The Stone Face


This afternoon Jackie drove me to Hengistbury Head, where she drank coffee and I explored the scene.

Hengistbury Head

En route to the beach, I passed the top of the hill, where walkers could be seen, to my left,

and observed silhouetted figures against the sea and skyline.

Isle of Wight and The Needles

There was a new angle on the Isle of Wight and The Needles.

Hengistbury Head and beach

Walkers accompanied their dogs along the beach,

Group on beach

where a group did their best to dodge the advancing tide.

A gentleman contemplated the scene, and walked down the shingle to join them.

Eventually I did the same, and watched the sea slap the flanks of the rocks,

receding, sliding, slipping over the glistening, tinkling, shingle, and sucking at the seeping sand.


Soon the rolling waves came roaring in

Stone face

and I walked back up to the footpath, passing a stone face, mouth open, ready to drink from the spume that would hopefully reach it.

Walkers on Hengistbury Head

I watched walkers ascending the hill which had once been home to Stone Age people (

beach scene

Below, others were returning along the beach where

Hengistbury Head beach

a pair of swans I had seen earlier still floated on the water.

Boscombe Pier

We continued on to Boscombe where the pier was set against the sunbeams lighting the sea,

before returning home to a meal of fish cakes in lemon and parsley sauce, with boiled potatoes, carrots, cauliflower and broccoli, followed by bread and butter pudding. We finished the sauvignon blanc.

Pig On The Road


Hoping for the cloud to clear we drove out to the north of the forest late this afternoon.

pony and rider

Between Sway and Brockenhurst a woman rode a New Forest pony. This can only be managed after skillful ‘backing’ or breaking in.

Her steed carried her past a gathering of diminutive  Shetland or ‘Thelwell’ ponies, ignoring both me and the hair in their eyes as they foraged away.

Along Roger Penny Way we learned that pannage continues, as pigs scampered speedily along the verges

and across the road, snouts searching out mast.


Further along, a group of normal sized ponies grazed on a golf green, as a player prepared his putt. By the time Jackie had parked and I had walked back, a pair of brandished clubs had shooed off the interlopers who satisfied themselves with the roadside where they blended with the golden brown bracken.


We enjoyed dramatic skies across the moors. Blue skies peeped out from lighter clouds, and beams of sunlight pierced the darker ones.

Cattle led by farmer

At Godshill a farmer, carrying a bucket, led his little herd of cattle along the roadside;

Cow running

a deep bellowing emanated from one straggler who broke into a surprisingly spritely sprint, lest it might miss out on whatever was in the container;

Cow and calf

and a cow and calf had managed to find themselves on the wrong side of the road.

By the time we reached Abbots Well the landscape, and the cattle therein, basked in warm late sunlight;


the skies on our return home added gold and magenta hues to the darkening slate.

This evening we dined on salmon and smoked haddock fish pie studded with prawns; crunchy carrots and broccoli; and fried leeks and spinach. We both drank Louis de Camponac sauvignon blanc 2015.

Playing Disrupt The Traffic


This afternoon Jackie drove us around the forest,


beginning with Tanners Lane where ponies, delaying our arrival at the beach, played at disrupting the traffic.

They crossed and recrossed the narrow lane in their eagerness to crop the grass

and prune the hedgerows.

Cyclist resting on shingle

When we actually arrived at the waterfront, a cyclist who had weaved his way through the horses ahead of us, was already sunning himself on the shingle;

Cyclist and walker resting on shingle

a young lady carrying an Ordnance Survey map soon sat on a lump of concrete to take her rest.

The now familiar boat floated on the tide which was the highest we have seen it.

Jackie reading RAF Needs Oar Point sign

On the approach to St Leonards lies an apparently insignificant field that performed an important role during World War 2. Across The Solent in the background the Isle of Wight can be seen. Here Jackie reads

RAF Needs Oar Point sign

this explanatory sign. (I haven’t managed to enlarge this image in WordPress’s improved editing facility), so

I offer this information from the D-Day Museum website:

“Needs Oar Point, like Bisterne and Lymington airfields, was a temporary two steel track runway built in 1943. The runway was built to support the D-Day operations. On D-Day and for the next four weeks, squadrons flew sorties in support of the troops in Normandy. Additionally the Hawker Typhoon ground-attack aircraft flew from here. This provided low-level close air support to the Normandy beachhead.

During the Second World War there were twelve airfields in the New Forest, nine of which were built in wartime. Flat areas of land in this region made it suitable for creating airfields. Being situated near the south coast of the UK also made the The New Forest a useful base for aircraft operating over continental Europe.”

This evening we dined at Lymington’s Lal Quilla, where we received a very warm welcome and delicious food. My choice was Purple Tiger, which is a dish of tiger prawns, tamarind, and various other spices.  We shared special fried rice, onion bahji, and a garlic naan. We both drank Kingfisher.

Caught In The Rain


Forest road

Landscape with bracken and dead tree

This morning we took a drive into the forest.

