The Weather

Those of my readers currently enjoying warm, or tolerating hot, summers in other parts of the world may not be aware of the weather we can normally expect in England less than a month away from our shortest day; and therefore be unable to appreciate the pleasant surprise we are now experiencing.

It was a springlike day as I took my Hordle Cliff top walk this morning. Ragged autumn Autumn leaves and rose hipsBlackberriesMushroomleaves and the more seasonal rose hips betrayed the true season, while fresh blackberry fruit belied it, as they each brightened the hedgerows; and mushrooms continued to flourish.Field

A magpie strutted about one of Roger’s fields. Like all avian predators, these birds normally Magpietake off at the approach of a human being, so I was lucky to obtain this shot, especially as it had its beady eye on me.

GrassNew grass, which will not grow at less than 10 degrees centigrade, was pushing its way up through fresh soil heaped around the posts of the recently replaced street lighting.

Camellia budsWe fear for our pink camellias, cajoled into producing unseasonal buds, for when the freezing frosts arrive, as they surely will, these must all perish.

Dog walkersGroup on shingleOn the cliff footpath and the shingle below, numerous dog walkers and family groups have been encouraged to emerge into the sunlight; and the charity books for sale outside a house on Booksthe way up to Shorefield, having recently given away to plants, are once more placed against the wall.

August 2014, normally the height of our summer, was one of the coldest on record, with some temperatures the lowest for 100 years. Perhaps all this goes some way to explaining why we Brits find the weather such a talking point.

Last night the air was so mild, and the Veranda so packed, that Jackie asked the waiting staff to open the windows beside our table. One of our favourite Hampshire Indian restaurants,the establishment coped brilliantly with the influx of customers flowing from the town’s Christmas shopping evening. The food was as good as ever. It was delivered promptly with efficiency and humour. This splendid eating place could not, however, have bettered the Old Post House chicken jalfrezi and delicious egg fried rice that Jackie produced this evening. This is not grovelling flannel, it is a genuine fact. The meal was completed with New York cheesecake. Jackie drank Peroni and I chose Saint Vigni Cotes du Rhone 2012.


Shite Heaven

Security is tight in In Excess in West End High Street.  Jackie and I went shopping there this morning for six three metre long gravel boards, which were the last ingredients for the compost bins.  Elizabeth had checked out yesterday that we would be given facilities to saw these up in the store, because they were too long to fit into Jackie’s car.  Usually, when we have extra long items to carry, we stick them through the side between the passenger seat and the window.  This means I have to try limbo dancing to enter the car. Given that the boards needed sawing to make the slats for the bins, it made sense to spare me that discomfort.

Having selected the boards I asked for the usual facilities.  I was given a piece of paper with our purchases written on it and told to go to the cash desk and pay for them, where I would receive a receipt.  I should take that to the door at the back of the shop, where I would be given a saw and a tape measure.  On no account was I to walk through that door which led to the staff only area.  Staff were walking in and out.  To  reach the other door to that area, which led outside the building, I had to leave the store by the front door, walk along the high street, down a side road, through the path leading to the Asda car park, and turn right.  On reaching the back door I was asked where my car was.  As we hadn’t known there was space for cars to load and unload by the back door, Jackie’s car was in the side road.  ‘My wife is in the store’, I said, and made for the door to the shop, so I could tell her.  My way was physically barred by two staff members.  I swear that if I hadn’t stopped I would have been rugby tackled.  To find Jackie and let her know she could bring the car round, I had to retrace my steps to the front door to get back inside.  Whilst searching for her inside, I glanced through the window and saw her in the street.  I walked back round and Jackie brought the car up.

On presentation of my receipt, I was given a saw.  I had to plead for a measuring tape.  ‘Where do I do it?’, I asked, eyeing the upturned black dustbin which the staff were using. ‘You can’t have that’, I was told, ‘use the wheelie bins outside’.  The man, friendly enough, brought the boards through their workroom and leant them against the wall by three wheelie bins, which made a more or less secure sawhorse.  Jackie held the boards as firm  as was possible on the wobbly wheelie bins.  I sawed them up and we took them to The Firs where the finishing touches were applied to the unwobbly compost bins.  The recycling receptacles, apart from £58 worth of new wood, had been made with recycled material.

Whilst I had been building the compost bins, Jackie had been engaged in more pruning and clearance from shrubberies.  She had filled nine large canvas garden waste sacks. Jackie's tankard 9.12 We took them to the municipal dump, and, following family practice, I did not come away empty handed.  I bought an etched glass half-pint tankard for 20p.  Not having any change I gave 50p. for it.

This afternoon Elizabeth, Danni, and I moved desks around.  This meant Jackie got a smaller potting table in the garage; her bigger one came upstairs for use as my computer table; and my computer desk went downstairs for Ellie, Elizabeth’s new assistant.  Anyone who doesn’t remember Bernard Cribbins’s 1962 hit record ‘Right Said Fred’ should listen to it on U tube in order to get the flavour of our effort.

Paul and Lynne collected us this evening and Paul drove us to The Veranda in Wickham, where we ate an excellent Indian meal accompanied by various Indian lagers.