On The Beach (2)

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Darting pin points of fleeting snow given added impetus by biting winds crossing Christchurch Bay failed to deter family out to enjoy fun on the sand, despite this morning’s gloom necessitating the use of car headlights.

For the first time this year my fingers tingled painfully as I plied my camera while Jackie snuggled up in the car with her puzzle book. The precipitation did not settle.

Scooters

Children brought their own transport into play, in the form of smart scooters

Cycling child

and a wobbly bicycle.

Woman on mobile phone

Judging by the gesticulation displayed in the twist of her free hand, one young woman was engaged in an animated mobile conversation.

Child walking on wall

A little girl put the sea wall to the use for which it was intended.

Dogs frolicked with or without their owners,

Dogs meeting on beach

and made welcome new acquaintances.

A photographer operated on the roaring waves with the use of a tripod and an extension cable.

He wasn’t so concerned with the two ferry boats coming into harbour, bearing a few intrepid passengers.

Crow on beach

A crow on the sand watched the incoming waves,

Bobbin on beach

and a stranded cotton reel had once been bobbin’ on the tide.

On this second weekend of the Six Nations rugby tournament, I watched first ITV’s coverage of the game between Italy and Ireland in Rome, followed by Wales v. England on BBC in Cardiff. The first game was far too one-side to enthrall; the second one of the most thrilling I have ever seen.

Our dinner this evening (look away, Yvonne) consisted of Jackie’s hearty liver and bacon casserole, served with boiled potatoes, carrots, and curly kale. This was followed by Sicilian lemon tart and cream. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, my choice was Cimerosa Reserva Privada cabernet sauvignon 2015.

Now You See It, Now You Don’t

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Today was warmer and just one uniform shade of grey. This morning we travelled by car to New Milton where I visited the dry cleaners, the post office, and the bank. I collected cleaning, mailed a parcel and some letters, and paid a bill. All rather mundane really.

Jackie drove us on to Mudeford Quay where I went for a wander.

Bench and gulls

On the sheltered side of the quay, not even the gulls occupied the benches.

Crow in flight

A crow took off on my approach.

Boats and Haven House Inn

I imagine most people were patronising the Haven House Inn, beyond the Sailing Club masts

Gull

on the top of one of which perched a gull,

the solitary audience of the jingle jangling rigging orchestral performance.

Most such scavengers harassed those drivers and their passengers taking a break in the car park.

I wonder if anyone has any ideas about what the woman on the spit was seeking. Stones? Shells?

Waves and beach huts

She, of course ventured on the rougher, seaward, side of the harbour, where the waves roared, and no-one emerged from the beach huts.

Waves and buoy 1

A bright orange buoy bobbed on the surface.

Now you see it, now you don’t.

This evening we dined on lemon chicken with perfect carrots, cauliflower, greens, and boiled potatoes, followed by profiteroles. I drank Château Plessis grand vin de Bordeaux 2014.

Once More Unto The Beach House

Jackie delivered me to New Milton station this morning, for me to travel to Waterloo. A little more than an hour later, she collected me and we collected a waistcoat from Fagan’s and some paint from Milford Supplies.

After watching the messages of the station indicators switching from ‘delayed’ to ‘cancelled’ and back again for the best part of the hour, I postponed my meeting with Norman and joined the queue for refunds forming at the shuttered ticket office while the clerk was enjoying his coffee break. Eventually those of us who wanted it got our money back.

Scooby and crow 1Scoobby and crow 2

After lunch I accompanied Becky and Scooby on a walk at Barton on Sea clifftop. Scooby, as usual, frolicked with other dogs, then wandered along the edge of the cliff, far too close for my comfort, until, pretending he hadn’t heard, he disdained the challenge of a crow to approach nearer.

Shorefield Sales Office

On our way back we passed Ian who had been walking down to surprise us. He joined us in the car and we drove around Shorefield Country Park, then investigated the sales office.

Welcome table

This evening we dined at The Beach House, where the welcome was superb.

JackieIanBecky and IanDerrick

The meal, pretending to be no more than pub food, was good; the ambience and service excellent; the prices very reasonable with no exorbitant mark-up on the wines. My choice of starter was very good whitebait; my main course was a good Cornish pastie; my sweet two scoops of ice cream, one of honeycomb, and the other rum and raisin. I drank an excellent Montepulciano.

