Angela’s Photoshoot

Beneath oppressively leaden skies on an unseasonably warm morning we carried out some tidying of the garden.

Enjoying the sounds of gentle birdsong in the trees; raucous geese honking overhead, and the

clinking and scraping of Jackie’s tools as she trimmed the grass and weeded brickwork, I concentrated on sweeping fallen beach leaves and dead heading in the rose garden and elsewhere.

The bonus of the weather conditions was the diffused light in which to photograph

Summer Wine (too high to reach with secateurs); crisp, pink, Just Joey; constantly blooming white Winchester Cathedral; and the seemingly everlasting Crown Princess Margareta.

Early this afternoon Joseph and Angela visited. Our sister-in-law, a superb Chinese cook, came laden with authentic cooking including some ingredients not available in this country. She brought paper plates so washing up would be negligible; non-alcoholic beers and rosé wine. By the evening she had finished the preparation and served starters of prawn crackers, spring rolls of flavours never experienced here, prawns in garlic, and runner beans with an intriguing taste. Later, came a complex curry and steamed rice to which more prawns could be added to taste. Lemon cheesecake and strawberries were to follow. I finished the Fleurie, while the others drank non-alcoholic beers or rosé wine.

Before settling down to the cooking, Jackie and I accompanied Angela on a

photo tour of the garden.

In addition to her favourites from this collection, I printed her copies of a number of my photographs including this one of

Joe and me from about 1963, and another of

Mum and her five children from 2011.

Elizabeth joined us later.

We have plenty of left overs for another day.

Planning A Garden

Richard from Kitchen Makers visited this morning to check measurements and discuss the work he will be doing for us in other rooms after mid-October. As always we spent quite a lot of time putting the world to rights.

Later, I posted

This afternoon we visited Elizabeth to discuss more of the arrangements for our mother’s funeral. We added to the information and opinions to be given to the vicar to help him with his address. Jackie summed up the changes Mum experienced from a childhood of taking a lighted candle upstairs to bed when there was no light on the stairs to six weeks ago conversing with her great granddaughter on a smart phone in our garden.

Later, the ladies walked around Elizabeth’s garden planning its development.

Naturally I hovered with a camera.

Afterwards Elizabeth produced a meal of well-filled and tasty chicken and leek pie with short crust pastry; creamy mashed potatoes; crunchy carrots; and tender runner beans from her own garden.

Our journey home was hindered by a chaotic traffic hold-up on the A337, forcing an emergency ambulance to cross a roundabout on the wrong side of the road, which was being caused by an extensive queue for petrol by drivers fearful of an impending shortage – despite being advised that this was not necessary.

A Knight’s Tale (39: Down The Drain To The Dome)

At weekends during my last years at school I worked with Dad on his removals van.

On August 29th 2012 I met Michael for a drink in the Hand in Hand on Wimbledon Common.  Fifty-plus years ago, when I drank there with my own father, this greatly extended Young’s pub was a small spit and sawdust independent establishment run by four sisters.  As I was a little early I wandered across the green to look at a grand house into which Dad and I had moved a family at that time.  In the garden was a man, probably in his fifties, having a cigarette.  I told him about the removal, in particular that we had, with a piano we were bringing in, damaged a skirting board at the bottom of the stairs.  I omitted to mention that we had prided ourselves in lifting the small upright upstairs unaided, and dropped it. This man told me his family had owned the house for about that length of time. He would have been one of two little boys excitedly running about their new home. The damage had been repaired.

The removals work with Dad was a pocket money earner beginning in my schooldays which continued on Saturday mornings during my first career, in Marine Insurance.

My first annual salary was earned in the old Lloyd’s (insurance) Building.  It had contained the ‘Room’ of 1928 where all the underwriters carried out their business.  By 1960, when I began, a second Lloyd’s building, which has itself been superseded, had been built, and my building was occupied by the back room boys, such as me.  I dealt with marine insurance claims under the management of Mr. Goodinge, who once gave me a collection of his excellent shirts; and alongside people like Ray Denier who took seven wickets on his first turn-out for my cricket club, and Ian Frederick Stevens, otherwise known as IFS, who was a soulmate for a while.  More importantly, my secretarial work was done by Vivien, who was to become my first wife.  This building, known as ‘The Dome’, had no natural light.  You could never tell what time of the day or year it was, or what the weather was like.  It was here that I knuckled down to what I was assured was a secure pensionable job.  This, then, was more important than strange concepts like job satisfaction.  By correspondence course I set about qualifying for the Chartered Insurance Institute and thought that would be my job for life.  It wasn’t until I became a twenty three year old widower with a baby son that I knew I could do this no more.

