Provoking A Squabble

Overnight winds had been powerful enough to blow this planted up stone urn off its pedestal.

Early this morning Jackie drove me to our G.P. surgery at Milford on Sea to order a repeat prescription.

We were not surprised to learn on BBC News that, at 79 m.p.h., the strongest gusts in Britain had rushed through The Needles which still seemed borne on a bed of spray as we passed them. Our home is in a direct line from these rocks, and always shares their buffeting.

The foaming waves of the Solent rolled rapidly towards our coastline, flinging ragged curtains of ocean droplets skyward. A motorboat speeding across the surface, despite its rapid rate, seemed to be bobbing up and down as it appeared to be engulfed.

Gulls reflected in pools in the car parks.

Masts at the Yacht Club stood against the sky at Keyhaven, where a group of walkers of the third age passed a younger woman with a dog.

We continued along the coast road towards Hurst Spit on and around which walkers strode beneath a fretwork of cotton clouds and streaking jet trails.

As we approached the bridge over the stream we became aware of a frenzied, shrieking, squabble of seagulls. What, we wondered, had provoked this activity?

A gentleman carefully placing muzzles on his pair of Dalmatians had spotted the answer.

He wasn’t prepared to risk a conflict between his dogs and the swans being fed from the bridge.

A string of Brent geese had found their own food in a field opposite.

Outside Solent Grange a store of stone sculptures awaited installation on the so pretentious walls.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s comforting cottage pie; crunchy carrots of virus hues; tender runner beans and cabbage.

Energy-Sapping Humidity

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Today was hotter, and considerably more humid than yesterday. I flopped this morning, but didn’t sleep. Perhaps that fact that I slept all yesterday evening had something to do with this. My brief trip into the garden at mid-afternoon was energy-sapping.

Correctly surmising that I might need a rest en route to my planned perch at the Westbrook Arbour, Jackie positioned Mum’s stool beside the Nottingham Castle Bench. I took a few pictures from there, then moved on. Melting, after about twenty minutes I fled back indoors.

I took a cooling break before uploading the pictures. This was extended by a very welcome visit from Shelly and Ron, for which I was most grateful.

My choice of Supermarket prepared meals this evening was fish pie to which Jacke added crisp carrots. leeks, and mange-touts, which added fresh flavour.

The Lion Is Rampant

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Today was heavily overcast, the sun only making momentary appearances this morning. I wandered around the garden investigating its current condition.

 

Different varieties of daffodil continue to bloom; some Jackie has planted with pansies in the new urn we bought a few days ago. As can be seen in the last of this cluster, flies seem to like yellow flowers.

 

A range of tulips are beginning to burgeon.

West Bed

Plants in the West Bed gain in height daily;

Japanese maple

Japanese maples are coming into leaf.

I don’t think one is expected to doze whilst finishing reading a thriller, especially when enjoying it, but I did this afternoon. Well, it was soporific, and yesterday was a different kind of heavy.

The book was ‘The Lion is Rampant’, the first, written in 1979, by Ross Laidlaw, a Scottish writer of historical, thriller and spy fiction. It is a fast moving dystopian novel set in the Britain of the 1980s. Laidlaw’s story imagines a rebellion over Scottish Independence, a less violent political conflict concerning which continues to this day. Clearly bringing his experience of the Mau-Mau uprising in Kenya to his British fantasy, Laidlaw’s work has an air of credibility. He writes fluently, describing human emotions, the tough Scottish landscape, and harsh weather conditions. He uses dialogue well. The action scenes do have a touch of Daniel Craig’s James Bond about them, but they are none the worse for such exciting derring-do. It is a gripping story with a suitably understated thread of romance. I regretted having taken nearly forty years to read it.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s superb chicken jalfrezi with pilau rice. Mrs Knight drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Shiraz.

 

 

The Rush Hour

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We had a very enjoyable time yesterday evening at Vicki and Barrie’s Golden Wedding Celebrations, organised by their children and grandchildren.

Pop records and TV adverts from 1967 were played on a monitor. Son, Steve, conducted a spoof ‘Mr and Mrs’ programme that his parents entered into with gusto.Oral tributes were made. The septuagenarians nimbly led the dancing.

