Bracing

This morning we drove to the pharmacy in Milford on Sea for a repeat prescription and on to the coast to struggle against the wind of 50+ m.p.h.

The Isle of Wight, The Needles, and the breakwaters held firm against the choppy cream and toffee seas.

The gales failed to uproot the clumps of purple thrift clinging to the clifftop edges.

Walkers with or without dogs battled against the violent gusts;

others perambulated along the shingle below.

A solitary black headed gull shivered on the car park tarmac.

Jackie photographed me bracing myself against the buffeting.

This evening we returned to Hurst Road, Milford on Sea where we dined at the splendid Faros Greek Restaurant, Jackie was careful to ensure that I was the only diner visible in her two internal photographs.

The sky had cleared since this morning, but the wind was as fierce and the sea as turbulent.

Waves were whipped into a creamy spray topping,

careering and swirling up over the sea wall and taking root on the other side of the road, were bunches of what the Japanese call sea flowers. The first example above is situated in the centre foreground of the second picture, two more scud along the wall behind.

The restaurant only opened in February and is already justifiably popular. The staff are welcoming; the service friendly and efficient; the food and wines are excellent and the prices very reasonable.

We had begun our starters before I decided to photograph the Faros fare. Mine was fresh whitebait with garlic mayonnaise; Jackie’s kolokithokeftes consisted of four battered balls before she began.

My kleftiko was tender enough to fall off the bone and remain firm to the bite; Jackie’s Chicken kebabs and perfect chunky chips were equally enjoyable.

Had we known how much delicious loukoumades we would receive for dessert we may have considered sharing one portion. Jackie drank Meantime Hella lager and I drank Heraldique red wine.

The Reality

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This afternoon Jackie drove me out to Calshot and back.

Waiting in the queue at the Lymington level crossing gave me the opportunity to focus on one of the hanging baskets that adorn the lampposts of the town.

One of the cattle on the moor near Beaulieu Road Station suckled quite a large calf.

Ower Farm on Calshot Road is a splendid Georgian building.

 

On Calshot beach’s shingle, along which a gentleman led a colour coordinated little girl,

and beyond which yachts enhanced the seascape;

gulls basked, preened, and squawked and saw off a couple of crows. One of the sea birds homed in on an ice cream cone and hopped onto the wooded parapet.

The photograph above of Ower Farm is how an Estate Agent’s brochure may have presented it.

In reality it is hemmed in by Fawley Power station.

This evening the three of us dined on Jackie’s splendid lamb jalfrezi with savoury rice. Mrs Knight drank Hoegaarden, Elizabeth drank Becks Blue, and I finished the Saint-Chenian

 

 

“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.

 

 

Losing The Plot?

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The sun returned today. This set us up nicely for our trawl through local solicitors in order to find one acceptable to the Family Building Society and willing to witness our signatures on the Mortgage Deed and the Declaration of Understanding.

Dagless & Whitlock

Starting off at Milford on Sea we hit the jackpot with Dagless and Whitlock. Almost.

For these forays Jackie remained in the car while I tested the ground. This firm were willing, but they only had one Partner. The lenders insisted on two. I therefore decided to phone Garry, our mortgage advisor to see if he could find a way around this. There was no signal. When, a little later, there was one, Garry was on answerphone. I left a message.

Group on greenBicycle wheel and feetCouple on bench with dog

Returning to our car I had the opportunity to envy groups of carefree folk enjoying the sunshine on the green.

Spider in web

We drove round to the GP surgery to collect a prescription. A spider sunbathed in the car park. It was then that I remembered Anansi. Was this creature a good omen?

We decided to hedge our bets, and try more solicitors in New Milton.

Starlings

Outside Roger Cobb’s farmhouse on the coast road, a string of starlings seemed prepared to take off on a murmuration.

Dixon & Stewart

Neither Dixon & Stewart

Heppenstalls

nor Heppenstalls were prepared to witness the signatures, because this would suggest that they had advised us, which they hadn’t.

I was about to enter a third legal establishment when Garry rang me back with the news that a firm with only one Partner was acceptable to the lender. Monogamy rules. Back we went to Milford on Sea where we made an appointment for the witnessing, to take place on 18th.

We had definitely earned a brunch at the Beach Hut Café at Friars Cliff.

Yacht on sunlit sea

Sunlight slashed the ocean,

Waves

and was borne by the waves

Group with dog on beachDog on beach

onto the beach where people walked their lolloping dogs and the red seaweed has almost disappeared.

Man and dog on beach

One canine was keener to get to the water than was its owner.

On leaving the car, I had carried my camera, lenses, and the mortgage paperwork in a hessian supermarket bag. When I had finished taking the beach shots I didn’t have the bag. Thinking I must have put it down somewhere, I retraced my steps up to the carpark. The bag was nowhere to be seen. Back down the slopes and the steps towards the café I trudged.

Jackie 1 Then I noticed Jackie, clearly wondering where I had got to.

Jackie 2

Then I noticed what she was clutching. Having removed the camera I had handed her the bag. I was definitely losing the plot.

Suddenly I recovered my appetite. Now we could enjoy our brunch.

Man and boy on beach 1Man and boy on beach 2Man and boy on beach 3

As we left the café I watched a young man allowing a little boy to be adventurous on a rocky breakwater while keeping a safe closeness.

Group with ice creams

It was definitely a day for ice creams. Despite his expression in this photograph the concerned gentleman shared his companions’ pleasure at the picture.

Couple with ice creams

Another couple struggled a bit with the breeze.

Only a couple of days ago I had been told that I needed to send the report of the mortgage valuation of the house to the solicitors. The final task of the day was to return home, place this, with a covering letter, in an envelope and post it to the manager of the solicitors in Stockport, by recorded delivery. This involved a second trip to New Milton. At least it means I will know when they have received it, and they won’t get away with pretending it had arrived later.

