Hordle Closed Cemetery

A new discovery was made on my familiar Hordle Cliff walk this morning.

An abandoned bird’s nest perched high up in the hedgerow on Downton Lane where, Bird's nestBlackberry blossomLichen and gorseseduced my the mild autumn, blackberry blossom still blooms, and lichen blends with the gorse. TractorBarbed wire and brambleRoger was out with his tractor bearing new attachments, the purpose of which I do not know. Barbed wire and bramble combined to deter intruders from scaling his five barred gate. A day or two ago, Jackie and I, in the car, had noticed a disused cemetery beside Hordle Manor Farm. On foot, I had not seen it. Today I investigated the Hordle Closed Cemetery.

This is its story:Hordle Closed Cemetery 4Hordle Closes Cemetery 1Hordle Closed Cemetery 2Hordle Closed Cemetery 3

None of the inscriptions on the aged gravestones is still legible.

Cliff warning signOn the cliff top by the rather precarious footpath leading to Barton on Sea, a sign warning of crumbling terrain, and informing ramblers that there is no access to the beach for two miles, is completely obscured by brambles.

Rose CompassionIn our garden we are still enjoying the abundant flora, like this Compassion rose, that was similarly obscured when we took up residence in April.

Whilst I had been wandering, Jackie had produced something to wonder at. Following the Guy skeletondesign of her late father Don Rivett, she had created the skeleton of a guy for Jessica and Imogen to complete on 1st November. On the wall behind this figure hangs a painting on canvas affixed to an adjustable frame that Becky had made for me in the 1990s as a rest for reading in bed.

For those readers who do not know about Guy Fawkes, it is this gentleman who is represented by the effigies such as this one, burnt, usually on 5th November. On this date is remembered the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. Guido Fawkes led this failed attempt to blow up King James I by setting a charge under the Houses of Parliament. He was betrayed and the plot foiled. Fawkes was a Catholic, but most of those who celebrate his failure today are probably unaware that they are participating in an anti-Papist ritual, or that some of the fireworks that accompany the bonfire that becomes the miscreant’s funeral pyre are also religious symbols.Catherine Wheel 11.12 The Catherine Wheel, for example, represents the martyrdom of that eponymous saint who was intended to be broken on a wheel. This particularly unpleasant death involved the victim being threaded through the spokes of a wheel so that all their limbs were broken and a lingering demise followed. When the fourth century Catherine of Alexandria was subjected to this treatment, each spoke she touched broke. Her tormentors then gave up and beheaded her.  Perhaps it is just fun to celebrate the anniversary in blissful ignorance.

This afternoon our new BT TV box was delivered, and I did manage to set it up, with Jackie’s help when it came to entering our postcode by using the number keys on the remote control. How was I to know how to enter S from a button containing 7pqrs? BT TV, incidentally now seems to be called YOUVIEW. Early this evening we tested it by watching episode four of New Tricks which we enjoyed. The new system appears much easier to manage and the box is far smaller.

Our dinner this evening consisted of a rack of pork ribs marinaded in chili sauce with Jackie’s savoury rice jam-packed with vegetables. A strawberry trifle was to follow. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank astillo San Lorenzo rioja reserva 2009.

The Green Paratha

Shelly visited us briefly this morning, before we set off to Wroughton to see Frances and take her her pictures.

Our sister in law was pleased with her pictures, and we spent the afternoon speaking of recent weeks, of the impending funeral, and of more than forty years close relationship. Fiona arrived shortly before we left, and was able to join in.

Dashboard clockThis trip involved Jackie driving for a total of five hours, during which time we listened to Radio 4 a lot. The news items were repeated throughout the day, so much so, that were I, in later, years to be asked where I was when Oscar Pistorius’s sentencing was announced, I am fairly sure I would be able to answer the question.

On our return home we dined at The Jarna in New Milton. Jackie enjoyed her butter chicken and mushroom rice, as I did my lamb vindaloo and special rice. We shared an onion baji and a plain paratha, and both drank cobra. Although I like my curries very hot, I have not ordered a vindaloo for quite a number of years. This is because it doesn’t make sense to eat both potato and rice. Traditionally, in this country, vindaloo has been regarded as the hottest meal. It doesn’t need to be, because it just refers to the method of cooking, with vinegar and potato. Anyway, I thought I’d try it tonight. It was perfect, with very tender lamb, and only one potato.

Now naga chilis are more freely available, if they are on the menu, I will choose them, allegedly the hottest in the world. Interestingly, jalfrezi is often currently the hotter offering in restaurants.

