The First Gallery Christmas Show 2017

This morning we visited Margery and Paul at their home in Bitterne. We had been unable to attend the gallery’s Christmas show, so were pleased to enjoy some of the items awaiting collection.

Readers may have noticed that I have been unable to produce a gallery on this site for some months. One of the benefits of the improved internet connection arranged by James, of Peacock Computers, is that this is again possible. It therefore seems appropriate that our friends’ collection should introduce this renewed facility.

I have also taken the opportunity to substitute a gallery for one photograph in ‘Hot Pants’.

From Margery and Paul’s we drove on to Elizabeth’s where spent a couple of pleasant hours before returning home.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s choice chilli con carne and savoury rice. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Malbec.

The Photo Shoot

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Yesterday I expressed m intention to published the prints from Newark 1993. Today I changed my mind. I decided to hold them in reserve for the next dull day. This could have been one. But it wasn’t. It was one of bright, crisp, sunshine.

Jackie in greenhouse

Jackie continued potting up

Greenhouse 1

cuttings

Greenhouse 2

in the greenhouse.

After lunch, she drove us to Boscombe and back.

Boscombe pier 2

We stopped within sight of the pier.

Boscombe pier 1

As I walked down the slope, a young woman walked up.

Boscombe pier 3

A boat, approaching from the left, skirted the structure stretching seaward. Was it a lifeboat? The water was certainly rough enough for someone to be in trouble.

Sculpture 1

At the bottom of the slope two sculptures, one in a garden,

Sculpture 2

and another on Undercliff Drive, caught m attention.

Photo Shoot 1

I then had the serendipitous good fortune

Photo Shoot 2

to gatecrash

Photo Shoot 3

a photo shoot

Photo Shoot 4

conducted by

Photo Shoot 5

three delightful

Photo Shoot 6

young ladies. The third, given that she was carrying out the same role as me, is not in shot.

As we left this suburb of Bournemouth, the skies gave promise of the good sunset we were to witness later.

Cyclist 2

Despite a propensity to allow his exuberance to take him swerving all over the road,

Cyclist 1

this joyful cyclist, seen here approaching Hengistbury Head, kept up a good 20 m.p.h. We parted company with him as he wheeled onto the footpath leading up the headland.

Sunset 1

The sunset was ripe

Sunset 2

outside Burley;

Sunset 3

the murmuration of starlings swirling over Holmsley was a sweeping cloud formation;

Sunset 4

the crescent moon exchanged places with its daytime counterpart.

This evening we dined at The Monkey House pub just outside Lymington. The establishment was as packed as ever, demonstrating its quality and the friendliness of the staff. Jackie enjoyed prawn cocktail and gammon steak. My choice was whitebait followed by rib-eye steak. Everything excellently cooked. Jackie drank Amstell and I drank Flack’s Double Drop

 

 

Paddington Basin Development

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I enjoyed another thrilling day wrestling with technology. After a few hours last night the iMac update ground to a halt. First thing this morning I phoned Apple again and got started once more. Today the process continued for a little longer, but again took an unwelcome rest. James Peacock, my local consultant is going to have to come and collect it.

My next task was to order and pay for Christmas presents from the Disney Store. The nearest was in Southampton. They had four of the main item in stock. They couldn’t accept payment over the phone; and they could not save an item for us. I could buy the present on line. I went on line. The item was not included in their pages. I’ll leave that one there.

I am due possible laser surgery on my left eye. I need to book the appointment on line. Apparently this is an easy process. It didn’t prove to be. Each time I typed the address given on my form, I landed on Google explanatory pages. I’ve no idea how I managed it, but I did eventually arrive at the booking system, and obtained the first available NHS appointment. This is in April.

Not to be deterred from my determination to illustrate this post, I transported my Windows laptop to my Epson scanner, and set about scanning my next batch of colour slides from the Streets of London series, produced in May 2005.

Everything was correctly plugged in, but no scanner icon appeared on the screen. Further investigation revealed the message that the driver was unavailable. Given that I thought I was the driver, that seemed at first to be out of order. Further head scratching made me realise that I had never used the ten year old scanner on this laptop. From the depths of my memory I remembered that a CD contained the relevant software. I found it. Things were looking up. This ancient bit of kit loaded perfectly, and I was up and running.

Sheldon Square 1

Sheldon Square, W2 has appeared before, especially featuring the other realistic sculpture walking towards this chap standing on the left.

Sheldon Square 5.05

Neither of the two shirted gentlemen will ever be provided with an umbrella like the real live woman walking towards us.

Sheldon Square 2

This sculptural group is not striving to hoodwink passers by. Much of the paving in this up-market development was, in my view, laid too soon to allow sufficient settlement. There also appears to be a dearth of drainage. Pools are the result.

Paddington flyover 1

My counselling room in Beauchamp Lodge enabled me to look across the Harrow Road roundabout

Paddington flyover 3

and  the flyover

Paddington flyover 2

that spans the canal

Paddington flyover 1

and the edge of the square.

