Breakfast, Gabion, And Footwear

Soon after 9 p.m. yesterday evening, I received a phone call from NHS Out of Hours service to tell me I was in a queue to speak to a clinician. This call may or may not come that evening, otherwise it would be the next day.

As dawn was breaking this morning I stepped outside with my camera

and put a pair of carrion crows off their breakfast. One flew away.

Soon after 9 a.m. I received the promised call from a clinician who advised me to turn up at Lymington Hospital UCT where I would be triaged and referred to a doctor. This was all very smooth, although the wait was 2 hours because it was busy and they were short staffed – also, we suspect because of the number of families obviously on holiday. A very friendly Dr Katie Wiseman took a urine sample and made all the general function tests, including the perfect blood pressure. She thought the problem most likely to be a urinary tract infection, so prescribed antibiotics, yet instructed me to take the sample to my GP in the morning and ask him to send it to the lab.

After having delivered me, Jackie drove off for some shopping, and, when returning to collect me, photographed

some of the sparrow chorus occupying their lengthy gabion lining the wall facing the car park.

Late in the afternoon, when this hot afternoon was beginning to cool, Jackie took us on a brief forest drive,

having first photographed the front garden pink climber.

Two pairs of waterfowl lined up on the bank of Hatchet Pond turned out to be the footwear of a couple enjoying a paddle.

This evening we dined on meaty Ferndene sausages and gravy; creamy mashed potato; firm cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts; and crunchy carrots.

Read Along With Me Part 3

I was out of bed and downstairs as quickly as I could be this morning, but

just missed the pinkest dawn.

These were, however, the clearest skies of a grey but dry day on which I made more progress on Emile Zola’s ‘Germinal’,

and scanned sample illustrated pages from Part 3, which can be enlarged with a click on any image to access the gallery.

This evening we all dined on meaty sausages; creamy white and sweet potato mash; piquant cauliflower cheese; crunchy carrots; tender spring greens, peas, and Brussels sprouts, with which Jackie drank Baywood Summer Berries fruity rosé and I finished the fitou.

Disappointing Spiders

The presence of grey clouds yesterday evening and pink ones at dawn today may have signalled a false hope for lessening of the intense heat today. This was not to be.

For a short period before 9 a.m. Jackie and Ellie enjoyed comparative coolth seated on the patio,

first with the Hey Duggie Bubble Blast colourful orbs,

disappointing spiders when adhering to their webs beneath the table;

then blowing the stick windmill.

During the rest of the day I made further inroads into “Culloden”

For dinner this evening Jackie produced lemon chicken; roast potatoes, including softer, sweet ones; crunchy carrots; and tender green beans, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Malbec.

Insect Life Returning

Dawn skies over Downton presaged similar weather to yesterday,

especially when casting its light on Becky’s aptly named painting of a ‘Troll in a Storm’ – although when brightening Giles’s stained glass it appeared more optimistic.

The elements did follow yesterday’s pattern although without the rain which only threatened with the occasional forbidding frown.

While Jackie completed her work on the Brick Path

I concentrated my clearing and bagging up of refuse, my dead heading, and my weeding on the Back Drive where

day lilies, honeysuckle, and roses now look somewhat tidier; and

insect life, like Red Admiral butterflies

and crickets, seems to be returning.

Tired as she was, Jackie was able to bale out yesterday’s waterlogged wheelbarrow and continue her planting after lunch.

This evening we all dined on tempura and hot and spicy prawn preparations on a bed of Jackie’s colourful savoury rice topped with a thick and tasty omelette, with which she drank more of the rosé and I drank Moldovan Merlot, part of Becky and Ian’s Father’s Day set.

Shedding Shag Pile

Scudding clouds mottled promising skies over Downton at dawn this morning. The first two of these images show the trees in our back garden; the third looks east along Christchurch Road.

By midday darkening clouds had largely squeezed out azure skies, after Jackie and I had shopped in a well stocked supermarket where the middle aisles surrendered a stair gate and a white Livergy XL cotton T shirt sporting a Lidl logo.

Ponies beginning to shed their winter shag pile cropped grass in woodland bordering Forest Road.

The pivotal post I converted to block editing, changing the header picture, and adding three more photographs taken by Vivien, will be largely familiar to my longer term readers, but informative to my most recent ones.

This evening we all dined on pork spare ribs in barbecue sauce, with Jackie’s colourful savoury rice and even more colourful fried peppers, with which I finished the Pays d’Oc with no assistance from anyone else.

33 Hours From Dawn To Sunset

The gales were back in force today, with 50 m.p.h. winds and driving rain – so much so that it was hard to remember

yesterday’s dawn

when we set off for a forest drive in headlights-gloom at 3 p.m.

