Well Worth The Effort

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Regular readers may have noticed that it is some months since we enjoyed a brunch at The Beach Hut Café on the promenade at Friars Cliff. That is because I have been unable to make the trip down from the clifftop car park.

The first stage, from the car park, is reasonably level, but far enough for me at the moment.

Military communication satellite station plaque

The concrete rings have featured before. This plate explaining their purpose

is screwed to the rock to the right of this path bypassing the rings. The cyclist will slalom round the barriers down

the sloping footpath leading to the beach huts,

and the beach with its clear view of the Isle of Wight and The Needles.

The most difficult part of the descent for me was this very steep incline.

When I ran the fells in Cumbria I would much rather run up than down the slopes. And that was when my knees worked.

Having reached the promenade there is a straight, flat, section between the huts and the benches sited for those who wish to watch the waves;

taking us to the café, which was, as usual, full to bursting both inside and out, although the demography of the patrons is somewhat different from that in the school holidays. In fact, while Jackie joined the lengthy queue for service and I investigated the seating options, the only available possibility was sharing a picnic table with a friendly woman and her unobtrusive dog. Noticing my rather hopeless efforts at jackknifing myself into position, the kind lady offered to seek out a chair for me. She did so. I thanked her and sat down. Jackie then arrived to tell me that there was a free table inside. I thanked my new friend once more and took up a place inside. Shame, really.

The food was definitely well worth the effort. I couldn’t fit my plate containing two rounds of toast and marmalade into the shot.

After this, we had to retrace our steps. The rather bent elderly woman towing her shorn dulux dog kept up a pace neither of us had any hope of emulating.

Jackie had no trouble with the steep slope

but avoided the steps which were my preferred return route.

Our central heating has never really worked upstairs. Knowing weather was about to cool down, we asked Ronan of Tom Sutton Heating to sort out the radiators. He fixed a pressure problem and bled the radiators. A date was arranged for him to fit a new vent to one of them. The next dat the boiler stopped working. Fortunately our shower is electric and we have an open fire and a kettle. We limped through until today when Ronan made an emergency visit. I won’t bore people with the technicalities, but we need a whole new system, which is what I expected in the first place. This will take 3/4 days, need bedroom floors taken up, and be expensive.

This evening we dined variously. Jackie chose Tesco’s pulled ham with mashed potato and carrots accompanied by Hoegaarden; my Tesco’s prepared dish was chicken jalfrezi; Elizabeth enjoyed the last of Jackie’s beef pie. My sister and I both drank more of the Pinot Noir.

 

“You Can’t Keep A Good Brit Down”

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This morning we drove to New Milton to buy Jackie a bag to carry her overnight stay requirements for our trip to Bicester tomorrow. We then continued to Friars Cliff where we brunched in the Beach Hut Café.

Beach huts

There are two rows of beach huts there – one on the promenade above the beach level, and the other further down. These colourful buildings brighten such areas.

Dog walker at Friars CliffThis dog walker had probably made his way from Avon beach, curving away in the distance..

Silhouettes and shadows

Long shadows were evident even just before midday.

Clouds, sea, gull

A gull perched on a post catching what warmth there was from the sun piercing the clouds.

dog on beach

Dogs frolicked

Walkers and dog on beach

and their owners

Dog walkers on beach

crossed each other’s paths

Dog walkers on beach

on the sand.

Beach huts, women outside one

At one end of the lower level of beach huts

Women at beach hut

sat a couple of women, so well insulated from the chill air that Jackie cried “You can’t keep a good Brit down”, which they appreciated.

Gulls in shallows

On the way home .we diverted to Mudeford

Mudeford harbour

where gulls paddled in the shallows at low tide.

Boats, one overturned

Of the several boats

Beached boat, another overturned

tethered or grounded

Boats, one overturned

in the harbour one was overturned.

Rowing boat and yachts

Others fronted the moored yachts

Sky, Mudeford, boat

and the quayside buildings.

Twig on sand

Branches were spectacles on the sand.