The insurance world held me for the first six years of my working life.  I commuted daily on the very route, but on very different trains, that I used today; first from Raynes Park, then after marriage and the purchase of a first house, from Wimbledon itself.  The trains in those days had carriages with which viewers of period dramas will be familiar.  During the rush hour those carrying commuters from Waterloo into Surrey would become packed.  One evening two of my classmates who made such a journey were the first to occupy one of the compartments. 

Each stationed at one of the windows, they pulled grotesque faces and leeringly beckoned to other would-be passengers to enter.  In that way they kept the seats to themselves.  One evening, travelling back to Raynes Park, the train became fogbound.  We remained stationary right outside my home for an hour and a half.

The first three years of my time at Lloyd’s were spent in Leadenhall Street.  From Waterloo mainline station it was necessary to travel on ‘The Drain’.  This was the name given to the Underground journey to Bank station.  I can’t quite remember how it worked, but, at one end or the other of this daily grind there was a long tunnel through which thousands just like me tramped to their destination.  You had to go at the pace of the slowest. 

It felt like a scene from a film about zombies or prisoners of war, silent enough to be “Battleship Potemkin”.  Looking back this seems an awful mole-like existence.  But security was all, and we made our own fun, pulling each other’s legs and taking some amusement from misprints in memos and the joys of the German language.  The Westmonster Insurance Company caused some glee and we became hopelessly incontinent whenever we came across the shipping company whose name sounded like ‘dampsheepfarts’.  There were side streets off Leadenhall Street with provisions stores. I remember a butcher’s which, at Christmastime had turkeys hanging up like a film set for ‘A Christmas Carol’, and, during the winter months, lamplighters climbed ladders to light the gas lamps early enough for me to see them before I set off back down The Drain.

My memory fails me in attempting to recollect the name of the kindly gentleman who was my boss during my brief employment at the Yorkshire Insurance company in Leadenhall Street in about 1963/4. I do, however remember that he bought all his staff ties or other similar birthday gifts from Austin Reed, the upmarket outfitters on Regent Street,

visible from this corner of Brewer Street. I took this practice to heart, and, when I became a Social Services manager myself, gave everyone a birthday card. Since the staff numbers ran closer to three figures, that’s all I could afford.

It was Mike Vaquer, a colleague in the Yorkshire Insurance Company, who introduced me to the pleasures of colour slides as a medium, and took me with him for a year or so to photograph the West End decorations.  The two of us eagerly awaited these annual trips, each descending on the capital from our respective suburban homes.

Mike was a little older than me, didn’t have a family, and could therefore invest in a top of the range Pentax. Mind you, he still needed a rangefinder attachment.  I photographed him on our 1964 expedition.

More than thirty years later, I met another of those colleagues on Victoria Station. He told me that all my contemporaries were still working there. The only difference in personnel was that he had replaced the manager mentioned above. 

I considered that I had escaped a life of boredom when I turned to Social Work in 1966. How this came about will follow in due course.

Woodland Ecology

After lunch today I posted

The day remained largely overcast, but reasonably warm, so, after a trip to Ferndene Farm Shop we took a drive among the forest lanes.

I am not sure what these tractors were doing alongside Preston Lane, but they were sending up clouds of dust.

We can never normally stop on the A35 to Lyndhurst, but, as a consequence of extensive bridge widening works near Holmsley, there are long tailbacks enabling me to photograph the adjacent woodlands from my window.

We turned left into the road to Burley where

Jackie parked the Modus in order for me to wander into the woodland

with its green and golden bracken, its live, dead, fallen, and decaying trees, and its magical views.

Later, I scanned three more of Charles Keeping’s illustrations to ‘Our Mutual Friend’, each one bearing recognisable portraits of characters previously depicted.

‘Wegg held the will tight, while Venus searchingly and attentively read it’

‘The darkness gone, and a face bending down’

‘Bella kissed her on the cheek’

This evening we dined on second helpings of our Red Chilli takeaway, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Fleurie.

