A Regatta

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Today’s photographs will show how overcast and dull was the weather. They were taken early this afternoon. What they don’t show is neither that the rain had stopped nor how much colder was the temperature.

This morning, Jackie, on a trawl through Google maps, discovered Jealous Lane. She thought it would be fun to seek it out, especially as it looked as if it could lead to Setley Pond. Near the village of Battramsley, of which we had never heard, we soon realised why we had not ventured down it before. Firstly, it had no street name; secondly,

it was full of waterlogged potholes.

Even though a bunch of ponies had managed to find a dry area, there was so much water on the forest floor that we weren’t sure until we investigated exactly what was Setley Pond.

Walkiees website recommends the area to dog-walkers. I cast no aspersions on the specific dog owners who appear in a couple of my photographs, but I have to say that I have never before needed to negotiate as many heaps of canine turds in any forest location as we encountered today.

Here we stumbled upon a meeting of The Solent Radio Controlled Model Yacht Club. First we were aware of a ring of white buoys, then speeding model yachts, then a group of gentlemen sporting fishing waders on the far bank operating their radios. So engrossed were these enthusiasts in their occupation that I relied on another spectator for the information that this regatta regularly took place several times a week. I imagined this might be a club of sorts and found the group on Google.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s classic cottage pie, crisp carrots, cauliflower and cabbage; followed by mixed fruit crumble and custard.  My lady drank Hoegaarden. I had finished the Paniza before we ate.

 

 

Colour Coordinated

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We are in the midst of a fortnight of predicted rainy days.

Puddle

at 8.35 this morning it was necessary to employ flash to photograph the weather gauge puddle in the gutter outside our front garden,

Winter flowering cherry

and the delightfully resilient winter flowering cherry that, at this rate will bloom until September, when it first blossomed last year.

I thought, “blow this. With all this un-desisting rain descending, I’m pissing off to London” – figuratively speaking, you’ll understand, through the medium of scanning another dozen colour slides from the Streets of London series. The weather there in July 2005 was rather better than it has been here today.

Harrow Road W2/Warwick Crescent 7.05

From 1974 to 2007, I was a frequent visitor to Beauchamp Lodge, the tall, nineteenth century building on the corner of Harrow Road and Warwick Crescent. Having joined the Committee in 1974, I soon found myself in the Chair which I occupied for 15 years. Afterwards I rented rooms for my Counselling Practice. This establishment has periodically featured in my posts, but I have not previously mentioned the Katherine Mansfield connection. One of the many incarnations of the building was as a hostel for young women music students, one of which, in 1908-9 was the famed New Zealand writer, the subject of an April 2013 newspaper article in the Ham & High, subtitled ‘The turbulent love life of a very serious writer’.  Who knows? On one of my overnight stays I may have slept in what had been her bedroom.

Radnor Place/Somers Crescent W2 7.05

Last year the lease of a small (approx.15 square metres) lock up garage to the rear of Somers Crescent W2 was sold at auction for £30,000. There was just 23 years to run, with a ground rent of £25 per annum.

Southwick Place/Hyde Park Crescent W2 7.05

Hyde Park Crescent W2 7.05

According to its website ‘St John’s Hyde Park is a Church of England Parish Church in the Hyde Park Estate in W2, Paddington, Westminster, Central London. It is a Modern, inclusive, liberal catholic Anglican church in the Diocese of London.’ I have a, now faint, jagged scar on my forehead incurred on entering the car park of this church. The story is told in ‘The London Marathon’.

Archery Close W2 7.05

Archery Close W2, is another frighteningly expensive street in Bayswater.

Connaught Street/Portsea Place W2 7.05

Connaught Street runs from Hyde Park Square to Edgware Road,

Connaught Street W2 7.05

where the Maroush Deli is actually located, and where many Lebanese establishments are to be found.

Hampden Gurney Street W1 7.05

On the opposite side of Edgware Road lies Hampden Gurney Street. Are these smokers still puffing?; has the gentleman scratching his head discovered where he’s going?; is one of the three women seeking accommodation?; is the driver of the linen van parked on a red route making a delivery?; did he get a ticket?

Quebec Mews W1 7.05

Gustavian, on the corner of Quebec Mews and New Quebec Street was clearly having a facelift. Is this the Swedish interior design company? Re the name of this Mews, see elmediat’s comment below

James Street W1 7.05

The Café Appennino at 38 James Street W1is currently listed as inactive. I do hope they did not fall foul of dodgy drains.

