Ripples And Reflections

On another afternoon of heavy rain we took a drive into the forest.

Over Lymington Road the sun attempted unsuccessfully to penetrate the brimming cloud canopy. The oak in the third picture has been remodelled by the sea air. The highest groping fingers never bear leaves.

Almost the only wildlife we saw while the rain hammered down was a pair of deer crossing Holmsley Passage ahead of us. As usual my camera missed the first one and we waited for the expected companion.

The two fords along this route are filling with rippling water.

The moors on either side of this much nibbled winding lane offered misty landscapes,

lichen covered trees,

gorse and bracken managing to look cheerful in the conditions.

Along Forest Road I stepped out to photograph a recent winterbourne pool. The Assistant Photographer was on hand to portray my progress and the whole scene because she knew I would take a closer look.

She was right.

Here is a mossy tuft;

weed, lichen,

ripples and reflections.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s watercress soup, followed by smoked haddock; creamy mashed potatoes; piquant cauliflower cheese; crunchy carrots, and tender runner beans, with which I drank more of the Costieres de Nimes.

“Legged It”

When Jackie looked out of our bedroom window this morning she was surprised to see a police car backing past our house and no other cars on the road.

Naturally she investigated.

The telegraph pole bearing necessary cables and the only street lamp on our stretch of Christchurch Road had been seriously sent awry,

the crossroads was blocked off and

a barrier sealed off the road in the Lymington direction.

With these photographs the Assistant Photographer brought the story. Apparently two “drunk young lads” at 2 a.m. had crashed their car into the post, left the vehicle in the ditch, and “legged it”. The lads and the car were known to the local constabulary.

Aaron, knowing that we wanted a second garden gate at the side of the house, acquired one with suitable posts which he brought to us. He began fixing it in place this morning.

While we were having lunch we were informed that we would have no power at all for four hours while the repair works were being carried out.

We decided to drive into the forest just as the afternoon’s heavy rain began.

Since we had neither heating nor light this seemed the best option, even when the torrential rain beat a tattoo on the car and made me a bit soggy each time I left the car in the interests of photography.

At Sowley Lane donkeys chomped on grass and thorns.

One enjoyed a good scratch.

A fine blanket of snowdrops bloomed on a bank along South Baddesley Road.

This was definitely a day for cars in ditches. One being towed out of its predicament blocked our path to the beach at Tanners Lane, where

wind surfing was under way.

One energetic gentleman

wound up in the water.

From the shelter of our car, having recognised him as “One For The Ladies”, Jackie photographed him as he left the sea. Strangely enough, I hadn’t realised who he was.

Jackie also focussed on me photographing the young man

and getting wet.

Ponies at East Boldre,

where the landscape glistened were also getting wet.

We still had a couple of hours to kill at this point, so stopped at Holmsley Old Station Tea Rooms for a cream tea.

There followed two more hours reading by torchlight before our electricity returned.

We then dined on Jackie’s flavoursome chicken jalfrezi, savoury rice, and parathas with which I drank Costieres de Nimes 2018.

 

Mud-caked

I have to acknowledge that I seem to be out of step with more regular reviewers of The Favourite which we watched on Prime after dinner yesterday.

I am not competent to comment on the historical accuracy of this story of the last years of Queen Anne, a very sad eighteenth century English monarch; nor for the depiction of Court life of the period. But maybe that is not the point of the film which focusses on the battle between two women for the position of Royal Favourite.

The three stars of Yorgos Lanthimos’s alleged tragicomedy offer undoubtedly excellent performances. Olivia Colman and Rachel Weisz certainly deserved their awards. Emma Stone was also very good. Unfortunately, although one could sympathise with each of them in their own struggles I found it impossible to like any single character in the film.

It was an assault on the senses, not least for dirge-like banging music(?) and weird cinematography seemingly making use of a fish-eye lens and dizzying panning effects. Tragic, yes. Comic, not for me. Maybe I just don’t find it easy to laugh at people who are struggling.

Today was another of unceasing gloom.

This morning we each took our cameras into the garden at different times.

 

My pansies were photographed in the front garden, Jackie’s, somewhat nibbled, at the back;

Jackie photographed bright magenta cyclamen while I pictured the stone cherub reclining  against the tree trunk beside them;

the first two pelargonium images are Jackie’s;

two more are mine;

The Head Gardener produce her own photos of her pelargonium cuttings in the greenhouse;

she also photographed her stumpery, with watching owls and brown grasses;

vinca;

bergenia;

hebe;

viburnum;

mahonia;

cineraria;

 

euphorbias Silver edge and Rubra;

and primulas.

