Jackie spent a hot, sunny, cloudless morning continuing her planting while I dead-headed poppies and roses and pulled up a few weeds.
Flo joined us on a trip this afternoon beginning with a visit to Otter Nurseries for more plants, and continuing into the forest.
Foxgloves lined the verges along Warborne Lane where a burrow probably housed the rabbits which kept popping up along the way.
We visited the Hatchet Moor section of Hatchet Pond, where Flo and I both photographed each other photographing donkeys and foals. Individual authorship is, as usual, detailed in the galleries (mine don’t bear my name). This is also true of the next ones, including
cattle and calves;
water lilies, one bearing a damselfly;
mallards, swans and cygnets hanging out on a makeshift temporary nest.
Flo added foxgloves in the landscape;
also an oyster catcher while I pictured a black headed gull.
Finally, at East Boldre I focussed on a fly-tolerant pony with her sleeping offspring.
This evening we dined on Jackie’s savoury rice, with prawn preparations – tempura and hot and spicy – and gyoza, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Malbec.
This afternoon Jackie took Flo and me for a drive.
We passed walkers among the grass of Saltgrass Lane, along which we
viewed low clouds giving the Isle of Wight the appearance of high mountains fronted by the Hurst Lighthouse and medieval castle; and
figures on the spit continuing along the low tide flats.
Unbeknown to each of us, while Jackie photographed a conversation with an ice cream vendor I focussed on a couple enjoying one of her wares.
The elder Assistant Photographer also photographed a perched black headed gull.
An abundance of wild flowers now carpet the verges of our lanes.
The anonymous decorator of the letter collection box on Pilley Hill has given us an Easter theme.
The last two of these pictures of a pony drinking in Pilley lake were Flo’s work.
Gentle donkeys took care of each other at East Boldre.
Tonight we dined on Jackie’s rich red chicken jalfrezi and equally colourful savoury rice with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Shiraz. Hard boiled eggs were added to the curry for Flo, who did not imbibe. She remembered that once when she was smaller I had made her a boiled egg curry.
Knowing that we are about to experience strong gales for three days I lay down the garden chairs and the new water feature as a precaution this morning, and this afternoon we visited the coast at Milford on Sea to make calmer photographs than we would anticipate for a while.
Although from a distance the sea looked calm enough as I focussed on the Isle of Wight and a woman on the seafront shingle,
it wasn’t that tranquil.
Jackie focussed on me photographing
waves advancing in a rush, and seeping back across the shingle.
As we left, a black-headed gull was perched for takeoff.
Should there be anyone who does not know of Captain Sir Thomas Moore, you are advised to consult https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Captain_Tom_Moore to read about the inspirational gentleman approaching his 100th birthday who, during 2020 raised our nation’s spirits; £34,000,000+ for the NHS; and, ultimately Queen Elizabeth II’s dubbing arm. This man’s favourite phrase, “Tomorrow will be a good day”, has been celebrated in yarn on the Pilley Street letter box.
After passing this, we drove on to Lepe where, from Inchmere Lane
we looked out over the flats, where I photographed
a solitary oyster catcher, and Jackie photographed
a motor boat.
I disembarked beside a seasonal pool on Exbury Road where I photographed
reflections of overhead trees;
fallen branches; and a mossy bank.
Do ducks lay eggs on a bare scratched circular area of ground? If so, I found one.
This evening we dined on Jackie’s chicken and vegetable stewp with fresh bread, followed by her spicy pasta arrabbiata and tender runner beans, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Primitivo Salento.
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.
INDIVIDUAL IMAGES CAN BE ENLARGED WITH A CLICK OR TWO. CLICKING ON ANY OF THOSE IN GROUPS ACCESSES THEIR GALLERY, MEMBERS OF WHICH CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE BY SCROLLING DOWN AND CHECKING BOX AT BOTTOM RIGHT
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.
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.
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.
CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. THOSE IN GROUPS ACCESS GALLERIES THAT CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE.
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.
After this we drove to Lymington where I wandered along a section of the harbour opposite the lifeboat station.
Its shop is seen on the right. Not visible in that shot are the jackets hanging in the window the left.
At the bottom of the slipway pontoon
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
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.
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. Four 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.
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.
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.
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. The 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. The 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.
I spent the morning clearing the garage. First I finished removing the IKEA wardrobes; then garden tools went to the orange shed; then 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. Otherwise 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.
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.
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.