Keep Off My Roof

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We carried out a little more gardening maintenance today.

Jackie concentrated on conditioning beds and pots like this sweet pea trough.

Jackie preparing sweet pea trough 1

It was not her own hunger that caused her to apply her teeth to the seal of the Miracle Gro tub.

Sweet pea trough

This was food for the plants.

Compost on oval bed

In addition to my usual clearing up after the Head Gardener, I transferred more barrow loads of compost to the Oval Bed.

A sleek jackdaw patrolling our ridge tiles, head turning this way and that, uttered repeated warning cries of ‘Keep off my roof’.

This evening we dined on roast chicken; sweet and ordinary roast potatoes; sage and onion stuffing; with green and orange mixed veg, namely Brussels sprouts, carrots, and green beans. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and i drank Cimarosa Limited Edition shiraz 2014.

Everlasting Sweet Peas?

James Peacock brought back the cured iMac and checked everything was all plugged in and  working well. He also worked out the CR2 format problem. This was because the camera was set to film in RAW mode, and CR2 is the format for that. I had not noticed it before because the Mac automatically converts to jpeg for WordPress; whereas the Microsoft appears to please itself whether it does or not. Given Microsoft’s current advertising campaign in which a series of alleged Windows users work in the phrase “I couldn’t do that with a Mac” I wondered whether Apple would take this opportunity to retaliate with “Derrick couldn’t do that with his Windows”. I am up for negotiation. Interestingly, a set designer called Beowulf, in the first of these adverts, stated “I couldn’t do that with my Mac”. The “a” quite swiftly replaced “my”.

I therefore spent some time inserting the missing pictures into ‘No Resolution’ and ‘The Never Ending Summer’.

Raindrops on sweet peas

During the process of unravelling the CR2 issue, I nipped out and photographed the seemingly everlasting sweet peas. These are not, in fact, Lathyrus latifolius, but ordinary annuals which this year are thriving forever. Perhaps it is the sunshine and showers that keep them going.

Beef stew

The mashed potato served with Jackie’s bountiful beef stew this evening was as smooth as the main dish was packed with goodies. With this, the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I finished the madiran.

Patrick’s Patch Revisited

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We enjoyed a productive drive through the forest this morning.

Hincheslea Moor 1

On Hincheslea Moor the horizon still bore the early haze, as one man and his dog disappeared into the bracken,

Hincheslea Moor 2

Hincheslea Moor 3

Hincheslea Moor 4

whilst the sun’s rays illuminated the rest,

Hincheslea Moor 5

especially the bright purple heather.

Highland Cow 1

Venturing into the wooded area at the edge of the moor, I became aware that I was being observed.

Highland Cow 2

A number of Highland Cattle glided among the trees,

Highland Cow 3

and sailed majestically into the sunshine beyond.

Highland Cattle 1

These great shaggy beasts have roamed the rugged landscape of Scotland since at least the 6th century AD, possibly having been imported from Scandinavia by invading Vikings.

Highland Cattle 2

Forage is easy to come by in The New Forest,

Highland Cow 5Higland Cow 6Highland Cow 7

and they probably don’t need their extra overcoats.

Highland Cow 8

They really are light on their feet, silent, and really quite elegant.

Highland Cow 9

On my way back through the forest this one became more interested in my presence;

Highland Cow 11

raising her head, she licked her chops;

Highland Cow 10

and attempted a kiss, which, deftly avoiding tripping over a fallen trunk, I politely declined.

Lymington RiverLymington River 2Lymington River 4

Moving on, the Lymington River at Brockenhurst was as smooth and effective as glass.

From there we travelled to Beaulieu for a visit to Patrick’s Patch. Although this gem of a community garden has featured in a number of posts, the link from 25th November 2013 explains its purpose.

Paddy's Patch 1

Today, the garden was enjoying one of its peak periods. This path, to one of the many scarecrows, is flanked by sweet peas, dahlias, and globe artichokes.

Comma butterfly

Butterflies, like this comma, punctuated the hedges;

Bee on echinacea

bees raided the echinacea;

Zinnia

at their peak were flowers like the dahlias above, this zinnia,

Globe Artichoke

and the globe artichokes that bore the evidence of the irrigation of

Rachel Head Gardener

Rachel, the Head Gardener, who worked over the whole plot with a snaking hose.

Bouquet from Paddy's Patch

Before we left, this friendly young woman cut us a bouquet of flowers, including the zinnia pictured above. Jackie was quick to place them in a vase on the kitchen table.

This evening we dined on the offerings of Mr Chatty Man Chan at Hordle Chinese Take Away. I finished the last inch or two of the Slovenian white wine.

Licking Into Shape

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Parasol on gravelled patio

This morning we bought another parasol for the South end gravelled patio.

After lunch, The Head Gardener watered and I dead-headed The Rose Garden. Here there are two examples of similar but different flowers that she has been pointing out recently.

For Your Eyes Only

These are For Your Eyes Only

Summer Wine

and Summer Wine.

Hydrangea 1Hydrangea 2

Other manifestations are these two hydrangeas. Apart from the subtly different hues, can you spot the difference?

