“Look, He’s Posing”

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This morning Jackie drove us to Lymington for me to take photographs that might be suitable for the walls of Lal Quilla restaurant. Raj had asked me for some a couple of days ago.

I began with a few featuring the building itself.

Gosport Road

The surrounding area includes Gosport Street, and

Quay Hill,

Painter Quay Hill

where the painter working on Sophie’s stopped to pass the time of day with a passer-by.

Quay Hill 1

 The King’s Head stands on the corner diagonally opposite Lal Quilla, at the point at which the High Street turns at right angles into Gosport Street. The tavern’s website tells us that

‘Despite dating back at least 300 years, many of the original features of The Kings Head can still be seen today.

The pub is known to have originally also been a bakers back in the day and even now the old bakers oven is still standing, along with the old well which is featured at the centre of the pub.

When you visit The Kings Head you will see the long-lasting beams made from Napoleonic Ships that only add to the character of this old English pub.

The pretty courtyard that we see today was previously used for fish-drying, whilst the buildings adjacent to the yard were an abattoir and fishermans house.

Despite these drastic changes over time, the inside of the pub has remained somewhat the same and the great open fire that cannot be missed is at least 300 years old.

It is these characteristics that, when you visit, make it easy to imagine the pub back in the 18th Century as a regular haunt for the smugglers and sailors that would frequent this famous sailing town.

Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you may even see one of the old regulars who used to pick up pots in exchange for ‘grog’ as he has been said to return occasionally as the pubs very own friendly ghost…’

I doubt that Raj, the manager, would want all the pictures I have produced, such as those of two alleys that can be seen from inside the restaurant, but I did need to indulge myself.

Quay Street lies at the bottom of Quay Hill. The driver who left his van at bottom right of the second picture was to be disappointed when he attempted to deliver a package to a closed shop. Winter hours in these establishments are somewhat restricted. The Boat House Café featured in the first scene is where we brunched,

People on bench

after I had wandered along the quay photographing a row of people seated on a bench;

Young woman on wall

a young woman crouching cross-legged on a concrete wall;

Shadow of young woman

and another casting a long shadow as our paths crossed.

Train crossing harbour

The train aiming for the Isle of Wight ferry traversed the harbour.

Lymington Quay 1

A pair of oriental tourists walked towards The Ship Inn,

the windows of which rippled in the water.

We drove on through the forest and found ourselves at Pilley Bailey, where, knee deep in water or autumn leaves, a group of ponies enjoyed their alfresco lunch.

Pony crossing road

One of these animals decided to cross the road. As I turned to watch it, I noticed

a trio of alpaca and dog walkers.

Alpaca walkers 4

One of the ungulates stopped still, staring in my direction. “Look, he’s posing”, cried his guide, as she strained at the leash.

Clouds on horizon

We were a little late to catch the sunset at Barton on Sea, but the bank of clouds resting on the horizon gave a differently dramatic effect.

This evening Jackie, for our dinner, produced roast chicken, mashed potato, green and runner beans, cauliflower, carrots, and ratatouille. She drank sparkling water and I drank Chateau Bonhomme Minervois 2016.

 

Waiting For A Bus

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This afternoon, Jackie drove us around the forest.

On the outskirts of Brockenhurst a troop of cattle exercised their right to hold up the traffic.

River Lymington

Over Lymington River

Swing over Lymington River

a swing has been suspended from a tree bearing

a lengthy lichen-laden limb kept out of the water by a complicated system of rigging.

Pool and reflections

A pool is filling up on the other side of the road.

Crow on shrub

Wherever we go we are likely to see a crow perched high enough to explain the term ‘a crow’s nest’.

This one could observe ponies chomping whilst waiting for a bus.

Ponies on moor 1

I was just thinking how sleepy one of the animals looked, when it turned and yawned in my direction.

An isolated individual had no competition for the grazing on the other side of the road.

Sun, tree, pool

At East Boldre, the sight of the sun behind a tree mirrored in a pool,

 

encouraged us to return in time to watch the sun drop down below the horizon

and deepen the red, gold, and indigo hues above.