Barrett Street/James Street 7.05

The Greene King Local Pubs website tells us that ‘The Lamb and Flag in Marylebone is located on the forefront of the renowned restaurant area, St. Christopher’s Place. This Georgian listed building does not hide its beautiful heritage, as wood panelled walls line the interior, dating back to 1813.’ The young man with the shoulder bag will do well to avoid a collision with either of the two preoccupied persons approaching him, and end up in the lap of the barmaid cleaning the table.

Berkeley Mews W1 7.05

I was so grateful to the young lady approaching me with rather obvious trepidation along Berkeley Mews, for being so well coordinated with the contents of the truck and the traffic cones. She relaxed when I pointed out why I found her so attractive a subject.

Jackie had made enough pasta arrabbiata yesterday for two meals. Served with the addition of green beans, we enjoyed the second this evening. The Culinary Queen presents her apologies to those who asked how she makes it, because it’s always different and she can’t remember this one. That may, of course, have something to do with the Hoegaarden she had just imbibed. I drank more of the Paniza, but then, I’m not the chef. We will make sure the next one is fully described.

 

Going Back

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“Treasure Island”, “Gulliver’s Travels”, and “The Wind in The Willows”, are just three long-term classics that have been marketed as children’s books. I keep no such distinction on my library shelves. That is probably why

Going Back001

Penelope Lively’s “Going Back” stands alongside Mario Vargas Llosa’s “In Praise of the Stepmother” among my novels.

I finished reading Ms Lively’s short novel a couple of days ago. I can offer no better review than to reproduce the author’s preface to the Penguin editor of 1991. She writes: “Going Back was first published [in 1975] as a children’s book. I suppose that was what I thought I had written. Reading it now, I see that it is only tenuously so; the pitch, the voice, the focus are not really those of a true children’s book. Looking at it fifteen years later, I see it quite differently, and recognise it as a trial run for preoccupations with the nature of memory, with a certain kind of writing, with economy and allusion. I was flexing muscles, I think, trying things out, and it was only by accident that the result seemed to me and to others to be a book primarily for children. It has been in print ever since, but has led a shadow-life, I suspect, skirted by children properly way of what perhaps was never an apt offering anyway, and unknown, to others who might have found something in it. When a new addition on the adult list was suggested, I thought this a reasonable idea.’

Market it for whomever you like, it is splendid example of reminiscing into a well-remembered wartime childhood as a vehicle for exploring the author’s themes.

Desk cleaned and tidied

I overslept this morning enough for Jackie to get at my untidy desk still bearing a layer of fine dust from the installation of the new kitchen. This she cleaned, tidied, and polished to a level to make me frightened to spoil it. The items now perched on my printer and scanner were rather scattered around the desk. Well, I knew where everything was. Now, like polishing a new car at least once, I will just have to sort the piles and maintain its current condition. Even the keyboard and mouse are shiny, and, when scanning old slides and negatives, I will now know which are blemishes in the scanned material needing retouching, and which are globs of something unpleasant on the screen.

The history of The Church of St John the Baptist, Boldre, can be seen on my blotter, which contains more coffee than ink. In yesterday’s post I mentioned that we would need more visits to supplement the information given there. With another day of unrelenting rain we decided on going back to seek out

Grave of Edward Watts, St John the Baptist, Boldre

the oldest named tombstone in the graveyard. This is that of Edward Watts, who died on May 12th 1698. After all it wouldn’t matter much if that was wet, would it? Now, far more lichen obscures the inscription than on the photograph that illustrates the booklet, which directed visitors to take twelve paces from the East end.

East Window, St John the Baptist Church, Boldre

The East Window helped me locate the stone that I had missed on a previous visit focussing on the graveyard. This, in 1967, was designed by Alan Younger of London, in memory of two generations of de Mowbray Royal Naval officers. It was fortunate that the artist lived until 2004, because he was able to restore the piece after someone had thrown a brick through it in 1995.

I had a pleasant conversation with the Revd Canon Andrew Neaum, who was, with two helpers, working on decorations.

Rain on windscreen

Perhaps we experienced divine intervention when the rain lashing the windscreen on our arrival, suddenly ceased, and

Lichen covered trees

lichen covered trees opposite visibly brightened.

