Brief Encounter


On a gloriously sunny morning that would have graced any day in Spring, Jackie drove me, via a network of of narrow, populated roads like

Platoff Road

Platoff Road

Normandy Lane

and Normandy Lane, to a footpath leading to Keyhaven and Lymington Nature Reserve.

Canada geese

As I used my long lens to bring the masts of Lymington Marina into this shot of Canada geese congregating in a field, beside which Jackie parked the car, little did I realise I would make closer acquaintance with the boatyard before my trek was over.

As I walked along the path I noticed first a woman walking along what I soon realised was a brick path around the bird sanctuary;

Cyclist silhouette

then a cyclist approaching from the opposite direction.

Walker and cyclist silhouette

Did they, I wondered, pass the time of day as they passed each other on their brief encounter.

A five-barred gate gave onto a sloping track that led to a large rectangular route around the water lands, around which others rambled.

Walker and gorse

This perambulator had obviously dressed to blend in with the gorse.

Waterfowl basked in their sanctuary.

Heron and mallards 1

I rely on my ornithologist friends to correct me if necessary, but I think this is a stationary heron being passed by paddling mallards;

whereas this is an egret admiring its reflection.

Ducks and pigeon

A slender pigeon-like like bird didn’t manage to merge into varieties of duck that I would need some help to identify.

Gulls undertook daredevil low-flying manoeuvres, running barbed wire gauntlets.

Brent geese preferred the high skies,

Approaching Lymington Marina

especially on the approach to Lymington Marina.

Woman on bench

The woman in the foreground of this picture, after I enjoyed a chat with her, had taken a rest on one of the suitably placed observation benches, but it didn’t take her long to overtake me again.

Bird watchers

Bird watchers availed themselves of another seat.

Lymington Marina from Nature reserve 1

About halfway round the rectangle, I realised that I had a choice between walking on to the marina to find my way back to the car from there, and retracing my steps. I’m not one for taking the latter option, but this has, on occasion, presented problems. I stopped  group of people and asked if I could return to Normandy Lane from there. I was told I could, and how to do it, with the observation that I couldn’t get lost. “Don’t you believe it,” I replied. “I can get lost anywhere”.

Ferry boat

The Wight Link ferry boat soon sailed past the marina.

Ducks in flight

Ducks took to the wing;

Dog walker and runner

a jogger and a dog walker took no advantage of their brief encounter;


and I found myself in the marina,

where boat maintenance was being undertaken.


A kettle was on hand;

Hull for repair

parts of hulls had been marked out for attention;

Devil on hull

and a devilish Chad peeped out.

As I left the marina and approached a path that would lead me to Normandy Lane, I met the group who had directed me earlier. “You are still on track” was the cheery greeting. I hadn’t the heart to let them know that I had been somewhat delayed by taking an incorrect, muddy, track.

Jackie was waiting for me, some two hours after my departure. A little more than intended.

This evening we dined on second helpings of yesterday’s curries, with which I consumed Chapel Vineyard cabernet sauvignon 2015.


  1. Another area we missed revisiting *sigh*. Goodness, if every one of those sticks had its bedsheet tied to it there would be precious little airspace! Nice selection of boidies.

  2. Loved the brief encounter Derrick… And thank you for the tour around such another beautiful place..
    I hope you are both now well and truly on the mend.. Love and Hugs.. Sue xxx

  3. Have you heard the one about the man who swam the English Channel? He got tired half way so he turned back. Boom, boom. Sounds like a great walk, with lovely observations. Hope Jackie had a good book while she waited for you. Trust you are both feeling much better.

  4. I laughed at your remark about being able to get lost anywhere because that is definitely me! 🙂 But it seems you had a good walk.
    Beautiful photos–I love the bird shots, and the black and white photo of the woman on the bench is stunning.

  5. What a great post from a great blogger, (I was going to say poster; then I thought, perhaps someone, would then stick you up on a wall somewhere believing you to be such a thing)

    I admire your talent; a gift for words, with illustrations to fit.

    Wish I had just a little of it, just a little would do.

  6. I can tell that it was a long leisurely stroll that one would be happy to be lost on. Did I just end a sentence on a preposition? Damn. Well, you know what I mean. I enjoyed seeing what you saw through long lenses and in silhouettes but what was Jackie doing in the meantime?

    1. Contemporary grammarians are more likely to take you to task on your choice of “that” or “which” [after “stroll”; I’m not sure which is the more correct use these days, but there IS a rule for it*. Your usage hear sounds right], than about ending sentences with prepositions, a rule postulated before either of us was born (and observed as often in the breach as the compliance).

      * it’s to do with one being a ‘defining’ clause: I recall “the house that Jack built” being correct, but can’t recall the example offered for the use of “which”. It’s something like “the house, which Jack built, was in the woods”, and (significantly) you can omit the clause without harming the structure of the sentence.

      1. I ought to watch my spelling better, when writing about grammar!! I meant “Your usage HERE sounds right”.

      2. Hehe I’m glad my language is unencumbered by prepositions and clauses; I think 🙂 I must use ‘which’ more often. ‘That’ is what I use most of the time and which is probably ungrammatical. :):):)

      1. It must have been a difficult one if it took a couple of hours to solve :). No worries, Mate – pardon the Strine; we don’t speak English here.

