Island In The Sun

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This morning’s sunshine lasted long enough

to draw me into pruning the rose garden. By the time I had finished the skies had clouded over and rain begun.

Window boxes

Between showers Jackie was able to plant primulas into the large window boxes on the front wall.

Camellia 1

More camellias are in full bloom, and

Daffodils and ferns

all the beds are clamouring for our attention,

Mudflats

but we abandoned them in favour of a drive to Tanner’s Lane beach,

Boat on mudflats

where the usual boat was moored on the mudflats.

Yacht

A solitary yacht sailed alongside the Isle of Wight,

Ferry boat and The Needles

as a ferry boat threaded its way past The Needles.

At low tide seaweed clung to rocks and breakwaters.

Trees and breakwaters

Further along the coastline gnarled trees were coming into bud,

Cloudscape

as rain-laden skies loomed over the sunlit landscape.

Egrets were among the birds feeding on the shore.

Egret in flight

One rewarded my numerous efforts to catch it in flight.

Having left Tanner’s Lane and begun to drive along Sowley Lane it seemed as if we were on the floor of a school dance from my teens. In the undergrowth on one side of the lane were assembled a bouquet of hen pheasants.

Pheasants 1

The less fragrant cocks patrolled the opposite side.

Plucking up courage, they paraded a bit,

Pheasants 2

then slipped through the barrier to join the ladies.

Crane at sunset

Just before sunset at Milford on Sea a crane silhouetted against the skies was a reminder that the beach huts destroyed in gales a couple of years ago are being rebuilt.

We hastened to Barton on Sea and waited for a pair of figures to make their way along the clifftop so that I could include them in my shot. Following their progress I was to discover that the gentleman was pointing a camera away from the west, and photographing the Isle of Wight.

Truly an Island in the Sun.

Tree and holiday homes

The tree in the grounds of the holiday homes park has grown as directed by the sea breezes.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy chilli con carne, savoury rice, and salad. She drank Hoegaarden, and I finished the Carmenère.

The Wrong Location For Mr Crocker

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Today was a very wet one. This gave me the opportunity for taking another virtual trip to London, through the medium of another dozen colour slides, from August 2004, that I scanned this morning. These are all images of the Marylebone area.

St John's Avenue NW10

The skilled workman on the corner of St John’s Avenue NW10 is cutting paving blocks to lay beside the newly fitted wheelchair ramp, enabling disabled people to cross the road more easily. Note that the authorities have chosen to retain the early street sign and supplement it with the 10 added as the capital expanded, rendering NW an insufficient location.

In the background of the first of these images of Newcastle Place W2 the vast tower blocks of hugely expensive residential apartments that comprise the Paddington Basin development are under construction. The second shows shutters probably fitted when the building was pristine, although the replacement windows are not contemporary.

Corlett Street NW1

I am not sure how high the gentleman in this photograph of the building on the corner of Corlett Street NW1, is intending to climb, but I thought he may well have been as perplexed as the window cleaner featured on 1st October 2016.

Lisson Street/Bell Street NW1

The Brazen Head at 69 Lisson Street NW1 dates from the mid-19th century.

As can be seen, that public house stands on the corner of Bell Street, in which the second -hand bookshop at number 83 was kept in rather better order inside than was suggested by its window display. At any rate, the proprietor knew where everything was. Rather like my desk, really. FLOS marks the headquarters of the heating and lighting suppliers of that name, but anyone who knows our eldest granddaughter will understand why I photographed the building.

Marylebone Road NW1

Can you see what Spiderman was up to in Marylebone Road? Madame Tussauds provides the answer.

York Terrace West NW1

York Terrace West fronts Regents Park, owned by Crown Estates, hence the insignia on the bollards.

These three images of Melcombe Place NW1 provide a panorama of Marylebone Station’s frontage. Anyone wishing to discover why this was the wrong location for Mr Crocker is directed to the post ‘A Screwdriver Comes In Handy’.

During a brief sunny spell late in the afternoon we drove out to Keyhaven.

Boats

The tide was out in the harbour and the boats were all grounded.

Duck in outfall

A jet-propelled duck bobbing on a bubbling body of water alerted me to the fact that this tranquility was about to change.

The machine churning out foaming cappuccino coffee was the Avon Water Outfall, apparently controlled by sluice gates. An outfall is the discharge point of a waste stream into a river, a lake, or the sea. Here the Avon Water was discharging into the Solent, I imagine as an outlet from the recent storms.

This is what Wikipedia has to say about Avon Water:

“Avon Water is a small river in the south of England, flowing through the New Forest in Hampshire to the sea. It should not be confused with the larger River Avon, which also flows through Hampshire.

Along with the Beaulieu River and the Lymington River, Avon Water is one of the three main rivers which drain the New Forest southward directly into the Solent,[1] although it is smaller than the other two rivers.[2] It rises in the south-western part of the New Forest, near Holmsley, and flows south-eastward, in a fairly straight course for about 9 miles (14.5 km).[3] It flows into the Solent at Keyhaven,[4] close to the shingle bank that leads to Hurst Castle.[3]

The name “Avon Water” is considered modern,[5] although it certainly dates from at least the 18th century. It is labelled on Thomas Milne‘s map of Hampshire published by William Faden in 1791.[6] Cary’s New Itinerary of 1810 also refers to “Avon Water” but confounds it with a stream immediately to the west (the Danes stream near Downton).[7]

I have, of course, been confusing it with the River Avon.