Probably the naan is a more popular Asian bread than the paratha. Appetising enough, the former looks bigger because it comes puffed out. Jackie and I prefer the taste of the latter which is flatter and rather more buttery. The reason I like it is because it reminds me in look and taste of my mother’s potato cakes. ParathaAnyone familiar with the spot lighting in The Jarna will appreciate that this paratha is not actually green, but is tinged with the colour of the overhead bulb. Had we been seated in another alcove it may have been blue. This element does take a little getting used to.

‘The Face Of A Chrysanthemum………..’

Birch leaves, sunflowers, and prunusBacklit by the morning sun, the turning leaves of our weeping birch blended well with Frances’s Duchy of Cornwall sunflowers, and contrasted with the red prunus foliage.

Mirror on postA road traffic mirror fixed to a post on the corner of the road into the Country Park reflected the scene in Shorfield Road.

This, although a bit breezy, was a bright T-shirt morning. I varied my Milford on Sea walk, in reverse, a little, by taking a footpath along the back of the static caravans in Sea Breeze Len, Hamish, and AngusWay. There I met Len and his West Highland terriers Hamish and Angus. I told their owner the story of Billy, my maternal grandmother’s Westie. This little terrier was quite happy to allow visitors into the room, but turned savage when they attempted to leave. Len then described the breed aa ‘a large dog in a small body’ known as having ‘the face of a chrysanthemum and the tail of a carrot’.

Fox Hat gateTurning right into Blackbush Road at the end of the path led me to the gate of Fox Hat, the home of Giles, our friend of forty four years. One of his stained glass pieces of artwork enhances the entrance. I knocked at his door and we had a brief conversation before he had to leave for an appointment. From there, I soon picked up the path through the nature reserve.

Walkers and crowsCrow flyingA couple of crows picking at the grass on the cliff top, unusually ignored two passers by. Maybe at least one of them was distracted by me. Further on another of these birds took off, like Peter Pan, leaving its shadow behind.

This afternoon I made two A3+ size prints of the feature portrait from the post of 17th, one each for Frances and Mum. Later, Jackie drove us to Hobby Craft at Hedge End where we bought picture frames, and to Elizabeth’s where we mounted the photographs. We took Mum hers, stayed with her for a while, then returned to my sister’s and thence to The Farmer’s Home at Durley where we dined on the usual good fare. My choice was gammon, whilst the two ladies enjoyed pork loin steak. We all then had the lightest sticky toffee pudding. Jackie drank peroni, and my sister and I shared a carafe of Merlot. Afterwards we delivered Elizabeth to The Firs and Jackie drove us home.

‘Your Own Back Yard’

I do hope my Hordle Cliff walk has not yet become boring for my readers. It is, you see, the safest route to take from the house. I trod it this pleasantly mild morning.Cattle

The cattle on the hillside seemed divided as to whether we were due more rain. Apparently they sit down when it is expected.Cloudscape

A solid bank of cloud over The Solent met the inland blue skies, forming a fascinating diagonal echoed by an evaporating jet stream.

Pondering on my ramble, I thought of Chris Weston. This other Chris had ably led a weekend tutorial on digital landscape photography. In September 2008 I was still using positive film to make colour slides, but knowing I would learn much from this man I accompanied Elizabeth on the weekend course. I was in fact the only person without a digital device.

The best place to seek out subjects, according to our tutor, is ‘your own back yard’, that is territory with which you are most familiar. He was fortunate in having Portland Bill on his home ground. He took us out on a splendid Dorset dawn, and let us wander. Elizabeth famously doesn’t do mornings, and had said the night before that she may not surface in time. As she staggered into the lounge where we were gathered, she received a round of applause.

Here are some of those early morning images:Portland Bill 9.08 001 copyPortland Bill 9.08 004tif copyPortland Bill 9.08 006 copyPortland Bill 9.08 013 copyPortland Bill 9.08 002 copy

Light through rocks, Portland Bill 9.08038.jpeg copyPortland Bill graffiti 9.08 002 copyRusty chain, Portland Bill 9.08  copyPeering down through the rocks, many of which bore chiselled graffiti, produced interesting abstracts, and various artefacts such as rusty chains were enhanced by the early morning sun.

We also learned about the nature of light, the best for landscapes being early or late in the day. At midday the overhead brightness is too strong. We returned in the evening, when we took more pictures:Portland Bill (couple) 9.08 copy

A couple sat among the rocks, as the clouds gathered against the setting sun.Portland Bill 9.08 017 copyPortland Bill 9.08 021 copyPortland Bill 9.08 039 copy

Durdle Door

The rock formation that is known as Durdle Door stretched out to sea.

