“Alice’s Last Day”

On this bright and chilly morning, Nugget was torn away from his perch on the lip of


Jackie’s tulip planting pot

by Muggle’s war cries, which, proudly puffed up, he was required to reciprocate from a higher viewpoint.

“Where’s Nugget?” (49).

Later, we drove into the forest, taking School Lane out of Milford on Sea.

Tanners Lane was to produce two very enjoyable conversations.

The first was with Ed and Alice who were enjoying “Alice’s last day” in Lymington before travelling up to London for an interview for a job in Marylebone which, of course, I knew very well. I wished her luck and gave them a blog card.

The second was with a painter working on number 7.

Jackie and I must have been watching the renovation work in progress for a good two years now.

First there was the roofing of master thatcher A. D. Smith, with renovations by New Forest Oak Buildings


The painter confirmed my observation that the different materials in the walls are being matched and preserved.

Soon work will commence inside. Maybe I will have further opportunities to enter the historic building.

My informant told me that he had been delayed coming to work yesterday because the Beaulieu River had burst its banks. We therefore headed off in that direction.

Cattle basked on the moorland at East End

and grazed on the hillside above

St Leonards Road, for much of the length of which we were required to track a string of veteran cyclists.

For variety in the game of “Where’s Nugget”, I can offer “Where’s the pheasant”, camouflaged in the verge side bracken.

Beaulieu Lake, presumably at high tide

was certainly fuller than usual,

providing a splendidly smooth cygnet paddling pool.

Rowing boats left on the soggy bank of the

now still river must have been put into service during the spate.

Today, another group of cyclists were able to gather round a wooden seat for relaxation, refreshment, and reflection.

I am not quite sure how this post has been published early, that is before we have dined on Mr. Pink’s Fish and chips, drunk Hoegaarden, and finished the Cabernet Franc.


The Schneider Trophy


This afternoon Jackie drove us to Calshot and back in order to watch the sun go down.

Beaulieu River and Abbey 1

The tide was up in the Beaulieu River, offering reflections of Beaulieu Palace House

Beaulieu River and houses

and of private houses.

Fawley Power Sation and ponies

Along Rollestone Road the ancient and modern meet in the forms of ponies grazing freely on historic moorland and the towers of Fawley Power Station.

Calshot beach and ships 1

We arrived at Calshot shortly before sunset. The tide had ebbed; buoys were beached,

Calshot beach and ships 2

and large vessels glided past,

Sunset and beach huts

towards the low sun that lit the beach huts’ verandas.

Sunset 1

Swirling clouds splashed around the western sun

Sunset 2

while, to the east, smooth water reflected its effects.

Boat reflected in pool

Parked boats were mirrored in pools on the quayside.

Low tide, boats, beach huts

Shallow water glistened

Sunset 3

and gleamed,

Houston House

as did the windows of Houston House

Houston House Plaque

which bears this plaque.

Wikipedia tells us that:

‘The Coupe d’Aviation Maritime Jacques Schneider, commonly called the Schneider Trophy or Schneider Prize (sometimes incorrectly referred to as the Schneider Cup, a different prize), was a trophy awarded annually (and later, biannually) to the winner of a race for seaplanes and flying boats. The Schneider Trophy is now held at the Science Museum, South Kensington, London.

Announced in 1912 by Jacques Schneider, a French financier, balloonist and aircraft enthusiast, the competition offered a prize of approximately £1,000. The race was held twelve times between 1913 and 1931. It was intended to encourage technical advances in civil aviation but became a contest for pure speed with laps over a (usually) triangular course (initially 280 km, later 350 km). The contests were staged as time trials, with aircraft setting off individually at pre-agreed times, usually 15 minutes apart. The contests were very popular and some attracted crowds of over 200,000 spectators. An earlier trophy, also presented by Jacques Schneider in 1910, in France, was the Schneider Cup, which is now in the possession of the RAF College Cranwell.’