A Knight’s Tale (38: Girls)

Although I was to make up for it later, I was rather late in waking up to girls. When I was about fifteen, and working in my school holidays in the Despatch Department of Cawdell’s, formerly Kennard’s store in Wimbledon Broadway, Dad cajoled me into my first foray into the unknown.

The Despatch Department, at the back of the building, was where suppliers made their deliveries. We would then carry the goods up to the various departments. Dad drove a van that took parcels out to buyers.

That summer, a young lady whose name I have conveniently forgotten, made frequent visits to my workplace from the perfume counter. “You know what she wants, don’t you?”, asked my father. “No”, said I, somewhat bemused. “She wants you to take her out”, was the frightening reply.

Plucking up courage, I made a date. On the appointed day I waited outside Wimbledon Town Hall for an hour. She didn’t turn up. I felt both chastened and relieved.

Her story the next day was that her grandmother was ill. I didn’t really buy that, and didn’t repeat the exercise.

It was two more years before my cricketing prowess was to earn me my first real encounter. Somewhere in North London I took seven wickets for twelve runs in a club match. Two child minders were watching on the boundary. I think they wore the suitable uniforms of the day as they guarded their charges’ prams. One of them in particular clapped and cheered each time I took a wicket.

As we left the field at the end of the game, John O’Rourke pointed to a stunning young lady all dolled up, standing silently on her own. “That’s your nurse”, said John. “No. It can’t be”, said I. Nevertheless, I did walk in her direction.

John was right. I borrowed the entrance money from Chris and took her to the cinema.

North London was a long way from Raynes Park, especially for a schoolboy. This was another exercise not repeated.

It had, however, given me a taste. Nearer to home, a little while later, came the excitement engendered by Angela Davies, the first girl who set my teenage pulses racing.  We had met at the school dance, the only occasion on which we were officially allowed contact with the pupils of the Ursuline Convent.  I had spent a very uncomfortable few days attempting to learn the waltz, at which Angela considered I still wasn’t much good.  Nevertheless she didn’t seem to mind the last one, and we were to share a delightful nine months in 1959.

Towards the end of my schooldays, I worked in the holidays. My first such employment was in Morden industrial estate. During my fifteenth summer, at the beginning of the school holidays I had tramped the burning streets between there and Raynes Park in search of a holiday job.  I landed one in a printing works where my task was to produce glossy brochures. 

(Wikipedia image)

It was there that a beautiful girl told me that I looked like Tony Curtis.  Not being sure whether that was a compliment or not, the gauche teenager I then was had no inkling of the opportunity I’d obviously missed out on. 

Advancing In Our Direction

After lunch Elizabeth visited to discuss a few matters relating to Mum’s funeral. This included the choice of coffin and flowers.

Later, I posted

This afternoon we took a drive into the forest.

Jackie parked beside Charles’s Lane, and I stepped out to photograph the

woodland scenes alongside.

On one side of Gorley Road at Mockbeggar the Donkey Hedge Clipping service was under way;

on the other, field horses , some with fly protection masks, were accompanied by their usual crows.

At Ibsley a donkey foal was planted on the tarmac along which advanced a cluster of ponies in our direction;

a lone cow set off to join her friends grazing across the road;

finally, the second of two further donkeys we were forced to follow was decidedly pregnant.

This evening we dined on a Red Chilli takeaway meal consisting of Saag Bhaji, Paneer Tikka, Special Fried Rice, Plain Paratha; Saag Chicken, and Naga Chilli Chicken, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Fleurie, which involved opening another bottle.

A Knight’s Tale (37: Garrick House)

The play area in Cottenham Park now occupies the site where I lost my fourteenth summer.

I was playing cricket with some friends and no-one wanted to be wicket keeper.  As a bowler I was no wicket keeper.  However I nobly volunteered.  I stood far too upright and far too close to the stumps.  A wide ball came down the leg side (the side near the batsman’s legs, where it is difficult even for a more agile player to see the ball).  I lost sight of it.  Smack!  A full-bodied strike straight off the bat sent the ball into my left eye.  For the next three weeks the ball was not the only thing I lost sight of.  Home in bed I was suddenly beset with excruciating toothache in that eye.  In the days when GPs actually made home visits in the evening, our lovely Dr. Gallaghan, who worked himself so hard that he died of a heart attack in his forties, came out to see me.  ‘How many fingers am I holding up?’ he asked, having placed one hand over my right eye.  ‘How am I expected to know?’ I replied, ‘my eye is all swollen and closed.’  ‘It isn’t’, was his response.  I still feel the cold sweat I immediately broke into on that warm summer evening.

