The Penultimate Leg


This morning I scanned more colour negatives from the long walk of July 2003.


Sam continued rowing Pacific Pete along the River Soar at Leicester.


He passed the National Space Museum.


Boys at an Outdoor Pursuits Centre were introduced to the boat.


A harvester gathered in the crop; a coot paddled by; a mallard breakfasted with her ducklings; and a water snake broke the surface of the river in which a mallow was reflected.

Derrick working lock

James having returned home for a short period, I got to work the locks.


Anyone who has read ‘Nettle Rash’ will know how I avoided encountering bulls in the fields I had to cross. This rather amused a gentleman I met en route. He said that no farmer would dare leave a dangerous animal on such a public area. With a great deal of trepidation, I mounted a stile around which this herd of cattle were clustered. As I climbed over the animals all ran away; the scary bull in fast pursuit.

Sam at Ratcliffe

Here Sam approaches Ratcliffe lock, in sight of the coal fired Power Station opened in 1968.

Further on, at Beeston, we made another group of friends. Paul, with the long hair, owned a wonderful Dutch barge, on which I slept overnight.

Sam and James in Pacific Pete at Trent Bridge

James had rejoined Sam by the time he rowed under Trent Bridge, in sight of The Brian Clough stand of Nottingham Forest football ground.

Sam interviewd by Radio Nottingham

My son was then interviewed on the bank of the river by Radio Nottingham.

Sam and James in Pacific Pete, Jessica watching

This post culminates in the penultimate, short, leg of the trip. Only four miles in length, during which we were joined by Becky’s friend Jo Stone, and by Jessica, who watches our son and James moor on the Nottingham waterfront. Sam rowed the race in aid of Cancer Research. Jo suffered from leukaemia, and Jessica from myeloma. Much younger Jo was not to live much longer; Jessica survived until July 2007, having accompanied us to the finish at Port St Charles, Barbados in March 2004.

Given that we will probably just enjoy snacks this evening, Jackie provided a brunch of fried bacon, tomatoes, and mushrooms, baked beans, poached eggs, and toast.

This afternoon, putting in the final touches of this post at half time, I watched the televised Six Nations rugby match between Wales and Scotland.

We will shortly be leaving for Walkford to make up a fundraising quiz team at Shelly’s church. Should there be anything of moment in this, I will report on it tomorrow.



A Bottle Of Rum


Today I scanned another batch of negatives from the long walk of July 2003. I have managed to become slightly out of sequence, but who cares? I never had much idea of where I was, anyway.

The first few were images from the early stages of the row, as Sam, with James’s guidance, left Henley and enjoyed the width of the River Thames, as he approached Sandford Lock.

James rowing

Once through, James took the oars,

Girl in punt

and we soon passed a young lady in a punt considering modelling for Ophelia.

Cattle and horses, with their foal, drank from the river,

while a red-legged partridge took her chicks for an airing. Can you spot two in the second picture?

Sam and James in Pacific Pete 7.03

Fast forward to Napton where, with far less oar-space, the lads were making their way through the moored narrowboats.

Don, Sam and friends

It was quite likely The King’s Head where we enjoyed a meal and a drink with friends we had found. I was not to know it at the time, but, Don in the front of the image, had given Sam a bottle of rum with instructions not to open it until he had won the Atlantic race. Fortunately he was victorious, and, as a thank you for my support, was to start on it with me.

Just beyond that location is the 250 metres long Newbold Tunnel. As we didn’t have a horse, a couple with a narrowboat offered to tow Pacific Pete through it. Here are the preparations taking place.

Bridge underside 7.03

This underside of a bridge may or may not be part of the tunnel, but it would be similar.

Goodness knows how I reached the other side, but the standard of towpath was all downhill from here. However, I did, and was able to photograph grasses, burdock, and convolvulus clogging up the potholed paths.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s splendid turkey fillets jalfrezi, perfectly aromatic and colourful pilau rice, and small vegetable samosas. The culinary Queen drank more of the Coquimbo and I finished the Shiraz.


Waiting For A Bus


This afternoon, Jackie drove us around the forest.

On the outskirts of Brockenhurst a troop of cattle exercised their right to hold up the traffic.

River Lymington

Over Lymington River

Swing over Lymington River

a swing has been suspended from a tree bearing

a lengthy lichen-laden limb kept out of the water by a complicated system of rigging.

Pool and reflections

A pool is filling up on the other side of the road.

Crow on shrub

Wherever we go we are likely to see a crow perched high enough to explain the term ‘a crow’s nest’.

This one could observe ponies chomping whilst waiting for a bus.

Ponies on moor 1

I was just thinking how sleepy one of the animals looked, when it turned and yawned in my direction.

An isolated individual had no competition for the grazing on the other side of the road.