Water running down Church Lane

Nevertheless, rainwater streamed down Church Lane,

Water running under fence

ran under a fence,

Waterlogged garden

waterlogged the garden at the bottom of the hill,

Swollen stream

and swelled the river running through it.

Lichen covered fence

Just like that on the gravestone and the trees, lichen clung to an elderly rustic fence opposite.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s superb spicy pasta arrabbiata with which I drank Paniza gran reserva 2009

900 Years Of History

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Steady rain fell all morning. This, therefore, seemed to be the day to visit Lymington Hospital to subject myself to blood tests and x-rays at their walk-in facilities. Unfortunately everyone in the catchment area had the same idea. I was advised that the best process would be to take a ticket for the blood tests, running more than an hour behind, then pose for the x-rays and return to see if my number would come up. This turned out to be a sound wheeze. Fortunately my arms are strong enough to reach behind me on the bed and support myself while seated upright in order that impossibly straightened legs could be twisted, kept still, and photographed. Not something to be tried at home. There was still another 40 minutes or so before my blood test number came up. It seemed as if Tony Hancock’s “very nearly an armful” was required. This was done to the strains of Nancy Sinatra’s ‘These Boots are Made for Walking’, which a nurse informed me was being sung to me, personally, because I deserved it. The blood tests were intended to check my fitness to tolerate surgery on the knees should the x-rays reveal the necessity.

The sparrows have again taken up residence in the gabionage which forms part of the hospital walls.

Early this afternoon the rain desisted and the sun began to make sporadic appearances. We there therefore went for a drive in the forest.

The landscape opposite the Church of St John the Baptist, Boldre was somewhat waterlogged, although the sky had brightened.

Daffodils and primroses still sprawled down the bank and in the churchyard.

On our previous visits to this historic place of worship we have been unable to gain entrance. Today the door was open in welcome. Although the exact date is not certain, a charter of c1100 refers to Bolra Church with its chapel of Brokehurst, and it is accepted that a church was built at Boldre by William I in 1079. We can be sure that the list of incumbents posted on a wall almost opposite a displayed bible of 1613 is accurate.

Jackie studies a laminated information sheet in boxes pews furnished with embroidered runners. Norman arches are seen on the left. Behind her is the West End. The Barrel or Wagon roof with its carved bosses are typical of fourteenth century country craftsmen.

The stained glass West Window, depicting Faith, Hope, and Charity, was made by Ward and Hughes of London inserted in 1864 in memory of Charles Winston. Other windows, in order, are in memory of Rosemary Bradley, Louise Emily Bowes Read and her baby son, John Philip Burrard; and lastly, The Millennium Window, designed and engraved by Tracey Sheppard FGE, and installed in April 2000.

Much of the paved flooring consists of early gravestones.

On the north wall of the nave is the John Kempe Wall Tablet. The subject was MP for Lymington in 1640. This portrait is a rare survival of the attentions of the hammers of Oliver Cromwell’s Roundheads, or the New Model Army of the English Civil War of 1642 – 51.

Two more recent works of art are the lectern designed by Cresswell Hartley Desmond and carved by his sister Phoebe over a period of twenty years from two pieces of oak from Boldre Grange given to the church in 1952; and Richard Bent’s chandelier commemorating the 900th anniversary.

This treasure will require at least another visit to fill in the gaps Jackie and I have missed.

This evening we dined on the Culinary Queen’s superb cottage pie with perfectly cooked carrots and cabbage. I finished the Navarra.

 

The Weather

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Early this morning we attended to bits of my body.

First, Jackie drove us to the GP surgery in Milford on Sea where I set in motion a long overdue referral for an orthopaedic assessment of my knees, and learned that I am on a list for a cataract adjustment to my left eye. I should be fully bionic soon. Next was a visit to our dental hygienist for a routine treatment.

We then returned to Hockey’s Farm Shop for a box of eggs we had left on the table yesterday.

Today the weather was decidedly soggy with occasional rain. Just one pony appeared to have ventured out. As it struggled to find nourishment along the verges of Holmsley Road it must have regretted the lack of

one of the rugs its more pampered field residents were still wore. They didn’t all even have to find their own food.