This afternoon I decided to tackle BT. Again. This time in relation to the TV account. Since we moved home in April we have not watched much television. We have begun to do so a little, and have been having problems accessing BT iPlayer. Today a message came up on our screen informing us that there was a problem with the BT TV account, and giving a telephone number to ring. I called them. I was told that we should have activated the account when we moved. I said we had arranged for this when our account was transferred from our previous address. The adviser kept repeating that we had paid neither for activation nor the monthly charge since we left Minstead. I reiterated that our bills state, by a blue tick against the item, that they include TV from BT. Eventually I twigged what was going on. The BT representative was reading page 3, where the bill is broken down. I was looking at the total on page 1, which says ‘This bill is for:’ and lists Telephone, Broadband, and TV, all of which are ticked. No-one told us we should reactivate the TV separately when we arranged for the transfer between homes, nor that we were not being charged for the service. As I said, I didn’t examine the bills that intricately, given that the total was always more or less the same and listed the services opposite the total. Eventually the woman to whom I was speaking got the message and undertook to pass on my observations. I said I would do the same in the automated survey of customer satisfaction that would follow the call. I hope she had more luck than me because when answering the survey questions I was thanked for my participation and bade goodbye before I had finished. This was interesting in the light of the survey’s introduction statement that ‘we do listen to what you say’.

If I had any confidence in any other conglomerate offering a better service I would change our service provider immediately.

Frances's deerDanni came for a visit this afternoon and helped me produce one composite photograph and a couple of large individual prints for Frances of her muntjac deer. This involved investing in the Pages application for the iMac. Whilst this facility was being downloaded Danni's volewe wandered around the garden and disturbed a vole that was hiding behind the Heligan Path sign. Danni photographed it with her mobile phone.

Our niece left us briefly to dine with Andy and his mother and brother at The Royal Oak. Jackie and I enjoyed chilli con carne (recipe) and wild rice. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank Kingfisher. Then Danni and Andy returned to continue the conversations.

A Grey Day

Yesterday morning I abandoned all ideas of any other post than the one I wrote as a tribute to Chris. This is because news of his death reached me as we were on the way to New Milton to collect Alison from the station.

Before then we had been relieved of our unwanted bath by friends of A Lady Tiler, who works with The Lady Plumber. Sam, the plumber, will attend to the pipework next week. The final twist was the discovery that those feet that had been bolted on to the roll top slipper bath had been placed in the wrong order.

After a brief visit we returned Alison to the station and I walked back. I did not take my camera, nor did I reflect on my surroundings. I just thought about my brother, then went home and wrote the post.

Walking along Christchurch Road, the grass verges of which have been cut, I had a wake up call. I faced the oncoming traffic and walked on the grass. That, one would have thought, should be safe. Suddenly, however, from behind, and inches to my left, I felt the gust and heard the roar of a car, far exceeding the 60 mph speed limit, overtaking another from the other side of the road, and veering into the path of a vehicle coming towards it. The car being approached had to brake. The offending one was followed by an equally speedy motorbike. On such a day, this was a message I should heed. I will never walk along that road again.

In the evening we dined at The Crown at Everton.

This morning, showered by intermittent rain, I walked the Hordle Cliff route. Except for one hardy specimen, the cattle in Hordle Manor Farm sheltered in their byre.CattleIsle of Wight and The Needles For many reasons it was a grey day.

Having been unable last night to download BBC iPlayer, later this morning we had another attempt, and successfully watched episode 3 of New Tricks. I am warming to the new team.

The weather, at least, brightened up a little this afternoon, and Jackie drove us down to Barton on Sea for a brief sojourn.Beach from cliff topGulls against cloudsSilhouettes on beach It is a frighteningly long way down to the beach from the unstable cliff top, even if you are leaning on a protective fence. Gulls, sweeping against crumbling clouds, and crows hugging the cliff, frolicked on the thermals; and young people dabbled with the waves.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s classic chilli con carne (recipe) and wild rice. She drank Hoegaarden, and I drank more of the Isla Negra.

Christopher Michael Knight 1.10.1943 – 17.10.2014

This is the post I would never have wished to write.