Seascape

The sky soon darkened, and Milford on Sea took on a dramatic air, in which

Gull

I and the gulls battled with powerful winds.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s very hot chilli con carne and savoury rice. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank Cimarosa Reserva Privada Carmenère 2015.

Waking Up To Leatherhead

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Yesterday afternoon Jackie drove us to

Travelodge

Leatherhead Travelodge where we joined Helen and Bill, Shelly and Ron in order to watch the performance of

iolanthe brochure

directed by the sisters’ cousin Pat O’Connell.

First, we watched the second half of the Six Nations rugby match between Scotland and Wales.

Next, we dined with the addition of Pat, Christine,and their daughter Olivia, at Piazza Firenze. This was quite the best of the three such establishments we have tried in Leatherhead. Red and white house wines were quaffed, the drivers in the company taking advantage of the fact they they were not having to drive home. My main course was sea bass and prawns served with green beans and boiled potatoes. For dessert I chose crepe Vesuvio, while Jackie selected lava cake, which seemed appropriate. My enjoyable dish consisted of vanilla ice cream wrapped in a pancake with a raspberry sauce poured over it. What added to the fun was that this was served on a flat piece of slate. Perhaps the idea was to keep me on my toes in order to keep the melting ice cream from flowing off onto the table.

There followed a spirited, amusing, and entertaining production with some good jokes, skilful individual performance, and well directed choreography. After this, we spent a delightful time of conversation and reminiscence in the theatre bar, before repairing to our respective hotel rooms.

The was the view from our fourth floor room.

With the sun making sporadic efforts to put in an appearance I wandered about outside the hotel. Leatherhead has received considerable expansion since my childhood in the ’40s and ’50s. One result is the High Street paving that is shared by both vehicles and pedestrians. These two shots looking up the street were taken through parts of a sculpture  featuring aspects of the ancient town, such as the river and railway lines.

Like many of the more recent additions, the setting for this artwork is suffering. Slates are falling off, and graffiti has been applied.

Birdshit, chewing gum, and dog ends

The pavement at the base of the ornamental tree featured in the first two views of the sculpture is surrounded by a mixture of birdshit, chewing gum, and dog ends; people are meant to sit on the cylindrical structures arranged behind the tree and within the enclosure surrounding the elements of it.

Bicycle lock

A metre or so away a cycle rack bears evidence of a stolen machine.

We all breakfasted in the Edmund Tylney, a Wetherspoons pub opposite last evening’s restaurant. Edmund, a Leatherhead man, was Master of the Revels to Queen Elizabeth I, so he would probably be quite pleased to have a hostelry named after him.

Back at home, the Six Nations rugby match was between England and Italy.

This evening we dined on eggs, bacon, and toast followed by steamed syrup pudding nd ice cream.

We’re Off Out

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Today we are travelling to Leatherhead for the annual Gilbert and Sullivan production of the Godalming Operatic Society directed by Jackie’s cousin Pat O’Connell.

We intend to make our leisurely way there; join Helen, Bill, Shelly and Ron at the Travelodge hotel where we will be staying the night; watch the second half of the Six Nations rugby match; dine at an Italian restaurant with Pat, Christine, and their daughter Olivia; watch Iolanthe; repair to the bar; go to bed; get up in the morning; all breakfast in the same café; then go home. I might expand this tomorrow. If I can remember.

Before leaving I had a look at the front garden.

Outside there is a SLOW sign. Like many another traffic sign it has been left in the hedgerow after roadworks have been finished. The normal limit is 40 m.p.h. Which is largely ignored. So is the SLOW sign. Even when there are works around the bend up ahead.

Front garden tubs and owl

Although the arch has been partially demolished by Doris Day,

the tubs on Jackie’s makeshift platform have survived.

Tete-a-tetes, snowdrops, and hellebore

Tete-a-tetes, snowdrops, and hellebores share the beds.

Bergenia

The bergenias are beginning to show signs of age.

Hellebore

Behind this hellebore lies a profusion of trachystemon orientalis.

Camellia

Meanwhile, alongside the Dragon Bed which did not exist when we arrived, towers a pastel pink camellia. It was only when we cleared the bramble jungle that covered it that we discovered that the plant was there. This is the first year it has born a profusion of blooms.

Half Term

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Storm Doris had blown about the bag of twigs gathered up a couple of days ago, and dumped more on the beds and paths in the garden.

The Shady Path, with its Camellia shrubs didn’t look too bad, except for the chair blown over on the decking.

We picked up a few more bits of tree and went for a drive in the forest.

Beautifully situated among daffodils on the village green at Portmore is another Telephone Box book exchange.

Jogger

I exchanged greetings with a friendly jogger running along the verge of the road between Beaulieu and Dibden Purlieu,

as I was walking back a short way into the forest, to the opposite side of the road, where numerous temporary pools reflected the trees they surrounded.

