Our First Cygnets

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Félicité Perpétue

Squeezing my left leg into the car, for a drive into the forest on this very dull day, was less painful again today. As I did so I admired the Félicité Perpétue rose facing me. This, and all the rest of today’s photographs were taken through the passenger seat window.

Garden opposite All Saints Church

The planting in the lane opposite All Saints Church Milford on Sea was at its best.

 

Thinking that we might be rewarded with a sight of our first cygnets of the season, Jackie headed for Hatchet Pond, where this proved to be the case.

Black-headed gull

A rather high and mighty black-headed gull took exception to our presence.

Motley cattle roamed the woodland along Brockenhurst Road,

where foxglove flowers flourished.

This evening we dined on second helpings of the Forest Tandoori takeaway meal from two days ago.

 

Mains Gas

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Last night I finished reading ‘Can You Forgive Her?’ by Anthony Trollope. Originally published in serial form, like other Victorian novels, this saga of family and politics was the forerunner of today’s television series. The book was the first of the Palliser sequence. It is longer than most readers would like in the modern world, but it repaid the time investment. I won’t give away any details, but can say that the author writes fluently and keeps us interested in the interrelated lives of his protagonists.
David Skilton’s introduction to my Folio Society edition is helpful and informative.
 I have to say, however, that the illustrations by Llewellyn Thomas were most disappointing. The drawings are heavy, wooden, and badly sketched. I attach two examples to make my point. In the first, we are to believe that the gentleman descending from the carriage is pointing at the other man, at whom he is not even looking. In the other, is it really credible that any of the limbs really belong to any of they figures from which they awkwardly dangle?
This afternoon we attended Birchfield Dental Practice in New Milton where we underwent new patients’ assessments by Matthew Hefferan. More of what is required anon.
Lymington Lifeboat Station
After this we drove to Lymington where I wandered along a section of the harbour opposite the lifeboat station.
Lifeboat jackets
Its shop is seen on the right. Not visible in that shot are the jackets hanging in the window the left.
Slipway
At the bottom of the slipway pontoon
Reflected bins
stands a row of waste bins that were reflected in the still water on the other side.
 I had to admire the skill required to pack in the rows and rows of moored boats.
The juxtaposition of two signs, not too far apart, rather intrigued me,
so I had to Google:
“The kill cord, or ‘engine safety cut-out switch’ to give it its proper name, is a device used to stop the engine in the event of the helmsperson being thrown out of their seat. It consists of a length of cord or plastic wire connected to a kill switch on the engine or dashboard of the boat.19 Nov 2014

Kill cords: Everything boatowners need to know – Motor Boat & Yachting

Black headed gull
A few black headed gulls paddling around the silt were the only visible sign of life in and around the harbour.
 The Wight Link ferry made its way out towards the Solent.
Mains gas has not yet come to us in Downton. It was, however brought to the town of Lymington in 1832. This monument celebrates the event and expresses
Lymington gas monument 3
the gratitude of the people to its benefactor.
This evening we dined on Jackie’s Post House Pie, with Yorkshire pudding, crisp carrots, green beans, and broccoli. I drank Lion’s Lair shiraz 2013.

The Ugly Ducklings

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Bees on poppy 1Bees on poppy 2

There was much competitive activity from honeybees, particularly partial to poppies

as we loaded two bags of hedge clippings and other green waste into the trusty little Modus for transporting to Efford Recycling Centre.

Recycling queue 1

This was to take some time, much of which was spent in a queue of traffic,

Hedgerow 1Hedgerow 2

admiring the hedgerows.

Recycling queue with yacht

On the horizon, through a gap in the trees, can be seen an intriguing land mass.

Isle of Wight from Efford Recycling Centre

We had enough time to watch several yachts floating by. This confirmed that the land is that of the Isle of Wight. The yachts were skimming over The Solent.

After this, Jackie drove us to Hatchet Pond and back to see if the swans had hatched their cygnets. They had.

Swans and cygnets

Here are the proud parents with, according to Hans Christian Andersen, their three Ugly Ducklings,

Swan and cygnets 1Swan and cygnet

Cygnet 1

one of which wasn’t quite sure what to do with its legs.

Cygnets

The Pond was so swollen that the birds chewed grass under water.

Swan and cygnets 2

One of the parents proudly stepped onto the land,

Couple with labrador

and when they both began hissing I thought that perhaps I had alarmed them into protective mode. Not so. They had seen the couple with the black labrador as they walked behind me.

Black-headed gull

Black-headed gulls also frequent this pond.

On our return home, I posted the sixth of my seven photographs in the Filling Facebook with Nature project.

Ponies and photographer

Here it is, first featured on my post of 23rd November 2013.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s piri-piri and lemon chicken; a melange of leeks, onions, and mushrooms; mashed potatoes; and carrots and green beans. This was followed by sticky toffee pudding and cream. I finished the Bordeaux.

Lambing Time

This morning I walked along Christchurch Road to New Milton to visit the bank to make a transfer and the station to check train times for my next London visit. Jackie shopped in Lidl then met me in the car park near the Council Office and drove me home.

Along the busy, meandering, and undulating main road lay fields of sheep. Sheep shelteringApple blossomFour childless ewes in a small field sheltered from the drizzling rain that lent a sparkle in the morning light to roadside trees, some displaying apple blossom.Sheep & suckling lambSheep & lambs

A suckling lamb’s tail wagged up and down, possibly, like a small dog, in anxiety, until it had grasped the teat. Further along the road others showed the usual inquisitiveness at my passing. All bore identification colouring.lamb & sheep

A small corner of a field on the left hand side of the road seems to be where the very young creatures begin their lives.

Gravel heaps

Variegated gravel heaps seem a not unattractive feature of the landscape.

