On another very hot, yet progressively overcast morning we drove to Otter Nurseries where Jackie bought herself another very long hose – this time on wheels to reduce carrying it about – for the garden.

We travelled on to Barton on Sea where I stationed myself

on a bench in order to attach my longest camera lens, while Jackie stayed nearer

the Beachcomber café. These two of her pictures show the burnt condition

of the grasses and the thrift that I pictured on the cliff edge from where I

beamed down on a number of visitors wishing to scorch themselves. I wonder what Barbara, Book Club Mom would make of the couple reading in deckchairs?

We each photographed sailboats in the haze against the Isle of Wight, Jackie,

who also picked out the beach huts at Mudeford, choosing The Needles and their lighthouse as her backdrop.

This evening we dined on starters of Chicken in Nando’s Lemon and herb sauce on Jackie’s savoury rice; followed by her spicy paprika pork, boiled potatoes and tender runner beans, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Shiraz.

Along The Coastline

This morning I scanned

the next six pages of Charles Keeping’s version of ‘The Highwayman’ by Alfred Noyes.

By mid-afternoon Jackie finished the first stage of her planting of the new raised bed – by replacing the bulbs and primroses which had to be dug up to make space for it.

Afterwards she drove me to the Ear Clinic at Milford on Sea where a build up of wax was successfully removed. We travelled back

along the coast. The temperature was much colder than of late, the bright sunshine sparkled on the sea; gulls zoomed low; sailboarders skimmed against the backcloth of the Bournemouth skyline; dog walkers silhouetted; and a little boy scooted.

We travelled on to Barton on Sea. A cyclist rested on a bench while I walked down to water level and wished I could have a rest on the way back up. The bench half way down the steep slope was already occupied.

Before going home we diverted to Ferndene Farm Shop for various items.

Elizabeth came to dinner this evening, when we enjoyed second helpings of Jackie’ s casserole from yesterday with fresh vegetables. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden while my sister and I finished the Douro. We spent the rest of the evening sorting out English politics.

74 Miles Per Hour

The title represents the fastest speed of the hurricane force winds gusting through The Needles this morning. With our garden in direct line about two miles from these there was no point in going out to investigate the damage, so we drove to Barton on Sea to have a look at them.

Jackie photographed the wind filling my jacket as I stood as near the cliff edge as I dared (not very) to photograph the waves; and this sequence of a Union flag wrapped and unwrapped round the pole by the gusts. Even the crows and gulls kept away.

I managed just a couple of decent shots among the wobbly ones before descending the slope to the promenade below.

Like me, this couple had reached the bottom. I hadn’t tried it for at least two years since my knee surgery.

Flora on the hillsides must have found it difficult to remain rooted.

I had hoped to descend to the rocks below, but this would have meant sliding down the grassy slopes beneath the gravelled path along which others walked. I wasn’t about to risk that.

Choppy waves threw up spray as they battered the sturdy breakwaters and smashed into steadfast rocks. Salty vapour shrouded hazy horizons.

This afternoon I posted

Even by dinner time the winds had not totally subsided, so we decided that tying up plants and removing broken stems would have to wait until tomorrow. Similarly, we have let the garden furniture lie.

Jackie, however completed her project on clearing the stepping stones through the Palm Bed, and photographed it along with

the sunflower, which has survived.

This evening we dined on plump roast chicken; sage and onion stuffing; crisp Yorkshire pudding; roast and boiled potatoes; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; fried chestnut mushrooms; and tasty, meaty, gravy, with which Jackie finished the Rosé and I finished the Recital.

The Floating Fortress


This cold and wet morning we visited Anne at Kitchen Makers in Sway to discuss the finer points of our new kitchen construction. Next, we delivered a batch of photographs to Lal Quilla in Lymington for Raj to make his selection; then I ordered some currency from the bank. Most of the rest of the day was spent on mundane administration on my part, and necessary shopping on Jackie’s

As so often, the skies cleared towards evening and a good sunset was promised. We were not disappointed as we drove down to Barton on Sea.

The lowering sun brush-strokes on Roger Cobb’s field of stubble.

We watched the changing palette of the skies above Christchurch Bay, as gentle pastel shades,

Isle of Wight at sunset

especially over the Isle of Wight,

Sea at sunset

and in the water itself,

gradually deepened,

Sunset, silhouettes 2

throwing walkers into silhouette.