Then it was straight to the Royal Eye Hospital in Surbiton where I spent the best part of the summer of ’56.  Doris Day was top of the hit parade with ‘Qu’est sera sera?’.  I wasn’t allowed to read, and so had to make do with the radio and the salacious comments of the man in the next bed involving me and the nurses.  I didn’t know what he meant, but I did learn the song off by heart.   As a child, I should have been in the children’s ward, but the beds weren’t big enough for me.  For a few days, when the men’s ward became overcrowded, I was decanted to where I belonged.  A box for my feet was placed at the foot of the bed.  My feet were still attached to my legs.

When I came out of hospital, Gurney, the boy who had hit the ball, said: ‘You haven’t missed anything’.  I could have killed him.  The affected eye was always weaker, and, some fifteen to twenty years ago, I finally had an operation, for a cataract.  Now it’s fine.  I was first given specs at the age of eighteen.  The optician told me that by the time I was sixty I wouldn’t need them any more.  Rather rashly not taking into consideration that he was himself about that age, I said: ‘When I’m sixty I won’t care’.  I felt rather embarrassed.  And, of course, when I got to be sixty I did care.

The year after this I proudly became the opening bowler for Garrick House Cricket Club, which was soon to merge with Trinity (Battersea, now Oxley) Cricket Club who occasionally used to play there.

On the North side of the park lies Melbury Gardens, where I had watched the coronation of Queen Elizabeth II, on that miniscule television set.

The modern sports pavilion, boasting showers and a bar, now lies on the site of the small hut which had passed for a changing room.  After the game, we would wash in a bowl of cold water, always allowing the oposition first go; then it was off to the Raynes Park Tavern for a jovial evening.  It was into this hostelry’s small private bar that, at fifteen, I sneaked for my first half pint of beer.  I didn’t like it much, but persevered, for the sake of male cameraderie.  In those days Jackie helped the late Eileen Oxley; wife of Stanley, one of the three founders, in whose honour the club was renamed after his death; prepare the teas and do the scoring.

On the South side of the recreation ground lies Cambridge Gardens, which, on one memorable afternoon when I had first opened the batting for my club, I had peppered with boundaries.  The despairing bowler said to Charlie Moulder, who was umpiring, ‘he bats like a number eleven (the last man in, who wasn’t usually much good with the bat)’.  ‘He is a number eleven’, said Charlie.  ‘And I keep feeding him’, bemoaned the bowler.

In my late teens, night after night, I played cricket with Mick Copleston.  As we batted until we were out, continuing our innings the next evening, Mick would bat for weeks.  Except when it was raining and we played billiards in his front room.  He beat me at that too.

Garrick House in Southampton Street, Covent Garden was the home of theatrical publishers Samuel French Ltd.  The cricket club was that of the firm.  By 1957, no-one playing for the team worked for the publishers.  They therefore handed over ownership and all the kit to the current body of men. The club was, a year or two later merged with Trinity (Battersea) Cricket club, for whom a number of the Garrick House players, including me, turned out.  

It was Stan Oxley, seated in the centre of this 1958 picture, who was one of the trio who formed the Battersea club, and spent his life as its Secretary, who recruited me, first for the team above, and the following year for the much stronger Trinity.  There was then no conflict of interest because Garrick House played on Saturdays at Cottenham Park, and Trinity was a wandering Sunday side.

Considerable Versatility

This afternoon I posted

Later, I scanned the next five of Charles Keeping’s illustrations to Charles Dickens’s ‘Our Mutual Friend’, demonstrating the artist’s considerable versatility.

‘ ‘Does anybody down there know what has happened?’ once more admirably depicts the fog – this time in a text sandwich.

‘Sweet delusion for Pleasant Riderhood’

‘Bella arrived in the Boffin Chariot’

‘Mr Boffin had a child’s delight in looking at shops’ makes use of a two page spread.

‘They stood interlocked like a couple of preposterous gladiators’

This evening we dined on baked gammon moistened by juicy ratatouille; boiled new potatoes; firm carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Fleurie.

