A Nature Lesson

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On another overcast morning Jackie and I tidied up the garden with secateurs and broom while Aaron and Sean completed the building of the log shelter. Later, Jackie did some more planting and pruning as I carted clippings and branches to the compost and dump bags.

This afternoon I returned to the scanning of the negatives of the 1985 holiday in Instow.

Stump and barbed wire 1985

A fine fossilised scarecrow in a field was revealed as a gnarled stump crossed by barbed wire.

Bees on kniphofia 1985

Bees congregated on kniphofia.

Roof repairs 1985

A roofer was hard at work in the August heat. This seemed to me to be some traditional method merging slate with other materials. Were they being refurbished or replaced altogether, like those next door? I would be happy to learn from anyone with knowledge of this.

Jessica and Louisa 1985 1Jessica and Louisa 2Jessica and Louisa 1985 3Jessiac and Louisa 4

Our holiday home was a short walk from these houses. Here, Jessica sits with Louisa on the wall featured yesterday, introducing her to the wonders of nature. Tall irises stand proud while yellow roses ramble along the stones.

Jessica and Sam 1985

Sam took his turn, too.

For dinner this evening, Jackie produced lemon chicken with chilli and garlic; swede and potato mash; broccoli; and sautéed leeks, peppers, mushrooms and courgettes. This was followed by rhubarb pastries and ice cream. The Culinary Queen drank a blend of Bavaria and Hoegaarden, and I drank Foremost Hawke’s Bay syrah 2015.

Tourist Time

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On a much brighter morning, Jackie and I transported two more large bags of garden refuse to the recycling centre. This time we returned with yet another garden bench. All we have to do now is find a space for it.

We then drove around the forest, parking at Burley where we both wandered around among the crowds of tourists, most of whom were foreigners who spoke good enough English to make us feel honoured.

Witchcraft

Witches in window

When I published Witchcraft on 22nd June 2013, I gave the history of this New Forest village’s spurious historic association with the practice which draws visitors by the car and coach load. The two young men in the first picture, obscure the witches in the window as they make a beeline for the shop doorway.

Crowd 1

The narrow alley beside the shop leads to the public car park. It is always filled with people, many wearing colourful backpacks, at this time of year.

Crowd 2Crowd 3

Ice cream cones and mobile phones are very much in evidence. The children in the bottom right of these last two pictures are trying out the produce of Face the Music;

Girl with ice crem and mobile phone

this young lady was soon going to have to choose between phone and cornet.

Woman eating ice cream

This woman,

Little girl eating ice cream

and this little girl had clearly made their choices.

Bike rack

Forest Leisure Cycling drew quite a bit of custom;

Wagon Ride 1

and for those who preferred more leisurely transport, there were Wagon Rides. After checking out the form and the cost,

Wagon Ride 2

this little family took their seats.

Horses

When the horses had been adequately watered they were ready to step it out.

Chidren as witches 1

Children as witches 2

There was an opportunity for children to pose as witches by sticking their heads through holes in a suitably painted board. After the eldest of this flaxen haired trio had arranged her siblings to her satisfaction, she joined in the fun. The girls knew they were meant to be malevolent; their brother preferred the angelic look.

Girls on stump 1

 After I had taken the first shot of a sextet of girls on a stump, I pointed out that some of them had their back to me.

Girls on stump 2

They consequently obliged by posing beautifully.

Having shown them the pictures, I wandered off. Soon one of my models ran after me and asked if she could copy this last image into her iPhone. Thinking this would require some technique that was beyond me I asked her if she knew how to do it. She did indeed. She photographed my photograph from the image on my screen.

This evening we dined on second helpings of Hordle Chinese Take Away food with treacle tart and ice cream to follow. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Reserve des Tuguets 2012.

Before And After: The Dead End Path

Becky’s August Birthday meal was twice postponed through illness, as was Ian’s earlier in October. Everyone was fit for Ian’s daughter Heather’s recent one. That is why we drove to Emsworth last night. As far as Becky was concerned, she was just going to Nicolino’s Italian restaurant across the road from their flat with Heather and her husband, Chris. She was open-mouthed when the other four arrived in the restaurant to see Jackie and me sitting there. We enjoyed a very pleasant evening with excellent food and service. My choice was minestrone soup followed by spaghetti Al Pescatore. I had no room for dessert. Valpolicella was my beverage.

