Sun And Wind

Jackie provided her usual chauffeur service to and from New Milton for my London trip.

Knees in train

The four coach train was as packed as usual. One gentleman kindly removed his luggage from one of the few available seats so that I could sit down. The gentleman opposite me was fast asleep. His baggage lay between his feet which stretched under the window seat. Settling one buttock on that and another on the centre one I fitted my legs around the somnolent passenger as demonstrated in the photograph. He woke with a start at Brockenhurst and asked where he was. When told, he relaxed, but didn’t change his position. This group disembarked at Southampton Airport. They were replaced by others, but the newcomers had to fit round me, which was preferable.

It was a dull, blustery, noon as I approached the Archduke to meet Norman for lunch. Somehow or other, my great friend Wolf had managed to reach the railway bridge between the arches from with the restaurant presumably derived its name to provide the appropriate embellishment.

Graffiti and Archduke

Maybe he used the crane.

lampsMy choice for lunch was the sea trout. Norman chose belly of pork, and we both opted for the pecan pie for dessert. We shared a bottle of Sicilian shiraz.

By the time I emerged from the restaurant to be blown along South Bank and across Westminster Bridge to visit Carol, the temperature had dropped to finger-tingling levels, but the sun had now come out, silhouetting the Houses of Parliament, peeking through crevices in the decorative architecture; outlining the faces of photographers’  subjects; providing side lighting for Gothic greatcoats and the supports of the bridge; setting young girls’ hair alight; and lending a translucence to the glass cases of ornamental lamps.

Houses of Parliament in silhouetteSun through Houses of ParliamentGothic greatcoatsYoung lady photographingSunlit hair

Jackie and I have recently begun the watch the Father Brown series on television. This is based on G.K.Chesterton’s classic stories of a sleuthing Roman Catholic priest, and has led me to begin reading them. I got through a few on the train today.

Monochrome Portraits

This morning was spent on sorting out Tony’s car. Having realised that the problem was probably a battery in the Mercedes’s electronic key, yet been unable to open it, we visited the always helpful Steve at Downton Service Station. He took a battery from another remote key, and lent it to Tony to see if it would work on his car. It didn’t, until I had the bright idea of checking that the battery had been inserted the right way round. It hadn’t. As our friend went out to the drive to try again, I sat in my chair, surprisingly hoping to hear the strident alarm go off. It did. We then drove to The Motorists Centre in Old Milton and bought a battery at a cost of £2.50, which compared quite favourably with the £700 Tony had been quoted to tow him home last night. That is the second time Steve has helped out by giving advice rather than charging for an inspection of, and work on, a vehicle.

Madelaine's niece at wedding 4.70

Tony had not seen the little bridesmaid picture that I have featured before, having successfully exhibited it in The First Gallery. He did, however, recognise Madeleine’s niece Claire, from their wedding in 1970. He asked for a print for Dawn, the child’s mother. I made him one which he took with him this afternoon as he continued his journey.

We then waited in for the delivery of the chair bought yesterday from Fergusson’s. It came on time. I spent the rest of the afternoon scanning more black and white negatives from 1982. They were mostly of our and other people’s children. The first I have chosen to feature is a group of Becky, Louisa, Sam and Matthew taken in a garden shelter in the garden of Jessica’s aunt Elspeth in Rugby.

Becky, Louisa, Sam & Mathew 1982 1

Over the following few years, when I was still working with chemicals, I made quite a number of prints of varying sizes, including this image and extracts from it. Sam, in particular, seemed worthy of experimentation. I couldn’t resist another effort today. I like the graininess.Sam 1982Sam cleaning teeth 1982

It was on the same visit that I caught him cleaning his teeth. As far as I remember, this is actually a reflection.

Like a cat recently loosed from  an opened cage, springing into her Modus, at last freed from the blockage caused by Tony’s immobile Mercedes, Jackie drove us to and from The Family House in Totton where, this evening, we enjoyed our favourite M3 set meal with T’sing Tao beer.

