Wet Paint

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Today I scanned a few more colour negatives from the Summer of 1986.

Sam Summer 1986 2

The first is Sam in the garden of our home at Gracedale Road.

Jessica and Sam Summer 1986

This is where this picture of him and Jessica was taken.

I cannot definitely locate the sites of the holiday photos.

Matthew and Sam 1986

These of Matthew guiding Sam up a mountain

Matthew and Sam 1986

and exploring the summit, was in North Wales.

Meadow Summer 1986

The full meadow would have been in the same part of the country as the following phone-box sequence; possibly North Devon. Modern farming, and the increase in motorways have put such meadows in jeopardy. It was Dame Miriam Rothschild who led the move to revive them with her wildflower seed mix (http://www.ohllimited.co.uk/the-ashton-estate/wildflower-seed-mix/). The Head Gardener tells me that this woman was in the habit of flinging them out of the window of her Rolls Royce.

Now, what would the average person do when faced with a ‘Wet Paint’ sign on a bright shiny surface?

Jessica and phonebox Summer 1986

I’m sure you know, and would not be surprised to discover that Jessica was no exception.

Jessica and Louisa and phonebox Summer 1986

Neither was she averse to introducing our daughter, Louisa, to risky ventures.

On this occasion she was pleased to demonstrate that she had no paint on her fingers.

Sadly these telephone boxes have, in the countryside, largely fallen into disuse, and, like their companion red  pillar boxes, rarely bear a coat of fresh paint.

This evening, Becky, Ian, Jackie, and I enjoyed our usual excellent food and hospitality at Lymington’s Lal Quilla. I chose prawn dansak and shared special fried rice and egg paratha with Jackie, whose main meal was prawn dupiaza. The four of us shared onion bahjis. Becky drank red wine and the rest of us, Kingfisher.

PS. See TanGental’s comment below, with its link to the recycling of telephone boxes.

From Mist To Sunshine And Back

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The mist that shrouded the garden never left Downton today.

Motoring further away from the coast into the forest in the mid-afternoon, Jackie and I left the fog behind us and were treated to bright sunshine sending splayed shafts through the trees alongside

Holmsley Passage

Holmsley Passage.

The few leaves that still clung to the slender branches became dancing will-o-the-wisps flirting with autumn’s bronzed ferns;

Forest 5

and individual trunks were spotlit pillars.

Pony

Haze surrounded a solitary pony on the roadside approaching Burley, where

pools of recent precipitation reflected housing, trees, and sky.

The herd of red deer that had not been in evidence on our last visit to that village had today, as is their wont, invaded the field in front of the Manor House, where they rendered lawn mowers redundant.

By the time we returned home via Hordle Lane the mist had (in)visibly thickened.

This evening we dined with Becky and Matthew on Jackie’s tasty cottage pie, tender beef in red wine, and piquant cauliflower cheese. I drank Languedoc rouge 2015.

Making It Through The Winter

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Frost on heuchera leaves

Once the heavy overnight frost fringing these heuchera leaves had thawed, the garden was warmed by the sun

which was low enough to light lily leaves and grasses,

while pearly jewels dripped from naked and semi-clad twigs,

Raindrops on rose leaves

and lingering rose leaves.

Autumn-hued hydrangeas hang on to life.

Alliums 2

The first clusters of precocious onion-smelly alliums have pierced the soil,

Leycesteria

and a pendulous leycesteria has already produced its kindergarten mobiles.

Shady Path

Shadows slanted across the Shady and

Brick Path

 the Brick Paths.

Three winter flowering pink Viburnum Bodnantense Dawn,shrubs are doing what is expected of them.

One camellia has begun to flower and has even provided evidence that some flies are capable of making it through the winter.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s brilliant beef in red wine, boiled new potatoes, and piquant cauliflower cheese. I finished the merlot.

A Crossword Solving Session

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This morning, a larger thrush commandeered the crab apples. A game of hide and seek was required to photograph it.

This afternoon we watched a TV production of Agatha Christie’s ‘Witness for the Prosecution’. Without giving anything away I can say that Toby Jones, as a romantic, consumptive, solicitor, did a magnificent job of leading an excellent cast in a superb period drama faithfully portrayed, complete with London smog.

I have the misfortune to have a family branch addicted to the Daily Mail crossword. This meant that yesterday, when I found one discarded in Hythe Marina Village, I felt duty bound to bring home the newspaper. Added to the puzzle that Matthew and Becky had purloined from the Beachcomber cafe ‘paper, there were two copies. This was still one short, so I scanned and printed two copies from today’s Mail’s original.

Jackie, Becky, and Matthew solving Daily Mail Crossword

Jackie, Matthew, and Becky were then able to relax into friendly competition with their clipboards.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s superb beef in red wine, roast potatoes and parsnips, carrot and swede mash, Yorkshire puddings, Brussels sprouts, and breaded mushrooms. None of us imbibed.