The Catch

Giles had left his cap at our house on his last visit. This morning we drove round to return it. As he appeared to be out, after knocking, I pushed the headgear through the letter box and prepared to leave. A giant snail on the window sill caught my attention and I paused to photograph it. Giles then appeared. He had been chopping logs down the garden.

Snail by Giles

Our friend is very creative with driftwood and pine cones.

Pillar Box

We also had a birthday card to post. The Victorian pillar box nearby was pretty full, and the slot wasn’t really large enough for our item, so we travelled to the post office to leave it in their box.

An about turn took us on to Purewell, near Christchurch where we bought a present at Motorists’ Discount Supplies. We had some difficulty finding this establishment at 5a Sanpit. We could have been spared this, had we parked at Mudeford Quay before our search. This is because, printed on the back of our parking receipt, was a map advertising and locating the outlet.

In the event, we didn’t go to Mudeford until after buying a freezer at Curry’s. This was required because the Cook and Caterer in Chief had realised that we couldn’t stock up for all the Christmas guests we are expecting without something larger than our current equipment.

The weather is still very mild, and although it was high tide the water was calm enough to caress the sea wall with a gentle susurration. Jackie repaired to the cafe whilst I wandered in search of photographic material.

Crow 1

A vociferous crow cawed atop the crab baskets, then,

Gulls in flight 1Gulls in flight 2Gulls in flight 3Gull in flightGulls in flight 4

the air was filled with flocks apparently auditioning for a remake of Alfred Hitchcock’s classic ‘The Birds’. They were squabbling gulls wheeling, screeching, and treading air just beyond the quayside.

Gulls around boat 1Gulls around boat 3

Gulls in flight 5

Gulls around boat 2

I walked round the rows of heaped baskets to see that a fishing boat had come in.

Fishermen with catch

Two fishermen were sorting their catch, boxing up what they wished to keep, and discarding the rest.

Fishermen on boat 1

Since the fishers were definitely both men, I wondered whether they had borrowed the boat from Chloe and Christie out of Poole.

Gull 2Gull 3

Some of the hopeful scavengers made their presence known from the concrete kerb. The noisy fellow was really rather large;

Fisheman and gulls 1Gulls and fishermanGulls and fisherman 2

others, still airborne, scrambled over each other in their eagerness to catch scaly pickings.

Lunch at Haven Cafe

It didn’t take me long to take three dozen pictures, then join Jackie in the Haven Cafe where we lunched on mixed seafood platter, chips, peas, and salad for me, and a jacket potato heaped with cheese and coleslaw for Jackie.

Despite our capacious cafe repast, we managed to dine on a little of Jackie’s splendid pork paprika and special fried rice, followed by chocolate eclairs, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I imbibed more of the malbec, still drinkable after the best part of a week.

That, of course, was after we had installed the new freezer.

A Nation Uncomfortable With Being Ahead

Head Gardener's work area

Today, just as humid, was slightly cooler and breezier, which was just as well, because we made a start on clearing the Head Gardener’s work area to make room for the shed to be delivered in two days time.

First, Jackie needed to plant the rest of her prolific purchases, so I took a walk along to the paddock in Hordle Lane and back.

Dry ditch

The deep ditches were now bone dry.

Horses in field

The horses in the paddock, protected by their fly masks, had, early in the morning, no need to shelter under the oak. Watch the one on the left,

Horses

now again summoning the customary energy to investigate my presence,

Horses at trough

then to be first in the queue for the water trough.

Clematis Mrs N Thompson

Clematis Mrs N Thompson (not to confused with my daughter, Mrs E Thompson), now mingles with pink roses on the front garden trellis.

Coreopsis

Jackie has added this strident perennial coreopsis to the rose garden.

Aruncus

A far more subdued aruncus bows respectfully

Weeping birch

alongside the weeping birch,

Crow

from where I was able to snap a crow on the far side of Christchurch Road.

View from Fiveways

Patio corner 1Patio corner 2

These views, one from Fiveways, and two of patio corners, display less recent planting.

