Estate Agency

Today I watched recordings of the Rugby World Cup matches between Georgia and Uruguay, and between Wales and Australia. Taking breaks from these matches I made crops of Jackie’s photographs, and took the nesting box one myself. It is so good to employ a most competent Assistant Photographer.

Jackie carried out planting, mostly in the Weeping Birch Bed – such as White Ladies asters, and grass panicum Warrior – hindered of course by  Nugget who at one point nipped neatly onto her chair when she left it.Those readers who have missed Nugget in the last couple of posts have nothing to fear, our little robin is here. The scale of this picture showing a flash of Jackie’s jeans and a glimpse of her arm, the trowel beside the tufa on which he stands, and the pair of gardening gloves demonstrates just how little he is.

The tufa on which he stands is, according to Wikipedia,  ‘ a variety of limestone formed when carbonate minerals precipitate out of ambient temperature water.’ Plants grow on it.

He doesn’t take up much room on a trowel, but he can delay the Head Gardener using it.When Jackie was sitting in the chair mentioned above, Nugget would dart from this stone under her seat in search of fodder.

The finely woven wicker-work of his plumage is most intricate.

Whilst at the south end of the garden Jackie also photographed the Back Drive;

its Japanese anemones against the white wall of No. 5 Downton Lane;

raindrops on its out of season poppy

and convolvulus:

clumps of chrysanthemum buds;

sprigs of bright hawthorn berries;

a wood pigeon basking on the warm gravel;

a volunteer nicotiana sylvestris;

and a further clump of chrysanthemums against hot lips.

She photographed the garden as seen from the Heligan Path;

her stumpery;

and one of two pots of pansies in the Rose Garden.

Not satisfied with the third teapot she has offered Nugget through her estate agency,

when she popped out for more plants at Otter Nurseries she bought a purpose built robin nesting box to increase his choice.

Now, “Where’s Nugget?” (31)

This evening we dined on Jackie’s minced beef topped with Lyonnaise potatoes, crunchy carrots and broccoli with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Doom Bar.


‘I’m Sorry About The Chip’

This afternoon, we set off on a series of visits in and around West End.

Bee on Daffodil 1

In order to prepare for the first, to Margery and Paul at Bitterne, I gathered up the before and after albums of the work on our garden, and made a random selection of close-up prints of the flowers and insects, in order to discuss my contribution to the next The First Gallery exhibition.

We spent quite some time with these friends, and John, who was also visiting. I left the albums and photographs with them, for further discussion nearer the exhibition planned for 1st April, co-incidentally exactly two years since we moved into Downton.

From there, we went on to Mum’s in West End, where we chatted for a while. I have already mentioned how our mother is preparing for the future by labelling all the belongings she has been given by us all in the past, so that we receive them when she dies. She has also begun to pre-empt this event by handing out items in advance. Today she presented us with a box of bubble-wrapped goodies.

Vase, teapot, mug, dish

There is a hand-painted vase bought for her by Jackie; a cut-glass silver-rimmed dish given by Jessica; and a Chinese teapot and lidded mug from Jessica and me. ‘I’m sorry about the chip’, said my apologetic parent. There was a chip in the lid of the drinking vessel. I replied that since she has owned each one of these treasures for at least forty years, she could consider herself excused.

From Mum’s we drove to Elizabeth’s. My sister followed us to Brockenhurst, where the three of us dined at Dynasty. In keeping with our intention to eat more lentils, we shared a side dish of dhal and vegetables. My main course was fish jalfrezi. Jackie and I drank Kingfisher, and Elizabeth drank a Chilean merlot. Despite the fact that the restaurant was packed out, we received the usual warm welcome and friendly service.