A Good Thing I Wasn’t Waiting For A Bus


On her way to lunch with her sisters at MacPenny’s Garden Centre, Jackie deposited me, equipped with a packed lunch, a camera, and, in case of necessity, a book at the bus shelter looking down Ringwood Road in Bransgore. This was in order for me to watch the traffic.

A steady stream of cars approached the junction in front of me.

Some were open-topped. It was certainly the day for it.

Vans and trucks tended to publicise goods and services.

Pedestrians tended to walk down to the row of shops on the right side of Ringwood Road and return with purchases.

Crossing the road, especially for those with arms and buggies full of children, was quite a precarious undertaking. The moment had to be seized, although preferably not on the run with fish and chips.

Cyclists of various ages and styles were much in evidence. Some were obviously locals out shopping, others kitted out for a forest ride.

The same applies to motorcyclists.

A camper van carried its own resting place, while a hearse bore a coffin to its final one.

Bringing up the rear are the trailers which carried a variety of loads.

During the 2 3/4 hours I was perched at this spot, the only method of transport not represented at this very busy corner was a bus. It is a good thing I wasn’t waiting for one.

This evening Jackie and I dined on breaded chicken breasts, sautéed new potatoes, and a melange of fried onions mushrooms and peppers. Jackie drank Alta OItalia Trentino pinot Grigio 2017 (courtesy of John Jones), and I drank Camino del Angel Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (courtesy of Elizabeth).


Only After Mum Had Enjoyed A Good Scratch


This afternoon Jackie and I took a drive into the forest.


The recent strong winds and heavy rain have desisted, but the day remained overcast until this evening when the sun returned.

Tree fungus

This bright orange tree fungus at Boldrewood seems to have benefited from its liquid refreshment.

Water is trickling back into the pools, such as this one again attracting ponies.

After having slaked their thirst in a shallow ditch, two families of donkeys trooped along the road at Norley Wood.

Our way was hampered on Holly Lane, Pilley, by a group of ponies, one simultaneously suckling a foal and catching her tail on brambles. I attempted to weave my way between the hind legs of  mares on either side of the narrow lane in order to take a shot from a different angle. This didn’t work, because the mother simply led her offspring further along the road. The manoeuvre did, however, have the benefit of clearing enough space for the Modus. Only after Mum had enjoyed a good scratch.

Elizabeth is spending a couple of days with friends at West End. This evening Jackie and I dined on the carvery at the Walhampton Arms. The service was friendly and efficient and the food unbelievably good value. For £7 a head we were offered a choice of beef, pork, turkey, or a little of each. Three large slices were served with Yorkshire pudding. We then loaded our good sized plates with sage and onion stuffing,  roast and new potatoes, parsnips, carrots, swede, cauliflower, leeks, and runner beans. Gravy was available, as was the appropriate sauces for the meats. My choice was beef; Jackie’s was pork, each perfectly cooked. Jackie drank Amstel and I drank Razor Back.

London War Memorials


Paul Clarke will tell you that my Streets of London series appears on a rainy day. It has surprised us all that today is one such. The garden, after such a long heatwave, has enjoyed the heavy rain we have received, but not the 50 m.p.h. winds.

Kitchen window viewKitchen window viewKitchen window view

Here is the view from the kitchen window this morning. Pauline’s light catcher did its job with what little there was.

Now to the Streets of London. Normally I scan the slides a dozen at a time. There are only eleven today because I thought I had lost those from after these of July 2005. Happily, afterwards, I remembered where the rest would be. They were among quite a number I had not yet put into storage files when Jackie came back into my life 10 years ago. The ex-librarian labelled their small processor’s boxes and I put them in a safe place. And we all know what happens to items that are put in a safe place.

Mountfort Crescent 7.05

My friends who lived in Islington’s Mountfort Crescent, told me that the shaded area at the pivotal point on this private drive concealed a medieval plague pit.

Barnsbury Park N1 7.05Barnsbury Park/Thornhill Road N1 7.05

Barnsbury Park N1 contains a number of interesting architectural features, like the entrance porch in the first picture and the elegant doorway on the corner with Thornhill Road. You’d need upwards of £3,000,000 to buy a complete house  in this area.

