Jackie drove me to and from New Milton station today, for me to lunch with Norman at The Archduke. He and I both enjoyed the sweet potato soup starter and the chicken escalope with chips. Norman went on to pecan pie. We shared a bottle of Sicilian shiraz.

Masonic Hall reflection

Sparaxis tricolour cormsThe quill-like image on the windscreen of a parked car at New Milton was formed from reflections of the Masonic Hall, and its fence, situated opposite. Nearby, I picked up a bag of 70 Sparaxis tricolour corms. We had to look them up, and learned that they are gaudy, and should be planted in the autumn for spring flowering. I doubt that that will save a trip to any of the garden centres that Jackie frequents.

On the taxi Approach Road to Waterloo Station, a multi-storey cycle rack bears witness to the number of people who must bring their bikes up on the train. Or perhaps they cycle into the capital for work.

Cycle rack

River Thames under railway bridgeFigures on wall

Before meeting Norman, I climbed the South Bank steps and peered at the River Thames from beneath the railway arches, a wall alongside which was decorated by a line of figures in a naive art style. The artist may be disappointed to learn that iPhoto only asked me to name the brunette with the red mouth, clearly not recognising the others as people.

Scott McMahon

It was a dull day, enlivened by the music of busker Scott McMahon, who gave me his e-mail address so that I could send him a copy of this photograph. He has a vibrant voice and a pleasant personality.

Strada and Red barriersYellow barriers and passers-by

Multicoloured hangings proclaiming LOVE, like the one behind Scott, were affixed all around, their hues reflected in strident barriers protecting work in progress. These screens blended well with the parasols of the as yet unpatronised Strada restaurant, and gave a certain jaundiced tinge to passers-by.

Reflecting sculptureReflecting sculpture 2Reflections in sculpture

Other pedestrians were, as usual, reflected in the three-dimensional rectangular structure I take to be sculptural, that stands at the corner of Sutton Walk. The fact that even the material from which this is constructed is not graffiti-proof confirms that the woman in the red jacket is part of the reflection.

Fellow blogger, arlingwoman, on learning that I was reading Robert Frost’s poems, assured me that I would enjoy them. How right she was. With uncomplicated, descriptive, language, particularly in the longer, narrative, poems, Frost moves seamlessly through straightforward observation to basic truths. These anecdotes, sometimes in the form of a dialogue, are written in the racy, sometimes vernacular, style of the countryman that the poet undoubtedly was. He writes of the weather, farm work and its implements, flowers, trees, animals, birds, and insects in a detailed, spare, manner, with an ease that belies his skilful craftsmanship; and clearly relishes the shelter and security that a home provides from the elements. As he ages, he reflects more on the human condition and its lifespan.

I have read widely all my life. As I closed my book, finished on the train, I reflected on the fact that I had left meeting such a man until now. My edition is of The Folio Society’s selection enhanced by Jonathan Gibbs’s illustrations, small examples of which grace the boards of the book.Robert Frost cover

I was back home early enough to photograph our eucalyptus flowers.

Eucalyptus flowers 1


Eucalyptus flowers 2

Can any of my antipodean friends specify the variety?

Our fearless little starling chicks, their pink pelican-like throats expanding and contracting beneath their buff baby fluff, poke their heads out of their cave, shouting for their food. Their more wary parents, when we are about, fly off again, their children’s dinner in their beaks.

Starling chick 1

Starling chick 2Starling chick 3Starling chicks

The babies are already looking remarkably intelligent, even quizzical; and jostling for position on their balcony.

Our evening meal consisted of cheese, onion, and mushroom omelette and baked beans.

Inquisitive Chicks

Rabbits are like birds. At least in our garden they are. Jackie can watch them through the windows for ages. The minute I pick up a camera they flit or scuttle off, as did our early little bunny visitor.

As will be seen from today’s photographs, the sun popped in and out of the clouds. The morning was spent driving to and from Nuffield Hospital at Chandlers Ford, for Jackie’s pre-op tests on her left knee.

Jackie pruning

This afternoon I sprayed weed-killer on various paths and the head gardener carried out much pruning. My contribution to the latter was to gather up the cuttings and place them on burning or compost heaps.

Reflections on parked cars

I took a short walk to the postbox alongside the disused Telephone Box that can be seen reflected among the trees on the cars that are now regularly parked in front of it.

Dahlias and poppy

As our earlier poppies die down, small dahlias,

Poppy 1Poppy 2

and several larger, later, varieties of poppy spring up.

Day lilies

Day lilies have been around for a while now.

Clematis Marie Boisselot, pansies, foxgloves

The clematis Marie Boisselet resists being trained to climb an obelisk, and trails beneath it.

The starling parents still squawk off when we approach the kitchen corner, but their offspring do not yet appear to have learned fear. Starling 1

Starling 2Starling 3

They have become quite inquisitive. Their Mum and Dad have made rather a mess of the woodwork which reveals earlier paintwork. We do know a certain amount of refurbishment is required.

A bag of still crisp prawn crackers formed the starters for what, this evening, was a genuine fusion dinner. These were left over from the Chinese takeaway set meal for two that we had enjoyed two days ago. They always give you far more than is necessary. They also give you larger quantities of the varied dishes than you can eat. Sweet and sour chicken, crispy beef, chicken and black bean sauce, beef with ginger and spring onion, and savoury rice, therefore, filled one third of our plates; left-over mashed potato, green beans, and cauliflower from last might, occupied another; and succulent fillet steaks the third. I employed the microwave and Jackie applied the frying pan. I really should have photographed this delicious melange. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, whilst I imbibed.Casillero del Diablo cabernet sauvignon reserva 2013.