Ferry By Wheelbarrow

Our paving material was due to be delivered after 9.30 a.m. this morning so that Martin could be on site to take delivery and direct the driver to the Back Drive which is where we wanted it.

Fortunately, having arisen at 6.55, I was sitting in my dressing gown carrying out my normal WordPress responses when the front doorbell alerted me at 7.45 that a Dorset Stone truck was occupying one side of Christchurch Road, on the assumption that the material was to fill our front drive.

The friendly and helpful driver warned me that I need to be careful, because the ground was very slippery, as I stepped out to check the width of his vehicle. I thanked him and responded that he had no idea just how careful I needed to be. Needless to say he had not been informed of the expected delivery time.

Having directed him to where he should unload, I grabbed a coat and slid through the garden to assist if necessary.

I was mightily impressed with the skill of the man who reversed his long, wide, truck along the Back Drive, with only an inch or two either side.; and relieved that the vehicle was well equipped to unload the heavy slabs electronically. The larch branch extended over the path was the only casualty when hit by the overhead crane.

Martin’s first task then, was to remove and cut up the broken arboreal limb.

He then continued his preparation of the patio levels. He, unfortunately, will, later in the week, need to ferry the stone across the garden by wheelbarrow.

This evening Jackie produced flavoursome vegetable rice to accompany Tesco’s finest chicken Kiev (Yellow ticket) with which I drank Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2021.

Roofing Port St Charles

This afternoon I scanned the last of the colour slides from our Barbados trip of March 2004.

Bird unknown 3.04

I cannot identify the owner of the avian eye apparently fixed on me from the Port St Charles shrubbery, whilst mine were observing a team of roofers putting finishing touches to the luxury apartments of this rich person’s playground.

Roofing 3.04 1Roofing 3.04 2Roofing 3.04 3Roofing 3.04 4

Roofing 3.04 5Roofing 3.04 6Roofing 3.04 7Roofing 3.04 8

They certainly needed their varied headwear which presumably offered some kind of protection from the strong, hazy, sun, scorchingly hot despite the occasional clouds.

These are the last of the slides, but we have not seen the last of the island, because I have found some negatives from the beginning of the trip, when we were waiting for Sam’s arrival.

Chicken and Mushroom PieLemon chicken supremeThis being the 48th anniversary of our original wedding, we celebrated with a meal out at The Smugglers Inn at Milford on Sea. My choice was excellent chicken and vegetable pie with chips and more veg., followed by the softest bread and butter pudding and custard that I have ever tasted. Jackie chose lemon chicken supreme, with superb chocolate fudge cake and ice cream. Our drinks were Doom Bar and Peroni respectively.

The service was most friendly, and we were early enough to make our escape whilst the quiz night was being set up and the contestants filling up all the tables around us.

Pub food has undergone a considerable transformation since 1968.

P.S. arlingwoman, in her comment below, has identified the pigeon. Thanks to her.

The Grinch

Electricians installing street lamps

As we set off this morning for Jackie to drive me to New Milton, and back this afternoon, for my lunch date with Carol, the sunlight on the house at the corner of Hordle Lane attracted my attention. It was then I noticed the electricians installing street lamps on an existing pole.

The attractive early light was short-lived. In London the skies were overcast, and at home there was much rain.

My up journey to Waterloo proved to be interesting. Perhaps because it is Friday, the only seat I was able to find was occupied by a pile of bags and coats. It was one of two groups of four flanking the gangway. Pointing out that there were no other available seats I politely asked for this one to be vacated. It was. With no problem.

Thus I became surrounded by a party of one man and six women out for a day in London. Naturally there was much conversation which did not detract too much from my reading. It was when sandwiches were dished out that I began to feel I was decidedly in the way. One of the women diagonally opposite handed them out. Without a word to me, the gentleman to my left stretched out his arm across the front of me. Swallowing my discomfort, I said nothing. The second time I refrained, but knew one more occasion would warrant a word.

There was a third passage of packaged sandwich. I pointed out to the man that I had been very polite when I had asked for the heap on the seat to be removed and would appreciate it if I were accorded a certain amount of courtesy when stretching across me. A somewhat surprised exchange followed.220px-How_the_Grinch_Stole_Christmas_cover I said I did not wish to spoil their party, but would appreciate their registering that I was actually there.

There followed a long silence, during which the gentleman read his Daily Mail, taking great care to keep his elbow way from me. Feeling very Grinch-like, I said I would try to find a seat elsewhere, but my fellow passengers urged me to stay.

The thaw continued. Conversation resumed, and, having been offered a sandwich, I was even included. We parted at the terminal station with good wishes all round. I was not asked to carve the turkey, but I felt as if I had gone through the whole gamut of Dr Seuss’s story, since filmed, about his famous curmudgeon.

