A Walk Round The Garden

The sun emerged quite late today. After I had opened the gate for Aaron.

These are a few shots I took on the way there and back. As usual accessing these two galleries with clicks will access titles.

Much of the rest of the day was spent listening to the Ashes Test Match.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s choice chicken jalfrezi; marvellous mushroom rice topped with a perfect omelette; and a tasty paratha with which she drank Blue Moon and I drank more of the Saint-Chinian

He Lent His Hat

This morning Aaron, with his usual concentrated accuracy, assembled and installed

a new flat packed wooden arch across the Shady Path. This was to replace a cheap metal one that had collapsed.

As the morning warmed up he lent his hat to Florence sculpture who remained in the shade,

Camellias continue to splash colour across the eucalyptus framed garden canvas,

as do numerous narcissi,

primulas and bergenias.

Proud tulips begin to open.

Ladybirds were spotted, along with tiny hoverflies investigating ipheions.

On a gloriously sunny spring afternoon we went driveabout. We began at Mudeford Quay which was so crowded that we had nowhere to park. We then aimed for the forest.

A calf suckling at Holmesley spilled much of the milk on the ground, jumping back as we arrived, leaving a white strand swaying in the breeze;

Ponies practiced topiary by the roadside;

two more grazed among pine cones at Bisterne.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s scrumptious cottage pie; crunchy carrots; tender green beans and peas.

Watch Out

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Setting the mood nicely, a sheet of heavy cloud leaked steady precipitation dripping down our windscreen all the way to New Hall Hospital for my appointment with Miss Melissa Davies, consultant urologist early this morning. Windscreen wipers swept across my vision. After an examination I’d rather not describe, and a full questionnaire I was able to leave with a certain amount of optimism signalled by the clearance of the skies and the emergence of sun separating the clouds. I do have to order a specific blood test and ask my GP to recommend a procedure involving a miniature camera and an anaesthetic.

Feeling rather hearty, we stopped at the charming village of Hale which I photographed without the need to numb my consciousness.

“You’re not photographing that are you?” asked the local resident who did not think the sculpture on the edge of the green looked much like  a pony and foal.

The tree behind the sculpture was planted in 1992 to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth II. The brass plaque explaining this is headed ‘Kinges Oak’.

A string of cyclists sped past the green,

on the other side of which a solitary equine representative stood before the school, the students of which will be playing where it stands once they return from the Summer break.

All post in the forest is delivered from little red vans, like the one driven by the postman enjoying a chat with a resident of one of the attractive thatched cottages.

The village is approached by narrow tree-lined lanes. I wondered whether the above brick built structure was the ice house once belonging to Hale House.

From the higher levels could be seen a patchwork quilt flung across the landscape,

above which patrolled a predatory raptor.

A herd of cows dined on the upper slopes.

 

The whole length of Roger Penny Way is punctuated by warning signs alerting drivers to the possibility of animals on the road. One is ‘Watch Out……’ pictured here. This flock had passed the sign when making their way across the road to this pasture. While I focussed on them a large bovine ambled down the centre of the minor road to my left to join its ovine cousins.

Afterwards we brunched at the Walkford Diner. Here we enjoyed huge traditional breakfasts cooked on a griddle. Black puddings and haggis, for example, are imported from Stornaway, and potato scones are just like the ones Mum used to make. Only when inside did we realise that the establishment was run by Ian, who had produced excellent meals at Molly’s Den. These were even better.

It will therefore come as no surprise that I could not join in the ladies’ enjoyment of Jackie’s beef in red wine dinner. (Mum is better and Elizabeth is back with us). I was, however, able to manage the Culinary Queen’s apple and apricot crumble and custard, and a couple more glasses of the Fleurie.

Snatching Snoozes

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In ‘The Card Case’, I spoke of the client who had no money to pay my fee, but brought me the occasional small gift, all of which I have treasured for almost 30 years. I am not a science fiction fan, so I have not read many of his paperback books. One of these is Poul Anderson’s ‘The Makeshift Rocket’. I finished this short novel this morning. It was a surprisingly entertaining work. Light-hearted, with a touch of dry humour, once I had ceased trying to decipher the author’s attempts at reproducing Danish and Irish spoken English, I enjoyed the book.

Afterwards I photographed garden views from upstairs windows and from the stable doorway.

Having decided to reduce the codeine element in my pain relief, I struggled a bit today. On the other hand it may have been the amount of walking on uneven terrain I undertook yesterday. Consequently I spent the afternoon alternately dozing over snatches of World Cup football and having brief forays into the garden.

