More Bastides

Having received no response from the estate agent, I decided to print off, sign, and post the document to the French solicitor complete with the errors. There are only so many times I am prepared to point out mistakes. This meant popping over to Shelly and Ron’s for my signature to be witnessed. Ron performed the task; I e-mailed scanned copies of each signed page to the agent; then posted the original to the solicitor.

the //about-france.com website claims that ‘the “Bastide” towns of southwest France are a growing tourist attraction, and comprise one of the largest collections of well-preserved mediaeval townscapes to be found anywhere in Europe.’ In yesterday’s post I featured

Beaumont 4 9.03

Beaumont-du-Perigord, being a fine example.

Unfortunately I cannot be certain which was the next such town I visited with Maggie and Mike in September 2003, but I think it was Monpazier, founded by the English to keep out the French in 1285. It was to change hands between these two nations several times in the following few decades.

The main feature of a bastide is the central square surrounded by colonnaded arches now housing shops, such as wine merchants and toy suppliers. I enjoyed seeing baskets of diabolos, such as those brought back from holiday by my maternal grandparents.

Colourful market stalls fill the square which is

surrounded by grids of streets linked by narrow alleys or ruelles.

Weathered walls, iron gates, and tended gardens invite attention.

Maggie and Mike 9.03

When we passed a church which had recently held a wedding, my friends thought it would be a good wheeze to pretend it was theirs.

I drank more of the Malbec with our evening meal consisting of Jackie’s chicken chow mein and Tesco’s won tons. Mrs Knight enjoyed her food , and did not imbibe.

 

 

 

 

Three Roses

It is now 9.30 p.m. I f I finish this post this evening it will be a miracle, because, so far, much of it has been spent having useless and frustrating conversations with someone in India about lack of BT Broadband connection.

This morning Jackie drove us to Helen’s home in Poulner where we decanted into Helen’s car, in which she drove us to Lavender Farm at Landford, just inside Wiltshire. Taking in lunch we spent the best part of the day enjoying another splendid late summer’s day, before reversing the process.

The farm is an outlet for many wonderful plants, seen at their best on such a beautiful day.

Lavender and more

There was, of course, a plentiful supply of lavender, but also very much more.

Cacti display

From the moment we entered, it was clear that the displays for sale were all as attractive as this one for cacti.

Helen in gardenHelen and Jackie in gardenJackie and Helen 2Jackie and Helen 3

The three of us wandered around the gardens. I photographed the two ladies.

Garden towards car park

Lavender farm flowers

Sometimes just the beds;

Vegetable area

or other people, like these two admiring the vegetables;

Tea in garden

and these taking tea.

brian and Sandra 1Brian and Sandra 2

A couple I noticed sitting among the flowers were Brian and Sandra. Having taken the first picture from some distance away, as is my wont when I have not asked for permission, I walked along the narrow path to their bench, and sought it in retrospect. A very pleasant conversation ensued and they happily posed for a second picture. Brian turned out to have a collection of some 3,000 colour slides, mostly of historic Southampton, and was wondering how to digitise them. I described my scanner and advised them how to go about the task.

Wasps sign

The garden was clearly troubled by wasps in July.

Collection box

There is no charge for enjoying this haven, but charitable donations are encouraged.

Of course we bought some plants. Apart from smaller ones like heucheras and salvias, three roses on Jackie’s collection list just had to be acquired.

Rose Gertrude Jekyll

The first was Gertrude Jekyll, named after the famous gardener.

This is from the website in her honour: Gertrude Jekyll (1843-1932), created some 400 gardens in the UK, Europe and America; her influence on garden design has been pervasive to this day. She spent most of her life in Surrey, England, latterly at Munstead Wood, Godalming. She ran a garden centre there and bred many new plants. Some of her gardens have been faithfully restored, wholly or partly, and can be visited. Godalming Museum has many of her notebooks and copies of all her garden drawings, (compiled and sorted by members of the Surrey Gardens Trust); the original drawings are in the University of California, Berkeley.

