A Family Outing And A Disappearing Act

Continuing our post-Christmas sort out, I came across a Fortnum and Mason picnic hamper from a previous Wolf and Luci Christmas present. This now contains various items of photographic interest, including some early negatives and slides.

I scanned four black and white negatives from a family trip to Richmond Park in 1962. Three of these have been published before, but scanned from rather faded prints because I had not found the negatives. Despite the fact that a considerable amount of retouching was required, I have now been able to offer more clarity. The wallet in which they were contained was labelled, telling me that I had taken these shots with my old Box Brownie camera. The format of these  images is square.

Mum, Joseph, Maureen, Auntie Jean & Vivien, Uncle Derrick, 1962

Given that I found them in a hamper, it is fortuitous that the first picture is of a picnic (complete with hamper) taken in Richmond Park. My two year old brother Joseph is here stuffing a titbit into his younger cousin Maureen’s willing mouth. Continuing clockwise around the image we have my Auntie Jean, Vivien, unfortunately chomping, Mum, and Uncle Derrick. My sister Elizabeth is largely obscured by my first wife.

Joseph and Maureen 1962 001Joseph and Maureen 1962 2

Joe gave Maureen a piggy back,

Dad and Joseph 1962

and had something to say to Dad.

I have learned through overlaps with my blogging friend Geoff Le Pard, how small a world we inhabit. Geoff grew up not far from where we now live in Hampshire, and he now lives near my childhood home in London. We have often jogged each other’s memories. In a recent post of his, he wrote of the gardening he did in his teens for Mr and Mrs Gosling who lived in a house, which he thought was called ‘Silver Thatch’ on the corner of Vaggs Lane and Silver Street, and wondered whether one day I might photograph the house.

Jackie drove me there today to investigate. Unfortunately we couldn’t find such a house.

April CottageApril Cottage and Spar garage

The only thatch on that particular spot, now featuring a mini roundabout, is actually behind the petrol station and Spar shop on the corner of Silver Street and Everton Road. It is called ‘April Cottage’. Jackie parked in Everton Road whilst I took the above two photos

VaggsLane/Silver Street corner

then walked across to photograph the Vaggs Lane corner as it is today.

I am afraid the Goslings’ house has probably disappeared. Just as Jackie had done when I walked back over to where I had left her. The Modus was nowhere to be seen. Had she done a runner?

As I stood there scratching my head she sped down Vaggs Lane from the other end, round the roundabout, and into the garage forecourt. I entered the vehicle. ‘Where were you? Didn’t you see me parked beside you?’ she asked me most calmly, and with not the slightest inkling of a screech.

Well, no. Why would I? I was concentrating on what I was doing.

My driver had considerately followed me over to the opposite corner, not seen me cross back to Everton Road and had torn up Vaggs Lane in search of me. So, what was she doing? Perhaps whoever spirited away ‘Silver Thatch’, had been having a laugh.

Gammon Steaks meal

This evening we enjoyed the second of our Hello Fresh meals. This was excellent Honey Mustard Gammon Steaks with Parsley Sauce, with which I drank equally good Solliard bordeaux 2014 given to me by Shelley and Ron; and Jackie drank Hoegaarden.

Take Pride In A Roaring Success

Here is the Mission Statement of The Lions Club of Bournemouth:

To empower volunteers to serve their communities, meet humanitarian needs, encourage peace and promote international understanding through Lions clubs.

Lions Clubs International is the world’s largest service club organisation with 1.4 million members in approximately 46,000 clubs in over 200 countries.

Lions are men and women who volunteer their time for humanitarian causes. Founded in 1917 by Melvin Jones, our motto is “We Serve.”

More information can be found on www.bournemouthlions.org.uk/

Our friends Barrie and Vicki Haynes are respectively President and Vice-President of this local branch.

Kinson Community Centre

This afternoon, Jackie drove us to Kinson, a suburb of Bournemouth, where this group put on their annual pantomime. Written, as usual, by Barrie this was the hugely entertaining ‘Polly the Pirate’, which took place in the Kinson Community Centre.

