Claggy Conditions

Although somewhat warmer, our day was dank and drizzly with no sign of the sun.

After lunch Jackie drove us to Norleywood and back.

The Scots would term the landscape’s weather dreich.

Gleaming wet bracken bounced back what light there was onto

the soggy terrain

with its fast flowing weed-carpeted, hopefully temporary, pools.

This mud-spattered pony certainly looked forlornly in need of a hot bath;

 

some of its companions sent ripples around their reflections as they took a cold one while drinking weed soup.

While I was drafting yesterday’s post we were very surprised to receive a call on our landline; even more surprising was that the voice at the other end was as clear as a bell.

Why was this surprising?

Well, for years we had such poor internet service from BT which I will not repeat here, that we closed the package account and kept the landline simply to retain our e-mail address. For some months now callers have reported a permanent engaged signal, and when we have tried to make a call we have been beset by crackling. Good crackling on roast pork is  welcome, but not this kind.

Jackie took this call from a BT engineer who wanted to check that he had fixed our problem. He was surprised to learn that we hadn’t reported the fault. This, incidentally, is because I was so fed up with previous responses that we thought we would make do with my mobile.

Upon investigation the engineer realised that he had corrected the wrong number – ours being one digit different from the right complainant. He came to the house and I spoke to him. Because he didn’t have a work order for ours he had to undo the repair. He did however confirm that ours was faulty at the box.

He gave me a number with which to contact the right section of the supplier to book another engineer. I did that.

The bonus was that, from a partial address the engineer had given us, I was able to investigate the possible other customer on our way back from Norleywood. I couldn’t find  the right address, but did meet a delightful woman and her son with whom I had a very pleasant conversation.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s splendid liver and bacon casserole; creamy mashed potato; firm Brussels sprouts; and varicoloured carrots, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Pinotage.

 

 

 

 

Double Yellow Lines

Steady, light, rain seeped from slate skies throughout the day.

This morning Jackie worked in the greenhouse while I ironed, read, and photographed raindrops on

our unidentified peach rose,

wallflower Sugar Rush Purple,

and a tiny primula.

This afternoon Jackie drove us to Keyhaven.

You may be forgiven for thinking that this is a picture of yachts moored in the harbour. In fact it is a photograph of Hurst Castle in the mist beyond them.

Here are a few more boats and buoys;

a silhouetted walker rounding the sea wall;

and some mizzled (it’s a Cornish word, WP) landscapes.

Saltgrass Lane is normally closed when flooded. Today ducks swam on the waterlogged flats;

a murky gull flew overhead;

another hazy walker could be glimpsed on the spit; and other waterfowl extended their search onto the shallow spate.

Intrepid turnstones contemplated shifting these boundary boulders,

and investigated the possibility of lifting the saturated tarmac.

A solitary swan swam along the cambered verge,

occasionally pausing to slake its thirst.

Note the double yellow lines indicating that parking in this road is forbidden at all times. Swans have diplomatic immunity.

This evening we dined on smoked haddock fillets; cod fishcakes in parsley sauce; piquant cauliflower cheese; Dauphinoise potatoes and a splash of colour from orange carrots and green runner beans. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Breede River Valley Pinotage 2017.

 

 

On A Hillside

Today was sunny and warmer than yesterday.

Jackie entered the garden for a weeding session. Within seconds Nugget was in attendance, taking time out from his under-gardener role to tweet sweet nothings to Lady, who kept out of sight.

“Where’s Nugget?” (63)

Ron continued sweeping up underneath his front garden feeder.

Jackie also photographed

hellebores,

irises,

and Daphne Odorata Marginata.

Since it was another sunny, somewhat warmer, day, and knowing that Hockey’s would be open today we brunched there to make up for yesterday’s disappointment.

Ponies were back on the moors alongside Holmsley Passage,

and in the Bisterne Close woodland,

where a lowing cow wandered down the lane and vanished into the shadows.