This afternoon, on TV, I watched another Brit narrowly miss going through to the fourth round at Wimbledon. This time James Ward lost a five set match to Vasek Pospisil. You have to understand we are a nation not comfortable with being ahead in sport – unless it is cricket against the Australians.

This evening we dined at Lal Quilla. My choice of meal was chicken Jaljala with a plain naan; Jackie’s was prawn Sally with the perfect accompaniment of a delicate lemon rice. We shared an onion bhaji, and both drank Kingfisher. Everything was as good as usual.

No Contest

Yesterday’s airborne avian shadow was a jackdaw perched on a TV aerial some distance away.

As the evening sun lowered in the West, Flo continued her bird photography.

Collared dove

The collared dove took its turn at the feeding tray,

Pair of collared doves, one landing, the other flying off

until its mate dislodged it.

Collared dove and pigeon

Settling in the weeping birch it pondered a pigeon,

Collared dove trapeze

practiced its trapeze act,

Collared dove on the wing

and eventually took to the air.

Rook on chimney pots

A crow was poised for launching from the chimney pots,

Male chaffinch

and a male chaffinch enjoyed the last of the sunshine.

This morning a hobbled around the garden and the back drive before Jackie drove me to the GP surgery to order a repeat prescription, which, later, we collected.

Purple plastic bucket

I emptied the purple plastic bucket used for collecting weeds.

Bee on ivy

Along the back drive a bee took a break on an ivy leaf.

Magnolia

The staff of the children’s home have cleared some of their side of the North Breeze jungle, so the magnolia is more visible,

Camellia

and the camellia has now bloomed above that garden’s shed.

It will not escape my readers’ attention that our granddaughter’s bird photographs are considerably better than mine. In a vain attempt to match up, I attempted to take some this afternoon. The best I could manage was this rather scathing greenfinch:

Greenfich

Just after lunch, Becky accompanied Jackie to Nuffield Hospital at Chandler’s Ford, where she is to have her knee surgery. She was seen exactly on time by a very courteous consultant who described exactly what he was to do. This private hospital is very well appointed, and offers good quality, free, coffee while you wait. It is contracted to the NHS. Interestingly the free newspapers provided were The Daily Mail, The Daily Telegraph, and The Times. Becky sought in vain for The Mirror, The Sun, and The Guardian.

Soon after their return, Flo dashed into the sitting room seeking the camera. ‘Eric’, she cried, as she eagerly grasped the instrument.

Now, my regular followers will be aware that I have spent weeks aiming my lens through the kitchen window unsuccessfully trying to photograph our visiting pheasant both in focus and clear of the undergrowth. Whenever I have emerged into the garden, off Eric has lumbered, squawking.

What does Flo do?

She creeps outside, and tracks her prey all round the garden. Not only does he not disappear, but he looks her in the eye. She returns after what seems an age, her facial expression being a mix of smugness and mischief.

Seemingly reluctant to show me what she has achieved, she disappears into the kitchen and, after an expectant interval, hands me my camera.

The memory card contained some thirty-odd photographs of Eric. Here are half a dozen:Eric 1Eric 2Eric 3Eric 4Eric 5Eric 6

Finally, for good measure, there were included images of an ostrich, a parakeet, and a penguin:OstrichParakeetPenguin

Our granddaughter had downloaded them from the internet into her iPad, then photographed her screen.

I think you’d agree, it was no contest.

This evening more of yesterday’s superb dinner, well matured, was served by our mistress chef who, along with Becky, drank Mateus rose. Ian and I imbibed San Miguel, while Flo savoured J2O.

Relocation

This morning I added three informative Facebook link comments, one from Becky, one from Lesley O’Neill, and one from Jackie herself, to yesterday’s post.Mice suffragettes

Some of you will remember the nomadic mice from Christmas. Having joined the suffragette mousement, they have now taken up a position on the sitting room window sill.Pheasant

Albeit out of focus and through an upstairs window pane, I was today able to shoot the pheasant which was wandering around the garden as if he owned it. In an attempt to take a clearer photograph, I then walked out into the garden. By this time it was nowhere to be seen, until it squawked, flapped, and lumbered off like the R101, from the next door jungle.

