The Writing On The Wall

Yesterday, I finished reading ‘Lymington and Pennington, Then & Now’ by Brian J. Down. This is a local history book given to me by Mother Santa for Christmas. Full of fascinating research and information about local residents and institutions, I can forgive the fact that, in common with most such works, it is not great literature.

Lymington history001

It is the front cover that provided, for me, the most intrigue.

My post The Disembarkation from February 24th, 2016, contains this photograph of

New Look. Research tells me that the worn out writing on the wall covers the original advertisement for Rand & Son, the previous owners of the shop, which would have read

(& S)ON
(?)S’.              (taken from

The word underneath WAREHOUSE, in the cover photograph, which must have been taken in the first years of the 20th century, could perhaps have been MILLINERY.

Mum, Elizabeth and Jacqueline visited today for lunch and dinner. During the conversations, the older of my sisters described a couple of conditions on the left hand of our cousin, Jane, in America. This reminded me of my Dupuytren’s Contracture, so we sent a link across the pond.

Early this evening we dined on Jackie’s perfectly cooked roast lamb, roast potatoes, parsnips and sweet potatoes; cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and carrots. Jacqueline, Elizabeth, and I drank Roc de Lussac Sainte-Emilion 2014, and Jackie and Ian a Charles Renoir Chablis 2014, both brought by Elizabeth. We finished up with Jacqueline’s Christmas cake. A little later we drank a toast with the Fortnum & Mason champagne from Luci’s Christmas hamper. My mother and sisters returned home at 9 p.m.

The Breadline


This warm and wet afternoon Jackie and I went shopping at Setley Ridge Farm Shop for tomorrow’s provisions.

The amount of rain that has fallen in the last few days was reflected in the pitted car park surfaces. Bedraggled remnants of Christmas decorations partly filled trays left outside.

Inside the attractively laid out shelves displayed bread, biscuits, fruit, vegetables, nuts, drinks, preserves, free range eggs, dates, and much more. Lines of cups fronting pickle jars contained taster samples of the enticing varieties. Even the shoppers’ baskets in the  doorway invited filling with the wholesome provender.

On our return through Brockenhurst we noticed a string of donkeys on the breadline in the garden of Greatham House. A coating of bracken indicated that they had trooped in from the forest for their tea, which, clearly a regular event, was soon provided by the lady of the house.

This evening we all dined on Jackie’s splendid steak and mushroom pie, creamy mashed potatoes, and crisp cabbage, cauliflower, and carrots. I drank more of the shiraz cabernet and Becky and Ian drank Encostats de Caiz vinho verde 2016.

Cleft Cliff


This afternoon we all watched Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, and Alan Arkin, supported by Peter Serafinowicz and Ann-Margret, starring in ‘Going in Style’. This is a wonderful heist romp about three ageing friends getting their own back on a foreclosing bank. I won’t spoil the story by revealing anything more.

Afterwards the oldies in our group drove down to Barton on Sea for coffees at the Beachcomber café.

In the cold air I risked frostbite by photographing the dusk before joining the others. Some walkers hurried along the clifftop.

Cleft in cliff

I wondered whether they had noticed the recently rent cleft in the cliff edge. I also wondered whether this chunk of rocky soil would still be in situ next time we pass this way.

Others, walking their dogs, strode along the shore line.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s excellent beef, mushroom, and onion pie; creamy mashed potatoes; crisp cabbage, and crunchy carrots. I drank very flavoursome and full bodied 16 Little Black Pigs shiraz cabernet 2016, one of a mixed case Ian gave me for Christmas.


Sussing Possible Rentals


For much of the day, Jackie drove me and Flo around the forest, focussing on the location of a few flats she has found that might be suitable for her to rent. First on the itinerary was one over the antiques centre where Elizabeth has a cabinet.

From there we drove on to Ashurst to survey the forested area surrounding the secluded building. The low sun sent sharp shadows across the sparkling frosted terrain; and brightened reflections in the developing pools. Lichen covered broken branches lay all around.

A pony ripped its way through the bracken in which it foraged.

Once in the north of the forest, we brunched at Hockey’s Farm Shop at South Gorley. There, Flo photographed the alpacas, the donkeys, and the chickens. She was making a video with some still photographs of the New Forest.

A diminutive pony fed from a box on the side of a pen.