Tilly

While Jackie and I were waiting for the start, we were entertained by an engaging conversation with the intelligent and friendly six year old Tilly who sat in front of us and had come dressed for the occasion. Note her awesome, cool, skull T-shirt.

Barrie as Ella the Pirate 1

Proceedings were opened by Barrie, who laid out the general ground rules, such as that when he appeared as Ella everyone was required to shout out the he was a fella.

Polly the Pirate scene 1

Polly the Pirate scene 2

Barrie as Ella the Pirate 2Barrie as Ella the Pirate 3Polly the Pirate scene 3

Curtain up and he was joined on stage by the rest of the cast who performed with glorious gusto.

Hawk

Hawk introduced the second act,

Polly the Pirate scene 4

which rollicked along.

Barrie's legs

I am reliably informed that young ladies no longer wear tights, but I do remember the days when nail varnish came in handy in the case of a ladder. It is hoped that someone remembered that before Barrie/Ella trod the boards for this evening’s performance.

Polly the Pirate scene 5Polly the Pirate scene 6Polly the Pirate scene 7Polly the Pirate scene 8Polly the Pirate scene 9Polly the Pirate scene 10Polly the Pirate scene 11Polly the Pirate scene 12Polly the Pirate scene 13

The audience, being a matinee, had its fair share of the very young,

Audience participation

who, as is customary, were encouraged by Barrie into a singalong, in which the mayor and his lady joined.

Finale

The finale received rapturous applause,

Vicki announces raffle winners.

and Vicki closed by reading the winning numbers of the interval raffle.

I understand there are just 18 members of the Bournemouth Branch. They must all have been in service today; on stage, back-stage, or front of house. These lions should take pride in a roaring success.

This evening Jackie and I dined at The Royal China in Lymington. Jackie had dumplings for a starter, for which I had hot and sour soup; we then shared special rice, special chow mein, and king prawns in ginger and spring onions. We both drank Tsingtao beer.

Wimbledon College As I Knew It

After our day in the sun, we are now in the grip of storm Gertrude. And they have only been given names in alphabetical order since the beginning of the year. Winds approach 50 m.p.h.

Owls

We have had no snow, so quite how a pair of snow-owls came to be on their perch in the garden, I don’t know. Anyway, they are thawing out.

This afternoon Jackie drove me to New Milton to look at a jacket I had ordered from Fagan’s. It wasn’t big enough, so we ordered a carpet instead.

Over the Christmas holiday period the library has become rather a dumping ground. Today we set about regaining the space for books and contemplation. This took some time, and prompted a certain amount of reorganisation. In the process, I discovered two postcards relating to our schooldays that were in a pile of Chris’s books that Frances had passed on to me.

The school which I and my two brothers had, between us, attended from 1953 to 1978 stands on a site where in 1860 John Brackenbury had purchased two large meadows below the Ridgway known as Tree and Boggy Fields. Brackenbury had helped to run Nelson House School, in Eagle House, Wimbledon High Street. His success there was such that in 1859 he took out a mortgage on the land below the Ridgway and founded the Anglican Preparatory Military Academy in 1860, also known as Brackenbury’s. The grounds of this college were so attractive that the school was opened to the public once a week.

In 1892 the buildings of the Anglican Preparatory Military Academy were purchased by the Jesuits and reopened as Wimbledon College which had existed on other sites earlier that year.

Wimbledon College

One of Chris’s postcards is of the very first pupils’ school photograph. Note the heavy leather rugby ball, such as we still used in the 1950s. Should any of my readers have antecedents likely to be present in this picture from 1893, I would be pleased to hear from you.

Wimbledon College

The other is of the splendid Victorian building I knew. The grounds seen in this photograph are just part of the sublime setting in which I was fortunate enough to spend my grammar school years.  During the summer holidays in 1977 the main college hall burned down. It is not clear what caused the fire, but the kitchens were located in the basement of the hall and it was supposed that the fire started there. Many a time I sat at the refectory tables in that hall, lobbing bits of food at other unruly juvenile diners under the eyes of the Catholic martyrs of the reformation, Saints Thomas More and John Fisher. Patrick Reid, the famous Old Boy who escaped from Colditz Castle in World War II, also looked down on us. I wonder whether their portraits survived the fire.