Lily, marigolds etc

A new day lily has forced its way through the soil to join the marigolds beside the greenhouse.

Palm Bed to eucalyptus

Geranium palmatums lead us past more day lilies in the Palm Bed to the eucalyptus and beyond.

Cosmoses, geraniums, violas

Urns, like this stone one Jackie has planted up at the end of the Brick Path,

Garden view from Shady Path to kitchen window

and the pottery one standing on the filled in well, counteract what she call “The June Gap”, when there is not normally much colour around.

The hanging baskets on the kitchen wall and the two clematises in pots on the corner serve the same purpose.

Rose Ballerina dances in the bed beside the entrance to the Rose Garden,

Rosa Gallica and Mama Mia

where such as Rosa Gallica and Mama Mia continue to splash their colour.

Hydrangea

Hydrangea Swinging Sixties is another plant in a pot,

Linaria and valerian

opposite which Linaria and Valerian vie for space in the Oval Bed.

My final trip up the garden was via the Phantom Path to join Jackie taking a break on the decking. There I passed the Cryptomeria Bed with its clematis, geranium palmatums, and hot lips; a penstemon in Margery’s Bed; a planted pot on the corner of the Gazebo Path; and Florence sculpture with her basket of bacopa.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious chicken jalfrezi and splendid special fried rice. She drank Hoegaarden and I didn’t.

 

 

Down The Garden

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Patio

As it began to rain whilst they were finishing the painting yesterday, Clare and Andrew had placed the garden chairs under the wisteria arbour. This morning, Aaron carried them to the patio.

The day was overcast. Jackie and Aaron spent the morning on garden maintenance, now at its most pressing. Aaron also filled his truck with our pruning and clippings. From the patio I continued on a perambulation with the camera.

I took my usual route along the Kitchen Path, passing the rose campion planted in front of the lysimachia firecracker with feverfew to the left.

At the corner by the iron urn, in view of the geraniums and verbena in a planter above the Dragon Bed with its pink snapdragons and prolific marigolds,

I made my way along the Brick Path, past the grass patch with its bed of bright pink begonias,

taking a rest on the Westbrook Arbour bench, and looking down the Phantom Path to sculpture Florence. Penny Lane is making her way up the Gothic Arch, opposite clematis Star of India.

Campanula persiciflora

The campanula Persiciflora stands at the south end of the Brick Path, beneath the dead snake bark maple.

It normally takes me quite a while to make inroads into a new book. “Pilling Always Pays’, by Thomas Armstrong, which I finished today, was no exception. My post-operative lethargy probably contributed to this, but I did also think that the author’s painstakingly thorough method of introducing his cast of characters may have played a part. Nevertheless, I will not hold this against him, for he proceeded to tell a carefully crafted story with numerous apparently disparate strands skilfully knitted together in the final pages. The setting was a provincial town in 1936, with its closely interwoven upwardly mobile community.  In ‘Auntie Ivy And Sir Edmund Hillary’ I featured what I had found inside my copy.

This evening we dined on succulent roast chicken, new potatoes, crunchy carrots and cabbage, and moist ratatouille, with flavoursome gravy.

 

Waking Up To Leatherhead

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Yesterday afternoon Jackie drove us to

Travelodge

Leatherhead Travelodge where we joined Helen and Bill, Shelly and Ron in order to watch the performance of

iolanthe brochure

directed by the sisters’ cousin Pat O’Connell.

First, we watched the second half of the Six Nations rugby match between Scotland and Wales.

Next, we dined with the addition of Pat, Christine,and their daughter Olivia, at Piazza Firenze. This was quite the best of the three such establishments we have tried in Leatherhead. Red and white house wines were quaffed, the drivers in the company taking advantage of the fact they they were not having to drive home. My main course was sea bass and prawns served with green beans and boiled potatoes. For dessert I chose crepe Vesuvio, while Jackie selected lava cake, which seemed appropriate. My enjoyable dish consisted of vanilla ice cream wrapped in a pancake with a raspberry sauce poured over it. What added to the fun was that this was served on a flat piece of slate. Perhaps the idea was to keep me on my toes in order to keep the melting ice cream from flowing off onto the table.

There followed a spirited, amusing, and entertaining production with some good jokes, skilful individual performance, and well directed choreography. After this, we spent a delightful time of conversation and reminiscence in the theatre bar, before repairing to our respective hotel rooms.

The was the view from our fourth floor room.