Belitha Villas N1 7.05

Belitha Villas is equally up-market.


Parliament Street/Derby Gate SW1 7.05


Parliament Street/Canon Row SW1 7.05

Parliament Street SW1

Parliament Street SW1 7.05

leads to Parliament Square.

The Red Lion’s own website gives the following information: ‘The Red Lion stands on the site of a medieval tavern – known in 1434 as the Hopping Hall. The tavern passed through various hands and traded under many names in its early years, before it was bought by the Crown in 1531.

Centuries later, with the inn trading as The Red Lion, a young Charles Dickens became a regular visitor. Dickens’ noted that the pub’s landlady was a kind-hearted soul, whose attitude towards him was ‘admiring as well as compassionate’.

Standing so close to Downing Street and the Houses of Parliament, The Red Lion also became a popular haunt for British Prime Ministers. Indeed, the pub served every British Prime Minister up until Edward Heath in the 1970s – welcoming the likes of Sir Winston Churchill and Clement Atlee for a drink.

Situated between 10 Downing Street and the Houses of Parliament, the Red Lion is probably the best pub in the city for lovers of political history. There’s every chance you’ll catch a glimpse of some of our Government’s elite in the bar, too.’

‘This pub was established in around 1749 and rebuilt in 1899. ** It stands on the east side of Parliament Street, at the junction with Derby Gate (formerly Derby Street). The original pub is the one where 12-year old Charles Dickens asked for “a glass of your very best ale” – an incident immortalised in “David Copperfield”. The pulling-down of the old pub was widely regretted in the press, because of the Dickensian associations, and a bust of the author was placed above the second-floor bay window in the new building.’ (https://pubshistory.com/LondonPubs/WestminsterStMargaret/RedLion.shtml)

Downing Street/Whitehall SW1

 Downing Street needs no introduction from me. Our Prime Minister resides at No 10, while the Chancellor of the Exchequer occupies No 11, next door.

Whitehall SW1 7.05

Further along Whitehall ‘The Monument to the Women of World War II is a British national war memorial situated on Whitehall in London, to the north of the Cenotaph. It was sculpted by John W. Mills, unveiled by Queen Elizabeth II and dedicated by Baroness Boothroyd in July 2005.’  There is much more information about the creation of this memorial on https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monument_to_the_Women_of_World_War_II

Whitehall Court SW1 7.05

Around the corner in Whitehall Court we find the Royal Tank Regiment’s memorial bearing on the base their motto ‘From Mud, Through Blood, To The Green Fields Beyond’.

I am indebted to the post of Sura Ark on Flickr for the following information: ‘The Royal Tank Regiment Memorial Statue was unveiled by their Colonel In Chief, the Queen herself, on 13 June 2000. Created by sculptor George Henry Paulin it features the five crew members of a Comet tank, the model introduced towards the end of World War II and which saw service right through until 1958. The Regiment itself was formed in 1917 – this fact is acknowledged in a small plaque that sits at the base of the statue depicting the Mark V tank which was used on the battlefields of Flers, the Somme. Amiens and elsewhere.’

This evening the three of us dined on Jackie’s excellent cottage pie; crunchy carrots, cauliflower and broccoli; and fresh runner beans. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and Elizabeth and I enjoyed Camiono del Angel Cabernet Sauvignon 2016.


Two Historic Houses

A heavy overnight storm left strong winds to send clouds scudding across bright blue skies throughout the day.

http://www.prestonherts.co.uk/page202.html gives this information about a post-war gift to Britain from Sweden:

‘After World War Two, Britain embarked on an emergency programme to quickly replace homes that had been destroyed during the war – ‘Churchill’s Temporary Housing Programme’. It was the age of the ‘pre-fabs’ -temporary homes, many of which are still inhabited today, more than sixty years later. Included in this construction plan were less than 3000 timber-built homes which were imported during 1945/46 from Sweden as ‘flat-packs’, to be erected on site.

