The Last Half Hour

An exchange of comments with another blogger this morning took me back to ‘Child Labour’ from 14th January 2014.

Later, I added some material from ‘Anticipating The Shot (2)’  and from ‘One Life Cut Short, Another  Changed Forever’ to the draft of ‘A Knight’s Tale’.

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Our crab apple trees have lost almost all their leaves. Their enticing fruit has still not tempted the blackbirds.

This afternoon Jackie drove me to Sears Barbers where Kelly cut my hair. Peter is recovering from his knee replacement operation. After this we continued along the coast to Barton on Sea where

we enjoyed watching the skies, walkers, and the sea, during the last half hour leading to a somewhat subdued sunset. Most pedestrians and their dogs remained on the clifftop; one man gazed at the waves down below; Another in a wetsuit even breasted the turbulent waters (he was too far away for my lens). A jet plane’s perspective gave the impression that it was heading down to the waves beneath. I was not the only photographer focussed on the golden orb.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s tender peri peri chicken in a lemon marinade; creamy mashed potato; sautéed mushrooms, onions and peppers; carrots and green beans with which I drank more of the Merlot. We saved some for Elizabeth who will be home later.

P.S. In response to Sandra’s comment below, Jackie has produced her annotated version of the BBC Good Food recipe for Pumpkin Pie

SOLD

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Much of the day was spent moving furniture and belongings to facilitate access to radiators for tomorrow’s visit by the heating engineers.

Late this afternoon the three of us went for a drive in the forest. We were offered turbulent cloudscapes as a skein of geese skimmed across the sky, and cattle grazed on the moors. Jesus beams burst through billowing clouds.

SOLD sign

A SOLD sign has been erected in front of Elizabeth’s prospective new house in Pilley.

This evening Jackie drove us to the Walhampton Arms where we met Nicki, Andrew, and Paul N and enjoyed their very good company with the splendid carvery meal. we all ate gammon and turkey with Yorkshire pudding and the usual plentiful vegetables. Raspberry frangipani and  ice cream followed. I drank Razor Back.  Cheesecakes and other drinks were consumed by the others.

 

Speech Bubbles Are Invited

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I trust my readers in the Philippines and the East Coast of America will forgive Jackie and me for choosing to visit the coast on a morning beset by winds of a mere 40 m.p.h.

Palms swayed in the wind at Milford on Sea; granite skies glowered over choppy waves; the Isle of Wight, The Needles, and the lighthouse were lent a translucent quality by the feeble, filtered, daylight and the misty sea-spray crashing on the rocks.

RunnerRunner approaching walkersRunnerRunner

An unperturbed young lady ran along the coastal paths at a respectable rate;

four hardy sailors clung to stays on one side of a red-sailed yacht in efforts to keep the mast upright as it skirted the Isle of Wight, The Needles, and the lighthouse.

I think this was an egret fishing at Keyhaven,

while a preening gull perched on a heap of seaweed.

Two gentlemen passed stacks of colourful boats in the sailing club yard.

Readers are invited to suggest speech bubbles for these two.

In the field opposite Solent Grange stands a large haystack that defied the wind.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s luscious beef pie; creamy mashed potato; and crunchy carrots, cauliflower and cabbage. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden; Elizabeth, Patrick Chodot’s Fleurie 2016, and I finished the same producer’s Brouilly.

 

 

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.