The White Doves Of St James’s

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Before we set off for Emsworth yesterday afternoon, we watered every plant container in the garden. This took some time. Just as we passed Brockenhurst on the way to Becky’s birthday celebration, I realised I had left my wallet at home. Returning home for it added 45 minutes to our journey.

Matthew

Assembled at the North Road flat were Matthew;

Jackie and Tess

Tess, seen here with Jackie;

Naomi

Becky’s friend, Naomi

Louis and Ian

and her son, Louis;

Ian

Ian;

Becky 2

Becky, seen here expressing surprised pleasure at our present of a Jutta Manser wood engraving;

Poppy 1

and, of course, Poppy, here taking one of Flo’s teddies for a walk in her grown-up cousin’s toy pushchair;

Poppy 2

trying on a Princess crown she had made herself,

Poppy and Tess 2Poppy 3Poppy and Tess

changing into a suitable outfit to match that of another teddy;

Poppy 4Poppy 6

rolling around the floor;

Poppy 5

and bouncing a balloon.

Poppy 7

Across the road at Nicolino’s restaurant our granddaughter polished off two bowls of olives before the starters arrived,

Toast featuring Poppy, Matthew, Ian, etc.Toast featuring Becky, Poppy, and Ian

then enthusiastically joined in the toast.

Matthew, Ian, and Louis

I sat diagonally across from the other gentlemen.

Naomi, Becky, Tess, and PoppyBecky, Tess, and PoppyBecky and Tess 2Naomi, Becky, TessBecky, Tess, Poppy, Louis 1Becky, Tess, Poppy, Louis 2

Jackie, opposite me, photographed the ladies. Matthew was also engrossed in the story Becky was relating. Poppy, twisting her noodles, seemed a little concerned that her Grannie had grown a flashing object on her face.

Becky, Tess, Poppy

Eventually the menu was studied for a choice of desserts.

Becky, Tess, Poppy, IanBecky, Tess, Poppy 2Matthew, Ian, Louis

Tess’s sunglasses were passed around.

Becky 3

Here is Becky looking none the worse towards the end of the evening,

Poppy and Tess

and Poppy as lively as ever.

Derrick 19.8.17

This could hardly be said of me when Tess came over to photograph my rather daunting Eton Mess, before which I had consumed a fine minestrone soup with chunks of white bread, followed by an appetising fish risotto. Naomi and I shared the best part of a bottle of Bardolino. As you can see, I was past caring what anyone else had enjoyed.

We stayed the night at Becky and Ian’s and returned home soon after 8 a.m.

Rooftops 1Balustrade with sparrowRooftops 2

Before this I photographed some rooftops from the balcony. Visible in this third picture are

Doves and belfry 1Doves and belfry 2

the white doves that live in and around the belfry of St James’s church.

Doves flying round belfry 1Doves flying round belfry 2Doves flying round belfry 3

Periodically the birds would take off,

Doves in flight

wings glinting, fly over the houses,

Doves flying round belfry 4Doves flying round belfry 5

and return home to roost.

This evening we dined on flaky smoked haddock, piquant cauliflower cheese, boiled potatoes and carrots, with bright green spinach. I drank Cru de la Vallée du Rhone Chateauneuf du Paps 2015.

 

 

 

 

Play Of Light

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Willows garden 1

Willows garden on Pilley Hill is situated on a steep but manageable incline. The house is perched in the middle of the plot with the effect that the rear beds are on the highest level and the land descends to the lily pond at the bottom.

We visited this colourful exuberance yesterday afternoon. In 2003, the current owners, Elizabeth and Martin Walker, bought a small bungalow with a natural ditch where the

Lily pond 2Lily pond 1Willows garden 4

pond is now situated. The current house was built in 2005.

Willows garden 3Hydrangea

Unusual varieties of hydrangea are one feature.

