Crossing The Line

Our new granddaughter’s name is Poppy, which we rather like.

Scooby

Although the weather was warmer and sunnier today, Becky’s photograph of Scooby sunning himself in my chair, illustrated the general lack-lustre mood of the still recovering party.

It was therefore another good day for scanning colour slides from May 2004, and incidentally reducing the tension with which readers were left by the cliffhanging ending of yesterday’s post. That first rate storyteller Bruce Goodman ( Weave a Web ), for example, was forced to speculate about whether Sam ‘made it’, or was foiled at the last minute.

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Sam continued along the western shore of Barbados, on his route to the finishing line,

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which was an imaginary one stretching from port and starboard markers.

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Of the reception committee Chris wears a blue shirt; Fiona a white T-shirt and black trousers; Jessica, a blue and white sun dress; Louisa, a dark top and grey mini skirt; and Frances waves the flags. Dixie records a video for the Ocean Rowing Society.

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Having crossed the line Sam aims for the Port St Charles dock into which he is required to manoevre his boat. I imagine this  must be rather like coming off motorway and finding a berth in a municipal car park.

This afternoon, Helen and Bill visited with a bottle of prosecco, with which to celebrate Poppy’s birth, and a sweet little outfit for us to take when we make her acquaintance.

For our evening meal Spice of India delivered another excellent takeaway. I drank Lion’s Gate cabernet sauvignon shiraz 2014. As for the others, Jackie says ‘we’ll all drink whatever we like. It’s none of your nosey business’.  Naturally this was received in the jocular spirit in which it was intended. Given that everyone knows what she drinks, I don’t think that really matters.

Landfall In Sight

Today’s weather was slightly less wet than yesterday. Scanning was still in order, so I returned to my colour slides from May 2004 in Barbados.

Two days ago, we left Sam coming into sight of the watchers on the yacht. He was soon to experience his first land for 59 days on the wide, dark, deep, Atlantic Ocean. Jessica, Louisa, Chris, Frances, Fiona, and I were privileged to be there to share the moments.Sam coming in 5.04108

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We watched him make his way from the calmer, but still choppy, Caribbean Sea to the more sheltered Western side of Barbados.

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He paused to film us,

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before taking in the surrounding buildings and vegetation, and navigating these pier struts.

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Louisa, Jessica, and Dixie, were making their own record.

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Louisa seems to have spotted something overhead.

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Sam continues on his way,

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encouraged by local residents,

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until he nears the windsock which marks the finish line.

Excitement mounted.

Meanwhile, on 27th August 2015, we enjoyed Jackie’s scrumptious cottage pie, Becky’s pasta bake, and crisp carrots, with which Ian drank San Miguel; Jackie, Hoegaarden; and Becky and I finished the Teroldego Rotaliano.

A New Granddaughter

Yesterday evening Tess gave birth to an, as yet, unnamed baby girl. All is well, and she is a second shared grandchild for Jackie and me. Ever the cryptic wit, Mat, when giving Becky the news, said ‘Mum’s got 2, Dad’s got 7’. He left her to provide the solution: ‘a girl’. My other two grandchildren are a young man and a boy.

There are two reasons that we cannot visit them immediately, one quite bizarre.  The first is that I am probably now the only reasonably germ-free member of the party.

Five days ago, at the Shoreham Air Show, a plane failed to come out of a downward loop, and, exploding, crashed onto the busy A27 road which is our route into East Sussex. Continuous torrential rain has hampered the clearance of the wreckage and discovery of charred bodies of cyclists and motorists. The route therefore remains closed.

The first of the following pictures was my view through the patio window at around 11.30 this morning; the other three Becky shot of her car being directly pounded by the rain and sprayed with gutter-silt by passing vehicles.

View through patio window

Rain on car roofRain thrown up by truckRain thrown up by blue car

The accident itself was unusual enough, but the extent of the rain, shown by these photographs show just what is hampering investigators, and sending holidaymakers home in droves this week. At Mr Pink’s yesterday evening, a family incongruously clad in summer clothes, were buying fish and chips for sustenance on their way back home to Stockport, 250 miles away. They had given up.

The perversity of our weather was demonstrated three hours later, when the skies cleared, and the sun emerged.

Butterfly Small White on bidens

Small White butterflies frolicked among the bidens.

Ginger lily

In the ten days I have remained indoors the ginger lilies have bloomed,

Raindrops on apples

and the well-watered apples are ripening.

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This evening, Becky produced a delicious deep 15″ ham and vegetable pasta bake for our dinner.

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Four filled dinner plates,

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didn’t make much of a hole in it.

Ian drank San Miguel; Jackie, Hoegaarden; and Becky and I, Teroldego Rotaliano riserva 2011.

Eyes Peeled

MothAs I attempted, last night, to photograph an interesting moth in the Print Room, the creature flew off. This afternoon, Becky produced this image. When I confessed my failure, a certain amount of hilarity ensued. There is, you see, a family myth that whenever I attempt to photograph anything possessing wings, it disappears.

Once more the rain hammered down all day. I retreated to my slide files and scanned more of those from the May 2004 Barbados trip.

There was great excitement when the day of Sam’s arrival dawned. Jessica, Louisa, Chris, Frances, Fiona, and I boarded the splendid yacht belonging to Stein and Diana. After 59 days alone at sea, our son was coming in ahead of the field. all he had to do was hug the northern tip of Barbados, not too tightly, so he neither crashed on the rocks, nor sped out to Cuba on the prevailing current. Not as simple as it sounds.

