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

Paragliders

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.

Gull

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

StarlingStarling 2Starling juvenile

ravenous starlings,

Sparrow

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.

The Doggie Bird

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE THEM. REPEAT IF NECESSARY

Ali, Peter, Becky, and Ian stayed overnight. When we had all surfaced we drove to the Beachcomber cafe in Barton on Sea for a brunch.

Ali, Peter (Ian, Becky)

Ali and Peter look forever young.

Breakfast

Anyone familiar with my healthy café fry-ups may be surprised to see my smaller than usual plateful. Anyone who knows what I ate last night will not.

Poached eggs and toast

Jackie was satisfied with poached eggs and toast.

Soon afterwards our guests returned home, Ian driving his parents back to theirs. Last night Becky, as is often her wont, asked for a doggie bag to take home what she couldn’t eat. The very friendly waitress made one up.

Doggie bag bird

This was it. Our daughter left it at our place.

This afternoon, Helen visited with her grandson, Billy, who successfully fought against being woken up.

Until early evening this had been a cold, blustery, and wet day. Then I was able to take my camera into the rose garden and photograph

rose Mum in a Million

Mum in a Million,

rose Golden Showers

and, appropriately for today, Golden Showers, which has reached the top of the pergola.

Mr Pink provided fish and chips for our dinner this evening. We added pickled onions and gherkins; and onion rings from Becky’s doggie bird. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I didn’t.

The Beach House

Late on this crystal crisp clear blue sky morning Ian drove Scooby and me to Marine Drive, East, Barton on Sea, whence we walked along the clifftop.

Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight was again sporting a pastel palette,

Dog walkers

as we joined other dog walkers, many of whom are now familiar to Ian and Scooby,

Scooby encounters another dog

whose stance and cocked ears at one fresh encounter betrayed the slight concern that possibly brought about his first bowel-emptying session.

Cliff erosion 1Cliff erosion 2Scooby on clifftop

He exhibited no such nervousness in dashing along the steadily eroding edge.

Walkers

A few other pedestrians strode down below.

Sun on sea

There, waterborne sunlight dazzled,

Beachcomber Cafe

as did the windows of the Beachcomber Cafe where we stopped for coffee.

The Beach House entrance 1The Beach House entrance 2

This afternoon we paid another visit to The Beach House in order to introduce Ian to its exquisite ambience. Clicking on these images will reveal some of the stained glass that adorns this oak panelled building.

Stained glass window

More of this can be seen in the Sun Room where we took our tea, coffee, and cakes, at no further cost than Costa’s.

Sunset in lounge

Sunset through lounge window

The sunset could be enjoyed from the lounge,

Sunset through dining room window

the dining room,

Sunset through back room window

the back room,

Sunset through Sun room window

and the Sun Room,

where we enjoyed our refreshments whilst, through a protective glass screen we observed

Isle of Wight through Sun Room window

The Isle of White,

Isle of Wight and garden from Sun Room window

the garden,

Pigeon in pines

and silhouetted pigeons (this photograph is Becky’s).

Foyer

The foyer, photographed from the first floor gallery, shows the aforementioned oak panelling that also lines all the corridors to the bedrooms.

Although the personnel were different, the service was as efficient and friendly as we had found yesterday.

For our dinner this evening, Jackie produced a superb beef casserole; cauliflower and broccoli cheese; perfect boiled new potatoes; and crisp carrots and green beans. I finished the El Sotillo, Ian drank Peroni, and Becky drank zinfandel rose.

Shoebox

I began the day with a brief amble down the lane.

Poppies

In the bed beyond the kitchen window, the frilly pink poppies have multiplied.

Rose - white rambler

On our back drive, a pennant of white ramblers is now strung from stump to stump down the avenue of dead trees along the Northern side.

Letterbox

Hallmark Builders have finished their work on the entrance to The Spinney, revealing that the purpose of the wall is to contain a letterbox.

While Jackie continued in the garden, Sheila knitted duck puppets.

Sheila knitting 2The Shoebox Appeal, originating in 1992, operates a system of donating gifts, often hand-crafted to needy people in Eastern Europe and in Africa. Sheila contributes with her knitting. When our friend was struggling to thread her wool through the eye of a sewing needle, I was rash enough to mention that I had, as a child, habitually performed this task for my grandmother, I got the job of doing it for Sheila. It took me some time.

Potato

If we harvested all the potatoes that emerge among the flower beds, no doubt germinated from composted peelings, we would put the greengrocers out of business. Those that haven’t already succumbed to the supermarkets, that is. Jackie brought in one of the plants, to give our guest a preview of what she was having for dinner.

