The Last Rays Of Summer

After their meal last night everyone came back here and we enjoyed a pleasant continuation of the birthday celebration, including Flo’s firm and moist mango flavoured cake.

While the others slept in this morning Jackie and I took a trip into the forest. As it was another warm and sunny day beneath a clear cerulean sky featuring clustered cotton cloud we experienced an influx of visitors enjoying the last rays of summer.

This meant a gentler pace gained along our lanes and thoroughfares:

we followed cyclists along Undershore, so sinuous as to make passing dangerous;

horse riders ambling oblivious along Furzey Lane;

and slow moving traffic, their progress halted by ponies on various roads – all part of New Forest retirement life.

The clipped tails of some of the ponies betrayed their recent attendance at Drift annual roundups and health checks.

Dozing donkeys basked in shade on the verges of Pilley Street

alongside the former telephone box book exchange attached to the village shop that has now moved to the new Community Hall.

The aforementioned horse riders on Furzey Lane travelled beneath

horse chestnuts soon to bounce on the tarmac

and maple seeds preparing to execute rocking helicopter descents.

This afternoon I watched the rugby World Cup matches between Portugal and Georgia, and between England and Chile.

Becky and Ian returned home before dinner this evening, which consisted of Red Chilli takeaway fare. My choice was prawn pathia, enjoyed with Becky’s doggy bag prawns and coconut rice from yesterday’s Thai meal. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Montepulciano D’Abruzzo 2020.

A Little Optimistic

Early this morning I watched the recording of last night’s rugby World Cup match between France and Namibia.

Later I took advantage of a sunny morning to take a brief walk round the garden before the rain set in for a few hours, and another when the sunlight returned this afternoon.

The air, when dry, was warm and fresh, and attracted bustling bees, as well as my camera lens.

Liquid light played across my garden views

and enhanced individual blooms. As usual the selections in each gallery bear their own titles.

Later I watched the live broadcast of the rugby match between Argentina and Samoa while tucking into the plate of cold meats and salad Jackie had left for me while this branch of the family joined Becky and Ian for the latter’s Birthday celebration at Milford on Sea’s Britannia Thai restaurant. My intention to lead the party had been proved a little optimistic after yesterday’s outing demonstrated that I was not yet fit for another.

Back On The Road

A soft breeze gently ruffled the still air this morning as we set off for a short forest drive culminating in brunch at the Lakeview Café.

Steam rose from the warmed wet tarmac of Holmsley Passage dappled by sunlight licking the browning bracken.

The winterbourne pool along Bisterne Close, so recently devoid of water, now reflected cotton clouds, overhead lines, spent yellow iris leaves, and a nearby gate.

The weather was now once more sultry enough to summon flies to pester ponies

already seeking shade from trees stippling hide and branch.

Hidden behind New Lane near New Milton are the manmade Orchard Fishing Lakes, permit holders of which enjoy the proximity of Lakeview Café which serves freshly cooked excellent quality food at most reasonable prices.

On such a lovely day enjoying warm sunshine filtered by scudding clouds, it was hardly surprising that soon after midday this family run business was packed out inside with room for other diners to bask comfortably at tables outside while watching the fishers’ quiet repose.

All ingredients, especially the real meaty beef burger, homemade coleslaw, and plentiful fresh salad in my gourmet burger choice, even on such a busy day, were of excellent quality, and strong cutlery was up to the job of cutting the food..

Jackie’s tuna panini was equally perfectly prepared and presented.

Including Jackie’s coffee, this meal set me back £21 to which I added a £3 tip.

Naturally we were warned of a wait, which did not bother us, so Jackie investigated the reading matter; the cakes and crisps to which, should we need anything else after our main courses, we could serve ourselves; and the ever changing artwork on the walls.

In the meantime I observed today’s other customers which included obvious retirees, visiting families, and local people, all contributing to the cheerful ambience generated by the efficient, friendly, and helpful staff.

As I have been off my fodder this week, the brunch was more than enough to satisfy me for the day, so I didn’t join the rest of the family as they enjoyed another of Jackie’s chicken and vegetable soups this evening.

Markheim

Although the temperature was warm outside this morning and the winds as strong as they had been throughout the night, there was no rain until it bucketed down from about 11 a.m. onwards. I therefore accompanied Jackie as she delivered the elderly Modus to the dealer and collected her sprightly four year old Hyundai i10.

In the meantime Ronan and a colleague from Tom Sutton Heating fixed an oil leak by fitting a faulty valve, and I remained inside for the rest of the day while heavy rain continued into the night.

I submitted

to Denzil Nature for this week’s challenge. All but the first picture are from my archives.

Reminiscent of Dostoevsky’s “Crime and Punishment” is “Markheim”, the next of the Robert Louis Stevenson’s stories in my Folio Society collection, which I read this afternoon.

As Michael Foreman’s illustration shows, we learn pretty quickly that Markheim is a murderer, trapped by his fears into remaining in the victim’s shop wrestling with the consequences of his guilt and the temptations of the personification of his conscience.