Sun, tree, pool

At East Boldre, the sight of the sun behind a tree mirrored in a pool,


encouraged us to return in time to watch the sun drop down below the horizon

and deepen the red, gold, and indigo hues above.

Ponies keeping the grass down here were oblivious of the beauty above.

This evening we dined on fishcakes, one Thai, and one parsley and cheese, served on a bed of onions, peppers, tomato, and garlic; with runner beans, carrots, and cauliflower. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and I finished the Malbec.

Almost Blown Away


James, of Peacock Computers, visited to examine the iMac, and took it away to restore it to working order. In anticipation of the Apple’s removal, I had scanned a set of photographic prints from May 1993 onto the Windows laptop. We had also thought the weather would be bad this afternoon and I would be able to use these to illustrate today’s post. In the event, the sun shone and the winds were high enough, at more than 50 m.p.h. to suggest a trip into the forest. The 1993 set will appear tomorrow.

Cattle on hillside

A short distance  outside East End cattle grazed on a hillside that was topped by an oak tree sporting a car tyre.


The little falabella pony which

Ponies at poolside

sometimes joins its cousins outside St Leonard’s Grange,

Falabella pony


spent its time crossing from one side of the road to the other.

Ponies on road

Another just stayed in the road.

Ruin in silhouette

When we reached this point, one of the ruins of the granary was nicely silhouetted

Ruin before sunset

against the lowering sun, bestowing a sepia tone.


We continued along the road, intending to return for sunset. Pheasants chased each other across the lanes and the autumnal fields.

Ruin at sunset

On our return golden streaks stretched along the sky.


We took a diversion down Tanners Lane on our journey home. Those streaks had deepened over the Isle of Wight.


The winds pressed so strongly against the car door that it felt as if it was close to a wall. Just one other vehicle was parked in front of us. Perhaps it belonged to the windsurfer


who skimmed over the choppiest waves we have ever seen there,


constantly changing


direction, and almost blown away.

This evening we dined on Jackie;s gorgeously spicy chilli con carne, with her most savoury rice wearing an omelette jacket. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank Mendoza Parra Alta malbec 2016.


I Hadn’t Seen Rahul


This morning Jackie drove us to the GP surgery at Milford on Sea where we were given our flu jabs. There is nothing like joining the priority group above a certain age for letting us know where we belong.

Afterwards we travelled on for a short trip in the forest.

Gates CottageGates Cottage 2


Gates Cottage, with its attractive picket fences is nicely situated

Mead End Road

on a bend in Mead End Road near Lymington.

Cattle peering through hedge

Inquisitive as always, a pair of cattle, possibly Herefords, peered through a hedge alongside the driveway to Greenslade Farm opposite the thatched cottage.


Bracken in the hedgerows wears its autumn hues.

Mead End Road continuation

We turned off into another lane,

ScaffoldingHousing development 2Housing development 3

and returned home via Hordle Lane where the new housing development

Housing Development 1

has changed forever the view from All Saints Parish Church,

Autumn leaves 2

the graveyard of which

Autumn leaves 1

is donning its autumn splendour.

This afternoon we returned to NatWest in Lymington where I collected the Australian dollars I am sending to Orlaith for her fifth birthday.

Jackie waited in the car for me at the bottom of the High Street while I wandered down photographing the seasonal displays.

St Thomas and All Saints graveyard 1St Thomas and All Saints graveyard 2St Thomas and All Saints graveyard 3

I began with the graveyard of St Thomas and All Saints church, containing some of the souls we remember this evening;

Holly berries

where holly berries proclaim the season.

Bunting Halloween

Like Pizza Express, we take the opportunity to amuse with spiders and ghouls carved from pumpkins featured on this bunting;

Pizza Express window

and scary creatures peering from their window.

Dogs Trust window

The Dogs Trust display also includes a discreet poppy.

Costa Coffee window

Inside Costa Coffee, a wandering pumpkin selects a snack from the cabinet.

English and Continental Chocolates window

English and Continental Chocolates’ cornucopia includes a number of witches of which Burley would be proud.

White Stuff Halloween display

Living up to the outlet’s name White Stuff displayed an albino pumpkin.

Save The Children shop window

The Save The Children shop favoured horror.

Lounges Coffee Shop and Rose Garden Crafts

Across the road Lounges Coffee Shop and Rose Garden Craftsstruck a lower key.

Drydock window

This crafted pumpkin is in drydock.

The Gilded Teapot window

It is probably appropriate that The Gilded Teapot’s window should show falling leaves.

Rahul in High Street 1

In common with a number of our towns and villages, Lymington remembers those souls who never came back from Flanders, by fixing a poppy to each lamp post.