Ponies keeping the grass down here were oblivious of the beauty above.

This evening we dined on fishcakes, one Thai, and one parsley and cheese, served on a bed of onions, peppers, tomato, and garlic; with runner beans, carrots, and cauliflower. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and I finished the Malbec.

Changes

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Richard, from Kitchen Makers, visited this afternoon to assess measurements and requirements for our new kitchen, to be installed in January.

I went off to London – virtually, in the form of scanning another dozen Streets of London Colour Slides. These are from May 2005.

Marylebone Road 5.05

The shopping trolley on this corner of Marylebone Road probably contains items collected by someone hopeful of recycling them, possibly in exchange for cash. Barrie Haynes, in his comment below has noted that ‘ The red bus (Merc ‘Bendibus’) is probably one of a large batch now working in Malta. Bleeding Heart Yard EC1 5.05

During this time I made regular annual visits to my accountant in Hatton Garden. This is how I came to find the Bleeding Heart Tavern and Dining Rooms. Described on its website as a ‘long–established and extremely popular French Restaurant [which] offers superb food in historical surroundings within the centre of London. It takes its name from the yard where it is located which, according to the history books, was named after a 17th century beauty, Lady Elizabeth Hatton, who was found murdered there. The warm, wood-panelled Restaurant is an ideal venue for both an important business lunch (customers cross the City of London for its famed Cheeseboard) and for a romantic ‘diner a deux’ – it was voted by ‘The Times’ as the most romantic restaurant in London.’ The food was certainly excellent, but my memory is of a very cramped ambience. The current photographs look rather less so.

Leather Lane and Portpool Lane EC1 5.05

I would walk up Greville Street to Leather Lane, with its market stalls, like this one on the corner of Portpool Lane;

Dorrington Street EC1 5.05

passing Dorrington Street, EC1;

Hatton Wall and Leather Lane EC1 5.05

and Hatton Wall.

Hatton Wall EC1 5. 05

The Clock House pub has been renamed, refurbished, and re-marketed as

The Craft Beer Co. Apparently those original features that could be retained were saved in the new scheme of things; the company specialises in ‘craft ales’. One reviewer had this to say soon after the reopening in 2011: ‘Well, it’s still the first flush of opening, but signs are good for real ale lovers. The old Clock House has been done up, but they’ve kept what original features they could. Boasting 37 taps and 150 different bottled beers, it’s been pretty busy on our visits (opening night was absolutely rammed, so we went elsewhere, but we’ve been back a few times since), however, the staff are pretty well trained to spot thirsty punters patiently waiting. And they’ve taken the decision to serve the stronger beers in half-pint glasses, although the prices are comparable to a pint. You may think around £4 for a half is expensive, but when you’re getting a beer that’s 10% ABV, it’s hard to argue. Prices are high overall, but we can’t say we’re surprised. The main room was pretty busy and, as it was a nice evening, a good portion of the clientele had spilled out onto the pavement. The upstairs room was quieter, if somewhat overshadowed by the large photo-mural on one wall which we mistook for The Edge (from U2) until we noticed he was filling beer kegs. There’s no menu, just ‘high quality bar snacks’ including handmade scotch eggs and enticing pork pies.’

St Cross Street EC1 5.05

St Cross Street must be around there somewhere.

Boswell Street WC1 5.05

Moving back to WC1 we find the Transport & General Workers Union Central Office. Formed in 1922 the T & G was merged in 2007 with Amicus, forming the trade union Unite.

London Street W2 5.05

Paddington Station originally served the Great Western Railway (GWR), which, Barrie tells us, ‘ceased to be on Nationlisation in 1948.‘ London Street W2, runs alongside its office buildings.

Winsland Street W2 5.05

In 2005 the Royal Mail Central London sorting office was still housed in the red brick building on the corner of Winsland Street, stretching further on down London Street. According to The Guardian newspaper the asset was sold to a Singaporean consortium in 2014 for £111,000,000.

London Street and Conduit Place W2 5.05

If the food in this sandwich bar on the corner of Conduit Place matches the outlet’s facelift, it might be quite tasty.

