Protective Pruning

This morning dawned bright and comparatively cold, but work in the Rose Garden could still be carried out in shirt sleeves.

Here Jackie prunes Mama Mia which had already been trimmed a short while ago. These photographs  show the new shoots persisting – but they had to go before winter winds rocked the stems and loosened their roots.

Climbers escaped the treatment, allowing their hips to colour the arch. One white Madame Alfred Cariere bloom has survived.

Nugget, of course, shot down to investigate. Muggle kept a low profile in the larch.

Late this afternoon Jackie drove us to Emsworth where we dined at Durbar Indian restaurant with Becky and Ian.

We stopped at Everton village shop and Post Office to post a package to Australia.

Here is the village poppy display.

Jackie thinks this cloud formation ahead of us on the M27 indicates a spell of cold whether. Can anyone confirm this?

We were almost an hour early for our 6 p.m. date. Then we hit this roadworks queue which occupied a little time.

The mogul inspired restaurant is excellent and rather out of the ordinary. We shared rices, a paratha, and onion bahjis. My main course was Goan pork vindaloo; Jackie’s, paneer tikka; Becky’s, chicken biriani; and Ian’s, another mild chicken dish. Our son-in-law and I drank Cobra, his wife drank rosé wine, and Jackie drank Kingfisher. The food was very well cooked and the service exemplary.

Wet, Wet, Wet

The wind had dropped today. Unfortunately it was not available to send the leaden clouds on their way. They hung overhead, shedding rain all day. Initially not much more than drizzle fell, so Jackie continued her autumn clearance and I joined her for a while. I brought the heavy precipitation with me, but stayed out until I feared for my camera lens.

Hoping that it was Nugget who had made inroads into it, Jackie gleefully pointed to another dish of sampled robin food.

She is heavily pruning a hebe alongside the Dead End Path.

I had intended to transport the clippings to the end of the back drive and bag them up for Aaron to take away. When the deluge began I thought better of it.

Raindrops had cleansed and bejewelled such as bronze fennel seed heads;

rhododendron leaves and buds that think it is spring;

maple leaves;

spiders’ webs;

rose hips;

rose buds;

fuchsias;

begonias;

petunias;

and phormiums.

After lunch I accompanied Jackie to Tesco Supermarket where she she shopped and I sat in the car photographing, through the rain-dripping windscreen,

 

other shoppers as they passed by.

We then drove to Woodpeckers to visit Mum who was on very good form.

Just along Sway Road a duo of decidedly damp donkeys sought what shelter they could beneath the trees of Brackendale.

Back at home I watched a recording of the Rugby World Cup match between Ireland and Samoa.

We dined on Jackie’s perfect pork paprika liberally peppered with cayenne; boiled potatoes; carrots al dente; and tender runner beans. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank Grand Conseiller Pinot Noir 2017.

 

Far Too Fast For Me

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The day was as radiant as yesterday had been dismal. At lunchtime we brunched at the Walkford Diner which now has sautéed potatoes and onions to be added to any of the standard meals. Naturally we added some to our All Day Breakfasts. We continued on into the forest, where

Thatchers Lane’s hedgerows bore many holly berries and a curved tree stem that Jackie termed “nature’s bench”.

High on Thorney Hill, two horses grazed in a sun-kissed field. As so often happens, first the white one, then its companion made a beeline for me as I stood observing them.

Somewhere about this point the name changes to Braggers. Here heavier workhorses, one sleeping under a tree, occupied another field. Sun streaked across grass and tarmac.

A staggered crossroads soon takes us into Fish Street where a young equestrienne ambling along in front of us was considerate enough to pull over to facilitate our passage. The early Christmas decorations suspended overhead were red painted pine cones.

On the approach to Bashley a solitary Gloucester Old Spot sow sped into the trees. She was far too fast for me, so I focussed on Autumn colour instead.

