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

To Catch A Worm

I spent much of the morning recovering pictures for

Immediately after lunch we took drive into the forest where

a weak sun photographed over Charles’s Lane

and through trees at Ogden North feebly attempted to pierce cold cloud cover.

Earlier, Martin had been stymied in his work on the patio by the frozen cementing material. He left after

cutting and carrying from the Back Drive the paving slabs he had oped to fix in place.

The knitted robin decorating the Tiptoe post-box on Wootton Road, knowing where he would land, having risen early enough to catch a juicy worm, donned a breast bib to compete with the Royal Mail red,

A string of ponies gathered outside The Rising Sun at Bashley.

Looking across the valley beneath the aforementioned Ogdens North frost still lay on the roofs, while a pillar of bonfire smoke made its way to merge with the clouds.

A pair of field horses sported rugs to put their unfashionable companion to shame,

while others simply blended with their golden hay.

This evening we all dined on oven fish and chips, sliced pickled gherkins, pickled onions, onion rings, and mushy peas, with which Jackie and I both drank Trentino Pinot Grigio 2021.

Fire And Ice

Early this afternoon we received a further oil-fired radiator from Amazon. This had kept us in until 4 p.m. when we ventured out into another cold-blue-sky day in search of a forest sunset.

We drove up Holmsley Passage turning right into Clay Hill at the top.

There the golden disc flirted with trees and clouds,

burnishing the trees above their reflections in the pool home to mallards,

past which a solitary grey pony emerged from the dingy dusk.

Along Bisterne Close the fiery sun slowly slipped into indigo clouds above icy, reflecting, recently filled concavities.

Further verges along the close contained some of the many lingering ice patterns in the woods and moorland, featuring leaves above and below them.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s wholesome chicken stewp with fresh crusty bread. She drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Shiraz.

No Pictures On This Post

Our boiler repair was short-lived. Once more it is not working. This time there is no light on the reset button. Another visit will happen at 8.30 a.m. on Monday.

Later this morning Richard of Kitchen Makers sealed the leak in the kitchen tap now that his suppliers have sent him the correct fittings.

Regular readers will know that I have only been able to post pictures from August to December with generous time and help given by SueW of Nan’s Farm. I have e-mailed the images and she has returned them as links for embedding. They don’t work with the new site, so we are adding them to the relevant posts which I first place in the WP media file; last night I completed that of 31st October and this afternoon of 30th – working backwards.

After lunch I posted

Elizabeth visited this afternoon, bringing two oil-filled radiators, and stayed for dinner which consisted of Jackie’s tasty and wholesome chicken and vegetable stewp with flavoursome garlic bread. No beverages were required.