Husky Models

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Today, for the most part, was overcast and dull, although the sun did emerge on our way back from Calshot where Jackie drove us this afternoon. We were positively sweltering in temperatures of 10-12 Celsius.

I wandered among the parked boats and trailers beside the Tudor castle and the modern hangars. One man worked hard to pump up his trailer tyre. He was, like the vessels, reflected in the pools on the concrete.

On the shingle beside Southampton water driftwood and rubble created natural sculptures. Tyres had also been incorporated, sometimes filled with concrete and used as mooring rings. The last one featured here held

one of two memorial seats to Jon Hughes and Norman Ellis. The plaques suggest that these comparatively young gentlemen were both mourned windsurfers, leading to speculation about their deaths.

Three young girls walked along the wall to the castle moat, passing a gentleman seated with a pair of huskies. He was very happy to have his beautiful dogs model for me. Zara retained her interest for longer than Ashka.

A variety of decorative chickens are free to roam in their pen along the outside of the wall of Beaulieu Abbey. When I approached to photograph them,

two gulls that were tucking into the seed in the tray in the foreground of the first of these pictured, rapidly fled across the road past the grazing donkeys. Further over, a riverine garden is home to an intriguing cannon.

The Brockenhurst stretch of Highland Water flowed fast, although scarcely disturbing the reflections of ponies, skies, and trees. Even the banks were filled with reflective pools.

This evening we dined on barbecue sauce marinaded rack of pork spare ribs on a bed of Jackie’s sublime savoury rice radiant with the hues of sweet corn, red peppers, peas, onions, and mushrooms. I drank more of the Azinhaga.

 

 

 

Mobile, cigarettes, chips, and coke

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Aaron, this Sunday, had removed two overhanging branches from a neighbours fir tree, and had dismantled an old temporary greenhouse cobbled together from panels found on our plot. Early this morning we chopped the branches into manageable chunks to fill an orange bag and, along with some of the panels, and a rather rancid bathroom cabinet left by our predecessors, removed them to Efford Recycling Centre.

This effort entitled to us to spend the rest of the morning in the forest.

Ponies in traffic 1Ponies in traffic 2Ponies in traffic 3Ponies in traffic 4Ponies in traffic 5Ponies in traffic 6Ponies in traffic 7Ponies in traffic 8Ponies in traffic 9Ponies in traffic 10Ponies in traffic 11Ponies in traffic 12

We consider ourselves fortunate to have reached Beaulieu and traversed it. The ponies had other ideas. Switching from side to side of the narrow approach road, they caused the longest tailback we have ever experienced here.

Pony on the move

One animal broke into a run when it saw that its companions had

Ponies in traffic 13

reached the wide verge, just outside the village, where we normally see them. If you are bored with all these rear views, imagine what else i was going to do as we fell into line? Do you know that number plate off by heart yet?

Ponies on road

Fortunately, once through Beaulieu, we were travelling in the right direction to be unhindered by a less mobile group.

Entrance

After this, we set off for Calshot Castle which was open for visitors. Originally built for King Henry VIII the castle was extended and refurbished in the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries.

R.A.F. Medical Corps uniform

The entrance door above leads to the shop where admission tickets may be bought. My first thought was to pass the young woman seated at her desk studying her mobile phone and approach the young man in the corner for tickets. Rapidly reorienting myself I purchased our admission from the young lady, who was, in fact, most engaging. In particular, she had a very tactful way of asking whether we were pensioners, and didn’t use the word once. The gentleman was wearing an R.A.F. Medical Corps uniform.

Head

Entering a room marked ‘Cell’, I found myself in an office, upon a shelf in which was evidence of a recent decapitation.

CannonJackie and cannons

Through the cannon turrets

Paddle boarder

I spied a paddle boarder who wouldn’t have had much chance of penetrating the defences.

Doorway up

We ascended steep stone steps leading

Barracks 1

eventually to a large central room that had, in the last lustrum of the 19th century, been converted to a barracks.

Barracks 2

Each man was allocated his own meagre space containing a metal framed and sprung bed that didn’t look too comfortable.

Tudor chimney and stove

The room contained a coal burning stove fronting the repaired remnants of the Tudor fireplace.

