Once More Unto The Beach House

Jackie delivered me to New Milton station this morning, for me to travel to Waterloo. A little more than an hour later, she collected me and we collected a waistcoat from Fagan’s and some paint from Milford Supplies.

After watching the messages of the station indicators switching from ‘delayed’ to ‘cancelled’ and back again for the best part of the hour, I postponed my meeting with Norman and joined the queue for refunds forming at the shuttered ticket office while the clerk was enjoying his coffee break. Eventually those of us who wanted it got our money back.

Scooby and crow 1Scoobby and crow 2

After lunch I accompanied Becky and Scooby on a walk at Barton on Sea clifftop. Scooby, as usual, frolicked with other dogs, then wandered along the edge of the cliff, far too close for my comfort, until, pretending he hadn’t heard, he disdained the challenge of a crow to approach nearer.

Shorefield Sales Office

On our way back we passed Ian who had been walking down to surprise us. He joined us in the car and we drove around Shorefield Country Park, then investigated the sales office.

Welcome table

This evening we dined at The Beach House, where the welcome was superb.

JackieIanBecky and IanDerrick

The meal, pretending to be no more than pub food, was good; the ambience and service excellent; the prices very reasonable with no exorbitant mark-up on the wines. My choice of starter was very good whitebait; my main course was a good Cornish pastie; my sweet two scoops of ice cream, one of honeycomb, and the other rum and raisin. I drank an excellent Montepulciano.

The Beach House

Late on this crystal crisp clear blue sky morning Ian drove Scooby and me to Marine Drive, East, Barton on Sea, whence we walked along the clifftop.

Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight was again sporting a pastel palette,

Dog walkers

as we joined other dog walkers, many of whom are now familiar to Ian and Scooby,

Scooby encounters another dog

whose stance and cocked ears at one fresh encounter betrayed the slight concern that possibly brought about his first bowel-emptying session.

Cliff erosion 1Cliff erosion 2Scooby on clifftop

He exhibited no such nervousness in dashing along the steadily eroding edge.


A few other pedestrians strode down below.

Sun on sea

There, waterborne sunlight dazzled,

Beachcomber Cafe

as did the windows of the Beachcomber Cafe where we stopped for coffee.

The Beach House entrance 1The Beach House entrance 2

This afternoon we paid another visit to The Beach House in order to introduce Ian to its exquisite ambience. Clicking on these images will reveal some of the stained glass that adorns this oak panelled building.

Stained glass window

More of this can be seen in the Sun Room where we took our tea, coffee, and cakes, at no further cost than Costa’s.

Sunset in lounge

Sunset through lounge window

The sunset could be enjoyed from the lounge,

Sunset through dining room window

the dining room,

Sunset through back room window

the back room,

Sunset through Sun room window

and the Sun Room,

where we enjoyed our refreshments whilst, through a protective glass screen we observed

Isle of Wight through Sun Room window

The Isle of White,

Isle of Wight and garden from Sun Room window

the garden,

Pigeon in pines

and silhouetted pigeons (this photograph is Becky’s).


The foyer, photographed from the first floor gallery, shows the aforementioned oak panelling that also lines all the corridors to the bedrooms.

Although the personnel were different, the service was as efficient and friendly as we had found yesterday.

For our dinner this evening, Jackie produced a superb beef casserole; cauliflower and broccoli cheese; perfect boiled new potatoes; and crisp carrots and green beans. I finished the El Sotillo, Ian drank Peroni, and Becky drank zinfandel rose.

We Could Have Done A Runner

Frost lay on the bright, sunlit, garden this morning;

Frost on bench

glittering on benches,

Frost on gernaium leaves

and on geranium leaves;

Frozen pond 1

and the Waterboy pond was frozen. Abstractedly.

This afternoon Jackie drove Becky and me to The Beach House via Milford on Sea Post Office where I posted the prints to Frances.

This hotel, formerly Westover Hall, was built in 1897 from a design by the famous Victorian architect Arnold Mitchell for Alexander Siemens. The magnificent building was a beach house looking across the Solent to The Isle of Wight.

Firs backlit

I have often photographed the firs in the front garden, but never before against the lowering sun.

The Needles and lighthouse 1

The Needles and lighthouse 2Isle of Wight, The Needles, lighthouse

Similarly, this view of The Needles and their flashing lighthouse, is no stranger to my lens. It is the pastel shades of the scene that appealed today.

Cyclist at sunset

Isle of Wight, Needles, cyclist

A cyclist,

Isle of Wight, Needles, walkersSunset walkers

and walkers promenaded alongside the changing palette.

Sunset reflected

Reflecting a new meaning to solar lighting, the sky appeared to have illuminated some neighbouring rooms.

