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.