A Dismantled Burglar Alarm

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Garden view from patio 1Garden view from patio 3Garden view from patio 4Garden view from patio 2Garden view from patio 5

These are some of the views from the patio that we enjoyed this morning whilst drinking our morning coffee.

I was in and out of New Milton today. This morning Jackie drove me to Barclays bank to attend to some executor business, and this afternoon to Birchfield Dental Practice for an appointment with the hygienist. After the second trip we travelled on to East End to see how the thatching was coming along.

Thatching 1

It is now a beautiful job nearing completion, demonstrating painstaking skill and artistry.

Thatching 2

Dave had finished for the day when we arrived,

Thatching tools

and had left his tools firmly in place for continuing tomorrow.

Clematis and Old Post House name

Back home one of the clematises in the front garden now curls over the ceramic house sign;

Roses pink rambler

the paler pink ramblers romp over the trellis;

Roses deep pink rambler

and the darker ones beribbon the porch roof.

Sparrows' nest in burglar alarm

One of our sparrow families, carefully disconnecting it first, has made use of a rather obsolete rusted burglar alarm. They had more success than I did dismantling one back in Soho. That adventure is recounted in my post ‘A Little White Lie’.

Clematis Marie Boisselot

The evening light on the patio gave us different views including Marie Boisselot,

Japanese maple

and the red Japanese maple.

Pigeon orgy 4Pigeon orgy 2Pigeon orgy 1Pigeon orgy 3Pigeon orgy 6Pigeon orgy 7Pigeon orgy 6

We were also treated to an avian orgy involving four wood pigeons. One by one these birds alighted on the cypress branch, formed a disorderly melee, and engaged in frantic flapping. There was no billing and cooing and It was all over rather too quickly for comfort.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s piquant cauliflower cheese, fish pie, runner beans, carrots, and asparagus. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I consumed more of the cabernet sauvignon.

Sorting The Wheat From The Reed

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This very dull morning Jackie and I took turns on weeding the garden.

This afternoon we visited New Milton for banking, paying car tax, and taking a jacket and waistcoat to the cleaners.

Thatching 3Thatching 2Thatching 4Thatching 1

We then drove on to East End for a progress report on the thatching project. There the ridging is being cut into shape.

Dave with wheatstraw

Dave, the very skilled and friendly craftsman with whom I have conversed on several occasions has 27 years experience in his trade. Today he explained why the recent rain has in fact aided the work at this stage. This is because the straw needs to be malleable when creating the ridging. A different straw is also used for this creativity. Wheat straw is more flexible than the reed straw with which the rest of the work is undertaken. We also spoke about the fact that layers of thatch on the same roof can span 500 years or more. Dave was fascinating when speaking with such enthusiasm of the different straw and flowers that can be discovered through the time bands in a roof. It struck me rather like the pleasure of a geologist excavating layers of rock.

My experience doesn’t quite cover 500 years, but it will soon have reached 75. Three of my favourite bloggers have suggested that it would be a good idea to convert my experience of an era into a book. Once I got over my panic, I thought that perhaps I could do this by extracting from and expanding upon my five years of daily posts.

This evening I made a start. I edited some of the text from my post ‘A Sneaky Weekend’,

and included these two parental portraits from ‘My Branch Of The Family Tree’.

Whether or not this is ever completed remains to be seen.

This evening we dined on roast lamb, boiled and roast potatoes, and broccoli, carrots, Brussels sprouts, and runner beans, in glorious gravy.

 

Get Up And Have A Look At This

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Today Jackie made much progress on weeding, planting, and watering. I did some tidying up and composting.

Later this afternoon we drove over to East End to see how the thatching was coming along.

Thatching 1Thatching 4Thatching 7Thatching 3Thatching 8

The craftsmen have started the ridging. Readers will have noticed reeds left sticking up on top of the roofs. These have now been strapped in place in readiness for the sculptured topping.

Garden and summer houseThatching 6

In a far corner of the back garden a summer house is also receiving a new roof.

