To The Next Level

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED.

This morning, not only did Aaron prune a hawthorn and a maple; take out an old, not really productive, vine; and heap compost and bark mulch onto the rose garden, but he also cut the grass, thus relieving me of my first task this afternoon.

I did, however, participating with the customary division of labour, assist the Head Gardener in pruning and clearing the shady side of the Palm Bed, with the effect that

Garden view from Shady Path

the vista from the decking, across Aaron’s well mown grass, to the Compassion rose visible through the cleft in the eucalyptus is revealed.

Tree, yellow, unidentified

Long-term visitors may remember that the yellow-leaved tree, also seen from this point, looked rather dead when we first arrived here. Only the long diagonal limb on the right bore any leaves. It has, however, from a reduction of encumbrances and an increase in light, recovered well. We might even be able to improve the shape by removing the now stray branch.

Jackie watering hanging baskets

After this, Jackie continued filling and watering her hanging baskets which will soon lift the garden to the next level.

Later, I drafted the next section of A Knight’s Tale, making use of these two pictures from ‘Cricket In The Street’;

from this photograph and edited text in ‘Holly’

and from this studio portrait in ‘Wagon Wheels’.

This evening we dined on spicy pizza, pork bacon, and plentiful salad. We’d already each consumed a beer on the patio beforehand.

The Biggest Aspidistra In The World?

(THE TITLE IS THE RESULT OF AN ERROR ON MY PART. AS SEVERAL COMMENTERS HAVE POINTED OUT, MY ASPIDISTRA IS A PLUMBAGO. AH, WELL, IT GAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO INTRODUCE GRACIE FIELDS. I WON’T CORRECT MY TEXT, BECAUSE THE JOKE IS NOW ON ME, BUT THANKS ARE DUE TO ALL MY EDITORS 🙂

Even though today was Easter Sunday, and the weather was blustery and showery with occasional sunshine, Aaron and Robin finished weeding the gravel paths in the garden.

This afternoon I scanned the penultimate batch of Barbados negatives from March 2004.

These were the last few from the Bridgetown walk and the first from around the Sugar Cane Club hotel to which we transferred when realised that our initial choice, at the southernmost tip of the island, was so far from Port St Charles where Sam would be ending his epic row.

Tree

I would be grateful if anyone could identify this rather magnificent tree with its root tentacles.

House 1Houses

Here are some more roadside dwellings, both fixed and chattel examples, all with beautifully rusting corrugated iron roofs;

Bouganvillea

and, naturally, bougainvillea,

Hibiscus 1

 hibiscus,

Frangipani

and frangipani.

Flowers unknown 1Flowers unknown 2

I couldn’t identify these flowers.

I also learned that Gracie Fields’s claim for her brother Joe was probably rather dubious.

Aspidastra

Their aspidistra couldn’t have been as big as this one.

Sun loungers

Our new hotel, near the shores of the Atlantic, was well equipped with sun loungers.

Seascape 1Seascape 2

Seascape 3

The Ocean itself bore out Homer’s description of the ‘wine-dark sea’.

This evening we dined on roast duck; roast potatoes; colourful and crunchy carrots, broccoli and Brussels sprouts; and gravy so full of goodies as to accommodate a standing spoon. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished one bottle of the madiran and poured a glass from the next, with which I will continue now.

Entering Bridgetown

When you have been a townie all your life and you take up residence in an area that has none of the mains services that you have taken for granted, you tend to forget things. Like oil for the central heating. Because there is no gas. Then you tend to run out at a Bank Holiday weekend. And, being Easter, it is still chilly.

Stove

Fortunately we have a wood-burning stove. We have never before used it, but did have the chimney swept last autumn. And did have logs from the many pruning jobs we’ve carried out. All I had to do was get my head round operating it. Probably, if I had moved the church candle a bit further away from the heat it would not have melted. Hopefully we are not roasting the jackdaws that clatter the metal plate above the stove with nesting materials and, no doubt, a few jewels they have nicked. And no, I’m not going up there to find out.

Today was the first of a typical British Bank Holiday weekend, cold, wet, and windy. Just not the job for all those Egg Hunts. It was suitable for what Paul Clarke calls a ‘rainy day post’. Consequently I travelled back in my archives to a rather different day in March 2004 in Barbados, and scanned the next batch of the Bridgetown walk negatives.

bougainvillea 1bougainvillea 2

Bougainvillea continued to spread its various shades of magenta and pink along the roadsides. In the first of these two pictures, the rambling plant seeks the protection of the thorns of the plant to which it clings.

Wall collapsingBougainvillea and building

Others ramble around buildings that have seen better days.

Schoolgirl

I passed a slender schoolgirl complete with backpack on her way to her classes. Her hair had received the typical close attention that the turn-out of all these young people displayed.