Starlings on crab pots

On the sea front’,

Starlings, crab pots, buoys

having missed the boat that was stocking crabs on the van for Brixham,

Starling on crab pot

hopeful

Starling on crab pot

young starlings,

Starlings on crab pots

gathered

Starling on crab pot

for possible treats;

they would have enjoyed the great slabs of Spanish omelette that Jackie conjured from the seemingly entire contents of a greengrocer’s stall bound by the massed clutches of multiple brooding hens. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the malbec.

 

 

Britain’s Most Expensive Beach Hut

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The wind kept up this morning, but the rain did not return until this afternoon. The light changed by the minute.

Trellis and flowers

As the sunshine came and went, I had to be patient to take this photograph of the front garden trellis which held solanum, roses, rose hips, petunias, lobelia, nasturtiums, and cotoneaster. Only the clematis and honeysuckle have faded from sight.

Bench and dogs

We took a trip to Highcliffe beach. A pair of dogs romped along the clifftop,

Caution Falling Cliffs

where the sign warning of crumbling cliffs will probably need to be moved further inland.

Rainbow 1

When checking on the parking fees, Jackie was greeted by a fairly faint rainbow.

Feeding gulls 1Feeding gulls 2

A building worker shared his breakfast with the grateful gulls, and

Feeding gulls with rainbow 1

the rainbow shifted in his direction.

Pool rippling

Pools rippled in the car park, against which

Seascape with Isle of Wight and Needles

the Isle of Wight and The Needles were virtually misted from sight.

Watching the sea

One young man stood and watched the

Seascape 1

choppy seas

Clouds and sea 1Cloudscape 2

and cloudy skies.

Walkers and dogs 1

I only needed to turn my head inland to look down on walkers bathed in woodland sunshine;

Coastline 1

and twist again for a view of the light on the coastline to my left

Coastline, dog, carrying surfboard

and the sight of a dog that probably didn’t belong to the surfboard carrier.

Shrubs on clifftop

Leaving the scrub behind me,

Steps down to beachSteps down to beach 2

Down steps

Walkers in silhouette, shore

and slopes I descended

Sea shoreWalkers in silhouette, shore

to the shore.

Jogger and dog walker 1Jogger and dog walker 2

On the way down I watched a jogger and dog-walker pass each other.

Walkers, dog, shore

The woman with the dog went on to cross paths with a couple on a lower level,

Jogger, walkers, Ligeguard hut

and a young lady gradually overhauled another pair, as they passed the Lifeguards’ hut.

Seascape and breakwaterSpray on breakwater 2

Waves sprayed the breakwaters, and, unhindered,

Seascape 2Seascape 2aSeascape 3Seascape 4Seascape 5Seascape 6Seascape 7

rolled onto the shingle, now at my feet.

Christchurch Bay, Mudeford Sandbank, Hengistbury Head

Across to my right was a clear view of Mudeford Spit and Sandbank leading to Hengistbury Head. The beach huts visible in this photograph cost as much as £275,000. That’s right. £275,000.

According to metro.co.uk this one went on the market in July this year for £280,000. The article informs us that:

‘For £280,000 you could buy a four-bedroom detached house in Huddersfield or two three-bed cottages with an acre of land in the village of Maerdy, South Wales.

The sandbank can only be accessed by a 20 minute walk, a ride on a novelty land train or by ferry but its isolated position is what gives it its exclusivity and value.

Beach hut owners have to share communal bathroom facilities and can only sleep in the huts between March and October, but can visit any time of year.

Britain’s most expensive beach hut goes on sale for a mere £280,000
Worth a quarter of a million? BNPS

Hut 78 is in a handy location close to the ferry jetty and the communal facilities.

It looks out Christchurch Harbour where the new owners will be able to enjoy stunning sunsets.

The timber home measures 16ft 7in by 10ft 2in and comfortably sleeps four, with a double bed in a mezzanine level.

Solar panels on the roof power the fridge and lights, the cooker runs on bottled gas and there is a water tank that feeds into the kitchen sink.’

