“They’ll All Disappear Quickly Into The Woodland”

After dropping off our menu choices at Karen and Barry’s home in Pennington on this cool morning of clear blue skies and bright sunshine we continued for a forest drive.

Along Wilverley Road we stopped beside Setthorn’s campsite where

a sylvan sprite had forged a heart in the trunk of a woodland oak.

Immediately opposite a trampled track down which I trod led to Longslade Bottom, populated by ponies and dog walkers.

Jackie photographed me in action.

In addition to fallen oak leaves the sward was littered with spiky chestnut cases evidencing the industry of squirrels dragging their fodder from trees some distance away.

As we drove slowly along Bisterne Close ponies seemed to be gathering from various locations to their usual meeting place. They didn’t stay long because as Jackie said while I leisurely collected up my equipment to disembark “They’ll all disappear quickly into the woodland”. That is exactly what they did, so I trudged after them.

One group I traced to a holly hedge behind a wire netting fence. Suddenly neighing and stamping of hooves was followed by three animals thudding down the bank in disarray. Naturally I made myself scarce. To my relief the two who had been seen off by a rival claimant to the hedge were more interested in returning to their lunch than in making any further escape.

This evening we dined on oven fish and chips and baked beans with which we both drank Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc 2021.

“Brother Jack Can’t Hold His Head Up Yet”

This morning I scanned the next six of Charle Keeping’s illustrations to ‘Dombey and Son’ – each one an example of the artist’s mastery of of mood in portraiture.

‘Mr Dombey, leading Mrs Dombey by the hand’

‘A stoical gentleman in a shaggy white greatcoat’

‘She sat down upon a heap of stones’

‘ ‘Let go, mother; let go’ ‘

‘She could not have taken a bird more tenderly and gently to her breast’ occupies a double page spread.

‘There was a throng in the state-rooms up-stairs’

Joined by G-Ma Elizabeth, Danni and Ella brought new baby Jack for lunch.

Our great-niece wanted to go straight into the library where her hamper of toys are kept. She was confused and delighted to find that they had already been brought into the sitting room ready for her

to unpack them all and tell Jackie all about them.

While feeding Jack on the sofa, Danni demonstrated multi-tasking by carrying on a conversation with her daughter who informed us that brother Jack couldn’t hold his head up yet.

Elizabeth took a turn at doing it for him;

while Danni moved closer to Ella who has not lost her pointing technique.

Jackie produced her usual lunch melange of cold meats, salads, and fresh crusty bread. Ella saw nothing awry with eating Tunnock’s teacakes and sausage rolls with alternating bites.

Jack, of course, had to flop this one out, which he did on his G-Ma’s lap.

We had given Jack a pack of nappies and a Boot’s voucher; Ella’s present was a set of Play-Doh which she put to use with Elizabeth.

A final feed, a comparison of noses, and one more story completed a very enjoyable afternoon.

Later, Danni sent me a photograph of Jack, sporting his penguin outfit, suggesting he might be suitable for Christmas dinner.

Speaking of dinner, tonight Jackie and I finished her wholesome winter stewp with fresh crusty bread and butter. She drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Malbec.

Patent Love

Our neighbour, Gordon, who lives in Old Rode House, Downton Lane, this morning gave us this typed version of an article from The Mansfield and Sutton Times of 29th June 1928:

The highlighted paragraph is the one that specifically features our little hamlet, and is, incidentally evidence that our house was certainly built before the 1930s, as we had been given to understand. I have also scanned the next two pages which describe the life of our area a hundred years ago. Apart from the volume of motor traffic this has not changed much in the intervening years. We do have electricity, but not gas. We are not on mains drainage and dispose of our waste by means of a septic tank. These continuation sheets can be enlarged by access to their gallery.

The few fluffy clouds creeping away from a clear cerulean sky above our garden earlier heralded the cold, bright, day that we were to enjoy. The last image in the above set was produced by looking down on the kitchen skylight from our new first floor sitting room.

We began with a visit to Pilley’s lake where my usual seasonal view bore signs of autumn and a number of ponies

drinking and reflected in the clear, still waters.

Some of the animals wandered across Jordans Lane until a woman left one of the cars and shooed them off.

This was Jules who called her pony over from the far side of the lake and gave him treats – this soon had me surrounded by other equines hoping for the same from me. I had engaged this friendly person in conversation in order to ask her about the foal with the stick in its collar that we had seen yesterday. She had obligingly parked behind Jackie where we enjoyed talking. Jules thought it likely that the small branch would become dislodged. The love between pony and owner was patent.