Sow with piglets

A contented sow shielded her three day old piglets from prying eyes. A notice warned that she might become grumpy if they were poked.


Donkeys always seem more in evidence to the north of the A31.

Godshill was our next port of call. We are unable to find the selected property, but we did tramp along muddy paths. The car’s access to the most likely location was barred by three farm horses, one of which was particularly large. As we made our way past them, the animals picked up speed and appeared to be racing us down the soggy slope on which mud mingled with equine droppings.

Farm horses waiting for tea

We thought it best to stand aside from these heavy-hoofed beasts. They swung round the bend at the bottom of the hill, coming to a halt at the farm gate. We were informed by the woman apparently in charge of their reception committee that they were assembling for their tea.

We failed to meet Becky and Ian here. After waiting in Godshill Cricket car park watching the moon rise and the sun set, we returned home to find the others there. Our problem was the lack of mobile phone signals depriving us of the ability to communicate on the move, on which we have all become so dependent.

This evening we all grazed on cold meats, cheeses, and salads Jackie laid out on the kitchen table.



In Lindum House Garden


When conversing with Flo about a set of photographs made at Lindum House in Newark some years ago, she told me that they were taken when she was a little older than I had thought. I then realised that I should have been looking for colour slides, not the negatives I had presumed lost. I scanned the pictures produced in May 2005.

Those I had particularly remembered were of our granddaughter playing with a frog from the pond, which aroused the interest of Matthew’s dog, Oddie.


Mat had also come up for a visit.


Louisa and Errol enjoyed a game of tennis. Oddie tried hard to join in.

Drinks were taken on the picnic bench.

Flo joined in the tennis, then,

no longer needing a push, enjoyed a swing. By now she had changed her attire,

as did Louisa and Errol, for an evening out.

This afternoon the four of us went shopping at Castle Point, near Bournemouth. We drove round and round the packed car park for ages before managing to leave the cars and do battle with other sales shoppers. New clothes for Flo, and a new handbag for Jackie were purchased.

This evening we all dined on Jackie’s delicious beef in red wine; mashed potato and swede, new potatoes, carrots, and runner beans. Ian drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Bordeaux.


A Tradition Maintained


This afternoon we were visited by Helen, Bill, Shelly, Ron, David, Jenny, Rachel, Gareth, Anthony, Jane, Neil and Donna, for the annual Boxing Day party.

Everyone gathered by about 3 p.m. and swapped all their latest news with the usual amount of fun and laughter. Guests could help themselves to cold meats, salads, and cheeses from the kitchen table.

Ian distributed drinks,

then turned to his role as quiz master.

There was keen competition between the two teams into which we were divided. Ian had spent considerable time on compiling a quiz of the year divided into months. A final round included 22 excerpts from Christmas songs which we were required to identify. The team I was included in was most fortunate in having Donna as a member. Almost single-handedly she clinched victory with her encyclopaedic knowledge of popular music. Each team had a scribe who would write down the answers. The debates to determine the answers became quite animated.

There were still some Christmas presents to be distributed.

Some tender moments were experienced.

Finally, Jackie’s delicious cooked meals became available for people to help themselves. The sitting room was cleared in seconds, until guests returned with laden plates. There was plentiful lamb jalfrezi, rice, onion bahjis, and samosas; and beef in red wine with mashed potatoes.




Scooby is in reality Flo’s little brother. So excited was he, yesterday evening, after three years, to once more be romping around the floor; mock fighting; and running excitedly, paws clicking on the laminate flooring, with his big sister that he appears to have had a new lease of life. To have regained his youth. Or, at least, his middle age.

Normally in the morning he dozes in his bed, making old man noises.


This morning, calmly nestled in Flo’s arms, he was wide awake as we opened our Christmas stockings.

This afternoon, on Now TV, we watched ‘Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them’, another work of magical fiction from J.K.Rowling, starring Eddie Redmayne and whoever produced the special effects. This was very enjoyable.

Early this evening we opened our main presents. For some years now, Becky and Ian have given me a personalised diary. There is often some subtle reference to this blog. From England’s Midlands to somewhat further north ‘our evening meal’ may be referred to as ‘us tea’. For that reason, after we have eaten, I am known to announce that I am just going to “tell the world what we had for us tea”.

Here is a scan of the front cover of this year’s diary.

