Today was warm enough for us to lunch outside, using a small table and folding chairs on the stone path leading up to the kitchen door. Jackie’s small garden outside there is taking shape. This afternoon we drove to Aldi at Romsey for potting compost, a Polish Spirit clematis and a few other items.
Last night, as Jackie drove me back from Southampton there were, unusually more deer than any other animals on the road. We realised the truth of Sisyphus‘s (see post of 19th March) observation that these timid creatures have been more desperate for food than usual this winter, and would soon be less venturesome in the garden of Castle Malwood Lodge, when we noticed leaves and even flowers on one stem of these plants that have been regularly stripped to the bone since last November.
As I walked down to the village shop and back cattle and ponies shared cropping rights on the verges of Minstead’s lanes. Maybe because their roots have been waterlogged for so long, there seem to have been a great deal of fallen trees in the forest. It only appears to be those that encroach upon the road that are logged up and removed. A vast trunk by the roadside in the village has clearly been there for some time, and is regularly used as a community noticeboard.
We haven’t had a ‘Derrick through the ages’ picture for a while. Number 15 in the series was probably taken by Jessica in about 1995 in the garden of Lindum House. I don’t remember whose teeth marks are imprinted on my bottom lip.
This evening Jackie drove us to The Woolpack at Sopley, a delightful pub where we spent a very enjoyable evening with Helen, Bill, Shelley, and Ron. The food and wine were excellent. They even served fish and chips in newspaper in the traditional manner. As is probably common in groups of a certain age, one topic of conversation was stiff necks. This prompted my story of my first encounter with Jasper Nissim, the male half of Newark’s osteopathy partnership. Having been subjected, all my life, to pain in my left shoulder and a stiff neck emanating from a fifty two year old rugby injury, I was persuaded by other members of my family to put myself in the hands of this Newark Rugby Club fly half. The fly half position is the one occupied for so long in the England team by Johnny Wilkinson, the playmaker of the game. One task of the second row forward, one of the two big heavy men who formed the engine room of the pack, was to disrupt the life of the fly half.
The position a second row forward does not want to get himself into is lying on a clinical couch with his head in the hands of a fly half. Nevertheless, there I was, prone on the bed, Jasper gently tweaking my resistant head from side to side with gradual increase of movement. ‘Second row forward, weren’t you?’ ejaculated Jasper. ‘Yes said I’. ‘Well’, he replied, giving my neck a vicious twist, ‘you deserve all you get’.