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When Jackie attempted to log in to our BBC iPlayer channel last night she was blocked by today’s title message. Initially perplexed she eventually twigged the problem. Bear with me and all will be revealed.

Of late Ellie has become rather keen on

Teletubbies, as shown on BBC TV.

In fact she enjoyed it with her mother this morning. She becomes very animated when watching, occasionally blows bubbles, waves her arms and legs about, and tries to say hello when the babies do.

When we tune in to iPlayer we have icons on which to click to select who is watching. We usually select D for Derrick. It now appears that her grandmother has added an E for Elowen. This had been left selected and she – as it seemed – wasn’t allowed to watch her great grandmother’s choice.

While awaiting a delivery of a few more paving slabs Martin was unable to continue with fitting them. He therefore spent the morning tidying the rose garden

in the company of Nugget Junior, who flitted to and fro from perch to perch.

Now we have stopped lighting the open fire the jackdaws have returned to the chimney pots.

This afternoon Stuart from Tom Sutton Heating fitted the immersion heater part and left all in working order.

I celebrated by recovering the photographs to the following posts:

As with all of these Sue W is sending me back the pictures from her links so that I can replace them into my new site.

This evening we all dined on succulent roast duck, crisp roast potatoes, sage and onion stuffing, firm Brussels sprouts and crunchy carrots with tasty gravy, followed by bread and butter pudding, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Gran Selone.

Three Ponies For A Pound

After lunch today, with, as usual, SueW’s help, I recovered the pictures to the following posts:

This afternoon Jackie and I took a forest drive.

When I photographed these grasses in and the log teepee beside a section of Hatchet Pond that I had often photographed before I had not realised that I was about to learn that this was known as Little Hatchet.

Approaching a larger area of the lake I noticed sky borne evidence that a woman was tossing food for gulls

and a pair of swans who she told me were Norman and Nancy, who normally had their home in Little Hatchet, where Flo and I had photographed them with their cygnets on 27th May.

Each year they chased the other Cygnus family away from this section, where I had photographed them before Christmas, and took possession of the spot in case they would like to move home.

We drove on to Furzey Lane where Jackie noticed, and photographed, that the thatcher’s donkey on a rooftop had provided even more material for nesting birds.

She also focused on the landscape into which the avians had probably carried their stolen straw.

Nearby stands the Furzey Lodge Pound, which we have never before seen occupied.

Today there were three residents.

This evening we all dined on perfect pork chops with mustard sauce and almond topping; sautéed new potatoes and leeks; roast sweet potatoes and mushrooms; crunchy carrots, and tender green beans, with tasty gravy. I drank more of Gran Selone and no-one else did.

He Wanted To Buy Some Sausages

We had intended to take a forest drive after shopping at Tesco this morning.

Because I had forgotten to bring a book while waiting in the car, I decided to photograph shoppers at their work,

including this gentleman whose task it was to collect up the trolleys and return a stack to the collection point.

As it turned out this was just as well, because our car responded to Jackie’s attempt to start up with a graunching hiccup.

This meant that forest time was occupied by waiting for the RAC to visit, confirm our own diagnosis of a battery problem, sell and fit a new one. Michael, the very pleasant mechanic, arrived in an hour and took less than half an hour to complete his work.

In the meantime, her smile wiped away, Jackie had returned to the shop to buy lunch.

When Michael told us that the dying battery was seven years old and one of theirs, this reminded Jackie that that one had been fitted when a similar breakdown occurred in Ferndene Farm Shop and the man who had responded to her call on that occasion said he had fought off all competition for the job because he wanted to buy some sausages.

Soon after we returned home Ian brought back Flo, Dillon, and Ellie.

This afternoon I recovered lost files in

This evening we all dined on more of yesterday’s beef in red wine which Ron had insisted we brought home; creamy mashed potatoes, firm cauliflower, carrots, broccoli and Brussels sprouts, with which Jackie drank more of the Chardonnay and I drank Gran Selone Premium Collection Italian red.

The Coven And Warlocks

This morning, with the aid of SueW, I recovered the photographs for:

This afternoon Jackie drove me to Shelly and Ron’s for a lengthy family lunch. The three former Rivett sisters periodically convene for lunch or coffee and cake. This is affectionately termed a coven meeting. Today their three warlocks, Ron, Bill, and I, were included.

Our nephew Neil dropped in to see his parents and stayed to converse happily with the rest of us, before the three ladies returned from visiting their mother’s ashes plot with the customary Christmas wreath, delayed through illness.

Jackie contributed a large saucepan of beef in red wine; Shelly provided the vegetable dishes of tender green beans, broccoli, carrots, and Lyonnaise potatoes; Helen provided flavoursome cherry pie and pear and ginger flan, with custard or cream according to taste.

Hostess Shelly served Jackie’s beef in red wine;

we helped ourselves to the vegetables;

then tucked into our plentiful platefuls.

Helen then served desserts, after which we repaired to the sitting room for coffee, Cointreau, crossword, quiz, and congenial conversation.

Clicking And Cleaning

Today I added recovered photographs to these posts:

All, of course, with help and encouragement from SueW.

In the meantime, Martin was able to work on the patio paving all day,

making considerable progress. The third image contains his colour coded print of the pattern he worked out on his computer.

Shortly before dusk we enjoyed a pleasant conversation while I clicked and he cleaned up.

For dinner this evening we enjoyed breaded cod, new potatoes, ratatouille, and peas, with which we both drank Montes Reserva Chardonnay 2020.

Who Needs A Rug

With help and encouragement from SueW, I have today replaced the missing photographs from the following posts dated from 23rd to 28th October 2022. New followers from before mid-December may not have seen them.

