Decidedly Reluctant To Test The Water

Blackbirds are now in the process of stripping our crab apple trees of fruit.

After a quick look around,

they tear off an apple then make their way back to their homes across the road.

We can just make out others, like this sparrow, about to leave the runway over there.

Raindrops kept the food moist between bouts of sunshine.

We spent some time making Christmas cards before and after lunch. By the time we drove to Everton Post Office to send them on their way the rain had ceased and the sky cleared somewhat.

Sunset beckoned as we approached Shirley Holms afterwards.

Pools developing on the soggy terrain.

A car drew up and parked in puddles.

The owner decanted two dogs. The animal with the thinner coat appeared decidedly reluctant to test the water.

Running streams were being gouged into the stony moorland,

and flowing over the lane.

Pastel cloudscapes resembled cotton billows.

Ponies would continue chomping grass well into the night.

Further along Shirley Holms Road unusually silent starlings gathered on an oak,

equally silently took to flight.

The still, crystal clear lake at Pilley produce mirror images,

while sunset’s pink and indigo fingers streaked the underlying pale blue skies.

 

An Akash Birthday

In 2008, Emily chose to celebrate her birthday at the Akash restaurant at 500A Edgware Road. Of the several posts that have featured this, my favourite over four decades, https://derrickjknight.com/2012/10/31/curry-a-biography/ places this gem in perspective.

I had remembered this splendid family occasion when speaking on the phone to Heidi yesterday. This morning I received a Facebook message containing two of

my daughter-in-law’s photographs of the event. Both focus on Emily and Oliver. The first includes Majid, the manager; Cath and Amy in the background, and my hand in the foreground. Majid had produced the splendid cake.

Today the weather was wet, windy, and decidedly dingy.

During a slight lull in rainfall Jackie photographed the crab apples because she doesn’t know how long they will last before the blackbirds have finished them off.

Immediately after lunch, peering through the rain-spattered windscreen, we drove to Pennington to deliver an acceptance letter for his decorating quote to Nick Hayter, and to make a booking at The Wheel Inn for Thursday evening.

Much against my better judgement, I allowed my Chauffeuse to cajole me into photographing waves from the clifftop at Milford on Sea. In order for me to disembark without the gusting winds tearing the passenger side door from my grip, Jackie needed to leave her own comfortable seat to hold my door. This was only fair, really. My cheeks were then pierced by ice cold driven needles. These were the rain, not the eponymous appendages to the Isle of Wight, because

the Isle, its Needles, and the lighthouse, as can be seen from these two pictures, had gone AWOL.

It is true that I couldn’t see what I was doing, but I know I was pointing my lens to where the island used to be.

I managed to photograph more waves

and rocks before I sank back into the Modus

and focussed more easily on empty benches through the front window.

Although it lacks the horns, Jackie’s beef pie would definitely be appreciated by the Dandy comic’s Desperate Dan. Packed with tender steak, succulent onions and firm chestnut mushrooms the Culinary Queen’s speciality is what we enjoyed for tonight’s dinner. This was served with tasty boiled potatoes; crunchy carrots; cabbage and green beans, with which she finished the Sauvignon Blanc and I drank more of the Barbera D’Asti.

Only So Much Rain

We have now realised that the birds partaking of the front garden feeders are field residents from across the road.

Their numbers now include gymnastic blue tits

and patient sparrows here waiting their turn at the trough.

Our young visitors bear only so much rain before disappearing, following further leakage from the clouds, leaving the winter flowering cherry to carry the torch for signs of life

 

amid dripped drops clinging to glistening branches,

 

dotting netting; slicking crab apples; offering sparkle to the dank morning.

before a further temporary lull lured the great

and blue tits back for a brief breakfast refill.

The grey day gathered relentless gloom.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy pork paprika, special savoury rice, and stringless runner beans, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Malbec.

Chancing Their Claws

I was prompted by ‘Time Clock’, today’s thought-provoking post from SueW, to visit my library to retrieve

a teenage poem I penned more than sixty years ago. I began with the classic iambic pentameter, then tried something more concrete.

