The Bees Awake

The forecast overnight heavy rain persisted, clattering on the kitchen Velux window until shortly before dawn. Slowly, sheepishly, the sun crept into the skies, warming the garden enough for me to walk around in shirtsleeves, looking at the difference in the light from yesterday.

The gelatinous liquid aiding temporary hibernation of the bees was now running freely, for most had left their roosts.

One tottered tentatively around its berberis berth.

This evening we all dined on succulent roast breast of lamb; crisp roast potatoes and Yorkshire pudding; al dente carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli, chopped cauliflower leaves, and tasty gravy with mint and cranberry sauce. Jackie, Becky, Ian, and I drank Sacchetto rosé.

Autumn In Winter

On a digit-tingling icy cold morning, where the surface of every water container reflected bright sunshine

I took a brief walk around the garden where the seed heads of cordyline Australis accompanied new buds of rhododendrons;

resilient ornamental grasses vied with spent hydrangeas;

columns of shadows including those of a stout rose stem on the orange shed door and a string of small watering cans against the kitchen wall decorated flat areas.

Lichen lingered on sculptures of Summer and Autumn somewhat out of season.

This evening we all dined on spicy piri-piri chicken and Jackie’s savoury rice with which she finished the sauvignon blanc and I finished the cabernet carménère.

Hanging On For Christmas

This afternoon, before another encouraging Chiropractic session with Eloise, I wandered around the garden in the sunshine.

This winter flowering cherry was to be expected, but the Welsh poppies were a surprise. I thought it best to leave a few seedheads.

Numerous bidens and Roxanne geraniums seem to be continuing for ever.

Light shone through leaves such as viburnum plicatum, Japanese maple,

and Cordyline Australis;

throwing shadows on the Brick Path, Florence sculpture, and the trunk of the copper beech tree.

Holly berries, hebes and viburnum shared the season.

Roses Festive Jewel, Kent, Doris Tysterman, and Super Elfin are hanging on for Christmas.

This evening we all dined on tasty baked gammon; piquant cauliflower and broccoli cheese, tender green beans and mangetouts; and what I grew up knowing as macaroni cheese which I gather is now Mac and cheese, with which I finished the Fitou and Jackie drank Diet Pepsi.

Defensive Cycling

Jackie finished the ironing this morning.

We then needed to scrape ice off the car windows, for the first time this year, before setting off for a forest drive.

Hardy rowers were out early on Lymington River.

Frosted leaves lay on the pavement beneath my feet as I took these pictures.

The pool spreading across the crossroads at the East Boldre corner of St Leonard’s Road reflected the crisp, clear, cerulean skies of the day and the surrounding shrubbery as grasses bent along the still surface.

Long shadows streaked the lengthy St Leonard’s Road, its partly frosted verges, its fallen golden brown leaves and the reflecting surfaces of filled ditches awaiting the addition of foliage yet to slowly swing down from branches overhead; one sawn trunk has been uprooted in a recent storm;

a parliament of rooks took heir seats to debate the absence of green issues.

Sunlight filtered through woodland like this lining Brockenhurst Road.

As usual at weekends we encountered numerous examples of what we understand as defensive cycling such as these in Walhampton Road, in St Leonard’s Road and in Brockenhurst Road.

A good explanation of this practice is given in https://www.edinburghbicycle.com/blog/what-is-defensive-cycling

This evening we all dined on succulent roast lamb; crisp Yorkshire pudding and roast potatoes, including softer sweet ones; crunchy carrots; firm cauliflower and broccoli, meaty gravy, mint sauce, and redcurrant jelly with which Jackie and I had more of yesterday’s wines.

More Showers Than Sunshine

This morning I posted

Today we received more showers than sunshine and I spent more of the morning reading Church’s “The Voyage Home”.

The sun played cat and mouse with me this afternoon.

Every time it tempted me to go out with the camera it would play the hiding part of peepo!

I therefore nipped out between showers and tried my luck.

Eventually we drove out into the forest in the rain, which soon desisted.

Curious sheep at Portmore risked garrotting themselves to investigate us through their wire fence.

Suddenly they all took off to the corner. I knew where they would be heading and walked back along the narrow lane to their gate.

Sure enough the farmer, assisted by his silent sheepdog, had filled their trough.

He invited me to come into the field for a better photographic opportunity. I gratefully availed myself of his friendly generosity. He left the gate open for me to close when I left. Unfortunately I forgot to ask him the breed and could not confidently identify them later.

The lake at Pilley is now filled to the brim, with clear reflections lit by the fickle sun reflected in a muddy pool and casting shadows across this and the bank.

This evening we all dined on racks of pork ribs and tender runner beans on a bed of Jackie’s savoury rice with which she drank more of the Lieblich and I finished the Garnacha.

