“She’s Got A Baby”

Today’s thirty minute walk was along the stony seawall path of Keyhaven Harbour. Jackie drove me there and back and waited in the car park while I strode out and crawled back.

As I began to open the gate leading on to the mallow lined footpath I noticed a woman carefully following the ungainly swan walking ahead. I did not see the little legs behind the mother.

From the car Jackie yelled “she’s got a baby’. Looking at the container the woman was carrying, I wondered what my wife was talking about, especially as there wasn’t much activity in the transparent tub.

In order to obtain a view from Jackie’s perspective I slid along the front of the Modus and saw the little imprinted cygnet.

I exchanged greetings with a number of other walkers and cyclists availing themselves of this mallow-lined stony path leading to Lymington with its views of the harbours, the Isle of Wight, Hurst Castle and associated lighthouse. The gentleman at the rear of the group in the fifth of these pictures is awaiting a knee replacement, and asked me what to expect. I gave him the benefit of my experience.

I’m not sure what kind of duck this is with its babies bobbing about.

I passed more walkers on my return to the car park,

on the other side of which the cygnet was learning preening.

This evening we dined on minty lamb burgers with roasted mushrooms; creamy mashed potato; crisp cauliflower and carrots, and tender runner beans. I realise I have been regularly remiss in not mentioning the delicious aroma emanating from steaming bowls of perfectly cooked vegetables. Today my nostrils gave me a wake up call. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Malbec.

Up On The Roof

This morning I made four 5 x 7 prints for Ian from his and Becky’s wedding.

After lunch I made a start on the Christmas cards and Jackie and I drove to New Milton for some Christmas shopping, and continued on into the forest.

The day was dull and dry.

We arrived at a glassy Hatchet Pond when a pink strip above the tree line was a precursor of the impending weak sunset.

Waterfowl in evidence included a pair of swans and their adolescent cygnet

flexing its muscles

in sight of gulls, mallards, and moorhens.

One vociferous gull seemed to be reflecting on this 1962 classic of The Drifters:

 

The tide was high at Tanners Lane where the Isle of Wight, The Needles, and the lighthouse were silhouetted against the pink precursor.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s flavoursome lamb jalfrezi with tasty savoury rice. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Malbec.

 

 

 

 

 

 

A Rorschach Test

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Our trip to the forest was somewhat delayed this afternoon;

our passage from our front drive was blocked by the rear section of a container lorry.

Close inspection revealed that this vehicle’s path was blocked by what appeared to be an injured cyclist being supported on the road.

In each direction along Christchurch Road traffic was being turned away by police. I ensured my photographs were anonymous, and thought it would seem unseemly to ask what had happened. Given that the invalid was talking and it was an hour and a half before an ambulance arrived, I can only assume that this was not the direst of emergencies.

Jackie and I were eventually able to depart as  police officer, who informed us that the man  now being helped into the ambulance had “taken a tumble off his bike”, raised the barrier for Jackie to drive on in the direction of Lymington. On the outskirts of that town another screaming ambulance, blue lights flashing, heralded one more lengthy tailback necessitating us and many others turning back the way we had come. We took the road down to the harbour.  Eventually we reached Undershore and escaped to comparatively quiet Pilley.

Near Norley Wood the usual variety of miniature ponies grazed in the light of the late afternoon sun.

Against the backdrop of Beaulieu Abbey and its grounds, a solitary cygnet was surrounded by energetic mallards competing for food in the lake’s shallows. The deeper water was frequented by gliding gulls and sedately sailing swans.

Later we enjoyed a blazing sunset over Hatchet Pond. One gentleman photographing an expectant swan and her cygnet had first lured them with enticing comestibles. As he departed, his models floated off to present their own Rorschach tests.

On our return home we joined Elizabeth in the Royal Oak where we dined. After a pint of Razor Back, with the meal I drank a glass of Merlot. The ladies drank Amstell. My meal was a mixed grill; Elizabeth chose venison sausages, mashed potatoes and perfect vegetables; Jackie savoured gammon steak, chips and salad. The food was as good as ever under the current management.

Wrecking The Shrubbery

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This afternoon, Jackie drove me around the East of the forest.

A group of donkeys diced with death as they munched on the verges of the winding lanes approaching East End,

where a llama in a field slowly swivelled its gaze in my direction;

and seasonal signs included blackberries ripening in the hedgerows,

starlings gathering on overhead cables,

and pheasants trotting across the moorland.

Three young cyclists came whooping down the approaching slope and up the next,

until they ran out of puff, dismounted, and, with a certain amount of trepidation, negotiated their way past fly-pestered ponies bent on keeping cottages’ grass cropped.

One of the many wandering cattle at East Boldre craned over a white picket fence and set about wrecking the owners’ shrubbery.

Gulls and swans shared Beaulieu’s Hatchet Pond.

This evening we will shortly be driving to The Family House at Totton where we will meet Becky, Ian, and Elizabeth for an excellent Chinese meal.

P.S. The evening was most enjoyable. The restaurant served the usual excellent food; the ambience being as warm and friendly as ever.

 

 

The Head Of The Queue

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This afternoon Jackie and I transported to Oakhaven Hospice Charity Shop in New Milton several boxes of kitchen equipment rendered surplus to our requirements after the installation of the new kitchen. We then ordered a quotation for recovering our Chesterfield sofa from Jem Fabrics.

A drive to Hatchet Pond was next.

Swans and cygnet

I have noticed that when families are cycling in the area it is always the youngest member who speeds on ahead. So it is with cygnets. Here, under a sky the colours and texture of a soiled lawyer’s wig, one of this year’s offspring led its parents along the surface of the lake.

Cygnet flappingCygnet flapping

On shore, it flexed its muscles

Cygnet and gulls

and told the gulls where to go.

Coot

Coot

A coot paddling among the surf,

Mallards

 

and several mallards stepping out on the bank made up the avian population.

Fishing at Hatchet PondFishing at Hatchet Pond

Angling families tried their luck.

Pony

A wandering pony searched for fresh grass,

DonkeyDonkey

while a patient donkey, at the head of the queue,

Donkey and ice cream vendorDonkey and ice cream vendor

waited for its friend, the kindly vendor, viewed in his wing mirror,

Donkey and ice cream vendor

to hand over the last of his own ice cream.

This evening we enjoyed second helpings of Mr Chan’s Chinese Take Away fare. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and Elizabeth and I drank Calvet’s Cahors Malbec 2016.

Contrast

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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.

Waves

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.

Cygnet

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.

angler

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.