With the sun making sporadic efforts to put in an appearance I wandered about outside the hotel. Leatherhead has received considerable expansion since my childhood in the ’40s and ’50s. One result is the High Street paving that is shared by both vehicles and pedestrians. These two shots looking up the street were taken through parts of a sculpture  featuring aspects of the ancient town, such as the river and railway lines.

Like many of the more recent additions, the setting for this artwork is suffering. Slates are falling off, and graffiti has been applied.

Birdshit, chewing gum, and dog ends

The pavement at the base of the ornamental tree featured in the first two views of the sculpture is surrounded by a mixture of birdshit, chewing gum, and dog ends; people are meant to sit on the cylindrical structures arranged behind the tree and within the enclosure surrounding the elements of it.

Bicycle lock

A metre or so away a cycle rack bears evidence of a stolen machine.

We all breakfasted in the Edmund Tylney, a Wetherspoons pub opposite last evening’s restaurant. Edmund, a Leatherhead man, was Master of the Revels to Queen Elizabeth I, so he would probably be quite pleased to have a hostelry named after him.

Back at home, the Six Nations rugby match was between England and Italy.

This evening we dined on eggs, bacon, and toast followed by steamed syrup pudding nd ice cream.

There’s Some Corner Of An English Churchyard

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Kitchen window 1Kitchen window 2

Over breakfast this morning, I photographed two more angles of view through the kitchen window;

Rose Garden

and afterwards, The Rose Garden.

Aquilegias

We have many banks of aquilegias.

Rose Compassion

Compassion blooms on the Dead End Path arch,

Bottle Brush Plant

And we have our first bottle brush flower.

Butterfly Painted Lady

A Painted Lady butterfly availed itself of the gravel camouflage.

St Nicholas's Church 1

This afternoon we visited St Nicholas’s church in Brockenhurst. Jackie and Sheila led the way into the exhibition inside;

Jackie examining gravestones

Jackie pausing to inspect the eighteenth century gravestones.

Graveyard St Nicholas's Church 1

I wandered around the beautiful landscaped graveyard, where light glinted through trees and the ground fell away allowing the monuments to ramble down the hillside.

After my following exploration, I joined the ladies inside where a couple of volunteers within were giving them an explanatory history of the World War One burials in the churchyard.

Yew tree

They told Jackie that this yew tree dated from the twelfth century.

Tree stump

This sculptured stump must also have been a substantial giant.

Graveyard St Nicholas's Church 2

Graveyard St Nicholas's Church 3

Past the tree I came to a set of steps and a path leading down to level ground.

Fern sculpture

Flashes of red against clean, cream background suggested I was approaching the memorial symbolised by the sculpture at the entrance to the church. This was a brilliant fern cut out from weathered metal, familiar to anyone familiar with an All Blacks rugby jersey. The brilliance lay in the figures silhouetted in the work. I crouched a bit to ensure that the background grass made this clear.

NZ Memorial 1NZ Memorial 2

Indeed, I had. Ninety three members of the New Zealand Expeditionary Force soldiers from World War One lie buried in the Commonwealth War Graves Commission Cemetery attached to this church.

Brockenhurst Churchyard Commonwealth War Graves Board

The farming village of Brockenhurst soon became a World War 1 hospital village, from 1914 caring for wounded and sick Indian troops, and from 1916 the No. 1 HQ New Zealand hospital. Those who died therein were buried in this churchyard.

K. Rapona gravestone

Of the 93 New Zealanders, 12 were Maoris, only one of whom died from wounds. This was Private Kiri Rapona. Clare Church’s book, which I bought, gives this young man five more years of life than does this gravestone. One other drowned and the rest succumbed to illness.

Sukha gravestone

One Indian is Sukha.

There are also three unknown Belgian civilians who share a plot.

Gravestones

These plots are very well tended and maintained by New Zealanders in UK.

Balmer Lawn Hotel

Of the three hospitals from those years, the only one still standing is now the Balmer Lawn Hotel, which keeps its own living lawnmowers.

Stained glass 1Stained glass 2

The very friendly couple who were very informative about the church and this particular section of its history, pointed out the Victorian stained glass in the twelfth century stonework of the windows.

This evening Jackie produced succulent chicken Kiev, creamy mashed potato, and crisp carrots and runner beans for our dinner. Sheila’s dessert was rice pudding, and Jackie’s profiteroles. As I had consumed two pieces of chicken I passed on this. But I did drink more of the Fleurie. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and Sheila, sparkling water.

It was Rupert Brooke, an Englishman who did die in 1915, who is immortalised by his own verse: ‘And if I should die, think only this of me, that there is some corner of a foreign field that is forever England’. I have adapted his words for today’s title.