Barracks roof

A number of stone-roofed alcoves

Watching container vessel

were brightly lit by windows from which I could observe visitors watching a container vessel

Watching container vessel and kayaker

and a kayaker down below.

Pointing couples

What, I wondered, had attracted the attention of these two pointers? In the foreground of this shot lies the moat that surrounded the castle.

Garderobe

A corner on this level contained a garderobe. This, primarily, is a locked chamber containing dress and other stores; by extension a bed-chamber, or a privy. This was a very dark room, and the only image for which I used flash. Otherwise you would not have seen the hole, once covered by a wooden seat, which received human excreta to slide down into the depths below.

Top flight of stairs

The final set of steps bore a sign warning of the uneven roof above. I was more concerned about the steps themselves.

Iron door

They led to a stout iron door, one of several that stood one the gun platform up there.

Jackie on battlements

Here is evidence that Jackie made it to the top.

Boats and passers-by 1Boats and passing couple

These images of stored boats, passers by,

Wooden stakes

wooden stakes,

Lifeboat Centre

and a family investigating the lifeboat centre we have to suffice for mine.

Vehicle carrier, ferry boat, yachts

Our trip ended with a brunch in the Activity Centre Café, from which I watched a ferry boat and a couple of yachts crossing the path of a car transporter;

Cigarettes, chips, and mobile

and a family group enjoying their lunch in the sunshine.

This evening we dined on Mr Chan’s Chinese takeaway with which Jackie drank Blue Moon and I finished the Bordeaux.

 

 

 

 

 

Defending Southampton Water

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On another splendid September summer’s morning, Jackie drove us to Calshot and back.

Man and dog

Calshot Beach had just two occupants: the proverbial one man and his dog.

Beach hut refurbishment

A woman was discussing the refurbishment of her beach hut. What had at first seemed a simple carpentry job had developed into a bit of a rebuild because of the discovery of dry rot and woodworm.

Betsy's beach hut

Betsy, at number one, was able to enjoy the sunshine outside her delightfully appointed summer house.

Beach Hut shadows

These huts threw long shadows in the sunshine.

Boat moored near Calshot Beach

Some boats were moored;

Yachts and cricket stumps

others sailed behind the cricket stumps –  http://www.royal-southern.co.uk/News-Desk/ID/1037/Yacht-Clubs-meet-for-the-annual-Bramble-Bank-cricket-match-in-the-middle-of-the-Solent  –  (Info courtesy of quercuscommunity.wordpress.com), deep on the boundary.

Seaplane

A seaplane droned overhead.

Calshot Castle 1

Calshot Beach is on a sand and shingle spit leading to Calshot Castle,

Calshot Castle through boats 1Rusting tackle

first seen through boats old

Calshot Castle through boats 2

and new.

Masts and lines

These masts belong to members of the Calshot Cats yachting club.

Fawley Power Station

Across the water lies Fawley Power Station.

Photographers on beachCouple on beach

I was not the only photographer interested in the scene;

Tug of war with dog

and crossing a lead with fishing rods, a young man engaged in a tug of war with his dog.

Speed Boat

Turning my attention to the water, I tracked a speedboat

Speedboat passing Red Funnel ferryboat

as it sped past the Red Funnel ferryboat,

Speedboat, yachts, Spinnaker

then yachts, with the Spinnaker (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spinnaker_Tower) on the horizon.

Ham, egg, and chips

Since the Olympics breakfast on 19th, I have been unable to face my favourite full English, so when we decided to lunch at the Activities Centre, I opted for ham, egg, and chips, which could be considered as breaking me in gently. Jackie chose vegetable soup and a baguette.

Silhouettes on spit

Whilst enjoying this, I watched silhouettes making their way along a distant sand spit.

Defending Southampton Water

Here is the history of the castle (enlargement should help).

We dined this evening on Chicken Kiev, Jackie’s piquant cauliflower cheese, and creamy mashed potato. I finished the malbec.

A Collection For Posterity

Frosty lawn

A bright sun streaked through the trees and across the frosted lawn this morning.  It was still pretty cold, so, although I am beginning to feel like taking a reasonable walk again, it probably wouldn’t have been sensible and my rambling was done through my photographic archives.