A luminous glow blazed briefly from an apparent floating fortress on the horizon, fizzling out within minutes.

This evening we dined on perfect roast chicken, roast and mashed potatoes, mini Yorkshire puddings, flavoursome mushrooms, crisp carrots and firm Brussels sprouts. I finished the Minervois.

The Beachcomber

I began dead-heading roses this morning.

This afternoon Jackie drove us to Barton on Sea via Milford on Sea. We stopped off at Milford for Sheila to buy a stamp for New Zealand and maybe some wool from the shop that was also a Post Office. The Post Office had been permanently closed a fortnight ago and the wool shop was closed for lunch.

We had more success at Barton, because the Beachcomber Café was fully open for business, and we spent a pleasant time in their garden overlooking the sea.

Valerian and irises

The gate in a low fence at one end of the plot is now nailed up. This prevents wanderers venturing past the valerian and irises and dropping off the end of the crumbling cliff;

Paraglider 1

something I all but did, not realising the sward would so abruptly disappear, the first time I photographed the paragliders who were out in force today.

Paragliders and gulls


I had been so engrossed in striding across the grass to get near the gliders that I almost walked off the edge. The cyclist in this picture has his black labrador running alongside him.

Paraglider 2

Paraglider 3Paraglider 4 Paraglider 5

Today the fliers floated past the café.

Paraglider, birds, plane

This one was joined by birds in the air and by a plane high above them.

Beachcomber Cafe garden 2SpanielsBeachcomber Cafe Garden 4

Beachcomber Cafe Garden 3

The dog-friendly café caters for people of all ages; children in buggies; older people in wheelchairs, with walking aids, and post-operative crutches.


The usual avian hordes scavenging for scraps included an imperious gull,

StarlingStarling 2Starling juvenile

ravenous starlings,


and spritely sparrows.

The cake on the grass was tossed there by one of the customers. Jackie picked it up and placed it on the plate to encourage a photo opportunity. The last of the starlings was, we think, a juvenile. Perhaps that is why it was content to attempt to feed off an empty plate.

Our plates this evening were far from empty. They contained Jackie’s superb sausage casserole, creamy mashed potatoes, and crisp carrots, cauliflower, and runner beans, followed by sponge cake or rice pudding or both. She drank Hoegaarden, I drank Gilbert and Gaillard Chateauneuf du Pape 2014, and Sheila drank sparkling water.

Crumbling Cliff

Today we cleaned up downstairs in preparation for our visitors beginning to arrive tomorrow.

I hand-delivered a few local Christmas cards, then Jackie drove me to the framer’s in Old Milton. I was beginning to become rather anxious about a present he was working on. Last week he had said it would be done by the next day and he would phone me when it was done. He hadn’t. It was as well I had chased this up, because he had forgotten about it. He made it his next job and did phone me within an hour, after which we collected it. His work is good, so we will forgive the gentleman. I do tend to be too patient.

From Old Milton we drove down to Barton On Sea, to watch the waves. A sign on a post at the water’s end of the car park explained why it was gradually being truncated.

Car park/unstable cliff

The cliff on which it was perched was unstable.

Cliff topCliff top 2

As can be seen in these two photographs, the land is, by stages, falling down. The trees give some idea of scale. A couple to whom I spoke told me that they remembered when the cliff itself stretched as far as the point at which the undergrowth now meets the beach. The concrete was once for cars.

Cliff Instability Study

A notice explains the Cliff Instability Study,

Theodolite 1

part of which required this theodolite to be placed where it is.

Bob Dunn's bench

Alongside the notice is placed Bob Dunn’s memorial bench. For thirty years this man patrolled these cliffs on behalf of the New Forest District Council. I wonder where the edge was in 1979.


Steps now lead down to the beach. In Bob’s time there was possibly an easy walk down the slope.

Part way down the steps I met and spoke with a couple who lived along this stretch of the coastline. They said that the biggest problem was underground springs which caused internal collapse. Their gardens, and those of their neighbours were often flooded. The house remained dry, but greenhouses were often waterlogged.

Crumbly cliff and remnant of wall

When I pointed to the remnants of a wall on the top left of this crumbling cliff, they confirmed that there were once rows of houses along here.

Theodolite 2

Another view of the theodolite from the other side of the stairway shows how precariously it is placed.