Carpet

Before lunch we drove to Molly’s Den in search of a birthday present, and bought, at a good price, a hand-woven Afghan rug from Khiva for ourselves. The design apparently dates from the 18th century.Downton Lane pines and number 27Downton Lane oaks

This afternoon I set off to walk down Downton Lane. I got no further than Roger’s footpath before retracing my steps to the back drive where I had noticed I had a job to to. Number 27 and its pines basked in the sunshine, as did the still naked oaks.CrocusesPeriwinkle

We now have yellow crocuses and a spread of periwinkles of various types. A crow took off from our mature copper beach, itself still leafless.CrowInsect hotel remains

Most of the insect Hilton hotel rooms have now been stolen. Perhaps, given the number of wood burning fires in the area, I should not have been surprised. Especially as a couple of days ago I watched a van take the diagonal across the end of our drive into the care home on the corner, I decided to relocate the log pile to the safety of the rose garden plot.insect hotel relocated

My original structure had filled five wheelbarrow loads. In retrieving what was left I barely completed two. At least that made the task a little easier.

This evening we dined on Mr Pink’s superb takeaway fish and chips with pickled onions and mushy peas. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the rioja.

Painting The Solent

This morning we drove into Milford on Sea for some Christmas shopping. I walked back via Park Lane, the cliff top, and Shorefield.Isle of Wight, The Needles, lighthouseShelterCrow
An unsheathed sun slashed The Solent in front of the Isle of Wight. A new shelter had been moved from an older site, at a safer distance from the crumbling cliffs. Crows, of course can fly, so they are perfectly comfortable on the precarious edge.The Solent as a Rothko painting
I wondered what had provided the green streak transforming The Solent into a Mark Rothko canvas.
Dog owners have a number of amusing methods of calling off their canines sniffing at, or attempting to mount, my trouser legs. Today’s ‘You can’t eat that’ rivalled the cry of ‘Leave it’, with which I had been greeted in Colliers Wood two years ago.
On my way back through Shorefield I enjoyed a long conversation with a family of Indian origin who sought directions to the beach. They had just moved here from Romford in Essex. 220px-KenyaUgandaTanganyika-Stamp-1938-Royal_LionThe father had arrived there forty years ago from India. He had been born in Tanzania. He was still a child when he moved to England where all his children were obviously born. Such is our cosmopolitan world.
Tanzania was formed from a merger between Tanganyika and Zanzibar in 1964. When I was a child I collected postage stamps, and prized those circulated from 1935 to 1963, by the joint postal services of the then British colonies of Kenya, Uganda, and Tanganyika. So much has the global map changed in my lifetime. King George VI, whose image appears on this illustration, ruled between the abdication of his brother King Edward VIII in 1936 and his death in 1952, when his daughter, our present Queen, crowned in 1953, took over the mantle.IrisesSunset
Winter irises are now blooming in our garden. The evening’s striated sunset skies seemed to have mixed their colours.
Tonight we dined at The newly reopened Royal Oak pub. My choice was the mixed grill, apple tart and custard, and Hobgoblin beer. Jackie’s was gammon steak, death by chocolate, and Becks beer. We were happy with it.

‘You’re Not Going To Believe This, Miss’

