Watching The World Go By

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This afternoon Jackie delivered me to a bench at the crossroads beside the Burley war memorial in order for me to focus on who came by.

There were, of course, many pedestrians,

some of whom enjoyed ice creams;

many were drawn to Spencer’s estate agent’s window, from an upper floor of which Bugs Bunny waved a greeting.

Cyclists and bikers mingled

with the rest of the traffic, including private cars, one huge lorry, and an ambulance. Seeing the larger vehicles careering down the hill and lurching round the bend, heading for my bench, was at times a little disconcerting.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s sublime savoury rice with pork rack of ribs in barbecue sauce with which I drank Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2016

 

 

Chickens And A Calf

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Last night Flo transferred several photographs from her mobile phone to my iMac.

On 28th December I had photographed our granddaughter photographing chickens at Hockey’s Farm. These were her images.

Fortune cookies

Yesterday evening we had enjoyed fortune cookies given to Jackie by Mr Chan at Hordle Chinese Take Away. Flo pictured the mottos, including the touch of curry on mine. For some reason the idea of me making a sudden rise caused a certain amount of hilarity.

Branch Line001

The Branch Line To Selsey from Chichester enjoyed barely four decades of life. This is the front cover of a fascinating book published in 1983, giving its detailed story. Barrie Haynes had given me the book a few months ago after Jackie, Ian, Becky, and I had visited a mortgage adviser in the locality. Today I finished reading it.

The authors have thoroughly researched their material and presented it in an entertaining form. Their close scrutiny of contemporary photographs alert the reader to details they may otherwise have missed. Useful maps, tickets, and timetables supplement the illustrations.

Branch Line002

I have chosen a few of the photographs in an attempt to demonstrate the flavour of the work. Edwardian days were just a century ago.

Branch Line003

The text beneath the upper of these two images shows how freight was more profitable than passengers. What is happening in the lower picture is described on the facing page. The Hesperus is ‘in trouble’.  A lifting of the train and a complicated adjustment of a ‘belligerent rail’ was required to help the 17 1/4 ton engine on its way.

Branch Line005

Ralph Selsby was one of several carriers operating from Selsey.

Branch Line006

Here are a couple of carriages from the early 1930s. The line was closed in 1935.

Branch Line004

This is what constituted a railway replacement bus in 1910.

Branch Line007

Just 16 years later, this bus was to herald the death knell of the historic little line.

This evening we all enjoyed more of Jackie’s excellent chicken and egg curries, samosas, and onion bahjis. Mrs Knight drank Hoegaarden, and I drank Wolf’s Leap merlot 2016, another very good wine from Ian’s case.

 

 

Interactive Issue

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Although the wind has lessened, it is still not conducive to clearing up. In addition to the breakages,

Burnt begonia 1Burnt begonia 2

this is what windburn can do, for example to the leaves and blooms of a begonia.

We did water all the containers and dead head many roses. Perhaps we will be able to do repair work tomorrow.

This morning I scanned the last few of the 1984 London Transport Photographic Competition colour negatives.

Young woman reading on platform 1984

I hope this young woman was not so engrossed in her magazine as to miss her train. Much research has gone into public signage since the 1960s. I believe the station name Battersea Park is in Gill Sans font, considered to be easiest to read on the move.

Boy and girl kicking cans 1984Boy kicking can 1984

Somewhat out of sequence, here are two more shots of the budding footballers kicking cans in Tooting High Street. I wonder if the lad still sports an earring?

Now, back to transport. It would seem to be a good idea, when in a bus station, such as Victoria, to ask a bus driver for directions. This isn’t necessarily so. I enjoyed speculating about the conversation that ensued when two young women did just that. Perhaps you would like to join me, and suggest suitable captions to this sequence.

