Why Did The Pheasant Cross The Road?

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Yesterday evening we enjoyed the usual excellent food and friendly efficient service in the perfect company of Elizabeth, Danni, and Andy, at Dynasty Indian restaurant in Brockenhurst. This family grouping is always full of stories, fun, and catching up with current events. So it was then.

When John Keats penned his immortal line ‘Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’ he was not thinking of Spring. This morning, one could have been forgiven for thinking so. Well, at least the ‘mists’ image. As I stood peering into the film covering Lymington River, a gull winged its way into view, alighted on a circular yellow buoy, and quickly sped off again.

Reed beds

I crossed the road and leant on a rail chatting to a little family who were on their way to the quay for a crabbing expedition. I was able to tell them about the reed beds, and thatching. One little girl told me that her Mummy had a coat like my jacket. “Well, it’s red. But longer”, she added.

Cyclists

On leaving Lymington we followed a pair of cyclists up the hill towards the east. These two had the good sense to stay in single file and on our side of the road. We are accustomed to and accepting of this. Whilst I can fully understand the joy of cycling for exercise, I cannot fathom why anyone would charge around bends on our narrow lanes two abreast. This happened twice today. On the second occasion a large group was involved. Fortunately our vehicle is a Modus, not a large lorry.

Donkeys were just about visible at Tanner’s Lane. Three grazed in the field against the backdrop of a burgeoning rape crop; another pair chomped on dry seaweed on the shingle.

An angler in a boat would not have been able to see the Isle of Wight behind him; a black-headed gull floated nearer the shore.

As we drove away from the beach, a decidedly grey pony, deviating at the last minute, headed straight for us.

Fat pheasants wandered quite leisurely around this area. Why, we wondered, would one decide to cross Sowley Lane?

Ah. There’s the answer.

Bright purple aubretia lit up the ancient stone wall alongside the ruins of St Leonard’s granary, beside which

drowsed representatives of the usual group of ponies. Before the rains set in, the chestnut against the rusting fence rails would not have been able to enjoy admiring its mirrored image. What, perhaps, these photographs cannot display is the absolutely still silence conveyed by these creatures.

Only the tiny Falabella raised an eyebrow as I approached.

This afternoon a smiling sun warmed the garden from a cloudless blue sky.

This evening we dined on smoked haddock fish cakes, piquant cauliflower cheese, mashed potato and swede, and carrots and broccoli, with which I finished the Comino Nuevo.

 

Selfie With Sir Robert

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Boat on shallows

This afternoon we drove around the lanes to the east of the Forest. Our first port of call was the beach at Tanner’s Lane. A rowing boat lay among the rocks in the shallows.

Shorescape 1

The water further out, fronting the Isle of Wight was blue, still, and clear. Portsmouth’s  Spinnaker Tower stood steady on the horizon.

Pawprint

Was this print evidence of the New Forest yeti?

Couple on beach 2

Several couples took advantage of this balmy September day.

Couple on beach 1

This pair claimed no knowledge of

Glass on post

 the champagne glass standing on a nearby post. I tested the quality before deciding to leave it where it was.

Isle of Wight from mainland

A lovely view of the rolling hills of the Isle of Wight was available from St Leonard’s Road,

Cyclist

along which one of my driver’s acceptable cyclists happily pedalled. Jackie takes exception to those dressed in bum-hugging lycra with a professional air and knobbly calves.

St Leonard's Barn 1St Leonard's Barn 2

Further on, St Leonard’s Barn

St Leonard's Barn ruin 1St Leonard's Barn ruin 2St Leonard's Barn ruin 3

and its ruins basked in the late afternoon sunshine.

Valerian

Valerian sprang from

Stone wall 1

the ancient stone walls;

Dogrose hips

dog rose hips mingled with blackberries in the hedgerows opposite;

Haybales

hay bales were poised to roll across the fields;

Pool and reflection

and a pool by the wayside reflected the skies and iron fencing atop the slope above.

Scarecrows

Nearer home we passed a Batman v Superman scarecrow contest at Classic Hair & Beauty Clinic, 40 Stopples Lane;

Derrick reflected with Scarecrow

and I took a selfie with P.C. Robert Peel at Hordle Pharmacy, 26 Ashley Lane.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s luscious lamb jalfrezi served with onion rice. I drank Prestige de Calvet Cotes du Rhone Villages 2016. The Culinary Queen had already consumed her Hoegaarden in the Rose Garden.

 

 

From Ice Cream To Bread And Butter

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Today was dull and heavy with the promise of rain that never came to relieve the oppression.

I took a trip back to the summer of 1985 through the medium of colour slides which I scanned.

Louisa ice cream 1985 1

Here Louisa tackles an ice cream in the garden of our Gracedale Road home.

Louisa ice cream 1985 2

This has featured before, but it was then taken from a print. It is sometimes difficult to get the melting treat all in the the mouth,

Louisa ice cream 1985 3

but is definitely worth trying.

(Who would have thought I would one day be scanning these into an Apple?)

Sam ice cream 1985 2

Sometimes it’s a race against time before it runs down into your sleeve,

Sam ice cream 1985 1

and you are left wondering where it’s all gone.

Soon after these photographs were taken, Jessica and I travelled with the children to Instow, near Bideford in Devon, for one of the holidays we enjoyed with the Henry Pearson family in those days.

Sam and Louisa, Instow 1985 3

This time Sam enjoys bread and butter,

Sam and Loiusa Instow 1985 2

Sam and Louisa Instow 1985 1

and clambers over a stout, cemented, stone wall in the garden of our borrowed house.

This evening we dined on meaty beef burgers, lashings of onions, chips, and baked beans, followed by chocolate sponge pudding with caramel sauce. I drank Doom Bar and Jackie drank fruit juice.