Fir gnarled

Near these modern homes, in The Beach House Garden, a gnarled pine has staggered to the ground and created a Hobbit house with similar internal lighting.

When I had finished wandering I joined the ladies inside for tea and cakes. Becky said I should get outside again because the light had already changed. I handed her the camera. She went off to collect some images of her own. They included


a dovecote;


an anchor;

Herringbone path

a herringbone path;

Sunset 1Sunset 2

and more sunsets,

Walkers in sunset 3

one of which was a backcloth to further walkers.

Fire escape

Turning to the building itself, she spotted the fire escape outside,


and, inside, the hall of mirrors from which all the loos lead.

One of these doors was labelled

Bottomless Pit

She was unable to resist trying the door which was locked. Anyone fancy writing a story about it?

PS. Poet Rummager took up the challenge, with a beautiful poem. See the pingback on her comment below

About to put the car key in the ignition, Jackie asked: ‘Has anyone paid?’ at which Becky and I both leaped (poetic licence here) out of the car and sped to the reception desk. The man who had served us had binned our bill because he assumed his female colleague had taken our money. He had to put it all back into the computer. We thought the charge very reasonable and exchanged jokes about having missed the opportunity to do a runner.

This evening Ian drove us to Dynasty Indian restaurant in Brockenhurst where we enjoyed excellent food and service. My choice was Lamb Tikka jalfrezi with special fried rice. We all shared onion bhajis. Becky drank rose wine and the rest of us drank Kingfisher.

A Day Of Two Casseroles

Jackie drove me to and from New Milton Station today to facilitate my visit to Wolf and Luci in Clapham. From Waterloo I took the Northern Line underground to Clapham South and walked from there to Hambalt Road. I returned via Clapham Common.

‘Mister God, this is Anna’, by Sydney Hopkins under the pseudonym Fynn is a beautiful fable about a little girl whose ‘middle’ or essential spiritual core enables her to bear and surmount her experience as an abused runaway.

I Belong to No One001

On my up journey today I finished reading ‘I Belong to No One’ by Gwen Wilson. What makes this personal memoir stand out is that the author is gifted writer whose creativity shines through her story told with deep honesty about her own feelings, and a sensitivity to those who fell short in caring for, or mistreated, her.

Albeit on the other side of the world, I have considerable knowledge of the contemporary social circumstances, ignorance, and legal constraints about which Gwen writes so eloquently.

The dramatic cover photograph does depict the despair the author describes, but what is demonstrated throughout the book is the author’s ‘middle’. Her story is for her to tell, so I will repeat none of it here, but simply urge you to read for yourself.

We have learned much since the middle of the 20th century. Nevertheless Gwen Wilson has appended an important epilogue.


The route I chose to walk this lunch-time took me along Clapham Common South Side, where skeletal trees provide a backdrop for the busy traffic.

Lynette Avenue S W

Despite the careful maintenance of the houses on the side streets, such as these in Lynette Avenue,

Coat hangers

you never know what you might find dumped on the pavements.

The Coach House

The Coach House in Shandon Road seems to have been converted into a home.

House fronts

Other frontages bear the elegant detail of an earlier, more decorative age.

Abbeville Road S W (1)Abbeville Road S W (2)Gail's Artisan Bakery 2Gail's Artisan Bakery

It must be thirty years or so that Abbeville Road has been experiencing the gentrification that brings trendy eating places.

Hambalt Road S W

Here is Hambalt Road.

I enjoyed a pleasurable visit with my friends, and the benefit of Luci’s excellent lamb casserole, boiled potatoes and mashed winter vegetables, followed by delicious fruit crumble. She and I drank a very good Kumala cabernet sauvignon shiraz 2013.


On my return walk a screeching and squawking heard above the roar of the traffic on the other side of the road outside Lambeth College emanated from a London Plane in which a pair of parakeets sent a squirrel scarpering.

Water main works

Just before I reached the tube station the pedestrian crossing  had been closed on account of water main works which are a not unusual sight in our capital.

Works Finnish

I can’t pretend to understand this advance warning on the main road. I don’t imagine it really has anything to do with the people of Finland. Is it to be abandoned on the given date, because of engineering problems? Any ideas?

On my return home, the smell of Jackie’s sublime boeuf bourguignon was too much for me to resist having a small portion. I passed on dessert and wine.

Which Country Produces Rioja?

This morning Aaron continued decorating the stairs and landing. I made eight 10″ x 8″ prints for Frances and her friend, Maggie. As usual, I will not publish them because they are not my images.

This afternoon, Jackie drove Becky and me to Shelly and Ron’s home in Walkford, where, joined by Helen and Bill, we enjoyed an absolutely splendid roast dinner cooked by Shelly.

We began with a tangy watercress soup.