Bus driver giving directions 1 1984

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Bus driver giving directions 2 1984

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Bus driver giving directions 3 1984

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Bus driver giving directions 4 1984

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Bus driver giving directions 5 1984

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Bus driver giving directions 6 1984

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Flower stall 1 1984

This flower stall is long gone from the station precinct. Having paused for his photograph,

Flower stall 2 1984

the young male customer may well have said to the stall-holder: ‘Smile, you are on camera’. Or………?

Bus Inspector and pedestrian 1984

Is this weary looking traveller attempting to glean information from the bus inspector seeking the relevant information from his breast pocket? What do you think?

This evening we dined on succulent chicken Kiev, creamy mashed potatoes, new potatoes, cabbage, cauliflower, carrots and green beans; followed by strawberry tart and cream. Neither of us imbibed.

No More Shell Building

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As usual when I travel to London, Waterloo, Jackie drove me to and from New Milton today. Apart from the fact that the ticket office was closed because the system wasn’t working, and I held up the queue for the machine on the platform because I didn’t know how to use it, the journey was uneventful.

When I last took today’s walk from Waterloo Station, across Westminster Bridge to Carol’s  home off Victoria Street, I would have crossed York Road by footbridge from the station concourse. This was not possible today. The bridge was closed and we had to walk down steps on the station side, and along the road until reaching the County Hall corner before we could cross.

South Bank development 1South Bank development 3

South Bank Development 2South Bank Development 5

South Bank Development 4

A great, gaping hole appeared where the Shell Building, a landmark as long as I can remember, had stood when I made the trip a year ago.

South Bank Development signs

This is to become a South Bank Development of ‘exceptionally stylish apartments’. Apparently people are already queuing up to acquire them although prices have not yet been fixed.

South Bank development workmen 1

Around the corner, on the approach to The London Eye, I noticed two men in hard hats sitting against the background of building works.

South Bank development workmen 2

As I came nearer, one of the very friendly men held up warning hands to ensure that I did not, without a hard hat, enter the site. The other gentleman came over to me and we had a pleasant conversation during which he suggested I might prefer to be photographing the New Forest.

South Bank Development 6

I then shot the scene without the workers.

Crowd on Westminster Bridge 1

Once on Westminster Bridge I was reminded how difficult it is to negotiate that thoroughfare during the tourist season.

Piper and audience

The piper, however, was given some breathing space.

Roadsweeper

An assiduous road sweeper kept the area around Parliament Square suitably tidy. The Plane tree around which he had just wielded his brush, was bursting into leaf,

Plane Trees and buses

as were those in an unusually quiet Victoria Street,

Plane trees and St Stephen's Church

and outside St Stephen’s Church, Rochester Row.

I didn’t note the name of the excellent Italian restaurant in that street where Carol and I enjoyed each other’s company over a superb meal. My choice was a tortellini and clear chicken stock soup followed by sea food risotto. We both chose creme brûlée. I drank Friuli sauvignon.

Lambeth Palace from 507 bus

I returned to Waterloo on the 507 bus, from which I gained a clear view of Lambeth Palace.

P.S. Perusal of the comments by Paul and Geoff below, will show that the title and the inference of this post is only partially correct. The main tower remains. It is just the lower levels that have been removed.

Clapham Common

It was a bright and sunny day for my visit to old friends Wolf and Luci. Jackie, as usual New Milton stationTrain in New Milton stationdrove me to and from New Milton Station for the train to Waterloo. From the terminal, I took the Northern Line to Clapham Common, along the South Side of which I walked, Elms Roadcrossing over to Elms Road, right into Abbeville Road, and left into Hambalt Road to their home. I returned home by the same methods.Clapham CommonLeaf clearing

Maple leaves were falling on the common where work forces were engaged in clearing them up, mostly with extended ‘big hands’ to aid the process. Maple trunkBlue pigment on a particularly gnarled trunk produced an interesting abstract painting.

Pigeons and rooksCanada geesePigeons and cattle troughPigeons, rooks, and Canada geese scratched about in well clawed soil, and Bullfrogs overlooked the redundant cattle trough, now planted with flowers.

