Well Wound-Up

Here are some of the piles of patio rubble awaiting the arrival of a skip to remove them.

The low concrete wall at the perimeter will be removed and replaced by sleepers which Martin will source.

In the meantime he has focussed on the Rose Garden.

As the water fountain is powered by a solar light this was removed,


and packed away in the Head Gardener’s shed for the winter.

The Pink carpet rose is far more prolific throughout the warm months than we had imagined and has to be cut back regularly from the paths over which it spreads.

We therefore decided to risk moving it. (There hadn’t seemed much point in righting that planter while the gales still raged).

Our friend had great difficulty in carrying out this process today, since its roots spread easily as much as its branches.

The bed is now devoid of this plant, thus allowing its neighbours more space.

It now resides along the eastern fence, behind other pruned bushes.

Just before lunch I emerged, well wound-up and emotionally exhausted, from the NatWest Bank in Lymington, having spent most of the morning in there, attempting to send a small amount of Australian dollars on line. Knowing I would not be able to manage the task without help, I visited this, the only surviving branch of three within several miles of home – I only turned to On Line banking because of this paucity of places into which one could walk and speak to a real person.

The very helpful, calm, and patient, cashier was immediately available to help me through the process of achieving my object for the first time on my new Samsung Galaxy. She really didn’t mind how often I tapped the wrong keys or hit the right one a quivering second time. Eventually we got there. She warned me that I would get a call from the fraud department who would be alerted because I was using an unfamiliar device and sending foreign currency for the first time.

This happened almost immediately and my guide led me to a separate room to have the conversation. Then the wind-up began. Firstly I had repeatedly to request the agent, clearly rattling off scripts at a rate and in an, albeit English, accent which would have tested my perfectly good hearing even if she hadn’t intermittently lowered her voice; secondly I wasn’t able satisfactorily to answer all her security questions which would have required access to my files at home. And here was I naively expecting to be asked my mother’s maiden name. On two occasions she left me on hold while she consulted “a colleague”. The upshot was that they would reject the payment and advise me not to try to make the payment again. She had no answer to my question about how I was to get the money to Australia. I blew my top and said I would go back to helpful cashier. This agent knew I was still in the bank and that I had been helped in what had been my first effort at using the phone – at least I had told her, but why should she believe me?

Now, I fully appreciate that the fraud check was necessary, that the agent, who did keep apologising, was doing her best and was never rude or pushy, but what is an elderly gent to do when progress has passed him by?

The original cashier eventually carried out the process from her own computer for which I will be charged a fee. When she asked if that would be OK I said wearily “I don’t care”.

This evening we dined on battered haddock and oven chips, onion rings, baked beans, pickled onions and gherkins, with which we both drank South Point Sauvignon Blanc 2021.

A Tale Of Wasps

Eleanor is a good-tempered child who doesn’t normally make a fuss. It therefore came as a big surprise when, some time after the above picture was taken at yesterday’s barbecue, she let out a piercing yell and continued to cry.

Jackie soon grasped what was wrong and provided the wherewithal to reduce the distress.

For most of this week she has been set on the destruction of two nests –

one underground on the footpath across the Palm Bed

and the other in the stumpery which is after all an insect hotel.

The evening before the party the Terminator discovered, from ankle to upper thigh, beneath her jeans, upwards of 20 rapidly swelling stings and two halves of a wasp. She used up all her creams and a couple of Ibuprofen tablets overnight and bought a new supply in the morning.

She was therefore well equipped to administer anti histamine creams and to prevent vinegar being applied to the child’s sting.

Jackie’s leg was much better this morning, as was mine. Although she seems to have destroyed the nests, she has noticed that wasps are still drinking from the water fountain in the Rose Garden.

I therefore lay in wait for the thirsty visitors and photographed a few.

After lunch we took a brief forest drive.

Alongside the lane into Portmore

Jackie noticed sheep sheltering in the barren landscape, and stepped out of the car to photograph them.

She also pictured cow parsley seeds, as did I;

Additionally, I focussed on burnished bracken on the verge, and a developing sweetcorn crop.

Determined donkeys advanced steadily along the tarmac at East Boldre,

where a few ponies, having left the parched terrain opposite, tried to shelter in clusters beside the village shop, too drained of energy to care where they were putting their feet. The Janus-headed one in Matthew’s Lane did summon up the enthusiasm to make a bee-line for me in a vain search for succour.

Jackie, keen to demonstrate to our concerned readers that I am no longer confined to the passenger seat, photographed me attempting to convince my equine friend that I had nothing for her.

