The Witch Hunt

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This morning Jackie drove us to Burley in search of witches.

The landscape across the moors early in the morning offered misty slate layers  in the distance.

On the approach to Burley, the leaves on the trees were turning the rich colours of autumn

Landscape

The car park in the village was largely occupied by ponies who had generously left a few spaces for the traffic.

Pony and child in pushchair

One little lad in a buggy  wasn’t all that sure about the attention he received.

We soon realised that we had missed the real Halloween event which had been on Saturday, two days ago. Our witch hunt was therefore fruitless. We had to settle for carved pumpkins, including the winning mouse, and ghastly ghouls sporting sheets.

Some sorceresses had abandoned their hats in the form of traffic cones that had found their way into the landscape. In the first of these two photographs the bicycle attached to the railing was probably left by a witch as she switched to here broom. In the second, Jackie converses with a garrulous goose.

Its companion practiced its contortions and they both enjoyed a good preen.

A communal field on the edge of the village contained examples of agricultural machinery and artifacts of a bygone age;

Shepherd's hut

a shepherd’s hut;

and the parked up Burley Wagon Rides conveyance with a nearby pitched tent.

We had been told that a herd of red deer could often be seen on the far side of the field. Like the witches, the deer had flown, but the evidence of their presence was shown by the pruned lower branches of the trees they had pruned.

Trees and bonfire

A bonfire, surprisingly swarming with wasps, was being prepared for the next celebration event, namely fireworks night on the 5th of November, commemorating the failure of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. Foiled by betrayal, this was a Catholic attempt to blow up the House of Lords and kill King James I. Instead, Guido (Guy) Fawkes was hung, drawn, and quartered. (See  LordBeariofBow’s comment below). This involves taking down a hanged victim before death, cutting out living vital organs and quartering the body. It was a common punishment for treachery in those days.

Burley Manor Hotel

Beyond the field could be seen Burley Manor Hotel. The original manor house dated from the twelfth century. In 1852 the building was demolished to make way for this Victorian replacement which has been an hotel since 1935.

Dew on leaf

Dew continued to bejewel grass and fallen leaves when we left to return home.

Charles Lane

Charles Lane, Bagnum is just one of the sun-streaked  roads that rushes towards us as we travel through the forest.

Hugh Pym and witch shadow

It wasn’t until, watching the 1 p.m. BBC News, I looked beyond Hugh Pym, that I realised the destination of at least one of the Burley witches.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s lovely liver and bacon casserole which was far more tender and tasty than that I had eaten yesterday at Otter Nurseries. It came with new potatoes and perfect Brussels sprouts and runner beans. Lemon and lime merangue pie was to follow. I finished the madiran.

Boldre Bridge

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At 16 degrees, our incredibly mild period continues. It was therefore strange today to begin the winter clearing whilst we continue to enjoy blooms from spring and summer. We did so in rather desultory fashion.

It is difficult to think of winter when you can admire

roses Margaret Merrill, Penny Lane, Mamma Mia, and especially Summer Time;

or fuchsias, geraniums, dahlias, gauras and poppies, one of which harbours a hoverfly; and many more.

With the sun shining, we set off for brunch at The Friars Cliff Cafe. Unfortunately this was in everyone else’s minds. The car park at Steamer Point was crammed full, and shoals of humanity floundered on the beach. There was no doubt the cafe would be full to bursting like me after the Olympics breakfast. We therefore turned back and aimed for Calshot. We hadn’t travelled very far before the sky clouded over. It didn’t look very conducive to photography, so we brunched at Otter Nurseries. Only when I had chosen a liver casserole did Jackie tell me that was what she had planned for this evening. She happily did a rethink.

The walls at Otter contain some rather well-executed paintings for sale. One of these was Boldre Bridge. We wondered why we hadn’t seen the bridge, and realised that would be because we had always driven over it. So we went to look for it. I passed through a five-barred gate and descended a bank to find something approximating the painter’s vantage point.

I was intrigued to notice that the architect had made it possible to feature the Christian fish symbol. The five-spanned bridge, which dates from at least the 18th century is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) 1990, as amended,  for its architectural or historic interest.

