The Cot In The Kitchen

Snowdrops 1

This morning I took a gentle amble down to Roger’s footpath and back. We now have a plentiful crop of snowdrops, more of which adorn the bank in front of the car park of The Royal Oak, in the garden of which, by fashioning a target, Nick and his friend had put a broken and discarded road sign to good use.

Snowdrops 2Nick and friend 1Nick and friend 2

Jackie’s chest infection lingers on, so, unfortunately we had to cancel our trip to watch the Bournemouth Lions Panto, starring our friend Barrie Haynes. I hope it went well.

After a laundry session I rescanned some early colour slides from 1964. In ‘Two Rooms’, I described how Vivien and I had begun our married life in my parents’ house in Wimbledon. There it was that the first of my late wives brought home our son in April that year.Vivien & Michael 4.64 01

Like many another young couple, our accommodation consisted of one bed-sitting room and a kitchen.Michael 11.64

By November Michael slept in a cot in the kitchen. After he’d finished playing, that is.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s exquisite chicken jalfrezi and nutritious onion rice. She drank sparkling water and I drank Marques de Carano gran reserva 2008.

 

Did You Host A Party At White Gables in 1982?

I spent most of the day on the telephone or wrestling with television sound. The first phone call was by far the most agreeable, as it was almost two hours in wide-ranging and enjoyable conversation with my son Sam in Australia. This was very welcome.

For a day or two now we have received no sound on our television. I have engaged in several attempts to understand the diagrams and instructions that came with the Sharp Aquos TV and the BT YouView User Guide. I seemed to be doing everything correctly, but to no avail. Half an hour or so at a time was all I could manage without severe risk to my sanity. This afternoon I threw in the towel and called New Milton Sound & Vision who sent an engineer to, for a call-out fee, diagnose the problem.

Those of my readers who have followed my various BT sagas will not be surprised to learn that the problem lay with the BT view box that needs to be replaced. My response was rather ambivalent. On the one hand I was delighted that it wasn’t me at fault. On the other hand I knew what I was in for in negotiation with BT. I’m not going to bore you all again with the business of the hoops one has to go to to reach a live person who is speaking from India. The poor man in that sub-continent was very polite and patient and coped with my irritableness (I had three attempts here at writing etchings [that makes 4] but the computer kept changing it to etchings – I’ll leave you to work out a synonym for irritableness) with understanding, especially as he had a record of all the previous broadband problems. He couldn’t, however, order a new box without a visit from an engineer. The earliest possible appointment was in a week’s time between 7 and 9 a.m. Then of course, we’ll have to wait for the box to be delivered. I ran out of steam for argument.

By the end of this time it was too dark to venture out with my camera, so I delved into Elizabeth’s ‘through the ages’ series and was rewarded with the next one being number 58, which was taken from a print I could not find when I posted ‘Preparing For The Party’ on 22nd November last year. That was illustrated with black and white pictures. I had wanted also to use the colour photo I knew someone had taken at the venue I could not remember. Possibly Elizabeth still has the original print.

Jessica, Derrick, Matthew, Becky and Sam 1982

Here Jessica, Matthew, Becky, Sam and I are all dressed in our Edwardian outfits outside the home of the host. Louisa may be in the basket. I don’t remember who took the photograph or who gave the party.

You will probably need to click on the image a couple of times to see, hidden in the flower bed to the right, a board bearing what looks like the name ‘White Gables’. So, if you were either the photographer or the host please make yourself known in order to earn my enduring gratitude.

Jackie’s choice chicken jalfrezi and delicious savoury rice comprised our dinner this evening. I finished the rioja.

Portrait Of A Village

Hellebore 1Hellebore 2A sprinkling of rain refreshed us as we wandered round the garden this morning, discovering everywhere a fine varied crop of hellebores in full bloom.

This afternoon Jackie had a coffee date with Helen. Although the high temperature in Milford on Sea was only forecast to reach 3 to 4 degrees, we were to expect sunshine and showers, so my lady drove me there before going on to Highcliffe to meet her sister. It seemed to me that this would be an opportune time to wander about the village with my camera. No-one had mentioned that the showers would be hail and sleet, the first of which struck as Jackie drove away. I spent the next two and a half hours alternately circumperambulating the one way system and the green; taking shelter when necessary; and sitting on wet benches; but I was rewarded with suitable light.

Milford on Sea 1Milford on Sea 2Milford on Sea 3Milford on Sea 4Milford on Sea 5Milford on Sea 6Milford on Sea 7Milford on Sea 8

The Red Lion pub can be seen in the above picture. The village also boasts The Smugglers Inn, past which a woman with a walking aid carried home her shopping. Other residents, some with dogs and some with children, were similarly occupied.

Woman outside The Smugglers InnGrey haired womanWoman with dog

One woman was forced to keep tugging her dog away from the gutter as she passed the Post Office. The Telephone and pillar boxes stand beside The Old Smithy which is now a gift shop.

The Old SmithyTelephone and pillar boxes

The usual airborne warfare took place over the rooftops as gulls battled for perches.