The building itself, empty but for the corpse, brings dread as the perpetrator, anticipating there may be someone else within, searches for further riches which he knows he would squander.

Haunted by his imagination and his need for redemption, Markheim struggles over how to respond as the moment of discovery draws nearer. I will leave the author to reveal this.

Later, I watched the second half of the rugby World Cup match between Italy and Uruguay.

This evening we all dined on Jackie’s wholesome chicken and vegetable soup and fresh crusty bread, with which I drank more of the Côtes du Rhône Villages and no-one else did.

The Treasure Of Franchard

Knowing we were to expect gale force winds today, Jackie laid down garden chairs and Flo furled the parasols yesterday, but, because they have such heavy bases did not lay them down.

The gusts did it for us. 75 mph winds came through The Needles, just about 5 miles from us as the crow flies. They will continue throughout the night and most of tomorrow.

It is a measure of some improvement in my cold that I did venture out, if only briefly, onto the patio for these photographs, but no further.

On another afternoon of reading I enjoyed “The Treasure of Franchard”, a moral tale of the potential problems of riches. This short narrative of 8 chapters in my Folio Society collection of Robert Louis Stevenson’s stories contains delightfully descriptive bucolic prose, and penetrative insights into humanity.

Through the developing relationship of a loquacious doctor and a taciturn, yet questioning, boy the work is more obviously philosophical than some of the other stories. Ultimately it is the boy who emerges as the tutor.

Michael Foreman’s illustration features the pivotal finding of the treasure which is the vehicle for the lessons for the various protagonists.

This evening we all dined on Subway sandwiches produced by Flo and Dillon with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Séguret Côtes du Rhône Villages 2021

The Rajah’s Diamond

With my cold reaching its peak and today’s weather pattern repeating that of yesterday I spent the day seated indoors.

First I watched a recording of last night’s rugby World Cup match between England and Japan, then read “The Rajah’s Diamond” story from the Folio selection of Robert Louis Stevenson’s tales.

In a four part story, with humour and mystery the author traces the passage of an item of great wealth and its effect on the lives of a number of people with whom it comes into contact. We see that it is an object that tempts into crime and deception bringing no happiness.

Once again Michael Foreman’s illustrations capture the essence of Stevenson’s characters and events created in the author’s usual flowing prose.

This evening we all dined on Jackie’s cottage pie and beef pie with boiled new potatoes; firm broccoli and cauliflower, crunchy carrots, and meaty gravy with which the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the GSM.

From Thunderstorm To Sunshine

With thunderstorms raging outside and my having been the last to succumb to the common cold that has worked its way through the household, I stayed inside and watched World Cup rugby starting with a recording of last night’s match between Wales and Tonga; then live matches between South Africa and Romania and between Australia and Fiji.

This evening the sun emerged and Jackie photographed

the hour before twilight. Each image is entitled in its gallery.

This evening we all dined on roast lamb; boiled new potatoes, firm broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots, mint sauce, and meaty gravy, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the GSM.

Where Can She Put Them?

Early this morning I watched a recording of last night’s rugby World Cup match between New Zealand and Namibia.

When I walked round the garden afterwards the temperature was hot; the air humid; the skies overcast.

This, and the amount of colourful blooms (all identified in the gallery) demonstrate that summer has no intention of being pushed aside by autumn.

Jackie has been quietly collecting bulbs to bury for next spring. As I noticed her most recent purchases I could not help wondering

where on earth was she going to put them? As usual these locations are identified in their gallery.

This afternoon I watched the live matches between Samoa and Chile, and between Wales and Portugal.

For dinner this evening we all enjoyed a third sitting of Jackie’s chicken jalfrezi meal, without the samosas. She drank Hoegaarden and I Drank François Dubessy GSM 2021.

The Suicide Club

Early this morning I watched a recording of last night’s rugby World Cup match between France and Uruguay, which was more of a contest than had been predicted.

Later Jackie drove me to and collected me afterwards from my friend Giles’s house so we could enjoy a conversation.

In the meantime, realising that our Modus is becoming too frail to carry us around any more, Mrs Knight visited the Hyundai garage at Everton where she chose a replacement younger model which we secured with a deposit this afternoon.

Afterwards I photographed a spider that I am holding back for Denzil’s upcoming Nature Challenge.

I then finished reading “The Suicide Club” by Robert Louis Stevenson, being the third in The Folio Society’s collection.

This is really the tale of a deviously scheming serial killer who inveigles victims into sham situations encouraging them to dice with death. We have intriguing mystery; fearful dread; fanciful locations, and gullible prey in what is a three part detective story. Stevenson uses light and shade to evoke the atmosphere of the developing murder mystery. He describes the settings in detail, using fairly lengthy yet flowing prose, with a keen ear for conversation and other sounds.

As usual, Michael Foreman’s watercolour illustrations picture the author’s work admirably.

I hope the prose samples alongside these examples do not give too much away.

This evening we all dined on more of Jackie’s chicken Jalfrezi meal with the addition of tandoori paneer; with which we each finished our respective beverages.