Shots For Scale

Jackie and Nugget continued planting and bed making this morning while I cleared up some of the debris. Our little robin has even begun to get under my feet. He has begun to think ahead and, knowing where we are likely to go, arrives there before us. He only has to see me scoop up a trug full of clippings and he will be awaiting my arrival at the compost heap.

The normal size bricks in this photograph indicate what a diminutive creature he is. With secateurs in hand Jackie needs to be careful not to amputate anything.

Now, “Where’s Nugget?” (32).

Jackie plonked these starlike allium seed heads for their decorative quality.

Elsewhere we have plenty of varieties of dahlia; yellow self-seeded bidens;

flaming sedums;

delicate fuchsias;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

pretty petunias;

roses, such as magnificent Mama Mia,

pure white Winchester Cathedral,

and blousy Schoolgirl,

all still keeping company with planted urns in the Rose Garden.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vibrant splashes of colour enhance garden views such as this one across the lawn with its basket hanging from the eucalyptus, petunias in the chimney pot, and Japanese anemones on the far side;

the stepping stones across the Cryptomeria Bed with its Michaelmas daisies and clematis scaling the arch that spans the Phantom Path;

the Gazebo Path, again sporting a clematis in its third flush, hanging baskets, and more.

The Patio Bed gloried in the morning sunlight.

Before lunch we took a short drive into the east of the forest.

Autumn leaves clung to damp fungus.

on the verges of Lower Sandy Down where the Modus puts the width of the winding lane into perspective.

While a curious field horse looked on

I photographed the opposite landscape where freer equine cousins could be glimpsed in the distance.

Further on a woman walking her dog provided a further shot for scale.

This afternoon I watched the recording of the World Cup rugby match between South Africa and Italy.

This evening we dined on succulent pork chops; crisp roast potatoes, one sweet; crunchy carrots, and tender cabbage and runner beans, all flavoured by tasty gravy. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Fleurie.

 

Should I Revert To The Classic Editor?

The light this morning was dull when I took a walk around the garden.

It looks to me as if WordPress have changed my gallery image sizes as they did yesterday. This will mean that nothing can be enlarged. I am also uncertain whether the galleries can be accessed at all. Should either of these situations arise, I will return to the Classic editor. I would appreciate feedback on this.

This afternoon the light was slightly better when I photographed a hosta blooming on the stumpery; the Virginia creeper brightening the back drive,

which also bears hot lips in its border;

bees plundering salvia and cosmos;

and a Red Admiral basking on warm paving bricks.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s classic lamb jalfrezi with mushroom rice and onion samosas. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank Casillero del Diablo reserva Shiraz 2017.

None Of That Nonsense

Late this afternoon rain had brought abandonment to the first day of the fourth Ashes Test match, but here it was reasonably warm and sunny.

Jackie, hindered by Nugget, continued planting, while I wandered around the garden.

Clematis Marie Boisselot, in her third flush, has now toned down her blue rinse.

Other clematises, such as Polish Spirit,

and the tiny white campaniflora, have weathered the storm.

A Lidl pink one still climbs the arch spanning the Brick Path beyond the pelargoniums flanking the Nottingham Castle bench.

Here are some of those pelargoniums.

Begonias are in their prime.

Fuchsias, like these two chequerboards, continue to thrive.

Mama Mia, Absolutely Fabulous, Winchester Cathedral, Festive Jewel, Crown Princess Margatera, and Hot Chocolate are all examples of roses still holding up their heads.

Long shadows streak across the tiny lawn.

Honesty and Hollyhocks are displaying seed pods.

Earlier in the summer Aaron moved the miscanthus from the edge to the centre of the Palm Bed. It has survived.

Pelargoniums drape many of the hanging baskets.

Petunias and bidens are equally prolific.

The New Bed and Elizabeth’s Bed still offer much colour.

The first of this set of pictures show cosmos and echinacea alongside Elizabeth’s Bed, the second is of the Weeping Birch Bed, and the last two lead us towards the house.

Now, “Where’s Nugget?” (14)

Jackie can’t settle to drinks on the patio without taking a trowel to stir the pudding for her little friend.

This evening he looked askance at her first effort and

took up a stance on a stone above some slate chips as if, like a stroppy toddler, to say “I don’t like that dinner. Get me something else”. I can assure you that the Head Gardener had none of that nonsense from her own children.

I certainly didn’t turn up my nose at our delicious dinner of spicy pork paprika, mushroom rice, and runner beans, with which the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Shiraz.

Not For The Birds

This was a day of wind, rain, colder temperatures, coats, and central heating. A bit like Dunedin’s winter.

During a brief period of lessening rain Jackie continued her work on securing sweet peas and other climbing plants; rehanging baskets; and setting other planters back on their perches.

Here are some of the finished projects. The begonias in the penultimate image lost a few broken stems from which Jackie is attempting to produce roots. She is doing the same with a proliferation of pelargoniums.

