Storm Dudley In A Gentler Mood

With storm Dudley raging outside I posted after lunch.

Later, the rain ceased and the wind lessened somewhat, so we drove to Mudeford to have a look at the sea which was in a remarkably gentler mood.

A gentleman safely watched his dogs frolicking in the water;

two sailboarders surfed happily (the last two photographs by Jackie).

Despite the gloom, a kitesurfer enjoyed a long stint on the more sheltered side. Again the last two images in this gallery are Jackie’s.

Perhaps to display her recent hairdressing, The Assistant Photographer produced these images of me, gaining support where I could, including those where she claims I blocked her view.

She also focussed on crab baskets and beach huts.

Gulls and oystercatchers caught my eye.

This evening we dined on baked gammon; piri-piri chicken; piquant cauliflower and broccoli cheese; crunchy carrots; boiled new potatoes; and tender runner beans, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Merlot



Late this morning Jackie drove us to Mudeford for a visit to the quay, then on to Friars Cliff for brunch at the eponymous cafe.

Whilst I wandered around the harbour, Jackie enjoyed coffee in the cafe.


Looking out to sea, my ears were pounded by the white horses rumbling across the steely, turbulent, water’s surface, and crashing against the sturdy quayside;

Gulls and beach huts

 shrieking of the squabbling gulls. The guests at the boisterous shindig being held against the backdrop of the most expensive beach huts in the country, joined forces to evict a jet gatecrasher.

Making good use of scoops of seawater, still ogled by hopeful scavengers perched on posts, the crew of a small fishing boat were engaged in cleaning up at their docking area.

As always, neatly stacked on the quay, lay buoys and ropes between towers of crusted crab baskets.


The entrance to the harbour lies beyond a protective spit. At once, the squeals were silenced and the water became still as rippled sheets of reflective glass. In fact the only sound was a feeble squeak emitted by the open beak of an adolescent cygnet.

Anchored boats made no motion, even when the gulls took off and landed on their gunwales. The outboard motor in the first photograph reminded me of one Jessica bought secondhand in Newark and used for one day in Instow in Devon. She left her recently acquired dinghy in the bay facing our holiday house. In the morning the motor was gone. As was every other similar item from other boats. This was apparently the first time such a theft had ever occurred at that location. I guess that was another example of sod’s law.


A solitary angler chose a position at the point of aquatic contrast.

This evening we dined on meat samosas, chicken and spinach curry, and paratha. I finished the chianti.

Candid Camera

From mid-morning to mid-afternoon today was a bit of a struggle. I had taken on a project with my computer which had best be kept under wraps for the moment. It did my head in. For some reason each time I tried to send an e-mail with attachments my work disappeared from the screen and I was being informed there was no e-mail activity. The messages, complete with attachments were lodged in my outbox.
Eventually I telephoned my recipient who confirmed she had received the e-mail. We decided I should employ the classic IT Crowd device of turning the machine off and turning it on again. My Mac wouldn’t let me turn it off. This was because Mail was blocking that activity. Then I remembered Force Quit, so I forced Mail to be off and was then able to shut down my computer, wait a bit, and turn it on again. This whole business was repeated several times before, inexplicably, everything was back to normal and I was able to send my work off.
By this time I needed a draught of sea air. Jackie obligingly drove us to Mudeford. She sat in the car park with her puzzles and the waves in front of her, whilst I turned left and walked along Avon Beach for a while, then back to, and around, the quay.
Riptide and IOW
There is a strong riptide at this crabbing and yachting village, where the River Stour comes into contact with the English Channel. Riptide on sea wallThe collision sends shockwaves to thump against the sea wall and slide quickly back over the concrete and shingle.
Photographer and model on driftwood
Family on hillFamily in silhouetteAt first I walked in an Easterly direction. The sun was lowering in the Western sky, so that when I turned to face the way I had come, everything and everyone was backlit. Boy on beachThis made for some interesting silhouettes, but sometimes that large orb, dominating an almost clear sky, blinded even the camera.
Beach shell and shingleThere was a very clear view of the Isle of Wight and the needles. Shells, seaweed, and shingle blended beautiful pastel shades on the surface of the beach which was pretty densely populated on this most springlike Sunday.Group on beach It seemed that families and working people were taking advantage of the first splendid weekend day we have had for some time. Children, dogs, and beach balls were in evidence.Seagulls Crabbing being a favoured activity along this stretch of water, the seagulls showed great interest in groups that, like the mother and daughter hugging the sea wall, made their way along to the higher levels to dangle their lines into the water.
Outboard motorOcean Diver outboard
Pleasure and working craft were on the river and the sea.Rower Outboard motors, clear of the riptide current, sped into the harbour, and a rower made his way around the quayside.Motorboat Aquila The motorboat, Aquila, however, having come from the Island, struggled against the current.
Girl on roller skatesShadows, especially by the time I was wandering around the quay, were long, as shown by those cast by a little girl struggling along on roller skates, and her mother.
Quayside viewQuayside crab basketsQuayside reflectionsI was intrigued by another photographer who scoured the crab baskets area taking photographs very similar to those I had taken last September. When she turned up reflected in water on the quay, I couldn’t believe my luck. I showed her the result which pleased her, and she exclaimed: ‘Candid Camera’.  This is a classic TV show based on ordinary people being filmed in unusual situations. Only after the filming is completed are they told: ‘Smile. You’re on Candid Camera’.
We dined an hour or so after our return home. Some dishes, such as chilli con carne have enhanced flavours the second time around. We normally prepare enough for multiples of two, and either eat more the next day, or freeze it down for later consumption. Yesterday’s production was both enjoyed this evening and had a share added to the freezer. It was delicious. The rice was prepared in the same way as yesterday, but with the addition of glistening fried onions and yellow pepper. A side dish of green beans completed the first course, and bread pudding was to follow. I drank more of the Bergerac, while Jackie’s choice was Hoegaarden.