A tree had fallen across the river, on which autumn leaves floated over reflections of broken, reeds, and still grey sky.

Just before we drove on, the sun began to light up the foliage on Rodlease Lane.

En route to Sway, I wandered into the forest, taking advantage of the light streaming through the trees, and exchanging greetings with a family of riders.

Forest scene 3

As I ventured further in, attracted by pinpoints of light in the distance, I was rewarded by this dramatic view across the moorland featuring

House in moorland

  a single dwelling in an idyllic setting.

Driving through Hordle on our return, Jackie spotted a cautionary notice for any witches inclined to take to the skies tomorrow night, and a cry for help from an underground prison.

Jackie’s rethink for tonight’s meal involved lemon-flavoured chicken Kiev, French fries, and baked beans, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Reserve des Tuguets madiran 2012.

A Dog To Befriend

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Today I scanned more of the black and white negatives from the French holiday of 1985.

Sam in den 1985

Whilst we were in the woods featured yesterday, Matthew helped Sam make himself a den.

We then explored the pastoral landscape,

taking time out for Mat and Sam to play catch on top of a shifting pile of grit.

As was their wont, Sam and Louisa found a dog to befriend. Jessica’s arm was ready in case of mishap.

Back at the gite in the evening, Jessica aspired to become a yokel chewing grass whilst basking in the sunlight.

For our dinner this evening, Jackie produced roast lamb breast with roasted vegetables, crisp carrots, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. Jackie drank her Hoegaarden and Bavaria mix, while I finished the Chateuneuf du Pape.

Heard On The Telegraph

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Many of the negatives from the French holiday of 1985 are in black and white Ilford film. This was my favourite in the dark ages of the early 1980s when I printed my own work in monochrome with chemicals in the blacked out kitchen makeshift darkroom. I scanned another batch today.

A useful prop in the garden of the gite, were the cartwheels.

Sam stirring water 1985

They worked on their own, or as a backdrop for Sam’s poking about in the water.

The nearby woodlands offered contrasting light,

and lengthening shadows across the roads.

blackbird

During the process of producing this post, I realised, on gazing out of the window, that a jackdaw had heard on the telegraph that I was working in black and white, and helpfully posed, perching on a pole, cocking its head to make sure that it had heard aright.

Anyone who has followed my technical problems ever since I uploaded Mac’s new operating system will be relieved to learn that this work was done on that machine. This morning, I received an update from Apple which seems to have ironed out a few problems. Don’t get too excited, but do watch this space.

This evening we dined at Lal Qilla in Lymington. We received the usual very warm welcome, excellent food, and friendly, attentive, service. My meal was king prawn Ceylon and Jackie’s chicken Haryali. We shared a naan, special fried rice, and a caulliflower bahji, and both drank Kingfisher.

Where To Eat?

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Today I lunched with Norman in Waterloo’s Lower Marsh. To facilitate this, Jackie drove me to New Milton station in the morning, and home from Brockenhurst this afternoon.

These trains are usually crowded, but this morning’s took the biscuit. Had you actually wanted to purchase a biscuit, or anything else for that matter, this would not have been possible, although there was an at-seat trolley on board. This rapidly became ‘a static buffet’. As we piled on board at New Milton, the young woman in charge of refreshments retreated into what cannot be described as anything other than a cubby hole. It was designed for just this purpose.

Trolley cubby hole in crowded train

Although the announcements invited us to visit her it would have been very difficult to have fought one’s way through the assembled standing humanity. Even had this been achieved the attendant could not have pushed her charge back through the door in order to serve anyone.

Trolley cubby hole in crowded train

The first photograph was taken fifteen minutes or so into the journey. This second about half an hour later. The bottom of the trolley is all that is visible. The young lady in charge was trapped in there all the way to Waterloo.