These ‘factory homes’ were the gift of the Swedish government for Britain’s support during the war. They were supplied in sections using ultra tough Baltic pine. In Spartan post-war Britain, they were a sensation -fireplaces in every room; fitted wardrobes in every bedroom. Many sprang up in rural settings – as an inducement to village dwellers to stay put, rather than be seduced by life in towns. They had a minimum life-span of over 150 years, but out of 2,444 built, only perhaps half remain.

 They are snug and warm – being insulated by a buttercup yellow natural felt made from sheep’s wool. Trust the Swedes to provide efficient means of combating the cold! Most DIY jobs can be completed using a hammer and nails.

 Their unique place in twentieth century architectural and social history is such that English Heritage is seeking to list some, as forerunners of modern ecological housing. The sense of light and spaciousness, warmth and sturdiness has encouraged many to choose to continue living in them.’ 

Some of these dwellings remain occupied in the New Forest village of Pilley.

Elizabeth, Estate Agent, Jackie

One, at 17 Burnt House Lane, is the first of two prospective purchases we accompanied Elizabeth in viewing. My sister and Jackie are here in the front garden.

Elizabeth, Estate Agent, Jackie

Behind them can be seen the well placed conservatory.


As a holiday let the house has been very well maintained, both externally and

Lounge, 17 Burnt House Lane


Roof tiles

The original roof remains intact.


This parched field stretches along the opposite side of

the lane.

With much to think about and discuss, we lunched at the Walhampton Arms, Lymington. The meals were rather more substantial than we had anticipated, so we won’t need much more than a sandwich later this evening. My choice was juicy and tender steak and Otter ale pie with chips, broccoli, and tasty gravy. Jackie enjoyed a massive cheese and pickle baguette with salad and chips (which she hadn’t anticipated); and Elizabeth’s goats cheese tartlet was also large and served with salad and chips. I drank Razor Back, which is the revamped name of Ringwood’s Best bitter; Jackie drank Diet Coke, and Elizabeth coffee and water.

After this we were held to a slow trip along the A337 on our way to Eling, by a string of decked out ponies and traps.

Consequently we were a little late for viewing 10 Eling Hill, the Grade 2 listed building dating back to the 16th century that was the next viewing Elizabeth had arranged.

10 Eling Hill

From the agent’s brochure I scanned the front view of this end of terrace property,

10 Eling Hill

and its beamed lounge.

We had viewed two houses each of different historic interest. The first, safe from future surrounding development in the New Forest National Park, with its specific significance as a gift of gratitude to this country after the Second World War; the second, in a small attractive hamlet surrounded by the spread of Totton and Southampton, yet having stood for more than four hundred years.


The Button Box


This morning Jackie drove me to New Hall hospital for another encouraging physiotherapy session. I had been feeing apprehensive about this one because three weeks ago I stopped taking pain relief or using a crutch. The consequence has been pain which has caused me to skip most exercises. In fact, my progress continues. I can now straighten the leg completely and flex it to 110 degrees – 10 short of the target. The muscles are strong and the hamstrings not tight.

Before setting out we had shared a conversation with Elizabeth reminding me that many of us retain a certain number of items that might come in useful one day, yet never again emerge from the forgotten container in which we have stored them. One such is my

Collars box

Collars box hailing from the days of detachable shirt collars.

From my early days as a single parent I had removed buttons from every worn out item of clothing before binning the garment, and retained these fasteners in case of need as replacements. I had quite a collection which virtually filled this box.

Then along came Jackie and convinced me that I was never likely to use any of them. Clothes today were sold with much more secure buttons, and in any case, always came with replacements. Most of my collection was dispensed with,

Coins, notes, buttons

and the box filled with other knick-knacks including foreign and obsolete coins and Singapore dollars from my Australian trip of 2007.

On just one occasion the button box, and my habit of cutting these items from shirts before throwing them away was to prove beneficial. More than 20 years ago now, I was forced to concede that my favourite shirt was too frayed at the collar and cuffs to be worth saving. I placed it in a waste bin. Mum, who was staying with us at the time, fished out the shirt and, knowing where to seek the buttons, found them all, repaired the cuffs, and turned the collar. That was a pleasant surprise the like of which was to be repeated a month ago.