Paddington flyover 4

I was able to watch cars, vans,

Paddington flyover 6

industrial vehicles,

Paddington flyover 5

and bendy buses travelling along Harrow Road or the A40. What could easily be mistaken for two red buses is in fact one. Bendy is the colloquial name for articulated buses. They were introduced into London in 2001, some 20 years after several other countries. Most Londoners would probably agree with Boris Johnson who believed they were unsuitable for the city. They were all withdrawn by the end of 2011. I believe that Sadiq Khan, the current mayor of London is being urged to bring them back. As a fairly frequent traveller on this method of transport I observed many people securing a free ride. It was possible to enter the bus by means of the exit door situated at the centre join. The buses are operated by a single person who, with so many standing passengers, had no chance of preventing this abuse.

Blomfield Road W9 5.05

Blomfield Road, W9 forms a junction with Warwick Avenue which leads up towards the huge roundabout featured above.

Park Place Villas/St Mary's Terrace 5.05

The grand terraces of Park Place Villas and St Mary’s Terrace stand in stark contrast to the buildings shown at the start of this post.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s smoked haddock, piquant cauliflower cheese, creamy mashed swede and potato; with runner beans and carrots for a splash of colour. I finished the cabernet sauvignon.

A Garden Of Delights

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Japanese anemone suspended petal 1Japanese anemone suspended petal 2Japanese anemone suspended petal 3

Watching the suspended petal of a Japanese anemone this morning set me musing. First I considered the strength of the thread that grasped it. As the flower part spun and twisted in the breeze, its captor clung on, just as it would with a fly’s frantically thrashing death throes.

On a more musical note, my head recalled the rhythmic tones of chirpy Chubby Checker from 1960:

This afternoon we went on an outing to Stratford Tony Manor House garden which was open under the National Gardens Scheme. It was my idea of a delightful garden.

Lakeside

There was space for large lawned areas, many trees, a stream, and a lake.

Shrubbery 1Shrubbery 2

The large borders, especially those planted against walls, were really rather splendid,

Couple admiring border

and admired by many,

Jackie admiring festooned wall

including Jackie.

Sculpture 1

There were a number of interesting sculptures.

Three girls sculptures

Three girls sculpture 2

The story behind those of three girls sheltering among cyclamen under a weeping willow is  rather endearing. Made some twenty years ago, they are the daughters of the family. The eldest, now brings her own child to visit the family home. This scene, reminiscent of Enid Blyton characters from an earlier time, has been brought into the 21st century with the subtle placement of a mobile phone. The standing child once had a tennis ball placed with  equal whimsy, but the dog kept taking it.

Fossilised stump

Two apparent sculptures were in fact fossilised stumps with polished tops.

Photographer photographed 1

A more modern garden ornament features in this photograph of a photographer and her subjects. We had a delightful conversation about this, and I gave them details of this blog.

Photographer photographed 2

The next picture I made of them will be a surprise to them. (I hope you like it, folks).

Visitors to garden 1

Some quite large groups of visitors wandered around, negotiating the sometimes steep slopes,

Tea Terrace

leading to the tea terrace where a very busy team of helpers kept us all supplied.

Flower arrangement

On each table was placed one or two very tastefully arranged vases of flowers.

Bridge

There were suitably placed bridges over the still lake;

Crossing the bridge

visitors enjoyed crossing them,

Lake 1

or just contemplating the tranquil scene,

Reflection

the tempting water,

Swan 1Swans 1

and the swans.

Gate

The nicely rusting iron gate to the kitchen garden contrasted with the green grass behind it, revealed by suitable excised symbols.

Field 1

At a short distance from Stratford Tony, an army helicopter chugged over crows in a recently harvested field

Field 2

now draped with striped curtains.

Back at home, Mr Chatty Man Chan of Hordle Chinese Take Away provided our evening meal with which Jackie drank sparkling water and I drank more of the Kekfrankos.

A Day Trip To Mousehole

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It was another dull day today. Aaron and Sean worked in the garden, finishing the log shelter, clearing rubbish, doing dump trips, and beginning to cut down the grizelinia hedge – now substantial trees.

I scanned another batch of colour negatives from the Instow holiday of 1985.

Louisa sleeping 1985 7Louisa sleeping 1985 8Louisa sleeping 1985 3

Here, surrounded by her various companions, Louisa enjoys an alfresco siesta among the daisies beneath a willow tree.

Jessica and Louisa 1985 2

I have no idea where Jessica and Louisa were here. Does anyone recognise the sculptures? (Rusty Duck has obliged with a link in her comment below, for which I thank her)

Sam on donkey 1985 1Sam on donkey 1985 2Sam on donkey 1985 2

We took the car to Mousehole in Cornwall for the day. Sam loved donkey riding. A peculiarity of this ancient fishing village is the main road through to the harbour. Sam’s donkey stands on it, and is perhaps a more convenient way of manning the steep, cobbled, ascent. The granite strips among the setts provide steps between the houses. It is not suitable for vehicles, other than the shallow wooden sleds used by provisioners to deliver their produce.

Jessica, Sam and Louisa 1Jessica, Sam and Louisa 1985 2Jessica, Sam and Louisa 1985 3

The harbour has a stout protective stone wall that can be ascended by substantial steep steps, such as those Jessica, Sam and Louisa are scaling. Jessica seems a little perturbed by our intrepid daughter’s purposeful strides.

