A Reflective Conversation

This morning Ronan of Tom Sutton Heating gave our boiler its annual service and investigated our inability to control the heating by thermostat. He found a piece of equipment was malfunctioning and will book in another visit to fix it. I didn’t really take in what it was.

After lunch we drove to Elizabeth’s to return the suitcase in which she had packed Mum’s presents. She wasn’t in so we left it on the doorstep and ran away. The day was cool, clear, and bright, so we didn’t think it would rain.

On the outskirts of Brockenhurst skeins of cloud stretched across the moors on which ponies cropped the sward.

Jackie parked the Modus on the verge of Church Lane where pools reflected the now skeletal trees and the woman of this friendly couple expressed pleasure at seeing the sun again and its perfect light for my photography.

More reflections were visible in the bubbling, swirling, stream, and the autumn leaves bore the touch of Midas.

Jackie photographed the stream as it ran through the garden beside which she had parked, and the autumnal trees above it.

I produced pictures of a gentleman paddling a boat; moored yachts; starlings perched on masts; and a couple of young female cyclists engaged in a reflective conversation.

Jackie, meanwhile, also photographed starlings claiming crows’ nests; a gull taking a rest; a street lamp lit up in readiness for the evening; and swans approaching gulls in a row alongside vacant rowing boats.

This evening we dined on oven fish and chips, cornichons, and pickled onions followed by custard tart, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Shiraz.

They Left Their Mark

We have an old saw that states “Red sky at night, shepherd’s delight, red sky in the morning shepherd’s warning”. This certainly rang true today. Jackie had only a few minutes to photograph a

rosy pink dawn. Afterwards there was barely a tinge left for Florence sculpture’s portrait.

On this decidedly dank, dismal, day, Aaron, Mark, and Steve lopped two trees and removed another,

leaving their initials on the stump.

In a little more than half a day, the A.P. Maintenance team carried out this task, leaving the garden as if they had never been here except for

the neatly piled debris on the back drive. Because Aaron’s van is still in hospital they could not remove all this until it is back on the road.

This process is well choreographed, each man knowing his specific tasks.

Mark wielded the chain saw, first from the shed roof, then whilst climbing the trees.

Because the first holly seriously threatened the shed it was cut down and shaved to the level of the initialled image above.

Aaron received Mark’s cut branches, sometimes catching them from him as they were tossed down;

he and Steve gathered them together

and toted them down the garden to the neatly stacked piles.

The second holly and a sweet smelling bay tree were left standing but considerably reduced in height.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy pasta arrabbiata with minced beef, followed by unusually spicy custard tart which, had she remembered to include the extra prepared ingredient, would have been pumpkin pie, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Shiraz.

Communal Bath

Quite early this morning we drove to Mudeford to look at the sea. The sun briefly outlined the horizon; the waves were very choppy and

determined to bubble over the wall onto the promenade. I needed to be unaccustomedly quick on my feet to keep them dry, whereas

a reflecting fisherman just paddled patiently.

As I watched the water dripping from a walker’s uplifted foot I wondered whether his dog really wanted a walk as it hopefully hugged the bollards yet would probably pick up wetter paws when circumventing each vacant bench ahead.

Sailboarding was under way –

more so in the more sheltered harbour away from the open sea. Some of these gentlemen, nevertheless couldn’t keep out of the water for long.

One came a cropper behind a capsized sailboat against which the thud of the waves syncopated with the

tinkling of the rigging of the parked sailboats

and drowned the gentler lapping of the soft sea foam frothing over the coastal pebbles.

From her car Jackie focussed on a more distant fisherman who was himself beset by spray battering rocks.

Nearer at hand she was so engrossed with a clutch of iridescent-flecked starlings that she might have missed the one perched upon her wing mirror had it not begun to shout at her.

Gulls soon moved in, one pointing out the necessity to pay for parking, and another

attempting to join in the starlings’ communal bath.

Finally she snapped her fisherman packing up.

The evening we dined on “definitely the last serving” of Jackie’s still succulent beef and mushroom pie, boiled potatoes, carrots. cauliflower and runner beans, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank The Second Fleet Lime Stone Coast Shiraz 2019.

Where Is The Body?

A friend of Aaron managed to tow away his truck which needs a new fuel pump. He hopes to have it repaired as soon as possible.

On another very grey day I scanned more black and white negatives from May 2008 that didn’t appear in The Magnificent Seven publication.

The first selection is from Kensal Green cemetery, opened by The General Cemetery Company in 1833, the oldest of London’s landscaped cemeteries.