In ‘Farewell To Westminster‘ I mentioned how the Victorian town hall in which I had worked, had, except for its facade, been demolished for a different use. Many such buildings erected in a more optimistic era for permanent purposes, have met similar fates. Wimbledon’s 1930s Town Hall, gutted to make way for supermarket shelves, is now a Tesco’s.

Alongside Waterloo Station, in Waterloo Road, the London County Council Fire Brigade Station of 2010 has undergone a similar transformation. Where once firefighters had slid out of bed and down their pole, leaped into their engines, and sped out into the busy road to attend to flaming buildings, a gastropub named The Fire Station now serves food, such as wood-fired pizzas and thirst- quenching liquid refreshment.

Fire station 1Fire Station 2

In the first of these two photographs the cyclists could possibly arrive at Euston before the bus bound for that other London Terminal station. The TO LET board advertises refurbished characterful offices.

Crane at work 1Crane at work 2

The crane is working on a large corner development.


Whilst taking the second of these pictures, from The Cut, I wondered what the painter L.S.Lowry would have made of the scene.

1930 Coming from the Mill (smaller size)

‘Coming from the Mill’ is just one of his famous works portraying unconnected pedestrians.

Carol and I enjoyed our meal and each other’s company at Tas, where we received our usual warm welcome and attentive service.

Reflecting On Centuries Of Building

Jackie drove me to and from New Milton for me to travel to The Tas Turkish restaurant in The Cut to lunch with Carol.

For a little variety I walked from Waterloo Station through the early Victorian terraced streets to the East of Waterloo Road.

Roupell Street SE1Roupell Street SE1 2Cornwall Road SE!

Typical is Roupell Street which has Valentino Hairdressers on one corner and Konditor and Cook’s attractive bakers on the other. Typical of the mid-nineteenth century, these dwellings have no front gardens and a narrow hall leading to the rooms inside. These two bedroomed properties can be found on the market for more than £1,000,000. I can assure those readers across The Pond that the correct number of noughts is shown here. The street lamps are probably reproductions.

Victorian chimneys and modern block

Modern glass fronted blocks tower above the London stock brickwork and terra cotta chimneys of their older neighbours. Since London is a smoke free zone the chimneys are probably retained for cosmetic purposes.

Chimneys, aerials, cables

Telephone cables and television aerials add touches of two further centuries to the original buildings.

Wootton Street Railway arch

These side streets are lined with railway arches over which lines run into the terminal railway station. This proximity renders the tranquil nature of the historic little streets, off the bottlenecked The Cut, quite surprising.

Reflected terraces

In Cornwall Road a shorter wall of glass reflects the terraces opposite,

Reflections of blocks

and in Webber Street, alongside The Old Vic, a more lofty block carries the images of others on the opposite side.


The flats in The Cut, reflected in a puddle on which float recently fallen autumn leaves, were built in the period between the new and the old. The soggy dog end spilling tobacco into the bottom left of the picture is a common sight, now that smoking is prohibited in workplaces or public buildings.


A working crane, like this one beyond the end of Short Street, is not an uncommon sight.

Carol and I enjoyed an excellent meal with our usual pleasurable conversation. Although we chose different starters, we both savoured the tasty chicken casserole, and moist baklavas, with a glass each of the house wines.

The Stave

It all began with the lack of a shower screen in the guest bathroom.

Regular readers may remember that the shower above the bath hung flaccidly off the wall when we arrived at the house. The Lady Plumber fixed it proudly in place, but there was nothing to keep the water from ricocheting off bodies and splashing into the room. Last week we ordered a screen from City Plumbing Supplies and went to collect it today. This was after we had first paid a visit to Gallo Ceramics to order replacement tiles. Mike, who was to fit the screen, advised retiling to ensure adequate waterproofing. He had also suggested a panel to replace the dodgy DIY wooden strips that were currently in place.

David, at City Plumbing, helpfully carried the screen to our Modus. It rapidly became apparent that with both Elizabeth and me in the car there was no way the screen was going in too. This meant Jackie had to take us home first, then return to collect the package. David carried the screen back inside.

We had chosen the side and end panels that we required. Then I had a thought. Suppose we bought a new bath to go with the panels? How much more would that cost? I left the ladies in the car and returned to discuss this with David. Eventually it seemed worth opting for a new bath with its own panels. But we weren’t sure that the standard fittings would fit into our available space.

Back at home I double-checked our measurements, and gave Jackie my card, so that, if the bath would fit, she could pay for it.

Off she went back to City Plumbers. It was still difficult to fit the shower screen into the car, but David did manage it.

Soon afterwards I received a call from Jackie. They didn’t have a bath that would fit. Except for one known as a Pee bath (named I assume for its shape, rather than its potential use) This was especially designed to carry a shower, and came with its own, shaped, screen. It was more expensive, but I would receive a full refund on the screen I had already bought. ‘Go for it’, I advised, and thought that would be that.