Temperance fountainAlso apparently redundant, certainly unusable, is the drinking fountain provided by The United Kingdom Temperance and General Provident Association. This grand sculptured structure, even if it were functioning as it did in Victorian times, would probably be eschewed by the various gentlemen occupying the benches as they glugged alcoholic beverages straight from their cans. Temperance fountain lionThe lions embellishing each side would probably never again have their thirsts slaked by the blocked and rusting fountain.

When I lived or worked in London I had enjoyed a monthly lunch with my friends. Unfortunately this frequency is no longer possible but whenever Jackie and I see them it is equally pleasurable, as it was today. Today Luci produced a tender lamb casserole, wild rice, parsnips, and brussels sprouts, followed by her trademark flavoursome crustless pumpkin pie. She and I both drank Wolf Blass red wine, while Wolf drank his customary apple juice.

Luci wrapped up a helping of the dessert for Jackie, who enjoyed it as much as I did. After that superb lunch, I didn’t join my lady for dinner.

Derrick and WolfOn my return home I was greeted by an e-mail from Luci containing very good photographs of Wolf and me taken with her Samsung mobile phone.

She Was Indispensable

Morning gloryBidding farewell to Jackie’s Morning Glory, after she delivered me to Southampton I boarded the train for Waterloo for a last weekend’s packing before the final removal from Sutherland Place.  Not a journey you want to make on a hot Saturday morning.  Had a woman, who was leaving the train in a few minutes at Winchester, not offered me her seat, I would have had to stand all the way.  I had already walked through several carriages, struggling past assorted standing passengers and luggage blocking the aisles.  Shortly after this the guard made an announcement telling people with bicycles not in the cycle racks that they would have to leave the train; and another informing customers that they could sit in first class for a £5 supplement.

From Waterloo I took the tube to Queensway and walked the rest of the way.  Roger, the gardener brought me the keys and I set to work whilst waiting for Anne, home in England from Athens for a few days, who had generously offered to come and help me.  It is always good to see our friend whom I have known for many years.  She is not often in England now, so I consider myself most fortunate that she was free today, for she was indispensable.  An expert packer, she aptly took over Jackie’s role as the practical one. First she drove me to Safestore where I bought more storage boxes and bubble wrap.  There was a slight problem driving into the forecourt as the road was blocked by two old red London buses having been hired for a wedding reception.

After this Anne displayed great skill in safely packing china and glasses whilst I got on with the books.  She, as a globetrotter, had clearly done this many times before.  When we ran out of bubble wrap we used my ancient finance files, more than six years old and therefore no longer likely to be required by Inland Revenue.  It was amusing to see invoices and receipts providing a crinkly shell for wine and sherry containers.  Our friend spent all afternoon tackling this task in an impressively methodical way.  She didn’t break anything, but in my one attempt to help her I managed to snap a stem.  I left it to her after that.

I had been warned that a prospective new tenant was to visit this afternoon.  A young family came to view with the estate agent.

Shortly before I left Sutherland Place three years ago I watched an elegant middle-aged woman painstakingly renovate and redecorate the outside of a shopfront in Chepstow Road, just around the corner from Westbourne Grove, that had suffered some neglect.  This was soon to re-open as Otto, a pizza house providing cornmeal crust products.  Jackie and I enjoyed it so much that we visited it several times in the last days here.  The woman was the mother of the very personable new owner.  When I visited it this evening, I was asked if I had eaten there before.  I was happy to relate this story and to congratulate their success.  It is now a very vibrant eating place to be highly recommended to anyone finding themselves in the area in search of a meal. Otto's pizza This evening I enjoyed a pizza with extra jalapeno, a crisp, dressed, side salad, and a glass of excellent Rioja.  The establishment was buzzing.  Their third birthday party is on the 18th September.  We are invited.  I regret that we are unlikely to attend.