The Jackdaw

As I ambled along to the post box alongside Ivy Cottages, I realised that I had, in an earlier post, misinformed my readers about the visibility of Ashley Clinton Manor tower from Christchurch Road.Christchurch Road and Ashley Clinton Manor towerAshley Clinton Manor towerAshley Clinton Manor tower zoomed

Such is the serpentine nature of the A337, that, although Angel Lane is on the left, looking across the fields to the right the tower is clearly visible from this point, although a little further along foliage, when clothing the now naked trees will obscure it.

All my life I have struggled to find an armchair high enough off the floor for comfort, but only comparatively recently have needed to use my hands to prise myself out of it.Flo, Ian, (Becky), Oddie and Scooby

My favourite Edwardian chair, when not occupied by the Emsworth family, has always suited me well.

Because of the nature of the majority of the shops in Highcliffe High Street, when I first visited this town I quipped that I was not ready for it. Now, realising that perhaps I am, we continued our chair search, and found just the job in Fergusson’s House Clearance. The chosen item is the second that can be seen in the shadows of the shop doorway.Fergusson's House Clearance Services

 

Jackdaw 1Jackdaw 2Perched high up under the eaves of Highcliffe Watchmakers in Waterford Road, a jackdaw fixed its beady eyes on us. It blended in so well with the woodwork that, had Jackie not spotted it and its mate in the guttering, I might have missed it. This shop also sells jewellery, and since jackdaws are noted jewel thieves, these birds were probably waiting to slip in behind another customer opening the door, so they could nip inside and snaffle something shiny. ( When posting daily you need a bit of luck, don’t you? )

Our evening meal didn’t quite go according to plan.

Our old friend Tony visited us this afternoon. He expected to leave after a couple of hours to return to Chelmsford via Petersfield. After this we thought we might go out somewhere. Unfortunately Tony couldn’t start his car and had to embark upon a series of telephone calls to initiate a recovery process. Whilst this was going on Jackie volunteered to go out to fetch a takeaway.

Then…………Ah……..

Tony’s immobilised vehicle was blocking her in.

He didn’t have the appropriate insurance cover for recovery, so he had to stay the night and hope Downton Service Station could resolve the problem in the morning.

So we enjoyed a superb omelette stuffed with peppers, mushrooms, and onions; chips; peas; baked beans; and rice pudding. Jackie drank a low alcohol rose and Tony and I finished the Bordeaux Superieur.

 

Not Exactly A Chair

Over coffee, Jackie and I began the day discussing the detail of the Churchill queue photographs posted yesterday. Even I, who had been there in January 1965, was surprised at what can be revealed by clicking on the images to enlarge them. This prompted me to add a postscript that you may find as fascinating as we found the exercise. Little did I know, when I pressed that shutter, that it would one day be possible to send those pictures and comments on them, for immediate consumption, across the world at the touch of another button.

PrimulasTree barkAfterwards, I extended my gentle amble to the entrance to Roger’s fields. Primulas are now blooming on the verges of Downton Lane, and, on this more overcast day, yesterday’s vibrant tree bark colours have made way for gentle sage greens and silvery greys.Pine cones and Paul

First chatting to Carl in the pub car park, I engaged in a longer conversation with Paul, a very friendly builder living at number 25, who was clipping his hedge. He noticed me photographing a pine branch that had been ripped off and thrown across the other side of the road. He told me it was very unusual for these limbs to be torn from the trees, and that even now it would be very difficult to break off the cones.

Jackie planting primulasPrimulas and snowdrops on Mum R's plotAfter lunch, as today would have been Jackie’s mother’s birthday, we drove to Everton Nurseries where we bought primulas and snowdrops which Jackie planted by her Mum’s plot in Walkford Woodland Burial Ground. Only natural woodland flowers are to be set there. Although the primulas are cultivated, they will, if they survive, soon revert.Mirror

We then moved on to Molly’s Den in search of a chair, and instead came away with a rather attractive bevelled  mirror which we think is probably contemporary with our house.

A rack of pork ribs in barbecue sauce provided our evening sustenance. This was accompanied by Jackie’s savoury rice, this time including and enough finely diced vegetables as to suggest it was an exquisite biriani, and crisp red cabbage stir fry. Jackie drank Peroni, whilst I chose Lidl’s 2012 Bordeaux Superieur.