Extensive renovation and new building has since been undertaken.

Aubergin 'Al Funghetto'

Hello Fresh is an organisation that sends to our homes the ingredients and recipes for making exceedingly good meals. Jessica and Imogen sent us a week’s subscription for Christmas. This consisted of the wherewithal for three meals for two. Because we had such a houseful Jackie froze these goodies. Today we sampled the first. This was Aubergine ‘Al Funghetto’ with Grilled Butterflied Chicken. Containing supplied chicken breasts , aubergine, new potatoes, cherry tomatoes (these didn’t freeze so we replaced them’, flat leaf parsley, garlic, lemon , and chilli flakes, was absolutely delicious. Jackie is retaining the recipe card. Profiteroles was to follow. I finished the chianti and The Cook drank her customary Hoegaarden.

Well done the grandchildren.

After The Rain

On a crisp, bright morning with a cloudless blue sky, we took a drive around the New Forest.

Lacking a leaf canopy, the treetop roof, like our kitchen skylight, leaked onto the forest floor.

Reflections in pool 1Reflections on pool 2Reflections in pool 3Reflections in pool 4Reflections in pools 6Reflections on pool 8Reflections in pool 8

These scenes, photographed at Brownhills near Wootton Heath, were repeated throughout our journey. Branches are traced on the surface of pools reflecting various hues of blue contrasting with the seepage from the reddened soil and the

Forest floor 2

fallen leaves. It was possible to ignore the soggy refuse littered about.

Redlands stones

Redlands house name on stone was also reflected in nature’s mirror.

Ponies generally remain deeper in the forest during heavy rain. Today they were everywhere in the forest and on the heathland.

Ponies 2Ponies 3

On Whitefield Moor two members of a basking group appeared to lack the energy to support the weight of their heads. The most likely explanation is that these creatures, usually pretty scrawny by this time of the year, have been eating as if it were Christmas for some months now.

Pony preening

A giant, preening, swan, upon closer inspection turned out to be an itchy pony

Ponies 1

that tail-twitched off after gaining some relief.

Firs 1

The magnificent upright redwood firs of the Rhinefield arboretum burned in the sunlight.

Cattle on road 1Cattle on road 2Cattle on road 3Cattle on road 4

A group of mud-caked, yellow-tagged, curly haired cattle, as they ambled along the road hugging the wall of a thatched cottage at East Boldre, successfully delayed traffic for a while.

The yellow tags on these creatures’ ears denote ownership by the commoners who are entitled to allow their animals to roam free. I have never seen these beasts released from their byres this early in the year.

This evening we dined at Dynasty in Brockenhurst. I enjoyed a king prawn jalfrezi; Jackie’s choice was paneer chaslick ; we shared an egg paratha, special fried rice, and sag paneer; and both drank Kingfisher.

Not Much Happening In Lymington

We managed to mess up our clock today. It was losing a minute or two a day so we decided to adjust it. After we had done so we had great difficulty in getting the pendulum back in. When we did, the clock stopped. We calmed down. Eventually. And this afternoon took it back to Martin at Dials.

Christchurch and Lymington Roads are now subject to flooding, so we were given numerous washed by the spray thrown up by cars, and especially lorries, in front.

Ducks at quayside

Apart from the ducks on the quayside water there was not much life in Lymington,

Quay Street

and what there was was covered in waterproofs or wielding umbrellas. Even Quay Street was rather deserted.

Old Solent House doorwayDoorstep

The post person had made a delivery to Old Solent House. The observant of you may be able to discover how I know by perusing the worn stone doorstep.

Ashtray

Forming a right angled corner between this house and Dials is a municipal ash tray. The soggy stubs thereon betrayed the fact that at least two smokers had abandoned their cigarettes.

Shoes in doorway

Further down towards the quay a pair of slip-on shoes had been left outside a closed shop. Although they were under a short porch, I though their owner would probably go home in wet tights.