These latter animals were kept at South Gorley, so let us here return to Holmsley Road, the forest floors on either side of which are now full of temporary pools covering the terrain and reflecting branches, trunks, and mossy roots.

Crossing the A35 we come to Holmsley Passage, bordered with its own pools of precipitation and wind-blasted branches.

A woman with a dog strode down the hill and across the swollen ford just in time to enhance my photographs.

At Gorley Lynch, light rain seeped from silver-grey skies, supplementing ditchwater flowing across the crumbling road, and brightening moss on the thatch of the house alongside the farm café. This was in stark contrast to the cerulean canvas that had covered the building the day before. Note the mistletoe in the tree. There is much of it about the forest.

This evening we dined on Hockey’s Farm hot and spicy pickled onions accompanying Mr Pink’s fish and chips, and pineapple fritters in Lyle’s golden syrup. I drank Don Lotario gran reserva Navarra 2009.

The Grass Is Greener

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“We must find a lamb,” announced Jackie this morning. “To prove it is Spring”.

So we did. Quite a few in fact. This wasn’t very difficult given that Christchurch Road is flanked by fields full of them. The farmer appeared to be conducting an inventory. The golden heap in the fourth picture is gravel from New Milton Sand And Gravel.

On such a morning it was a pleasure to continue up to Hockey’s Farm Shop at Gorley Lynch for brunch. Ponies were out in their multitudes today. This group on Holmsley Road couldn’t make up their minds on which side of the road they wanted to take up residence. We thought it best to stop until they had decided.

Many players were out on the Burley golf course, where, to complete a round, they must wheel their clubs across the main road.

Donkeys breakfasted from the middle of the thoroughfare at Rockford Green, while another, oblivious of a passing cyclist, took up her stance on a junction at South Gorley.

Chestnut ponies at Gorley Lynch, having slaked their thirsts in the full ditches, set off down the road to cross at a well-trodden path. One, skirting a welly atop a traffic cone, created a mighty thud as it leapt the ditch and set off in pursuit of its companions. I exchanged pleasantries with the walker being followed by three cyclists. Jackie informed me afterwards that she had waited patiently behind me whilst I wielded my camera. I hope the young woman hadn’t wondered why I hadn’t thanked her.

The paddocks at the farm were, as usual, shared by donkeys and alpacas. One of the latter animals knew very well that the grass is greener on the other side, and seemed determined to taste it.

Not every pony we saw was exercising its right to dominate different road users. Others, occasionally outlined on hillsides, occupied the moors. The one pictured here with its legs in the air is not dead. It is rolling on the grass in order to dislodge something irritating.

For our dinner this evening Jackie produced spicy piri-piri chicken, soft sautéed leek and peppers, and colourful vegetable rice. She drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Azinhaga Portuguese red wine.

Husky Models

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Today, for the most part, was overcast and dull, although the sun did emerge on our way back from Calshot where Jackie drove us this afternoon. We were positively sweltering in temperatures of 10-12 Celsius.

I wandered among the parked boats and trailers beside the Tudor castle and the modern hangars. One man worked hard to pump up his trailer tyre. He was, like the vessels, reflected in the pools on the concrete.

On the shingle beside Southampton water driftwood and rubble created natural sculptures. Tyres had also been incorporated, sometimes filled with concrete and used as mooring rings. The last one featured here held

one of two memorial seats to Jon Hughes and Norman Ellis. The plaques suggest that these comparatively young gentlemen were both mourned windsurfers, leading to speculation about their deaths.

Three young girls walked along the wall to the castle moat, passing a gentleman seated with a pair of huskies. He was very happy to have his beautiful dogs model for me. Zara retained her interest for longer than Ashka.

A variety of decorative chickens are free to roam in their pen along the outside of the wall of Beaulieu Abbey. When I approached to photograph them,

two gulls that were tucking into the seed in the tray in the foreground of the first of these pictured, rapidly fled across the road past the grazing donkeys. Further over, a riverine garden is home to an intriguing cannon.

The Brockenhurst stretch of Highland Water flowed fast, although scarcely disturbing the reflections of ponies, skies, and trees. Even the banks were filled with reflective pools.

This evening we dined on barbecue sauce marinaded rack of pork spare ribs on a bed of Jackie’s sublime savoury rice radiant with the hues of sweet corn, red peppers, peas, onions, and mushrooms. I drank more of the Azinhaga.