“You Can’t Keep A Good Brit Down”

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This morning we drove to New Milton to buy Jackie a bag to carry her overnight stay requirements for our trip to Bicester tomorrow. We then continued to Friars Cliff where we brunched in the Beach Hut Café.

Beach huts

There are two rows of beach huts there – one on the promenade above the beach level, and the other further down. These colourful buildings brighten such areas.

Dog walker at Friars CliffThis dog walker had probably made his way from Avon beach, curving away in the distance..

Silhouettes and shadows

Long shadows were evident even just before midday.

Clouds, sea, gull

A gull perched on a post catching what warmth there was from the sun piercing the clouds.

dog on beach

Dogs frolicked

Walkers and dog on beach

and their owners

Dog walkers on beach

crossed each other’s paths

Dog walkers on beach

on the sand.

Beach huts, women outside one

At one end of the lower level of beach huts

Women at beach hut

sat a couple of women, so well insulated from the chill air that Jackie cried “You can’t keep a good Brit down”, which they appreciated.

Gulls in shallows

On the way home .we diverted to Mudeford

Mudeford harbour

where gulls paddled in the shallows at low tide.

Boats, one overturned

Of the several boats

Beached boat, another overturned

tethered or grounded

Boats, one overturned

in the harbour one was overturned.

Rowing boat and yachts

Others fronted the moored yachts

Sky, Mudeford, boat

and the quayside buildings.

Twig on sand

Branches were spectacles on the sand.

Starlings on crab pots

On the sea front’,

Starlings, crab pots, buoys

having missed the boat that was stocking crabs on the van for Brixham,

Starling on crab pot

hopeful

Starling on crab pot

young starlings,

Starlings on crab pots

gathered

Starling on crab pot

for possible treats;

they would have enjoyed the great slabs of Spanish omelette that Jackie conjured from the seemingly entire contents of a greengrocer’s stall bound by the massed clutches of multiple brooding hens. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the malbec.

 

 

Was It Something In The Water?

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This morning was spent Christmas shopping in New Milton and in Brockenhurst

Stream

Jackie parked the car in Butts Lane, Brockenhurs and I walked alongside the stream beside it.

Water level guage

At the far end a ford leads to Park Close. The water level gauge shows

Water level gauge and reflections

it is quite shallow at this point.

Ripples on stream

Vehicles are able to cross easily, and send ripples along the waterway.

Reflection in streamReflections in streamReflections in stream

Trees,

Reflections in streamReflections in streamReflections in stream

buildings,

Reflections in stream

and fences rippled in the water.

Rose hips

Wild rose hips wound over the wooden bridge rails.

Chaffinch

A chaffinch took advantage of shrubbery camouflage,

Stream

spanning the stream.

Pigeon

This didn’t conceal a wood pigeon.

Feather on water

Perhaps this bird had lost a feather.

Jackdaws

Jumping jackdaws scratched around on the bank.

Pigeon

Although I saw no birds in the stream, the pigeon had a bath in,

Jackdaws

and the jackdaws drank from, a pool beside a house. Was it something in the water?

This evening we dined on barbecued pork spare ribs, prawn toasts, and Jackie’s exceedingly savoury rice. She drank more of the sauvignon blanc and I drank Mendoza Parra Alta malbec 2016.

 

 

 

On The Trail

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At first light this morning Jackie drove us down to the clifftop at Milford on Sea to watch the sunrise.

Isle of Wight and The Needles before sunrise

The forest behind the Isle of Wight and The Needles was a bank of clouds. The lighthouse blinked.

Sunrise 1

Soon

Sunrise with gull

a pink lining

Sunrise with gulls

came into view

Sunrise 2

over

Sunrise 3

 

to the east.

Walker at sunrise 1

Just two lone walkers

Walker at sunrise 2

braved the two degrees centigrade temperature at 7 a.m.

This afternoon we visited the New Milton toy shop to investigate Christmas presents, and decided that we needed parental advice.

Afterwards we drove into the forest.

Ponies

On the way down Holmsley Passage Jackie spotted

Ponies

a string of ponies

Ponies

crossing a ridge. Watch the wavy lines in the bracken to the right.

Ponies

She parked

Ponies

beside the stream on the lowest part of the lane, while I watched

Ponies

as the ponies

Ponies

dropped onto

Ponies

what was a trail

Ponies

they had regularly trodden.

