Lifted By Colour

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This morning we were in the grip of storm Georgina. This prompted the Muse of my youth, believing that “if we are having to put up with it, we might as well get something out of it”, to take a trip to the coast. I chose Highcliffe as the venue.

It was all right for Jackie, who could take refuge in the car after a brief foray along the clifftop. I, however, had the task of battling down the steep wooden steps to the shoreline in order to capture some images of the sea. Whilst the driving rain lashed my dripping face and the spray lathered my attire, the 60 m.p.h. winds played me like a marionette. I feared for my camera lens which I frequently dabbed with a sodden handkerchief. I couldn’t really see what I was doing, but fortunately the camera had better vision.

Gulls on shingle

Even the gulls took refuge on the shingle.

Wave after wave of cream-layered golden syrup swirled around the shore, crashing on the steadfast rocks.

Just two intrepid walkers, one with dogs, also ventured down below, where the flagpole bent like a bow.

Warnings of Unstable Cliff etc

As if the gale were not enough, there were plenty of other phenomena to be warned against.

It wasn’t until I had fought my way back up to the car park, that the sun made a brief attempt to put in an appearance.

I have learned that Paul Auster’s works are examples of Absurdist fiction, which essentially focusses on protagonists’ vain attempts to find any purpose in life through a series of meaningless actions.’Ghosts’, being the second novella of this author’s New York Trilogy, would certainly seem a case in point. I finished reading this today. Set as a detective story it pretty much follows the same course as ‘City of Glass’. Who is watching whom?, we wonder. Do we actually care? There didn’t seem much point in this repeat performance. Maybe that was the point. Meaningless it is.

Each character bears the name of a single colour, but it is the colour applied to Tom Burns’s illustrations for the Folio Society edition that lift the story, and perhaps this otherwise virtually monochrome post.

Following gyozo and won ton starters for our dinner this evening, we enjoyed Jackie’s really excellent egg fried rice served with pork ribs in barbecue sauce. She drank Hoegaarden and I finished the shiraz.

The Floating Fortress

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This cold and wet morning we visited Anne at Kitchen Makers in Sway to discuss the finer points of our new kitchen construction. Next, we delivered a batch of photographs to Lal Quilla in Lymington for Raj to make his selection; then I ordered some currency from the bank. Most of the rest of the day was spent on mundane administration on my part, and necessary shopping on Jackie’s

As so often, the skies cleared towards evening and a good sunset was promised. We were not disappointed as we drove down to Barton on Sea.

The lowering sun brush-strokes on Roger Cobb’s field of stubble.

We watched the changing palette of the skies above Christchurch Bay, as gentle pastel shades,

Isle of Wight at sunset

especially over the Isle of Wight,

Sea at sunset

and in the water itself,

gradually deepened,

Sunset, silhouettes 2

throwing walkers into silhouette.

A luminous glow blazed briefly from an apparent floating fortress on the horizon, fizzling out within minutes.

This evening we dined on perfect roast chicken, roast and mashed potatoes, mini Yorkshire puddings, flavoursome mushrooms, crisp carrots and firm Brussels sprouts. I finished the Minervois.

“You Can’t Keep A Good Brit Down”

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This morning we drove to New Milton to buy Jackie a bag to carry her overnight stay requirements for our trip to Bicester tomorrow. We then continued to Friars Cliff where we brunched in the Beach Hut Café.

Beach huts

There are two rows of beach huts there – one on the promenade above the beach level, and the other further down. These colourful buildings brighten such areas.

Dog walker at Friars CliffThis dog walker had probably made his way from Avon beach, curving away in the distance..

Silhouettes and shadows

Long shadows were evident even just before midday.

Clouds, sea, gull

A gull perched on a post catching what warmth there was from the sun piercing the clouds.

dog on beach

Dogs frolicked

Walkers and dog on beach

and their owners

Dog walkers on beach

crossed each other’s paths

Dog walkers on beach

on the sand.

Beach huts, women outside one

At one end of the lower level of beach huts

Women at beach hut

sat a couple of women, so well insulated from the chill air that Jackie cried “You can’t keep a good Brit down”, which they appreciated.

Gulls in shallows

On the way home .we diverted to Mudeford

Mudeford harbour

where gulls paddled in the shallows at low tide.