Tree work at the roundabout on the corner of Bashley Common Road and Sway Road, requiring 4 – Way Traffic Control, provided plenty of opportunity for me to poke my lens out of my stationary window and photograph roadside rose hips. Needless to say, fans of Hampshire’s roads will not be surprised that, of the four affected ways, only ours was subjected to the long tailback.

Elizabeth is spending a week with friends in Edinburgh. Jackie and I dined on the Culinary Queen’s excellent chilli con carne and savoury rice with which I drank Chateau Pinenc Minervois 2017.

 

Was It Something In The Water?

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This morning was spent Christmas shopping in New Milton and in Brockenhurst

Stream

Jackie parked the car in Butts Lane, Brockenhurs and I walked alongside the stream beside it.

Water level guage

At the far end a ford leads to Park Close. The water level gauge shows

Water level gauge and reflections

it is quite shallow at this point.

Ripples on stream

Vehicles are able to cross easily, and send ripples along the waterway.

Reflection in streamReflections in streamReflections in stream

Trees,

Reflections in streamReflections in streamReflections in stream

buildings,

Reflections in stream

and fences rippled in the water.

Rose hips

Wild rose hips wound over the wooden bridge rails.

Chaffinch

A chaffinch took advantage of shrubbery camouflage,

Stream

spanning the stream.

Pigeon

This didn’t conceal a wood pigeon.

Feather on water

Perhaps this bird had lost a feather.

Jackdaws

Jumping jackdaws scratched around on the bank.

Pigeon

Although I saw no birds in the stream, the pigeon had a bath in,

Jackdaws

and the jackdaws drank from, a pool beside a house. Was it something in the water?

This evening we dined on barbecued pork spare ribs, prawn toasts, and Jackie’s exceedingly savoury rice. She drank more of the sauvignon blanc and I drank Mendoza Parra Alta malbec 2016.

 

 

 

One That Didn’t Get Away

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In anticipation of the expected 45 m.p.h. winds we were out early this morning battening down the hatches.

Chairs and plinth grounded

Chairs

Hanging basket on ground 1Hanging basket on ground 2Hanging basket on ground by eucalyptusHanging baskets on ground 1

and hanging baskets were grounded;

Phantom Path

trugs, like this blue one on the chair at the west end of the Phantom Path were upended;

Gladiolus

I lifted this flowering gladiolus’s broken stem and wedged it between another and the bamboo support. It was rather ragged but deserved a lift.

Small white butterfly on Japanese anemone

This Small White butterfly hadn’t heard the weather forecast.

Dahlias Coup de soleilDahlias, poppy etc

Iron urn

Dahlias, of course, are in season;

Verbena bonarensis

verbena bonarensis goes on for ever;

Salvia

salvias and snapdragons still thrive,

Begonias etc

as do some begonias.

Rosa glauca hips

Hips, like those of Rosa Glauca, glow, glistening.

kniphofia 1

Kniphofias are having a second flush,

Rose Garden 1Rose Garden 2Rose Crown Princess Margareta

as are roses, including Crown Princess Margareta, although most are showing signs of age.

Kitchen BedElizabeth's BedSouth end of gardenGazebo Path 2Gazebo Path 1Cryptomeria Bed

Most of the beds are still vibrant.

Ferns

We have many ferns. A Japanese Painted Lady sits in the centre of these.

Jackie planting bulbs 1Jackie planting bulbs 2

Jackie spent some time planting bulbs,

Jackie digging up bramble 1

and dived into the Kitchen Bed

Jackie with bramble

to emerge like a triumphant angler with a lengthy bramble.

