Coastal Canine Capers

Lured into a clifftop car park at Milford on Sea by the prospect of watching choppy seas crashing against The Needles. We were on our way to the pharmacy to collect a repeat prescription.

The parking tarmac was liberally strewn with shingle thrown up from the shore below;

spray surged over the sea wall.

Dog owners tell me that their pets do not like taking a shower. I was about to learn how to encourage them to enjoy one.

Allow them to romp on a gravelly puddle,

and they soon develop a taste for the spray that brings it.

Afterwards, I thanked the owner for allowing me to share his photoshoot.

From Milford we continued to Streets in Brockenhurst where Jackie collected a couple of rubber tap swirls, Just giving me time to keep an appointment for an eye test in New Milton.

Across the road from Boots Opticians is situated Mallard Café. We brunched there, and very good it was too.

We then took a drive into the forest. The light, originally bright and clear, was to fluctuate throughout the day.

At Wootton Heath the sun lit the trees against a backdrop of darkening skies. One tree had fallen.

Jackie photographed Wootton Heath Cottage in its idyllic setting.

A solitary pony enhanced the scene.

This is an area of unmade private roads heavily pitted with potholes filled with rainwater that has also provided

lodgings for mallards

in the proliferation of temporary reflecting pools.

Even when riding a horse the mobile phone is an essential accessory.

A pair of deer darted across Bisterne close, melded into the woodland

turned tail,

and elegantly tripped away.

Later this afternoon I was torn away from drafting this post in order to catch the sun disappearing into Mudeford harbour.

As so often, the cotton-bud cloud clusters to the east bore pleasing pink and indigo pastel shades.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy pasta arrabbiata with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Squinzano Rosso Riserva 2014.

Only After Mum Had Enjoyed A Good Scratch

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This afternoon Jackie and I took a drive into the forest.

Skyscape

The recent strong winds and heavy rain have desisted, but the day remained overcast until this evening when the sun returned.

Tree fungus

This bright orange tree fungus at Boldrewood seems to have benefited from its liquid refreshment.

Water is trickling back into the pools, such as this one again attracting ponies.

After having slaked their thirst in a shallow ditch, two families of donkeys trooped along the road at Norley Wood.

Our way was hampered on Holly Lane, Pilley, by a group of ponies, one simultaneously suckling a foal and catching her tail on brambles. I attempted to weave my way between the hind legs of  mares on either side of the narrow lane in order to take a shot from a different angle. This didn’t work, because the mother simply led her offspring further along the road. The manoeuvre did, however, have the benefit of clearing enough space for the Modus. Only after Mum had enjoyed a good scratch.

Elizabeth is spending a couple of days with friends at West End. This evening Jackie and I dined on the carvery at the Walhampton Arms. The service was friendly and efficient and the food unbelievably good value. For £7 a head we were offered a choice of beef, pork, turkey, or a little of each. Three large slices were served with Yorkshire pudding. We then loaded our good sized plates with sage and onion stuffing,  roast and new potatoes, parsnips, carrots, swede, cauliflower, leeks, and runner beans. Gravy was available, as was the appropriate sauces for the meats. My choice was beef; Jackie’s was pork, each perfectly cooked. Jackie drank Amstel and I drank Razor Back.

The Photo Shoot

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Yesterday I expressed m intention to published the prints from Newark 1993. Today I changed my mind. I decided to hold them in reserve for the next dull day. This could have been one. But it wasn’t. It was one of bright, crisp, sunshine.

Jackie in greenhouse

Jackie continued potting up

Greenhouse 1

cuttings

Greenhouse 2

in the greenhouse.

After lunch, she drove us to Boscombe and back.

Boscombe pier 2

We stopped within sight of the pier.

Boscombe pier 1

As I walked down the slope, a young woman walked up.

Boscombe pier 3

A boat, approaching from the left, skirted the structure stretching seaward. Was it a lifeboat? The water was certainly rough enough for someone to be in trouble.

Sculpture 1

At the bottom of the slope two sculptures, one in a garden,

Sculpture 2

and another on Undercliff Drive, caught m attention.

Photo Shoot 1

I then had the serendipitous good fortune

Photo Shoot 2

to gatecrash

Photo Shoot 3

a photo shoot

Photo Shoot 4

conducted by

Photo Shoot 5

three delightful

Photo Shoot 6

young ladies. The third, given that she was carrying out the same role as me, is not in shot.