It was not long before the first of the day’s many  showers set the burnished bracken sparkling.

Landscape with partial rainbowLandscape with partial rainbow

We were even treated to a partial rainbow forcing its way through the indigo clouds.

House in valley

Deep in the valley a string of walkers passed a solitary house,

Smoke in the distance

while far off, optimistic smoke curled upwards to merge into the ether.

A grazing pony fixed me with a quizzical stare, then continued with the business in hand,

until, sensing the precipitation that was about to send me back to the car, it wandered off and crossed a path to take shelter under a tree.

Walkers on moor

It was then that I heard voices floating across the bracken.

Walkers on moor

They belonged to another group of walkers upon whom the rainbow had cast all the colours of the spectrum.

The rain really hammered on the car as we drove back though the forest passing walkers and cyclists also caught in it.

This evening we dined on roast lamb, potatoes and parsnip; crunchy carrots, cabbage and runner beans; divine gravy, and mint sauce; followed by bread and butter pudding souffle. I drank Almocreve Alentejano reserva 2014.



Keeping Ahead Of The Rain


Almost overnight, a stout fence has appeared in the place of our grizelinia hedge. This had been agreed with our neighbours who have the responsibility for it. The work is excellent.

This morning Aaron lopped more extraneous branches from large bay and holly trees.

This afternoon Jackie cut my hair and made a better job of it than the last professional. Later, she drove us to Beaulieu.

Beaulieu river, birds, family

A family joined in  the avian activity on the river.

The younger members perched on the grassy bank and conversed with the swans and their cygnets.

Beaulieu River and Abbey

Across the other side of the tidal river, Beaulieu Abbey could be seen.

Beaulieu River

The birds found the receding waters sufficient for a paddle;

and the grown cygnets continued to clutch at their parents’ apron strings.

Swans and gulls on Beaulieu River

We had been promised a thunder storm at noon. This did not arrive, but the louring clouds overhead decanted their heavy rain purely in order to put a stop to my photo session.

There was nothing for it but to walk up the main street to join Jackie where she was enjoying hot chocolate in the garden centre. By the time we drove back past the river the tide was out.

For our dinner this evening Jackie produced roast lamb, roast potatoes and parsnips, crunchy carrots and runner beans, with gravy, even though she said it herself, “to die for”. I finished the malbec and the Culinary Queen drank sparkling water.


Mellow Fruitfulness


As we were both up before dawn this morning we took a trip to the coast to catch sight of the dawn over the Isle of Wight. There was nothing to see. It was raining and the sky was covered in grey cloud.

John Keats famously described autumn as “a season of mists and mellow fruitfulness”. We haven’t had any mists yet in this delayed waning of the year. So I guess we must be patient.

Many flowers, such as




and nasturtiums continue to bloom.

There is, however, a certain amount of “mellow fruitfulness” in the form of

Crab apples

crab apples,

Rosa glauca hips

rosa glauca hips,


just a few apples on a tree that was laden last year,

nicotiana sylvestris seed pods

and the seed clusters of six foot tall nicotiana sylvestris,

nicotiana sylvestris seeds

just one pod of which produced this cappuccino  chocolate cloud of minute seeds on the poppy tray.

I cannot remember how to calibrate my scanner to the laptop, so the last two photographs I e-mailed to Emily were produced by


photographing the prints and uploading them.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spiky pasta beef arrabiata and runner beans with which I drank more of the malbec.

Frolicking On The Beach


Sweet peas

There are many long-stayers in the garden this year.  One of the most amazing is the sweet pea.

This morning Jackie drove us to Steamer Point and back.

Boy sculpture on wall

On a wall outside one of the houses near the cliff, a lad perches to get a good view of


Friars Cliff Beach.


Believe it or not, this sparkling waterfront is out of season,

Dog on beach

so dogs are now welcome to frolic in the sand and roam off the lead.

Spray on breakwater

Waves throwing up spray buffeted the breakwaters

 supported by strong beams bound by weathered bolts.

Also frolicking on the beach was a family group,

Friars Cliff Cafe and beach huts

who later joined the throngs in the Friars Cliff Cafe

big breakfast

where I consumed The Big Breakfast, not quite as daunting as the Olympics one, and Jackie settled for the more standard Friars Breakfast.

Later this afternoon we visited Mum in West End.

We took the route through Beaulieu where the now grown cygnets were being taken for a walk amidst ducks and jackdaws by their parents.

Donkeys on road

The donkeys in the background gave the birds a wide berth as they set off on their customary traffic disruption exercise.

We spent a couple of hours with Mum during which Jackie cooked her dinner. Elizabeth and Jacqueline joined us and Jackie and my two sisters left Mum to rest while we drove to Jewels Indian restaurant and enjoyed a convivial meal with much reminiscence. The food and service were excellent. My choice was king prawn pathia and pilau rice with which I drank Cobra. We shared a naan.