A task I have been putting off ever since I acquired my iMac, had been to rescan all my old slides and negatives.  I made a start on my very first colour slide, taken in August 1963.

Mum, Joseph, friend 8.63Vivien and I had married two months before, and, whilst searching for our first owned home, lived in my parents’ house at 18 Bernard Gardens, SW19.  Ever since his birth, as Jackie and I were to do later, she and I had taken my young brother everywhere with us.  It is perhaps therefore appropriate that I begin this renovation process with a picture of Joe on a seesaw in the garden of that Wimbledon house.  Mum is doing the seesawing by the side of an unidentified friend.

Kodak-Box-BrownieOnly one of our honeymoon pictures survives.  It was probably taken with the Box Brownie my grandfather had passed on to me some years before.  I am not sure where the print is now, but, like most amateurs in those days, I didn’t keep the negatives.  Colour slides were different.  Unless you had them made into prints, which rather defeated the object, you couldn’t view them without a projector shining light through the positive film.  That is why my collection for posterity began with colour slides.

The colour of the original fifty year old slide has deteriorated into a monochrome pink sepia.  There were also numerous little black specks and tiny hairs on the scanned image.  With the marvellous iPhoto application, I have managed to get some of the pristine picture back.  No doubt, my friend Alex Schneideman would have improved it still further.

Having been encouraged by the honeymoon photo of a Cornish fishing village I had decided to upgrade my camera and begin with colour slides. 200px-Kodak_Retinette_and_case That is when I bought my Kodak Retinette 1b, which is what I would have taken the August picture with.  Although it had a good lens for the money, in keeping with those days, there was nothing electronic or automatic about the device.  In particular you had to work out your focussing by estimating the distance between you and the subject.  This was aided later by the purchase of a rangefinder which you clipped to the top of the camera body.  Even then a calculation was required.  It will be apparent from the said photograph that I had some improvement to acquire in that department.  A knowledge of depth of field might have been useful.  For the uninitiated this is the range of the picture that will be in focus with any specific combination of lens aperture and shutter speed.  This meant that even if Joe had been in sharp focus, Mum was not going to be.  Not that anyone has to worry too much about that now.  The factors are more critical when taking close-ups, but the modern camera does the thinking for you.

This afternoon Jackie drove us through splendid forest roads glorified by the strong, low, winter sunshine, to Calshot to show me Henry VIII’s small castle.  No doubt, like the nearby Hurst Castle, this was part of a warning system and a minor defence against a possible Spanish invasion.Calshot Castle Today there is an observation tower equipped with modern technology alongside the Tudor building. Tanker passing Calshot Castle Passing the castle was the oil tanker ‘Sovereign’, another symbol of modern life undreamt of by the sixteenth century holder of that title.

Gull rounding Calshot Castle

Gulls, rounding the castle, hovered on the gusts of wind that tore across Southampton Water, just as their antecedents have done for more than half a millennium.

Shoreline

Choppy waves sped across the channel separating us from the docks and Fawley refinery, and slid up the shingle beach and back down again.  WindsurfingThe wind that urged them along and held up the gulls provided exhilarating power for a number of kitesurfers, one of whom had to stop to blow up his kite.

There were many yachts wrapped and lined up near the bay. Yachts The Beach huttinkling of their tackle against the masts provided charming wind chimes.

Although, at high tide, we saw only shingle today, judging by the rows of beach huts lining the shore between the village and the castle, Calshot Beach must be sandy.  Jackie managed to pinpoint on the map exactly where we were and therefore to identify the docks; the refinery; and the Spinnaker tower on the far shore opposite the castle. Beach hutsRealising how close, when parked near the huts, we were to the Isle of Wight, she also identified Cowes and Ryde. Cyclist with Labradors

A cyclist taking his two Labradors for a walk wheeled through the car park, across the road, and back the way he had come.

We dined on Jackie’s juicy chicken jalfrezi and savoury rice, followed by sticky toffee pudding and cream.  I drank a glass of Via di Cavallo Chianti 2012.  Perhaps a little light for a fiery curry, this was nevertheless an excellent wine and just right for my head this evening.