“Did Someone Mention Carrots?”

Although Dennis kept the wind up throughout the night and the morning, the rain desisted and some of the rainwater subsided.

The swirling skirts of the weeping birch gave testimony to the strong breezes.

Aaron had cleared up much of the garden debris yesterday, and no further untidiness manifested itself. Daffodils, snowdrops, camellias, and more, have survived.

With followers like mine it was clear what our afternoon’s drive should entail. We dutifully made our way to South Sway Lane and our equine friend in the sodden field.

Much of the water had returned to the river and the pony was happily once more chomping on grass,

taking time to polish her hooves

and drink from the normal stream.

I must admit to feeling somewhat rejected as she determinedly pursued her grazing.

It was when Jackie called to ask me if I had the carrot that the mood changed. The animal lifted her head, whinnied “did someone mention carrots?”, and trotted over to the barbed wire fence.

She was quick to relieve my outstretched palm of an extra-long Tesco’s finest root vegetable.

Far too quick for the Assistant Photographer who hadn’t enough time to focus her camera and had to settle for my subsequent question about the subject’s satisfaction with her meal.

We returned home through driving rain.

This evening we dined on succulent fillet steaks, luscious ratatouille, and crisp potato wedges coated in herbs and garlic. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2018.

I Wish I’d Brought A Carrot.

Last night we watched the first episode of series 3 of The Crown. Apart from the political aspects of the Wilson premiership I well  remember the death of Winston Churchill in 1965.

At the time I was working close to Westminster Bridge and photographed the queue of thousands waiting to pay their respects to his lying in state. These pictures feature in this post: https://derrickjknight.com/2012/05/22/the-scent-of-a-squirrel/

This morning I printed a set of photographs for Aaron of the gate he finished building on 2nd February.

Storm Dennis wept all over our area today, but he dropped his wind this afternoon. We therefore decided to go for a drive.

Racing rivulets like this one in Angel Lane ran down the gutters and verges,

rushing round into roads like Christchurch Road which is the main thoroughfare between Lymington and New Milton.

Sometimes vehicles took a wide berth with awkward consequences when they met oncoming traffic. This could result in a bucketload of water hitting windscreens in seconds. We know. It happened to us.

In order to produce these images I needed to hoist up my trouser legs and paddle through the muddy water to the sodden verge. My shoes were a little damp when I returned to the car.

 

Our next stop was on Barrows Lane where Jackie settled the Modus among the heavily pitted reflective gravel pools while I crossed

Sway Road to photograph a flooded field alongside

the equally waterlogged Lower Mead End Road.

 

Further flowing fields flooded Flexford Lane.

The junction with South Sway Lane looked so impassable that Jackie refused to turn left to investigate the circumstances of our gimlet eyed equine friend whose home would now surely be under water. She preferred to turn round and drive uphill to approach the field from the more elevated end of the lane.

As we passed Sway Tower, we noticed that streaks of blue sky stretched above.

Back down South Sway Lane we found our equine quarry, his eye now so baleful that I felt really bad that I had not brought a carrot. Anything.

Far less field, and what there was was muddy. Shaggy sodden coat and looking in need of comfort.

Pitmore Lane was also waterlogged. You can imagine what happened to me when I perched on the verge trying to merge into the fences to take these pictures.

Around the corner on Sway Road someone had thought to spread some cones along a soggy bend.

Further back we had passed a field containing a fallen tree.

Hordle Lane is perhaps 100 yards on the opposite side of Christchurch Road to our house. In a number of locations the ditches are now flowing across the road.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s luscious lemon chicken and scrumptious vegetable savoury rice with which she drank Peroni and I drank more of the Cahors.

 

 

An Epitome

The impending visit by storm Dennis determined that we batten down the hatches and stay indoors.

In the event the morning was quite mild so Jackie ventured out to Everton Nursery to purchase a couple of

double hellebores that she had heard they were stocking. One even held up its head at the prospect of being photographed.

I occupied myself reading more of The Pickwick Papers, from which

here are another half dozen of Charles Keeping’s splendid drawings. I will write more when I have finished the book, but this illustration of Sam Weller labouring over a love letter epitomises the artist’s adherence to the author’s description, even to the extent of resting his head on his left arm in his efforts to follow his letters across the page. (It may be helpful for anyone reading the text accompanying this illustration to know that ‘mother-in-law’ is an archaic term for stepmother).

This evening we dined on fine fusion fare consisting of tasty tempera prawns; a rack of pork ribs doused in plum sauce; savoury rice jam-packed with finely chopped omelette and vegetables; and tender mange-toutes, followed by moist and crunchy baklavas, with which the Culinary Queen drank Peroni and I drank Clos des Batuts Cahors 2017.

John’s Bedroom

The moon still shone brightly as Jackie went out to photograph

the pastel pink dawn

as it tinted the roof tiles over the gabled bedroom that harboured John Corden on his recent visit.

Although we had suffered a little more damage such as fallen  pots, supports, and owls on the decking,

the camellias continue to proliferate.

These views along and beyond the Head Gardener’s Walk show snowdrops, bergenias,  camellias, and primulas,

another row of which, happily hindered by Nugget,

Jackie planted this morning. The labels lying on the soil are marking lily and gladiolus bulbs also inserted therein.