Fencing in undergrowth

Although some of the roadside buildings remained rather unkempt,

Tree by roadsideHouses by roadside

others were smarter,

Steps

and even grander.

Road

Those steps, and the increasing traffic informed me that I was nearing the Bajan capital. Was the young woman with her arms folded pondering boarding the taxi/bus?

Traffic policeman

Had she done so, she would probably know what offence the hapless driver went on to commit.

Oleander

Other flowers in the hedgerows and gardens were frangipanis

Hibiscus

and hibiscuses.

This evening we dined on a rack of pork ribs in barbecue sauce, prawn gyazas, and vegetable fried rice topped with omelette. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and I drank more of the madiran.

 

 

 

 

In My Own Back Yard

On another beautiful day, I attempted to stay indoors to rest my leg. By late afternoon I had succumbed to temptation and took a gentle amble around the garden and the Royal Oak car park.

Camellia

Our camellias have continued to thrive.

Rust on wheelbarrow

Through the winter we have covered material for starting our next bonfire with the wheelbarrow we use as an incinerator. Oxidisation, assisted by the camera’s vivid setting, has produced a glowing work of art.

FencesTree

The pub car park offers views of Roger’s fields and the backs of the hamlet’s buildings.

Ashley Clinton Manor towerRoyal Oak car park

A turning on our left of Christchurch Road is Angel Lane. Situated some distance along this lane another road leads to Ashley Clinton Manor which is now divided into flats. The tower, the tallest part of the buildings, cannot be seen from the A337, but is visible in the distance from almost every angle around, one of which is the car park. It stands on the left of the first picture immediately above. (Clicking twice to zoom may help) The eggshell blue wash coating our home can be seen on the right of the second.

Today’s title is inspired by Chris Weston‘s tutorial recommendation.

Tonight we dined on fish, chips, mushy peas, and pickled onions accompanied by Cimarosa Pedro Jimenez 2014.

 

A Pair Of Frogs

Path along back of house a.m.Path for clearanceJackie and I spent the whole of this gloriously sunny day on path clearance in the garden. She worked on the brick one at the back of the house, whilst I concentrated on a gravelled track further along our plot.

The plastic bucket on my path has no bottom. There are a number of such receptacles in the flower beds. Perhaps they had a protective role with seedlings.

Because this thoroughfare has a fabric lining and has been more recently trodden, my task was easier than when working on the last one. There was, however, much weeding and defining of borders to carry out, with the usual final raking smooth. A cotoneaster that had obviously been cut back a few times was quite an obstacle to progress. This is because I decided to remove it, first removing the branches, then extracting the tough old stump, following the same process as with the hollies. Here are a couple of photographs of the finished job:Path clearedPath cleared 2Poppies

We are fortunate that the glorious red poppies are still such a focal point, because they took quite a battering in the recent storms, but are now finding the strength to stand proud again.

The flower beds and shrubberies also need extensive weeding, but we have chosen to focus on the paths first because that gives a generally tended appearance if you don’t look too closely at the rampant brambles and suchlike elsewhere. Inevitably some of these other areas do receive some attention, if only to prevent further invasion of the paths. Garden through weeping birch leavesCrow on rooftopThe result is that it is not only the footpaths that are seen in a new light, but new vistas across the garden are opened up. Crow on chimney potsThe beautiful rhododendron in these photographs was largely obscured from across the garden just a few days ago.

I took some time out to watch a considerable corvine conflict on our chimney pots. There is usually one crow or another perched up there shouting the odds or playing sentinel. This afternoon there were often three of four flapping, croaking, and pecking at each other. They didn’t stay around to be photographed, so I had to settle for one lookout and one guardian portrait.

Jackie clearing up after crearing pathFrogsJackie made a beautiful job of her path, and went on to tidy up the surrounding areas. There are a number of small home made ponds in the garden stocked with aquatic plants. One of these was in the bed behind the patio. It needed clearing out and freshly watering for the sake of the atmosphere as much as for the plants. She did this, and in the process, not content with her recent amphibian discovery, found a pair of frogs hibernating in the undergrowth. She returned them, a bit mossy, to their rightful position on the edge of the pond. Rose climbing peachIrisThe whole area around this water feature needed tidying up, which she did, and went on to carry out some heavy pruning of various shrubs, thus liberating a mature peach climbing rose. I rather colourful iris was also exposed for the first time.

We dined on Jackie’s sausage and liver casserole, mashed potato, carrots and green beans. And very good it was too. I finished the Languedoc whilst she drank her customary Hoegaarden.

We finished our drinks on the garden bench. One of the many trees that we don’t recognise, has a rather colourful green and yellow sinuously striped bark. Snail on tree trunkWe noticed that a snail was hoping to use it as a camouflage.

Can anyone identify the tree? This is what the branches carry:Leaves of stripy tree                            P.S. Jackie’s research has revealed that the tree is a member of the snake bark maple group, probably Hers maple, native to China.