From the viewpoint of these images it will be apparent that I was seated. How was this possible?  For ten minutes it wasn’t. I was standing with those in the pictures outside the tiny toilet cubicle. This small section of the train contained two seats, one labelled disabled. The special seat had a small table in front of it. Standing between seat and table was a little girl using the table to work her puzzle book. I asked the mother whether we could come to some arrangement whereby I could sit down. She happily gave up her own seat. Only when I suggested it did she move across to her daughter’s unused perch. By the end of the journey this mother was feeling very sick on account of the now airless nature of our conveyance.

I had agreed with Norman to check out the eating establishments in Lower Marsh so that we could try somewhere new to eat. I then met him at Cafe Nero in The Cut, and led him back to

La Barca restaurant

our favoured choice.

Graffiti on tunnel

I had entered Lower Marsh from the Taxi Approach road beside a graffiti adorned tunnel  leading back under the station approach. The London Eye is visible in the background.

Cafe menu board

Other dining possibilities included cafe’s such as this one with an inviting menu board;

Olympics cafe

or the Olympic with a bar;

Thai restaurant window

a Thai restaurant in the window of which I took a couple of selfies with one shot;

Cuban restaurant

and a Cuban,

Cuban restaurant windowCuban restaurant window

the windows of which offered intriguing reflective collages, tented food stalls across the road, and the juxtaposition of an exotic dancer with the Virgin Mary.

Duck in Orange Sauce

 La Barca was rather upmarket for Lower Marsh. The ambience was plush, the service attentive, and the food excellent. Norman and I both chose superb broccoli soup and succulent duck in orange sauce, with roast potatoes and crisp vegetables. We shared a bottle of the house montepulciano d’Abruzzo.

Needless to say, I required no further sustenance this evening.

A Dewy Morning

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BidensThroughout the garden we have plants, such as these bidens that enliven the front entrance, that have self-seeded from tubs and hanging baskets.

It was a dewy morning in the forest when we went for a drive.

Ponies

On the outskirts of Wootton, through a break in the trees, we glimpsed a string of ponies making their way along a bank which turned out to be one side of a dug out car park. Naturally, in the interests of photography, Jackie drove us into it, performing the usual slalom around waterlogged pit-holes.

I ascended the steps and mingled with the ponies, one of whom had a bit of catching up to do.

Gorse cobwebs

The gorse bushes wore cobweb and dewdrop strings of pearls;

and moisture lay across the moors. Gulls were forced to share the terrain with crows, dogs and their owners,

whilst riders galloped horses in the distance.

Scarf on tree

Further on, there was evidence that someone had lost a pretty scarf wrapped around a tree.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious beef stew and mashed potato, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Gilbert & Gaillard Chateauneuf du Pape 2014. We deserved it because the iMac is still playing up, and I could only post these pictures by  e-mailing them in medium size to myself and putting them into WordPress from the Windows laptop. I couldn’t load them directly onto the laptop because I had deleted them from the camera on uploading them to the Mac. Well, it had worked well yesterday.

Everlasting Sweet Peas?

James Peacock brought back the cured iMac and checked everything was all plugged in and  working well. He also worked out the CR2 format problem. This was because the camera was set to film in RAW mode, and CR2 is the format for that. I had not noticed it before because the Mac automatically converts to jpeg for WordPress; whereas the Microsoft appears to please itself whether it does or not. Given Microsoft’s current advertising campaign in which a series of alleged Windows users work in the phrase “I couldn’t do that with a Mac” I wondered whether Apple would take this opportunity to retaliate with “Derrick couldn’t do that with his Windows”. I am up for negotiation. Interestingly, a set designer called Beowulf, in the first of these adverts, stated “I couldn’t do that with my Mac”. The “a” quite swiftly replaced “my”.

I therefore spent some time inserting the missing pictures into ‘No Resolution’ and ‘The Never Ending Summer’.

Raindrops on sweet peas

During the process of unravelling the CR2 issue, I nipped out and photographed the seemingly everlasting sweet peas. These are not, in fact, Lathyrus latifolius, but ordinary annuals which this year are thriving forever. Perhaps it is the sunshine and showers that keep them going.

Beef stew

The mashed potato served with Jackie’s bountiful beef stew this evening was as smooth as the main dish was packed with goodies. With this, the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I finished the madiran.