Ron, Helen, Becky, and JackieDerrick, Bill, Becky, Jackie and ShellyHelenRoast brisket dinner

The main course was brisket of beef served with Yorkshire pudding, crisp roast potatoes and parsnips, perfect broad beans, Brussels sprouts, carrots, and red cabbage flavoured with cloves. The gravy was richly tasty. Desserts, provided by Helen, included a marvellous, moist, tiramisu; lovely layered apple cake and custard; and strawberries and cream.

Ron was busy carving when I photographed the table. Helen was out of focus in the first picture, and missing from the second because she took it. It was only right that I should make one decent image of her. Shelly just managed to put in an appearance in the second photo.

The evening brought ‘silly games’, for which Ian joined us. The first was one where each participant had a name they didn’t know fixed to their forehead. Everyone else could see these. We each had to guess our identity by asking questions to which the answer could only be yes or no. I was the last to get mine. Well, I was the Dalai Lama.

We were also rash enough to embark upon Trivial Pursuit. This can take some time. The end comes when the team that has arrived at a successful answer in each of the six categories must land in the middle of the board and be given final question in a set determined by their collective opponents. By the time the partnership of Becky and Ian landed on centre position the rest of us chose Geography. This is because Ian is a Geography teacher and we thought we could give them a chance to end, as we were all ready for it. The question was one any of us could have answered. See the title above.

Then we went home.

Of Course, It Was Saturday

In retirement it is quite easy to forget which day of the week it is. So it was for me today when Ian drove us all down to The Needles Eye at Milford on Sea.

Until I noticed how many families were active on the beach. Of course. It was Saturday.

The cafe was buzzing. With people, not insects. We enjoyed plentiful lunches, mine, of course, consisting of an all day breakfast.

Before,and afterwards, I photographed various

Walkers along beach 1


Walkers on cliff top 1Pushcahair walker in silhouette

 passers by,

Family on beach 1Jackie, Becky and others on clifftopFamilies on beach 1Families on beach 2Children on beachGroup overlooking beachGrapplers in silhouetteParents and child

and families playing in the mild, if weak, sunshine.

This evening we dined seated on chairs at a table to eat cheese-centred fish cakes, chips and baked beans; and very tasty the meal was, too. We shared a bottle of Thornicher St Michael Riesling 2014.

The Wedding Factory

The Brick Path

Although the temperature has, consequently, dropped a few degrees we are in the midst of a few days of cloudless blue skies, even at midday sending long shadows across the garden, for example the brick path, sporting a fresh set of weeds.






and pansies do not flinch at the lower temperature.

This afternoon Jackie and I drove to The Firs in West End to join Danni, Andy, and Elizabeth in making adornments for the young people’s wedding in May.

Danni 2Hessian strips

160 strips of hessian have to be cut, sealed, and prepared for tying.

Jackie 1

Hands and ribbonsCutlery pack makingCutlery packs

Jackie’s task was to cut ribbons and wrap them around serviettes containing cutlery.

ElizabethDanni and AndyDerrick and Jackie 1

The rest of us prepared the fabric strips.

Danni's hands

Danni had an aide-memoire of the room size on the back of her hand;

Elizabeth's hands

Elizabeth demonstrated a certain amount of gentility with her little finger;

Jackie's hands

Jackie’s digits gave out a somewhat different message.

Brushes etc

When we ran out of ribbon, Jackie and I went off to Hobbycraft to buy some more. As we disembarked back at The Firs, I asked my lady if she had the purchase. She replied that I had it……………….

We did an about turn and returned to the store where I recovered our little bag of goodies from the counter.

After this we all dined at Eastern Nights in Thornhill where we had a thoroughly enjoyable evening.

Rockford Common

Bread and camellia

This still life arrangement needed no tweaking from me. Even the January morning sunlight was warm enough to defrost the bread.

Rockford Common 1Rockford Common 2

After lunch Ian drove us through the forest until we arrived at Rockford Common which we eagerly explored.

Ian and pony

Ian left off his conversation with one pony to warn me that another was rapidly advancing on me from behind.

Ponies 1

The creature was momentarily nose to nose with me, but moved off and continued chomping grass,

Ponies 2Ponies 3Pony 1Pony 2

with companions spread around the area.

Rockford Common 4Tree backlitRockford Common 5

I wandered around on my own for a while,

Becky, Ian and Scooby on hill 2

until spotting Becky, Ian, and Scooby on top of the sandy hill.

Becky, Scooby, and Pony

Our daughter and her dog followed Ian back down.

Rockford Common 8Scooby on Rockford Common Rockford Common 7

Becky then led me back up to the top where we walked along a footpath,

Rockford Common 6Rockford Common 9

then returned the way we had come. We looked down on the ponies with which I had earlier been communing.

The Royal Oak, Gorley

Back in the car, on the way home we stopped for a pleasant drink at the attractive Royal Oak pub in North Gorley.

