Various Stages Of Life

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The experts on the antiques programme Bargain Hunt, which we generally watch at lunchtime, tell us that silver items should not be polished, for that activity eventually obliterates the hallmarks. Many antique book dealers also believe that uncut book pages should be left in their pristine condition because taking a knife to them reduces their value.

This poses the question whether treasures are to be preserved in figurative amber and never used, or to be enjoyed for what they are

Count Morin, Deputy 1

I had no qualms about taking a sharp kitchen knife to the pages of

Count Morin, Deputy cover

a delightfully told political fable.

It is always interesting to speculate on who has read an old book, or indeed whether it has been read at all. In the old days when books were still well made to last, the pages were often joined at the edges and required cutting, as indicated above, in order to read them. So, if, as in this 1921 publication, you found uncut pages, you knew no-one else’s fingers had left their marks on the virginal leaves. It is such a pleasure to know that you were the first, and gives you a responsibility to take great care of your chosen treasure.

Although this slender little volume from The Bodley Head is illustrated throughout, I have chosen to restrain any impulse to scan the internal pages; because straining the spine to flatten the book in the scanner seems too high a price to pay; and because the woodcuts don’t appeal to me, as they display the heaviness I associate with Black Forest carving, thus denying the elegance of the text in translation by J. Lewis May.

Wood Pigeon and Owl

Without our double glazing I may have been able to eavesdrop on this avian conversation through the sitting room window.

My contribution to the general garden maintenance of the day was to hold the steps and otherwise assist The Head Gardener in retraining clematises at the front.

Jackie reflected training clematis

This photograph was executed with one hand on the steps, and the other on the camera.

Clematis

Clematises such as this one don’t yet need such mountaineering feats to support them;

Violas in hanging basket

and the hanging baskets are within easy reach.

Bird's nest

While tidying her containers behind the shed, Jackie has found a nest from which the chicks have hedged and flown without our knowing it was there.

Thalictrum

She has also found the thalictrum’s true element in the Cryptomeria Bed.

Shady Path

Visible in the Dragon Bed in the centre of this Shady Path view,

Peony

we have a new peony bloom.

Phantom Path

This view along The Phantom Path leads us to the Rose Garden,

Rose Garden entrance

up the entrance of which Madame Alfred Carière and Summer Wine are speedily making their way;

Rose Jacqueline du Pré

and within, Jacqueline du Pré displays various stages of life.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious chicken jalfrezi with egg fried rice. She drank Hoegaarden, and I drank more of the Fleurie.

The Garden Map

Come for a further wander down the garden paths.

Rose

Stepping out of the utility room stable doorway, we meet this little rose that was bramble-bound last year.

Poppy

This frilly new pink poppy sits quite well against the red Japanese maple, visible from the kitchen window.

Grass patch

Opposite our small patch of grass, we think designed for a dog loo,

Penstemon, thalictrum, New Zealand flax, Japanese maple

against the backdrop of a yellow Japanese maple, speckled New Zealand flax arches over red penstemon and budding thalictrum.

Phantom path

Passing the other end of the Phantom Path, at the far end we see a yellow-green-leaved tree, only one branch of which seemed alive last year, before we lopped out all the dead wood.

Orange Hawkweed

Jackie transplanted the outspoken orange hawkweed, regarded in other parts of the world as an infestation, from the former kitchen garden. It now enlivens the Oval Bed.

Sambucus

This Sambucus, planted not so long ago, now blooms behind the potting shed.

Back drive

The back drive is now framed by new planted troughs. In the top right hand corner of the picture can be glimpsed a basket suspended from the slender arch through which we now walk into the garden. Please don’t tell the head gardener that I keep banging my head on it.

From the end of the drive we turn left to see how Hallmark Builders are getting on with their ‘massive’ project on the recently sold The Spinney at number 11.

Wall building

Two men are building a beautifully curved wall.

Rodgersia

Back down our own brick path we see the delicate pink rodgersia, yet another member of the saxifrage family.

Dead End Path

Just past this plant lies the Dead End Path.

Rosa Gallica

Back at the house, the pink striped Rosa Gallica is now blooming against the kitchen wall,

Rosa Glauca

and the Rosa Glauca soars above the patio.

Taking visitors on a meandering trip is rather easier than the task on which the head gardener has been engaged during much of the last two or three days. Jackie working on garden map

John Whitworth recently expressed his need of a garden map.  We are not lovers of straight lines, but, had we had a few more, Jackie’s task would have been so much easier. When she proudly presented the finished chart, I then had the task of reproducing it. Since it had been drawn on A3 paper, which is too large for my scanner, I had to photograph it with my little SX700 HS Canon. Having the benefit of neither Ken Morse’s equipment nor  his expertise, it was difficult to achieve an unwarped rectangle from above. Here is the finished masterpiece:

Garden map

Later this afternoon I had transferred the bonfire ashes to the compost heaps, and raked back the shingle that I’d scraped out for a makeshift hearth.

It is hardly surprising that there had been no time for cooking. There was nothing for it but to go out for dinner. It was Spice of India that was graced with our presence, for which we were rewarded with an excellent meal. My main course was naga chicken with special fried rice; Jackie’s was chicken shaslik and salad. We shared a paratha, and both drank cobra.

The Independent

On a bright and sunny morning Jackie drove me to Giles’s Fox Hat home, where I delivered the Chesterton material he had lent me. She returned home and came back later to pick me up from the village of Milford on Sea. I had reached there by walking down Sharvills Road, up New Valley Drive and down Barnes Lane. The left knee managed the job quite well, but the calf bleated a bit. Giles had not been at home, but I wandered round his garden that had featured in Milford Open Gardens last June. Here is one of his stunning stained glass creations:Stained glassMaple and poppies

and a shot of maples and poppies enlivening his front plot.

Shoppers

Milford’s shoppers were enjoying the sunshine.

I sat on a bench on the green watching them all go by as I awaited my transport. In the process I engaged in conversation with others on the benches, including a gentleman reading The Independent. When I explained my previous link with the newspaper he said he didn’t solve crosswords, but his wife did. Maybe she had grappled with Mordred. Gentleman readin The Indepent

He was happy to be photographed,

Derrick reading The Independent

but thought it far more appropriate to return the favour.

Back in our gardenThalictrum

shade-loving thalictrum is now blooming,

Sweet William

as are white sweet Williams.

Bee on geranium palmatum

Yesterday, I wrongly identified the geranium that was attracting bees as a palmatum. This is the correct one.

This afternoon I cut the grass and Jackie continued creative planting.

Our evening meal was collected by Jackie from Hordle Chinese Takeaway. It was as plentiful and as delicately or spicily flavoured as usual. My lady drank Hoegaarden and her Knight drank Via di Cavallo chianti 2014.