Norfolk Square Mews W2 5.05

It is not recommended that you risk parking your car in Norfolk Square Mews.

The number of changes of use and of ownership featured here bear out the words of Heraclitus featured in ‘All Is Flux, Nothing Stays Still’. 

I printed a couple of photographs of Lymington High Street I had taken a few weeks ago, in which Raul, a waiter at Lal Quilla, had appeared. As we were dining there this evening I took them to him. Raj, the manager, asked me for some pictures he could frame and put on the restaurant wall. I will be happy to raid my archives for something suitable.

My choice of main meal was lamb Ceylon; Jackie’s was chicken sag; we shared special fried rice and an egg paratha, and both drank Kingfisher.

The First Gallery Christmas Show 2017

This morning we visited Margery and Paul at their home in Bitterne. We had been unable to attend the gallery’s Christmas show, so were pleased to enjoy some of the items awaiting collection.

Readers may have noticed that I have been unable to produce a gallery on this site for some months. One of the benefits of the improved internet connection arranged by James, of Peacock Computers, is that this is again possible. It therefore seems appropriate that our friends’ collection should introduce this renewed facility.

I have also taken the opportunity to substitute a gallery for one photograph in ‘Hot Pants’.

From Margery and Paul’s we drove on to Elizabeth’s where spent a couple of pleasant hours before returning home.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s choice chilli con carne and savoury rice. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Malbec.

A Perfect Ten

4TH DECEMBER 2017

This post is one day late, but we now have good internet access.

Now having tried one for lunch today I am bound to expand on my mention of the pork pies sold at Ye Olde Pork Pie Shoppe featured on 2nd, posted yesterday.

Walker’s are one of the best pork pies we know. It is therefore interesting that, in addition to their own Dickinson & Morris pies, the shop stocks those.

Dickinson & Morris

The proprietors’ own produce comes in two different wrappers. The red one appears standard.

Jackie bought a more expensive white wrapped pie.

We consider ourselves connoisseurs of this traditional English delicacy which can vary enormously in quality. There were a number of different varieties on offer in Newark when we lived there. We would rate them out of 10, taking into account both the filling which must be firm and not fatty, and the pastry which must be crusty and not soggy.

Until today we had not found a Perfect Ten. We have now.

Dickinson & Morris provide the following information on their website:

‘The business was founded by John Dickinson in 1851. In 1886 Joseph Morris joined the business as an apprentice and in 1901 the company changed its name to Dickinson & Morris.

Our bakery and retail outlet, Ye Olde Pork Pie Shoppe, is a tourist destination and key landmark in both Melton Mowbray and the UK as a whole. In March 1992, after fire had devastated the period style building, Samworth Brothers bought the property and carried out extensive refurbishment and renovation in conjunction with English Heritage.

Ye Olde Pork Pie Shoppe reopened in October of that year. Next door to Ye Olde Pork Pie Shoppe, The Sausage Shop now offers a selection of up to 20 different sausage varieties.’

James Peacock visited this afternoon, bringing back my restored iMac computer, and setting us up with EE mobile broadband. For me, this latter process was mystifying, fascinating, and conducive to reminiscence.

The mystification concerned all the clicks on the screen, too fast for me to follow. The fascination was about the mobile phone masts that James could plot on the maps he had accessed. There are three in New Milton within the range of the EE receiver. It was news to me that we could access the internet without broadband cables which are not a great deal of use in our location.

It was wandering around the house seeking a location for the best signal that evoked the reminiscence. James is too young to have remembered the hours of taking it in turns to stand holding an aerial in the early days of television. It was some years before the first sets could be operated without the use of a cumbersome external area. This was meant to stand on top of the old black and white apparatus. In reality it would only pick up a half-way useful signal in the most awkward corner of the room whilst being clutched in hands attached to  outstretched arms.

This evening I dined on Jackie’s excellent chili con carne and egg fried rice, while she chose a pasta bake. With mine I drank Mendoza malbec 2016

Hot Pants

3RD DECEMBER 2017

With improved internet connection, I am now just one day behind in my posts.

