon sun, becoming hotter and raising far more of a sweat than last night’s curry, persuaded us to take our own water on the patio.

Rose Garden 1Rose Garden 2

There is still more to be done,

White bench corner of Rose Garden

but we hope that this corner will please Pauline.

This evening Mr Pink’s fish and chips were paired with Garner’s pickled onions for our dinner. Jackie drank Peroni and I finished the Cairanne.

 

 

 

 

Refreshment

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Jackie carried out much knowledgeable weeding and planting this morning, whilst I cleared up the discards and conveyed them to the compost pile.

Garden view along Heligan Path

The early sun lit libertias standing in the Weeping Birch Bed,

Rose Garden 1Rose Garden 4Rose Garden 5Rose Garden 3Rose Garden 2Rose Garden 6

and enlivened the burgeoning Rose Garden.

Raindrops on clematis CarnabyRaindrops on clematisClematis Marie BoisselotClematis

Various clematises,

Clematis Montana

including this wonderfully scented Montana festooned over the front wall;

Weigela

the weigela winding down the south fence;

Aquilegias

ubiquitous aquilegias;

Rambling rose pink

the pink rambler on the front garden trellis;

Libertia, geraniums Ingwersen's Variety, campanulas

borders everywhere, like this corner sporting campanulas, libertia, and geraniums Ingwersen’s Variety,

Raindrops on irises

and the long Back Drive hosting splendid golden irises, relished their welcome refreshment.

Fly on primula

A fly alighted on one of the front tub’s primroses.

This afternoon I added a little more to my biography of an era including me. I now have a working title: ‘A Knight’s Tale’. I took more text, and

this photograph from ‘A Sneaky Weekend’

I then made some prints from recent posts for Louisa.

After this I joined Jackie in the weeding, concentrating my efforts on uprooting the more obvious infiltrators, namely the smelly white alliums, clinging ladies’ bedstraw, and golden buttercups occupying the wrong beds.

This evening, there being no table available at the Crown in Everton, we dined at the Smugglers’ Inn at Milford on Sea. Having starters was a mistake. The platefuls were excellent. Mine contained battered whitebait, plentiful fresh salad, and thick wedges of equally fresh bread. Jackie received a huge plateful of bread and olives. Each serving was a meal in itself. An even bigger mistake was, in my case,  ordering succulent sirloin steak, still more fresh salad, a mountain of perfect chips, onion rings, and fried onions, mushrooms and tomatoes. Jackie was treated to a huge bowl of cannelloni. more salad, and an equal number of chips to mine. Neither of us could finish our food, and we did not require a look at the dessert menu. The food was, I hasten to add, all extremely good, and the service impeccable. We both reminisced that, in our prime, we would have managed all this. Jackie drank Amstel, and I drank Doom Bar..

A Normal Day For Aaron

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Today, Easter Sunday, we confined ourselves to light gardening. For Aaron it was a normal day.

Compost bins

He reorganised the compost bins. This involved shifting the greenish fencing to the left from behind the Head Gardener’s Shed, and moving the contents of one heap into the one I had emptied during the week.

Ace Reclaim bench

He painted the Ace Reclaim Bench.

Phantom Path

He weeded more paths, and moved spare posts from the rickety orange shed to the trunk of the sturdier beech tree. Both of these tasks are shown in this view of the Phantom Path with the beech at the far end.

Heligan Path

Another snaking path was that entitled Heligan.

Dragon Bed and Shady Path

The Shady Path, seen beyond the Dragon Bed;

Gazebo Path

and the Gazebo Path were weeded last week.

Ajugas

We have many ajugas, such as these

Oval and Elizabeth's Beds

 in the Oval Bed, like Elizabeth’s Bed beyond, now fully composted.

We have almost finished the preparation of the Rose Garden, the first image of which shows the chimney pots in the distance, and the vantage point from which, at the south-easternmost corner I photographed the

Jackdaw 1

jackdaw, now guarding the nest inside the chimney, with my little ZX700 HS. Every so often the bird descends into the chimney.

geranium macrorrhizum Ingwersen's Variety

The geraniums macrorrhizum Ingwersen’s Variety are now blooming nicely.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s piquant cauliflower cheese, fish pie, crunchy carrots and runner beans, with which I finished the shiraz.

Progress Of The Thatchers

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Jackie tying up roses

During the morning and part of the afternoon work continued in the garden, mostly in the Rose Garden, although I did also partly composite the Oval Bed.

In the front, the Prunus Amanogawa,

and the crab apples are blossoming.

Hoverfly on euphorbia

Hoverflies

Poppy

and our crinkly little orange poppies are appearing everywhere.

This afternoon we drove to Redcliffe Garden Centre in Bashley to buy some metal stakes for holding the log in place in Jackie’s most recent attempt to keep out the big beast. We continued on into the forest, and on our return bought some stone from Otter Nurseries.

Bluebells

The bank leading up to the Church of St John the Baptist at Boldre now wears a blanket of bluebells and dandelions,

Primroses

alongside those of primroses.

Thatching progress 1

The thatching at East End, on an L-shaped building much more extensive than the front elevation shows,

continues apace; nevertheless I am informed that, weather permitting, this very large job is expected to take five weeks.

This evening we dined on Mr. Pink’s fish, chips, and pea fritters, with pickled onions and gherkins. I drank more of the Bordeaux.

P.S. In a comment below, Quercus Community has provided this informative link on thatching: http://www.buildingconservation.com/articles/longstraw/longstraw.htm

Island In The Sun

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This morning’s sunshine lasted long enough

to draw me into pruning the rose garden. By the time I had finished the skies had clouded over and rain begun.

Window boxes

Between showers Jackie was able to plant primulas into the large window boxes on the front wall.

Camellia 1

More camellias are in full bloom, and

Daffodils and ferns

all the beds are clamouring for our attention,

Mudflats

but we abandoned them in favour of a drive to Tanner’s Lane beach,

Boat on mudflats

where the usual boat was moored on the mudflats.

Yacht

A solitary yacht sailed alongside the Isle of Wight,

Ferry boat and The Needles

as a ferry boat threaded its way past The Needles.

At low tide seaweed clung to rocks and breakwaters.

Trees and breakwaters

Further along the coastline gnarled trees were coming into bud,

Cloudscape

as rain-laden skies loomed over the sunlit landscape.

Egrets were among the birds feeding on the shore.

Egret in flight

One rewarded my numerous efforts to catch it in flight.

Having left Tanner’s Lane and begun to drive along Sowley Lane it seemed as if we were on the floor of a school dance from my teens. In the undergrowth on one side of the lane were assembled a bouquet of hen pheasants.

Pheasants 1

The less fragrant cocks patrolled the opposite side.

Plucking up courage, they paraded a bit,

Pheasants 2

then slipped through the barrier to join the ladies.

Crane at sunset

Just before sunset at Milford on Sea a crane silhouetted against the skies was a reminder that the beach huts destroyed in gales a couple of years ago are being rebuilt.

We hastened to Barton on Sea and waited for a pair of figures to make their way along the clifftop so that I could include them in my shot. Following their progress I was to discover that the gentleman was pointing a camera away from the west, and photographing the Isle of Wight.

Truly an Island in the Sun.

Tree and holiday homes

The tree in the grounds of the holiday homes park has grown as directed by the sea breezes.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy chilli con carne, savoury rice, and salad. She drank Hoegaarden, and I finished the Carmenère.