Herbaceous border 1Herbaceous border 2

The herbaceous borders, on a grand scale,

Bees on dahlias

attract bees

Visitors admiring herbaceous border 1Visitor admiring herbaceous border

and visitors alike.

Dahlias 1Dahlias 2

Some of the dahlias are really quite strident.

Thistle

There are huge thistles

Ferns

and swirling ferns.

Willows garden 5

Plentiful seating was arranged. You could even sit under a parasol and employ your mobile devices;

Willows garden 7

you could sit side by side across the pond and watch the other visitors,

Couple crossing bridge

perhaps walking over one of the bridges,

Heron sculptures

passing a pair of hidden herons;

Jackie and Labrador

or you could sit quietly enjoying your cream teas, provided you were able to ignore the silent pleading of the resident Labrador.

The women washing up and giving out refreshments were not permitted to handle money, so you had to move across the room to pay the keeper of the coffers. This prompted me to recount the story of ‘A Retirement Project’.

Bamboo

Some of the plants would have graced a much hotter environment. A clump of bamboo soared to the skies,

Banana tree

and a banana tree,

Light through banana leaves 1Light through banana leaves 2Light through banana leaves 4Light through banana leaves 5

as we departed, proffered the light a leafy playground.

Balloon in oak tree

The final surprise was the balloon tree.

This evening we dined at Lal Quilla where my main course was king prawn naga and Jackie’s was chicken hariali. We shared special fried rice, a paratha, and an onion bahji; both drank Kingfisher.

 

Away From Its Natural Environment

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Rorschach shadows

It was a bit early in the morning to be presented with a Rorschach test, but that is what Jackie spotted in this morning’s sunlight.

Cosmoses in iron urn

The cosmos and lobelia planting in the iron urn obscures the gazebo path.

Ginger lily

Ginger lilies are now in bloom.

After the early burst of sunlight, the morning was dull, but the skies cleared this afternoon when we visited the last four stragglers in the Hordle Scarecrow Trail. All are individual entries.

Scarecrow 15

There are two more Rapunzels, being No.15 at 22 Stopples Lane,

Scarecrow 20

and 20 at 6, Heath Road.

Scarecrow 21

No. 21, The Pied Piper of Hamelin attracts the rats two doors away at number 10;

Scarecrow 19

Rodents, in the form of entry number 19, Cinderella’s mice, also appear to infest 43, Charnock Close.

River Avon at Christchurch

After this, Jackie drove us to Christchurch, on the banks of the River Stour.

Red arrows 1Red Arrows 3Red Arrows 2

The Red Arrows (http://www.raf.mod.uk/reds/) were performing various routines in the sky above,

Red arrows trail 1Red Arrows trail 2

leaving their trademark trails passing the mastheads.

Kayaker

Various activities included kayaking;

Couple in boat

more leisurely boating;

Feeding swans

feeding the birds,

Swans

like these swans vying for victuals;

Boy kicking pigeon

kicking pigeons;

Little girl swinging on rail

swinging on rails;

Toddler and balloon 2

or toddling along, balloon in tow.

Trio on benchSteps, bin, willow

Some, more sedentary, enjoyed the comforts of benches and deckchairs.

Groups on quay

Woman, boy, girl

Others stepped it out along the quayside.

Group with wheelchair

One young woman enjoyed a ride in a wheelchair.

Couple with ice creams

Jackie and I were not the only ones who enjoyed an ice cream.

Hippo and mallard

Some way from its natural environment, a hippopotamus canoodled with a mallard,

Beach huts and waterfowl

and, in the distance, waterfowl lined up in harmony with the beach huts of Mudeford. Thanks to my friend, Lisa, I now know that the woman on the right is paddle boarding.

This evening we dined on a highly spiced pizza and salad. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and I drank Almocreve tinto reserva 2014.

‘Painting With Light’

With extensive cloud cover and intermittent rain this morning was considerably warmer than yesterday, but Skyscape with rainbowIsle of Wight and The Needlesfar less inviting for my Hordle Cliff top walk. Nevertheless a rainbow did attempt to put in an appearance, as did a watery sun over The Solent, which sent ochre coloured waves crashing against the blending shingle on the beach.