Some time during the winter, my favourite linen jacket impressed upon me that its collar and cuffs really were too far gone to face another summer. I binned it. Months later, soon after my return from hospital, Jackie amazed me by sitting on the sofa repairing the garment. Unbeknown to me she had retrieved the discarded item, bided her time, bought some suitable bias binding,

Jacket collar and cuffs

and patched the collars and cuffs.

This evening the three of us dined on Jackie’s succulent cottage pie, crunchy carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli. The Culinary Queen drank Beck’s Blue and Elizabeth and I drank Casillero del Diablo Reserva Merlot 2017.

Shadows On The Paper


When our friend John Jones visited to paint and draw in our garden last September, the day was so wet that he was confined to the greenhouse to avoid unwanted drops diluting  his watercolour painting.

Today, even John would not have minded a little rain. He arrived on time, and, with  Elizabeth, we sat for a while on the patio, drinking fizzy lime cordial. Jackie then repaired to the kitchen to prepare a splendid salad lunch which the four of us later enjoyed; and I took John on a tour of the garden so he could choose his vantage point. He said he was spoilt for choice

and settled in the Westbrook Arbour looking down the Phantom Path.

One of our first Japanese anemones stood just in front of him, and an accommodating hosta gathered up fallen geranium petals.

Over lunch we shared memories of childhoods – ours in London, and John’s in Southampton. Horse drawn carts were just one of the similarities we all identified. Many of mine feature in ‘An Historic London Borough’.

After lunch, our artist continued with his work. He spoke of how, in some ways, working in the steady light of a rainy day, had been simpler than with grappling with shadows on the paper.

John's Phantom Path painting

Having taken this first piece as far as he could today,

 John transferred to a shady corner of the Rose Garden. His necessary expressions of intense concentration were softened by his engaging smile.

John's drawing

He left his drawing at this point.

The four of us settled into the Rose Garden with pre-dinner drinks. Then it rained heavily, we got wet and eventually fled indoors. Then the rain stopped.

After drinks Jackie drove John to New Milton station to catch his train home to Southampton.

Jackie, Elizabeth, and I dined at Lal Quilla this evening. Elizabeth enjoyed korai chicken tandoori masala with pilau rice; Jackie chicken shashlik with an egg paratha; and I chicken jaljala with special fried rice. We all drank Kingfisher. As always, the food was excellent and the service friendly and welcoming.


Sparrows To The Right Of Us, Sparrows To The Left Of Us



This afternoon I wandered around the garden seeking flowers I may not yet have featured this year. These lilies have just popped in a patio planter.


The agapanthuses in the Palm Bed again stretch across the Gazebo Path.

Rudbeckia and phlox

They stand alongside these Rudbeckia and phlox;


while on that bed’s Shady Path side these begonias bloom.

Dahlia Puerto Rico

This flamboyant dahlia, aptly named Puerto Rico blazes between Brick and Gazebo Paths.


The arch across the Shady Path supports this purple clematis.

Fuchsia Mrs Popple

In the Rose Garden we have fuchsias Mrs Popple

Fuchsia Bella Rosella

and Bella Rosella.


Gloriana rose is having a better year;

Special Anniversary rose

while Special Anniversary

Crown Princess Margareta rose

and Crown Process Margareta are enjoying a second flush.


Jackie bought this rather splendid hydrangea very cheaply in Lidl this morning. It doesn’t have a name. You can’t expect everything for £5. She will nurture it in the pot until the weather is kinder.

Sparrows' nest

Now to the sparrows. I have reported on the second brood of these birds in the loo extractor fan. keeping their parents foraging. We have a second set in the rusted burglar alarm on the other side. These are not visible, but I can assure you that they make as much noise as their not so distant cousins.

This evening the three of us dined on a rack of pork ribs in barbecue sauce and Jackie’s sublime savoury rice. Mrs. Knight drank Hoegaarden and Elizabeth and I finished the Malbec.