The one door in the house now capable of being locked is that to the family bathroom. This was not always the case. Bathroom door lockThe catch plate, you see, was screwed in at a level placing its bottom screw in the lowest hole that can be seen in the door-jamb. Obviously the lock was not aligned with it. Maybe the idea of moving this down had been abandoned. I repositioned the receptive piece this afternoon. Black headed gullThe door itself doesn’t bear too much scrutiny.

David Fergusson was unable to deliver the chests of drawers today, because his son has had an emergency appendectomy.

Later, when I walked down to the post box, shrieking black headed gulls swooped over the stubble field.

This evening we dined at The Royal Oak. My choice was steak and ale pie; Jackie’s was breaded scampi with a side of onion rings. I had a starter of vegetable soup; she finished with New York Cheesecake; I enjoyed apple crumble. My beer was Flack’s; Jackie’s was Becks.

The Triangle

I spent the morning clearing the garage. First I finished removing the IKEA wardrobes; then garden tools went to the orange shed; Garden showing orang shedthen various other items went into the house. There are still a few tidy boxes of items from which younger homemakers may wish to take their pick.

Garage libraryOtherwise the room is ready for the books to be unpacked from storage boxes and settled on the IKEA Billy bookshelves. Probably about another dozen should suffice.Skip pile 1Skip pile 2

We now have two piles of debris for a skip.

This afternoon Jackie drove us to Milford on Sea. The haze leant an atmospheric quality to the beach. Flo was unaware of the black-headed gull which I had panned as it flew towards her. She raised her head, across which blew her hair at the most opportune moment.

This evening all seemed right with the world. Jackie plucked up the courage to produce a full meal on the Neff hobs. This was her spaghetti bolognese, except for spaghetti read linguine. It was of her usual superb standard, and followed by microwaved  lemon drizzle pudding courtesy of Waitrose, served with Jackie’s own custard. I finished the Isla Negra.Flo & gullFlo among the rocks

During the past fortnight I have learned a new meaning for the word ‘triangle’. Martin Taylor had observed that there was no triangle in the kitchen. Jackie had concurred, and has, at moments of stress since, mentioned the fact in her usual calm, collected, way.

I was a little bemused at this, for to me a triangle belonged in a primary school band. This was the instrument entrusted to me at St Mary’s on some auspicious occasion in my early years, possibly because it was considered I could do least damage to the performance with it, and they didn’t want me to suffer the ignominy of being left out. I remember being rather puzzled when I was told to bash it with a metal rod thingy at certain regular intervals. I’m not sure my sense of timing was particularly unerring.

Surely there was no place for one in a kitchen?

I was, of course on the wrong track altogether. The triangle in a kitchen, you see, is composed of lines linking cooker, cupboards, and sink. You are meant to be able to stand in the middle and reach any one of these easily from the same spot. In our kitchen, by swivelling at will, you can just about reach cooker or hobs and a selection of cupboards rather too low for the elderly. Water is, however, a problem. To get to that from either of the other two sides of the triangle you must walk around the island. Jackie doesn’t appreciate the exercise. And refers to the fact. Quite often.

 

 

He Wanted To Read The Gas Meter

This morning I walked the church path via Furzey Gardens road loop.  I had a long chat with Audrey and passed the time of day with two horse riders.  That was it. This afternoon we decided to ignore the weather and amble round Blandford Forum in Dorset.  It was far too cold to amble.  As we got out of the car we knew that.  We concentrated on our shopping.  Jackie parked in a car park marked ‘town centre’.  It didn’t look much like a town centre and we weren’t sure where to go.  We asked another woman who had the same problem.  We found a small sign pointing to what looked like a back alley which actually took us over a fast flowing stream, under the overlapping floor of a building, into what seemed a poorer part of this Georgian town.  We were soon in the town centre, diving from charity shop to charity shop in an attempt to get warm.  We didn’t leave them empty handed.  The woman from the car park was in each and every shop.  I also found a framer’s where I bought a frame for the Mottisfont Trout (see post of 23rd) picture; a branch of Wessex photo who stocked the inks for my Canon printer; and a computer shop where I bought a mouse mat. Solar Energy in streamIn the stream we crossed to reach the shops, someone had obviously decided there was not going to be much solar energy around this year.  The advertising board had been dumped in the water. Practically everyone in town was swathed in scarves, wearing gloves, and sporting a variety of overcoats. Black Headed Gull Even the black headed gulls in their summer plumage looked as if they had made a mistake.  One seemed particularly confused by it all. It was a shame that we were just too cold to do justice to wandering round this attractive and historic town, but we saw enough to know that in better weather it is worth another visit.  The young man in Wessex photo, not stocking it himself, had telephoned the Ringwood branch to see if they had A3+ paper size.  They didn’t, but would happily try to get some for me.  We stopped off at Ringwood on the way back to order some. In the Blandford branch of the photo shop a man carrying a portable device that I recognised but couldn’t quite place, stood aside patiently waiting whilst the one shop assistant served another person, then me, made the phone call, talked paper sizes with Jackie and me, and began with the next customer.  I think that if the helpful young man hadn’t asked the visitor what he wanted at that point, he would have been waiting there still.  He wanted to read the gas meter. Derrick 9.82Photograph number 10 of the ‘through the ages’ series is a reminder of a much warmer time.  This, I believe, was taken by Ann Eland on one of our joint holidays with her and Don,  in Brittany in September 1982.  By then I was being asked whether I had highlights put in my hair. Jackie's jalfreziJackie produced a superb lamb jalfrezi, pilau rice, and cauliflower bhaji for our dinner this evening.  We both drank Kingfisher.  I then ate sticky toffee pudding, and she had chocolate cake.