Ponies

It was fortunate

Ponies

for me that there were a couple of greys to help me pick them out against the bracken

Ponies

 or, as they reached level ground, among the trees.

Pony

The black leader came into view and investigated the road;

Ponies

when it was pronounced clear, the others followed

Ponies

and were led

Ponies

past

Ponies

a delighted Jackie

Ponies

in the car.

Ponies

Having crossed to the other side

Ponies

they reappeared on higher ground.

Reflections in pool

Further on, up the road to Clay Hill reflections in the calm pool

Reflections in pool

were clear and bright.

Sunset

On our return the sun was setting over Holmsley;

Sunset

blazing clouds shrouded Wootton Common,

Moon and clouds

where the moon was in the ascendancy.

Trees and sunset

Trellises of tree branches

Trees and sunset

screened the pink and indigo backcloth.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s wonderful savoury rice forming a bed for tempura prawns. We both drank Maison Castel Touraine sauvignon blanc 2015.

 

The Age Of Chivalry

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Raindrops on window

Today began with leaden skies and raindrops on windows.

Garden through rainy window

Even owls, dripped on from branches above,  peered enviously inside.

Late this afternoon, when the rain had desisted somewhat, we took a car load of rubbish, that we had ourselves recycled once or twice already, to Efford Recycling Centre; and returned with two mirrors for the garden, a bar stool, and a Chinese rug.

Back in the early 1970s, I discovered the English book illustrator Frank C. Papé, and,  through him, the American writer, James Branch Cabell, in the illustrated editions produced by The Bodley Head in the early 20th century. I have already featured ‘The Cream of the Jest’, and today, as I finished reading ‘Domnei: a Comedy of Woman-Worship’, offer more information on the collaborators.

On the author, Wikipedia tells us:

‘James Branch Cabell (/ˈkæbəl/; April 14, 1879  – May 5, 1958) was an American author of fantasy fiction and belles lettres. Cabell was well regarded by his contemporaries, including H. L. MenckenEdmund Wilson, and Sinclair Lewis. His works were considered escapist and fit well in the culture of the 1920s, when they were most popular. For Cabell, veracity was “the one unpardonable sin, not merely against art, but against human welfare.”[1][2]

Although escapist, Cabell’s works are ironic and satirical. H. L. Mencken disputed Cabell’s claim to romanticism and characterized him as “really the most acidulous of all the anti-romantics. His gaudy heroes … chase dragons precisely as stockbrockers play golf.” Cabell saw art as an escape from life, but once the artist creates his ideal world, he finds that it is made up of the same elements that make the real one.’

There is much more information on his life and works on this link [1]’

Maybe I’m too gullible, but I found this work an enthralling fantasy of an imagined love story from the age of chivalry. There are a number of cynical characters, and we are invited to believe it is based on fragments of a Medieval manuscript. Obviously the source is spurious, and it is perhaps significant that the only uncut pages are the last two of the alleged bibliography. Nevertheless the romantic in me was enjoyably engaged with this readable story, details of which I will not reveal. The language is of the writer’s time, yet following the form of a 14th century geste. The descriptions of the natural world are beautifully done.

The artist is perfectly in tune with the writer, Clicking on the numbered highlight in the following paragraph will take you to the fuller Wikipedia page about him.

‘Frank Cheyne Papé, who generally signed himself Frank C. Papé (b. Camberwell, July 4, 1878 – d. Bedford, May 5, 1972) was an English artist and book illustrator. He studied at The Slade School of Fine Art, completing his studies circa 1902-04.[1] Papé was married to a fellow Slade student, illustrator Alice Stringer.’

Papé’s distinctive style ensured his popularity in the golden age of book illustration. He has a mastery of line and form.

Domnei, first published in 1913, underwent several revisions before the first illustrated edition of 1930, of which my copy is one.

Domnei001

Of the ten plates protected by tissue sheets, we begin with the frontispiece;

Domnei002

thereafter I have chosen samples of chiaroscuro elegance;

Domnei003

of drollery;

Domnei004

and of excellent composition, with an ability to indicate the effect of passing time on a still beautiful woman. We can well believe this is the lady in the second picture above.

Domnei005

Each of the thirty short chapters is introduced

Domnei006

by a framed picture illustrating its first page.

Domnei007

These are minutely faithful to the text.

Domnei008

I cannot elaborate on this without giving too much away.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s supreme lamb jalfrezi, savoury rice, and vegetable samosas. I finished the malbec.