Scaffolding and leaded window

The scaffolding shadows converse with the leaded diamonds of the traditional windows.

Pony mare and foal suckling

We moved on to Beaulieu where a gentle white pony mare suckled her little black foal.

Pony mare and foal crossing road

The mother decided I was paying too much attention and took her offspring across the newly surfaced road to join a group of grazing cattle.

Cattle crossing road

The cattle weren’t too keen on the idea and repaired to the other side. All this movement, of course, gave the car drivers something to think about.

Bluebell wood 1Bluebell wood 2Bluebell wood 3

Further on, lining Lodge Lane and the roadside at Sowley, lay fenced off bluebell woods.

Motorboat 1Motorboat 2Motorboat and yachts

Our next stop was Tanners Lane where a motor boat buffeted along the Solent against the backdrop of the Isle of Wight.

Donkeys 1

In the field alongside the shingle beach, a pair of donkeys basked.

Donkeys 2

One nudged his partner as if to say “Get up and come and look at this”. Throwing back her head and propping up her pregnant bulk with her forelegs, the mare awkwardly found her feet,

Donkey's eye

and staggered across to have a look.

This evening we dined on succulent chicken thighs marinaded in barbecue sauce, served with Jackie’s very special egg fried rice. She drank Peroni and I drank Louis de Camponac Cabernet Sauvignon 2015.

Heron In Flight

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This morning I printed yesterday’s random header picture for our friend Mary. We posted it this afternoon.

After lunch Jackie and I took two orange bags of garden pruning and clippings, along with some metal and plastic rubbish, to the Efford Recycling Centre, and drove on to see how the thatching at East End was coming along.

Thatching 1

Here is a rear view which shows the L-shaped structure of the large building. The extensive scaffolding is an indication of the size of the project.

Much of the work has been completed to a very high standard. I was informed by the thatcher with whom I spoke, that the ridging that is to feature where tufts currently stand proud, will take longer than the four weeks currently expended.

We drove home via East Boldre, where, as usual, a heron was disturbed by the sight of my camera. I panned it as it took to the air, rising from a lingering, although drier, pool, past the gorse blending with its sharp beak, and up into the cloudy skies.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s toothsome cottage pie, piquant cauliflower cheese, spring greens, and crisp carrots and cauliflower. with divine gravy. Ian drank Peroni, and I drank Corbieres 2015.

Scooby

Scooby, not wishing to be left out, would like readers to know that his evening repast was Tesco Tender Paté with chicken, mixed lovingly with James Wellbeloved Chicken & Turkey Kibble Complete. His dessert was the bone from our previous roast lamb dinner with generous bits of meat attached. His beverage was Adam’s ale. This information was provided by his Mummy, Becky. 15 in September, he’s quite elderly now, and needs to collapse in his bed after a meal.

An English Country Churchyard

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After dinner yesterday evening we popped down to Barton on Sea to view the sunset.

This morning we drove around the forest.

The thatcher I spoke to at East End, where the albeit somnolent donkeys were having fun with the traffic,

replied that the project was “beginning to take shape”.

Jackie on tree seat

Our next stop was at St Mary’s Church at South Baddesley, outside which Jackie sat on a seat cut into a very large tree stump.

Ken Allen gateposts

Gateway and church

Alongside the church stretches a patch of uncultivated land accessed from an open gateway dedicated to Ken Allen 1918 – 2005.

Path from church to playground 1

From here a  path leads down

Playground

to a playground beyond a locked five-barred gate. I was unable to gain any information about Mr Allen or the leisure area that I speculated must be related to him.

It was quite refreshing to discover that the Victorian church itself was unlocked and welcoming. I found the stained glass windows particularly attractive.

Cap on pew

Hanging on the edge of a pew was a gentleman’s cloth cap. If it is yours it awaits your collection.

Primroses, English bluebells, and other wild flowers wandered, as did I, among the gravestones in this English country churchyard.