I contributed a range of camellias.

Soon after lunch we drove into the soggy forest, where the green at Bramshaw has been ploughed up by the hooves of

 

mucky sheep;

dismal donkeys;

and mud-caked cattle.

We each photographed a weather vane. Jackie’s bore Father Time,

mine a pair of geese.

A pair of riders road past.

Nearby a robin tweeted to one of a trio of

miniature be-rugged ponies.

Further on, approaching Newbridge we encountered

another herd of cattle. The second of these two photographs of Jackie’s includes a redwing and a crow, two of the avian entourage

accompanying the bovines.

Here is a redwing

and a wagtail.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy chicken Jalfrezi, savoury rice, vegetable samosas, and parathas with which I finished the Garnacha Syrah while the Culinary Queen abstained.

 

 

 

 

 

Teddy

Albeit dry, today’s weather consisted of unrelenting Stygian gloom.

We set out sometime after 3.00 p.m. which might as well have been dusk, and drove around for a short time before visiting Mum at Woodpeckers.

Ponies are now sporting shaggy winter coats.

One of these, intent perhaps on leaving some of its hibernal (not hibernate, WP) hair on the barbed wire penning it in its South Sway Lane field, with a fearsome whinny gave me the evil eye.

Shetland ponies near Brockenhurst attracted a corvine entourage.

I disembarked at Longslade to photograph the landscape.

Jackie photographed me playing chicken with the traffic,

 

then walking along the verge

to make the second landscape shot.

This was her version of it.

Mum seemed over her chest infection, as she spoke about

the Teddy she had made for Adam when he was small. This had emerged during Francis’s assistance in Elizabeth’s clear out.

This evening we dined on the Culinary Queen’s chicken and vegetable soup thick enough to stand your spoon in followed by lean baked ham; creamy mashed potato; piquant cauliflower cheese, and al dente broccoli, Brussels sprouts and carrots with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Garnacha Syrah.

A Temptation

Much of my day was devoted to this post on ‘The First Temptation of Saint Anthony’. I flagged up this book by Gustave Flaubert which I finished reading yesterday as today’s subject.

I am indebted to https://st-anthony-the-great.org.uk/st-anthony-the-great/

from which, in order to set the scene for this work I have gleaned the following extracts:

‘St. Anthony the Great or Antony the Great  was a Christian saint from Egypt’ whose biography was written by St. Athanasius of Alexandria.

He was ‘the first known ascetic going into the wilderness (about A.D. 270–271), a geographical move that seems to have contributed to his renown. Accounts of Anthony enduring supernatural temptation during his sojourn in the Libyan Desert inspired the often-repeated subject of the temptation of St. Anthony in Western art and literature.’

‘Anthony was born in Coma (or Koma) near Herakleopolis Magna in Lower Egypt in 251 to wealthy landowner parents. When he was about 18 years old, his parents died and left him with the care of his unmarried sister. Shortly thereafter, he decided to follow the words of Jesus, who had said: “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasures in heaven; and come, follow Me.”,[Mt 19:21] which is part of the Evangelical counsels. Taking these words quite literally, Anthony gave away some of the family estate to his neighbors, sold the remaining property, donated the funds thus raised to the poor, placed his sister with a group of Christian virgins, a sort of proto-monastery of nuns, and himself became the disciple of a local hermit.’  ‘Saint Anthony decided to follow [the hermitic] tradition and headed out into the alkaline Nitrian Desert region. Here he remained for some 13 years.’

‘There are various legends associating him with pigs: one is that for a time he worked as a swineherd.’

‘According to Athanasius, the devil fought St. Anthony by afflicting him with boredom, laziness, and the phantoms of women, which he overcame by the power of prayer, providing a theme for Christian art. After that, he moved to a tomb, where he resided and closed the door on himself, depending on some local villagers who brought him food. When the devil perceived his ascetic life and his intense worship, he was envious and beat him mercilessly, leaving him unconscious. When his friends from the local village came to visit him and found him in this condition, they carried him to a church.’

‘After he recovered, he made a second effort and went back into the desert. There he lived strictly enclosed in an old abandoned Roman fort for some twenty years……  The devil again resumed his war against Saint Anthony, only this time the phantoms were in the form of wild beasts, wolves, lions, snakes and scorpions. They appeared as if they were about to attack him or cut him into pieces.’