Sid has now joined Aaron in AP Maintenance. Today they switched to the afternoon. By then the wind had really got up and the rain began to fall, leaving its mark on Jackie’s lens when she took some of ,these photographs. In less than two hours

Sid mowing lawn

Sid mowed the grass;

Aaron pruning eucalyptus 1Aaron pruning eucalyptus 2

 Aaron transformed the eucalyptus, seen here blowing in the wind,

Aaron and Sid checking eucalyptus pruningEucalyptus

to this;

Cordyline Australis

the pair removed an extraneous buddleia, thus revealing the trunk of a Cordyline Australis which they stripped of dead lower foliage;

Cypress clippings

smoothed out the gravel on the back drive, and took away all their cuttings and the contents of one of our orange bags.

Weeping birch 2Weeping birch 1

The boughs of the trees, for example the weeping birch, were whipped by the wind, and, by the time the maintenance crew had left, the rain was hammering down.

Shelly and Ron visited this afternoon. Ron investigated our drainage system; I printed the pictures from Ron’s party for them; and Shelly brought some of her own freshly picked runner beans which Jackie and I ate for dinner, along with chicken marinaded in Nando’s tasty mango and lime sauce, mashed potato, and carrot and swede mash. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Fleurie.

 

 

 

 

Savouring The Meaning Of Life

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On this dull but dry morning, we transported more garden refuse to the dump and returned with a shove ha’penny board. First of all, having just received a contract giving a start date of 31st March 2014, but no bill I made another telephone call to British Gas. This time I was informed that my position was justifiable. Having consulted her manager the representative told me she had to “monitor the account” until 23rd August, but I need not “stress about the three years” during which I have not been billed.

Before we arrived home, we drove to Friar’s Cliff Café for lunch, then on to the forest.

Always swim between the red and yellow flags

A large banner on the beach at Friar’s Cliff advised swimmers to stay between two flags;

Beach scene 6

some followed the advice;

Beach scene 5

others didn’t.

Beach Scene 1Beach scene 2

Young families went for a paddle,

Boy digging in sand 1Boy digging in sand 1

or, like this energetic boy tossing up spits of sand,

Beach scene 3Beach scene 4Beach scene 7employed their buckets and spades.

Beach scene with rowers

A pair of rowers gently glided by.

Pulled pork burger 1

Jackie enjoyed her baked potato filled with beans, coleslaw, and cheese with a lavish salad. I was, for the first time ever in this excellent establishment, was disappointed with my pulled pork burger, chips, and salad. Any relative difference in size is purely the result of perspective.

Pulled pork burger 2

My problem was that the few bits of lettuce beneath the burger constituted the salad, and the burger was beef with a topping of the shredded pork. I didn’t think that lived up to the above description, but was prepared to write it down to experience and make no complaint. We were, however, asked how our meal was, so, politely, and in a friendly manner, I explained why it wasn’t what I expected from the description. This was accepted and the description will be changed.

Rosa rugosa AlbaRosa rugosa Alba hips and blackberries

At the top of the cliff a hedge containing rosa rugosa Alba with its splendid hips,

Blackberries and rosa rugosa Alba hips

blackberries,

Blackberries and thistle

thistles,

Budweiser bottle in hedge

and Budweiser, tolerates the fiercest winds.

Blackberries in heather

Blackberries also mingle with

Heather 1Heather 2

the heather on the moors.

Horses in stream 1

Horses at North Gorley preferred to do their paddling in the stream;

Horses in stream 2Horses in stream 3Horses in stream 4

 

one, rather shy, took refuge behind its companion.

Bullock/42

As we approached Stoney Cross Plain, Jackie spotted a bullock she thought had found the meaning of life.

You have seen what we had for lunch, so will not be surprised to learn that a small amount of Mr Chan’s Take Away sufficed for our sustenance this evening.

 

 

 

 

Christmas Fairies

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This morning we awoke to a garden dripping with decorations supplied by the Christmas fairies, some of whom still flitted among the trees:

This afternoon we are off to Lyndhurst for the last of the Christmas shopping, then on to West End to visit Mum then share a meal with Elizabeth at Jewels Indian restaurant. I don’t expect to have enough oomph left on our return to post any more to day, so will report on anything of moment tomorrow.