Salt marshesYoung woman walkingMother, child, dog

This very warm afternoon Jackie took us for a drive along the coast road. From Milford on Sea, where we did a little shopping, We proceeded to Keyhaven, continued along the inviting-looking salt marshes, from which a bridge crosses to Hurst Spit, along the top of which a young woman, her fair hair blowing in the wind, strode purposefully. Visible through the railings of the firm wooden bridge, a mother and child sheltered, with their dog on the sun-warmed shingle. It is to be hoped that enough of the rapidly melting ice-cream found its way into the little boy’s mouth before it welded the tissue wrapped around it to the cone.

Clifftop, crumbled gardens

At Barton on Sea I walked round the side of Sails Coffee Shop and looked out over the air-space that had once carried the ends of gardens in the terrace of which it forms part. Close by is the Beachcomber cafe where Sheila drank a cappuccino and Jackie a diet Coke. Jackie’s excuse for indulging in a slice of rainbow cake was that ‘it had to be seen to be believed’.Rainbow cake

She couldn’t eat it all, so, out of the goodness of my heart, I forced down a couple of colours.

Woman feeding starling

Before that, a young woman offered one of the marauding starlings a slice of cucumber. Had she asked, I could have offered the opinion that, judging by the squirming creatures our parent starlings had carried to the chicks in our roofs, these birds are carnivores. Whether or not that is true this one eschewed the cucumber. Like the ‘Five Little Men in a Flying Saucer’, on a visit to Earth, it took a little look at it, ‘didn’t like the sight of it, and quickly flew away’.

This evening we dined on flavoursome smoked cod, Jackie’s piquant cauliflower cheese, mashed potato, and crisp carrots and green beans, followed by lemon cheesecake from the Co-op. I finished the merlot, Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and Sheila quaffed lemonade.

In Our Daughter’s Handbag

Barton on SeaJust before lunch Ian drove Becky, Scooby, and me to Barton on Sea. As we walked along the cliff top, we watched storm clouds approaching from the North. Deciding to ignore them we walked down the slope towards the beach, got drenched, and retreated to the Beachcomber Cafe. The whole population of the seaside town seemed to have had the same idea. No seats were available. The meals looked very good, so as soon as the rain stopped we drove back home for a pizza we knew Jackie had defrosted.Cliff edge warning 1Cliff edge warning  2

It seems to me that the cliff here has become more unstable in the last year, and that there are more warning signs. To the right of the first picture, a long cleft is evident. I wondered how long it would be before the land fell away as it had a little further along.

This afternoon Barrie and Vicki came for a visit. Green Man bird feederVicki produced a very attractive and tasteful bird feeder in the form of The Green Man that she had made for us. Jackie and I enjoyed their usual entertaining conversation, which was interrupted by the repeated  sound of Becky’s mobile phone. HandbagIt soon became apparent that this was in our daughter’s handbag. She was outside, having gone to meet Ian who was walking Scooby. Soon afterwards Ian returned, having lost their dog in the maze of the maize field. Realising what the phone calls might have been, Becky dialled the number in her phone. Sure enough, Scooby had been found. The telephone number shown on his collar tag photographed on 11th was that of the old Mitcham landline. Fortunately, Becky’s mobile number was on the reverse side. She called the number that had been left on her phone by the woman who had found Scooby. He was at the bottom of Downton Lane. She went to collect her dog and all was well.

Barrie has photographed our golden conifer because he has a friend who he expects will be able to identify it. I hope soon to be able to enlighten those of my readers who have been waiting with bated breath for the information.Golden conifer branch

A branch from this tree is one of those Jackie and Flo cut for our granddaughter to turn into wands for sale at A Touch Of Magick  in Emsworth, which is the outlet that is stocking Flo’s jewellery.Copper beech branchWands The other twig is from the copper beech. Some of the wands are resting on our Alvin Betteridge dish.

You have to be either a sadist or a masochist to enjoy the highlights of the very short third day of the Oval Test Match between India and England, in which the visiting side simply rolled over, but Ian and I tortured ourselves with watching the highlights this evening. After this, we did the male thing and went to the Royal Oak pub for a drink whilst the ladies prepared a delicious roast lamb meal. We seem to have stayed out rather longer than expected because, in mid-conversation, Ian, looking out of the window, seemed rather discombobulated. I leant forward so I could see what he was seeing. There was Becky, in her slippers, hands on hips, looking for all the world, except for the lack of hair curlers, like Florrie, the wife of that famous working class hero, Andy Capp, silently indicating that we should get home immediately.

We did, of course, drink up and return to Old Post House where we enjoyed a wonderful meal followed by next door’s apple crumble and Jackie’s custard containing eggs and nutmeg. My readers know no-one lives next door. But there is a very enticing apple tree in the front garden. If we hadn’t raided it, the fruit would have gone to waste. Ian drank Pedro Jimenez Cimarosa 2013; Jackie and Becky Lambrusco; Flo Tropicana mixed tropical fruit juice; and I finished the bordeaux.