These ginger lilies happily survived.

Most flowers were bejewelled with raindrops.

This was not a day for little birds to come out and play.

We dined this evening on a second sitting of Hordle Chinese Take Away’ excellent fare with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Shiraz.

Presentable For The Camera

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This morning I wandered round the garden with camera and crutch, but no perch. I began with the patio, and its hanging baskets and planters. The bed and breakfast sign was a Christmas present from Becky and Ian; the basket at its base, Jacqueline’s birthday present to Jackie.

From there I walked along the Kitchen Path,

 

taking the Brick Path to the far end of the garden,

 

and round to the Rose Garden,

where Jackie, who spent the whole day on general maintenance, including much weeding, sweeping, and raking, went to great pains to make this area, on which she had been working, presentable for the camera.

The football World Cup has nudged Bargain Hunt off the TV schedules. This meant that I could not take my usual fix for a post-prandial snooze. So I opted for the match between Egypt and Uruguay. This fitted the bill perfectly.

This evening we dined on succulent pork chops, tasty gravy, new potatoes, runner beans, and crunchy carrots.

Waiting For The Dilation

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A wander round the garden this morning yielded

 

spears of crocosmia, tulips, and daffodils piercing the soil;

Crocuses

crocuses opened further;

Primulas and snowdrops

and varieties of primula.

Daphne odorata

Daphne Odorata remains wary of the possibility of a cold spell.

 

The winter flowering clematis Cirrhosa now cascades down the gazebo,

 

while, in the Rose Garden, Winchester Cathedral has bloomed for several months; Mum in a Million and Festive Jewel are in bud;

Spring sculpture

and the sun shines on “Spring”

This afternoon Jackie drove me to Lymington Hospital and back, for my eye appointment. I received efficient treatment, the nurse being rather more friendly than the consultant, but it is not his bedside manner that I suppose one looks to. After the nurse’s checks, she administered drops intended to dilate my eyes. They were effective, and, according to Jackie, gave me a sexy air. On hearing this, the gentleman sitting next to me asked her to look at his.

The consultant advised me that the laser treatment to my left eye was, as I thought, required. Apparently another cataract is forming in the right eye. I was asked if I wanted it done. No advice was given. I declined. I now await a date for the operation to the left eye.

Further administrative confusion occurred, in that a handwritten notice on the wall advised that, as stated in the appointment letter, we may have further checks carried out after the examination in order to save repeated visits. These could take three hours. Neither my nor anyone else’s letter carried such information. However this didn’t happen.

Waiting for the dilation to take effect gave me sufficient time to finish ‘The Locked Room’, being the third short novel in Paul Auster’s New York Trilogy. In the penultimate chapter the author suggests that all three of these works are the same story. He also uses the word ‘absurd’ on a number of occasions. It is. We are lulled, in this final episode, into thinking we might be reading something that makes sense. The writing flows with excellent descriptions and presents a plausible situation involving apparently real people and their relationships. A childhood friendship, for example, is beautifully told. There is, as usual, no ultimate clarity as nonsense finally prevails. Not that I could follow, anyway.

Tom Burns’s illustrations were, however, a delight, true to the text to the end.

           For our dinner The Culinary Queen produced succulent pigs in blankets; sublime sage and onion stuffed roast chicken; firm Yorkshire pudding; creamy mashed potato; toothsome manges touts; and tender runner beans. Good gravy, too.  With this, I drank Wolf’s Leap merlot 2016.

The Kitchen Garden

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Here is another look  at our existing kitchen.

The section alongside the hobs is effectively the Culinary Queen’s current work surface. As shown in ‘Before The Makeover 1’ the oven, microwave, and fan occupy the other side of the small area at the back. The shelves to the right of the picture occupy a former fireplace. So encrusted with caked on grime were these hobs that, when we moved in, we did not know they were induction. Neither did we know how to use them, nor that we would need new saucepans.

This is how lunch is prepared on this surface.

When the hobs are in use, as for cooking tonight’s jalfrezi, life becomes somewhat more complicated, chopping room being rather limited.

For Your Eyes Only pruned

One of Aaron’s tasks this morning had been to prune some of the roses, like the prolific For Your Eyes Only.

This afternoon I took a walk among the flora. The winter flowering cherry, the bergenia, the pansies, the cyclamens, the iris, and the vincas have been in evidence for a while. The little yellow bidens have continued to self seed since they first occupied the garden last Spring. The camellias are covered in buds, their first blooms having appeared in recent days. Jackie is particularly excited about the prospect of the Daphne odorata’s scents bursting from their expanding cases. One solitary Winchester Cathedral bloom stands tall in the Rose Garden.

With the aforementioned chicken jalfrezi, Jackie served her special savoury rice and Tesco’s pakoras and onion bahjis. As can be seen, she drank Hoegaarden. I drank more of the Malbec.