Some 30 minutes later brief glimpses of blue sky and white cloud ripped indigo canopies above

the rippling reflections of waterlogged roadside verges along St Leonards Road.

where damp ponies

listlessly trudged

past the ruins of the 13th century granary barn that once served Beaulieu Abbey.

Sunset was visible at East Boldre just after 4 p.m. Later the rains hammered down once more.

This evening we all dined on chicken pieces marinaded in mango piri-piri sauce and Jackie’s savoury vegetable rice, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Côtes du Rhône. Everyone else abstained.


As so often, this morning, the few minutes during which I sought my camera, was sufficient to turn

the gorgeously glowing lambent flames of the dawn skies

into pale pastel pinks and indigos.

Later, Martin, lighting a bonfire in a rusty wheelbarrow, no longer fit for purpose, now serving as an incinerator

stood between the flickering kindling and the flamboyant foliage of creeping Virginia vine,

stoking the open furnace with

a week’s clippings.

Becky brought Flo, Dillon, and Ellie back from Eastbourne this afternoon, stayed a while, then returned to her own home.

This evening we dined on a Red Chilli takeaway meal with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Cariñena Monte Plogar Gran Reserva 2016. The young couple ate later.

No Room For Me In A Car

Dawn opened a pink and indigo awning over our Old Post House this morning.

Later, we drove to Shelly and Ron’s home in Glenville Road, Walkford where the three Rivett sisters and their spouses gathered for the annual laying of the tribute wreath for the ladies’ mother in Hinton Woodland Burial Ground.

After mulled wine and nibbles I walked with Ron along Glenville Road and turned left to the

drive to the burial ground where a recently downed tree had been hauled to the verge.

The others passed us and arrived at

Mum’s plot first.

We gathered together to pay our respects.

I could not manage to walk all the way back, and it amused my sisters-in-law to announce that there would be no room for me in a car. Fortunately they were only joking, and I just had to

retrace my steps to the car park.

Back at Glenville Road Shelly produced a splendid meal of succulent beef stew; creamy mashed potato and swede; tender green beans, firm cauliflower and broccoli, followed by a mixed fruit crumble and cream or custard according to preference. Red and white wines were imbibed, and after coffee we enjoyed conversation on a wide range of topics.

Needless to say no further sustenance was required when we returned home.

Cutting Out The Middle Man?

Early this morning, Jackie photographed the first welcoming dawn we have experienced for a while.

The sunshine lived up to its promise as I wandered around photographing clumps of cheerful snowdrops; bunches of daffodils including tete-a-tetes; bright cyclamen; a variety of abundant hellebores which retained raindrops; and prolific shrubs such as camellias and viburnum. To make room for these images I have begun thinning out some 35,000 photographs in my Mac photo collection.

While I was enjoying myself drafting this post Jackie worked to unblock the shower drain. This afternoon we visited Streets in Brockenhurst to buy cleaning materials, and returned by a slightly circuitous route.

Much of the forest, like this area near Woodfidley, is still waterlogged. Reflective pools bear fallen trees. Still-standing oaks dip mossy toes into clear, still, surface water.

We stopped again at East End to photograph a pony busy trimming a prickly hedge.

Across the road two somewhat battle-scarred bays stood beside East Boldre allotments land. A notice informed visitors that the ponies inside were meant to be there and asked that they should not be fed. Was this, I wondered, a method of cutting out the compost middle man?

This evening we dined on Jackie’s classic cottage pie served with tasty gravy; flavoursome broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and carrots. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank Barossa Valley Shiraz 2017.

Clear Water

Pink sky streaks sent me out in the bright, chill, morning with my camera,

and perhaps led me to the hues of gladiolus, Dr Ruppel, Mamma Mia, Lady Emma Hamilton, this particular climbing rose, pelargonium, and carpet rose.

High up in the copper beech I think it was a blackbird serenading.

We took an early drive into the forest, and, enabling me to wander around the banks of Ibsley Water, Jackie parked her modus near the ford.

Angled sunlight cast long reflections on the rippling surface and penetrated the clear water to the shingle bed.

The gnarled oaks beneath Rockford Sand Pit have almost shed their foliate canopies.

While Jackie sat in the car an inquisitive jackdaw eavesdropped on her

animated conversation with a friendly robin. Our red-breasted friends do seem to be lingering in the woodlands.

Elizabeth visited us this evening and stayed for dinner which consisted of Jackie’s wholesome shepherd’s pie; crunchy carrots; firm Brussels sprouts, broccoli, and cauliflower, with meaty gravy, followed by apple and gooseberry crumble and custard. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and my sister and I drank Adam Mason South African Merlot 2019.