As we left this suburb of Bournemouth, the skies gave promise of the good sunset we were to witness later.

Cyclist 2

Despite a propensity to allow his exuberance to take him swerving all over the road,

Cyclist 1

this joyful cyclist, seen here approaching Hengistbury Head, kept up a good 20 m.p.h. We parted company with him as he wheeled onto the footpath leading up the headland.

Sunset 1

The sunset was ripe

Sunset 2

outside Burley;

Sunset 3

the murmuration of starlings swirling over Holmsley was a sweeping cloud formation;

Sunset 4

the crescent moon exchanged places with its daytime counterpart.

This evening we dined at The Monkey House pub just outside Lymington. The establishment was as packed as ever, demonstrating its quality and the friendliness of the staff. Jackie enjoyed prawn cocktail and gammon steak. My choice was whitebait followed by rib-eye steak. Everything excellently cooked. Jackie drank Amstell and I drank Flack’s Double Drop

 

 

‘What Could Be Better?”

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Nasturtiums are the yardstick of frost. When their thick tendrils go limp and soggy and the flowers droop, we know that frost has arrived. On an overcast morning of this unseasonably oppressively warm day, I wandered out in the garden to take the measure of them.

Nasturtium 1Nasturtium 2Nasturtium 3Nasturtium 4Nasturtium 5Nasturtium 6

The flowers may look a little careworn, but they are bearing up well.

I then spent far too long fine-tuning my complaints letter to a partner of the O’Neill Patient legal firm before finally posting it by recorded delivery and e-mailing copies to our mortgage broker and to Becky. A much more pleasant task was the final bit of paperwork as an executor of my late friend Wolf’s estate.

This involved Jackie driving me to the Post Office in New Milton. We continued on to Tanner’s Lane in time for a pre-sunset look at

the shore,

where a weak sun gleamed on the water.

Gradually

the hues deepened.

While watching this, I became aware of distant exuberant voices, until one small boy rushed past me, came to a standstill,

and waited for another to join him. Perhaps you can’t run so fast in Wellies.

Off they both continued, still testing their lung capacity,

until a somewhat larger lad divided them.

Bringing up the rear was a young woman I took to be the mother of at least one of the runners. She said she often brought them down here, where they loved to run about or throw stones. They would rather do that than anything else. “What could be better?” she exclaimed.

As I returned to the car I admired the cloudscape over the Isle of Wight and The Needles.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent steak and mushroom pie, creamy mashed potatoes, crisp cabbage and crunchy carrots. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank Reserve des Tuguets madiran 2014.

Careless Mother

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A rare glimpse of the sun this morning reminded me that I had neglected to offer any photographs of the front garden in yesterday’s post.

Plants in front of garage door

These are the flowers fronting the garage doors. I am sure that the Head Gardener would wish to have it pointed out that she swept this area later.

Japanese anemones in front garden

Two general shots display Japanese anemones and a couple of clematises;

Front garden 2

and petunias, hydrangea, and erigeron. The tree is a winter flowering cherry.

Honeysuckle and solanum on trellis

On the trellis honeysuckle and solanum are prominent,

Trellis and hanging baskets

while petunias in hanging baskets and orange nasturtiums add vibrant colour.

Cloudscape

Although patches of blue sky would peek between occasional gaps in the threatening clouds, we didn’t see much more of the sun.

I spent much of the day on form-filling and other administrative tasks. This afternoon Jackie drove me to the soon to be closed down Hordle Post Office to avail myself of a box that would take larger envelopes. We then drove into the forest.

Donkey and foal

At East Boldre it seemed sensible to stop as a donkey foal wandered in front of the car.

Donkey eating thistles 1Donkey eating thistles 2

Not worried in the slightest, the mother lived up to the reputation of her kind, and tore at thistles

Donkey eating bramblesDonkey eating brambles 2

and brambles in contented oblivion,

Donkey foal 1Donkey foal 2Donkey foal 3

whilst her offspring, after a little thought, ventured back into the road,

Donkey foal in road having a scratch

causing an Openreach van to give the creature a wide berth when it stopped to enjoy a leisurely scratch. Either the adult was extremely negligent or she considered that the youngster had learned that it had the right of way on New Forest roads. This is almost certainly the same mother and child I photographed in April soon after the baby’s birth, when it was sprawled out across the verge.