On a bracken covered hillside outside Burley

stood what seemed a somnolent quartet of grey ponies. I fact there was a bay among them, visible only to my camera.

On our return, just north of Ringwood we diverted along an unnamed lane which is in effect a cul-de-sac,

alongside which gnarled knuckles of mossy tree roots caught the sunlight.

A pair horses could be seen at the bottom of a field,

a gate to which bore an Alergy Alert.

This evening we dined on scrambled egg liberally laced with chopped spring onion; fresh salad, and toast.

“All Over In A Flash”

This morning’s sun shone blindingly bright in clear skies; the temperature was finger- tingling chilly. Because the meteorologists had predicted rain this afternoon we drove out early to Mudeford Quay.

I had never seen the normally tranquil harbour water as choppy as it was today.

The high tide surged back and forth over the shore line leaving bubbles clinging to driftwood;

gulls bobbed among the undulating surface oscillations,

occasionally taking to the air

and settling on the grass

until scattered by hastening motors.

Leaving a pair of brisk joggers to their exertions I walked over to the quayside with its

rougher seas and bouncing buoys.

A solitary jogger trotted past two women progressing at a gentler pace, while

an eager dog towed its owner along the pool sprinkled promenade.

From a safe distance an animated baby seated in a buggy was being shown

waves battering the sea wall.

Jackie photographed me

 photographing her. How’s that Pauline?

As we prepared to move on the Assistant Photographer showed me an image she had produced of

yacht masts and a bench, and related the story of the day.

Before my Chauffeuse had moved over to the quayside a young woman had emptied a carrier bag full of food onto the grass in front of Jackie’s car. Within seconds

a squabble of seagulls swooped seeking sustenance and set about each other scavenging insatiably.

It was all over in a flash.

At Avon the eponymous river had spread itself across the neighbouring fields,

encroaching upon calves’ feeding area.

We continued on to Hockey’s Farm shop for brunch, where we were disappointed to discover that the café was closed because a new floor was being laid.

The straggly-damp alpacas in the pasture might have appreciated their own new floor.

A thatcher’s pig has flown up onto the roof of the cottage repaired last summer.

The hair of a group of ponies at South Gorley may have been dry, but now it needed a good shampoo.

Others a little further on seemed to have had one already.

We returned to the excellent Café Aroma in Ringwood for our plentiful brunch, then travelled home facing oncoming driving sleet.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s watercress soup and rolls with which I finished the Costiere de Nimes.

 

 

 

Ripples And Reflections

On another afternoon of heavy rain we took a drive into the forest.

Over Lymington Road the sun attempted unsuccessfully to penetrate the brimming cloud canopy. The oak in the third picture has been remodelled by the sea air. The highest groping fingers never bear leaves.

Almost the only wildlife we saw while the rain hammered down was a pair of deer crossing Holmsley Passage ahead of us. As usual my camera missed the first one and we waited for the expected companion.

The two fords along this route are filling with rippling water.

The moors on either side of this much nibbled winding lane offered misty landscapes,

lichen covered trees,

gorse and bracken managing to look cheerful in the conditions.

Along Forest Road I stepped out to photograph a recent winterbourne pool. The Assistant Photographer was on hand to portray my progress and the whole scene because she knew I would take a closer look.

She was right.

Here is a mossy tuft;

weed, lichen,

ripples and reflections.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s watercress soup, followed by smoked haddock; creamy mashed potatoes; piquant cauliflower cheese; crunchy carrots, and tender runner beans, with which I drank more of the Costieres de Nimes.

“Legged It”

When Jackie looked out of our bedroom window this morning she was surprised to see a police car backing past our house and no other cars on the road.

Naturally she investigated.

The telegraph pole bearing necessary cables and the only street lamp on our stretch of Christchurch Road had been seriously sent awry,

the crossroads was blocked off and

a barrier sealed off the road in the Lymington direction.