Assorted equines gathered on the other side of the water.

Donkeys with a foal gathered at East Boldre, where

robins flitted about.

More ponies, casting long shadows gathered on the verges of the beginning of South Baddersley Road. These, we thought, were the group that we often see at St Leonard’s Grange, with their little attached Shetland,

today enjoying an extended scratch on a post, while

one of its taller companions was able to use its hoof.

We Needed The Horse Whisperer

On an only slightly cooler morning with the sun coming in and out, after a trip to the pharmacy at Milford on Sea we took drive along the coast before continuing inland.

A slight haze lay across the Isle of Wight while choppy waves slid back and forth on the wet shingle; sunlight stars glinted from rocks;

and columnar spray rose from breakwaters.

Gulls basking in the carpark occasionally took off on the wing;

couples passed rows of benches that were casting long shadows.

A thatched lych gate has been blown down in Hordle. Because vehicles cannot enter the grounds of the house beyond, the owners have placed a POST bin for deliveries.

Along Barrows Lane a robin perched on a gate through which a field containing horses could be seen beneath a sloping arboreal landscape.

When I left the car to photograph ponies in front of a house on the outskirts of Brockenhurst we noticed that one of a pair had a stick stuck in its collar.

This was clearly very difficult to dislodge. Because of the difference in size between the animals, I discerned that the one with the unwanted appendage was probably the foal of the other who was already becoming a bit twitchy at my interest. I felt I didn’t know enough to make a calm extraction, and decided to leave the task for someone who would have more knowledge.

What we needed was a Horse Whisperer in the form of John Corden.

This evening we reprised Jackie’s flavoursome sausages in red wine with fresh vegetables, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Cahors Malbec 2019

This Last Afternoon Of November

David Chesworth, who understands the degrees of family relationships, and knows he is my second cousin once removed, this morning sent me his version of yesterday’s

sunset that he named Le Dragon.

I really do think I finished with the paperwork today as I emptied the second little cabinet that stood beside my desk, and Jackie and I carried it to the shed to await disposal.

After lunch I wandered around the garden, once more in a temperature warm enough for shirtsleeves, and photographed

the garden just as it is on this last afternoon of November. Each image in the gallery bears a title.

Later, I posted https://derrickjknight.com/2021/11/30/a-knights-tale-73-mine-was-bent/

This evening we dined on more of Jackie’s tasty sausages in red wine with fresh vegetables. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Merlot.

A Knight’s Tale (73: Mine Was Bent)

fair was first held in Soho in 1883, and then intermittently, including a fair and market held in aid of the Soho Hospital for Women in 1939. When we lived in Horse and Dolphin Yard The Soho Festival as it was then, and is now, called had recently been reconstituted as an annual event organised by the Soho Society (currently each July) in the grounds of St Anne’s Garden.

In September 1976, then only 7 years old, Ondekoza the stunning Japanese band of timpanists entertained the Soho Festival.  These images are from my original colour slides. ‘Founded in 1969 by Den Tagayasu, in Sado Island, Japan. Ondekoza was influential in the rise of the kumi-daiko (group taiko) style of taiko.[1] Not a taiko player himself, Tagayasu helped transform taiko from a festival-based music form to a virtuosic performance art performed on stage. Ondekoza’s performances in North America in 1975 was the first exposure for many and helped spread interest in taiko through North America. The now widely recognized style of wearing only a ‘shimekomi’ (‘fundoshi loincloth) was originally started by Ondekoza when Pierre Cardin suggested that the physique of the drummer be exposed. The traditional Japanese drummers do not play only in underwear.'(Wikipedia)

Punch & Judy audience, Soho Festival, 9.76 (1)

A Punch and Judy show in 1976 gave entertainment for all ages. One photograph I took of the audience featured on the cover of the Social Care Association’s monthly magazine.  

Becky, on this occasion, was distracted from the puppets by the sight of my lens.  A little boy nearby, was engaged in that familiar comforting exercise of thumb-sucking combined with ear-twiddling.  Another had lost one of his front incisors.

The first family member to have the courage to enter a spaghetti eating competition was Michael.

As the dry spaghetti was ladled onto his plate, he looked as if he was about to bite off more that he could chew.  The thin coating of tomato sauce, looking no more appetising than ketchup, didn’t seem to do much to improve the digestion.  My son soon got stuck in.  He and one of his rivals seemed to think the nearer the dish they got, the better their chances.

The booted Gypsy Joe was a very good professional photographer who befriended Michael and produced some excellent images of the boy and his dog, Piper.