Steady drizzle dripping from dreary skies had, by the time I returned home from my Hordle CrowCliff walk, developed into the deluge that would continue throughout the day. Crows cawed from the telephone lines above the coast road and slugs slithered across the tarmac.
We were without internet access until mid-afternoon, and even then it was erratic, but I was able to scan a batch of colour slides from 1975, and wait until then to upload them, and to load the above photograph into iPhoto. In order to download photos from my Canon SX700 I must be on the web, so whether I can do this or not is touch and go.
Pete 4'75Michael 4.75In the 1970s Jessica’s parents lived in Bulcote Lodge, near Burton Joyce in Nottinghamshire. We often visited, and Michael liked to bring Pete, his friend from Islington Green school, to spend time there. In April 1975 the boys played football on the immaculate lawn.
At that time Islington Green was a flagship comprehensive school and the headmistress, now Professor Margaret Maden, was considered one of the leading educationalists of the time. She had a soft spot for Michael, which was just as well when he brought his cousin James to lessons. James’s half term holiday in South London was a week earlier than my son’s. The boys thought it would be a good wheeze to pass Michael’s cousin off as a French exchange student. He sat ant the back of the class and they thought they had got away with it until Ms Maden summoned Michael at the end of the week and asked him who the uninvited guest had been. ‘You are not going to believe this, Miss…..’ began Michael. Too right, she didn’t. Neither, presumably had any of the other teachers. But it was all treated with good humour.St Pancras 5.75 01St Pancras 5.75 02jpg
In May 1975, when I took the rest of the photographs, we were living in Lloyd Baker Street in Islington. From there I took two more St Pancras skyline sunsets.
Matthew and Becky 5.75 03Matthew was amused to be asked to pose by his sister’s side. Becky sits in a rocking chair that now furnishes our spare single bedroom. It was one of Jessica’s twenty first birthday presents.
Much more serious was his approach to chess, which we played with my replica of the famous set found on the Isle of Lewis some time before April 1831. They are thought to be Scandinavian from the twelfth century.Matthew playing chess 5.75
Matthew & Becky 5.75 01Matthew and Becky 5.75 02Across the road from our balcony lay blocks of flats, in one of which lived Pete. Mat and Becky liked to watch the street from the safety of our railings.Jessica 5.75Jessica hands and purse 5.75
These two shots of Jessica, in one of which she examines the contents of her purse, were also taken that May.
I will close this entry, as I did yesterday, by saying that we will dine on a Chinese takeaway meal, and that I will send my post whilst I have a precarious grasp on the internet.

Why Did The Donkey Cross The Road?

After a noisy thunderstorm during the night, the day dawned bright and clear. I walked the circular route to Milford on Sea and back. Indicative of the brisk pace I was able to maintain in the cooler weather, this round trip took just over 90 minutes.Pine shadows

Autumn leavesThe pines along Sea Breeze Way cast lengthy shadows across the terrain, and the sun that caused this also enriched the colour of the leaves now beginning to fall in the Nature Reserve, where the footpaths are becoming rather soggy.

On my way back along the cliff top, watching very choppy seas, I leant into a very forceful head wind which made me think I should have taken this route on the outward journey. Then I would have been blown along. Crow and choppy seaPerhaps I should have emulated the crow which, flying low, may have gained some shelter from the land. Not being able to fly, except in my youthful dreams, I would have had to walk along the shingle, and today I didn’t have time for that.

Back at home, I joined Jackie, who had already made a start on the continued clearance of the back drive. We have almost finished the task.Montague Arms Hotel

Donkeys outside Monty'sDonkey crossing roadLater this afternoon Jackie drove us to the Montague Arms Hotel at Beaulieu where we met Elizabeth for a cream tea. Donkey

As we arrived at the hotel two donkeys left the forecourt, wandered around the corner and across the road and came to catatonic rest outside someone’s house.

The Montague Arms is a splendid building with a beautifully maintained garden. Whilst waiting for my sister I wandered out and spoke to the gardener who was pleased with my appreciation of his work.gardener He didn’t stop all the time we were enjoying our refreshment. We could have played croquet on the immaculate lawn, had we felt so inclined.Cream tesScones

For refreshment, the ladies each chose cream teas, Elizabeth’s beverage being Earl Grey and Jackie’s English Breakfast. The scones looked delicious, but I, thinking we would be eating out later, originally declined. My lady and my sister, however, each persuaded me to have half of one of theirs. With these I drank a bottle of Ringwood’s Forty-niner.

After this, having all agreed to go on afterwards to The Family House in Totton for our evening meal, we took Elizabeth on a tour of Beaulieu, which, of course, doesn’t take very long. We introduced her to Patrick’s Patch which contained more seasonal produce than last time we visited in November last year. ChardDahliaPumpkinsChard and dahlias were still in their beds, and an attractive arrangement of miniature pumpkins was on display.

I travelled with Elizabeth to the restaurant to be sure she would find the car park where we arrived at the same time as Jackie, and had our usual excellent meal in homely surroundings. We all drank T’singTao beer. Afterwards we parted company and Jackie drove me home.