 

Quay Street 25.7.15Stump 4Jackie 7.67 002 - Version 2Today was a very wet one. I began by making my final selection of three prints for The First Gallery Christmas exhibition. We need to take them to Paul for framing, and will do that in the next day or two to meet the submissions deadline.

 

These images have all appeared in previous posts. I have chosen them for variety. The first is of Quay Street, Lymington, this July. The walkers are Danni and Andy. The next, a stump, was from our garden on 24th January this year. Finally, we have a portrait of Jackie in July 1967, heavily cropped and converted to black and white

I continued with the production of the next sequence for the garden progress album. This is The Dead End Path.

Garden 7.5.14

 

This shot of the garden on 7th May 2014, shows why the path has its name. Behind the blue painted Butler sink is a low wall separating the path from the patio. In the bottom left hand corner, incidentally can be seen the start of a collection of rubbish from inside the house. This was destined for the dump.

Sinks in path

The above-mentioned sink had two companions on the path leading from the brick path behind it. We moved them on 17th May. I had to empty them before being able to move them at all. A couple of thyme plants therein now thrive on the patio.

Path to sinks

I managed to shift them as far as the low wall, but definitely needed the assistance of Jackie and a lever to lift them onto the wall.

Boundary and sinks

What on earth do you do with two hefty lumps of white stoneware covered in peeling blue paint? Disguise seemed the only option.

Garden

By 16th June, all three of the sinks were suitably clad, at least on the patio side. It is the Gazebo Path that trails away on the left hand side of the photograph.

View along dead end path

The new planting was established by 18th September 2015, but the Dead End Path side still exposes its peeling paint. The Compassion rose to the left has benefited from clearing out the undergrowth which had choked it.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s superb sausage casserole, mashed potato and swede, piquant cauliflower cheese, and boiled carrots, cabbage, and mange touts. She drank sparkling water, and i quaffed Castilo San Lorenzo rioja reserva 2010.

A Remarkable Year For Flora

UnknownEarly this morning we kept a GP appointment in Milford on Sea. I was given a referral for my Dupuytren’s contracture. This photograph from the internet best shows the stage mine has reached. I know it looks unseemly, but it is awkward rather than painful. I cannot straighten the finger.

Afterwards, on this exceedingly mild day I took a stroll round the garden. Apart from the cyclamens, pansies and other flowers normally blooming at this time, we have mahonias, hellebores, roses, and bidens.CyclamenPansyMahoniaHelleboreRoseRose CompassionbidensCamellia budNasturtium

More camellias are budding, and even nasturtiums have survived. This really has been a remarkable year for flora.

Stump

A pig with a ring through its nose winked and smiled out of one of the multicoloured stumps on the back drive.

Paul and Margery came for a visit at midday and brought back unsold framed photographs from the Ruby exhibition. Our friend is pleased to have become a dab hand at the difficult task of leaving our front drive and emerging into Christchurch Road.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious lamb jafrezi (recipe) and savoury rice with egg custard to follow. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I consumed a little more of the cabernet sauvignon.

A Statuesque Beauty

Jackie dropped me at Silver Street again this morning. This time I walked along this road, which, like many local ones has no pavement. I the turned right into Woodcock Lane and crossed Everton Road into Hordle Lane and, eventually, home.

Peterson’s Folly is visible from our front bedroom windows, but there was a much clearer Peterson's Folly 1Peterson's Folly 2view from Silver Street, where moon daises were still blooming.Moon daisy

The ditch in Woodcock Lane, that is liable to flooding, is beginning to fill up.DitchRoad liable to flooding

A creature appears to have taken up residence in a dead tree stump.Stump

Ponies, some wearing jackets, could be seen through a hedge. Their owner, a young Pony 2woman, noticing me poking my lens through the shrubbery, politely enquired as to whether I might be recceing the joint with the intention of returning to steal the ‘rugs’, which I took to mean the jackets. Apparently this is a common occurrence. We had a long, enjoyable conversation in which she told me that the horses were all foresters, and became very Pony 1inquisitive and advanced on watchers, thus alerting her to their presence. She pointed out the unclad grey, which she thought the most beautiful.Sheep

Further along, sheep in a field were colourfully stained, perhaps decorated for Christmas.