Boats, one overturned

Of the several boats

Beached boat, another overturned

tethered or grounded

Boats, one overturned

in the harbour one was overturned.

Rowing boat and yachts

Others fronted the moored yachts

Sky, Mudeford, boat

and the quayside buildings.

Twig on sand

Branches were spectacles on the sand.

Starlings on crab pots

On the sea front’,

Starlings, crab pots, buoys

having missed the boat that was stocking crabs on the van for Brixham,

Starling on crab pot

hopeful

Starling on crab pot

young starlings,

Starlings on crab pots

gathered

Starling on crab pot

for possible treats;

they would have enjoyed the great slabs of Spanish omelette that Jackie conjured from the seemingly entire contents of a greengrocer’s stall bound by the massed clutches of multiple brooding hens. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the malbec.

 

 

On The Trail

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At first light this morning Jackie drove us down to the clifftop at Milford on Sea to watch the sunrise.

Isle of Wight and The Needles before sunrise

The forest behind the Isle of Wight and The Needles was a bank of clouds. The lighthouse blinked.

Sunrise 1

Soon

Sunrise with gull

a pink lining

Sunrise with gulls

came into view

Sunrise 2

over

Sunrise 3

 

to the east.

Walker at sunrise 1

Just two lone walkers

Walker at sunrise 2

braved the two degrees centigrade temperature at 7 a.m.

This afternoon we visited the New Milton toy shop to investigate Christmas presents, and decided that we needed parental advice.

Afterwards we drove into the forest.

Ponies

On the way down Holmsley Passage Jackie spotted

Ponies

a string of ponies

Ponies

crossing a ridge. Watch the wavy lines in the bracken to the right.

Ponies

She parked

Ponies

beside the stream on the lowest part of the lane, while I watched

Ponies

as the ponies

Ponies

dropped onto

Ponies

what was a trail

Ponies

they had regularly trodden.

Ponies

It was fortunate

Ponies

for me that there were a couple of greys to help me pick them out against the bracken

Ponies

 or, as they reached level ground, among the trees.

Pony

The black leader came into view and investigated the road;

Ponies

when it was pronounced clear, the others followed

Ponies

and were led

Ponies

past

Ponies

a delighted Jackie

Ponies

in the car.

Ponies

Having crossed to the other side

Ponies

they reappeared on higher ground.

Reflections in pool

Further on, up the road to Clay Hill reflections in the calm pool

Reflections in pool

were clear and bright.

Sunset

On our return the sun was setting over Holmsley;

Sunset

blazing clouds shrouded Wootton Common,

Moon and clouds

where the moon was in the ascendancy.

Trees and sunset

Trellises of tree branches

Trees and sunset

screened the pink and indigo backcloth.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s wonderful savoury rice forming a bed for tempura prawns. We both drank Maison Castel Touraine sauvignon blanc 2015.

 

It Wouldn’t Go Away

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Sitting room shadows 1

A glance at the sitting room floor this morning

Sitting room shadows 2

set me chasing shadows, there;

Kitchen table shadows

across the kitchen table

Kitchen floor shadows

and floor;

Garden rocker shadow

on the patio;

Gazebo path shadow

along the Gazebo Path;

Cryptomeria Bed shadows

beside the Cryptomeria Bed;

Chimney pot shadow

across the grass;

Side entrance shadow and steam

beside the outlet for the heating system steam;

Head Gardener's Walk shadows

along the Head Gardener’s Walk,

Brick Path shadows

and the Brick Path.

Derrick's shadow

Normally I work hard to exclude my own shadow, but it wouldn’t go away.

Late this afternoon we drove out to Mudeford, where

Isle of Wight and The Needles

the Isle of Wight and The Needles benefited from the clear light,

Beach huts

as did holiday homes and beach huts.

Beaching boat

Two gentlemen wheeled their boat onto dry land.

Rain clouds

Distant rain clouds released their precipitation,

Clouds and gull

while those over the harbour displayed silver linings.

Sheep

We motored on into the forest. Sheep in a field alongside Snails Lane, Ringwood, basked in the last rays of the sun.

Clouds

By the time we reached Abbotswell

Trees and clouds

dusk had arrived

Trees and clouds

bringing a pink trim

Clouds

to soft mink clouds.