Normally I try to keep my shadow out of a picture, but this seemed to warrant making an exception, since the pony was too close to be kept in focus.

I stepped out of the car again opposite No 1, Sowley Lane to photograph two donkeys, one moulting, on the bend in the road. As I did so, I saw one car with a boat on a trailer approaching from the animals’ side of the road while another vehicle was about to pass them on my side. Neither could have seen or heard the other, and the first would not know he was aiming straight for two animals he could only avoid by slamming on brakes or chancing a head-on collision. I pointed and gesticulated in each direction, hoping they would get the message. Fortunately this alerted them to approach the bend especially slowly. The asses did not move.

This evening we dined on Red Chilli takeaway fare. Main course choices included Lamb Rogan Josh, Chicken Korma, Chicken Tikka Shaslick, and Naga Lamb; we shared Pilau Rice, Peshwari Naan, Plain Paratha, and Saag Bhaji, all of which was as good as ever. Jackie drank Hoegaarden; I drank more of the Bordeaux which involved opening another bottle; and Flo and Dillon drank Ribena.

‘Bleak House’ Comes To The End

Last night I finished reading my Folio Society edition of ‘Bleak House’ By Charles Dickens.

First published in instalments from March 1852 to August 1853, this is a superb novel from a writer at the peak of his powers. As is my wont I will not provide details of the story which other readers may wish to discover for themselves, save to say that, through the interminable case of Jarndyce v. Jarndyce, it is a scathing attack on the Court of Chancery, but so much more besides. The scope and complexity of the author’s work reflects that of the legal system itself.

A host of brilliantly depicted characters thread their ways through the narrative in a more thoroughly composed manner than in any of his previous works. There is an abundance of Dickens’s wit and humour and both bucolic and sordid urban descriptions.

There is romance and mystery awaiting resolution at the end of the book, when, as usual, the concluding situations of the panoply of protagonists and supporting characters are strung together like neatly tied bundles of Chancery papers.

There are also desperately tragic lives hopelessly ruined by conditions of the day.

Christopher Hibbert’s introduction is as knowledgeable and informative as usual.

Before lunch I scanned the last four illustrations by the truly inimitable Charles Keeping.

In ‘ ‘I beg to lay the ouse, the business, and myself before Miss Summerson’ ‘ Keeping has suggested the gulf between the speaker and his audience both by the use of the space in the double spread, and by the expressions on the faces.

‘Even the clerks were laughing’ has its own story to tell.

‘The mausoleum in the park’ is suitably forbidding;

and ‘Bleak House’ Mark 2 quite the opposite.

Following Flo’s lead of transferring barrow loads of compost to the Rose Garden yesterday,

Jackie, who had cleaned out the water fountain, and I continued tidying the

said Garden, now featuring plentiful forget-me-nots and bluebells.

Later, Flo spread more compost on the Pond Bed.

(Yvonne, you need read no further)

This evening we dined on Jackie’s perfectly cooked roast lamb dinner; complete with crisp Yorkshire pudding, sage and onion stuffing, and roast potatoes, including the sweet variety; crunchy carrots, firm broccoli, and tender cabbage; all with meaty gravy. Rice pudding laced with strawberry jam was to follow. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2019.


This is the footpath to the centre of the Palm Bed that we cleared yesterday.

On another scorching hot day we began the gardening early. My contribution was a dead heading tour, a certain amount of weeding, and a little clearing up.

After lunch I scanned the next five of Charles Keeping’s illustrations to David Copperfield.

‘She drew the harp to her, and played and sang’

‘Mr Peggotty smoothed her rich hair with his great hard hand’ displays such tender emotion’

‘Mr, Peggotty, with his vest torn open, his hair wild, and blood trickling down his bosom, looked fixedly at me’ depicts horror and despair.

‘Miss Dartle gently touched her, and bent down her head to whisper’

‘I drank in every note of her dear voice, and she sang to me who loved her’

After this, I wandered around with my camera, picturing

various scenes, each of which is titled in the gallery;

a. bee clambering onto an eryngium;

planters that currently need watering twice daily;

the water fountain that Jackie cleaned;

and the brick pillar in Elizabeth’s Bed that the Head Gardener removed from further back in this plot and rebuilt with a refurbished sign. Other refreshed signage includes the Old Post House and Aaron’s Garden labels placed on the arch taking us into the garden from the Back Drive. The kitchen table is a makeshift studio.

This evening we dined on Thai prawn and pollock fish cakes; smoked haddock; oven chips; and toothsome cauliflower, runner beans, and peas, with which Jackie drank more of the Sauvignon Blanc and I drank more of the Shiraz.