This morning Nick from Peacock Computers visited to instal a new router and to repair the interface between our TV and the You View box.
After lunch Barry from New Forest Chimney Sweeping And Repairs came to inspect our leaking Velux window. He asked me to send him two photographs, which I did.
Nugget overtook me on the Brick Path while I photographed white Japanese anemones and red pelargoniums.
Here are more of these anemones, between fading lilies and honesty seed pods.
These fuchsias, lobelia, and petunias suspended from the eucalyptus have recovered by virtue of the Head Gardener’s nurturing;
as has this unquenchable, aptly named, Polish Spirit which has twice survived the still visible windburn of the summer’s storms.
To the delight of foraging bees, new buds continue to burgeon on cosmoses.
A favourite perch for little robin Nugget stands in the Weeping Birch Bed. “Where’s Nugget?” (8)
This afternoon Jackie collected Elizabeth from her home in Pilley and drove her to collect her repaired car from a garage near us. My sister came back with the Culinary Queen and stayed for dinner, which consisted of luscious lamb’s liver (sorry, Yvonne), bacon and onions; creamy mashed potato; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; and tender green beans with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Tesco’s Chilean Malbec 2018. Elizabeth had consumed her quota of Hophead Pale Ale on the patio beforehand. One of the advantages of a flavoursome casserole is that you can have bread and gravy if there is enough liquid left over. I did this tonight.
Christmas cards were completed today; Christmas shopping was continued; the tree was placed in situ, and a few lights draped on it and around the walls.
Our Velux kitchen window leaks. There is no connection between the amount of rain and the leaks. Sometimes beneath very heavy rain the table remains dry; sometimes less rain slips in and plops into various collection pots. Today we have experienced the latter phenomenon, with heavy rain. The first picture presents a reflection of the table covered by an old dressing gown and containing a bowl; the second has a container placed at the next likely site; the mop and an old towel catch what bounces off the plastic container on the windowsill.
It is a bit like Chinese water torture as I type – not on my forehead, but certainly in my ears. Wikipedia speculates thus about the origin of the idiom: ‘The term “Chinese water torture” may have arisen from Chinese Water Torture Cell (a feat of escapology introduced in Berlin at Circus Busch September 13, 1910; the escape entailed Harry Houdini being bound and suspended upside-down in a locked glass and steel cabinet full to overflowing with water, from which he escaped), together with the Fu Manchu stories of Sax Rohmer that were popular in the 1930s (in which Fu Manchu subjected his victims to various ingenious tortures, such as the wired jacket). Hippolytus de Marsiliis is credited with the invention of a form of water torture [in Italy in the 15th or 16th century]. Having observed how drops of water falling one by one on a stone gradually created a hollow, he applied the method to the human body. Other suggestions say that the term “Chinese water torture” was invented merely to grant the method a sense of ominous mystery. The victim would be stripped of their clothes, shown to the public, then tortured. They would be driven insane while bystanders watched and mocked them.’
Early this evening we visited the Christmas lights display at Byron Road. This time the water was dripping on my forehead; and on my head; and in my eyes. Nevertheless the 35mm SIGMA lens was up to the job, even though I couldn’t really tell whether the subjects were in focus as I sped around the glorious front gardens.
The main thrust of the exhibition is along a terrace on one side of the road.
Each of the facing gardens features their occupants’ own take on the festive season.
A few more gardens on the other side of the road than usual have joined in the fun,
which is reflected in residents’ parked cars.
We went on to dine at Lal Quilla. We both drank Kingfisher, and shared an egg paratha, special fried rice, and lentil and cauliflower bahji. My main meal was lamb vindaloo; Jackie’s chicken buna.
On another dull morning I walked the circular route to Hordle Cliff and back. At the bottom of Downton Lane I met the woman whose garden I had photographed on the 3rd. She told me that the salt wind to which her home is exposed makes it impossible to grow much, but she was pleased at my compliments.
Roger has another crow deterrent in his recently sown fields. A noise such as that emitted by a cannon erupts at regular intervals. Had I not become used to it it would certainly startle me.
Jackie has been making delightful weatherproof signs indicating various sections of the garden, such as this one for The Heligan Path.
Before the rain set in I continued the clearance of the back drive.
After a late lunch we drove to Milford on Sea to register with the Milford Medical Centre. Well, when it was very wet outside, and we had existed since 1st April without a GP, it didn’t seem to be a bad idea. Passing The Red Lion pub Jackie wondered what it would be like, so we popped back to find out. It was closed. So we tried The Crown Inn at Everton. That, too, was closed. So we went home.
We have a Velux window in the kitchen roof. When it rains it leaks. This, we have discovered, is because it doesn’t shut properly and is impossible to lock. The recent deluges have made the drips onto the floor rather persistent of attention. I moved the furniture and climbed up on the stepladder to investigate. First it was necessary to brush away lots of black crud, living spiders, and their dead prey. This landed on the table. The locking mechanism could only be operated manually and with great difficulty. I sprayed it with WD40. I then still had to use my fingers to push the levers, but the fast-acting lubricant had made it easier to do so. I could now lock it. But only when it wasn’t shut, which it still won’t do properly.
I gave up, mopped up the floor, and brushed off the table and put it back in position.
This evening a certain perseverance was rewarded. The Red Lion in Milford on Sea had announced that its winter hours meant that it closed at 2.30 on Wednesdays and reopened at 6.00. We decided to return this evening and were rewarded by a friendly atmosphere in an eighteenth century hostelry that served very good food. Had we actually seen a doctor on our earlier trip, I am sure the steak and ale pie; the rack of pork ribs, the plum tart and custard, the chocolate fudge cake, the Peroni, and the Ringwood’s best would have been just what he or she would have ordered. There is also a dentist’s surgery across the road.