This evening we dined on succulent pork chops served with tasty Lincolnshire pork sausages on a bed of mushrooms, peppers, and mushrooms; cauliflower in cheese sauce; mashed potato and swede; and green beans. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the malbec.

 

 

 

 

A Touch Of The Sun

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Our old friend Giles came to lunch. His importance is not just that he is one of my oldest friends, but that he shares memories from the first time Jackie and I were married. We enjoyed a couple of hours of conversation before he left.

Later, we drove out to the forest in a last minute attempt to catch the sunset. We were a little late for that, but enjoyed the skies soon afterwards.

Sky at dusk - bird flying

By the time I had emerged from the car at Goatspen, just outside Holmsley, the bird that had been perched atop a tree took off and aimed for another

Birds silhouetted in trees

where it took up residence with a companion. The recent winds have seen off the last of the leaves.

Sky at dusk

As can be seen here,

Sky at dusk

clear skies at dusk retain a touch of the sun, especially when clouds take on a mountainous form.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s excellent chilli con carne with egg savoury rice. I drank more of the malbec.

The Schneider Trophy

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This afternoon Jackie drove us to Calshot and back in order to watch the sun go down.

Beaulieu River and Abbey 1

The tide was up in the Beaulieu River, offering reflections of Beaulieu Palace House

Beaulieu River and houses

and of private houses.

Fawley Power Sation and ponies

Along Rollestone Road the ancient and modern meet in the forms of ponies grazing freely on historic moorland and the towers of Fawley Power Station.

Calshot beach and ships 1

We arrived at Calshot shortly before sunset. The tide had ebbed; buoys were beached,

Calshot beach and ships 2

and large vessels glided past,

Sunset and beach huts

towards the low sun that lit the beach huts’ verandas.

Sunset 1

Swirling clouds splashed around the western sun

Sunset 2

while, to the east, smooth water reflected its effects.

Boat reflected in pool

Parked boats were mirrored in pools on the quayside.

Low tide, boats, beach huts

Shallow water glistened

Sunset 3

and gleamed,

Houston House

as did the windows of Houston House

Houston House Plaque

which bears this plaque.

Wikipedia tells us that:

‘The Coupe d’Aviation Maritime Jacques Schneider, commonly called the Schneider Trophy or Schneider Prize (sometimes incorrectly referred to as the Schneider Cup, a different prize), was a trophy awarded annually (and later, biannually) to the winner of a race for seaplanes and flying boats. The Schneider Trophy is now held at the Science Museum, South Kensington, London.

Announced in 1912 by Jacques Schneider, a French financier, balloonist and aircraft enthusiast, the competition offered a prize of approximately £1,000. The race was held twelve times between 1913 and 1931. It was intended to encourage technical advances in civil aviation but became a contest for pure speed with laps over a (usually) triangular course (initially 280 km, later 350 km). The contests were staged as time trials, with aircraft setting off individually at pre-agreed times, usually 15 minutes apart. The contests were very popular and some attracted crowds of over 200,000 spectators. An earlier trophy, also presented by Jacques Schneider in 1910, in France, was the Schneider Cup, which is now in the possession of the RAF College Cranwell.’

and

‘In 1931 the British government withdrew support, but a private donation of £100,000 from Lucy, Lady Houston, allowed Supermarine to compete and win on 13 September against only British opposition, with reportedly half a million spectators lining the beachfronts. The Italian, French, and German entrants failed to ready their aircraft in time for the competition. The remaining British team set both a new world speed record (610 km/h (380 mph)) and won the trophy outright with a third straight win.[7] The following days saw the winning Supermarine S.6B further break the world speed record twice, making it the first craft to break the 400 mph barrier on 29 September at an average speed of 655.8 km/h (407.5 mph).’

Sunset 4

As the sun gravitated towards

Sunset 5

the horizon,

Sunset 6

orange hues

Sunset 7

spread

Sunset 8

and deepened.

Jet trail

A jet trail pierced the indigo backcloth,

Sunset 9

Sunset 10

and the palette introduced red pigments

Sunset 11

streaking

Sunset 12

across the firmament;

Sunset reflected in stream

finally dipping into the stream running alongside Jack Maynard Road.

This evening, for dinner, we enjoyed Jackie’s splendid beef and mushroom pie; boiled potatoes, carrots and cabbage, with which I drank more of the madiran.