 

Happy Campers

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This morning and early afternoon I watched the three autumn international rugby matches I had recorded yesterday.

Given that the best light had departed when the recordings were finished, it seemed appropriate later to publish the Newark photographs scanned on 22nd.

James B, Richard, Matthew S, Sam, Warren 5.93

One afternoon in May 1993 Sam, in the blue T-shirt, as was his wont, gathered a few friends around him in the garden of Lindum House. To his left, in ascending order of height, are Matthew S, Richard, and James B. I think Warren swings in the hammock.

Paddy, Richard, Gavin 5.93

Paddy, who we saved from imminent death in the R.S.P.C.A. rescue centre, here converses with Richard and Gavin. Making up for stepping out of shot in this image,

Matthew S and Richard 5.93

Matthew S poses with his scooter.

James B and Warren 5.93

James B has joined Warren in the hammock. Three of the tents pitched in the orchard are in the background. James lived in the Working Men’s Club next door.

James B, Warren, Matthew S, Richard, Gavin, Sam 5.93

These two stayed put whilst

Matthew S, Richard, Gavin, Sam

the others positioned the picnic table removed from the lawn for service in this adventurous campsite.

Sam and friends 5.93

James stirred himself, but Warren appears to be directing proceedings from his bed.

Sam, James B and friends 5.93

Perhaps it is because James

James B and friends 5.93

is a few years older than the others

James B and friends 5.93

than the others that he takes care of the brick-bound camp fire,

James B and friends 5.93

turning back when satisfied all is well.

Warren 5.93

Warren follows on,

Richard and friends 5.93

and catering planning recommences.

All Sam and Louisa’s local friends would spend many happy days on projects in our garden. James once counted 25 birds’ nests. I have forgiven him for thinking that Louisa was my granddaughter when we first arrived.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s deliciously spicy lamb jalfrezi and pilau rice with which I drank more of the malbec.

 

 

It Wouldn’t Go Away

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Sitting room shadows 1

A glance at the sitting room floor this morning

Sitting room shadows 2

set me chasing shadows, there;

Kitchen table shadows

across the kitchen table

Kitchen floor shadows

and floor;

Garden rocker shadow

on the patio;

Gazebo path shadow

along the Gazebo Path;

Cryptomeria Bed shadows

beside the Cryptomeria Bed;

Chimney pot shadow

across the grass;

Side entrance shadow and steam

beside the outlet for the heating system steam;

Head Gardener's Walk shadows

along the Head Gardener’s Walk,

Brick Path shadows

and the Brick Path.

Derrick's shadow

Normally I work hard to exclude my own shadow, but it wouldn’t go away.

Late this afternoon we drove out to Mudeford, where

Isle of Wight and The Needles

the Isle of Wight and The Needles benefited from the clear light,

Beach huts

as did holiday homes and beach huts.

Beaching boat

Two gentlemen wheeled their boat onto dry land.

Rain clouds

Distant rain clouds released their precipitation,

Clouds and gull

while those over the harbour displayed silver linings.

Sheep

We motored on into the forest. Sheep in a field alongside Snails Lane, Ringwood, basked in the last rays of the sun.

Clouds

By the time we reached Abbotswell

Trees and clouds

dusk had arrived

Trees and clouds

bringing a pink trim

Clouds

to soft mink clouds.

This evening we dined on succulent pork chops served with tasty Lincolnshire pork sausages on a bed of mushrooms, peppers, and mushrooms; cauliflower in cheese sauce; mashed potato and swede; and green beans. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the malbec.

 

 

 

 

A Touch Of The Sun

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Our old friend Giles came to lunch. His importance is not just that he is one of my oldest friends, but that he shares memories from the first time Jackie and I were married. We enjoyed a couple of hours of conversation before he left.

Later, we drove out to the forest in a last minute attempt to catch the sunset. We were a little late for that, but enjoyed the skies soon afterwards.

Sky at dusk - bird flying

By the time I had emerged from the car at Goatspen, just outside Holmsley, the bird that had been perched atop a tree took off and aimed for another

Birds silhouetted in trees

where it took up residence with a companion. The recent winds have seen off the last of the leaves.

Sky at dusk

As can be seen here,

Sky at dusk

clear skies at dusk retain a touch of the sun, especially when clouds take on a mountainous form.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s excellent chilli con carne with egg savoury rice. I drank more of the malbec.