Not Passing The Time Of Day

Holmsley Passage cuts through stretch of moorland on the way to Burley. There is a sweep down to a  deep valley which rises as a little bridge takes us up the other side.

Late this afternoon, as we drove along it, the sunshine and showers offered enticing landscape lighting

bringing a glint to a the eye of a trotting thrush.

Bright yellow gorse blended with burnished bracken,

among which bronzed browsing ponies nibbled

and cloven-hoofed cattle chomped.

A black cow ambled across the junction with the main road into Burley,

pausing to admire its reflection in a gutter pool.

Crossing the road at this point, and turning right takes us up to a popular dog walking spot.

Halfway up the slope lies a small pond also harbouring reflections

admired by a distant robin, its breast russet as an autumn leaf, standing out against the shadow of a lichen covered tree,

Back towards Burley the lowering sun still burnished the trees  and the bracken among which

walkers wandered

with their straining dogs,

while ponies cropped the grass.

One canine creature, its tail aloft, passed a busy grey pony. They did not pass the time of day.

Heading towards Lyndhurst the skies grew more dramatic,

in preparation for impending sunset which would soon be visible from the approach to Holmsley Road.

Elizabeth returned this evening after her next stint of moving in to her Pilley House. We dined on bacon chops; sautéed potatoes; spicy ratatouille; and piquant cauliflower cheese Jackie drank Hoegaarden and my sister and I drank Terre de Galets Cotes du Rhone 2016.

 

 

 

Forlorn

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Before I remembered I was supposed to be 75, the little boy in me became so excited that I dashed into the garden this morning to taste the icing on the cake.

After a few cups of coffee, with lumps in our throats, Jackie and I transported Flo and Dillon to Becky and Ian’s new home at Southbourne, near Emsworth, so that our daughter could drive them on to Matthew and Tess’s at Upper Dicker, for an overnight visit before returning to South Carolina via Canada, flying from Gatwick.

We then aimed for lunch at Westbourne’s Spice Cottage. Unfortunately this was closed. We then enjoyed a meal at the recently opened Darbar in Emsworth. This restaurant describes itself thus:

‘Muglai cuisine was introduced to India by the royal kitchens of the Mugal emperors who ruled from the 16th century onwards. Cooking was elevated to an art form.

Strongly influenced by Persian cooking from Iran, the food reflected the royal love of beauty: sumptuous, complex and sophisticated. Dried fruits, nuts and rich spices were incorporated into meat, vegetarian and rice dishes. Notable Muglai meals included biriyani, kebabs, kofta and delicacies from the tandoor. The Mugals also introduced to India the tradition of concluding the meal with desserts. The result was fragrant, heady and flavorsome, fit for royalty.

Darbar’s team of expert chefs bring the Mugal emperors’ cuisine to Emsworth.’

By and large this claim was justified. There was just one other couple with two small children also eating there. The aroma that assailed my nostrils on entering was rather less fragrant than I had hoped.  I detected a whiff of some rather strong cleaning fluid sending me speculating about what they may have been subjected to the night before.

The menu contained some items marked with a chilli symbol indicating that customers could specify the required heat. I chose a meal containing a variety of seafoods, which featured such a symbol. The waiter explained that one of the ingredients was not available, and steered me towards nilgiri jheenga which had no picture of a chilli. I pointed this out and expressed my desire for heat. The staff member said he could make it spicy. In fact it was not hot at all, but tasty, colourful, and fragrant, as was the saffron and mushroom rice. Jackie enjoyed her authentic saag panneer. The layered paratha was excellent. Our desserts were shahi tukra and shrikhand. Both were delicately aromatic. Service was friendly and attentive. Jackie drank Diet Coke and I drank Cobra.

There was less snow in West Sussex than was still lying on the moors as we drove back into the New Forest,

where snow bearing boughs admired their beauty in limpid pools.

Pretty patterns were traced on rooftops at East End, where ponies played with the traffic and forlorn-looking donkeys shivered on the verges.

 

We Didn’t Chat For Long

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This morning Aaron, of AP Maintenance, tackled the storm damage. He replaced the back drive barrier plants; repaired Jackie’s screen covering the five barred fence; gathered up fallen branches; and tidied up the cypress,

Cypress

which now looks like this.