Sizzling Heat

Today I spent the morning and the postprandial period with my nose in “Culloden”, until venturing out into the

unaccustomed sizzling heat of the garden where the Weeping birch tree has not recovered from the June heatwave.

For photography I relied upon a certain amount of shade;

and both helpful shadows and glowing backlighting.

Afterwards I dripped indoors and buried my nose once more.

This evening’s dinner consisted of Jackie’s well filled beef and mushroom pie; creamy mashed potato; tender cabbage and cauliflower leaves; crunchy carrots, firm cauliflower, and tasty gravy, with which she drank Grenache/Cinsault Pays d’Oc rosé. From Desperate Dan’s cow pie our discussion turned to the Dundee stable of comics including, Dandy, Beano, Beezer, and Topper, all of which we had delivered, but had to wait for Mum to read first.

Comedienne Mode

Around this time of year we are normally visited by small green

crickets, one of which Jackie photographed this morning.

Later I photographed Ellie in her comedienne mode. Each one of these faces is a deliberate attempt to be funny, which of course warrants and receives the desired response.

These last two were taken in the garden where we were seated with Elizabeth who had visited for a chat and a couple of cups of tea, on the still breezy patio where we watched

fuchsias and verbena bonariensis swaying;

hanging baskets swinging;

shadows shifting;

windmills whirring;

potted impatiens quivering;

and listened to such as laundry baskets sliding across the paving; the clanking of metal artefacts and thud of wooden items falling somewhere, and the ubiquitous swishing of foliage.

This evening we all dined on further helpings of Jackie’s chicken jalfrezi meal and her fresh batch of pilau rice, with which she drank more Zesty and I drank more Gran Selone.

A Day Of Contrasts

The morning’s drizzling overture reached a crashing crescendo as Jackie and I began loading our garden refuse into the Modus. My shirt was soaked in seconds, and I donned a raincoat for our trip to the Council dump, now rebranded as the Efford Recycling Centre.

This symphony’s variously placed movements were conducted throughout the day.

Jacqueline visited this afternoon and we enjoyed our usual mixture of reminiscences and updating.

Soon after 6.00 p.m. the skies cleared and the starring, brightly shining sun silhouetted trees against the sky, and cast shadows short and stretched. The rain had ceased after filling numerous receptacles.

This evening, Jacqueline having returned home, the rest of us dined on Jackie’s strongly flavoured lemon chicken and savoury rice with which she drank more of the rosé and I drank more of the La Vieille Ferme.

The Garden And Tanners Lane

This is the view that, a couple of days ago, prompted me to wander round the garden with a camera. By the time I got around to it the sun had fled along with its shadows.

So I had another go this morning.

In particular I was keen to capture such blossom as had survived last week’s gales. These include the towering Amanogawa cherry; a more normal pink one; and burgeoning crab apple.

After lunch Jackie and I took a forest drive where there was not much

sign of life until we came across a trio of somnolent donkeys adorning the verge of Tanners Lane.

All bore small patches of skin exposed from torn tufts of hide;

one carried a cross upon its back.

I wandered a little further down the lane, photographing

blackthorn and

bluebells on a bank beneath a tree from which emanated sweet birdsong, the ambience being somewhat soured by the oppressive pong of muck spreading.

The most awake donkey ambled down to join me in the shade.

This evening we all dined on moist roast chicken; flavoursome pork and apple sausages; crisp roast potatoes and Yorkshire pudding; soft cabbage; crunchy carrots; firm cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, and tasty gravy, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Côte’s du Rhône.

Stretching For Holly

Ronan of Tom Sutton Heating spent the morning fixing the boiler problem which turned out to be water in the oil; it seems it was not the drop in temperature which had stopped it working, but the very heavy rain which has got in somewhere. To be more sure Jackie has ordered a tank drier bag from Amazon.

The rain having desisted, much of the floodwater has receded and the icicles melted, although , on this still chilly but dry day ice not reached by the low, weak, sun remains, as we discovered on a forest drive.

Boldre Bridge overlooked a rippling stream, still bearing ice, and reflecting trees and fenceposts.

Nearby, Rodlease Lane still bore arboreal images in pools disturbed by passing vehicles.

Long shadows of a woman and a donkey stretched across the banks of Hatchet Pond and the potholed drive to it;

gulls admired their reflections in the remnants of its ice, while a paddling coot looked on.

The drift paddock on Furzey Lane reflected on the icy pool surrounding it, where

patterns remained unthawed.

A pony reaching up for holly in Ran’s Wood was lit by the lowering sun, which had

set by the time we arrived at Milford on Sea..

Later we dined on Cook’s very tasty vegetarian lasagna brought by Elizabeth last week, and Jackie’s equally flavoursome Chicken and vegetable stewp with delicious garlic bread brought by our sister from the same source. I drank more of the Shiraz and no-one else did.