Walkers

As I climbed back up to the car park, another couple of walkers greeted me and continued along their path.

I rejoined Jackie who drove us on to Barton on Sea. From there we were called back home in a hurry. We had been told by our mortgage lender to expect a call this morning from a surveyor coming to value the house. His call would be to arrange a viewing. He did call me. He was outside our house. He had been given a time to be there. We hadn’t.

I guided the gentleman round the house and garden. We then returned to New Milton for some shopping and banking, and brunched at Wendy’s excellent café. Then the rain came.

For dinner this evening Jackie produced a tasty fish pie, mashed potato, carrot and swede mash, and sautéed leeks, peppers, and green beans. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Fleurie.

On The Beach

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Jackie often points out potential subjects for photographs for which I take the credit. This morning she alerted me to an array of spiders’ webs on the decking.

Spiders' websSpiders' webs – Version 2

All that was picked up by the sunshine on this example was the lower half of the larger web. Jackie held back a few shadow-casting leaves and I bent a bit to include the lower construction. This is what we jointly produced.

This morning we drove over to Shelly and Ron’s with enough of Jackie’s exquisite chicken Jalfrezi and vegetable samosas to feed up to 40 people at Ron’s 70th birthday party tomorrow. I also gave them a couple of 10″ x 8″ prints from Shelly’s party last week.

Down to the beach

We continued on to Friar’s Cliff Café for brunch. naturally, I shot a few beach scenes.

Not that one.

These:

Bicycles and beachDog on beachBeach scene 1Beach scene 4Beach scene 3Beach scene 2Beach scene 6Beach scene 7Beach scene 15Beach scene 14Beach scene 13Beach scene 12Beach scene 10Beach scene 11Ice creams at the beach hutsBeach scene 18Paddleboarder, jetskierPaddleboarderBeach scene 17Beach scene 16Beach scene 19Three girlsMobile phone readerBeach scene 20

Against the backdrop of the Isle of Wight and the Needles, we have water activities including kayaking, rowing, yachting, paddle boarding, jet skiing, swimming, and paddling. There is lounging in the sand soaking up the sun, sheltering under parasols and behind windbreaks, turning cartwheels, digging with buckets and spades, kicking beach balls; occupying beach huts, enjoying green ice creams, and, of course, employing the screens of mobile phones.

This evening we dined on fish fingers, chips, onion rings, and fried tomatoes. I finished the Cotes du Rhone and Jackie had imbibed her Hoegaarden on the patio beforehand.

 

Sunshine And Showers

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Knowing that we were to expect heavy rain all weekend, and that the first hour or two this morning would offer sunshine and showers, we drove out to Mudeford seeking what light there was.

Cloudscape

This proved to be interesting. The sun came and went, offering dramatic cloudscapes over the sea;

Beach huts

over the beach huts;

Mudeford, clouds 2

over the harbour;

Mudeford clouds

and over the small town.

Car going through pool

Recent downpours had left pools for cars to drive though.

Boats moored 1

Moored boats bobbed on the choppy wavelets in the sheltered waters,

Speedboat

over which sped a powered vessel.

Waterlogged boat 1

A number of little rowing boats had filled with water

Capsized boat

or capsized.

Gulls (juvenile) on upturned boat

One, overturned, provided a resting place for juvenile gulls.

Setting up stall 1Mallet and staySetting up stall 2Open carSetting up stall 3

We felt sympathy for holidaymakers wrapped in waterproofs, and even more for the intrepid stallholders setting up for the weekend’s Art and Craft Fair.

Mudeford, jogger

Almost oblivious of the industry going on around them, a jogger,

Dog walkers

a pair of dog walkers,

Couple on shore

and a loving couple, continued about their business.

Paddleboards

A heap of bright red paddle boards awaited rental customers.