Footpath blockedStilePony 3A public footpath on Hordle Lane, where I met another inquisitive pony, has been blocked with barbed wire. Perhaps the doggie poo bag had been tossed beside it to indicate what a rambler thought of this.

This afternoon we visited New Milton for some banking and postage stamps. After this we went on to Milford on Sea to make an appointment at the GP’s. On my left hand I have a Dupuytren’s contracture which has been progressing nicely for about five years, and is now becoming a little awkward, so I need a referral to a surgeon. Patient.co.uk has this to say about it:

‘Dupuytren’s contracture causes thickening of tissues in the palm. If it progresses, one or more fingers bend (contract) into the palm and you cannot straighten the finger. The cause is not known. In many cases it remains mild and does not require treatment. If the condition becomes more severe or the function of the hand becomes affected then a specialist may recommend treatment.’

Jackie’s sister Helen has discovered an early postcard photograph of their mother and her friend, Sheila. My lady volunteered my services for producing a set of prints for Sheila’s daughter Margaret and various family members. I scanned the original and, after a considerable

Mum Rivett & Margaret c 1940amount of retouching, made six copies. This photograph was probably taken around 1939/40 when Veronica Rivett, my delightful late mother-in-law, the statuesque beauty to the viewer’s left, would have been about eighteen.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s scrumptious cottage pie; roast parsnips; crisp carrots, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts; followed by bread and butter pudding and custard for me, evap for her. She imbibed Black Tower B rose, whilst I did the same with Longhorn Valley cabernet sauvignin 2012.

Tree Felling

Yesterday’s post carries a picture of the holly stump I decided to remove today. The promised rain fell overnight but kept off today, so I didn’t get my break.

Jackie drove us to Milford Supplies where I bought a long, heavy, tree feller’s axe, a smaller hand one, an iron shovel, and, for good measure, a fork handle. Tree felling toolsI felt somewhat like a Mafia hit man as I arrayed my purchases in the boot of the car.

I spent the rest of the morning extracting the stump. This feat was achieved by swinging the heavy axe and bringing it down on the stubborn remnant enough times to split it a bit and chip off some residual branches; by digging out soil around it until reaching roots; by chopping or lopping out those lifelines for the tree; and eventually kicking the object to dislodge it enough to cut out the tap root. It is harder to do this than to write about it. As I wielded my long macho weapon I identified with Van Heflin’s homesteader in ‘Shane’, and kept an eye out for Alan Ladd. He didn’t show up, so I had to finish the job unaided.

The last holly I cut down was about 30 feet high in Newark almost thirty years ago. I sawed off sections of the trunk first, until reaching a manageable stump. This is the method I employed after lunch with a tree only about ten feet tall. Having added all the branches to my ever increasing pile of stuff too tough for compost, I tackled the stump in the same way as the earlier one. I was able to leave a useful length to aid me in the kicking process.

Today’s location is at the far end of yesterday’s path. It widens out beyond a decking area which is approached by stepping stones through the gravel. The condition of that terrain can be seen from the stump picture. With the two hollies out of the way I thought I just had to weed, rake, and sweep the gravel and I would be finished. No such luck. The few sprigs of copper beech piercing the elderly weed protection lining in front of the platform would just pop out with a little gentle persuasion, I thought. Not so. They were actually suckers sprouting from a root of the mature tree nearby. So I chopped out a section of that root and completed the job.

Decking areaIn this photograph the keys to the location are the blue clematis and the red rose. The holly stump was situated close to the central two stepping stones.

Stepping stones and gravel

The disturbed area to the right of this second image was occupied by the other tree.

Roses

The wooden arch leading into the front garden now supports a rose of deeper pink than the first that bloomed.

Yesterday’s roast pork and red cabbage meal was beautifully reprised. The crackling was even better. With it, Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Bishop’s Finger beer.