A Knight’s Tale (36: Some Schoolmasters)

A most inspirational teacher, Mr. Millward dedicated his life to teaching history at Wimbledon College.  He was one of those pupils who never really left the school, returning after university to take up his life’s work.  Learning about the Tudors and Stuarts we would eagerly await ‘Sid’ striding into the classroom with a rolled up chart under his arm.  This would be hung on the wall to illustrate the day’s lesson. 

These were beautifully produced maps and diagrams which brought the subject alive.  He had made each and every one.  He was, like me, a cricket fanatic.  I still have the history of cricket he inspired me to write and illustrate as a homework exercise.  His nickname, ‘Sid’, was taken from a lesser known bandleader who once performed at Wimbledon Theatre.  ‘No-one forgets a good teacher’ was once an  advertising slogan for recruitment into his profession.  It was so true.

This was his form photograph of about 1956. I am on our left of the middle row.

Quite different was ‘Moses’, whose remit was European History, so named because he was an ancient priest.  His teaching aid was a small dog-eared, equally antique, exercise book from which, seated in his pulpit, never taking his eyes off the page, he would churn out notes he must have made much earlier, as if he were reciting an oft-repeated sermon.  For some reason Moses always picked on me.  Until one miraculous Monday morning. He didn’t actually know my name.  He had decided to climb down from his perch and wander round the classroom.  Passing my desk and glancing at my exercise book, reading the name, he asked: “Knight?  Are you the famous bowler?”.  “That’ll be my brother Chris”, I replied.  “But didn’t you get eight wickets on Saturday?”, he continued.  Well, I had. (I also got seven on the Sunday, but as that was in a club match I thought it best not to mention it).  From then on the sun shone out of my backside.

Another priest who also used me as a butt was Fr. Bermingham.  He did it so often that one of the boys ran a book on how many times this would happen in any particular lesson.  Quite a bit of pocket money changed hands.  Now, as I sat in the same place for both periods, in the centre of the front row because I was just beginning to realise I should have my eyes tested, I thought it might be politic to move.  I therefore took up residence right at the back, to the left of his area of vision.  As if on cue, quite early on in the proceedings, he opened his mouth to speak, looked in what he thought was my direction, closed his mouth, and scanned the rows of grinning boys.  Eventually lighting on my similarly smiling face, he said: “Ah, there you are Knight, like a great moon over the horizon”.  At least he knew my name.  However, he had just given me another one.  For the rest of my schooldays I was known as ‘Moon’.

Please don’t get the impression I was a victim.  Most of the masters, like Bryan Snalune, actually liked me.  In fact, Frs. Moses and Bermingham probably did as well.  Their observations were generally meant to be humorous.

On the viewer’s far right nearest the volleyball net, Bryan Snalune crouches, ready to spring into action. I think I am at the back of this court in jumper and tie. I’m amazed that so many in the picture wore ties. Bryan introduced the sport to the school, and brought in Canadian Air Force players to teach us the game. He arranged a few fixtures for us. I have no idea how we fared.

This gentle giant, not much older than us, had that magic quality that demands respect whilst conveying equality as a human being. He was a lot of fun without losing his authority. I see his toothy smile and shock of fairish hair now. His subject was French, through which he guided me to A Level GCSE.

The smile mentioned above is probably indirectly responsible for my being awarded a punishment of two strokes of the ferula. The ferula was the Jesuit version of the cane.

A small, flat, slipper-like object consisting of leather with whalebone inside it, this was wielded by a punishment master not connected with whatever offence of which you had been guilty. ‘Two’ – one on each hand – was what was dished out to the little boys. If you were a recidivist and rather older you could progress to ‘Twice Nine’. But you wouldn’t want to.

Bryan Snalune was a keen amateur actor. During my group’s last weeks at school he performed in a play where his character was called Goofy. Clearly the casting director had also noticed the teeth. I cannot remember why, but I was not present at the performance, yet my classmates came back with this priceless information for a budding cartoonist. It felt natural to draw Walt Disney’s Goofy on the blackboard just before the French lesson.

Unfortunately our friendly teacher was not the next one to enter the room. Instead, Fr Strachan, S.J., the deputy headmaster found some reason to make a brief visit. Glancing at the familiar character depicted on the board, he demanded: “Who did that, Knight?”. Maybe he recognised my style. Although a decent enough man, Fr Strachan was not known for his sense of humour. On that day he displayed a rather quirky one. “Get two”. He proclaimed.