Ruby And Arthur Reed

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After a leisurely morning and a lunch of plentiful salad and cold meats left over from yesterday, Jackie, Ian, Becky, Matthew and I drove to the Beachcomber at Barton on Sea for coffee.

Silhouetted couple 1

The cafe was very full and the day mild enough for people to remain outside, either in the garden

Couple on bench

or seated on the clifftop within sight of the Isle of Wight.

More energetic groups, boys, and dogs exercised along the shore.

After coffee the others took Scooby further along the clifftop, whilst Jackie and I went driveabout.

Ponies on road

Ponies in the forest kept a low profile until they took it into their heads to hold up traffic on the approach to Beaulieu,

where a few swans and gulls remained on the river even though the tide was out.

Eventually we found ourselves at Hythe Marina Village, a waterside leisure development from 1986, where a weak wintry sun allowed for clear reflections on the still waters.

Sand spit

Skirting a protruding sandy spit,

Red Jet speedboat

a Red Jet boat sped across Southampton Water,

Hythe Pier railway

where I enjoyed an outside view of Hythe Pier Railway on which Jackie and I had ridden on 4th January 2015.

The Marina has to be approached from this water by means of a lock. Two vessels used this facility while we were there today.

On display on the quayside lies the R.N.L.B. lifeboat ‘Ruby and Arthur Reed’, the story of  which is told by Wikipedia here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RNLB_Ruby_and_Arthur_Reed_(ON_990)

This evening we dined on Jackie’s excellent chicken curry and spicy basmati rice, with which I drank more of the merlot. I didn’t keep tabs on the others’ beverages.

Quiz Of The Year

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This afternoon and evening we hosted a Boxing Day party. Guests included Helen and Bill, Shelly and Ron, Neil and Donna, Rachel and Gareth, David and Jenny, and Anthony; respectively Jackie’s two sisters and their husbands, Shelly and Ron’s sons Neil and Anthony, and Helen and Bill’s daughter Rachel and son David and their partners. We began with a plentiful salad buffet and much reminiscing.

Helen, Ron, Neil, and Anthony

Here Helen shares a joke, Neil looks impressed, while his Dad Ron, and brother Anthony appear to be working it out.

Bill and Shelly

Bill studies photographs of grandson Billy. Shelly looks on;

Shelly 1

to her right stands a pencil drawing Jackie made of their mother, and to her left she herself stands as a beautiful 14 year old bridesmaid in 1968. I am the groom. Jackie, the bride, is out of shot.

Helen and Bill’s daughter Rachel shared a sofa with her fiancé, Gareth.

Neil and Donna

Neil and Donna listened intently to a story Jackie was telling.

Neil, Ron and David

Here Neil is flanked by his father, Ron and cousin David

David

who enjoyed a pint or two.

Reflected in the mirror above Becky is Flo on her eighteenth birthday.

Derrick

Donna and Neil received some fun holograms. In the form of coasters these images were to be attached to noses. Helen took this photograph of me wearing one.

The highlight of the event was Ian’s quiz of the year. We were split into two teams and the result was a very close run thing. As a former schoolmaster, our quizmaster needed all his skills to keep us in order.

Jackie and Becky were part of the blue team,

Anthony

while Anthony crossed the room to join the red team, of which I was also a member.

For me, the most gratifying aspect of the quiz was that we did not have to play charades, at which my prowess is legendary.

After this, we all enjoyed Jackie’s superb beef in red wine or chicken curry, or both.  I partook of more of the merlot. I have no idea what the others drank, because Ian was also an excellent sommelier.

Poppy Does Byron Road

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A sleepy Christmas morning began with the opening of presents from Santa.

Matthew and Poppy

Poppy suitably oohed and aahed as she sought her parents’ help to unwrap hers. This assistance was necessary because you can’t carry out the task while one hand clutches chocolate.

The fairy dress made by Jackie was much admired. One of our granddaughter’s first words is mirror, which is used to ask to admire herself.

In this she carries on the tradition established by Flo, who was also the recipient of such a garment for her first few Christmases. These were taken in 1999.

Poppy 3

Poppy, like her older cousin, would simply take a rest when all became too much.

florence-fairy-2000-1

Jackie’s laptop wallpaper demonstrates the similarity.

After a full day of present sharing,Tess drove Becky, Poppy and me to Byron Road to enjoy the Christmas lights.

After a slow start, Poppy got well into the swing of things: pressing buttons and dancing along to the exhibits. She shared some of her delights with a little French boy scarcely older than her.

We dined just before nine. Jackie excelled herself in producing succulent roast turkey, stuffing, sausages in bacon (known as pigs in blankets), Brussels sprouts served with bacon and chestnuts, swede and carrot mash, roast potatoes and parsnips, carrots, and Yorkshire pudding with tasty gravy, all cooked to perfection. I drank San Andreas Chilean merlot from a case Ian had given me as a present. I’m not sure what everyone else imbibed.