1,000 Days

Stump 2Stump 3Stump 4Shadow on stumpIn bright sunlight this morning I played around with the super vivid setting on the camera. I reduced the saturation in the saw picture in order to reproduce the natural colours which still look pretty unreal. This tool was discovered when we were clearing the overgrown hedging on the back drive, and remains where we propped it.

The timid tits approaching the bird feeder stop off in the shrubs behind it in order to watch for their moment to swoop and snatch up their sustenance before being attacked by more belligerent birds such as robins, or assassinated by humans who may have set out the larder as bait for nefarious purposes.

SawTit approaching bird tableStump 1PlanksAutumn leavesLeaves and pondweedPansies

I forget the name of the influential art master who taught for a short time at Wimbledon College. Rather a tempestuous character, he was sacked for beating up Adam Pardon. He helped us to see that trees were not simply a single brown in hue. Nothing makes this clearer than the range of russets, oranges, ochres, greens, yellows and indigoes sported by the decaying wood of our dead stumps or discarded planks. These photographs have not exaggerated them much.

Becky and Ian had given me Boris Johnson’s timely publication ‘The Churchill Factor’ for Christmas. Rather appropriately, I finished reading it today. Boris has written neither a history, nor a biography, but an extended eulogy for the great man. This is a very readable book, benefiting from the writer’s admirable research and entertaining facility with the language. Sir Winston Churchill died 50 years ago today, and, the first commoner since the Duke of Wellington, to receive the honour, lay in state in the Great Hall at Westminster.

At the time, I was working for Mobil Shipping Company at the now demolished Pill Box building between Waterloo Station and Westminster Bridge. I watched a queue of 300,000 people snaking across the bridge and The Embankment on their way to pay their respects to the man who had so eloquently rallied their spirits during the war that had ended just twenty years earlier. Johnson reminds us that there was so much more to Winston than that, but I won’t add to the billions more words that are bound to be produced in the days to come.

Churchill lying in state005Churchill lying in state003Churchill lying in state001Churchill lying in state002Churchill lying in state004

During my lunch hour, I nipped out with my totally non-automatic Kodak Retinette 1b camera, and photographed those people braving the cold winter’s day. I first published a selection of these with my post of 22nd May 2012, but I think it fitting to repeat them today. Note that the Union Flag flies at half mast over the Houses of Parliament.

For our dinner this evening Jackie coated chicken thighs in their skins with piri-piri seasoning and roasted them in the oven. Retaining the skins produces enough fat to obviate the need for oil. This was accompanied by her usual savoury rice without egg. We had the chickens after all.

Red cabbage melange

The surprise addition was the melange of sautéed red cabbage and other vegetables. Into the finely sliced cabbage, onions, and green beans, which were stir fried, carrots were added quite late on in order that they should retain their original colour. When everything was soft enough a splash of vinegar was added, a lid was applied the saucepan and the whole steamed on a low heat for no more than ten minutes. I recommend it. Between us we finished the Pedro Jimenez white wine.

This is my 1,000th post since I began my blog on 9th May 2012. Although some entries have been published a day or two late, no dates have been missed.

P.S. The following morning Jackie and I had a discussion about just what is contained in the queue photos. When I last published them Becky had commented on the fashions of the day. Jackie was struck by the number of hats displayed on the heads of both men and women, and the number of fur coats still acceptable then. The one woman walking in the opposite direction on Lambeth Bridge in the first picture would be on her way to the end of the line. It would take her three or four hours to reach the front

A policeman who commented on BBC news may possibly be visible in the third picture. He answered our conundrum about the line of vans seen on the far side of the first image. They were catering facilities provided by the WRVS. Clutched in the arms of a news vendor on the right of photo three are copies of The Times, the front pages occupied by a photograph of the great man.

Clicking on the images produces larger images which helped us examine the details. Maybe you could find more of the information from half a century ago.

 

 

In My Own Back Yard

On another beautiful day, I attempted to stay indoors to rest my leg. By late afternoon I had succumbed to temptation and took a gentle amble around the garden and the Royal Oak car park.

Camellia

Our camellias have continued to thrive.