Angel gravestone sculpture

Most of the stones were quite simple, but there was one angel and child,

and the amazing resting place of Admiral of the Fleet George Rose Sartorius, GCB, Count de Penhafirme who died on 13th April 1885 in his 95th year. This was 70 years after he had served with Nelson at the battle of Trafalgar.

Admiral Sartorius's grave 2 – Version 2

What is particularly astonishing is the knowledge that the credible articulated linked anchor chain winding around the cross was carved from stone.

After lunch Jackie continued working her magic in the garden where I did a bit of clearing up and repelled some invading brambles along the back drive.

This evening we enjoyed our second serving of Mr Chatty Man Chan’s Chinese Take Away with which I finished the madiran. Jackie didn’t imbibe because she had drunk her Hoegaarden in the Rose Garden where we had a drink first.

P.S. Bruce Goodman, in his comment below, has provided a link to Ken Allen, which, incidentally explains that the playground I noticed is attached to a school. This is no doubt why the entrance would be locked during the Easter holidays.

Progress Of The Thatchers

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Jackie tying up roses

During the morning and part of the afternoon work continued in the garden, mostly in the Rose Garden, although I did also partly composite the Oval Bed.

In the front, the Prunus Amanogawa,

and the crab apples are blossoming.

Hoverfly on euphorbia

Hoverflies

Poppy

and our crinkly little orange poppies are appearing everywhere.

This afternoon we drove to Redcliffe Garden Centre in Bashley to buy some metal stakes for holding the log in place in Jackie’s most recent attempt to keep out the big beast. We continued on into the forest, and on our return bought some stone from Otter Nurseries.

Bluebells

The bank leading up to the Church of St John the Baptist at Boldre now wears a blanket of bluebells and dandelions,

Primroses

alongside those of primroses.

Thatching progress 1

The thatching at East End, on an L-shaped building much more extensive than the front elevation shows,

continues apace; nevertheless I am informed that, weather permitting, this very large job is expected to take five weeks.

This evening we dined on Mr. Pink’s fish, chips, and pea fritters, with pickled onions and gherkins. I drank more of the Bordeaux.

P.S. In a comment below, Quercus Community has provided this informative link on thatching: http://www.buildingconservation.com/articles/longstraw/longstraw.htm

Little Donkey

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We began this sunny day with a trip to the bank in New Milton, followed by one to Mole Country Stores just outside Lymington.

Tree shadows

The shadows of trees were cast on the woodland bank beside the store.

The woman serving us cautioned me to watch for the stampede of staff who, having heard Wendy’s horn, would be dashing out for cake from the popular mobile caterer. We hoped that the poison we were buying would prove as appetising to the rats still coming in from North Breeze, the empty house next door. Whatever is tearing a hole in the Rose Garden fence is of course rather larger than a rat. Either a badger or a fox. Later in the day we put down the bait in its specially designed containers.

Having made our purchase, we drove on to East End to see how the thatching by

New Forest Master Thatchers

was coming along.

I had a pleasant conversation whilst looking up at one of the men perched on his scaffolding. He remembered my having photographed the unloading of the reeds, and was more than happy to have their progress recorded on the blog.

The pair of donkeys across the road were today joined by a younger member of the family. They were liberally bedecked with petals of the blackthorn that lines the hedgerows and provides them with sustenance. The field of rape beyond the hedge failed to blind them to the task of trimming the hedges.

A little further up the road, near the chickens, a younger foal adhered to its mother

Donkey and foal on road 1

until she imparted its first instruction in the art of claiming the road

Donkey foal on road

and the game of disrupting the traffic.

It seemed as if the further we ventured the smaller became the little donkeys. At East Boldre mothers and babies clung together as somnolent fathers dozed along the winding road. One of the more venturesome foals was quick to trot to his mother at the sight of me and my camera.

Just like human babies these tiny tots can fall asleep anywhere in positions of which their parents may well be envious.

It is possible that this will remind anyone of a certain age of

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious lamb jalfrezi, savoury rice, vegetable samosas, and spicy paneer. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Bergerac.