Through mirky windows on this the gloomiest morning of the week I watched still timid visitors who had just found bird feeders installed a few days earlier.

This robin can’t have been one of our normal residents, because

it flew off upon coming aware of me, even though I kept behind the glass.

Most small birds don’t alight on their target immediately, but, like this great tit, first occupy an intermediate perch taking a shufti around to be reasonably assured of security before

chancing their claws on the proffered food.

This evening we dined at Lal Quilla in Lymington. My main course was Chicken Jaljala; Jackie’s, Chicken Dopiaza; We shared mushroom fried rice and egg paratha, and both drank Kingfisher.. In the two months since our last visit they have been tastefully redecorated and staff have changed. Manager Raj is still there and the service is as friendly and efficient as ever.

Under The Weather

Not having yet experienced frost, the nasturtiums still climb the garage door trellis.

The crab apple trees are losing their leaves, revealing their fruit, still eschewed by blackbirds not yet hungry enough to eat them.

The sun was so weak this morning as to be imperceptible in these photographs of the garden views in which autumn colours, especially of Japanese maples, attempted to brighten the gloom.

I, and the garden, felt somewhat under the weather today. As limp and lacklustre as these leaves lying on the gravel, I alternated between reading and dozing on the sofa.

This evening we dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away’s excellent fare. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank sparkling water.

Recovery Time

Today we flopped after an emotional yet exhausting weekend. As I sat reading in my corner this was my view of the front garden. Note that last Autumn’s crab apples have not been stripped from their trees.

I don’t really eat much cheese. It is not a matter of taste – rather that by the time cheese is served, I have had enough to eat. It was therefore something of a surprise that smell of brie in the fridge encouraged me to opt for brie and biscuits for my dinner this evening. A few tomatoes were added. Jackie finished the last of the Chinese takeaway.

At The Corner Of The Street

An unusual phenomenon is evident in our front garden this year. We have crab apples, normally stripped by blackbirds long before now – still suspended from their branches – standing alongside a winter flowering cherry.

When I endured my flexible cystoscopy on 13th December I was given a form to send back after a fortnight in order to report on whether or not I had an infection. Now I know why. Today Jackie drove me to the GP to obtain some antibiotics.

Before then we took a drive in the forest.

The two ponies always seen at the door of Greatham House near the junction of Sway Road in Brockenhurst, and various attendant donkeys

attracted quite a crowd of visitors, many with cameras. The grey pony, in particular, tended to poke her head through the open front doorway when the owner appeared with goodies.

Several donkeys on the opposite corner of the street attracted their own admirers.

Soon, occasionally coming to an abrupt halt, either to doze or to enjoy a scratch, crossed the road to join their relatives.

As most photographers will know, it is necessary to stand well back from your subject when using a long lens. This becomes rather difficult when your prey – in this case a small donkey in search of treats – is intent upon investigating your camera. One gentleman attempting to flee his moving subject was compelled to wait until the animal became distracted in order to take his opportunity for a shot. Otherwise, each time he turned round the creature continued to bear down upon him.

Jackie, who tried out her new camera today, reprimanded me for standing in the road “like a donkey”. These are two of her images. The woman I was conversing with was telling me that the local council were engaged in a long running feud with the owner of Greatham House who refused to stop feeding the ponies. She said that the two regular equine visitors were a mother and daughter, and that the younger, grey, animal was pregnant. As Jackie said, “she’ll be bringing her foal along soon”.

In the skies over Bransgore a mini murmuration wave swooped, turned, ebbed, and flowed low above the trees.

This evening we dined at Lal Quilla. My main course was lamb Ceylon; Jackie’s Lal Qilla Special; Ian’s chicken tikka masala; and Becky’s Murg something I can’t remember. We shared onion bhajis, various rices and a peshwari naan. Becky drank rosĂ© wine while the rest of us enjoyed Kingfisher.