Bisterne Scarecrow Festival Trail 2019

With the rain hammering down and leaking through the Velux window onto the kitchen table; and with a boiler that isn’t working I consoled myself with drafting this post. Just to recap, Jackie had taken me around the trail yesterday afternoon so that I would have something to work on during these expected conditions today.

As usual we bought a map and list of entrants to the competition at Tyrells Ford Country Inn whose exhibit, “One Giant Leap”, celebrated the 50th anniversary of the first moon landing, as did

“One Small Step” at Garden Cottage.

“Clowning Around” seems an apt title to front the old schoolmistress’s house on which we had put an offer before we bought our current home. No sooner had we done so than the owner removed it from the market. We understood that this was not the first time.

It would have been our “Retirement Home”. This one at Kingston even has its own

bench for those who may wish to sit and contemplate it: and

a comely receptionist ready to welcome prospective residents.

Down a track nearby is found The Hungry Caterpillar eating a melon to make his “Vegan Protest”.

Our paths have often crossed those of Catherine and Michelle who make visiting these scarecrows an annual trip. This time we first met them outside “Kingston Retirement Home”, and again when we approached

“Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory” where

Catherine was photographing Michelle among the straw men at the table. By the time I had disembarked they had finished. Naturally I asked them to repeat the exercise.

Almost opposite “Clowning Around” we find “Woodland Fairies” and their neighbours

“The Flower Fairies”.

“SpongeBob StrawPants” pays homage to an American animated cartoon of a slightly similar name. He stands opposite the entrance to Dragon Lane where we find

“Aliens Love Underpants”, referencing Claire Freedman’s colouring and activity book with stickers.

In the grounds of St Paul’s church we find “St Paul Shipwrecked in Malta”. tells us that

‘According to the ‘Acts of the Apostles’ Paul was being taken to Rome to be tried as a political rebel, however, the ship carrying him and some 274 others were caught in a violent storm only to be wrecked two weeks later on the Maltese coast, all aboard swam safely to land. Even though the actual site of the wreck is a mystery by tradition the event took place in and around St. Paul’s Bay and St. Paul’s Island, today a statue sits in commemoration of the event.’

“Hoopy Loopy” is a game designed for children and parents.

While I was reading the rules for “Jeepers Creepers”, I noticed a small boy emerging from a car and asked him if he had parental supervision. Even though I smiled nicely the joke fell flat because he didn’t speak English. He returned to the vehicle and returned with his father. This was good because his Dad spoke excellent English. The boy climbed over the five barred gate to which the legend was fixed, and


the scary character on the cross.

“There was an old woman who lived in a shoe” certainly had

many children, and she did know what to do. She let them amuse themselves while

she sat indoors with her dog.

On Charles’s Lane stand “Scarecrow FC take on Bisterne Best” and “The Blue Abyss”.

“Lest We Forget” remembers two world wars.

The hat fell off the scarecrow as we arrived, and continued to wobble after I replaced it.

The 75th anniversary of the D-Day landings was commemorated by D-Day Dan and by the thorough

D-Day 75 at Rose Cottage, Bagnum. This was the work of the engaging Terrie (?sp) with whom I had a pleasant conversation, and her mother who had knitted all the poppies. They were so pleased that the strings of planes and the parachutes in the bushes survived last weekend’s gales.

Terrie’s mother had found a suitable object for a the cigarette drooping from the wounded soldier’s lips.

Note the rifleman

and the details on the beams.

At Lower Bisterne Farm Lay-by we find “Woody and Forky” and

“Resting scarecrow (on a tea break)”.

“Penguin Prom” has been adjudged champion.

I understand that penguin fathers take care of

the children.

On the opposite side of Christchurch Road we witness a “Puuurrfect Rescue” from a first floor window,

while Elliot takes ET for a bike ride.

“Stargazing” takes place on the green at Hampshire Hatches.

Finally, beware of “The Wonky Workforce”

whose supervisor takes a break

while mayhem ensues. Fatal accidents abound, while those who have tipped out the gravel

remain fixed, horrified, in their cab.

I was grateful that this marathon was interrupted by Jackie serving up chicken kebabs in herbs and garlic on a bed of her delicious savoury rice with which I imbibed El Zumbido Garnacha Syrah 2017, completing the post with the aid of a second glass.

Later I watched the brief recorded cricket highlights.