Jackie came home for lunch and informed me that I was going back with her this afternoon. This was because we would also require new taps and she wasn’t going to choose them on her own. I certainly wouldn’t have minded if she had. However, back we all travelled. We could all fit into the car because we were not needing to make room for the shower screen. We eventually placed the order for materials which will be delivered nest Tuesday.

After this we paid a visit to Molly’s Den where Jackie bought a metal owl for the garden and a hand-knitted jacket for Poppy. I was ready to leave before the others were, so took myself off to the car to wait for them. As I reached our vehicle I heard, high above, a melodious chorus.

Birds on crane

Looking up, I spotted a stave stretching across the sky. Crotchets and quavers were clustered upon it. Being unable to read music, I can only assume that the hidden voices were trilling the correct tune.

The garden has received a considerable amount of rain in recent weeks. This has had the benefit of promoting growth, but also giving it a battering and sending some buds mouldy.


Japanese anemones 1Japanese anemones 2

the Japanese anemones are lending their usual autumnal radiance to the beds.

Roses are flourishing. Of those newly flowering are:

Rose Shropshire Lad

Shropshire Lad, presumably named after A.E. Houseman’s classic autobiographical poem,

Rose Crown Prince Margareta

and Crown Princess Margareta.

220px-Margaret_of_ConnaughtCrown Princess Margareta of Sweden, a granddaughter of Queen Victoria, was an accomplished landscape gardener who, together with the Crown Prince (later, King Gustavus VI Adolfus of Sweden), created the famous Swedish Summer Palace of Sofiero in Helsingborg.

During World War I in neutral Sweden, Margareta organized supply drives and acted as a go-between for her relatives whose Allied and Axis countries were divided by the war.

An infection following surgery whilst she was pregnant with her sixth child, who did not survive, sadly ended her life at the age of 38.

Perceptive readers will understand why Jackie termed her new dish this evening toddler tandoori. This was served with savoury rice, onion bahjis, parathas, and salad.

Preparation of toddler tandoori is as follows:

Take tender chicken breasts, which you marinade in the fridge overnight in low fat yoghurt and a mix of tandoori spices found in Lidl, at least. Skin and score the chicken; mix the yoghurt and spices together and plaster them over the chicken. Thighs work equally well.

Bake them in the oven with a little oil, gas mark 2 or 150 electric, for about an hour.

That’s it.

With this Jackie drank Pays d’Oc sauvignon blanc 2014, and Elizabeth and I consumed ValdeVista merlot 2012.

Emily Lee

Jackie drove me to and from New Milton for the Waterloo train to lunch with Norman at The Archduke.

Golden Jubilee BridgeGolden Jubilee Bridge stepsGolden Jubilee Bridge supports and craneGolden Jubilee Bridge 2Jimi Hendrix

Before meeting my friend, I walked along Concert Hall Approach and up the steps to the Golden Jubilee Bridge, the supports of which paralleled the structure of a nearby crane.

On our previous visit to the restaurant I mentioned the change of decor reflecting the new jazz theme. Greats such as John Coltrane, Theolonius Monk and Jimi Hendrix now grace the walls.

John Coltrane

Norman and I both chose superb sea trout on a creamy pecan risotto, followed by tasty pecan pie and clotted cream, with which we shared an excellent Sicilian shiraz.

On leaving The Archduke, I was drawn to return to the bank of The Thames by the strains a powerful and exciting voice, which was itself unstrained. This emanated from a vibrant, humorous, young woman, who also had the engaging personality to hold crowds transfixed on a day that was cold enough to urge sightseers to keep moving. She is Emily Lee, who is soon to release a CD. She claimed to be suffering from a persistent cough which didn’t appear to detract from her performance. Look out for her.

Emily Lee 1


Emily Lee 2                                                                                                                                       The train on our return journey was as packed as ever. Three seats opposite or beside me were occupied by the bags of neighbouring passengers. A couple in their fifties approached the seats, looked at them, and said they would sit on the floor by the gangway. They were ignored, and this they proceeded to do. As awkwardly and painfully as usual in this tiny cramped accommodation I rose to my feet, walked over to the people on the floor, and told them they need not be so uncomfortable when available seats were occupied by luggage. The woman said it was very sweet of me, but they opted to stay where they were. I returned to my seat.

I ask you.


10402799_767381023355226_1388469684459486508_nI wouldn’t have mentioned the contribution I made to the singer’s collection, but after posting this, I went on to her Facebook page to send her the link to this post. She had already posted her busking session, complete with photograph. This is what she said:

‘Busking next to the London Eye and a £5 note that a lovely guy gave me goes flying straight into the Thames. Damn you wind.’