A plentiful, varied, and fresh, cold buffet was supplied and we were invited to bring anything stronger than the soft cold drinks, or tea and coffee. We shared the bottle of Prosecco we had won at Ron’s party quiz.

The couple’s daughter, Angie took photographs on her mobile phone, and will e-mail me the results so I can add them to this post.

Late this morning, I watched yesterday’s recorded rugby matches between Scotland and New Zealand, and between England and Australia.

Jackie in greenhouse

While I watched telly, Jackie tended plants in the greenhouse.

Pelargonium 3

She is nurturing pelargoniums

Pelargonium 2

of the more tender variety,

Begonia

and begonias.

 

Hardy pelargoniums

Pelargonium1

survive outside,

Antirrhinum

as still do antirrhinums,

Nasturtium

nasturtiums,

Honeysuckle

honeysuckle,

Red Admiral

and somewhat battered Red Admirals.

Jackie has given the Kitchen Bed’s urn its winter planting.

Clematis Duchess of Albany

In addition to roses we have, in the Rose Garden, clematis Duchess of Albany, her skin taking on the quality of parchment,

Fuchsia 1

various fuchsias,

Salvia

and penstemons.

Hydrangea

Hydrangeas take on autumnal hues.

When I sat down to upload the above pictures, my Apple invited me to upload the latest operating system. I attempted to do this. An error occurred in this. The system is locked and I can’t do anything more with the computer. I had to give up, and eventually used the Microsoft laptop. Windows 10 has changed everything about importing pictures since I last used it, and it wasn’t easy to get my head round.

Off we then drove to Hatchet Pond in an effort to calm me down.

Silhouettes by pond

Not long before sunset

Silhouetted photographer

photographers

Tree and man reflected

gathered;

Hatchet Pond and waterfowl 1

waterfowl

Sunset and waterfowl

paddled along;

Swans with wake

swans trailed their wake.

Sunset 4

The pond reflected

Sunset 2

gold

Sunset 3

 tinged clouds,

Sunset 5

rapidly turning red.

Sunset and jettrail

A jet plane streaked into the foaming flames.

Sunset with silhouettes

So many photographers were now lined up that this seemed like rush hour on the railways.

The treatment worked. I retained my equanimity.

This evening Jackie produced succulent roast pork served on a bed of peppers and onions, accompnied by roast potatoes, carrots, and Brussels sprouts. I drank Concha y Toro cabernet sauvignon 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You Provide The Dialogue

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Fulbeck Hall (Mary Fry in doorway)

In February 1993 Jessica attended a class in porcelain restoration at Fulbeck Hall in Grantham. This was the home of her friend, Mary Fry. Mary stands in the doorway of the house. The tutor was Anna Hackett, a mutual friend. I fear that the negatives of these images have been permanently lost, so today’s scans are of the colour prints.

Items for repair

Decorative plates, cups,

Porcelain class item for repair

and delicate dishes all needed the expert attention,

Repair kit

of those able to handle these materials.

Figurine

The expression of this Japanese gentleman appears to have frozen when he lost his hand.

Jessica painting ceramic 1Jessica painting ceramic 2

With the use of a mounted magnifying glass, Jessica painted an elaborate rococo piece.

Jessica examining tile

Here she examines a small chip.

Anna Hackett at work 1

Anna selects a brush with which to touch up a large blue and white jug.

Anna Hackett at work 3Anna Hackett at work 4

 I am not sure what she is doing with this tool.

Ceramic student 1

Another student shares a joke;

Anna Hackett at work 5

Anna Hackett at work 6Anna Hackett at work 7

Anna turns her careful attention to a beautifully painted urn;

Broken ceramic dog

then came a rather perplexing challenge

Anna Hackett, Mary Fry, and broken ceramic dog

which gave rise to a forgotten conversation.

Mary Fry and broken ceramic dog

Can you provide the dialogue between Anna and Mary?

The opening photograph of Fulbeck Hall is one of a set I produced for Mary’s promotional brochure. I will feature the rest tomorrow.

This evening we dined on highly spiced marinaded spare ribs, wild rice and peas, and spring rolls. I drank Mendoza Parra Alta malbec 2017.

 

 

The End Of British Summer Time

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Aaron was so pleased with our John Cook sculpture of him that he asked for a photograph. Naturally I printed him a copy of each of those that appeared in ‘A Particularly Strong Clue’.