There is more detailed information on the quoted website.

My copy of the John Lane The Bodley Head edition of 1924, limited to 3,000, is number 1,433. It was given to me 1n 1976 as a farewell present from a Social Work student on completion of her placement.

Unusually, I will begin by complimenting the translator René Francis on his exemplary rendition of the flowing, descriptive, prose which, although I have not read the original, I recognise as the hallmark of the great French novelist whose ‘Madame Bovary’ and ‘L’Education Sentimentale’ I have read in his own tongue.

The title ‘The First……..’ indicated that this is the author’s initial, and considered most successful, version of his dramatic tale. This is explained in E. B. Osborn’s lengthy and scholarly introduction. The manuscript was completed in 1848. Flaubert suppressed a number of fragments when the work was first published in 1856. He struggled with conflicts about it until a second version, from which, the life itself is acknowledged to have been expunged. The Bodley Head publication follows the early manuscript and, along with useful notes, includes appendices of the eliminated sections.

It is most likely that Flaubert is using the story of the ascetic saint as a vehicle for his own conflicts. The luscious, stylised, illustrations of Jean de Bosschere indicate a rather more explicit imagination than that which the writer has allowed himself.

At regular intervals throughout the volume we have colour plates protected by clear tissue;

other full page images are produced in black and white,

as are the smaller ones embellishing the text. As usual I have reproduced these whole pages.

This evening we dined on lean ham baked in a nest of bright orange butternut squash and a trio of differently coloured baby carrots; roasted potatoes in onions; piquant cauliflower cheese; and tender runner beans, with which the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank Carinena El Zimbado Garnacha Syrah 2017.

Where’s Mrs Nugget?

Jackie planted a clutch of primulas this morning.

While she was at it she kept tabs on the winter flowering clematis Cirrhosa Freckles,

and the mahonia that has grown into a tree.

She observed an encounter between a snail and an owl;

and admired the burgeoning Daphne Odorata Marginata and the

Chilean lantern tree.

By far the most exciting discovery, however, was that Nugget had become exceedingly frisky, as was his companion who followed him around.

Yes.

A Mrs Nugget has arrived.

“Where’s Mrs Nugget” in this picture? It is only fair to say that she is not on the feeder, and has her back to us. The Assistant Photographer worked very hard to capture them both in the same shot.

Today I finished reading

Because of the proliferation of pictures in this volume I could do no more that scan them before we set off to The Darbar restaurant in Emsworth where we were to dine with Becky and Ian. I will describe the book and feature the illustrations tomorrow.

We were given a pleasant surprise in that Miche also joined the party and the enjoyable conversation over the meal.

I chose a goat curry the name of which I cannot remember; Jackie’s pick was paneer shashlik. We all shared onion bhajis while Jackie and I shared mushroom rice and a plain paratha. We both drank Cobra, along with Ian and Miche. Becky enjoyed a pomegranate cocktail.. I’m not sure what the others ate.

On our return home we were sent off a closed section of the M27 and diverted into the centre of Portsmouth from which, so confusing were the diversion signs, it took us an hour to escape. The consequence is that it is now 11.15 p.m.

 

 

The Birthday Cake Candle

Jackie took an early morning walk around the garden with her camera.

First she produced general frosted garden scenes;

then focussed on various similarly coated leaves;

not forgetting Camellia blooms;

or Nugget in his thermal vest. “Where’s Nugget?” (62)

Late this afternoon we drove to Elizabeth’s house at Pilley where we joined her, Danni, Andy and Ella for the infant’s first birthday celebration. Elizabeth produced an excellent spaghetti Bolognese with fresh salad and garlic bread. This was followed by a most moist carrot birthday cake. Jacki drank Hoegaarden; the rest of us various red wines. Ella abstained.

For the second time today Jackie took all the photographs.

Ella continues to be a great pointer. In the second of these pictures she is clearly aiming for the camera.

She is gaining confidence in furniture walking even though the process gets a bit tight at times;

sometimes she forgets she is meant to hold on.

The one-year old enjoyed opening her cards

and presents;

the wrapping paper bearing various animals was equally attractive to her.

Her birthday cake candle especially delighted both her and her mother,

Danni.

In truth she was past caring when it was time to eat the cake.