“Where’s Nugget?” (66).

The Assistant Photographer produced all these photographs, including this lovely composition of

cyclamens, vinca, and cherub sculpture.

This evening for dinner, Jackie produced baked gammon; piquant cauliflower and broccoli cheese; creamy mashed potatoes; and sautéed leeks mixed with chopped cabbage. I finished the Squinzano and Jackie abstained.

Keeping Dickens

Charle Keeping https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Keeping was probably my favourite contemporary book illustrator. So, when, in the late 1970s, the Folio Society sought members’ recommendations for pairings of books and illustrators, there was only one possible submission for me.

In 1981 the first of the Dickens series was published. Derek Parker reviewed it thus

in The Times on 4th of June that year. This cutting is slipped inside The Pickwick Papers, which I am currently reading.

Normally I do not feature a book until I have finished it. In the case of this tome I might be some time. I will comment on the text when that time comes, but I have decided to take my readers on a ramble through Mr. Keeping’s signature line drawings as far as I have got.

Here is the frontispiece.

Such pagination as the overflowing layout allows will indicate the publisher’s generous proliferation of penmanship exuberantly deployed.

I have scanned full pages in order to display the artist’s scintillating gems bursting from the text.

Should there be sufficient interest I will present further pictures as I turn the pages of the book.

While I occupied myself preparing this post Jackie photographed a crab apple tree full of sparrows debating whether to trust a new feeder.

Strong winds and very heavy rain had beset us overnight and this morning.

Later, all was reasonably calm and we took a short drive into the afternoon sun.

Clear streams ran down the gutters on Holmsley Passage where

the crossing gate and scudding clouds were reflected in rippling pools.

Trees on the skyline stood against the lowering sun as it peered from behind the clouds;

a mud-caked pony nibbled at yellow gorse;

and the hide of chomping cattle was tinged with red outlines.

Sunset occurred as we returned by Holmsley Road. That, too, was reflected in waterlogged terrain.

This evening we dined with Elizabeth at Lal Quilla. I enjoyed Goan King Prawn; Elizabeth’s choice was Lamb Chana; and Jackie’s Chicken Sag. We shared mushroom and pilau rice, a plain paratha, and Tarka Dal. Jackie and I drank Kingfisher; Elizabeth chose Cobra. The welcome, food, and service were as good as ever.

Then There Were Three

Yesterday evening we watched the last episode of series 2 of The Crown. This featured the Profumo affair which we both remember well. I will not comment on the presentation, given its speculation about the effect on the Royal marriage.

We visited Boots in New Milton again this morning; this time for Jackie’s eye test. Regular readers will be familiar with her multi-ocular devices. She has now accepted that she needs the first eye test she has had since she was at primary school. A more suitable pair for her numerous roles has accordingly been ordered.

Afterwards, on the last fine day we can expect for a while, we took a short drive into the forest.

We stopped on the road to Brockenhurst in order for me to photograph landscapes with ponies. The gabled house seen beyond the railway bridge looks very much part of the scene. In fact it is less than 5 years old.

Ponies were stocking up their larders in anticipation of storm Dennis, due to strike at the weekend.

A dog walker using her mobile phone paused as a somnolent young bay rose to its feet and stepped out to join

two companions.

Then there were three under a naked oak.

This evening we dined on baked gammon; Jackie’s extra-piquant cauliflower and broccoli cheese; creamy mashed potatoes; and firm mange-touts and carrots, with which I drank more of the Squinzano and Jackie didn’t.

 

Coastal Canine Capers

Lured into a clifftop car park at Milford on Sea by the prospect of watching choppy seas crashing against The Needles. We were on our way to the pharmacy to collect a repeat prescription.

The parking tarmac was liberally strewn with shingle thrown up from the shore below;

spray surged over the sea wall.

Dog owners tell me that their pets do not like taking a shower. I was about to learn how to encourage them to enjoy one.

Allow them to romp on a gravelly puddle,

and they soon develop a taste for the spray that brings it.

Afterwards, I thanked the owner for allowing me to share his photoshoot.

From Milford we continued to Streets in Brockenhurst where Jackie collected a couple of rubber tap swirls, Just giving me time to keep an appointment for an eye test in New Milton.

Across the road from Boots Opticians is situated Mallard Café. We brunched there, and very good it was too.

We then took a drive into the forest. The light, originally bright and clear, was to fluctuate throughout the day.

At Wootton Heath the sun lit the trees against a backdrop of darkening skies. One tree had fallen.

Jackie photographed Wootton Heath Cottage in its idyllic setting.

A solitary pony enhanced the scene.

This is an area of unmade private roads heavily pitted with potholes filled with rainwater that has also provided

lodgings for mallards

in the proliferation of temporary reflecting pools.

Even when riding a horse the mobile phone is an essential accessory.

A pair of deer darted across Bisterne close, melded into the woodland

turned tail,

and elegantly tripped away.

Later this afternoon I was torn away from drafting this post in order to catch the sun disappearing into Mudeford harbour.

As so often, the cotton-bud cloud clusters to the east bore pleasing pink and indigo pastel shades.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy pasta arrabbiata with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Squinzano Rosso Riserva 2014.