I Had Done A Dr. Who

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Mum has been in Southampton General Hospital for the last few days, having rather deteriorated since her birthday. She has responded well to treatment but will need an advanced care plan before she can return home. Jackie drove Elizabeth and me over for a visit. Our mother certainly looked much better for her stay, but remains frail. A very pleasant doctor called Rebecca discussed all this with us, indicating that Mum would not be sent home without proper care being in place. Elizabeth and I will visit again tomorrow to discuss this with the team.

Even gaining access to the hospital was an advanced obstacle course. There are three car parks in the grounds; two were full; allegedly there were spaces in the third, multi-story facility. We joined a queue for this. Having withdrawn a timed ticket from the machine, one vehicle at a time was allowed to pass the barrier. When it became our turn, the machine informed us that this park was now full. We then had to wait until someone somewhere had departed. Thinking that Sod’s law would determine that if I began to change my camera lens we would start moving, I began the process. We started moving.

We found ourselves in a packed ground floor level. Having wriggled past other vehicles we made it into daylight. Then began the trek along streets, across crossings, past numerous buildings and into the building, more like a shopping mall,  where our mother would be found in Ward 5 on the sixth floor. As I stood in the cramped lift, I prayed that the crush of my fellow passengers would manage to keep me upright,

Fortunately Elizabeth knew exactly where to find ward G5, and a chirpy looking parent who already had Rob and Helen in attendance.

Having delightedly devoured a slice of fruit cake Elizabeth had brought, Mum was ready for a rest when we left.

A little confusion arose when we departed the lift. Jackie and Elizabeth disembarked at level C.  I didn’t manage to make my escape and continued on down to B. I left the lift and asked a staff member where the stairs were. She pointed out the lift, which was behind me. Well, it would be. I’d just got out of it. I said “I’m not going in another one of those”. She directed me to the stairs.

Meanwhile, my two ladies waited on level C for the lift to return. They stood with a welcoming smile as the elevator opened. Out stepped a beautiful young woman. They thought I had done a Dr. Who.

Jackie then drove us on to West End to collect clothing and spectacles for Mum for tomorrow.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s sublime sausage casserole, creamy mashed potato, butternut squash, carrot batons, and firm Brussels sprouts. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden while Elizabeth and I finished the Morador.

 

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.

Wait For Us

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This morning Jackie and I kept our appointment with Neils Dagless of Dagless and Whitlock. He witnessed our signatures on the mortgage documents. There was no charge for his service, but we were asked for a donation to the Oakhaven Hospice. We were happy to do this.

Becky and Ian, who had stayed the night, returned home after lunch. Matthew, Tess, and Poppy will remain with us until tomorrow.

Later this afternoon we posted the papers to O’Neill Patient in Stockport, then drove into a dank and dismal forest.

Hinchelsea Moor 1Hinchelsea Moor 2

Drizzling rain mist lay over Hinchelsea Moor,

Ponies in mist 1Ponies in mist 2Ponies in mist 3

and Wilverley Plain where we could just discern a few ponies,

Cow crossing car park

a damp cow crossing the soggy carpark,

Calves following mother

and its calves, passing a browsing pony,

Calves following mother

and lowing “wait for us”, as they followed.

Pony at Wilverley Pit

At Wilverley Pit I photographed one pony standing silhouetted,

Woman photographing pony

remaining stationary whilst another photographer followed suit.

Man petting pony

A young man patted a pony showing considerable interest in the snack he was eating.

Pony encounter

Having been satisfied, the creature reported prospects to another,

Man feeding pony

which was then equally successful.

Cars and pony

Cars kept their headlights on;

Man, dog, pony

and a few intrepid dog walkers ventured across the vanishing moor.

This evening the five of us dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away fare. All except Matthew and Poppy drank Tsingtao beer.

 

Knobbly Knees

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If you have no choice but to resort to vast shopping outlets, Bournemouth’s Castlepoint is far more user friendly than most. This is where we drove today for Jackie’s outfit for her niece Rachel’s wedding to Gareth in a few days’ time.

Castlepoint 1

Jackie led the way across the car park to her shop of choice.

Castlepoint 2

Castlepoint 6Castlepoint 7

I followed slowly, taking in the sculptural railings;

Castlepoint 3

the steps;

Castlepoint 4Castlepoint 5Castlepoint 8

the serried ranks of cars;

Loading car

 people loading their purchases before driving away;

Shoppers 1

and shoppers chatting

Shoppers 2Shoppers 3

and walking about.

Shoe mirror Evans

I joined Jackie in Evans. While she chose some shoes reflected in this nether mirror,

Underwear reflected

I allowed myself to be distracted by a full length one,

Reflections in silver balloons

before taking a multiple selfie reflected in silver balloons from Burton’s staircase, which also afforded a view of

Models Wallis

Wallis models below.

Man passing window displayShoppers through Burton windowShoppers in doorway 2Shoppers in doorway 1

Shoppers through Evans window 1

From the first floor of this open-plan shared store I watched shoppers passing by

Shoppers through Wallis window

or just taking a rest.

