Five If You Hit A Donkey

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As I struggled with ensuring I was digging up allium bulbs around the patio without damaging surrounding plants, I reflected on the tiny thyme twigs that, three years ago, I rescued from the butler sinks lost among the undergrowth covering the Dead End Path.

They are doing very well in their stony, sunny, new home, and don’t at all mind the dry weather we are experiencing.

This afternoon we went for a drive in the forest.

Cricket match 7Cricket match 1Cricket match 6Cricket match 2Cricket match 3Cricket match 4Cricket match 5

At Burley a cricket match was in progress.

Cricket match 8

The scoreboard, stationed in front of the pavilion and changing rooms, demonstrated what was obvious to spectators, namely that the bowling side was in receipt of a drubbing. There are eleven players per side in this game. Ten wickets may fall before the innings ends. Sometimes the captain may declare the innings closed before that happens. The top line of figures on the board shows the total, in this case 175. The next is the number of wickets fallen – 4. Then follows the score made by the last batsman out – 33. This was a good score for only four wickets down. The young man wearing pads in the picture was the next man to bat. He was having a long wait.

There is always a drinks interval during each innings at cricket. It was only fitting, therefore, that we should stop for one at The Foresters’ Arms at Frogham, before taking a leisurely route home.

Ponies and foalPony and foal 1Pony 1Pony 2Foal

Alongside Roger Penny Way the parents of a pony family cropped the grass while their offspring sprawled beside them.

Pony mare and foal

Further on, another mother led her foal across the road in front of us.

Man in mobility scooter, woman with terriers, cattle, calf 2Man in mobility scooter, woman with terriers, cattle, calf

In the lane around the back of Cadham we encountered a fascinating grouping consisting of a gentleman in a mobility scooter, a woman, a terrier, and cattle with a calf. Naturally we waited for them to sort themselves out. The man, woman, and dog took themselves to the side of the road;

Cattle

one of the cows cleaned its hoof; and the calf stayed firmly planted.

Woman and calf

The woman kindly shooed it off.

Outside Lyndhurst a less successful attempt was made to persuade another animal to move along.

Thatched cricket pavilionCricket match 9

Cricket match 10This time a cricket match was set on a rather undulating piece of ground against a backdrop blessed with a rather splendid thatched pavilion.

Cricket and donkey

Cricket and donkeys 2

Cricket and donkeys 1A pair of donkeys in the outfield ignored the flanneled sportsmen, and gradually made their way towards the pitch.

Cricket and donkeys 3

After a while one of the players clapped vigorously. This caused one to shift a few yards. It is possible that the cricketer was mindful of the rule about striking an obstruction with the ball. If a ball is hit to the boundary of the field without bouncing, six runs (as the points are called) are awarded. If the ball does hit the ground before crossing the line, the score is advanced by four runs. Whether or not the ball bounces first, a strike which hits an obstruction on the field of play is awarded 5 runs. Consequently hitting a donkey is worth 5.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s superb chilli con carne with vegetable rice and runner beans. I finished the cabernet sauvignon and Jackie drank Peroni.

Out On Their Feet Amid The Confetti

Yesterday I forgot to mention the outcome of my visit to Simon Richards, the hand surgeon. That can only be a good sign. He has discharged me, but physiotherapy will continue for some time. The middle joint on the little finger remains bent rigid. He has advised me to practice straightening it with brute force from my right hand. That’s painful. And scary. Rather like holding a newborn baby, I don’t want to break it. But it seems to be working.

Wind still gusts around the garden, but we do have sunshine and showers. Rhododendron

A new rhododendron is in bloom;

Ant on allium

an ant perches on the first of our colourful alliums to arrive;

Thyme and erigeron

the thymes I rescued from the blue sinks last year have thrived;

Spiky shrub

as has the heavily Corokia cotoneaster outside the back door;

clematis Niobe

and the clematis Niobe enlivens the kitchen wall.

The rain, reinforced by a fierce fusillade of hailstones, soon returned and watered my charges for me.Mimulas and cosmos

These mimuluses, hosta, heuchera, and cosmos have yet to be planted up.

I returned to the task of identifying and scanning the prints retrieved from Elizabeth.