  7. I’m glad we can add the ornithological expertise of Bruce Goodman to the Ramblings armoury. At least when I started typing this, I’d got in before John Knifton tonight.
    In the first pic., it looks far more like an egret (which is a heron, anyway, but not our native Grey one), unless the light is VERY bright. Or are you referring to the bird hidden by reeds to the foreground left of that bird (which I can’t clearly distinguish, even between a bird standing with its neck twisted to the left, or a bird swimming from right to left)? I don’t think the ducks are mallard: one looks like it has a black bill; also, they seem to be carrying their heads too low for female mallard. I’d need to look up in my reference books, but Gadwall is ringing a bell.
    I agree with you in identifying the white egret 🙂 in the next two pix, even if it isn’t doing what you say…
    The second multi-bird picture, with the dove/pigeon/dodo, has what I think is a male Wigeon, to the left of it (with the chestnut head with creamier head spot). The next main one (not sure if there’s a bird camouflaged against the spur of land, next along) is definitely a Shelduck, very distinctive, bright white, much bigger than other duck [see the two or three in the image of the Marina after the shot of the birdwatchers] and the vertical chestnut stripe. They have dark green heads, like a Mallard’s colouring, and a gorgeous red bill, with an integral facial lump, a quasi-shield on the male [possibly, with some verbal corruption, lending it its name].
    Unidentified female next, prob. Wigeon, as it’s next to another male. Then several Teal, first a male, with the green and red head (the image won’t enlarge sufficiently to show this off to advantage) plus about four females. Teal are smaller than other common duck, noticeably so when seen together.
    Not sure where the colour Teal is derived from, since the head of our Eurasian Teal is more Brunswick/British Racing Green than the colour I know as Teal (the dark grey-bluish green found in most computer colour palettes).
    You identified [flying] Brent Geese in a later image: I think those are also Brents in the first mudflats pic., in the set of three.
    I’ve walked this exact route myself more than once (including the last time I went), and am especially fond of the place, though waders rather than duck are more my bag. In the 70s, I used to catch the first no.56 bus on a Sunday, from Southampton to Lymington, and walk out to Pennington (my usual route in: part of this area is known as Pennington Marshes, which merge with Keyhaven’s). Until not long ago, the 56 bus still ran this route. Sometimes, I’d cut my journey in the intervening villages, Pilley, Sowley, etc. and walk back across parts of The Forest (once right the way across from East Boldre to Ashurst, in an afternoon. Doubt I’d manage THAT now!)
    Great, memory-stirring post.

    1. For some reason, the images can now zoom considerably, where they wouldn’t before, so I’m revising my bird IDs. In the first one, I agree they are mallard, or cross-breeds from them. They’re all in immature/winter plumage, so have lost what will become their usual pattern. There is another duckspecies, possibly a shoveller, which carries that chestnut colour round its body, so these MAY be immature/winter specimens of those. The one in the foreground, that I wondered was a standing heron, resolves into another mallard facing left. The one obscured by reeds, facing away below the larger group is probably a coot.
      Blowing up the second one has also shown things that above I reported hardly visible. There’s no bird hidden between Wigeon 1 and the Shelduck, and you can JUST see the top of the red ‘shield’ where it’s buried its bill in plumage. I can’t ID the next (unmentioned before), other than a female or young specimen, but not necessarily of a species o/wise gathered here (its size suggests Teal, but not the patterning). Next along is Wigeon 2, asleep. The dark duck with pale patch, facing away, I can’t ID; next is Teal 1, but the next one is a male, not a female, and the next, not mentioned before, is I think a female Wigeon. Then there are two more male Teal, but with a female (again missed when I described above) asleep in front of the right-hand one of that pair.
      Below these, in the water (all of which I forgot to mention before), suggest female Teal, size-wise, but two are end-on, and I’d need more sharpness to be sure, Others further to the right are unidentified, though the rightmost seems to be another female/immature mallard/shoveller as in the pic with the egret.

      1. The image captioned “Ducks took to the wing” shows all Wigeon, bar one. Anyone spot the stray Teal, by comparing the picture I described in detail?

    2. Thanks very much for the identifications, Paul. I’m glad to have stirred such memories. I was so engrossed that the walk was more than twice the length I have managed since my knees gave up a couple of years ago.

  8. You’re spoiling us, Derrick…so many beautiful photographs. Can you guess one of my top favorites? Yep…Platoff Road. I don’t know what it is about a winding road. Cheers!

  9. My mom used to live close to what was called Vermilion Lagoons. I used to love seeing the posts of the sailboats, Derrick. They stand out marvelously in your photos with the sun glowing on the white! 🙂
    I loved this post title and how you mentioned which did or didn’t have a brief encounter. I hope Jackie brings a crossword puzzle or a book to read. Plus a lap blanket to keep her legs warm while you exercise! Thanks for sharing such beautiful photos, once again.

  10. There is something stirring about seeing a forest of white masts beyond a scene with no water in it. You know what I mean? It says “big things are just over here, beyond your sight!” It’s an idea that has enticed me since childhood, wishing for big things just around the bend, and a forest of brilliant white sticks is confirmation. Also, my favourite quote of the day: “Don’t you believe it! I can get lost anywhere!”

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