When Jackie and I visited Wimborne Minster on 23rd November 2013, we could not access the Chained Library. This was, however, possible for her and her sisters when they were staying near there recently.

The Chained Library003

Helen bought me a copy of W. A. (Frank) Tandy’s small booklet, which I finished reading today.

Tandy provides a brief introduction to the practice of chaining library books, and details of those, mostly dating from the 16th to the 18th centuries, contained in Wimborne Minster. The earliest volume in the collection is “Regimen Animarum”, a manuscript written on vellum, dated 1343. The books cover other subjects than the expected ecclesiastic ones. Gardening, science, and medicine are examples. I found it fascinating to discover that Sir Thomas Browne’s “The Pseudodoxia Epidemica of 1672” ‘examines the theory that a female bear gives birth to a lump of fat which she then licks into the shape of the cub she wants; it is from this that the expression ‘licking into shape’ originates’.

6453751d0b046bb859fccb8b97bd4e3b

This illustration comes from a mediaeval bestiary, Bodley 764, taken from Pinterest.

In mediaeval times, and the early years of printing, many books were extremely valuable. Most were bound in wooden boards making it possible to chain them in the manner thus described by Wikipedia:

‘A chained library is a library where the books are attached to their bookcase by a chain, which is sufficiently long to allow the books to be taken from their shelves and read, but not removed from the library itself. This would prevent theft of the library’s materials.[1] The practice was usual for reference libraries (that is, the vast majority of libraries) from the Middle Ages to approximately the 18th century. However, since the chaining process was also expensive, it was not used on all books.[2] Only the more valuable books in a collection were chained.[2] This included reference books and large books.[2]

It is standard for chained libraries to have the chain fitted to the corner or cover of a book. This is because if the chain were to be placed on the spine the book would suffer greater wear from the stress of moving it on and off the shelf. Because of the location of the chain attached to the book (via a ringlet) the books are housed with their spine facing away from the reader with only the pages’ fore-edges visible (that is, the ‘wrong’ way round to people accustomed to contemporary libraries). This is so that each book can be removed and opened without needing to be turned around, hence avoiding tangling its chain. To remove the book from the chain, the librarian would use a key.[3]

Chained library in Hereford Cathedral

The earliest example in England of a library to be endowed for use outside an institution such as a school or college was the Francis Trigge Chained Library in GranthamLincolnshire, established in 1598. The library still exists and can justifiably claim to be the forerunner of later public library systems. Marsh’s Library in Dublin, built 1701, is another non institutional library which is still housed in its original building. Here it was not the books that were chained, but rather the readers were locked into cages to prevent rare volumes from ‘wandering’. There is also an example of a chained library in the Royal Grammar School, Guildford as well as at Hereford Cathedral. While chaining books was a popular practice throughout Europe, it was not used in all libraries. The practice of chaining library books became less popular as printing increased and books became less expensive.[3]Wimborne Minster in Dorset, England is yet another example of a Chained Library. It is one of the first in England and the second largest.[4]

Sweet

As I entered this onto WordPress, I enjoyed the scent of our sweet peas standing on my window sill.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s vegetable rice salad with cheese-centred fish cakes. My lady drank Hoegaarden and I drank Kingfisher.

P.S. Cynthia Jobin’s comment below has some interesting additional information on early books.

Hammock And Hollyhock

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This morning we shopped at Lidl, mainly to load up the car with more of their large bags of compost. Quite a number of the on the heap outside the store were damaged and leaking. Some fell on stony ground.

So popular was the photograph of Sam in the hammock from yesterday’s post that I scanned the rest of the set of colour slides made in August 1981. Matthew was wonderful with his younger siblings.

Matthew and Sam in hammock 8.81 1

Matthew and Sam in hammock 8.81 2Matthew and Sam in hammock 8.81 3Sam (and Mat) 8.81Matthew and Sam in hammock 8.81 4

Matthew and Sam 8.81 5

Matthew and Sam in hammock 8.81

Here, his and Sam’s enjoyment of time in the hammock at Meldreth is quite clear.

Sam and Adrian in hammock 8.81

Mat’s friend Adrian was of similar ilk.

Hollyhock 8.81

No, this hollyhock has not crept in from our current garden 35 years on. It was taken along with these others. Does its progeny still soar from the sunlit borders of ‘The Dumb Flea’? (the Drapers’ home where these shots were made).

Clematises and sweet peas

Here in Downton we have experienced very strong winds for two or three days. These have dried up the hanging baskets and broken a few stems. Jackie therefore has been taking a few down. She continued this today, and I did some watering.

This evening we dined on a second helping of Hordle Chinese Take Away. We now know the proprietor’s name is Chan, which is a pity because Mister Chatty Man suits him so well. I finished the Carignan Vieilles Vignes and Jackie drank her Hoegaarden and Bavaria mix. Well, she had to do something with the non-alcoholic beer bought by mistake.

Baskets And Pots

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On an overcast day I alternated between watering hanging baskets and pots, dead heading, and watching the television coverage of the men’s semi-finals at Wimbledon. I would pop outside at what seemed reasonable intervals in the matches, fill a few cans, water a few containers, and return to the TV hoping I hadn’t missed anything too crucial. This proved rather more risky in the first event.