I don’t remember the name of the executioner, but I can see him now, a little round chap in holy orders whose beady eyes glinted behind his spectacle lenses. He was a little surprised at his prescribed task when I knocked on his door and extended my arms. My outstretched palms were at a level which put my fingers in danger of picking his nose. He, and I, were both even more surprised when, at each stroke, a wailing chorus set up an anguished howl in the corridor outside. Although my hands stung rather more than somewhat, I was able to open the door to encounter the whole of my class doubled up with laughter.

The year before this, when Tommy reigned in the cinemas, Bryan had managed the second XI cricket team of which he had appointed me captain. How Moses came to know my name is recounted above. It was for this team that the performance that brought me into his recognition was played. Bryan Snalune was the umpire. When five wickets had fallen, all to me for not many runs, “Take yourself off now”, he suggested sotto voce. He was the boss, so I did. Mind you, I doubt that his intervention as a supposedly neutral officiator was legitimate.  When only two more had gone down and the game was, I thought, in need of my more direct involvement, I came back on and polished off the last three. Could that have been the day I would have taken all ten? I guess we’ll never know.

It was just before my fourteenth birthday that I had been introduced to playing cricket. Iain Taylor, the captain of the Under Fourteens team, and a friend of mine, asked the headmaster, who rejoiced in the wonderfully appropriate name of Father Ignatius St Lawrence, S.J., to give me a trial for the team.  I had never played before, but Iain got me to bowl a few balls in the nets and seems to have been impressed.  With ‘Iggy’, as the head was predictably known to the boys, standing as umpire I was instructed to send my nervously delivered missives down to the team’s best batsman.  I bowled him four times before Iggy had seen enough.  One of these dismissals was with a deliberate slower ball that turned sharply from the off – that is opposite the right-handed batsman’s legs – side of the pitch and hit the middle stump.  The deviation was probably caused by the ball striking an extraneous object when it landed.  Turning to me at the end of my spell, Iggy asked: “Did you mean the off-break?”.  “Yes, father”,  was my coolly delivered reply.  All priests were of course our fathers.  I was in.  Later, out of earshot of anyone else, I asked Iain: “What’s an off break?”. In the picture above “Where’s Derrick?” (6).

As will be surmised from my interview with Fr Wetz mentioned previously, I also first played rugby at Wimbledon College.

The school playing fields were in Coombe Lane, Raynes Park. We always walked there from the school in Edge Hill to play rugby and cricket.  It was here that my friend Tom McGuinness scored what I believe to be his only try.  Tom’s eyesight was so bad that he could never see what was going on.  One afternoon he found the rugby ball in his hands.  ‘What shall I do?’, he asked me.  ‘Run for the line’, I replied.  ‘Where is it?’ enquired Tom.  ‘That way’, I indicated.  Tom sped for the line, fell over, and touched down.  No-one saw him.  The fact that we were playing in dense fog had levelled this particular playing field.

Our route to the sports fields took us through Cottenham Park where I once went scrumping on the way to rugby.  Remembering throwing sticks into conker trees when younger, I had ingeniously decided to chuck my boots into an apple tree intending to knock off some fruit.  Unfortunately it didn’t occur to me to untie the laces that bound them together.  

Soon they were suspended like the socks that reminded me of this story when walking along the Wandle Trail almost 60 years later.  More ingenuity was required to get them down.  This involved the park keeper who was a bit put out.  It made me late for the match.  I couldn’t even invent a story which would present me in a better light.  The news had been spread all round the changing rooms.  Bill Edney, Geography master and rugby coach, was also a bit put out.

Rooting And Wallowing

This morning while Jackie shopped at Tesco I carried out a bunch of dead heading.

After lunch I wandered around the garden with my camera

and photographed a range of blooms, each of which is titled in the gallery;

a bee on a cosmos and a comma butterfly on verbena bonariensis.

Later this afternoon we drove into the forest and discovered from the presence of pigs trotting across Jordans Lane that pannage has begun. This is the period when pigs are freed to eat up the mast – acorns and other autumn fruits which are poisonous to ponies.

This gathering of pigs and piglets was more interested in rooting and wallowing on the still-muddy-enough-for-fun drying Pilley lake bed.

There had not been a scarecrow trail in Hordle this year, but it looks as if someone in Sheldrake Gardens had made their own individual effort in the form of this

pair representing the Gruffalo and mouse.

This evening we dined on oven fish and chips and peas, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Fleurie.