Man looking out to sea

This gentleman looking out to sea stands beneath the surveyor’s instrument. the golden edge to the cliff makes clear the most recently exposed section. An enlargement of the photograph shows another theodolite perched on the top roughly in the centre of the view.

Fortunately, we live more than a mile from the sea.

On our return home I cleared our garden paths of cuttings, fallen branches and other debris.

There is always plenty in Hordle Chinese Take Away set meals to last two days. We therefore had our second sitting at that this evening. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank sparkling water.

A Precocious Hellebore

We are still enjoying temperatures in double figures, and the rain was easier today.

This morning we left a large photographic print for mounting with 4Most Framing in Old Milton. We returned home via Barton on Sea where

Isle of Wight

the waves were choppy and a layer of spray around the dimly visible Isle of Wight gave it the appearance of a Hovercraft skimming over the surface of the water.

Walkers on shore

The weather was still mild enough for walkers to venture onto the shore down below the crumbling cliff.

This afternoon we brought our Christmas decorations downstairs and prepared a space for the tree which still occupies the boot of the car.


Jackie picked a precocious hellebore bloom and placed it in a little brown Victorian cream jug gathered by Matthew during our mudlarking days.

Christmas lights

Later, she trailed a string of coloured lights along the front garden trellis.

The Christmas lights at Lymington, where we dined at Lal Quilla, were inviting, but I forgot my camera. Although it is several months since we last visited the restaurant we received our usual warm welcome and excellent meals with Kingfisher beer.

Singapore Prints

This morning we drove Elizabeth to The Coastal Gallery in Lymington, where we admired good art works at, for us, prohibitive prices. On our return, my sister and I completed the task of printing Mr. Boyle’s black and white negatives from 1950s Singapore for Frances.

Patricia 003

Here Patricia enjoys the swimming pool,

Patricia and friend 002

and in the garden with a local friend.

Frances 012

The artistic photographer pictured Frances gazing out to sea.

Frances, her Mum, and others 004

Perhaps mother and daughters are loading this van, or maybe making a purchase.

Frances's Dad 026

Here the sisters’ father sits reading.

Frances, Catherine and Patricia 007

He photographed them together,

Francis 020

and separately Frances,

Catherine 022


Patricia 029

and Patricia.

Clouds and seaSilhouettes on shore

Danni and Andy joined us for lunch, after which we all drove to Barton on Sea, where the threatening clouds did not drop their precipitation, as they were penetrated by Jesus beams.

Danni and Andy

The young couple sat a bit closer to the edge of the clifftop than would have suited me. We ambled down to the shore so that Danni could dip her toes in the water.

Back at home we played Scrabble, until it was time for us all to dine at The Smugglers Inn at Milford on Sea. The service was friendly and efficient, the ambience convivial, and the food excellent. My choice was beef and horseradish pie, new potatoes and vegetables. I drank Doom Bar. None of us had room for a sweet.

King Canute

Barton on SeaUnstable cliff signCliff and beach hutsDogs

Runner 1Runner 2After a shopping trip to Lidl in Old Milton this morning, Jackie deposited me alongside the Beachcomber Cafe. Leaving the flat green open space at Barton on Sea, where romped dogs, including two who found an even smaller one to play with, I walked back along the crumbling and undulating cliff top which severely tested the declining flexibility of my lower limbs.

Crumbling footpathCyclist and walkersCyclist 1Cyclist 2Walker

At one time I might have joined the runners along this route, but never the cyclists. Even some of the walkers went where I would fear to tread.

In 2011, according to Kathryn Westcott on BBC News, ‘MP Frank Field warned David Cameron to “stop being King Canute” if he wanted to avoid being “overwhelmed by the incoming tide of local authority cuts”.’ This able, eleventh century Danish King of England is as misquoted as Topsy, which I explained on September 5th, 2012. He is believed to have been so proud that he thought his command could hold back the tide.

According to J.P. Somerville: ‘this story was first recorded in Henry of Huntingdon’s twelfth-century Chronicle of the history of England. In fact, Henry’s account was rather a testimony to Canute’s good sense and Christian humility – not his vainglory.’