‘The Birds’

What began as a trip to Hordle to look at another house seen on a website turned into an enjoyable day out.  We had been promised white cloud all day, but the weather was much more pleasantly changeable than that.

Oak Tree Cottage

Oak Tree Cottage in Woodcock Lane looks a serious contender.  As we were nearby we had another look at the house in Frys Lane in Everton, then set off north west to Matchams to see North Lodge again.  Frys Lane, which has been under offer for a long time and now back on the market, still appeals.  North Lodge is a very attractive house indeed, but somewhat isolated and subject to traffic noise.


Between these two houses we spent a most pleasant couple of hours in Mudeford, the beach huts of which we had seen from the sea on 30th August. Boats on quay Jackie told me Matthew had loved crabbing when he was small.  CrabbingShe said all anyone had to do was to drop a line into the water, and masses of crustaceans would be clinging to it when it was drawn up.  That is exactly what we watched. Gulls So did the gulls who wheeled and swooped whenever they spotted the quivering claws. Gulls and buoys 2 Especially when a group knocked over their bucket and the catch sidled as fast as they could in order to throw themselves off the quayside like a troop of lemmings off a cliff face.

Gulls and buoysSometimes the sky was filled with gulls; sometimes the sea and sky scape together contained both gulls and buoys.

The quayside contained much paraphernalia of more professional catching of crabs.  Crab potsPots were piled up in an orderly fashion.Ropes and nets  Coiled ropes and folded nets were of various bright colours. Starling on crab pots Starlings flocked everywhere.  Some camouflaged themselves on the lids of the crab pots, their iridescent speckled plumage blending well with the containers’ mesh and turquoise thread.

Crab pots and flags

Gull on roof tilesGulls on rooftopThese vociferous and gregarious birds rivalled the gulls for perches on the roof tiles, as they performed their swan song before setting off for warmer climes.Starling rooftop congregation  A quieter congregation on the roof of the Haven House Inn listened attentively to a grandee seeming to prepare them for their journey.  Noticing what the building was, we were tempted inside for cod and chips each, a pint of Ringwood best for me, and a half of Kronenberg for Jackie.  Whilst we were enjoying our meals, two women we later learned were sisters, entered and debated whether they should eat inside or out.  Each option was preferred by a different sister.  Eventually the lover of the outdoors appeared to win the day, and out they went.  ‘I’ll give them five minutes and they’ll be back’, said Jackie.  She was nearly right.  One came inside, where we were snugly ensconced, within about three.  Well, it was brewing up for rain.

The slimmer woman sat beside us waiting for her meal.  Both lunches were brought to her table and she sent her sister’s bowl of cheesy chips outside. Starlings queueing for chips When we finished and left, the woman outside was absolutely surrounded by shimmering, silent, starlings. Starlings to the right of us; starlings to the left of us; starlings in front of us.  They perched on the rails surrounding the dining area; they perched on the chairs; they perched on the paving stones. Starlings and chips Occasionally a courageous member of the flock alighted on the table.  Alfred Hitchcock’s ‘The Birds’ was nothing to this invasion and raid on the poor woman’s meal. Starlings and chips 2 She took it all in good part and occasionally offered a chip.  She expressed the thought that she would go inside soon.

After our substantial lunch, we dined later than usual on cheese omelette, baked beans and toast.  Apparently there are baked beans that are not Heinz.  The tins bear the Branston logo, and they are obtainable in Lidl.  They are just as good.

Having taken far more pictures than appear in this post, with the young lady’s permission, I just had to go back inside and show them to the other sister.  She, naturally thought the situation hilarious, and told me her sibling was equally attractive to wasps.