A Losing Battle

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This morning we drove to Milford on Sea to search out a door handle in the architectural salvage outlet there. The establishment was closed, so we consoled ourselves with

Breakfast

brunch at The Needle’s Eye Cafe. I enjoyed the Maxed up Breakfast while Jackie chose her customary jacket potato with cheese and beans.

Speedboat passing Isle of Wight

Whilst a speedboat laid a trail across The Solent;

Gulls over car park

gulls squealed into the car park;

Sea fishing

and intrepid sea fishers set up their rods;

the sun fought a losing battle with the indigo clouds over the Isle of Wight. Jesus beams provided the brush strokes to the cloudscapes and a slash of light on the water.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s tender beef stew, sauteed potatoes, and crisp carrots, cauliflower, and green beans. I finished the Fleurie and Jackie drank Hoegaarden.

On Thin Ice

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A couple of nights ago I finished reading the novel on which my views had been sought. Today I e-mailed my observations to my friend, the author. As the book is not my work, I will say no more about it here.

Andrew Day, a local carpenter, visited this morning and successfully completed two tasks left over from our predecessor’s D.I.Y. disasters. There will be more bodges for him to put right.

This afternoon I scanned a batch of colour negatives from December 1986.

Jessica 12.86

The first, of Jessica at a family Christmas party at Caxton in Cambridgeshire, I converted to black and white in an effort to compensate for the graininess caused by fast film and a very small crop.

Louisa 12.86

Louisa took a break from the festivities,

and a short while later, at home in Gracedale Road, was in fine dressing-up fettle, as was Sam.

Jessica 12.86

Here, I think, Jessica was writing up her notes.

This was the last year I remember a decent amount of snow in London. Matthew took his little brother and sister for a sledge ride on allegedly thin ice beside the Waterfowl Sanctuary on Tooting Common. They were accompanied by a neighbour, the lady with the leggings whose name I disremember. Alison Barran, if you are reading this, I need your help.

I have Johnny Cash to thank for the word ‘disremember’.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s tasty beef stew, boiled potatoes, and perfectly cooked carrots, cauliflower, and green beans. On preparing the vegetables I discovered an alien being in the beans. We resisted the temptation to resuscitate the chilled caterpillar in order to rear a possibly exotic butterfly. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I consumed more of the Fleurie.

A Touch Of Frost

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Early this crisp and bright morning I walked around our sub-zero garden.

Petunia

Except for this sheltered petunia,

all the plants were now frost damaged;

December haze hovered over the paths;

wood and metal harboured the white precipitation;

Frost on table

and the patio table bore memories of patterns found inside the winter morning bedroom windows of my pre-central heating childhood.

Frances at The Ship

Jackie drove us to The Ship in Wiltshire’s Upavon, for a most enjoyable lunch with Frances.

Log fire

The small grate, originally designed to take coal, now burned logs.

My choice of meal was fish pie, followed by apple and ginger trifle. Frances also opted for fish pie, while Jackie chose burger and chips. I drank Wadsworth’s 6X. That was our main meal of the day

Having passed Salisbury Cathedral on our return home, we turned off the High Road to look back at the splendid building. The frosted grass of the verges of the lane had seen no sun at all.

On home territory we diverted to Ferndene Farm Shop to buy a Christmas tree, then to Barton on Sea to catch the sunset.

Isle of Wight, The Needles and lighthouse

The eye of The Needles lighthouse glowed white today.

The Leap

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(YVONNE SPOILER ALERT. THE RECIPE IS NOT YET READY, BUT YOU MAY WISH TO AVERT YOUR EYES FROM THE FINAL PARAGRAPH)

Lamb Inn

Late in the morning Jackie drove us to Nomansland where we lunched in the Lamb Inn.

Even at midday, ponies on the green outside dined on defrosted food, avoiding the refrigerated options.

In the hostelry, beside a fine log fire, and beneath a display of character jugs, I enjoyed a burger, chips, and Doom Bar beer; while Jackie chose a bacon, brie, and cranberry baguette with coffee.

Horse and rider

As we drove away, we passed a rider who led her steed through the gate to her left.

At St Peter’s Church, Bramshaw, the autumn leaves blended well with the groggy lichen-covered  gravestones, mostly dating from the eighteenth century. Steep steps lead up the hill from the roadside; there is also a slope to the side, no doubt for those parishioners who cannot climb.