Henry wrote: ‘he commanded that his chair should be set on the shore, when the tide began to rise. And then he spoke to the rising sea saying “You are part of my dominion, and the ground that I am seated upon is mine, nor has anyone disobeyed my orders with impunity. Therefore, I order you not to rise onto my land, nor to wet the clothes or body of your Lord”. But the sea carried on rising as usual without any reverence for his person, and soaked his feet and legs. Then he moving away said:  “All the inhabitants of the world should know that the power of kings is vain and trivial, and that none is worthy the name of king but He whose command the heaven, earth and sea obey by eternal laws”. Therefore King Cnut never afterwards placed the crown on his head, but above a picture of the Lord nailed to the cross, turning it forever into a means to praise God, the great king.  By whose mercy may the soul of King Cnut enjoy peace’.

Ground investigation sign

It is not the tide that New Forest District Council is attempting to stem, but the effects of the wind and the rain which are slowly eroding the cliff along this part of the Hampshire coast. The results of the ground investigation and monitoring project, it seems to me, may result in the golf course and adjacent farmers parting with some of their terrain if we are to retain a footpath into the next century.

This evening we enjoyed Sunday Roasts at The Plough Inn, Tiptoe. My choice was lamb; Jackie’s was pork. She drank Becks and I drank Doom Bar. As so often the case there, neither of us needed a dessert.

A Melodious Voice

Derrick 9.77It is a while since I featured a ‘through the ages’ photograph. Here is number 52 which was taken by Jessica at the Soho Festival of Summer 1977, during the spaghetti eating contest. I reported on Michael’s attempt the previous year on 29th June 2013. At that event I also entered the cigar smoking competition. In ’77 my son was not inclined to repeat his effort, and as I struggled through a plateful of pretty dry pasta, I soon discovered why.
I posted this image as a little light relief from the morning’s boring admin tasks, one of which concerned a cheque from Southern Electric. This was a refund relating to our closing account at Castle Malwood Lodge. That contract was in our joint names, but we do not have a joint bank account. The cheque was made out in both our names, and, even if we both signed the back of it, the bank would not accept it. It had to be returned to the utility company with instructions as to who should be the recipient of the replacement. I did this.
RabbitsIsle of Wight and The NeedlesI took my usual walk to Hordle Cliff top where, on my approach, rabbits scuttled into the bramble, and, as always, I was presented by a different view of The Isle of Wight and The Needles. As I had said to a woman photographing the scene a couple of days ago, the island looks different every time I walk this way.
Bridge cottage landscapeOn Downton Lane, where Bridge Cottage basked in the mid-day sun, a happy cyclist weaving all over the road sang at the top of his voice. He paused as he passed me and continued afterwards. Perhaps he was more embarrassed than was the very talented comedian I had encountered at Oxford Circus tube station quite a number of years ago. As I walked through one of the passageways between platforms, a most melodious singing echoed behind me. I slowed enough for the operatic voice, which did not pause, to drift by. Apparently oblivious of my presence, there before me walked Paul Whitehouse whose amazing voice has enlivened many of the skits on the Harry Enfield show. One of my favourite sketches from that series features Paul singing Figaro in ‘Harry Enfield – Who’s That Girl on Vimeo’. It’s worth a look.
Dog noticeA notice stapled to a tree in Shorefield Country Park asks residents to keep their dogs on a lead. By and large, pet owners comply with this request.
This afternoon we drove to New Milton for shopping and banking. The window of the Poundstretcher store announced significant reductions for large women:Poundstretcher window
As it was a sunny day we travelled on to Barton on Sea to sit and watch the ocean for a Isle of Wight and The Needles 2while. Yet another view of the Isle of Wight was to be enjoyed, and walkers threw long Walkers' shadowsshadows..
On Milford Road  a car driver used a hand signal to indicate turning left. Many people today would not recognise this, but when I learned to drive this method of alerting following drivers to your intention was normal practice. Now we all have electronic indicators. Some vehicles in those days still bore yellow flags that flipped up either to the right or to the left to indicate which way you wished to turn.
It is important to use hand signals if you have an electrical fault. It must have been more than twenty years ago when I last wound down my driver side window and indicated slowing down. A policeman stopped me for a chat. He was most amused. His opening remark was: ‘It must have been a long time ago when you passed your test’.
Dinner this evening consisted of belly of pork, chipolata sausages, roasted peppers and mushrooms, mashed potato, cauliflower and green beans, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Cuvee St Jaine red table wine.