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Louisa

As we reached the open waters of the Caribbean Sea, Jessica, Louisa, and Diana dived overboard for an invigorating swim. Although bright blue and bracing, I am told the water was somewhat colder than it looked.

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Soon, Stein scaled his rigging and took up the role of advance scout, as he scanned the horizon for the small red speck that would be Sam’s boat, Pacific Pete.

Suddenly a sighting was announced, and, eyes peeled, we all peered into the distance. This, as it emerged, is what we saw. Sam is in each picture. Getting nearer all the time.

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Could the heightened emotions on our boat possibly have matched those of our son?

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As he approached, only the long camera lens could discern details which escaped the naked eye.

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Eventually, as Sam reached the island, alongside which he had more rowing to do to arrive at the quay at Port St Charles, we could greet each other across the waves.

This evening we dined on Mr Pink’s fish and chips, mushy peas, pickled onions, and gherkins. Becky and I finished the white Cotes du Rhone, Ian drank San miguel, and Jackie drank Hoegaarden.

Around The Island

On yet another rain-slashed August day, I spared a thought for those holidaymakers who had come to the forest and the seaside for their long-awaited summer break. The last ten days hasn’t bothered me, because my chest infection has kept me indoors anyway, but they can’t have had much fun.

Needless to say this was another day for scanning colour slides, this time from Barbados in May 2004. If nothing else they remind me of sunshine. This set of photographs was made a day or two before Sam was expected to reach the island, having rowed The Atlantic solo from the Canaries.

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Both Jackie and I think we ought to recognise this plant, but we don’t. Fortunately Mary Tang has identified it as frangipani.

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Bougainvillea brightens every landscape.

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A golden sunset is almost a cliche. Not in Port St Charles.

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Jessica watches as Louisa shows her photographs to another member of the waiting group.

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Birds like the Yellow breasted Sunbury,

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and the Barbados Bullfinch, the only indigenous species, which is found nowhere else, take advantage of nature’s camouflage,

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as does the land crab.

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The grackle

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and the sanderling don’t seem to need it.

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This gentleman demonstrates the method of releasing milk from a coconut.

Caribbean Sea

Just before the expected arrival time even the previously bright blue Caribbean Sea darkened,

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and a rainbow arced over Port St Charles.

I was regularly in touch with Radio Nottingham to deliver live updates from my mobile phone. That night, I opened our balcony doors so that listeners could hear the deafening waves crashing in from the Atlantic.

This evening we dined on barbecue pork ribs, savoury rice, and green beans. Jam tart and custard was to follow. Ian drank Heritage de Calvet cotes du Rhone 2014; Becky drank lime cordial; Jackie, sparkling water; and I, another glass of the pinot noir.

An International Tennis Match

Our 1983 holiday with The Vachettes, in Fontaine, France, has been featured before. The batch of black and white negatives I identified and scanned today was of a tennis match between Arnoux, the husband of Marie-Helene Vachette, and my son Michael. I don’t remember the outcome, but I believe they were evenly matched.

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Michael had youth on his side,

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but, in putting him under pressure his French opponent demonstrated a certain skill.

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Sam, looking hopeful here, probably got a game in as well.

With all four of us in varying stages of chest infections, there had been plenty of food left over from the Spice of India takeaway, to serve as our meal this evening. I drank another glass of the pinot noir; Becky chose rosé, and Ian drank cider.

Up West

In two short spells today, I hoed the gravel on the back drive, after which I scanned another dozen of the Streets of London series of colour slides from April 2004.

Chandos St

This corner of Chandos St probably linked with Cavendish Place. I wonder how long it took the woman in the red coat to cross the busy road.

Great Portland St

Great Portland Street, which runs between Oxford Street and Euston Road,  is not far away. I wonder how many imitations there are of the famous Carlsberg slogan, ‘Probably the best lager in the world’.

I have written in Loos Of London

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of my experiences of Lincoln’s Inn Fields,

Portsmouth St

and the link with Portsmouth Street’s famous Old Curiosity Shop.

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Charing Cross Road, which links with Great Newport Street, is world famous for its second-hand bookshops, one of which is seen above. The street cleaner has pretty up-market equipment.

Upper St Martin's Lane

Upper St Martin’s Lane contains a number of theatres and eating places.

Gerrard St

Wardour St

Gerrard St has also featured in a number of posts such as ‘Meandering Through Soho’. During our residence in the 1970s, the 2004 Chinese-influenced street furniture did not exist. That same post also features ‘Les Miserables’ on Shaftesbury Avenue at the corner of Wardour Street.

James St

Wild Court

James St. and Wild Court are thriving Covent Garden thoroughfares.

Ian and I watched the highlights of the third day of the Oval Test Match. England were all out for 149, and, following on, were 203 for 6 at the close. For those who would like to know, teams are asked to take their second innings immediately after the first, when they have not scored enough runs. On this occasion, England were way short. It won’t take long to finish the game tomorrow.

We had originally been booked into the Lymington Tapas bar on Becky’s birthday, the 19th. Neither Ian nor I were fit for it so it had been deferred until this evening. Now none of us is well enough to do it justice, so we had a takeaway delivered by Spice of India. My choice of the excellent repast was tender lamb vindaloo and special fried rice. We shared crisp poppadoms, onion bhajis, and salad. Ian and I drank Cobra beer, Jackie Hoegaarden, and Becky rose wine.