Owl in New Arbour

Among other tasks today, he strengthened the new recycled gates arbour, under which the owl now stands on its plinth.

West Bed and Brick Path

The planting in the foreground of the above photograph is just part of the extensive clearance and refurbishment of the West Bed that Jackie has achieved in recent weeks.

Urn planted and erigeron

At the bed’s southern end verbena and pelargoniums still thrive in the urns, and erigerons carpet the surrounds of the New Bed.

Pelargoniums

Pelargoniums,

Begonias

 begonias of various shades,

Geraniums RozanneGeranium Rozanne 2

and geraniums like the blue Rozanne still add colour.

Fuchsia 1Fuchsia 2Fuchsia 3

Fuchsias abound;

Salvia Hot Lips

tiny Hot Lips salvias dance in the Cryptomeria Bed;

Petunia Million Bells

Million Bells petunias entice campanologists at the corner of the patio alongside the kitchen wall.

Hebe

Hebes

Honeysuckle

and honeysuckle seem to think it is Spring.

Rose Margaret Merrill

Roses like Margaret Merrill,

Rose Lady Emma Hamilton

Lady Emma Hamilton,

Rose Penny Lane 2Rose Penny Lane 1

Penny Lane,

Rose pink climber

and the deep pink climber soaring above the Oval Bed, remain confused.

Nasturtium

Nasturtiums twine everywhere,

Clematis Cirrhosa

yet the winter flowering clematis Cirrhosa seems a little early,

Gazebo Path

as it festoons the gazebo under which I stood to produce this image of the path named after it.

Garden view across Cryptomeria Bed

To the right of the far end of that path, this was the view across the Cryptomeria Bed, showing the few leaves of the weeping birch that survived the recent storm.

The setting back of our clocks by one hour at 2 a.m. this morning signalled the official end of British Summer Time. Of course no-one gets up at that time to adjust all the timepieces in the house. We just have to try to remember when we get up.

This evening we dined at Lal Quilla. My main meal was lamb taba shashlik jalfrezi; Jackie’s was chicken chom chom. We shared onion rice, an egg paratha, and onion bhaji, and both drank Kingfisher. Service and food were as good as ever.

 

 

The Woman In White

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Early this morning our septic tank was cleared. This happens every eighteen months, and Jackie always feels better when it is done.

Knowing we were in for a hot spell, Jackie undertook extensive watering. My tasks involved the eradication, cutting up, and bagging of niggling nettles, invasive ivy, bothersome brambles, and thrusting thistles.

This afternoon we spent much of the time seated on the patio with guests. First Margery and Paul came to lunch, then Helen came bearing birthday presents for Jackie for tomorrow.

Naturally the garden was a focal point.

Gazebo Path 1Gazebo Path 2

Here are two views of the Gazebo Path.

Rose Just Joey

In the Rose Garden, Just Joey

Rose Winchester Cathedral

and Winchester Cathedral have joined the other attractions;

Foxgloves in Rose GardenMargery, however, registered a protest at the number of foxgloves permitted therein.

Poppy in Margery's Bed

She was, however, pleased to find a poppy in her Bed.

Rose Compassion

Compassion rose now proliferates above the Dead End Path.

Sweet Williams

Here is a smaller version of Sweet William that the one previously featured.

Poplar leaves

The leaves of this variety of poplar are delightful at this time of the year.

Bee on viper's bugloss

As promised, viper’s bugloss does attract bees,

Bee on geranium palmatum

as do geranium palmatums

Bee on yellow Bottle Brush plant

and the still burgeoning bottle brush plant.

Florence sculpture

The strong sunlight gives the Florence sculpture the air of The Woman in White, Andrew Lloyd Webber and David Zippel’s musical based on the novel by Wilkie Collins, that was playing at the Shaftesbury Theatre when I photographed it in September 2004.

Alpaca Poo

Among the selection of presents Helen brought was a bag of Alpaca Poo, a garden fertiliser apparently unpleasant to rats.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s wholesome beef in red wine with mushrooms, peppers, onions, and carrots, served with swede and potato mash. Jackie drank Peroni and I drank Reserve des Tuguets madiran 2014.