We began today with another enjoyable conversation with Mr Watts as he cooked our breakfast.

This process led me to tell him about the Watch Me, our favourite Sri Lankan restaurant in Morden. As indicated by its title, diners could, through a very large window, watch the cooks at work.

Our host and I found common ground in Lower Marsh, alongside Waterloo Station. Mr Watts ran a stall selling women’s clothes from 1964. Between 1963 and 1966 I lunched regularly in a café in that street. It is highly likely we were sometimes eating there at the same time.

The stall made a great deal of money during the hot pants craze.

 

Jackie explained how she had made her own, such as these in September 1972.

This afternoon, back at home, I spent far too long battling with internet connection problems in order to post yesterday’s tale.

We then dined on Jackie’s excellent egg fried rice with tempura prawns. I finished the Malbec.

“Our Husbands Don’t Know We’re Here With This Man”

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2ND DECEMBER 2017

Continuing internet problems mean that I am still two days behind with this post.

After a good night’s sleep we began the day with an excellent breakfast cooked by Mr Watts. We enjoyed the bonus of our host’s conversation whilst he cooked our meal and served us. He provided  some of the information posted yesterday. We also exchanged details of knee problems. This is a regular topic for those of a certain age.

We were set up for the day with orange juice; cereals of our choice; a fry-up consisting of two eggs, two rashers of bacon, tomatoes and beans; toast and marmalade, and a large pot of tea.

Afterwards we set off by what we thought would be the pretty route to Melton Mowbray. In fact this contained numerous complex junctions and sometimes unclear signage. We determined to return by the M1.

Rockingham

One advantage we did discover was the, even on this dull day, pretty village of Rockingham,

The Barn Tea Rooms

and The Barn Tea Rooms,

Clematis Nellie Moser

outside which clematis Nellie Moser bloomed.

The Barn Tea Rooms

We enjoyed a coffee and a break in the delightful interior,

The Barn Tea Rooms

where one woman quipped that the husbands of her and her companion didn’t know that they were “here with this man”,

Jackie in The Barn Tea Rooms

so I made sure that none but Jackie appeared in the photographs.

Our object in arriving soon after midday at Jasmine House in Sherrard Street, Melton Mowbray was to check out the location and parking potential for this evening’s meal. The town centre boasted a confusing one-way system, so this had been a good idea.

We then went on a driveabout. Our first discovery was the

Windmill

Sibsey Trader

Windmill

Windmill,

Windmill

On the other side of the door to which

Inside windmill

visitors find a flour-covered notice. The bell you are invited to ring is attached to the blue rope.

Inside windmill

We couldn’t shift the rope, but were able to enter and look around the ground floor;

Inside windmill

and watch the ground flour descend the chute which indicated that Nigel was upstairs working.

The current six sailed mill was built in 1877 to replace a large postmill that had stood slightly to the west of it. During the mid 1950s it was abandoned to decay. until restoration began in the early 1970s. Ten years later English Heritage returned it to full working order. Today it is producing a vast range of stone ground flours continuing the ancient craft of traditional wind milling.

Windmill sails

One of the old sails lies beside the restored building.

The White Lion

Our next stop was at The White Lion pub in Whissendine,

Nutcracker Christmas decoration

where the Christmas decorations

Nutcracker Christmas decoration

featured a Nutcracker theme. The publican is a member of the Magic Circle who widely entertains a multitude of groups.

Ye Olde Pork Pie Shoppie

Back at Melton Mowbray we wandered around for a while, visiting Ye Olde Pork Pie Shoppe,

Ye Olde Pork Pie Shoppie window

the windows of which enticed Jackie to make a purchase.

Louisa, Errol, Jessica, and Imogen arrived at Jasmine House on time and we enjoyed a splendid Chinese meal, excellent service and wonderful company. As always the grandchildren were delightful, especially in their joyful appreciation of their presents. Naturally their mother had given us first rate advice. It hadn’t taken long to decide that it was OK to open the gifts this evening.

We experienced a smooth journey back to Watts Lodge in Bicester.