GaragesWhoever broke into the garages of the empty Royal Oak pub was bound to have been disappointed, for there was nothing they wanted inside. The deciduous trees on Downton Lane Downton LaneBranchesBarbed wirehave mostly lost their foliage, but the evergreen pines have retained theirs.

Balloon in streamReindeerIn an attempt to cheer up the day an inflated memento from a Macdonald’s Happy Meal bobbed in the stream, and a festive reindeer has arrived in Shorefield Country Park.

The skies had brightened considerably by midday when Aaron Parris of A.P. Maintenance came with a colleague and cleaned out our guttering. I engaged him to complete my work on the back drive, and to level the former kitchen garden.

By 2 p.m. the winter sun was strongly in evidence and the temperature several degrees colder. I took a short stroll down the lane with the object of reprising some of the morning’s shots. These are the results:Downton Lane 2Branches 2Barbed wire 2Balloon on stream 2Reindeer 2Landscape
By 3 p.m. it wasn’t far off sunset.Branches 3Skyscape 1Skyscape 2

Chris Weston, on his training course, described photography as ‘painting with light’. Perhaps these images, all unenhanced, and taken at different times on the same typically English day, illustrate what he meant.

The chauffeur was feeling a little under the weather, so unfortunately we were unable to attend Margery and Paul’s annual Christmas singing party, but trust the usual good time was enjoyed by all.

Since the chef was also feeling a little frail, we dined out at the Rivaaz, where I enjoyed lamb nagin and special fried rice, with a few titbits donated by Jackie from her choice of the buffet meal. We both drank Kingfisher.

The Carpet

Tesco Clubcards

Jackie has been having difficulty obtaining a correct Tesco Clubcard. Twice she has clearly spelt out KNIGHT on the telephone. She has received two cards now, the second one, this morning,  having at least an N where an M was originally given. She has another phone call to make.

Having seen a sign indicating a path to the beach on my last walk through Shorefield Country Park, I walked that way again this bright, windswept, morning, turning right at Dane Road.Clifftop with Isle of Wight and The Needles I was at the cliff top, from which I could see the Isle of Wight and The Needles, in half an hour.Sunrise Bushcraft sign

Shorefield has a Sunrise Bushcraft education project, the hoarding for which I passed on my way.Fishing on the beachMan and boyFisherman

Taking a walk along the shingle, I conversed with a couple of intrepid fishermen who needed to keep a low profile from the gusts coming of the choppy sea.Group with blue balloonTwo women  with blue balloons- Version 2RooksMatthew in garage library

The usual groups of adults and children enjoyed themselves at the water’s edge. One child lost a balloon which rapidly disappeared back up and over the cliff.

I took a shorter route back home, through the rookery, where vociferous and voracious chicks now kept two parents busy, and magpies were, in no uncertain terms, informed that their presence was not required.

Our son Matthew, and his wife Tess, brought us lunch and stayed for the afternoon. Mat, a true professional spent a couple of hours laying a carpet, which Michael had given us, in the garage library, which is now a garage/library/laundry room. This was a magnificent effort involving moving heavy boxes of books backwards and forwards across the room as the floor covering, including underlay, was unravelled. I wasn’t much help.

The carpet had been sent down from Graham Road with our furniture by Michael. It was a well-nigh perfect fit.

Yesterday’s second application of Bullitt to the shower plug hole had proved no more successful than the first. Not content with his work in the library, Mat then took a flexible rod to the shower, and, we think, cleared it.

Finally, a very full day was rounded off by a visit from sisters Jacqueline and Elizabeth who arrived in time to chat for a while with Mat and Tess, who then went on to visit Becky, Flo, and Ian.

The rest of us dined at The Royal Oak, where we enjoyed our usual warm welcome and attentive service.