‘The Cemetery of All Souls at Kensal Green was the earliest of the large privately-run cemeteries established on the fringes of London to relieve pressure on overcrowded urban churchyards. Its founder George Frederick Carden intended it as an English counterpart to the great Père-Lachaise cemetery in Paris, which he had visited in 1821. In 1830, with the financial backing of the banker Sir John Dean Paul, Carden established the General Cemetery Company, and two years later an Act of Parliament was obtained to develop a 55-acre site at Kensal Green, then among open fields to the west of the metropolis. An architectural competition was held, but the winning entry – a Gothic scheme by HE Kendall – fell foul of Sir John’s classicising tastes, and the surveyor John Griffith of Finsbury was eventually employed both to lay out the grounds and to design the Greek Revival chapels, entrance arch and catacombs, which were built between 1834 and 1837. A sequence of royal burials, beginning in 1843 with that of Prince Augustus Frederick, Duke of Sussex, ensured the cemetery’s popularity. It is still administered by the General Cemetery Company, assisted since 1989 by the Friends of Kensal Green.’ (historicengland.org.uk)

This still working graveyard contains a number of family mausoleums, some of which are now bricked up.

This one is that of Andrew Ducrow (1793-1842)

‘This Graeco-Egyptian mausoleum, designed ostensibly for his wife, but mainly (as the epitaph says) “by genius for the reception of its own remains.” Condemned in The Builder in 1856 as a piece of “ponderous coxcombry. “

Ducrow was a circus stunt rider as well as the owner and producer of the wildly successful hippodramas, The Battle of Waterloo and Mazeppa. Note ……. the flanking sphinxes……… See also winged horse visible on left of relief. Other motifs included shells, beehives, angels etc.’

Caption and commentary by Jacqueline Banerjee 2007′. (http://www.victorianweb.org/art/parks/kensalgreen/13.html)

This memorial to Major General The Hon. Sir William Casement (1788-1844) ‘was’, according to collection.nam.ac.uk, ‘erected in Kensal Green Cemetery by his widow’. ‘He died of cholera at Cossipore (Cossipur or Kashipur) in 1844 shortly before he was due to return to England. Casement delayed his departure when he received a letter requesting him not to return, due to unrest in the Madras Army, that was signed by the members of the Supreme Council (the letter is in British Library). He is buried in Lower Circular Road Cemetery, Kolkata (Calcutta)’ There is, according to Historic England an identical monument in Kolkata. I remain confused about where his remains actually lie.

findagrave.com tells that the resident of the next monument, Sir Samuel Wilson, was ‘Pastoralist and owner of much land in Australia, author of “The Californian Salmon With an Account of its Introduction into Victoria”, Conservative MP for Portsmouth, he was knighted in 1875.’

‘Eustace Meredyth Martin (1816-92) [for whom this resting place was built] was a barrister, traveller and writer. His books include ‘A Tour through India in Lord Canning’s Time’ (1881), ‘A Visit to the Holy Land, Syria and Constantinople’ (1883), and a children’s novel entitled ‘Round the World'(1883)’ (historicengland.org.uk).

A group of Italian families a buried here.

Brompton Cemetery bears the grave of Flight-Sub-Lieut. Reginald Alexander John Warneford, V.C., R.N.A.S..

‘On 7 June 1915 at Ghent, Belgium, Warneford, flying a Morane-Saulnier Type L, attacked another German Army airship, LZ 37. He chased the airship from the coast near Ostend and, despite its defensive machine-gun fire, succeeded in dropping his bombs on it, the last of which set the airship on fire. LZ37 subsequently crashed in Sint-Amandsberg[a] (51°3′43.2″N 3°44′54.7″E).[8] The explosion overturned Warneford’s aircraft and stopped its engine. Having no alternative, Warneford had to land behind enemy lines, but after 35 minutes spent on repairs, he managed to restart the engine just as the Germans realized what was going on, and after yelling “Give my regards to the Kaiser!”, he was able to achieve liftoff and returned to base.[9][1]

On 17 June 1915, Warneford received the award of Légion d’honneur from the French Army Commander in Chief,  General Joffre. Following a celebratory lunch, Warneford travelled to the aerodrome at Buc in order to ferry an aircraft for delivery to the RNAS at Veurne. Having made one short test flight, he then flew a second flight, carrying an American journalist, Henry Beach Needham, as passenger. During a climb to 200 feet, the righthand wings collapsed leading to a catastrophic failure of the airframe. Accounts suggest that neither occupant was harnessed and were both thrown out of the aircraft, suffering fatal injuries. In the case of Needham, death was instantaneous.’ (Wikipedia)

Just 10 days after he earned his V.C. This man died in a flying accident.

Beatrix Potter grew up in the nearby fashionable Kensington, and seemingly spent much of her childhood behind the walls of Brompton Cemetery where it is believed she found inspiration for her characters’ names on the gravestones,

one of which was suitable for a Squirrel.