Sending wood-chips flying from his chain saw, our friend began by cutting up the branches stretching down to the ground.

Aaron had not brought his ladder with him. He opted to climb the tree rather than go home for it.

Anyone of a nervous disposition may prefer to look away from his exploits up aloft, as he showered me with wood shavings.

This afternoon, Jackie drove us to Lepe beach and back.

The skies there already promised a good sunset.

Photographer and dog

I was apparently not the only photographer who thought so.

 

So crowded was this popular beach that we almost gave up finding a spot in the packed car park, until, as we bounced over the numerous potholes to leave, another vehicle rocked its way out in front of us. Jackie was then able to stay in the warmth of the vehicle whilst I stepped out with my camera.

Many wrapped up families walked and played along the sandy shingle. At water level in the last of this group of pictures is The Watch House, with the Coastguard Cottages on the hill above.

Mother and child

A little girl, not much bigger than her younger charge, staggered over to their mother carrying the distressed infant who had fallen. Maternal solace was then administered.

Another mother instructed her daughter in the art of chucking stones in the water.

A small boy enjoyed throwing up spadefuls of sand, before trotting off to the shoreline and inspecting

the whipped cream sweeping in from the sea.

Leaving Lepe, Inchmery Lane snakes alongside the seashore where, visible through twisted branches, slug-like dunes rose from lingering pools.

We reached Tanners Lane in time for sunset.

As we departed for home, we were delighted to meet Barry and Karen who had just arrived to walk their dogs on the shingle. It was now so cold that we didn’t chat for long.

This evening we dined at Milford on Sea’s Smugglers Inn. We both enjoyed our meals. Mine was rump of lamb with minty mashed potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, and red and green cabbage; Jackie’s was spaghetti carbonara.  I drank Doom Bar and my wife drank Amstel.

Temporary Service

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Soon after dawn this morning pink tinged indigo clouds slid across a bright blue background.

Within the hour, like the roof at Wimbledon, a slate grey canopy was stretched across the skies, and by the time Jackie drove me out to the bank at New Milton steady rain had set in for the day. We drove on to the Milford Medical Centre to make an appointment for Ian whose infection lingers on. We also collected a ‘Temporary Service’ form for him to complete, and took it back later.

The NHS Temporary Service is one of the invaluable benefits of our national medical service. This enables a visiting person taken ill away from home to avail themselves of medical services. Ian was seen on time and prescribed antibiotics which he collected at the adjacent pharmacy.

This evening we dined on our second helpings of Chinese takeaway delights supplemented by Hoisin spare ribs marinaded in Peking style sauce. Jackie and Ian drank respectively Staropramen beer from Prague, and Asahi from Tokyo; whilst I drank Cabalié 2015 Red Catalan wine. It’s amazing how cosmopolitan we have become since the end of WW2.

After The Drift

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When Aaron and Sean cleared space for the promised greenhouse, they stacked the cut branches at the end of the Back Drive.

Branches

I chopped or broke them into manageable sizes and filled two of our large orange containers with them. There is still enough for two more bags. Jackie and I took them to the dump and returned with a very large saucer for a big planter tub.

Bee and small wihite butterfly, verbena bonarensis and fuchsia

Bee on verbena bonarensisWhile I worked, big black bees and Small White butterflies were equally busy alongside me among the fuchsias and the verbena bonarensises in the New Bed.

From the recycling centre we went on a driveabout.

Ponies

At Sway we came across a group of ponies bearing the identification marks showing that they had experienced The Drift.

Pony 1

When I featured this annual event, I explained that tails were clipped, collars replaced, and branding applied. This animal displays all three.

Pony 2

It was actually quite difficult to show the cuts on the tails because they were constantly being used as fly whisks.

Pony 4

Wherever the creature had rolled in the mud, it had besmirched its nice new collar;

Pony 3

whilst this one’s bath had obscured its brand.

We visited Milford on Sea to investigate the fortunes of Mr Pink’s Fish and Chips since its recent fire. Unfortunately it is closed until further notice.