It was quite late by the time we all tucked into Jackie’s splendid roast turkey dinner with stuffing, roast potatoes and parsnips, red cabbage, chestnuts and bacon, pigs in blankets, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, and tasty gravy. Red wine and various cordials were imbibed. I drank some of Jackie’s present of a superb Chateauneuf du Pape 2016. (Honestly, WordPress, I would have thought by now that when I write Pape in relation to wine you would know I do not mean Cape) We are threatened with Christmas pudding when we have room for it. That might be some time hence.


Today was spent by the four of us driving in two cars to and from Gatwick airport where we collected Flo to join us for Christmas. This was a highly emotional event.

I have only once before flown from Gatwick. The story of how that came about is told in “Sign That, Dad”.

This evening we dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away fare. Everyone enjoyed the usual excellent food. Ian drank Leffe; Jackie and Becky water; Flo elderflower cordial; and I, Doom Bar.

Back Through The Barrier


Today I scanned the final batch of colour negatives from Norman’s 70th birthday boat trip on 6th April 2002.

Some of these are from the start of the journey soon after we left Westminster Pier and people settled down to eat.

The Post Office Tower and St Paul’s Cathedral are each visible beyond Tower Bridge.

Norman mingled with his guests on the upper deck.

Yesterday I featured our arrival at the Thames Barrier, a short distance beyond which was the turning point from which we returned to the pier.

Passing back through the flood barrier gave us unique views of three of the capital’s iconic structures. Even for me it is surprising to establish that it is the barrier that at 35 years old is the most senior. The first buildings in Canary Wharf were completed in 1991, and the Millennium Dome just about managed to open on the last day of 1999. The website opens its lengthy page on the Dome with:

‘The Millennium Dome was the centrepiece of British celebrations for the dawning of the year 2000.

Built on the site of the Meridian Line in north Greenwich – symbolising time – the Dome was, at the time of construction, the biggest dome in the world, occupying 300 acres of a formerly contaminated derelict gasworks. The former gasworks had been derelict for more than two decades and was the largest undeveloped site on the River Thames.

The Dome originally contained a theme park-cum-scientific exhibition entitled the ‘Millennium Experience’. This was a series of themed ‘zones’ representing concepts such as ‘money’ or ‘the body’, supported by live theatrical events throughout the day. The Millennium Experience closed on December 31 2000, and the Dome has since been sold to be converted into a 26,000 capacity entertainment and sports arena.’

There is much more about the controversy and financial mismanagement of what was, at the time, termed a ‘White Elephant’ on the highlighted website.

This afternoon Becky and Ian joined us for their Christmas visit which began with a meal at Lal Quilla. Service was as friendly and efficient as ever, and the food excellent. My choice of main course was king prawn Ceylon. Kingfisher and Diet Coke were the drinks consumed.


Paddling Along The Thames Part Two


Today I scanned another batch of colour negatives from Norman’s 70th birthday party, the first part of which I featured yesterday.

Norman’s guests soon filled their plates with items from the splendid buffet on the lower deck.

They then wrapped themselves up in order to enjoy convivial company in the crisp, bright, open air on the upper level.

Norman engaged in his usual animated conversation.

Canary Wharf

As we passed Canary Wharf which dwarfs the older buildings standing nearer the river, I reflected that, whilst running my London marathons in the early 1980s, I, and others had tracked their flattened site when One Canada Square and its neighbours were still on the drawing board. Less than two decades ago we were speculating about what would be filling the spaceGoogle has this information, among other entries: ‘Canary Wharf is a busy financial area filled with skyscrapers like the glittering One Canada Square. Canada Square Park hosts summer concerts and a winter ice-skating rink, while the Museum of London Docklands draws families with model ships and hands-on displays. Casual cafes bustle during the day and, come evening, post-work crowds gather in stylish wine bars and pubs. Ferries called Thames Clippers ply the river.’

I wonder whether the red framed gas holder in this shot is still extant.

A stir of spectators, raising of binoculars, and expressions of wonder

Trinity House 6.4.02

as we passed Trinity House, heralded our approach to

Thames Barrier 6.4.02 1

The Thames Barrier.

The website of Trinity House offers the following information:

‘Trinity House is a charity dedicated to safeguarding shipping and seafarers, providing education, support and welfare to the seafaring community with a statutory duty as a General Lighthouse Authority to deliver a reliable, efficient and cost-effective aids to navigation service for the benefit and safety of all mariners.