Here I present a small token selection of the recipients of the water:

Petunias 1Petunias, sweet peas, lobelia, bidens, geraniumsLobelia, bidens, mimuluses, geraniumsPansies and geraniumsPetunias and lobelia 1Petunias, mimumuluses and lobeliaPetunias and lobelia 2Cosmos and petuniasClematis, sweet peas and geraniumsLobelias, petunias, bidensPetunias, mimuluses, lobelias, geraniumsPetunias, bidens, lobelias, geraniumsPetunias, lobelias, bidens, sweet peasDiascia

Readers will find examples of petunia, lobelia, pansy, bidens, clematis, sweet pea, geranium, mimulus, diascia, and no doubt many more.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious chicken jalfrezi and boiled rice, followed by Helen’ rich chocolate roulade. The Culinary Queen drank diet Pepsi and I began an intriguing wine curiosity. This was present from Helen and Bill; a label called Rare Vineyards; a red wine, Carignan vieilles vignes (old vines), 2015. It is enjoyable.

After The Rant

I have mentioned before that there had only been two books in my life that I have not finished reading. The first was James Joyce’s ‘Finnegan’s Wake’, because I couldn’t fathom it; the second was ‘Mort d’Arthur’ by Sir Thomas Mallory because it bored me. I have now managed a third for a combination of the two reasons.

‘Meditations’ by Rene Descartes was so difficult and boring that I did not continue with ‘& Other Writings’ in my Folio Society edition. What I did seem to understand was that this philosophical thinker trusted no perception other than his thought, except that he accepted God as a given. He didn’t trust his senses until he had done them to death inside his head. It did my head in. In fairness, better brains than mine have kept the work in print for almost 400 years. I finally abandoned it last night and began Jonathan Dimbleby’s ‘The Battle of The Atlantic’, which at least promises to flow.

I spent most of the morning trying to unravel my phone problems without becoming too twisted up myself. Do you know, I think Descartes is more comprehensible than our conglomerate corporations.

After going through all the usual hoops, my first call to O2 resulted in my being informed that my long term phone number had been transferred to my new SIM and superseded the temporary one I was given yesterday. The conversation ended abruptly. I cannot say why.

I couldn’t use the new phone which now bore the legend ‘Not registered in network’. I couldn’t even call O2 on it. I wondered if a fuse had blown. It had. Mine.

Using the landline I went through the hoops again and, of course, spoke to a second advisor. He told me that the transfer from business to personal account would take 48 hours. In the meantime I could use the old number on the new phone. I couldn’t. One of the comments this man had made was that if I could try my old SIM card in any phone that it would fit, it should work. I took that card out of the broken phone in order to try it in Jackie’s mobile. I dropped it on the floor. In attempting to pick it up, my lady shot it under the sofa. It’s amazing how much fluff you find when you have to shift a sofa bed.

It didn’t fit Jackie’s phone. I tried a third call to O2. This, once again new, advisor, when quoting my numbers, mentioned one I didn’t recognise. You’ve guessed it. My number had been transferred to the wrong account. This was quite different to either my old or my temporary numbers. Having reversed all this, he told me this would now take four hours to activate.

I will acknowledge that it was difficult to do so through gritted teeth, but I observed that I had been an O2 customer for 30 years and expected better expedition than that. He promised to call me back as soon as he could.

This rant over, I gathered a few more prospective prints for The First Gallery Exhibition. Here is a sample:

table top 23.9.15

This table top illustrates The Head Gardener’s propensity for purchasing suitable item’s from Efford Recycling Centre.

raindrops on sweet pea 23.9.15

The end of September 2015 was quite wet, as shown by these raindrops on sweet peas.

Frozen pond 1

On 19th January this year, a brief freeze gave an abstract quality to the Waterboy’s pool.

Sunrise

Sunrises, like this on 6th April 2015, are often wonderfully dramatic.

Gardener's Rest

By 27th September 2014, The Head Gardener’s Rest had been installed;

Poppies by Jackie 3

on 29th June, when taking this photograph, she had set these poppy seed heads against the red Japanese maple.

bee on cosmos 29.9.15

Here a furry little bee plunders a cosmos.

Despite the O2 representative’s promise, and the fact that he knew we were leaving for the weekend after his call, he didn”t make it. I therefore made a fourth call and spoke to yet another advisor. Hee had to confer with someone on the other side of the business, and put me on hold for a while. I was put through to a young lady who explained that they were working on it at the moment, and it should be resolved shortly. I would receive a call when it was done. I could safely take the new mobile with me. I said this was the second such promise I had received today and asked whether I could trust it. She assured me that I could and that it had been a pleasure talking to me.

Later this afternoon, Jackie will drive us to Leatherhead for the annual family evening watching her cousin Pat O’Connell’s direction of Gilbert and Sullivan. This evening’s choice is ‘The Grand Duke’.

All I can tell you about dinner is that it will be taken at an Italian restaurant before the performance.