A Tale Of Two Climbers

Today was another wet one. That put paid to any continuation of the pathfinding project, but we worked on others in brief spells between the rains.Gladiolus

An interesting variety of gladiolus has emerged outside the back door to the kitchen.

Jackie drove off to Everton Garden Centre to buy some annuals. She returned with quite a few. There were enough to plant up the urn and the chimney pots, and to provide marginals for the pond.

Butchers blocks potting shedFirst, she needed a potting shed. Our predecessor used a sand tray in the garage for this, but that was one of the many items removed to make way for the utility room. Among the pieces left for us by the previous owners, thinking they might be useful, were two butchers’ blocks. They were relegated to the skip pile from which they were retrieved this morning to make an improvised potting shed.

Three extremely heavy stoneware chimney pots had been brought from Amity Grove via 4 Castle Malwood Lodge. They had stood in our front garden since 31st March. They needed two of us to lift each one into a wheelbarrow, and to manoeuvre them into place. Chimney triangleThe awareness that they now formed three corners of a triangle caused Jackie once more to reflect on the lack of one in the kitchen.

While Jackie planted her purchases, I wandered around randomly weeding, then brightened up yesterday’s path with a partial application of gravel.

I have mentioned before the nature of the boundary between our home and the unoccupied bungalow to our right. This is sometimes rather problematic, as in the case of the Lonicera which has been so invasive as to push our neighbouring shrubs right out of position and across the patio. BoundaryOne particular climbing rose has been forced to extend leggy limbs above and beyond what is sensible. It is tied to a tall wooden stake that, in turn, is tied to a metal one. It looks to me as if the thick honeysuckle-like stems and branches are all that is keeping anything in place at all. Bird's nestI found an empty birds’ nest in the tangled mess. Seeing this object, as if floating on the reflecting metal garden table, alerted me to the fact that I was becoming a little damp.

Pondering how to dispose of the mounting pile of pruned plant pieces, I thought of my good Newark friend and neighbour, Malcolm Anderton, and another climbing rose which was itself perpetrating the invasion.

A long, high, stone wall separated our two properties. Covering this, on our side, were three large red climbing roses which tended to peep over to Malcolm’s. When, around the turn of the millennium, some of the boughs were found cut, and on the ground in our driveway, Jessica approached our neighbour to see if he knew anything about it. Indeed, he did. He had been pruning the invader whose stems he was chucking back over the wall. He informed us that that was the legal thing to do.

Our next door garden here is completely overgrown, so no-one would probably notice if I tossed the limbs of Lonicera back where they came from. I am grateful to Malcolm for the idea.

Having given up on the garden after lunch, I just nipped out to get wet photographing Jackie’s planting:Pond plantingUrn plantingChimney pot plantingDinner at The Jarna was as good as ever this evening. We know, because we enjoyed some, both drinking Cobra.

Blue

Two days ago I was diverted from planting out flowers from pots, by beginning to clear a path. Yesterday, cutting the grass diverted me from that.

When I began the clearance, the path was not visible. It just looked like an overgrown shrubbery with a couple of blue painted sinks dropped into it. Sinks in pathBy this morning the work had revealed an elderly gravel path with the remains of dry stone walls either side of it. Shrubs, brambles, and weeds had severely encroached upon it.

And what was to be done about the sinks? They were each filled with earth, and contained a number of interesting little plants.

Thyme transplantedWell, I had to move them, and knew I had no chance of doing so unless I emptied them. I did that, and transplanted various items, such as two different kinds of thyme placed in the patio area.

This path is really an access route to the shrubbery, and leads simply to a cemented stone wall dividing off the patio. It seemed to me that the sinks could be useful if placed against the wall. I asked Jackie for her views. She thought they would look good on top of the wall, thus giving them height. Well, she would, wouldn’t she? No way could I lift them the extra couple of feet up there on my own. And I didn’t think we could do it together.

I manoeuvred these heavy stoneware kitchen sinks to the far end of the path and stood and scratched my head. Then I was summoned for lunch, which seemed rather a good idea.

Snails dormintoryIn the process of moving their bed I disturbed a group of slumbering snails. Their dorm master had not been alert to the danger. They dropped off one by one.

On one of my trips to the compost heap my eye was caught by a large blue bloom peering through a shrubbery by the decking on the other side of the garden. Clematis large blueThis was a newly flowering clematis which I cannot name.

After lunch I managed to hoist one of the sinks onto the lower wall at the side of the path and was beginning to gird my loins for the higher heave when Superwoman arrived. Together we raised the blue painted containers into position.

It would not be surprising for my readers to question the aesthetics of bright blue paintwork that was bound to peel off and leave shreds mingling with the gravel. Anyone who has done so will empathise with our thoughts and feelings about a similar hue, among others equally strident, having been liberally splashed around inside the house, leaving spatters on shelves, fixtures, and carpets. In no way do I exaggerate.Path to sinks

Finally I repositioned the stones at the sides of the path, finished the weeding, trimmed back some shrubs, and raked the remaining gravel as smooth as I could. The large plant in the foreground of the picture is a mature geranium palmatum. The flowers of another can be seen further down on the right.

Tree peony rescuedFinally I planted the frail-looking rescued tree peony. This plant had not been given a pot. It lay on its side on sandy soil. It has spent two days heeled in a large container, and now stands, reasonably erect, in its allotted home. It is to be hoped that, if it does survive, it is appreciative of the efforts that have gone into accommodating it.

Another excellent meal was served at The Jarna, where we dined this evening. We sat under blue spotlights this time. Blue light on riceThey lent an interesting colour to my rice. We both drank Cobra.