Rooftops with gullsGlassware in The Village windowDoll in The Village Window

There are a number of good quality antique shops like ‘The Village’ which has interesting china and glassware in one rain-spattered window, and one of those dolls which are so lifelike as to appear ghoulish to us, in another.

Woman and child outside charity shopCharity shop windowMarjory's window

The Charity Shop received regular visitors, and Marjory’s Florist and Fruiterers next door displayed rich red rhubarb and, I think, persimmons.

Child's portrait in Lynk PhotographicLynk Photographic

The eyes of a stunning child’s portrait gleamed through the glass window of Lynk Photography Studios, which occupies an attractive building on a corner site.Entrance down steps

To the rear of this building steep steps lead down to someone’s cocooned entrance door.

Green and benches

At the high point of the green can be found other residences I though worthy of note, such as:Green Cottage

Green Cottage,

Myrtle Cottage

Myrtle Cottage,

Milford Cottage

and Milford Cottage.

Polly's Pantry window

Towards the end of my photoshoot, driven by sleet and hail, and attracted by its appetising window display, I, almost literally, since the dining area is quite a bit lower than street level, dived into Polly’s Pantry where, in convivial company with friendly service, I enjoyed a warming pot of tea. Some two hours before this I had exchanged greetings with a plucky, disabled, elderly gentleman who, with the help of a wheeled walking aid made his cheerful way along the undulating pavements. He did say it wasn’t very pleasant weather, but hardly in a complaining manner. This was Percy who, as I sat at my table, opened the door and manoeuvred his frame down the step where he was warmly welcomed as an obvious regular, and assisted to his seat, by the young lady who happily entered my shot of the shop. Nick, the young proprietor bakes all the cakes you see in the picture.

I was rather relieved when Jackie arrived to take me home to thaw out and, later, to enjoy her delicious lamb jalfrezi and glorious savoury rice, accompanied by Castillo Albai reserva rioja 2010.

 

Sun And Wind

Jackie provided her usual chauffeur service to and from New Milton for my London trip.

Knees in train

The four coach train was as packed as usual. One gentleman kindly removed his luggage from one of the few available seats so that I could sit down. The gentleman opposite me was fast asleep. His baggage lay between his feet which stretched under the window seat. Settling one buttock on that and another on the centre one I fitted my legs around the somnolent passenger as demonstrated in the photograph. He woke with a start at Brockenhurst and asked where he was. When told, he relaxed, but didn’t change his position. This group disembarked at Southampton Airport. They were replaced by others, but the newcomers had to fit round me, which was preferable.

It was a dull, blustery, noon as I approached the Archduke to meet Norman for lunch. Somehow or other, my great friend Wolf had managed to reach the railway bridge between the arches from with the restaurant presumably derived its name to provide the appropriate embellishment.

Graffiti and Archduke

Maybe he used the crane.

lampsMy choice for lunch was the sea trout. Norman chose belly of pork, and we both opted for the pecan pie for dessert. We shared a bottle of Sicilian shiraz.

By the time I emerged from the restaurant to be blown along South Bank and across Westminster Bridge to visit Carol, the temperature had dropped to finger-tingling levels, but the sun had now come out, silhouetting the Houses of Parliament, peeking through crevices in the decorative architecture; outlining the faces of photographers’  subjects; providing side lighting for Gothic greatcoats and the supports of the bridge; setting young girls’ hair alight; and lending a translucence to the glass cases of ornamental lamps.

Houses of Parliament in silhouetteSun through Houses of ParliamentGothic greatcoatsYoung lady photographingSunlit hair

Jackie and I have recently begun the watch the Father Brown series on television. This is based on G.K.Chesterton’s classic stories of a sleuthing Roman Catholic priest, and has led me to begin reading them. I got through a few on the train today.

Monochrome Portraits

This morning was spent on sorting out Tony’s car. Having realised that the problem was probably a battery in the Mercedes’s electronic key, yet been unable to open it, we visited the always helpful Steve at Downton Service Station. He took a battery from another remote key, and lent it to Tony to see if it would work on his car. It didn’t, until I had the bright idea of checking that the battery had been inserted the right way round. It hadn’t. As our friend went out to the drive to try again, I sat in my chair, surprisingly hoping to hear the strident alarm go off. It did. We then drove to The Motorists Centre in Old Milton and bought a battery at a cost of £2.50, which compared quite favourably with the £700 Tony had been quoted to tow him home last night. That is the second time Steve has helped out by giving advice rather than charging for an inspection of, and work on, a vehicle.

Madelaine's niece at wedding 4.70

Tony had not seen the little bridesmaid picture that I have featured before, having successfully exhibited it in The First Gallery. He did, however, recognise Madeleine’s niece Claire, from their wedding in 1970. He asked for a print for Dawn, the child’s mother. I made him one which he took with him this afternoon as he continued his journey.

We then waited in for the delivery of the chair bought yesterday from Fergusson’s. It came on time. I spent the rest of the afternoon scanning more black and white negatives from 1982. They were mostly of our and other people’s children. The first I have chosen to feature is a group of Becky, Louisa, Sam and Matthew taken in a garden shelter in the garden of Jessica’s aunt Elspeth in Rugby.