The Corporation of Trinity House was incorporated by Royal Charter in 1514 to regulate pilotage on the River Thames and provide for aged mariners.

With a mandate that has expanded considerably since then, we are today the UK’s largest-endowed maritime charity, the General Lighthouse Authority (GLA) for England, Wales, the Channel Islands and Gibraltar and a fraternity of men and women selected from across the nation’s maritime sector.

Our long-standing familiarity with the channels, hazards, currents and markings of our coastline also qualify us to inspect and audit almost 11,000 local aids to navigation, license Deep Sea Pilots and provide Elder Brethren as Nautical Assessors to the Admiralty Court.

Per annum the charity donates around £4m to the charities we support. These include the provision of cadet training schemes, welfare provision for retired mariners and educational programmes teaching safety at sea skills.

Our mission

Our mission as a General Lighthouse Authority is to deliver a reliable, efficient and cost-effective aids to navigation service for the benefit and safety of all mariners.

Furthermore, as a charity we help to ensure that British commercial shipping is crewed by well-trained men and women and that mariners in need of all ages and backgrounds are supported in a number of ways either directly by us or through grants to other maritime charities and initiatives.

Trinity House works closely with a number of highly-regarded national and international organisations, including the Northern Lighthouse Board, the Commissioners of Irish Lights, the Maritime & Coastguard Agency, the UK Hydrographic Office and the International Association of Marine Aids to Navigation and Lighthouse Authorities (IALA) , to name just a few.

Our vision

Our vision is to be a trusted world class organisation and regarded as such by our stakeholders.

We work hard to ensure that we are valued as much for our work today as for our reputation earned through over five centuries of service.

Although we are proud of the reputation afforded us by our many centuries of dedication to the nation’s maritime infrastructure, we are a forward-facing organisation; it is our ability to meet new challenges and the changing requirements of the modern mariner that keeps us relevant and effective.

We will continue to support the maritime industry that moves up to 95% of the UK’s international trade, keeping the lifeblood of our economy moving safely and swiftly and ensuring the UK’s place in the 21st century global economy.

Marine operations

At the business end of Trinity House we operate a fleet of vessels, working in our waters at the highest levels of seamanship.

We have been operating in the waters around England, Wales and the Channel Islands since 1741, using purpose-built tonnage equipped to the highest technical standard and manned by professionally qualified officers and crew.

Coordinated and monitored around the clock by our Planning Centre, typical vessel activities include wreck location and marking, aid to navigation maintenance, towing, buoy handling and surveying.

Working at sea is unpredictable and inherently hazardous; to preserve the safety of the mariner we take measures to make sure we can respond effectively should an incident occur, working closely with our partners at the Department for Transport and the MCA. We have a vessel ready to respond within six hours of the Strait of Dover, carrying our instantly recognisable Emergency Wreck Marking Buoys.’

Concerning the Thames Barrier’s flood defences, extracts from a Guardian article of 19th February 2015  show that ‘The Environment Agency’s “at risk” list includes the Houses of Parliament, Whitehall, City Hall, Canary Wharf, Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, Kew Gardens, the O2 Arena, 51 railway stations, 35 Underground stations, eight power stations, more than 1,000 electricity substations, 400 schools, 16 hospitals and over half a million of Greater London’s roughly 3.3 million homes – not to mention 1.5 million of its people. Large areas of Southwark, Lambeth, Tower Hamlets, Hammersmith, Fulham, Wandsworth, Barking, Dagenham, Woolwich and Newham could find themselves under water, along with many settlements along the estuary in Essex and Kent.’ Also that during the period from ‘early December 2013 to the end of February [2014], its steel gates were closed a record-shattering 50 times, preventing the river from running riot. Previously, the barrier had closed only 124 times since it began operating in 1982. The agency described this sharp increase in demand as a “blip” and, apart from routine testing, the barrier hasn’t been closed since. However, during its lifetime there’s been a strong, overall upward trend: it was closed four times in the 1980s, 35 times in the 90s, and 75 times in the 2000s. There have been 65 closures since 2010, suggesting this climb is continuing.’


[This 6 minute video graphically describes how the structure works.

This celebration will require possibly one more instalment.

Jackie produced succulent chicken in a Nando’s lemon marinade on a bed of peppers and onions, accompanied by new potatoes and green beans. She drank sparkling water and I finished the Pyrene.