The White Doves Of St James’s


Before we set off for Emsworth yesterday afternoon, we watered every plant container in the garden. This took some time. Just as we passed Brockenhurst on the way to Becky’s birthday celebration, I realised I had left my wallet at home. Returning home for it added 45 minutes to our journey.


Assembled at the North Road flat were Matthew;

Jackie and Tess

Tess, seen here with Jackie;


Becky’s friend, Naomi

Louis and Ian

and her son, Louis;



Becky 2

Becky, seen here expressing surprised pleasure at our present of a Jutta Manser wood engraving;

Poppy 1

and, of course, Poppy, here taking one of Flo’s teddies for a walk in her grown-up cousin’s toy pushchair;

Poppy 2

trying on a Princess crown she had made herself,

Poppy and Tess 2Poppy 3Poppy and Tess

changing into a suitable outfit to match that of another teddy;

Poppy 4Poppy 6

rolling around the floor;

Poppy 5

and bouncing a balloon.

Poppy 7

Across the road at Nicolino’s restaurant our granddaughter polished off two bowls of olives before the starters arrived,

Toast featuring Poppy, Matthew, Ian, etc.Toast featuring Becky, Poppy, and Ian

then enthusiastically joined in the toast.

Matthew, Ian, and Louis

I sat diagonally across from the other gentlemen.

Naomi, Becky, Tess, and PoppyBecky, Tess, and PoppyBecky and Tess 2Naomi, Becky, TessBecky, Tess, Poppy, Louis 1Becky, Tess, Poppy, Louis 2

Jackie, opposite me, photographed the ladies. Matthew was also engrossed in the story Becky was relating. Poppy, twisting her noodles, seemed a little concerned that her Grannie had grown a flashing object on her face.

Becky, Tess, Poppy

Eventually the menu was studied for a choice of desserts.

Becky, Tess, Poppy, IanBecky, Tess, Poppy 2Matthew, Ian, Louis

Tess’s sunglasses were passed around.

Becky 3

Here is Becky looking none the worse towards the end of the evening,

Poppy and Tess

and Poppy as lively as ever.

Derrick 19.8.17

This could hardly be said of me when Tess came over to photograph my rather daunting Eton Mess, before which I had consumed a fine minestrone soup with chunks of white bread, followed by an appetising fish risotto. Naomi and I shared the best part of a bottle of Bardolino. As you can see, I was past caring what anyone else had enjoyed.

We stayed the night at Becky and Ian’s and returned home soon after 8 a.m.

Rooftops 1Balustrade with sparrowRooftops 2

Before this I photographed some rooftops from the balcony. Visible in this third picture are

Doves and belfry 1Doves and belfry 2

the white doves that live in and around the belfry of St James’s church.

Doves flying round belfry 1Doves flying round belfry 2Doves flying round belfry 3

Periodically the birds would take off,

Doves in flight

wings glinting, fly over the houses,

Doves flying round belfry 4Doves flying round belfry 5

and return home to roost.

This evening we dined on flaky smoked haddock, piquant cauliflower cheese, boiled potatoes and carrots, with bright green spinach. I drank Cru de la Vallée du Rhone Chateauneuf du Paps 2015.






  1. Little bright Poppy is such a lovely, lively child, good for her! Wonder who she will become when she gets even bigger.– I appreciate that you are very family-oriented and like to peek into your gatherings. Fave picture other than the glorious doves is that dessert with you beholding it with characteristic curiosity/good will. (And nice shirt!)

  2. Oh what a wonderful celebration time had by all, lots of beautiful people, and all with lovely smiles, may the white Doves be your blessing of continued peace and happiness

  3. To quote, “I sat diagonally across from the other gentlemen” The bleary eyed chap with the Eton mess looks anything but, however he is excused the suggestion, because of the inclusion of pictures of the beautiful child Poppy. She is indeed a joy to behold.
    I made a minestrone soup today, the War Office loves a home made minestrone soup so feeling somewhat benevolent or down right lazy I made one.
    For dinner we had Lambs Fry (liver) and bacon, New potatoes, parsnip carrots and Brussels sprouts with the gravy naturally. I scoffed the lot, which is good for me. I drank bourbon and I’m still drinking it and feeling somewhat tidily. What the WO drank I no not and care even less 😈 :bear:

  4. It looks like such a wonderful celebration. Poppy is adorable. The food looked delicious–though your dessert looked enormous! I love the shots of the doves and the belfry.

  5. Looks like a very jolly celebration. Poppy is going to be two? My goodness! I remember when you shared pictures of her as a baby. Where does the time go? I had never heard of an “Eton Mess” and had to look it up. It does look like a mess, but I bet it’s delicious.

  6. I absolutely adore these pics of Poppy. She is such a sweet and cuddly child. God bless. Loved the white doves too. Pity the closeups did not show more of them as it seems they were far

    1. Thanks very much, Geetha. The doves were a long way off, however, one can see them close up in the churchyard where they gather on the roof in the sunshine. I’ll definitely go back for them

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