This evening we dined on more of Jackie’s super-tasty beef and mushroom pie, this time with roast potatoes and parsnips; tender cabbage and runner beans; firm carrots and cauliflower, with thick, meaty, gravy. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I finished the La Repasse.

In The Blink Of An Eye

This morning I was lulled into enough of a false sense of security to imagine that, although the heavy winds that have beset us during the last two days and the rain had desisted, the storm may be over.

The late or very early blooming gladiolus, bowed but not broken, rested on Delta’s Sarah fuchsia now basking in sunshine.

Other fuchsias, such as Mrs Popple, Hawkshead, and Army Nurse continue to thrive.

As I wandered around in the glinting sunlight which licked the eucalyptus stems, the grasses and cordyline Australis, and the lingering beech leaves, I grew in confidence of an unexpectedly fine day. Madame Alfred Carriere shared the entrance to the Rose Garden with Summer Wine hips, while Paul’s Scarlet still soared above the wisteria arbour. The house formed a bright backdrop to the view from the red carpet rose in the Rose Garden.

The fallen pot and trug were easily righted, which is more than could be said for Aaron’s truck which had broken down as he tried to leave yesterday. After an hour he sought our blessing to leave it where it was, which of course we gave.

After lunch, in the blink of an eye, the rain returned.

A few more minutes’ respite was soon granted, after which the wind and rain continued to do their worst to blow our house down.

For tonight’s dinner Jackie produced a delicious beef and mushroom pie with boiled potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, and runner beans. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the La Repasse.

Presents Of A Lifetime

Perhaps it was the two dogs in this picture that prompted me, about a dozen years ago, to say to my mother “Mum, I’m not going to buy you anything else that I wouldn’t want back eventually”. It would have been more than thirty years ago that I bought her these Balinese carvings from a friend of Jessica who shipped them over here., along with the reindeer whose story is told in “Surprise”, from a friend of Jessica who shipped them over here. These artefacts were very in vogue at the time. I knew Mum would like them. I don’t. They remained on either side of her fireplace until she moved to Woodpecker’s Care Home.

It had long been her custom to stick a label beneath each of her store of ornaments and other treasures indicating whoever had given them to her and consequently to whom they should pass at her death. There has been a limit to what she has been able to to take with her to Woodpeckers so she and Elizabeth have begun decanting them now.

I have quite forgotten donating many of these gifts, some of which were given with Vivien who died in 1965. I suspect the ceramic basket is one of those.

The copper bowl and ceramic vase both bear the name of Jessica who died in 2007.

The glowing, perfectly fitting, treen container was bought with Jackie at Chichester’s Christmas market c2011.

Apparently my daughter, Louisa, bought the china dish, and I bought the Royal Grafton thimble.

This collection was brought over by Elizabeth yesterday. It is the first batch of my share of the presents of a lifetime.

This evening we dined on succulent roast pork; sage and onion stuffing; crisp roast potatoes; firm carrots and cauliflower; tender runner beans, and meaty gravy, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Repasse de Montagne 2019.

Lymington River

Late this afternoon we took a drive into the forest.

The deciduous trees shielding Sway Tower from South Sway Lane are turning chestnut brown.

Jackie parked beside Beaulieu Road, Brockenhurst on a verge beside which an exhaust box kept pace with the turning of fallen oak leaves. From there I walked along

the undulating banks of the reflecting waters of Lymington River.

The woodland floor, like most, is littered with lichen coated twigs. Ponies basked in hazy sunlight in fields on the opposite bank.

We visited Hatchet Pond where

ponies wandered among gulls, swans, and dog walkers; a solitary donkey tried its luck among the parked cars; a rooks cawed from the trees.

Jackie also photographed the pond with its swans; me on my return to the car;

and the signs explaining the need for restoration and the nature the wildlife.

Elizabeth joined us this evening for dinner which consisted of succulent roast pork with baked apple slices and sage and onion stuffing; crisp brown roast potatoes and Yorkshire pudding; carrots, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts al dente; and tasty gravy with which the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and my sister and I drank Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2019.

Meerut Road

On another mild, sunny, morning we visited Mum in Woodpeckers Colten Care Home.

Firstly, Jackie parked in Butts Lawn along which I wandered with a camera.

At one end the ford water left its mark on the measuring gauge.

I walked alongside the rippling, fast-flowing stream watching swaying underwater weeds, scum-forming bubbles, and leaves whizzing by putting me in mind of Hans Andersen’s “Little Tin Soldier” in his paper boat speeding along the gutter. Sunbeams revealed autumn leaves and pebbles carpeting the bed, and a red-brick house was reflected in a roadside puddle.