This evening we reprised yesterday’s macaroni cheese meal, without the asparagus. Jackie and Ian both drank Peroni, and I started on the last bottle of El Sotillo.

‘Where’s The Asparagus?’

This morning our friend Barrie visited with two books to donate to the library. These were ‘The Road to Little Dribbling’ by Bill Bryson, and Neil Grant’s ‘Village London’, both of which reminded him of my blog posts. We had our usual entertaining conversation.

I spent much of the day continuing with Gwen Wilson’s autobiographical gem, ‘I Belong To No One’.

Macaroni cheese meal


Macaroni cheese

This evening Becky treated us all to an Italian meal. Olives, feta, and bruschetta preceded the antipasti, which were followed by macaroni cheese containing halves of boiled egg topped by ham and melted cheese. The secret ingredient giving the dish a certain piquancy was horseradish sauce. Choice of lemon meringue pie, chocolate eclairs, or custard tarts were offered for dessert. Becky drank Cimarosa Pedro Jimenez, Jackie drank Peroni, and I drank more El Sotillo. Ian was happy with water.

We were all forced to have second helpings of the main course to do justice to the succulent, tender, asparagus shoots that had been inadvertently left in a saucepan over the electric hob. Jackie’s cry of ‘where’s the asparagus?’ alerted us to this fact.

‘I’ll Show My Boss, To Prove I’ve Been Doing some Work’

Jackie drove me to New Milton Station, and Ian collected me there after I had travelled to Tas in The Cut for lunch with Carol.

On the train, I finished reading Isaac Asimov’s 1976 collection of stories entitled ‘The Bicentennial Man’. The author has almost expunged my antipathy towards science fiction. This is a largely fascinating set written by such a consummate teller of tales that I was prepared to forget my inability to understand some of the technical detail. The writing flows and keeps the reader engaged. The pieces are linked by a few short paragraphs describing how they came about.

215px-Bicentennial_man_film_posterThe title tale was developed into a novel, and then a film, which Wikipedia describes thus:

‘Bicentennial Man is a 1999 American science fiction comedy-drama film starring Robin Williams, Sam Neill, Embeth Davidtz (in a dual role), Wendy Crewson, and Oliver Platt. Based on the novel The Positronic Man, co-written by Isaac Asimov and Robert Silverberg, which is itself based on Asimov’s original novella titled The Bicentennial Man, the plot explores issues of humanity,slavery, prejudice, maturity, intellectual freedom, conformity, sex, love, and mortality. The film, a co-production between Touchstone Pictures and Columbia Pictures, was directed by Chris Columbus. The title comes from the main character existing to the age of two hundred years, and Asimov’s novella was published in the year that the U.S. had its bicentennial.’

Reflections in paving pool

The paving in Emma Cons Gardens, opposite The Old Vic, has sunk enough to retain a minor lake after the recent rainfall. I photographed it at the beginning of my walk down The Cut, and then again later.

Plane tree

A young London plane stands nearby. In the background is a ‘bendy’ bus, designed to concertina as it turns corners.

Paving cracked

In The Cut itself the concrete pavement squares are equally sunken and cracked.

Waste bin

This waste bin has come adrift of its moorings.

Windmill Walk

Alleys on our left, like Windmill Walk, lead through to the railway arches.

Cycle rack and traffic cone

This cycle rack is alongside The Young Vic. The traffic cone may or may not be meant to be there.


This picture of Costa Coffee bar compensates for my not having photographed New Milton’s one yesterday. Costa is all about the venue, where you can sit and play on your laptop to your heart’s content.

LESOCO 2LESOCO and cyclist

 A few yards beyond Tas lies the Waterloo Campus of LESOCO, the Lewisham and Southwark College. It is quite the custom now to create graffiti to tart up the screens around building works,


LESOCO 5LESOCO 6and to leave viewing panels for inquisitive passers by.


The figures depicted seem to represent students and their possible careers.

Carol and I had our usual entertaining conversation and good meal at Tas. The waitress couldn’t cope with the fact that Carol only wanted one meze, so, because the menu offered two each, I had to eat three, which was, of course, no problem. My choice of main course was a beautifully tangy prawn casserole, and my house wine, red.

Theodolite reflection

On my way back to Waterloo Station I noticed a young woman plying a theodolite reflected in the pool I had pictured earlier. She was quite happy to appear on the blog, commenting: ‘I’ll show my boss, to prove I have been doing some work.’

On my return journey I was already gripped by Gwen Wilson’s book ‘I Belong To No One’.

Normally the Tas meal would have done me for the day, but I was unable to resist joining in with Jackie’s meal of battered prawns, spring rolls, spare ribs, and savoury rice. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank another glass of El Sotillo.