Her own books about gardening are widely read in modern editions; much has been written about her by others. She contributed over 1,000 articles to Country Life, The Garden and other magazines. A complete list of every book and article written by her is in the Bookshop section of this site. A talented painter, photographer, designer and craftswoman; she was much influenced by Arts & Crafts principles.

(c) Elizabeth Banks; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

(c) Elizabeth Banks; Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

William Nicholson painted this portrait of her in October 1920.

Rose Lady Emma Hamilton

Next came Lady Emma Hamilton.

Wikipedia tells us that:

George_Romney_-_Emma_Hart_in_a_Straw_HatEmma, Lady Hamilton (26 April 1765; baptised 12 May 1765 – 15 January 1815) is best remembered as the mistressof Lord Nelson and as the muse of George Romney. She was born Amy Lyon in Ness near Neston, Cheshire, England, the daughter of Henry Lyon, a blacksmith who died when she was two months old. She was raised by her mother, the former Mary Kidd, at Hawarden, and received no formal education. She later changed her name to Emma Hart.

Rose Mamma Mia

 

Finally, has the rose Mamma Mia anything to do with Abba?

Readers may be amused to learn the reason that my first attempts at photographing these last two roses produced very bleary images. This is because a very small insect had become ensnared in Helen’s chutney. Not being able to identify it with the naked eye, I thought that if I photographed it with the macro facility it would be possible to do so. The creature turned out to be a small wasp. But I had poked the lens into the chutney, with the obvious results. My handkerchief was not adequate for the task of cleaning the glass, so I had to use a lens cloth when we got home, and photograph the roses here.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s chicken jalfrezi and savoury rice, with chicken samosas. I finished the cabernet sauvignon.

Phew! 11.35 and all done.

He Thought It Fun To Push Me Over

Sightings of foxes have been discussed on Streetlife lately. One person reported six in a pack. Another pointed out that these creatures are loners, not pack animals. I have never seen more than one adult at a time, but have been acquainted with two families, one every spring in the garden of the Phyllis Holman Richards Adoption Society, and a single parent and her children in that of our flat in Morden. These posts were published before I was illustrating them with photographs.

Feathers 1Feathers 3Downton LaneFeathers 2

Are the foxes responsible for the scattering of feathers that are often lining Downton Lane in the morning, or maybe birds of prey?

Does anyone have a view on the loners/packs debate, or on the likelihood of foxes or birds of prey committing the slaughter.

This afternoon I rescanned another batch of colour slides from 1964 and ’65, covering our year in Ashcombe Road, Wimbledon. This was the first house I ever bought.

Here are Vivien and Michael in our garden in March 1965:

Vivien & Michael 3.65Michael 4.65

The following month we celebrated our son’s first birthday. I caught him raiding the vegetable store in the kitchen. That cheeky grin was never far from his face.

Michael 6.65 2

 

In June, at least, we bathed him in the kitchen sink, where he loved sucking on the face flannel.Michael 7.65 2

Like any other toddler, in July he fed himself, his face, and his high chair in more or less equal measure. In those days I did my own wallpapering, including what appears in the background of this picture. It is probably the only time I would ever have chosen such a geometric design as was then in vogue.

Michael 8.65 1

Michael and I laid turves in the garden during August, when, as I crouched to take this shot, he took great delight in pushing me over.

Vivien & Michael (forsythia)  6.65

When in June, I had chosen to wait to snap a forsythia bush until Vivien and Michael had appeared in the corner of the frame, little did I know that this would be the last image of them together.

We didn’t eat this evening. Neither of us felt like either consuming or preparing anything. I had knocked up scrambled egg on toast for lunch, but that was it. Jackie remains in the grip of a virulent chest confection and I spent the afternoon unsuccessfully attempting to avoid succumbing myself. Between five and nine p..m. I flopped in front of the television watching consecutive episodes of Morse and Lewis, and slowly subsiding into somnolence. (No, BBC YouView has not been miraculously restored, so these were repeats on DTV). I then finished this post and went to bed.

Watch this space.