Cyclist through Burton window

There was even a cyclist

Car Park through Wallis window

skirting the car park.

Coca Cola can

When we returned to our car, this Coca Cola can rattled across the tarmac at the speed of Usain Bolt.

Christchurch Prory gardens

On our way home we diverted to Christchurch, parking in the Priory Car Park. In the gardens alongside stands this commemorative sculpture:

Christchurch Priory commemoration scupture plaque

Christchurch Priory Commemoration sculpture Sde A

Here is Side A;

Christchurch Priory Commemoration sculpture Sides B & C

here Sides B and C;

Christchurch Priory Commemoration sculpture Side D

and here Side D.

Christchurch Quay 1

A gentleman with a stick made his way along the quayside;

Christchurch Quay 2

as did a number of cyclists. I didn’t think to ask this gentleman why he carried a spade.

Christchurch Harbour 1

A motorised dinghy sped towards the sun,

Group on quayside

and a small group walked away from it.

Dog on balcony

A dog on a balcony was set off barking. Perhaps it suspected someone may be stealing the boats.

Boat

A vessel normally used for visitors’ trips hove into view just before we left,

Paddleboarder

while a paddle boarder approached from the opposite direction.

Gull

Jackie was of the opinion that this gull would have won a knobbly knees contest. It would have been a close call between the bird and the lamppost.

This evening we dined on spicy pizza and plentiful salad. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I started on another bottle of the malbec.

 

 

 

The Watch House

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This morning we took a drive out to Lepe, during a brief window of sunshine in a gradually gloomier day.

Jackie dropped me off at the Watch House, from which I walked to the car park, alongside which, in the café, she was enjoying a coffee.

Watch House reflected

Perched on a rocky spit, the occupants of this house, reflected in the water, must have enjoyed an excellent view when on the lookout for smugglers.

Gate to Watch House 1

Grasses by sea

A set of steep stone steps leads down from the road

Lepe seafront with walkers 1

alongside the seafront,

on the other side of which stand the coastguard cottages, still undergoing refurbishment.

A number of pairs walked along the sea wall.

Dark Water Stream

The Dark Water stream flows under the road.

Gulls perched on the wooden breakwaters.

Piles

The sea has sculpted some of the piles into abstract forms.

Various vessels sped past the Isle of Wight.

Yacht, walkers, dog

Providing a backcloth to a dog straining to reach a gull, one yacht sailed into the harbour,

Yacht

and back out to sea.

Turnstones

Turnstones tried their luck on the shingle,

Dog chasing gulls

where a spritely little dog dashed about in vain attempts to catch gulls.

Turnstone

The only bird, another turnstone, that it could have caught hopped around at a safe distance in the car park, on one foot. It clearly found enough food.

Seafront with car park

Alongside the car park,

Man in heavy vehicle

in the cab of a heavy vehicle, sat a worker wielding a pen. Was he, like Jackie, working his way through a puzzle book?

From Lepe, Jackie drove us to Molly’s Den in New Milton where we bought a birthday present and my debit card was blocked. Fortunately I had enough cash to pay for the item. When we got home a phone call to the bank sorted out the problem. I really can’t be bothered to go into what they had done and the hoops I had to go through to put it right.

Elizabeth, Danni and Andy joined us this evening and we all drove to Lal Quilla in Lymington for the usual excellent meal with really friendly service. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and Andy drank diet Coke. The rest of us shared two bottles of the house merlot. After that, if you expect me to detail the meals other than my own king prawn Ceylon and mushroom rice you will be disappointed.

Stymied By The System or The Failed Migration

Another young woman at O2 had the doubtful pleasure, early this morning, of being the seventh person I have spoken to about the ongoing ‘farce’. Without going into too much boring detail, especially of the music I listened to whilst on hold, I can report that the culprit department has been identified, and the problem should be resolved in 24 hours. I said I was going on a two hour journey and would be camping in an O2 office if it was not resolved by the time I reached my destination.

Our destination was Mat, Tess, and Poppy’s home in Upper Dicker.

Magnolia

En route we noticed that a pink magnolia, that blends so well with the blue wash on the wall of the elegant Georgian terraced house to which it belongs, is burgeoning. We always enjoy it when we are stopped at traffic lights on leaving Lymington.

The phone problem was not resolved when we arrived at The Village Shop, so we spent a little time in the flat with Mat and Poppy then repaired to the cafe for massive reinforcing fry ups, for we were going camping and might be some time.

Paintings on wall

The walls are adorned with the paintings that Jessica and Imogen executed there on New Year’s Day.

Suitably fed, Jackie drove me to O2 at the Arndale Centre in Eastbourne. We were to spend the next two hours there.

Rooftops from car parkRooftops and car park

First we had to find our way to the centre car park. Road works by the station didn’t help matters, but eventually we parked on level 1 and made our way into the shopping mall. The views over the rooftops of this large seaside town were fascinating.

The stores location information was actually very helpful and we were soon at the mobile phone outlet where I was immediately assisted by a young woman who identified the problem, made phone calls, and set the correct procedure in process. She did, however, tell me that implementation could take up to 48 hours and there was nothing she could do about it. Like me, and the telephone advisors she was, as I said, stymied by the system.