At the other end stands a Telephone Box Book Exchange decorated with children’s drawings and a notice of Lockdown Precautions advising that the library contents will not have been sanitised.

The stream continues under the road bridge beside a splendid oak. The wooden railings are reflected in the crystal clear water.

Attempting to claim the last resilient leaf clinging to a maple on Meerut Road the gentle breeze tugged and twisted in vain.

‘Morant Hall, also known as New Forest Hall, once stood on the Lyndhurst Road approximately opposite Greenways Road, Brockenhurst.

Soon after the establishment of the Lady Hardinge Hospital for Wounded Indian Soldiers in c.1914 at what is now Tile Barn the facilities quickly became overcrowded. The hospital had tented and galvanized roofed buildings as patient accommodation and had commandeered Balmer Lawn and Forest Park Hotels.

Morant Hall was set up to take some of these patients in an attempt to relieve some of the overcrowding treating the Indian troops of the Meerut and Lahore Divisions, who fought on the Western Front, and were patients at the Lady Hardinge Hospital. The hall became known as the Meerut Indian General Hospital and was managed by a committee of local citizens and could provide accommodation for up to 120. …..Meerut Road in Brockenhurst [is named] in their memory.’ (Gareth Owen in https://nfknowledge.org/contributions/morant-hall-meerut-indian-general-hospital-morant-war-hospital/#map=10/-1.57/50.82/0/24:0:0.6|39:1:1|40:1:1 )

Despite the current Covid-inspired lockdown Colten Care continue to provide visiting facilities. We can see my mother through a glass screen for half an hour once a fortnight.

Mum was wheeled in and provided with a rug which she didn’t need to use. Jackie, who sits socially distanced beside me, and the garden behind our open door are reflected in the screen. Mother was on good, talkative, form.

In Sway Road, not far from Woodpeckers, a family of donkeys enjoyed scratching and tearing at the shrubbery. One left its post in order to discover whether I bore any treats.

This evening we dined on a rack of pork ribs in barbecue sauce, salt and pepper prawns, and Jackie’s savoury egg rice, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Cotes du Rhone Villages.

Highly Recommended

As we gradually return items to our sitting room we faced a dilemma that Nick has set us.

How on earth can we bang nails and hooks for pictures into his sublime walls? We certainly won’t being doing that for some time yet.

Nick Hayter, Painter and Decorator, is to be highly recommended for his skill, his attention to detail, his tidiness, his punctuality, his reliability, and his pleasant company. He charges by the hour and works hard and fast throughout every one.

Of all the out-of-season blooms our garden currently enjoys perhaps this gladiolus is the most extraordinary.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s flavoursome savoury rice topped by a large fluffy omelette, accompanying prawns of three different preparations, namely tempura, spicy, and salt and pepper. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Cotes du Rhone Villages.

Autumn Reflections

Jackie and I each photographed a few flowers

blooming yesterday morning. Here are the Assistant Photographer’s contributions. The first three are of Mrs Popple fuchsias and a giant which has lost its label; next is a white solanum with the bright blue Ali Baba planter in the background; the hanging baskets following contain petunias and bacopas; next, not actually a flower, are bejewelled weeping birch catkins; and finally we have raindrops on black eyed Susans.

Mine were chrysanthemums of varying hues, still hot lips, and, believe it or not, yellow antirrhinums.

Before lunch today we took a short drive into the forest, via

Lower Sandy Down which offered

a number of autumn scenes.

Church Lane, running up and down from Boldre to Pilley, came next.

Jackie parked on a verge while I stood on the road bridge contemplating

the now fast-flowing stream and its reflections.

This tangle of oak branches and the weeping willow tresses were also visible from my vantage point.

At Pilley we encountered a number of ponies beside the lake,

and noticed that Foxglove and Twinkle now have chickens for company.

The cyclist who squeezed past these donkeys on the road must have been intrigued at the number of times we passed him as we wandered around in circles at this point.

Back at home Nick continued working proficiently yet at a rate of knots. Moving from room to room as he put curtains back up and another coat of paint on the door in the sitting room; he further prepared the kitchen and added paint to walls and ceiling. One of the horrors he had to deal with was the hole in the lath and plaster wall into which had been driven by our predecessors a bracket on which swung a large fridge that blocked the doorway during their residence.

Unfortunately our craftsman will have to leave the work in the kitchen until after 19th January which is the earliest that Barry Chislett-Bruce can repair our leak. Reflecting their reliability and the quality of their work, both these men, thorough experts in their fields, are very busy, so we are happy to wait.

This evening we dined on crisp oven fish and chips; green peas; piquant pickled onions and gherkins, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Prestige de Calvet Cotes du Rhone Villages 2019.