Harry Potter in Oz

Yesterday morning, before I spent the whole afternoon writing the post on The Hawk Conservancy Trust, Jackie and I followed Becky, Ian, and Scooby to the Beachcomber Café at Barton on Sea.

The angelic, ageing Jack Russel – 17 next month – earned extra Bonio rations and heaps of admiration on the day of our visit to the trust, by controlling his bodily functions for nigh on 13 hours alone in the house because of our travel delays. We searched the house for evidence of leakage or dumping. There was none. I don’t think any of the rest of us could have remained so contained

We were also proud of the fact that he showed no desire to sit at table, which could not be said for a number of younger dogs.

As usual, speckled starlings perched in a row on the fence waiting for

a sight of likely pickings.

In the evening the four of us finished off the Indian Takeaway meal from the day before yesterday. Ian drank Peroni, Jackie chose Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Garnacha Syrah.

Becky spent some considerable time battling unsuccessfully with the interface between our TV and the You View box. She did, however make it possible for us to access Players and Apps from the TV. This will satisfy us until we obtain a replacement device.

This morning she continued offering her undoubted expertise by connecting me to Skype and showing me how to make screenshots during a rather frenetic video link with Malachi, Orlaith, and Sam in Fremantle.

There was competition for books to be thrust at the screen. Sam is currently reading the Harry Potter series to Orlaith who explained that they were her brother’s books. Mal had read them all in a matter of a few weeks when he was five. He is now on the teenage spy series, Cherub, by Robert Muchamore.

Dance routines were performed to the strains of Australia’s number one record. There was some rivalry for the prime screen shot.

My two grandchildren engaged in wand sword fights.

Orlaith donned her Harry Potter outfit

and snuggled up to her Dad for her bedtime story. Then we said goodnight. They are, of course, seven hours ahead of us.

This afternoon I uploaded Jackie’s pictures from the Hawk Conservancy Trust. Here are a variety of falcons in their environment.

She photographed the crowd focussed on the vulture landing beside them;

and watching the displays,

such as Ben with his vulture,

and the bald eagle coming in to land from two miles away. The smudge on the top right of the second image is one of the first heavy raindrops that poured from the suddenly looming clouds.

This evening we dined on minty lamb burgers, creamy mashed potato, crisp broccoli and carrots, and tender runner beans. Jackie and Ian drank Hoegaarden; Becky drank Straw Hat rosé, and I drank more of the Garnacha Syrah.

Bracing

This morning we drove to the pharmacy in Milford on Sea for a repeat prescription and on to the coast to struggle against the wind of 50+ m.p.h.

The Isle of Wight, The Needles, and the breakwaters held firm against the choppy cream and toffee seas.

The gales failed to uproot the clumps of purple thrift clinging to the clifftop edges.

Walkers with or without dogs battled against the violent gusts;

others perambulated along the shingle below.

A solitary black headed gull shivered on the car park tarmac.

Jackie photographed me bracing myself against the buffeting.

This evening we returned to Hurst Road, Milford on Sea where we dined at the splendid Faros Greek Restaurant, Jackie was careful to ensure that I was the only diner visible in her two internal photographs.

The sky had cleared since this morning, but the wind was as fierce and the sea as turbulent.

Waves were whipped into a creamy spray topping,

careering and swirling up over the sea wall and taking root on the other side of the road, were bunches of what the Japanese call sea flowers. The first example above is situated in the centre foreground of the second picture, two more scud along the wall behind.

The restaurant only opened in February and is already justifiably popular. The staff are welcoming; the service friendly and efficient; the food and wines are excellent and the prices very reasonable.

We had begun our starters before I decided to photograph the Faros fare. Mine was fresh whitebait with garlic mayonnaise; Jackie’s kolokithokeftes consisted of four battered balls before she began.

My kleftiko was tender enough to fall off the bone and remain firm to the bite; Jackie’s Chicken kebabs and perfect chunky chips were equally enjoyable.

Had we known how much delicious loukoumades we would receive for dessert we may have considered sharing one portion. Jackie drank Meantime Hella lager and I drank Heraldique red wine.