Rust on wheelbarrow

Through the winter we have covered material for starting our next bonfire with the wheelbarrow we use as an incinerator. Oxidisation, assisted by the camera’s vivid setting, has produced a glowing work of art.

FencesTree

The pub car park offers views of Roger’s fields and the backs of the hamlet’s buildings.

Ashley Clinton Manor towerRoyal Oak car park

A turning on our left of Christchurch Road is Angel Lane. Situated some distance along this lane another road leads to Ashley Clinton Manor which is now divided into flats. The tower, the tallest part of the buildings, cannot be seen from the A337, but is visible in the distance from almost every angle around, one of which is the car park. It stands on the left of the first picture immediately above. (Clicking twice to zoom may help) The eggshell blue wash coating our home can be seen on the right of the second.

Today’s title is inspired by Chris Weston‘s tutorial recommendation.

Tonight we dined on fish, chips, mushy peas, and pickled onions accompanied by Cimarosa Pedro Jimenez 2014.

 

The Shopping Trolley

FootpathBranches on footpathDownton through footpathWe enjoyed another bright, clear day, so, after a couple of days of rest I, very gingerly, traversed part of the woodland walk. Raindrops still clung to leaves and berries, occasionally, when they had become weighty enough, slipping to the next level down. The footpath was soggy in parts, and the branches helpfully laid on the track were not much help to an elderly gent preferring to risk losing his shoes to suction than twisting his knee on a precarious foothold. Shafts of sunlight set gentle mist rising and enlivened fallen leaves and cut logs.

In ‘The Story Of The Raincoat’, I described the adjustment my juvenile eyes needed to make when emerging from the cinema into bright sunlight. It was rather like that as I emerged from the woods unable to see the houses of Downton basking beyond the brassica field.

Apart from the pleasure of venturing out on such a splendid day, this probably was not a good idea. I will need to take it easy for a few days more.

Holly berry raindropMisty sun in woodSunlight on logs and fallen leaves

et3

Later, we watched a delightfully sensitive and touching film on Catch Up TV. First shown on 1st January and starring two cinema giants, ‘Esio Trot’ was made for television. I must be very circumspect in what I say about it, because I do not want to reveal the details of the beautiful story for anyone who does not already know the book and may wish to see the film. The tale is by Roald Dahl, and the film directed by Dearbhla Walsh. Dustin Hoffman and Dame Judi Dench are their usually brilliant selves, and the device chosen for James Corden’s engaging narration cleverly sets the scene in North London. Even if you do know the story, if you haven’t seen the film, Catch Up before it is removed. If you miss it watch one of the repeats there are bound to be.

This afternoon Jackie drove us to Ringwood where she shopped at Sainsbury’s and I at Wessex Photographic. Her shopping took longer than mine, so I waited in the car for her return. This gave me ample time to survey the activities of other, less nosey, parkers. One young woman, as I watched, performed an interesting manoeuvre involving a mobile phone, three bags of shopping, and a trolley. Keeping the red mobile phone, in her right hand, pressed to her ear, she employed her left hand to carry the bags, one at a time, to her car. The trolley was itself positioned alongside another vehicle. My entertainer’s car was two cars away, so she walked backwards and forwards, never releasing the phone. Three times. She then disappeared into her transport, leaving the supermarket’s carrier where it was. The usual bay for depositing trolleys was just a few yards away.

Shopping trolley 1Shopping trolley 2

It is a reflection of our times that the stores employ people to gather up these discards of inconsiderate shoppers. Minutes later a gentleman collected this one and slotted it into the area allocated for the purpose. Similarly litter-pickers are both employed and volunteer to clean up after careless visitors to the New Forest.

On our way home we stopped off at Molly’s Den in search of a towel hanger. Within seconds Jackie found one probably from the 1930s. We searched for any potential competition. It was the only one in the emporium. We happily bought it.

This evening’s dinner was sublime. Jackie had coated pork chops in mustard and brown sugar, baked them in the oven, added a layer of toasted almonds, and served them with sage and apple stuffing, boiled potatoes, soft spinach and crisp carrots and broccoli. She drank Peroni and I finished the Bordeaux.