Rahul in High Street 2

It wasn’t until I cropped and enlarged the two images that I realised that I had photographed Rahul, one of the delightful Lal Quilla waiters. He is on the left, speaking on his mobile phone. On his way back down the hill a little later he stopped for a chat, neither of us being aware that I had immortalised him. I will make some prints for our next visit to the restaurant.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy chilli con carne with wild rice and peas. I drank more of the Fronton.




“Don’t Get Me In Your Picture”


Our friend Sheila Knight died last week. She had been ill for some time. We will be unable to attend the funeral, but I had been asked to write a tribute. I did so this morning and e-mailed it. It will be entered in a book and read out at the service.

At midday Jackie drove me to Milford on Sea for Peter at Sears Barbers to cut my hair.

Keith Mitchel refurbishing phone box

Opposite the hairdressers Keith Mitchel was refurbishing the telephone box. He told me that the Parish Council had bought it for £1 from the telephone company and were seeking local views on the purpose to which it should be put.

Sun on Solent, Isle of Wight & The Needles

We then travelled along the coast road. Sun sparkled on the Solent. The Isle of Wight and The Needles were nicely silhouetted against a streaky sky;


a speedboat sped across the surface of the sea,

Boys throwing rocks

into which three boys lobbed rocks.

We lunched at Sails café in Barton on Sea.

Reflections in streamReflections in stream 2Stream bed and reflectionsStream and reflections

Travelling north past Ringwood we paused beside Linbrook Lake, and watched reflections in a stream that feeds it.

Woodland brackenBracken

Browning bracken curled in the woodland;

Bracken and spider web

spiders span their webs therein.

Landscape with marina

As we rose to higher land we spied a marina down below,

Landscape with deer

and a sunbathed landscape with deer.

Cattle 1Cattle 2

On a bend entering Ibsley a herd of cattle, mainly Herefords (identified by Bruce in his comments below), sprawled on the leaf-strewn sward.

Cattle 3

The majority of these creatures sported identical black eyes;

Cattle 4

the odd chestnut brown made the exception;

CowCattle tag

all were tagged with their owner’s details.

Boy and dog reflectedWoman, children and dog reflected

Families frolicked in the nearby stream;

Group with shadows

rounding the bend past the cattle visitors were greeted by

Ice creams 1

a van selling a variety of ice creams, some of what this gentleman called “come and buy me colour”.

Cattle on road 1Cattle on road 2

Cattle at Gorley Lynch made their leisurely way along the road. So, perforce, did we.

Pigs 1Pigs 2Pigs 3Pig 1Pigs 4Pig 2Pigs 6Pigs 7Pigs 9Pigs 5

High ground at Ogdens swarmed with snorting, snuffling, mast-seeking pigs.

Woman entering picture

As I aimed to photograph a gentleman jogging past some porkers, a woman opened her car door, crying “don’t get me in your photograph”. Recognising the humour in her voice, I pointed out that she had pushed her way into it. She and her two young girls had stopped to admire the animals which they photographed very well on their tablets. We enjoyed a pleasant conversation during which she expressed satisfaction with her portrait.

Donkey and dog walker

Our way at Frogham was blocked by a donkey, fast homing on on which was a dog walker with a number of charges.

This evening we returned for another excellent Indian meal at Bartlett’s restaurant in the Church Hall at Bransgore. We took our own drinks. Jackie’s was Hoegaarden and mine  Graves.

P.S. See Paol’s comment below for good further information on Herefords


Emma Would Have Been Under Water


When I was awaiting my hip replacement in 2009, my GP offered the opinion that I would never have a blood pressure problem. I wonder what she would have thought about my performance on the telephone today, much of which was again spent in frustrating negotiations about the mortgage. We were just about to set off with two full orange bags of clippings for the dump, when I learned that I had to make yet another call before we could be under way. I made the call. We then arrived at the dump just after it had closed.

A trip to the forest was in order.

Tree turning to autumn 1Tree turning to autumn 2Tree turning to autumn 3Tree turning to autumn 4

Only a few specimen trees were beginning to change into their autumn robes. The others still retained their summer garb.

Cloudscape 1Cloudscape 2Cloudscape 3Cloudscape 4Cloudscape 5Cloudscape 6

Smoky indigo clouds swirled over the moors,

Cloudscape 7

the sun only periodically piercing their cover,

Ponies 1Pony

and lighting up the ponies,



Donkey and cattle

Donkeys on road

and donkeys wandering about East Boldre,

Donkeys with apples

where a woman had stopped her car and unloaded boxes of apples for their delectation.

High tide with boatHigh tideMan watching sunset

Tanner’s Lane beach was awash with the highest tide we had ever seen there. As we contemplated this we reflected that, had this been today, Emma might have been under water.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s superb beef and mushroom pie; sautéed potatoes, carrots, and Brussels sprouts; and broccoli al dente. She drank Hoegaarden, and I drank an excellent Finca Flichman reserve malbec 2015, given to me by Helen and Bill for my birthday.