Crab potsCouple looking at crab pots

The usual fishing paraphernalia lined the quayside. This couple examined

Crab pot 1Crab pots 2

crab pots;

Ropes and linesRopes, rusty stakes, buoy

ropes and lines;

Flags

fluttering flags;

Buoys 1

and buoys reflecting sunlight

Buoy and reflection

or themselves mirrored in pools,

Queuing for ferry 1Queuing for ferry with reflection

as were visitors following the first young lady forming a queue for the ferry.

Couple looking out to sea

Around the side of the quay the couple I had just passed gazed out to sea.

Backlit figures on quayBacklit figures on quay – Version 2

The most dramatic light of the visit fell on a group beside the car park.

Sailboats

As we left Mudeford for a late breakfast at Friar’s Cliff’s Beach Hut Café, three sail boats set out to sea.

Sailboats

They had made it safely to Friar’s Cliff by the time we reached there.

Concrete plinth base

On the cliff top at Steamer Point lie three very large circular concrete bases.

Military communication satellite station plaque

Their story is now explained on an engraved metal plate fixed to a rock.

This evening we dined on chicken tikka and boiled egg salad. Well, we had had a large, late, fried breakfast. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and I drank more of the malbec.

 

 

The Mist Did Not Desist

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Fire

This morning, the temperature having dropped ten degrees, we lit the fire.

Smoke from chimney

Barry the sweep has said he will expect to see smoke from the chimney when he drives by. Set against a misty, overcast, sky, he will perhaps have difficulty seeing this today. Our mix of coal and logs produced a really powerful heat.

I bought the cast iron coal scuttle in a Newark antiques centre almost thirty years ago. I used it in my study to keep coal. I have been unable to verify the dealer’s implausible and certainly impractical claim that it was an antique Belgian commode. Jackie will now have to find something else in which to store her potatoes.

By mid-afternoon when we drove out to Mudeford, the mist had persisted.

We diverted to Highcliffe Castle en route, for some atmospheric shots.

Although visibility was greater in Mudeford harbour, boats and houses looked rather gloomy,

as did beach huts

and associated buildings.

Buoys rested on slate.

Highcliffe Sailing Club and the masts of its yachts were somewhat obscured.

Dripping gulls looked somewhat under the weather.

Fishing paraphernalia displayed muted colour,

Group on quay

as did a group of hardy visitors. The mist did not desist.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s excellent chicken jalfrezi and mushroom rice with onion bahjis. I drank Château Plessis grand vin de Bordeaux 2014.

We are now about to watch the Six Nations rugby match at Cardiff between Wales and Ireland to be televised by BBC.

Contrast

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Late this morning Jackie drove us to Mudeford for a visit to the quay, then on to Friars Cliff for brunch at the eponymous cafe.

Whilst I wandered around the harbour, Jackie enjoyed coffee in the cafe.

Waves

Looking out to sea, my ears were pounded by the white horses rumbling across the steely, turbulent, water’s surface, and crashing against the sturdy quayside;

Gulls and beach huts shrieking of the squabbling gulls. The guests at the boisterous shindig being held against the backdrop of the most expensive beach huts in the country, joined forces to evict a jet gatecrasher.

Making good use of scoops of seawater, still ogled by hopeful scavengers perched on posts, the crew of a small fishing boat were engaged in cleaning up at their docking area.

As always, neatly stacked on the quay, lay buoys and ropes between towers of crusted crab baskets.

Cygnet

The entrance to the harbour lies beyond a protective spit. At once, the squeals were silenced and the water became still as rippled sheets of reflective glass. In fact the only sound was a feeble squeak emitted by the open beak of an adolescent cygnet.

Anchored boats made no motion, even when the gulls took off and landed on their gunwales. The outboard motor in the first photograph reminded me of one Jessica bought secondhand in Newark and used for one day in Instow in Devon. She left her recently acquired dinghy in the bay facing our holiday house. In the morning the motor was gone. As was every other similar item from other boats. This was apparently the first time such a theft had ever occurred at that location. I guess that was another example of sod’s law.

angler

A solitary angler chose a position at the point of aquatic contrast.

This evening we dined on meat samosas, chicken and spinach curry, and paratha. I finished the chianti.