Friars Cliff Café was full to bursting as children, taking advantage of half-term in Hampshire’s schools, had fun on the beach before taking refreshments. We enjoyed a brunch there.

This evening I made prints of Sam and Louisa in the skip from Ratty, the post of two days ago; and two little girls doing handstands and running on the sand. Louisa’s picture was by request. The others were for the mother of the other children who preferred not to have the pictures posted here.

Later we dined on pizza and salad with which I finished the merlot opened three days ago.

It’s An Ill Wind…..

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Yesterday evening we dined with Helen, Bill, Shelly, and Ron at Tyrell’s Ford Country Inn and Hotel at Avon, near Christchurch. As the only group in the dining we enjoyed the attentions of a friendly waitress. My choice of meal was liver and bacon, mashed potato, carrots. swede, sugar snaps, green beans, and broccoli. My dessert was Dutch apple crumble and custard. Three of us shared a bottle of red, and three, white, wine.

Storm Doris, having vented all night, eased up enough for me to take a chance on keeping   my lunch appointment at La Barca in Lower Marsh. To this end Jackie drove me to New Milton where the London Train arrived on time.

Waiting for the train

These gentlemen viewed from the waiting room awaiting their transport were no more disappointed than I was.

Block of flats through train window

Soon after departure a tree was reported across the track outside Eastleigh. This afforded me the opportunity closely to examine the pastel shades of a line side block of flats.

After a while we were under way again, the train was only 35 minutes late, and I arrived at the restaurant before Norman had taken off his coat. We both chose artichoke soup for starters; my main course was swordfish steak in a piquant sauce served with sautéed potatoes, sugar snaps, green beans, and broccoli. We shared a bottle of the house Valpolicella. I needed no more sustenance in the evening.

The return journey was rather longer than the outward one. In addition to another tree on the track, there was a 50 m.p.h. speed limit ‘for health and safety reasons’.

Groups of assorted travellers stood on Waterloo Station, eyes glued to the departures board where they could read about delays and cancellations.

There had been many unfortunate travellers without seats on the outward journey. There were fewer of those on the way home, but they were even more discomforted when the food trolley or other passengers need to pass.

Graffiti

Once again I was able to study the trackside. There was graffiti between Waterloo and Vauxhall;

Trees from train

trees waving with the wind,

Trackside

and an embankment somewhere near Basingstoke.

Jackie had been expecting to meet me at New Milton. This was not to be, because the railway company decided to decant passengers for intermediate stations at Brockenhurst, and send the train non-stop to Bournemouth. She therefore set off for the latter station. As I walked out into the car park I could see a very long traffic queue stretching a long way back in the direction from which I expected her to arrive. I decided to walk to the end of it in an effort to save her getting stuck in it. When I got there I phoned Jackie to let her know where I was. She was approaching from the opposite direction from which there was no tailback. This meant I had to walk on further in an effort to find a place where she could stop.

Sunset was now on its way. Thank goodness for mobile phones.

We chased the sunset to Milford on Sea,

where the spirited waves rushed towards the shingle.

Silhouettes at sunset

I spent a very short time leaning into the wind. This family group who had come to watch the sea stayed out of their people carrier for an even shorter period.

Without Doris, I would not have enjoyed such line-side views, nor such moody sunsets. As they say, it’s an ill wind (that does nobody any good).

Ratty

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Sometimes serendipitous synchronicity surprises. Scanning colour slides from summer 1986 this morning, I found this to be so.

I have mentioned before that we house-sat The Dumb Flea for the Drapers for a couple of weeks that year. We were joined one day by our friends Carole and

Brian Littlechild

Brian Littlechild

and their son Tom, seen here with lunching with Louisa,

and cuddled by Carole. Something must have upset the little chap. Louisa, sporting the customary scuffed knees, attempts to console him.

Sam had managed to acquire an army hat. I have no idea whether it belonged with the rifle Brian is posing with. Could it have belonged to Jessica’s father? I don’t have enough knowledge of militaria to recognise the badge. Interestingly Sam, who here acts out his own campaign with the aid of a cricket bat, has inherited a black and white photograph of his maternal grandfather receiving the Military Cross from Field Marshall Montgomery.

Sam and Louisa 1

Sam and his sister loved to race around the lawn.

Louisa 1

It looks as if Louisa was up to mischief of some kind.

She had her own uses for the cricket bat.

Sam and Louisa 3

Back at home in Gracedale road, the two children investigated a skip in the street,

Sam and Louisa 4

and improvised a garden slide with the aid of a ladder and duvets. This idea was to reach maturity a few years later on the wide Victorian staircase at Lindum House.

Now for the synchronicity.

All my children have enjoyed pet rats. This one was called Ratty. Although Sam stuck to one at a time, I believe Matthew’s tally once reached 70 or more. Wasn’t it therefore serendipitous that I came to these pictures the day after featuring Rasputin?

This evening we will be dining at Tyrell’s Ford with Helen, Bill, Shelly, and Ron. I will report on that tomorrow.