The Waterside Poppy Makers

Fortunately for us, the efficient and responsive Downton Service Station lies only a couple of hundred yards from our house. Earning the recommendation given by Giles and Jean, they had the shredded tyre replaced and the wheel changed before I returned from my morning walk to Hordle Cliff top and back.
The NeedlesThe Isle of Wight appeared to be enjoying brighter light than we did as I was beset by needle sharp showers.
Poppy railings and shrubsPoppy railings (Jackie)Girls running by railingsBacks of poppiesPine and poppiesPoppies on shrubberyPoppy in tree (Flo)Child with poppyThis afternoon Jackie drove Flo and me to Hythe, alongside Southampton Water to see the poppies adorning the black railings of Prospect Place. The Waterside Poppy Makers, in planning their tribute to the UK casualties of the First World War, aimed to knit or crochet 250 poppies for a memorial display. The poppies snowballed and almost 4,000 were made. They cover the railings themselves, shrubs, and trees. This is the story of the group:
The Waterside Poppy Makers
Barney O'Carroll dedicationJohn Wallis dedicationPercy Gwyer dedicationPhilip Stables dedicationUncles dedicationNumerous dedications, on this the first day after Remembrance Sunday, were already tagged to individual poppies.
A commemorative plaque to Second World War Royal Navy Commandos is a permanent feature of the small waterside park. These men embarked from Hythe on 6th June 1944 to take part in the D-Day liberation of Europe. In the forefront of the stack of wreaths resting against the granite stone, lay one created by the poppy making group.

Swans (Flo's hand)A pair of swans, perhaps hoping for food from Flo, paddled up to the bank. SwanOne sported its own poppy colours.

Hordle Chinese Take Away had the honour of supplying Jackie with our meal this evening. She brought some back for all three of us. I always get a result with the beef in black bean sauce. This is because Jackie likes it in principal, but this particular one contains very hot chillies which she finds too strong, so most of it ends up in my bowl, She drank Hoegaarden, Flo preferred J2O, and I enjoyed Parra Alta Malbec 2014.


The weather today could not have been more different from yesterday.  As it was ten degrees warmer and sunny, Jackie was prompted to pore over maps to find a spot from which I could walk and she could potter.  She came up with Lepe beach, on the other side of the Beaulieu estuary from Bucklers Hard (see post of 12th January), and drove us there.  Leaving her in the carpark I walked along the beach in one direction, and back along a road above it. A kind gentleman thrust a parking ticket, valid for the rest of the day, into my hand as I got out of the car.  He’d only used it for ten minutes.  This quite often happens in The New Forest area.  We had marvelled in the car that we now live in the midst of so many places that tourists drive long journeys to enjoy. Lepe beach 2.13The tide was out as I walked along the strand watching a solitary yacht wending its way through the river mouth. Geese, Lepe beach 2.13 Scavenging birds were gathering rich pickings.  They ignored a headless fish.  There was a very strong smell of seaweed. With the water on my left, much of the land on my right was in private hands and fenced off with instructions for the public to keep out under threat of marauding dogs.  The guidebook Jackie had produced described the road above the beach as the route to be used at very high tides.  There was also a board in the car park explaining that, because of the melting polar icecap, the sea level was rising.  With the tide coming in and my time running out I decided to climb a wooded bank up to the recommended road.  By the time I returned to the carpark much of the sand and pebbles I had walked along at the beginning was under fast-moving water that splashed up over a concrete wall. Lepe beach (2) 2.13Before meeting Jackie, I popped into the cafe and bought a leaflet on D-Day at Lepe.  As I enter the car, there, on the passenger seat, lay another copy.  Jackie had thought it might interest me.  We learned that Lepe was a major departure point for troops, vehicles, and supplies in the Normandy landings; like Bucklers Hard it was a construction site for part of the prefabricated floating Mulberry Harbour; and a mainline base for the P.L.U.T.O pipeline. After this we dropped in at The Firs.  Elizabeth was out, but a roofer was working on a dilapidated chimney stack which had suffered greatly during the last twelve months of rain.  He went into great detail about the problems, but he rather lost me.  All I can report is that it was wet, crumbling, had vents in the wrong place, and grew ferns.  Jackie watered greenhouse and garage plants and drove us home.  I then walked to Seamans Corner postbox and back to post Jessica’s birthday card enclosing a bit of dosh.  The most apologetic contractor who had forgotten our correct replacement toilet seat came to fit a new one.  It still doesn’t fit properly, but it is a match for the split one.  When this building was converted, no expense was spared in fitting out the flats to a high specification.  This included, in our flat at least, a kind of baroque shape to the bathroom equipment.  Given that the landlord’s agent was only prepared to authorise a ‘like for like’ replacement for what had been in place when we arrived, we had scoured the internet searching for the correct original.  It would have cost £300. That seemed like the cost of a golden throne.   We didn’t bother. We had not been to the Imperial China restaurant in Lyndhurst before, but booked a table for their Valentine’s Night set meal.  As we scanned the menu’s eleven items a waitress told us we didn’t have to choose because we were getting it all.  There followed an excellent meal.  Jackie’s was accompanied by T’sintao beer and mine with white then red du Beouf wine.  Behind me, but in full view of Jackie, was a platignum blonde in her forties wearing outrageously fun platform shoes. Jackie was so fascinated by these that I got up, went over, and informed their owner.  It went down quite well.  Afterwards I chatted with the proprietor about living in Soho’s Chinatown.  My readers will know that I had lived there during the 1970s.  Our host, Gary Kwok, had been a boy there then.