This morning I walked to the bank at New Milton. I turned right up Lower Ashley Road and left along Ashley Road. This route is rather less picturesque and more protracted than the winding racetrack that is Christchurch/Lymington Road, but considerably safer. The man who insisted on giving me a lift soon after I had passed Angel Lane on my return thought so too.
Downton’s public Telephone box has probably seen better days.
A grasshopper camouflaged in the long grasses through which I trampled on the verge took me back to A Close Encounter I experienced in Sigoules on 9th August 2012.
A memorial flag flapping on the top floor balcony of a block of flats in Ashley Road encouraged us to remember the 36th Ulster Division’s contribution to the First World War, which we joined 100 years ago today. This was just one group of the generation of young men and boys on both sides sent to their slaughter in order to satisfy the whim of a power-crazed Kaiser and the hopeless ineptitude of our own war leaders. A century later we still fight our battles on foreign soil, to demonstrate that not much has been learned by mankind in the intervening century.
It is almost incredible to recollect that Kaiser Wilhelm was a grandson of Queen Victoria, and therefore that the major protagonists were a family at war.
My own paternal grandfather was one of those who came back, otherwise, since my father was born in 1917, when we think this photograph was taken, I probably wouldn’t be here to write this post. Neither would Alice, come to that.
When our lights are extinguished at 10 p.m. this evening, it will not be a power cut that brings this about. We will be joining the rest of the UK in an hour’s darkness of remembrance.
Back home this afternoon, while Jackie laboured with her watering cans, I wandered around the garden, at one point taking a rest on the dump bench and admiring one of its views. I did a little dead heading on my rounds. Petunias are very sticky.
The nocturnal relative of this morning’s grasshopper, probably sleeping, aboard one of our many blue clematises was a cricket. Close scrutiny of the photograph reveals the incredibly long antennae that distinguish this insect from the other.
Because we are likely to forget their names, Jackie is labelling all those plants, like the unusual crocosmia Solfoterre, that she can, sometimes after considerable research.
Just as extensive research was required for me to identify a black and white striped butterfly that flashes it bright orange underside when on the wing. After a thorough study of the thoroughly informative ‘The Butterflies of Britain & Ireland’ by Jeremy Thomas and Richard Lewington, I surfed the web, to no avail. Then I had one of my strokes of genius. Maybe, I thought,’ it is a moth?’. One had, after all, the other day, settled on Jackie’s woolly bosom. It is a Jersey Tiger Moth. She was, incidentally wearing a cardigan at the time.
For our dinner this evening, Jackie produced a professional egg fried rice to accompany our succulent pork chops and the remnants of our recent Chinese takeaway. I finished the Bordeaux and she sampled some Hoegaarden.