Ever since I was fourteen months old, my brother Chris has been the companion and rival of my childhood, and lifelong friend.Derrick and Chris

Here we are posing for a studio portrait in the suits Mum made us for theVictory Street Party 1945  Victory Street Party in 1945Derrick & Chris

In 1947 he first broke his leg in the garden of 29a Stanton Road. Our grandmother in Durham dressed us in her pink petticoats before we returned home toDerrick & Chris & Jacqueline

greet our new sister JacquelineChris, Derrick & Jacqueline 1948

who was toddling by 1949 when we wore fair aisle jumpers Mum had knitted.Chris, a friend, Jacqueline & Derrick

In 1950 we had another holiday in Durham where we sat on our grandparents garden wall,Jaqueline, Derrick, Chris and Grandma's legs

and again in 1951 where we had a trip to the seaside.Chris, Jacqueline & Derrick

Even Mum doesn’t know where this shot was taken in 1952.Chris at 17 with guitar

No self respecting budding guitarist in a University band was complete in 1960 without his Hank Marvin specs.Jackie, Derrick & Chris 2.3.68

At my wedding to Jackie on 2nd March 1968 neither the groom nor the best man was free of embarrassment when the photographer required us jointly to kiss the bride.Chris, Derrick, Frances, Fiona and Jessica 19.3.04

When, in March 2004 Sam completed his epic Atlantic Row in Port St Charles, Barbados, Chris was there, with Frances and Fiona, accompanying Jessica and me on the welcoming yacht. Frances, Sam, Heidi, Fiona, Elizabeth, Michael, Chris, Jacqueline, Louisa, Derrick, Jessica, Becky, Mat and Tess 2004

Later that year the family celebrated the event with a special dinner. Chris, Frances, and Fiona were there with most of the family.Chris 14.4.07

When Jacqueline celebrated her 60th birthday in Boston, Lincolnshire on 14th April 2007 he was his usual cheerful self.

Derrick and Chris 8.07

He was the father of the bride when, in August of that year, Fiona married Paul. No doubt he was pulling my leg when Elizabeth caught us on camera.Mike Ozga, Chris, Derrick, Oona and Frances 17.4.09

Chris and Frances made several trips to Sigoules. Not far from there live his boyhood friend Mike Ozga and his wife Oona. We visited them April 2009, where Elizabeth photographed us.Derrick, Chris & Elizabeth 6.12

Naturally he was party to my surprise seventieth birthday celebration in July 2012.

Chris was one of those very rare beings – a truly good man.

He died peacefully this morning after a short illness.

Starting Handles

Field, newly sownStream, ferns, mare's tailsCattle behind cottageYoung man at bus stopSlugCaterpillarMan seated on shingleOn this brighter, balmy, day, the returning sunshine was welcomed by all; by me; by Roger’s newly sown fields; by ferns and mare’s tails on the bank of the stream; by basking cattle huddled behind the corner cottage; by a young man, with the customary electronic device, waiting for a bus; by slithering slugs and by creeping caterpillars on the footpath; and by one solitary wave watcher seated on the shingle.Steps

These are the steps Bob runs up and down.

On my return, whist Jackie continued her autumn tidying, I began the daunting task of digging out the more stubborn roots of bramble and ivy from the back drive. Bolt cutters were required for the removal of more of our predecessor’s metal mesh.Rooting out

As you can see, I didn’t get very far.

imagesMargery and Paul visited us this afternoon, and we enjoyed our usual wide-ranging conversations. Thinking of how times have changed over the last century, we embarked on the subject of early motoring. We travelled back to 1919 when Jackie’s grandfather acquired his first car, and never had to take a test. He would regularly drive himself from Anerley to Brighton when hardly another vehicle was to be seen on the road.Morris Minor starting handle She remembered her Dad cranking up a starting handle to get the car going, and jump into the car hoping the engine would continue running. The dog-legged shaped metal crank was shoved through a hole in front of the motor where its own female end engaged with a male one attached to the starting mechanism. This handle for the Morris Minor most resembles one I remember using to help my Dad get moving. You had to be quite vigorous in your cranking, and hope the equipment didn’t suddenly whizz round and break your wrist.

Later, Jackie and I watched, on BBC iPlayer, episode 2 of the 11th series of New Tricks. It was in the 9th series of 2012 – the last one I watched – that the skilful and watchable Denis Lawson replaced James Bolam as one of the old dogs, (who, according to proverb, cannot be taught new tricks), namely a trio of retired policemen under the management of a female officer played originally by Amanda Redman. Their task is to reopen investigations into unsolved crimes.

As with a number of successful TV series over the years, this comedy-drama began as a one-off – on 27th March 2003. Of the original cast only the everlasting Dennis Waterman remains. Redman has been replaced by Tamzin Outhwaite; and Alun Armstrong by Nicholas Lyndhurst.

Having found the rapport between the original cast members very entertaining, I will need to reserve judgement on the current team. One of the secrets of success of such productions is the chemistry between the actors. In my view this is a little lacking at the moment, but it is worth persevering with.

The supporting cast played their parts well.

Our evening meal consisted of Jackie’s classic sausage casserole (recipe), smooth mashed potato, and crisp carrots and peas, followed by jam sponge and custard. She drank Hoegaarden, whilst I enjoyed Isla Negra Cabernet Sauvignon 2013.