Freckles Revealed

We arrived at Lidl at 8.30 this morning, which proved to be the perfect time. There was no queue and Jackie was able to make a month’s worth of purchases in good time while I sat in the car, read a book and received instruction from

other shoppers in how to load a car before I rendered assistance to Jackie in bagging up and packing her shopping.

Back at home we discovered curly caterpillars munching on our nasturtium salad bar.

Later this still hot and humid afternoon we drove into the forest.

For the first time since my knee surgery I ventured along the footpath off Undershore that runs alongside Lymington River’s reed beds. Cow Parsley seed pods had already opened. The largely overgrown path was riddled with tree root trip hazards so I didn’t go too far before turning back.

At the corner of Bull Hill and Jordan’s Lane in Pilley we were pleased to see the horse we will call Freckles, now free of flies, relieved of its protective mask. The diminutive companion knew that the grass was definitely greener on the other side of the fence.

Rans Wood, at the far end of Furzey Lodge, holds some mighty oaks, here dappled by the light of the sun.

This evening we dined on succulent roast chicken thighs; Jackie’s juicy ratatouille; crisp sage and onion stuffing; crunchy carrots; tasty boiled new potatoes; tender cauliflower and runner beans; and flavoursome gravy with which the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank Montepulciano D’Abruzzo 2018.

Optical Aids

DawnMoon at dawnAs the dawn sun emerged behind the trees in our back garden, the moon still occupied the sky at the front of the house.
By the time I returned from my Hordle Cliff top walk the bright, cold, day had warmed up a little because these skies had clouded over.
Ivy CottagesFramed by a leafless arched bough, Ivy Cottages, dating from 1897, with their neighbours beyond Downton Service Station on BrackenCoke tin in hedgeChristchurch Road, could now be seen from the hedgerow on Downton Lane, where bracken has browned, and a Coca Cola tin blends with red berries. Most cans and bottles similarly discarded are not so happily juxtaposed.

Ice shardsShards of ice shattered by passing cars had been tossed onto the verges.

Isle of Wight, Needles, lighthouseThe Isle of Wight, The Needles, and their lighthouse were silhouetted against a pale pastel palette.
Cow parsley seedsOn a small piece of ground at the top of the steps leading into Shorefield from the path to the beach, fresh cow parsley still blooms. Some of this has begun to seed.
It is time to return to the ‘through the ages’ series. Today I have chosen to reproduce three, being Derrick and Samnumbers 53, 54, and 55, the first two from 1980 and the third from the following spring. These photographs Derrick and Sam 12.80were all taken by Jessica, the first two at Gracedale Road, the month of the second being indicated by its background Christmas tree.
The indentations left by over-tight nose pads in the first photo show that I was wearing specs in those days. Having been somewhat short-sighted since I was eighteen, vanity had led me to contact lenses in my twenties, but I managed to play Rugby without them, until, into my thirties I needed them to see clearly across the field. This was rather crucial for a second row forward, one of whose tasks was to cover the corners. I therefore began to wear lenses during the games. Until I lost three in a fortnight, that is. Quite apart from the cost of replacements, the search for little pieces of plastic in cold and soggy mud became somewhat disruptive. So I returned to spectacles.
The story of my first embarrassing visit to an optician, and of the accident which, many years later, resulted in a cataract operation, was told on 13th July 2012. Whether I have the eye specialist’s prediction or the new lens inserted more than fifteen years ago to thank for it, I just use varifocal lenses in specs with the close up element being plain glass, only for watching television or drawing from life. Until I purchased these about six years ago I had to choose between viewing either the model (with specs), or the texture of the paper (without them). Either that or keeping taking the glasses on and off.  I have never needed such assistance to read, and don’t even take them with me on my rambles with the camera.
Derrick and Sam 1981The third picture was taken at the very attractive Owl House Gardens at Lamberhurst near Tunbridge Wells in Kent. It was from one of the photographs in that day’s set that I made the drawing featured on 4th May.
This evening we dined on Jackie’s Cottage Pie, to which she had very successfully added a touch of garam masala; cauliflower, carrots, cabbage, runner beans and brussels sprouts; followed by blackberry and apple crumble and custard. She drank Stella, and I finished the malbec.

Where Did That Come From?

This morning I delved into the archives of black and white negatives. Firstly, I made three more prints for Norman, of his photographs for the book he is working on. He had not been happy with the first versions of these; two he considered too dark; and in one I had undeniably snipped the stern off the ship. I couldn’t understand why I had unwittingly cropped this picture. After a few more efforts at printing from iPhoto I remembered that this method does have that unfortunate effect. That we had discovered when engaged in our card factory. It took me a while to work it out again, but I did. And wrote it all down. Had I referred back to the Clipped Wings post of last August before I began to wrestle with the problem, I could have saved myself some time.
Having completed the task for my friend, I turned to my own unsorted negatives. Next in line for my attention were some rather atmospheric shots of the banks of the Thames from about 1982. Apart from their displaying scenes that the developments of the next thirty years would change forever, they also show either a remarkably rapid feat of building or a miraculous appearance.
Thames banks c1982Thames Bank c1982 2Thames Bank 1982 3Thames bank c1982 4I haven’t studied these pictures in the intervening years, and if I made prints of them they have vanished. Since, however, they are still on the strip of Ilford film, I know the order in which I took the photographs, and have repeated it here. The second image down, provides the mystery. Examine the Booth’s Gin building. Then look at it in the next two.
Or maybe it is just a matter of perspective.

Rippon's newsagents, Dean StreetMichael was almost sixteen when, in 1980, the year of Sam’s birth, we moved to Gracedale Road in Streatham from Horse and Dolphin Yard in Soho. In his earlier teens Michael had been Soho’s only newspaper boy. At seventeen, he graduated to becoming the relief manager for the chain of newsagents, Rippon’s, from one of whose shops in Dean Street he had delivered the papers. When he was given the peripatetic job, he had bought himself a Yamaha motorbike for transport between the branches spread London-wide. As soon as Sam was big enough, probably three years later, he would mount the steed and imagine he was driving it off into the unknown. Sam on Michael's YamahaHere he is in the street outside our house.

Peacocks on buddleiaThe buddleia in the garden is now attracting a variety of butterflies. Here are a pair of peacocks.

Horses maskedHorses masked 2Horse masked 2Horse maskedEarly this evening I walked along Hordle Lane as far as the paddock and back. Horses wear protective masks to keep the flies off, but still have to use their tails as whisks.

Cow parsley seedsThe cow parsley in the verges has run to seed and now looks quite sculptural. Kenneth Clark in his study of ‘The Nude’ likens the classical ideal human figure to architectural forms. Perhaps all our creations take inspiration from nature.

Barleyfield

The barley in the fields along the way is coming on nicely.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s divine sausage casserole (recipe) with crisp vegetables and smooth mashed potato garnished with our own chives from  the garden. I received four bay leaves, this time not a source of embarrassment. Dessert was mixed fruit crumble and custard. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, while I began Villa Blanche 2013, an excellent Pinot Noir given to me for my birthday by Helen and Bill.