St Peter's Church wall

Most of the structure seemed to be Georgian in date, although one stone wall looked older,

Chimney

and I am not enough of an architectural historian to date this fascinating chimney.

Hedge cutting

Thinking it unlikely that the Modus would obstruct anyone, Jackie tucked it in beside the church. She was unlucky. Along came a hedge cutting machine.

Pony jumping

We paused at Wootton so I could photograph a couple of ponies drinking from a stream. As I raised my camera, one leaped from the water to the bank above.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s luscious liver casserole, crunchy carrots and green beans, with creamy mashed potato. She drank sparkling water and I drank Collin-Bourisset Fleurie 2015.

Dawn Over The Isle Of Wight

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This morning my muse woke me with a start and uttered something about catching Dawn. What had Dawn done? I wondered. And who was she, anyway? Then it dawned on me. This was an invitation to watch a pink sky over the Isle of Wight. I prised myself out of bed, staggered into some clothes, and joined Jackie who was engaged in defrosting the car windscreen.

Down Downton Lane we hurtled, and came to an abrupt halt in the nearest coastal car park. I kept my eyes open long enough to operate the camera and totter back into the car.

The single baleful eye of The Needles lighthouse gave the impression that the Loch Ness Monster had moved house, and a solitary gull was up early.

This afternoon we shopped at Odd Spot in Burley

Forest road

then went on driveabout. The oaks

Longmead farm

opposite Longmead Farm have all but lost their leaves now.

Horses in rugs

Horses in the field now wear their rugs,

Sow

and a vast snuffling sow wandered out to investigate my activities.

Our return trip took us along Rhinefield Ornamental Drive.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s classic liver casserole, mashed potatoes,  crunchy carrots and green beans. I drank water, and Jackie didn’t.

The Nightingale

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Today Jackie drove me to and from New Milton for my trip to London to visit Luci and Wolf.

I travelled from Waterloo by the Northern Line Underground to Clapham South.

Luci met me at Costa Coffee opposite the station

and drove me to The Nightingale for lunch. This characterful Victorian pub still sports the etched windows of the period.

We both enjoyed fish, chips, and mushy peas. I drank Doom Bar, whilst Luci drank a pleasant non-alcoholic beer. I had no need for further sustenance this evening.

Giving Wolf time to complete his own lunch in the rather splendid care home that is Nightingale House, we visited him first in his well-appointed room, then for tea in the establishment’s cafe. The couple showed me Wolf’s photograph book containing top quality prints made by my friend’s son Simon.

Derrick and Wolf c2009

I share one page with Wolf. Luci took this photograph c2009.

pork-paprika-recipe001pork-paprika-recipe002

In the meantime Jackie produced a recipe for her Pork Paprika, as requested by our friend Jessie. I sent this on to the intended recipient.

 

Xmas Show

 

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This morning I made some prints for Christmas presents, before visiting Margery and Paul at:

Xmas show brochure

This ever popular exhibition did not disappoint in its array of art works in different media, reasonably enough priced to make for good, unpressurised Christmas shopping.

Clown cushion

Margery’s own charming clown cushion makes a good start.

SnailsLucille Scott’s snails would decorate any garden.

Necklaces

There is much good jewelry on a par with these necklaces.

Deborah Richards’s ceramic sculptures are a highlight.

Hare wire picture

I liked Ruth Facey’s wire pictures.

Lounge Lady

Rita Rouw’s Lounge Lady, reflecting the note of humour in the exhibition, has an air of Beryl Cook.

Cock and cats

The cock and cats at the top of the stairs seems a happy juxtapostion.

Monkey linocut

On the way up are a row of Josephine Sumner’s colourful linocuts,

Fish string

opposite which are strings of fish.

Picture and tea set

The contents of this shelf in the kitchen may or may not be for sale. Whether or not, they are examples of the objects around this home that display the best part of a century’s fascination with all forms of creativity.

There is still another week in which to visit the show.

We spent that afternoon with Elizabeth and Mum in turn at their respective homes in West End.

Christmas lightsway home we noticed that a number of the small towns, like Lyndhurst, have switched on their Christmas lights.

There was enough of yesterday’s Indian takeaway for, with the addition of onion bahjis, second helpings this evening. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and I finished the madiran.