Becky, Louisa, Sam & Mathew 1982 1

Over the following few years, when I was still working with chemicals, I made quite a number of prints of varying sizes, including this image and extracts from it. Sam, in particular, seemed worthy of experimentation. I couldn’t resist another effort today. I like the graininess.Sam 1982Sam cleaning teeth 1982

It was on the same visit that I caught him cleaning his teeth. As far as I remember, this is actually a reflection.

Like a cat recently loosed from  an opened cage, springing into her Modus, at last freed from the blockage caused by Tony’s immobile Mercedes, Jackie drove us to and from The Family House in Totton where, this evening, we enjoyed our favourite M3 set meal with T’sing Tao beer.

The Jackdaw

As I ambled along to the post box alongside Ivy Cottages, I realised that I had, in an earlier post, misinformed my readers about the visibility of Ashley Clinton Manor tower from Christchurch Road.Christchurch Road and Ashley Clinton Manor towerAshley Clinton Manor towerAshley Clinton Manor tower zoomed

Such is the serpentine nature of the A337, that, although Angel Lane is on the left, looking across the fields to the right the tower is clearly visible from this point, although a little further along foliage, when clothing the now naked trees will obscure it.

All my life I have struggled to find an armchair high enough off the floor for comfort, but only comparatively recently have needed to use my hands to prise myself out of it.Flo, Ian, (Becky), Oddie and Scooby

My favourite Edwardian chair, when not occupied by the Emsworth family, has always suited me well.

Because of the nature of the majority of the shops in Highcliffe High Street, when I first visited this town I quipped that I was not ready for it. Now, realising that perhaps I am, we continued our chair search, and found just the job in Fergusson’s House Clearance. The chosen item is the second that can be seen in the shadows of the shop doorway.Fergusson's House Clearance Services

 

Jackdaw 1Jackdaw 2Perched high up under the eaves of Highcliffe Watchmakers in Waterford Road, a jackdaw fixed its beady eyes on us. It blended in so well with the woodwork that, had Jackie not spotted it and its mate in the guttering, I might have missed it. This shop also sells jewellery, and since jackdaws are noted jewel thieves, these birds were probably waiting to slip in behind another customer opening the door, so they could nip inside and snaffle something shiny. ( When posting daily you need a bit of luck, don’t you? )

Our evening meal didn’t quite go according to plan.

Our old friend Tony visited us this afternoon. He expected to leave after a couple of hours to return to Chelmsford via Petersfield. After this we thought we might go out somewhere. Unfortunately Tony couldn’t start his car and had to embark upon a series of telephone calls to initiate a recovery process. Whilst this was going on Jackie volunteered to go out to fetch a takeaway.

Then…………Ah……..

Tony’s immobilised vehicle was blocking her in.

He didn’t have the appropriate insurance cover for recovery, so he had to stay the night and hope Downton Service Station could resolve the problem in the morning.

So we enjoyed a superb omelette stuffed with peppers, mushrooms, and onions; chips; peas; baked beans; and rice pudding. Jackie drank a low alcohol rose and Tony and I finished the Bordeaux Superieur.

 

Not Exactly A Chair

Over coffee, Jackie and I began the day discussing the detail of the Churchill queue photographs posted yesterday. Even I, who had been there in January 1965, was surprised at what can be revealed by clicking on the images to enlarge them. This prompted me to add a postscript that you may find as fascinating as we found the exercise. Little did I know, when I pressed that shutter, that it would one day be possible to send those pictures and comments on them, for immediate consumption, across the world at the touch of another button.

PrimulasTree barkAfterwards, I extended my gentle amble to the entrance to Roger’s fields. Primulas are now blooming on the verges of Downton Lane, and, on this more overcast day, yesterday’s vibrant tree bark colours have made way for gentle sage greens and silvery greys.Pine cones and Paul

First chatting to Carl in the pub car park, I engaged in a longer conversation with Paul, a very friendly builder living at number 25, who was clipping his hedge. He noticed me photographing a pine branch that had been ripped off and thrown across the other side of the road. He told me it was very unusual for these limbs to be torn from the trees, and that even now it would be very difficult to break off the cones.

Jackie planting primulasPrimulas and snowdrops on Mum R's plotAfter lunch, as today would have been Jackie’s mother’s birthday, we drove to Everton Nurseries where we bought primulas and snowdrops which Jackie planted by her Mum’s plot in Walkford Woodland Burial Ground. Only natural woodland flowers are to be set there. Although the primulas are cultivated, they will, if they survive, soon revert.Mirror

We then moved on to Molly’s Den in search of a chair, and instead came away with a rather attractive bevelled  mirror which we think is probably contemporary with our house.

A rack of pork ribs in barbecue sauce provided our evening sustenance. This was accompanied by Jackie’s savoury rice, this time including and enough finely diced vegetables as to suggest it was an exquisite biriani, and crisp red cabbage stir fry. Jackie drank Peroni, whilst I chose Lidl’s 2012 Bordeaux Superieur.