Flo, Dillon, and Ellie were collected by Ian at mid-day to take them for a few days to Southbourne.

After lunch we took a forest drive.

On Forest Road a grazing pony blended with the bracken.

We looked down on the landscape below Braggers Lane,

Where a paddock was entered through a fence that lay between a decaying stump and a gnarled tree trunk;

a New Forest pony accompanied a field horse protected against the cold temperatures by a rug, of which the hardy little equine has no need. Throughout the day we noticed field horses wrapped up and ponies uncovered.

During their safe season, pheasants abound in certain areas of the forest. Most scurry through a hedge when poked at by a camera lens. Not this fellow on parade on Ringwood Road who happily strutted about showing his best side.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s wholesome shepherd’s pie with fried potato topping, crunchy carrots, firm cauliflower and tender cabbage with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Shiraz.


After picking up medication from Milford on Sea Pharmacy late this morning we took a forest walk.

At Keyhaven Harbour the slate-grey sky merged with the vanishing horizon beyond which we could barely discern walkers on the spit; boats buoys and moorings rested on mirrored glass reflecting all in gentle monochrome ripples.

From the harbour we drove along damp Saltgrass Lane tracking a gentleman following the coastal path to

the shallows alongside Hurst Spit, where we spotted Turnstones, a Godwit, and a Raven among others.

Much of the recent ice has now melted, although the day was still chilly enough for these patterns along Sowley Lane,

where its lake reflected mallards and other waterbirds.

Through the mist across Beaulieu River we glimpsed a gulp of cormorants.

I have chosen not to brighten any of these images so that readers may see how misty the day was.

When we returned we found a message from Elaine at Tom Sutton Heating to say that it is only one part of an immersion heater that needs replacing and it will be fitted on Tuesday. I do believe she was even more delighted to convey this news than I was to receive it.

This evening we dined on succulent roast pork with crisp crackling, crisp roast potatoes laced with garlic, crisp Yorkshire pudding, crunchy carrots, tender green beans, and firm broccoli, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Merlot brought back from the pub yesterday.

At Least Something Is Working

Now. We. Have. No. Hot. Water – Again.

Elaine from Tom Sutton Heating rang to tell me they have found a supplier for the new oil tank that is required. There will be a month’s delay before work can start, but I am to receive a phone call to arrange for a quotation visit.

While I was speaking to Elaine Jackie shoved a note under my nose stating “No Hot again”. The water was cold again, The upshot is that we now need a new immersion heater.

The Assistant Photographer produced a batch of images of the heater for reference and I sent them to Elaine.

In the meantime I continued bringing logs into the sitting room from outside, and

Martin was able to continue with the paving project.

As can be seen, his pattern is shaping up nicely,

and he does things that men do according to his mug.

I warned him of the likely title of this post, because he was all that was working here.

This evening we dined at The Hare and Hounds at Sway with Elizabeth. Both the ladies enjoyed prawn cocktail starters; mine was excellent whitebait with salad; Jackie chose a plentiful pulled pork and beef burger with chips and onion rings for her main meal; Elizabeth’s was very tasty liver and bacon tower; mine Admiral’s (fish) pie with vegetables – all were well cooked and splendid helpings. No-one could manage a dessert. My sister and I both drank Los Pico Reserva Merlot 2021, and Jackie drank Amstel.


One way and another, heating dominated my day. This morning Stuart from Tom Sutton Heating came to examine the boiler problem.

Readers may remember that, following Ronan’s last visit, the burner light had gone out, making it impossible to reset the once again nonfunctioning equipment.

Shortly before the engineer arrived I noticed the light was beaming once more. I pressed the reset button. A raucous chugging ensued – then ceased.

Stuart inspected inside and out. There was water neither in the tank upstairs nor in the system, in which there was no oil. Closer examination revealed a blockage in the pipe leading from the tank to the boiler. This turned out to be algae from the contaminated oil.

A new tank is required. Ronan does not provide these, but he knows a man who does, and will approach him as soon as he has the necessary report – probably overnight. With a smile I informed Stuart that he had the air of a medic conveying bad news.

At least the immersion heater is now working so we have hot water without boiling a kettle

This afternoon Elaine rang to confirm all this.

We distributed the collection of oil-fired radiators we now have and I kept the log fire going in the sitting room.

The postman brought me the electricity bill for the current month – more than twice the cost of the last one.

Our wood supply in its open shed has become less and less accessible without falling foul of extraneous objects blown around by recent gales or longer planks and beams dumped on top of logs we hadn’t expected to need. This afternoon I began to tidy this up, with the bonus of finding two planks that will be useful in the process of refurbishing our compost bins. I carried them to stand beside those structures.

By the time I had finished all this it was too late for a forest drive, so I published

This evening we dined on wholesome shepherds pie topped with fried potatoes; firm carrots; and a brassica melange of sweetheart cabbage, cauliflower leaves, and leaks, with which Jackie drank more of the Pinot Grigio and I drank more of the Shiraz..

Droll Tales 5

The fifth tale in the first Decade of these stories by Honoré de Balzac is entitled variously as respectively accompanying each of the featured illustrators.

In profusely romping prose presented with humorous wit, similes and metaphors galore the author makes us privy to a right royal extended poo joke of a king known for his loose, licentious, living and propensity for practical pranks.

Mervyn Peake. The Diversions of King Louis XI.

Gustave Doré. The Merrie Jests of King Louis the Eleventh.

Jean de Bosschère. The Merrie Diversions of King Louis the Eleventh.

Further details of each of these publications is given in