With these photographs the Assistant Photographer brought the story. Apparently two “drunk young lads” at 2 a.m. had crashed their car into the post, left the vehicle in the ditch, and “legged it”. The lads and the car were known to the local constabulary.

Aaron, knowing that we wanted a second garden gate at the side of the house, acquired one with suitable posts which he brought to us. He began fixing it in place this morning.

While we were having lunch we were informed that we would have no power at all for four hours while the repair works were being carried out.

We decided to drive into the forest just as the afternoon’s heavy rain began.

Since we had neither heating nor light this seemed the best option, even when the torrential rain beat a tattoo on the car and made me a bit soggy each time I left the car in the interests of photography.

At Sowley Lane donkeys chomped on grass and thorns.

One enjoyed a good scratch.

A fine blanket of snowdrops bloomed on a bank along South Baddesley Road.

This was definitely a day for cars in ditches. One being towed out of its predicament blocked our path to the beach at Tanners Lane, where

wind surfing was under way.

One energetic gentleman

wound up in the water.

From the shelter of our car, having recognised him as “One For The Ladies”, Jackie photographed him as he left the sea. Strangely enough, I hadn’t realised who he was.

Jackie also focussed on me photographing the young man

and getting wet.

Ponies at East Boldre,

where the landscape glistened were also getting wet.

We still had a couple of hours to kill at this point, so stopped at Holmsley Old Station Tea Rooms for a cream tea.

There followed two more hours reading by torchlight before our electricity returned.

We then dined on Jackie’s flavoursome chicken jalfrezi, savoury rice, and parathas with which I drank Costieres de Nimes 2018.

 

Mud-caked

I have to acknowledge that I seem to be out of step with more regular reviewers of The Favourite which we watched on Prime after dinner yesterday.

I am not competent to comment on the historical accuracy of this story of the last years of Queen Anne, a very sad eighteenth century English monarch; nor for the depiction of Court life of the period. But maybe that is not the point of the film which focusses on the battle between two women for the position of Royal Favourite.

The three stars of Yorgos Lanthimos’s alleged tragicomedy offer undoubtedly excellent performances. Olivia Colman and Rachel Weisz certainly deserved their awards. Emma Stone was also very good. Unfortunately, although one could sympathise with each of them in their own struggles I found it impossible to like any single character in the film.

It was an assault on the senses, not least for dirge-like banging music(?) and weird cinematography seemingly making use of a fish-eye lens and dizzying panning effects. Tragic, yes. Comic, not for me. Maybe I just don’t find it easy to laugh at people who are struggling.

Today was another of unceasing gloom.

This morning we each took our cameras into the garden at different times.

 

My pansies were photographed in the front garden, Jackie’s, somewhat nibbled, at the back;

Jackie photographed bright magenta cyclamen while I pictured the stone cherub reclining  against the tree trunk beside them;

the first two pelargonium images are Jackie’s;

two more are mine;

The Head Gardener produce her own photos of her pelargonium cuttings in the greenhouse;

she also photographed her stumpery, with watching owls and brown grasses;

vinca;

bergenia;

hebe;

viburnum;

mahonia;

cineraria;

 

euphorbias Silver edge and Rubra;

and primulas.

I contributed a range of camellias.

Soon after lunch we drove into the soggy forest, where the green at Bramshaw has been ploughed up by the hooves of

 

mucky sheep;

dismal donkeys;

and mud-caked cattle.

We each photographed a weather vane. Jackie’s bore Father Time,

mine a pair of geese.

A pair of riders road past.

Nearby a robin tweeted to one of a trio of

miniature be-rugged ponies.

Further on, approaching Newbridge we encountered

another herd of cattle. The second of these two photographs of Jackie’s includes a redwing and a crow, two of the avian entourage

accompanying the bovines.

Here is a redwing

and a wagtail.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy chicken Jalfrezi, savoury rice, vegetable samosas, and parathas with which I finished the Garnacha Syrah while the Culinary Queen abstained.