Heather hillock

Further on, beneath a heather covered hillock at Crockers Clump,

Pool 1Pool 2

on the edge of a Stygian pool,

Fallen tree 1Tree trunk 2Tree trunk 1

a long tree had fallen across the sward, coming to rest against one still upright. In compliance with regulations in the interests of ecology this tree will remain where it lies until it rots away.

This evening we dined on succulent chicken Kiev served with new potatoes, crunchy carrots, and toothsome green sprouting broccoli. Jackie drank Hoegaarden annoying 1445, and I drank Parra Alta malbec 2016.

Flight Path

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Today, Jackie Jackie drove us to Louisa and Errol’s at Mapperley Top, a suburb of Nottingham. When I say today, I mean all day – all eight hours. Rather more than anticipated.

As we travelled along the A35 we imagined the autumn leaves may have all fallen by the time we returned three days ahead.

As we progressed along the M25 we were reminded that we were on the Heathrow flight path, as several planes passed overhead. In another sense the motorway itself was a flight path, being the thoroughfare through which so many people flee from London for the Cotswolds on a Friday

M1 hold-up

when the first of what were to be several queues began. The speeds shown above the traffic are those that will keep the traffic moving. The huge container vehicle shown on the left, having crossed over chevrons, was about to fill the gap between us and the car in front. The reason for the queues is that most drivers ignore the posted limits and continue until they have to stop. This is termed a standing wave.

img_0250

Soon we came to a standstill.

M1 jam

This was the first of many. They at least gave us the opportunity to look at the scenery.

Raptor

Periodically raptors hovered above.

Burger King

We stopped at Newport Pagnel Welcome Break Services for lunch at Burger King.

Davis Haulage van

Half an hour later we continued the journey which was to take another four hours. This is because we faced 17 miles of road works necessitating a lane closure. We spent more time studying the back of Davis Haulage van than we usually do studying ponies’ rear ends in The New Forest.

Traffic Officer van

It took a long time to reach a Traffic Officer

img_0262

warning traffic that a small van had broken down.

The further north we travelled the more wind turbines we saw.

Clouds over M1

Shortly before sunset the clouds darkened over the motorway.

Eventually we turned off at junction 26 and headed for Mapperley, as shown on the map. Then, like rats in a maze, we drove all over the place seeking something we recognised. We sought local guidance. Only then did we learn that there were two Mapperleys, and that our goal was on the other side of Nottingham. Errol phoned and advised us to go straight through the City Centre. We did that and I found familiar ground. It was dark by then.

We enjoyed a splendid evening with the family. Louisa cooked us a wonderful paella with garlic bread and salad. She and I drank Chateau de Grezels cahors, 2013. Jackie’s beverage was Fosters, and Errols, Stella.

To follow was watching Jessica and Imogen performing with Nottingham City Gymnastics Club for Children in Need TV.

Before Gaeddren

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A wet day has its compensations. Firstly, it waters Jackie’s newest planting well. Secondly, it forces her to take a rest. And thirdly? It enables me to delve into my photographic archives and scan samples to my Apple. Today I returned to the colour negatives of the 1983 holiday in North Wales.

Becky 1983 1

Here is Becky outside the farmhouse where we stayed, in the fields of which

Matthew, Becky, Sam, and cows 1983 2Matthew, Becky, Sam and cow 1983 1

she joined Matthew, Sam, and several obliging cows.

Slate mine disused 1983 1Clouds over slate mine disused 1983 1Clouds over disused slate mine 2

Here are some more photos of the disused slate mine, converted to black and white images.

Sam 1983 1

Sam turns to spur me on up the track beside the house,

Landscape 1983 2

beneath which patchwork quilted landscapes are draped.

As has been mentioned before, this holiday was taken before our friends Ann and Don had completed the refurbishment and conversion of Gaeddren, their house in Cerrigydrudion where we were to enjoy further good times in North Wales.

Scrap metal 1983 1Scrap metal 1983 2Scrap metal 1983 3 Scrap metal 1983 4

On this occasion, somewhere near the village, we came across a scrap metal yard, where dead cars of varying hues rusted away among the corpses of domestic appliances.

This evening, for dinner, Jackie produced chicken marinaded in honey and mustard; sweet potato, crisp carrots and cauliflower; and a juicy melange of onions, leeks,tomatoes, and peppers; accompanied by a slice of egg paratha brought back from Lal Quilla yesterday. A egg custard tart was to follow. The Cook drank Hoegaarden and I finished the fleurie.