This evening we dined on a spicy stuffed crust pizza and fresh salad, with which I drank Mendoza Parra Alta malbec 2016.

Only The Crows

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I spent most of the day grappling with long-distance legal professionals over a small remortgage. I cannot summon the energy to detail this, but it has been going on for weeks and has only been necessary because I am too old to secure a mortgage from my bank. I have grown heartily sick of prevaricating, incompetent, and mendacious professionals who are happy to take your money while providing a useless service.

It is thirty years since I last negotiated such a loan. In those days you could walk to an office, speak to a person, and trust that  what you were promised would be done. I don’t think I need tell anyone how it is now, in our progressive, unprincipled, digital age.

ImpatiensDragon Bed

Jackie spent much of the day in the garden where she reshaped and added plants to the Dragon Bed section beside the greenhouse.

By 4.30 p.m., for the sake of my sanity, I was desperately in need of a ride in a motor car. Jackie happily obliged.

Group on beach 1

We began with a look at the sea at Barton. One member of a group on the beach seemed to have brought along a tent;

Man and dog on beach

another man played with his dog;

Couple on bench 1

a couple sat together on a bench;

Walkers 1

Walkers,

Man and dog

one with a golden retriever, kept to the path along the clifftop.

Meeting of dog walkers

Whenever a group of dog walkers meet, they swap engaging stories about their pets. Sometimes the animals are not so friendly. Lily was in trouble. She was admonished as being very naughty for nipping one of the others.

Crumbling cliff 1

Cliffs are still crumbling.

Crow 1Crow 2

Only the crows (if they are rooks forgive me – I don’t know the difference)

Crows on crumbling cliff 1

can truly feel safe on them.

As if to prove this statement, one of these took off, and clung precariously to the loose pebbles.

Jogger and beach

Down below a jogger on the beach path

Jogger checking watch

checked her watch without breaking her stride.

Ponies on road 1Ponies on road 2

As we travelled inland, ponies periodically exercised their right to ownership of the roads.

Sunset 1Sunset in wing mirrorSunset 2

Sunset smiled over Roger Penny Way on our return.

Later, The Raj in Old Milton provided our takeaway meal with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the malbec.

 

Shade

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In order to use the services of the Post Office whilst Jackie was visiting the Birchfield Dental Practice, this morning I parcelled up some items the Australian branch of the family had left behind; wrote a cheque for the water bill in Sigoules; and packed up the various documents required for my tax return. I then posted everything.

Afterwards, Jackie took us on a drive through the forest.

Ponies 1

The unfortunate ponies struggled to find relief from the overhead sun, and clustered where they could under trees offering inadequate cover.

Tormented by flies, one of this group scratched against the tree trunks;

the others just bore their discomfort in silence. The beastly insects crawled over these wretched creatures’ eyes, noses, and mouths.

Lane

We could at least benefit from the car’s air conditioning, and choose to venture into shady lanes, three of which are featured for Jill’s benefit.

The domesticated horses enjoyed better shade,

even when grazing.

Ponies 3

Outside the shop at Pilley one string of ponies queued for the phone box

Pony 2

While others kept down the grass in front of the houses. This smaller animal, despite its leopard skin coat, was bullied by one of the larger ones when it ventured away from the gate.

Foal following mother

Foals are becoming big enough for their mothers to leave them to their own devices. One white mare attempted to escape the attentions of her little one, who was having none of it, and, on spindly legs, quickly trotted after her.

Foals

The little ones are still learning to tolerate flies, and twitch about in vain.

Foal 1

The lonely male just went to sleep.

Foal and mare 1

Sadly, juvenile tails are no use as fly whisks,

Foal and mare 2

so our little limpet clung to Mum,

Foal and mare 3

keeping within the sweep of hers.

Beach

We visited Tanners Lane on our way home. Despite the low tide, the appearance of water, against the backcloth of the Isle of Wight, gave the illusion of coolness.

Women and chidren on beach 1Women and children on beachWomen and children on beach 3Women and children on beach 4

Two women and children searching among the shallows, skirted

Boat on low tide beach

a rowing boat

Mooring chain

 chained to the stony shore.

House

This is the last house on the lane.

We had seen dog roses in the hedgerows at Boldre;

Small Heath butterflies

Those on Tanners Lane mingled with blackberry blossom among which Small Heath butterflies flitted. There are two in this picture.

Our evening meal consisted of cold meats, hard-boiled egg, salad, and cheeses.

Now we are going to drink beer on the patio.

 

 

 

A Blustery Day

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On a day of winds fit to threaten lingering autumn leaves like those on our crab apples, Jackie drove us to our GP surgery at Milford on Sea for our flu jabs (influenza vaccines).

Down at the coast, vociferous waves crashed onto breakwaters and rolled onto the shore and over the sea wall.

Gulls

Even the gulls found huddling on the car park tarmac preferable to facing the buffeting elements.

Dramatic skies, seas, and lighting effects gave yet another perspective to the Isle of Wight and The Needles.

When I had my fill of being coated in salt water in the interests of my art, I rejoined Jackie  in the car, and did my best to clean the camera lenses.

Friars Cliff Beach

We then continued on to Friars Cliff beach where we brunched at the cafe.

Spray on brerakwater

Here the breakwaters also took a pounding,

Walkers and dogs

but four walkers and a couple of romping dogs ventured onto the beach.

The smaller of the two dogs had a debate with its owner about whether it was possible to take refuge in the cafe. This somewhat obstructed my entrance.

 This evening we dined on Jackie’s chicken marinaded in piri-piri and lemon; roasted vegetables, steamed cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, with mashed potato, I finished the madiran.