I am sure everyone would agree that having a diagnosis for a mystery ailment is, in itself, quite healing. Today’s advisor pronounced that my phone was suffering from a Failed Migration, apparently a very rare event. This has meant that a different, random, number has been transferred to my phone and is currently listed to me, not to another person who has a similar name. Assuming she is right, and her treatment correct, it may be cured in a couple of days. In the meantime, if yours is one of the many contact numbers I have lost and you do wish to remain in touch, I would appreciate it if you would send me an e-mail with the details. Thank you.

There wasn’t much point in occupying the shop overnight, so we returned to Upper Dicker to spend some more time with the family before returning home. On my final check this evening, I found a text message asking me to complete a questionnaire about how satisfied I was with the service I received when I contacted O2 yesterday. I don’t think I need detail my responses. A final text assured me that my views were important to the company and would help them to improve their service. It is hard to see how.

After our earlier slap-up meal, I needed nothing more this evening.

Battle Of Britain Day

Today the wind has dropped to a mere 23 m.p.h. The good news is that there was minimal damage in the rose garden.

Today, Daphne and Ray Salinger share their 70th anniversary with Battle of Britain Day.

Yesterday the Isle of Wight County Press reported:

“BATTLE of Britain Day will be marked by a flypast that will include the Isle of Wight tomorrow (Tuesday).
September 15 is the 75th anniversary of the largest and fiercest attack by the German Luftwaffe over the skies of Southern England and London.
Around 1,500 aircraft took part in aerial battles, which raged throughout the day.
As evening arrived a group of German fast bombers were spotted off Cherbourg on their way to attack a Southampton Spitfire factory.
The Luftwaffe planes were later spotted over St Catherine’s and fighters from 607 and 609 Squadrons were sent to intercept.
The Germans made it to Southampton, but missed the Spitfire factory. However they dropped tonnes of bombs on the city, killing nine people and damaging the harbour and houses.
As they headed back past the Isle of Wight, close to the Needles, the British fighters engaged, shooting down four of the 20 bombers.
On Tuesday, World War Two fighters will again be in the skies over the Isle of Wight, thankfully in more peaceful circumstances.
A group of 40 Spitfire, Hurricanes and Blenheim light bombers are due to take part in flypasts, leaving from Goodwood Aerodrome in West Sussex.
They will be split into ten sections, before taking to the skies across Britain.
Two sections are due to fly over the south of the Island and their routes can be seen below.
The first section is due to leave at noon, with four minute gaps between subsequent sections.”
Screen shot 2015-09-13 at 12.41.43
In the event the weather caused some delay and there were route alterations.
Jackie drove us to Hordle Cliff West car park, where we arrived, shortly before noon,  to find it almost completely full. We sought no further confirmation that we had chosen the best vantage point from which to witness spitfires and hurricanes flying inland over The Needles. This car park usually belongs to the gulls at this time of the year.
Car Park
Car park and crowd
The people came in coaches, they came in cars, they came on bicycles, they came on foot, to witness the flypast, due at about 12.10.
News soon filtered through the crowds, informing us that take-off would be delayed by two hours because of the strong winds. There wasn’t much point in returning home for a while, because we would have lost our place.
Group preparing for spitfires
Possibly this gentleman is being advised that the gulls overhead are not planes.
Crowd waiting 1
Kiosk
We settled down for a wait during which I had a few chats with other would-be watchers and Jackie queued at the kiosk for an excellent choice of egg and bacon rolls, pasties and chips. We were fortunate to be so early, for a couple of hours later the queue stretched to the cliff edge. Clearly the woman in charge made a killing today, but she was managing alone because her husband was ill. Nevertheless she would acknowledge that it is an ill wind that blows nobody good.
Some people wandered off in search of other eating places. Others, like me, struck up conversations with strangers. One gentleman did a little dance on the clifftop, alarming everyone when he tripped over his own feet.
As the latest expected time of arrival drew near, we all fixed our eyes on The Needles, that row of rocks to the West of the Isle of Wight, over which the historic planes were to thread their way.
Had Jackie not been looking in the other direction, and alerted me, I would have been one of the disappointed multitude who missed the sight. The planes flew over the centre of the island, and aimed for Southampton. The itinerary had changed at the request of that city because of their association with Spitfires.
Spitfires 1
Spitfires 2Spitfires 3
 Spitfires 4Spitfires 5I managed to photograph eight specks gliding silently across the sky. I cropped and enlarged the first picture. The clouds behind the planes can be located again in the next shot, indicating the progression across the skies. Clicking on the images may make this easier to discern. One woman, returning to her car, exclaimed ‘Well, that was a damp squib’. ‘No imagination’, I thought.
Given that I was born in 1943, had there been a different outcome to the airborne battle, I may very well never have existed.
There was plenty of food left over from the Spice of India takeaway we enjoyed two days ago for tonight’s dinner. My accompaniment was the last of the Cuvée St Jainé; Jackie’s was Hoegaarden.