Hurst Point Lighthouse

The shingle and the rocks along the coastline were well populated, as can be seen by this shot of Hurst Point Lighthouse, the story of which can be seen here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurst_Point_Lighthouse

Bathers

Others were bathing in the water,

Couple on shingle

seated on folding chairs,

People on beach

reading newspapers, or flashing tattoos.

This evening we dined on duck breasts in plum sauce; roast new potatoes in their jackets and peppers in chillies and herbs; and crisp carrots and green beans. I finished the Fleurie.

40+ MPH

Candlestick

Unless I am seeking good light for photography, I am fairly impervious to the weather. Not so the head gardener. Jackie is usually very even tempered. Except when we have a heavy wind (or another driver is ‘up [her] bottom’ on the road). Then she wanders around the house muttering imprecations, before dashing out into the garden bringing her own whirlwind to lay down anything that the weather hasn’t yet dislodged, and picking up hanging baskets that have succumbed. The tall ecclesiastical candlesticks used as planters are particularly vulnerable.SkylineBeech and birch branches 1Beech and birch branches 2Windswept shrubberyWindswept birchWindswept grassWindblown bird feeders

Today’s gusts ran at 40+ MPH.

We needed to buy some more bird food. Now that the crows have found it, replenishment is required more often. The small birds who made it to the swinging containers this morning were disappointed as must have been Eric and the larger pigeons as they scrabbled around underneath for droppings.

When Jackie bought the feed this morning, and loads for us and our Easter guests, her full trolley was blown across the car park as she began to decant the contents into the car. A kind young gentleman wheeled it back to her.

Later, the sun emerged and the wind speed increased. The blue tits and other small birds were happy to perch on their now filled swinging feeders, and a young dove felt safe enough to leave its rooftop camouflage to feast on suet balls.Grass and ivy on chimney potblue tit on swinging feederDoveDove and suet balls
Lal Quilla meal

This evening we enjoyed the usual excellent meal at Lal Quilla in Lymington. They were quite full, which is probably why we didn’t have the usual chat with the chef. We both had well filled, juicy,  prawn puri starters with fresh salad, drank draught Kingfisher, and shared a perfect parata. My main course was delicious king prawn naga with special fried rice; Jackie’s was excellent chicken biriani.

‘Painting With Light’

With extensive cloud cover and intermittent rain this morning was considerably warmer than yesterday, but Skyscape with rainbowIsle of Wight and The Needlesfar less inviting for my Hordle Cliff top walk. Nevertheless a rainbow did attempt to put in an appearance, as did a watery sun over The Solent, which sent ochre coloured waves crashing against the blending shingle on the beach.

GaragesWhoever broke into the garages of the empty Royal Oak pub was bound to have been disappointed, for there was nothing they wanted inside. The deciduous trees on Downton Lane Downton LaneBranchesBarbed wirehave mostly lost their foliage, but the evergreen pines have retained theirs.

Balloon in streamReindeerIn an attempt to cheer up the day an inflated memento from a Macdonald’s Happy Meal bobbed in the stream, and a festive reindeer has arrived in Shorefield Country Park.

The skies had brightened considerably by midday when Aaron Parris of A.P. Maintenance came with a colleague and cleaned out our guttering. I engaged him to complete my work on the back drive, and to level the former kitchen garden.

By 2 p.m. the winter sun was strongly in evidence and the temperature several degrees colder. I took a short stroll down the lane with the object of reprising some of the morning’s shots. These are the results:Downton Lane 2Branches 2Barbed wire 2Balloon on stream 2Reindeer 2Landscape
By 3 p.m. it wasn’t far off sunset.Branches 3Skyscape 1Skyscape 2

Chris Weston, on his training course, described photography as ‘painting with light’. Perhaps these images, all unenhanced, and taken at different times on the same typically English day, illustrate what he meant.

The chauffeur was feeling a little under the weather, so unfortunately we were unable to attend Margery and Paul’s annual Christmas singing party, but trust the usual good time was enjoyed by all.

Since the chef was also feeling a little frail, we dined out at the Rivaaz, where I enjoyed lamb nagin and special fried rice, with a few titbits donated by Jackie from her choice of the buffet meal. We both drank Kingfisher.