Gift shop window

Given the nautical nature of the Quay Side Gift Shop window display, it probably welcomed the raindrops through which shoppers, had there been any, would have peered in order to absorb the suitable ambience,

Alley behind The Quay

reflected in the paving of the alley behind The Quay. Chewing gum spots get everywhere.

This evening we dined on a rack of pork ribs in barbecue sauce; Jackie’s egg fried rice; and prawns wrapped in filo pastry masquerading as roast parsnips, that The Cook termed ‘things’. Jackie enjoyed the last of the chablis and I drank Fortes del Colli chianti classico 2012.

The Watchmaker Of Filigree Street

By late morning today, the recent storm that has left the population of America’s eastern states digging out heaped piles of snow, having warmed itself on the way across the Atlantic, petered out to heavy rain that lasted all day and is expected to continue for a few more.

The Head Gardener is a regular customer of Otter Nurseries. Like all garden centres, this one, especially in the winter months, must diversify to survive. Like all regular customers, Jackie receives a collection of bargain tokens. One of these was a ‘buy one, get one free’ offer for lunch in the cafe. Like all bargain tokens this had a limited life span – the end of this month to be precise. It had to be done.

Otter Nurseries

Leaving the soggy, scantily clad, sylphs and cute, damp, cherubs beneath the falling rain and among the flickering plant labels; and passing through the main showroom with its staccato overhead pattering precipitation; we entered the warm cafe, its rooftop raindrops silenced by effective double glazing. It was clear from the other token-clutching silver-haired diners, that one had to belong to the third age to be there at this time.

Otter Nurseries meals

My choice was steak and Stilton pie; Jackie’s was scampi, chips, and peas. Not at all bad.

Later, I finished reading a Christmas present from Tess, Mat, and Poppy. This was ‘The Watchmaker of Filigree Street’ by Natasha Pulley.

Who made the bomb? is the essential mystery forming the theme of Ms Pulley’s fantastical novel. The lives of English and Japanese protagonists are interwoven into the fabric of Victorian England and Japan in an intriguing tale which holds the interest throughout. The writer is an imaginative storyteller, the elements of whose plot are indicated on the front board. There is no great character building in this tale which would probably make quite a thrilling film, especially given that the key theme could easily be translated to today’s world.

The Watchmaker001The Watchmaker002

The said cover, designed by David Mann demonstrates similar imaginative skill of the artist. A circular panel cut out from the board represents the glass of a fob watch, the chain of which stretches down Parliament Street in the frontispiece. Filigree Street does not exist in this part of London.

This evening we dined on Tesco’s Finest Mixed Meats pizza, and Jackie’s fin salads, including the tomatoes and basil in balsamic vinegar and olive oil, to which I am rather partial. We shared Fortnum & Mason’s Chablis 2014 – a Christmas present from Luci and Wolf.

 

Sunset On Christchurch Bay

DawnDawn

A lilac dawn made way to grey skies for most of the day which, because of the need to stay in for the Central Heating engineer, I spent reading an intriguing novel on which I shall report when I have finished it, probably tomorrow.

Within two hours of his being called, Vince visited, pronounced the death of the leaking radiator, went off to buy a replacement, and fitted it. The unpleasant smell has receded as the carpet has dried.

There not being a second to lose, a few minutes before sunset Jackie’s little Modus hurtled us down to Hordle Cliff car park to capture the constantly changing phenomenon over Christchurch Bay.

Sunset 1Sunset 2Sunset 3Sunset 4

These shots looking West were,

Cloudscape 1Cloudscape 2

interspersed with those to the East, taken in rapid succession.

What is fascinating about these sky-scapes is the difference between the western view containing the sun, and the eastern facing it.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s choice chicken curry, an egg paratha, vegetable bhajis and samosas, with savoury rice. My meal was supplemented by The Dorset Naga Chilli & Smoke Garlic Jam, that Mother Claus had placed in my Christmas stocking. The Cook drank Hoegaarden and I drank Kingfisher.