Mobile, cigarettes, chips, and coke


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.


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.


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.


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.






King Henry VIII’s Favourite Warship


This morning Jackie drove me to New Milton for a visit to the bank, and back to Milford on Sea where we voted in the general election.

Three days of strong winds had wrought their usual havoc on the garden. After lunch we tied up and dead-headed roses; gathered broken branches and taller plants; and generally tidied up. The big beast has also returned, so Jackie blocked up the newest hole under the fence. All this came to a halt when heavy rain drove us inside.

I then worked on representing the tour of the Portsmouth Historic Dockyard that was our last family adventure before Sam, Holly, Malachi, and Orlaith set off for France.

H.M.S. Warrior 1H.M.S. Warrior 2H.M.S. Warrior 3

On the approach to the waterfront, H.M.S. Warrior comes into view. This vessel is a mere youngster compared with our main target of the afternoon.

Nelson Figurehead

We were advised that we would have insufficient time to view the two main attractions. Despite the figurehead of Lord Nelson from H.M.S. Trafalgar (1841) watching over

H.M.S Victory 1H.M.S. Victory 2H.M.S. Victory 3

H.M.S. Victory, the latter vessel was the one we decided to forego.

Sam, Holly, Jackie, Malachi and Orlaith at H.M.S. Victory 2Sam, Holly, Jackie, Malachi and Orlaith at H.M.S. Victory

We did, however, marvel at what we could see without going on board. Orlaith, sporting her new red plaster cast, perches on Sam’s shoulders, while Malachi, Holly, and Jackie stand beside them.

On 19th July 1545, 465 crew members from a complement of 500 drowned in The Solent. They were on board the Mary Rose which, after 34 years of active service, and just having fought off the French invasion fleet, sank with frightening rapidity and with no apparent cause. After years of searching, the wreck was discovered in 1971 and finally raised in 1982. Not until 2016 was the careful preservation work completed.

The museum we visited, by keeping the lighting low, discouraging flash photography, and with carefully controlled air conditioning, provides us with a wonderful experience of what life was like on board. One of the attendants told me that, on the upper levels, at that very moment engineers were working to revive the air conditioning that had developed a fault. I imagine the little modern gadgets visible in some of the cabinets must be monitors of some kind.

Mary Rose model

Suspended on the upper level hangs a model of the ship with an invitation to visitors to draw it. Almost everything else has been brought to the surface from the silt of The Solent.

Deck skeleton 1Deck skeleton 5Deck skeleton 6Deck skeleton 4Deck skeleton 3Deck skeleton 2

What has been revealed of the original vessel is essentially a cross-section preserved by the mud and silt as it lay on its side. There are nine viewing galleries from which visitors may gaze upon skeletal decks first assembled almost 500 years ago. The first of these deck pictures shows scenes of sailors screened on the boards; in the background of the last are visitors looking down from various other levels.

King Henry VIII waxwork

We are greeted at the entrance by a very lifelike waxwork of the monarch himself.

Mary Rose emblem

The first exhibit is a wooden emblem of a Tudor rose, still decipherable after half a millennium beneath the sea.

Cannon 1Cannon and cannonballs

A number of cannons and cannon balls are displayed as if piercing the decks to fire on the enemy.

Surgeon's equipment 1

A number of cabinets are dedicated to the barber surgeon, that essential crew member. We see his cabin furnishings,

Surgeon's equipment 3Surgeon's equipment 4

and various items of equipment.

Bricks etc

Bricks and a galvanised bath lie in a heap.

Dog skeleton and backgammon set

The skeleton of a dog and a backgammon board give a good touch of ordinary life.

Archer waxwork

Another waxwork is of an archer

Archer's outfit

remains of whose outfit lie in one cabinet,


and whose bows


and arrows appear in others.

Pulling a bow

This sturdy-looking gentleman trying out his pulling power blanched a bit when I asked him to repeat the effort for the camera. His arms were aching from his first two attempts.

Pikes and bills

Other weapons are the pikes and bills used to repel boarders.


A brick fireplace

Barrel etcBarrels etcBarrels etc 2Chopping block etcCook's belongingsBasket

Dishes etc 2

Dishes etc 1

Shoes etc

was essential for the cook whose barrels, jugs, dishes, and other utensils were near at hand.

Rigging 1Rigging 2

Many items of rigging were recovered,

Crow's nest

as was the crow’s nest.

This is unlikely to be our only visit.

This evening, back in the 21st century, Jackie and I finished off the last of the Chinese takeaway meal.