Old man.001

An elderly gentleman, eating at a leisurely pace, had probably just come along for his dinner.

Derrick cigar smoking competition 1976

The large Romeo y Julieta samples for the cigar smoking contest had coincidentally been provided by a supplier called Knight.  The idea was that you smoked one of these lengthy monsters for as long as you could without losing the ash.  When I entered in 1977, I actually had the longest ash, but mine was bent.  I therefore came second to a woman whose was straight.  You can imagine the ribaldry that provoked. My vanquisher is seated on the right of the newspaper cutting above. I am prone on the floor.

Sunset Is For The Birds

This morning I emptied a small cabinet of drawers which stood beside my desk. Some of the contents needed shredding, some were binned, and some found homes in our new cupboards. I then tackled two public bodies who I can only reach on line. I won’t bore you with the details of these, save to say that after nearly an hour on the phone with BT I wound up learning that I must pay £7.50 a month to retain my e-mail address. VAT wasn’t mentioned, but I bet that will be added.

Jackie and I moved the empty cabinet to the garden shed, and I calmed myself down this afternoon by posting https://derrickjknight.com/2021/11/29/a-knights-tale-72-upstaged/

At the end of the afternoon we took a drive on which, over Beaulieu Road we noticed that

sunset was on its way.

Hatchet Pond rose up to meet it as we watched the gentle pink skies set ablaze reflecting on the surface among swans, gulls, and ducks, some of which each of us photographed

away from the the flaming areas. In mine gulls create ripples on the surface which Jackie’s sailing swans do not disturb. The Assistant Photographer has also captured reflecting gulls with wings raised and lowered in flight.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent sausages in red wine; creamy mashed potatoes; crunchy carrots; firm broccoli; and tender red cabbage, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Merlot.

A Knight’s Tale (72: Upstaged)

The Tokyo Diner at the corner of Newport Street now occupies the site of the laundrette featuring in a television film, as far as I remember, about a search for accommodation by a young mother with two small children.

Back in the 1970s I had been sitting in my local Soho launderette watching our washing circulating when a film crew came in, ushered everyone else out, and asked me to remain to stay in shot for a particular sequence.  On transmission evening we all sat in front of the telly eagerly awaiting my star performance.  In the launderette scene it was momentarily possible, unless you blinked, to see an elbow which could just possibly have been mine.  

Shortly afterwards, filling the screen, was my son Michael, with his dog Piper, striding down Dean Street with a huge grin on his face.  I think you could say I had been upstaged.

Michael & Piper 6.77

A Little Hot

The morning was spent completing the clearance of paperwork prompted by our refurbishment. The last to go was documentation from my Limited Company going back two decades. Two more general cabinets to be emptied and we will be done.

This afternoon I published https://derrickjknight.com/2021/11/28/a-knights-tale-71-chinese-boxes/ Some of the illustrations to this were colour slides from the 1970s and required scanning with a little cleaning up.

We dined tonight at Lal Quilla, where I enjoyed chicken Jaljala, but Jackie unfortunately found her Lal Quilla Special rather too hot for her liking. We shared a garlic naan, sag bhaji, and pilau rice, and both drank Kingfisher. The experience was as welcoming and friendly as always.

A Knight’s Tale (71: Chinese Boxes)

From our sitting room we could peer through two windows into a kitchen that appeared also to contain bunk beds.

I photographed the scene in November 1976. Chopping of food took place all through the night.  This somewhat interfered with sleep.  In the early hours of one morning Jessica lost patience and rather politely called out asking the choppers to desist.  The reply was: ‘We’ve been here fifty years.  If you don’t like it, move.’ We did so in 1980, but before then,

this was our sitting room. I still have the rocking chair which was a favourite seat. The brown velvet trousers mentioned in https://derrickjknight.com/2021/11/07/a-knights-tale-60-i-come-a-cropper/, much patched, are now long gone.

Michael’s use of Chinese boxes is featured in https://derrickjknight.com/2021/11/17/a-knights-tale-66-horse-and-dolphin-yard/

I used them as bookshelves. My collection was moved to our next home in Gracedale Road, SW16.

Here Jessica, Louisa, and Sam are seen in front of them in 1984. When our son was about the age that Louisa is here, my Dad, concerned about having witnessed the toddler’s one attempt to scale the stacks, arrived with a drill and a set of screws with which he fixed the rather higgledy piggledy shelves to the wall. We learned later that our purchaser, when he sold the house some years afterwards, claimed to have constructed my library repository himself, and turned it into a selling point.