Official Status

This morning Jackie drove me for a short trip into the forest.

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Bovines basked among the browning bracken of Bull Hill.

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One couple sat talking on the gravel of Tanners Lane beach;

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another walked their dogs across it.

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With the Isle of Wight and The Needles on the horizon, gentle waters gathered in the regular rock pools;

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rippled the twinkling surface of the Solent, lapped the reflecting breakwaters, and darkened their closest pebbles, while

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at a higher level charcoal encircled by larger stones remained as evidence of an attempt at a fire, perhaps laid for alfresco cooking the night before.

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This white butterfly flitted along the lane until conveniently coming to rest among stones and autumn leaves. Is it a Green Veined White?

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This afternoon Jackie drove Flo and Dillon to Lymington Registry Office to give Ellie’s birth its official status.

We dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away’s excellent fare with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Monte Plogar.

Battling To Bring Them Down

Fierce winds, having raged overnight, continued for a good part of the day, sending us to Milford on Sea’s coastline,

to photograph the ocean with its spraying, creamy, waves pounding the breakwaters and the sea wall.

Jackie watched the play of my writhing jacket.

A formation of distant kite surfers took us off to Keyhaven for a closer look. Hurst Castle appears in this last image.

Like speedboats the surfers sent up their own spray; wrestled on the shingle with the kites flung into life by the blustery winds; and performed silhouetted aerobatics. Meanwhile sea defence trucks travelled along the spit.

Once the kites were in the air and the time had come for departure the surfers set about battling to bring them down, sometimes one aeronaut anchoring another.

We also enjoyed a closer look at Hurst Castle.

This evening we dined on Mr Chan’s Hordle Chinese Take Away excellent fare with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Mendoza Malbec 2019.

Now I am going to settle down to watch the last Six Nations rugby match, between France and Scotland.

Late Afternoon

The 106 m.p.h. wind that ripped through The Needles overnight howled around our house and garden.

Numerous plant pots were blown down;

tables and the new pig hit the deck;

owls were knocked off their perches;

broken branches and scattered trugs tossed around;

an arch bent and a rose dislodged. I had the sun in my eyes when the rose accosted me and pierced both my head and my jacket.

Late this afternoon we drove to Milford on Sea watching wild waves whipping up spray, lashing wooden breakwaters and wetting glistening rocks. Gulls swooped overhead; numerous walkers braced the bitterly cold wind. One group descended the slippery shingle, then attempted to avoid the rippling waves licking their feet. One young lady had forgotten to cover her legs.

It was hardly surprising that no-one sat at the picnic tables of the Needles Eye Cafe standing in reflecting pools.

My fingers tingled enough to send me back into the car while I waited for the sunset.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s post-Christmas soup with crusty bread followed by gooseberry and apple crumble with which the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Montaria.

Windswept

Rain battered our windows and a fierce wind, courtesy of storm Francis, howled and whistled throughout the night. We drove into Milford on Sea for a 9.30 a.m. appointment for the last of my earwax extraction, and afterwards Jackie parked in an empty coastal carpark while I battled with the warm gusts, trying to ignore the precipitation obscuring specs and lens.

A group of hardy individuals walked along the spit, the slope of which wasn’t quite as steep as the wind forced me to make it seem.

I hopefully waved the camera in the direction of the turbulent waves churning creamy Costa coffee crashing into the sturdy breakwaters and slip-sliding over resistant rocks.

From the comfort of her driving seat the Assistant Photographer recorded the proceedings.

As I was about to return to the car I noticed a windswept young lady leaning into the storm, her hair writhing like Medusa’s. She was joined by her male companion possibly more eager than I to photograph the moment.

I have chosen not to brighten any of these images in order faithfully to represent what we actually saw at 10 a.m. on an August morning. In fact the rain eased up and the sun appeared by midday although the wind continued even more ferocious throughout the rest of the day, apparently more than 80 m.p.h. through The Needles directly in line with us.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s lemon chicken and savoury vegetable rice topped with an omelette. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank Charlotte Fabre’s Tesco’s Finest Cateauneuf-du-Pape 2015.

Not Upside Down

Although less severe, today’s weather was as changeable as that of yesterday.

This morning we drove to Milford on Sea for a repeat prescription. There were more people on the road than there has been of late.

The car parks along the coast were still locked and empty but for this cyclist,

and a couple walking past.

The Needles Eye café has been closed since lockdown began. The louring skies did not deter a number of other pedestrians. The tall straggly cordeline to the right of the picture was receiving its customary battering from the blustery winds

sending wintry waves buffeting breakwaters and sending grating gravel skidding and sliding

along the coastline.

Milky spray churned into vast vats of the latte that is not currently available in the resort’s normal outlets.

Unperturbed by the constantly changing clouds

gulls frolicked silently overhead.

I became engaged in conversation with this couple walking their dogs. The woman helpfully told me how to recover from knee replacements.  She had warmed up enough, despite the cool winds, to wrap her heavy coat around her waist.

As I returned to the Modus another couple left their car and followed their dog to the promenade.

Pale purple thrift and bright yellow buttercups carpet the banks of Park Lane and

drape the crumbling cliffs,

clinging to the edge of which rooks on recce perch for a while

before taking flight

or wandering purposefully among the grasses.

Given that we were out anyway we took a short diversion up to Wootton in search of a pony or two.

A small group wandering along the road turned

to converse with another in a field.

No doubt following the loner’s directions they made their way individually to the other side.