Sam 1985 1

Take a boy to a pebbled beach, and what does he do?

Sam 3

He chucks stones into the sea, having, it seems, first sat down.

This evening we dined on chicken Kiev and egg fried rice. I drank more of the excellent Lidl Spanish red wine.

 

A Wildlife Garden

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DID I MENTION THE CRICKET?

It is two years since we were last assisting our friend Giles in opening his garden in Milford on Sea. Once more, today, we took the first stint in his rota.

Jackie on the door

Overnight rain had only recently desisted at 11 a.m., so Jackie, on the door, had plenty of opportunity to work on her puzzles,

Giles and visitors

while Giles and I chatted until the first visitors arrived.

Wildlife Gardening Award Certificate

Blu-tacked onto the entrance window is a well-deserved certificate.

Giles's sculpture 1

Beneath this is one of the gardener’s creative sculptures, made from found objects. The upright stone was once part of a window in Southwell Minster.

Giles's sculpture 2

Here is another from the bottom of the garden.

Giles's sculpture 3Giles's sculpture 4

This one contains examples of his stained glass work,

View through sitting room window

as does this view from the sitting room, showing the artefact on which stands his tree encircled by butterflies.

Giles's sculpture 5

A further creation on the decking is seen through the French windows.

Giles's garden 1

Visitor

Pebbles and granite sets creating paths and other features were all collected over a number of years from on and around the nearby beaches.

Giles's garden 3Giles's garden 4Giles's garden 5Giles's garden 6Giles's garden 7

Seventeen years ago, this rambling haven was almost completely grassed over. It is now packed with trees, shrubs, and other features attractive to wildlife.

Raindrops on smoke tree

Raindrops still pilled on the fibres of smoke tree;

Raindrops on foxgloves

foxgloves;

ClematisClematis, thistle, wildlife hotel

clematis;

Raindrops and cricket on osteospermum

and osteospermum – even on the little cricket’s antennae.

Wild Life Hotel

A notice visible in the second clematis picture indicates and lists the uses of the wildlife hotel;

Viper's Bugloss

another extols the value of viper’s bugloss to bees.

Lupins

I expect these latter enjoy delphiniums, too, although blue is Giles’s favourite flower colour.

Hut

Had the rain persisted, no doubt this hut, with its natural seat, would have filled up with visitors;

Pond

certainly the pond would have topped up with water.

This evening we dined on the rest of the Chinese Takeaway, and both drank Kingfisher.

Painting The Scene

Lake

This morning we took Sheila to visit the Gordleton Mill Hotel and garden. Although there was a private function in the hotel, having walked down a few steps and across the bridge over the River Avon, we were welcomed in the bar and on the patio where we each enjoyed a cappuccino. One of the attractions of this beautiful garden is its array of artwork, much of which I photographed on our visit of 2nd April.

There were still a few I had not featured before, such as

Organic woman

the front view of Organic Woman, the rear of which greets you as you drive in;

Stone sculpture

the same artist’s Stone sculpture;

Stone Ware sculpture

Stone Ware;

Apple and pear sculpture

or this apple and pear.

Tree sculpture

Should you prefer tree sculpture there is this moustachioed chap,

Wood Spirit sculpture

or the Wood Spirit.

Chairs and gunnera

Two vacant chairs against a backdrop of gunnera, waited patently for occupants. Unbeknown to me, as I followed in their tracks, Jackie and Sheila had apparently obliged, whilst I was inside settling the bill.

Iris and fountain sculpture

 Yellow  irises were sprayed by a sculpted fountain, creating a scene being depicted by

Painters

two attractive artists, their materials spread out on the woven furniture.

We enjoyed a pleasant chat before I continued catching up Jackie and Sheila who had progressed to another area which, in turn, led up some steps revealing another beautiful garden room, in which three women strolled with glasses of wine..

Garden

This afternoon I cut the grass and Jackie continued weeding and pruning. I have to admit that, were I to do the weeding, I would be bound either to pull up something I shouldn’t, or to leave to flourish a plant better uprooted. My contribution to this exercise is to gather up the containers of the head gardener’s refuse, carry them up to the compost area, then backtrack, by which time she will have filled a wheelbarrow, and I would return to the heap.

As a little respite from this trudging, I took a brief wander down Downton Lane which has more than its share of blind bends on which a scooter has just enough room to pass an oncoming car.Narrow bend

iris foetidissima

Iris foetidissima now flourishes on the verges.

This evening the three of us dined at The Plough Inn at Tiptoe. We enjoyed the usual excellent fare, with friendly and efficient service. My choice was home made pork, apple, and cider pie encased in proper short crust pastry, boiled potatoes, cauliflower, carrots and cabbage with tasty gravy, followed by New Forest ice cream; Jackie’s was chicken fricassee followed by a firm, yet, moist cheesecake; Sheila’s was scampi with boiled potatoes and a plentiful, fresh, salad. I drank a superb rioja; Jackie, draught Peroni; and Sheila, sparkling water.