Michael and Sam 6.83

Here, Michael and Sam are seated in the garden of Gracedale Road in June 1983.

Sam 1983

Later that year, Sam tucks into refreshments after completing the Furzedown mini-marathon.

This was a fund-raising event for the children’s nursery school. Clearly the professional-looking number tags had been donated by the organisers of the Farnham Castle Marathon, sponsored by Kentucky Fried Chicken. I made a complete black and white portfolio of the occasion for the school. Some parents bought copies. If I ever find the negatives, I think the pictures would warrant their own post.

(I did find the negatives. This post and the next two feature the pictures)

Michael 1984

Sometime in 1984, Michael appears to be watching telly in the lounge of Gracedale Road. Probably an Arsenal football match.

Becky 1984 001

Also in 1984 we attended Tony and Liz’s wedding. Here is a portrait of Becky taken there.

That was the period in which I was converting colour negatives to black and white prints, using an enlarger and chemicals. Goodness knows how, I certainly don’t remember. Now I can do it at the touch of a mouse, so who cares?

Becky 1984 002

This, from the same set, was scanned from a 10″ x 8″ print.

Louisa 1984

Louisa was there too. Here, putting me in mind of the bridesmaid from 1970, she, too, seems to be out on her feet, and contemplating whether the confetti would soften the paving stones sufficiently to provide a feather bed.

There was more than enough of Jackie’s delicious beef stew for my meal this evening. I also finished the Madiran wine.

Blue

Two days ago I was diverted from planting out flowers from pots, by beginning to clear a path. Yesterday, cutting the grass diverted me from that.

When I began the clearance, the path was not visible. It just looked like an overgrown shrubbery with a couple of blue painted sinks dropped into it. Sinks in pathBy this morning the work had revealed an elderly gravel path with the remains of dry stone walls either side of it. Shrubs, brambles, and weeds had severely encroached upon it.

And what was to be done about the sinks? They were each filled with earth, and contained a number of interesting little plants.

Thyme transplantedWell, I had to move them, and knew I had no chance of doing so unless I emptied them. I did that, and transplanted various items, such as two different kinds of thyme placed in the patio area.

This path is really an access route to the shrubbery, and leads simply to a cemented stone wall dividing off the patio. It seemed to me that the sinks could be useful if placed against the wall. I asked Jackie for her views. She thought they would look good on top of the wall, thus giving them height. Well, she would, wouldn’t she? No way could I lift them the extra couple of feet up there on my own. And I didn’t think we could do it together.

I manoeuvred these heavy stoneware kitchen sinks to the far end of the path and stood and scratched my head. Then I was summoned for lunch, which seemed rather a good idea.

Snails dormintoryIn the process of moving their bed I disturbed a group of slumbering snails. Their dorm master had not been alert to the danger. They dropped off one by one.

On one of my trips to the compost heap my eye was caught by a large blue bloom peering through a shrubbery by the decking on the other side of the garden. Clematis large blueThis was a newly flowering clematis which I cannot name.

After lunch I managed to hoist one of the sinks onto the lower wall at the side of the path and was beginning to gird my loins for the higher heave when Superwoman arrived. Together we raised the blue painted containers into position.

It would not be surprising for my readers to question the aesthetics of bright blue paintwork that was bound to peel off and leave shreds mingling with the gravel. Anyone who has done so will empathise with our thoughts and feelings about a similar hue, among others equally strident, having been liberally splashed around inside the house, leaving spatters on shelves, fixtures, and carpets. In no way do I exaggerate.Path to sinks

Finally I repositioned the stones at the sides of the path, finished the weeding, trimmed back some shrubs, and raked the remaining gravel as smooth as I could. The large plant in the foreground of the picture is a mature geranium palmatum. The flowers of another can be seen further down on the right.

Tree peony rescuedFinally I planted the frail-looking rescued tree peony. This plant had not been given a pot. It lay on its side on sandy soil. It has spent two days heeled in a large container, and now stands, reasonably erect, in its allotted home. It is to be hoped that, if it does survive, it is appreciative of the efforts that have gone into accommodating it.

Another excellent meal was served at The Jarna, where we dined this evening. We sat under blue spotlights this time. Blue light on riceThey lent an interesting colour to my rice. We both drank Cobra.