The grey lagged behind a bit.

One cyclist followed the bend at the junction

where another pair paused for a break.

On of the field horses seen on the hill sports a protective mask. This does not indicate that its owner has placed one for coronavirus upside down. It is to protect eyes and ears from invasive flies.

This evening we dined on choice roast chicken thighs; crisp roast potatoes, one type being sweet; plain boiled potatoes; crunchy carrots; tender green beans; a rich red cabbage, with meaty gravy. Jackie drank Heineken and, apart from the quantity I sloshed on my white linen shirt, I drank more of the red Cotes du Rhone.

Almost Empty

What is the best way to make a trip to the pharmacy exciting?

During pandemic lockdown it is when this is considered an essential journey  and petrol has remained in the tank for weeks.

Off we went this morning to Milford on Sea for that heady pleasure. The establishment’s door was open. Just inside stood a table on which the pre-ordered products were placed by the friendly staff for the masked and gloved Jackie to pick up. There were no other customers behind whom to queue.

I had hoped to walk along the clifftop on the way home, but there was nowhere to park so I settled for the occasional stoppage along a largely deserted road.

For fear of an influx of campers and city dwellers escaping infested metropolises The New Forest District Council along with many others of beauty spots has

sealed off entrances to the forest and beaches like those at Milford and Barton.

Here, a facility in which spaces would be at a premium in such spring sunshine was occupied by one single seated pedestrian.

A locked children’s playground’s attractions stood idle.

Promenades were almost deserted;

this desultory hound appeared to be struggling to keep up.

Hazy spray beset the Isle of Wight and The Needles;

 

waves and spray also beset this side of the Solent,

where beach huts, replaced after the devastation of the storms of February 2014, stood locked.in isolation.

A solitary figure sat in contemplation on staggered steps;

three walkers passed a woman in the process of emptying her pooch.

Turning into Downton Lane we observed a tractor toiling in Roger Cobb’s sun-kissed field.

While Nugget briefly visited his feeder, Burt entertained us with his trapeze act this evening as we dined on Jackie’s wholesome chicken and vegetable soup with crusty sourdough bread, followed by mixed fruit crumble and custard. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I continued with the Valreas.

 

The Wind Gets Up

Having now reached episode 7 of The Crown series 2, we have decided that enough is more than enough. There is too much intrusive invention for our liking.

This morning I visited Sears Barbers for Peter to cut my hair. Knowing that later today we would be in for a storm which I believe has been named Brendan, we left home an hour early to watch a clear blue sky constantly changing as the relentless wind whipped the waves, scudded the clouds, and precipitated driving rain.

As we approached the coast, passing the White House perched against the indigo skies,

a lichen covered thorn hedge gave testimony to the purity of the nevertheless untamed air.

Even just after 9.30 a.m. the coast road was devoid of daylight

as dark clouds dominated.

A few dog walkers hastened along

beneath skies changing by the minute.

Some gulls struggled on the thermals,

while others hunkered down on the car park tarmac;

I do hope it was a piece of bread that this one gathered up for breakfast.

The waves were simply choppy at first,

but soon increased in ferocity.

The rain was brief but did send me back into the car before we moved further along the coast where

surging spray pounded the sea walls

their cream-laden fingers grasping at

the sturdy breakwaters.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s particularly spicy pasta arrabbiata and tender runner beans with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Concha y Toro Casilliero del Diablo 2017.

 

Bracing

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.

Speech Bubbles Are Invited

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I trust my readers in the Philippines and the East Coast of America will forgive Jackie and me for choosing to visit the coast on a morning beset by winds of a mere 40 m.p.h.

Palms swayed in the wind at Milford on Sea; granite skies glowered over choppy waves; the Isle of Wight, The Needles, and the lighthouse were lent a translucent quality by the feeble, filtered, daylight and the misty sea-spray crashing on the rocks.

RunnerRunner approaching walkersRunnerRunner

An unperturbed young lady ran along the coastal paths at a respectable rate;

four hardy sailors clung to stays on one side of a red-sailed yacht in efforts to keep the mast upright as it skirted the Isle of Wight, The Needles, and the lighthouse.

I think this was an egret fishing at Keyhaven,

while a preening gull perched on a heap of seaweed.

Two gentlemen passed stacks of colourful boats in the sailing club yard.

Readers are invited to suggest speech bubbles for these two.

In the field opposite Solent Grange stands a large haystack that defied the wind.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s luscious beef pie; creamy mashed potato; and crunchy carrots, cauliflower and cabbage. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden; Elizabeth, Patrick Chodot’s Fleurie 2016, and I finished the same producer’s Brouilly.
 
 

“The Seventh Wave….”

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This morning Jackie drove us to Avon Beach at Mudeford and back.

Tossing up spray in their wake, the sage green waves

and the brisk winds offered a couple of surfers a splendid playground,

within sight of watchers on the rocky breakwater.

It was a day on which pre-school children wrapped up their grandparents well and took them for a bracing walk. One gleeful little girl enjoyed defeating the waves in their attempt to soak her. She was even more delighted when I displayed my water-filled shoes and socks and decidedly damp trouser legs. I had not been so nimble. My driver informed me that the seventh wave always ascends further up the shingle than the preceding six. I will try to remember that.

After lunch I deleted more images from iMac’s Photos

This evening we dined on Jackie’s splendid sausage casserole; creamy mashed potato; and crisp carrots, cauliflower, and runner beans. I finished the Paniza.