‘In 1931 the British government withdrew support, but a private donation of £100,000 from Lucy, Lady Houston, allowed Supermarine to compete and win on 13 September against only British opposition, with reportedly half a million spectators lining the beachfronts. The Italian, French, and German entrants failed to ready their aircraft in time for the competition. The remaining British team set both a new world speed record (610 km/h (380 mph)) and won the trophy outright with a third straight win.[7] The following days saw the winning Supermarine S.6B further break the world speed record twice, making it the first craft to break the 400 mph barrier on 29 September at an average speed of 655.8 km/h (407.5 mph).’

Sunset 4

As the sun gravitated towards

Sunset 5

the horizon,

Sunset 6

orange hues

Sunset 7


Sunset 8

and deepened.

Jet trail

A jet trail pierced the indigo backcloth,

Sunset 9

Sunset 10

and the palette introduced red pigments

Sunset 11


Sunset 12

across the firmament;

Sunset reflected in stream

finally dipping into the stream running alongside Jack Maynard Road.

This evening, for dinner, we enjoyed Jackie’s splendid beef and mushroom pie; boiled potatoes, carrots and cabbage, with which I drank more of the madiran.



An Act Of Love


Knowing that the clear morning would turn overcast as the day went on, Jackie drove me to Beaulieu and back for a photo session.

We began at Hatchet Pond where a couple of well-wrapped-up silhouetted walkers, observed by swans in the icy water, passed

a pair of chomping ponies, one freckle-faced.


After a while they turned and headed back for the car park.

Ponies 5

A number of other ponies unsuccessfully attempted to merge in with the bare branches of the trees.


Even this duck appeared to be huddled against the chilly weather;

despite being blue with cold, the more playful gulls swooped, skidded, and skated along their improvised ice floe landing strip.

Pony 2

There is always at least one pony lurking around the cars in the hopes of drivers donating delicacies.

Pony's eye

This one mistook my attention for intention to feed, and peered hopefully through the windscreen as I returned to the car.

Both the large pond and the tidal Beaulieu river bore shards of ice on their banks.


I was unaware that there was risk of flooding, but the owners of Abbeygate Cottage, opposite the river, had reinforced their gateway with sandbags, so I imagine there must be one.

Ponies very rarely either make a sound or break into a trot. I was therefore surprised to hear one whinnying at a pace up and down the bank.

Pony 5

It was only when it took its place among the traffic that it slowed down and kept silent.

Man walking river bed

Another surprise was to see gentleman with a long stick, carrying a Waitrose ‘bag for life’ across the still wet river bed. He strode purposefully until his goal became apparent.

Quietly, patiently, the swans lined up for the treats he carried. There was none of the usual clamour as these elegant creatures craned to take food from his fingers. Even the non-squabbling gulls awaited their turn. They knew this man who loved them.

Ponies on road 1

On our return, seeking a place to turn, we were assisted by two ponies blocking the road.

They were licking the salt from the tarmac.

This evening we dined on cottage pie, boiled potatoes, carrots and green beans. Jackie drank sparkling water, and I finished the barolo.

Keeping Ahead Of The Rain


Almost overnight, a stout fence has appeared in the place of our grizelinia hedge. This had been agreed with our neighbours who have the responsibility for it. The work is excellent.

This morning Aaron lopped more extraneous branches from large bay and holly trees.

This afternoon Jackie cut my hair and made a better job of it than the last professional. Later, she drove us to Beaulieu.

Beaulieu river, birds, family

A family joined in  the avian activity on the river.

The younger members perched on the grassy bank and conversed with the swans and their cygnets.

Beaulieu River and Abbey

Across the other side of the tidal river, Beaulieu Abbey could be seen.

Beaulieu River

The birds found the receding waters sufficient for a paddle;

and the grown cygnets continued to clutch at their parents’ apron strings.

Swans and gulls on Beaulieu River

We had been promised a thunder storm at noon. This did not arrive, but the louring clouds overhead decanted their heavy rain purely in order to put a stop to my photo session.

There was nothing for it but to walk up the main street to join Jackie where she was enjoying hot chocolate in the garden centre. By the time we drove back past the river the tide was out.

For our dinner this evening Jackie produced roast lamb, roast potatoes and parsnips, crunchy carrots and runner beans, with gravy, even though she said it herself, “to die for”. I finished the malbec and the Culinary Queen drank sparkling water.