The Season Has Begun

This afternoon Jackie and I left the others at home and set off for a trip into the forest., which was becoming rather congested. In fact we didn’t venture much beyond Brockenhurst where

donkeys at the ford were arousing interest

or wandering off into the traffic.

Bikers and

cyclists made their way through the Watersplash. Seconds after I photographed this young lady she was showered with spray from an oncoming car.

A small boy played in the gravel beside the ford, oblivious of the family enjoying ice creams behind him and reflected in the stream.

There were plenty of signs on this warm and sunny afternoon that the holiday season has begun. People of all ages, shapes, and sizes, some complete with dogs, enjoyed splashing about in Highland Water, or simply watching others or conversing in the shade.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s superb chicken jalfrezi with savoury rice and parathas. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden, Ian Kronenbourg 1664, and Louis water while I drank more of the Pinot Noir.

Emptying The Dog

Jackie and I took a trip into the forest quite early this morning.

At first there were just us and the ponies enjoying the bright sunshine and the crisp air on the undulating serpentine Holmsley Passage. The grey in the gallery above offered a perfect example of a typical pony turning from tearing at the gorse to pose for its portrait.

Another group breakfasted on the bright gold shrubs beside Smugglers Road car park

Like me, the grazing horses had to pick their way around the loose dog shit littering the slopes at this attractive spot. Of the numerous dog walkers who parked their vehicles alongside our Modus, we noticed none carrying a poo bag to take home with them. Pony excreta dries in the sun and crumbles into the soil. The canine variety grows fur.

Before we moved on cyclists were beginning to appear.

We visited another popular car park at Abbots Well, where the landscape offers panoramic views across the moors which can be accessed down well-trodden paths through now naked trees and thick shrubbery. Walkers, with and without dogs, also enjoyed the morning, balmy for the time of year. Here, one poo bag hung from a bowed branch. These are pleasant locations for emptying the dog.

I returned to the car in time to catch Jackie photographing the photographer.

This evening Jackie and I dined on her thick, well filled, onion and mushroom omelette with a nice, firm, tomato; Ian preferred scrambled egg on toast prepared by Becky, who, herself, enjoyed a doggy bag prepared by the Lal Quilla kitchen.

Keeping A Ball In The Air

Mat, Tess, and Poppy returned to their home early this afternoon.

The rest of us drove to Barton on Sea where Jackie, Becky, and Ian enjoyed coffee in the Beachcomber. I joined them for sparkling water after I had photographed the activities of visitors from the clifftop.

A pink streak divided the indigo bands of Solent and sky while a weak sunset attempted to make itself known.

Among groups gathering on the beach one young boy was intent on keeping a tennis ball in the air.

Pairs masqueraded as ships that pass in the night;

while engaged in an activity I couldn’t make out, one gentleman attempted to avoid entanglement in his dog’s lead;

a lone couple remained transfixed by the incoming waves.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s tender beef in red wine; sage and onion stuffing; bread sauce; Yorkshire pudding; and creamy mashed potato; Becky and I drank Calvet Fleurie 2016; Ian drank Chardonnay and Hoegaarden; Jackie also drank the Belgian beer.

Market Day

Lymington High Street descends a steep incline towards Quay Street at the bottom. The good quality Saturday Market stalls are set up on both sides of the street.

Who would be daft enough to struggle through these throngs up and down the hill combining Christmas shopping with a photographic record of the Saturday before Christmas?

OK, OK, you’ve got me. I did my best not to injure anyone.

Jackie drove me to the main car park from which I walked to the High Street. She drove off elsewhere and we rendezvoused in the same place 50 minutes later. This time span was a test of my knees. I just made it.

If there is a way with the new editor to return to the old jigsaw type galleries, I haven’t found it. The default system crops my pictures ‘for alignment’, it says – in other words to produce uniform sizes which mean I lose parts of my images. If I prevent this, the sizes of my images are altered, leaving gaps as above. Once the galleries are accessed (by clicking on any one in a group), the pictures are fine and can be enlarged in the usual way.

The titles of each of the pictures is given in the galleries. I will let them tell their own stories.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent sausage casserole; boiled potatoes; crunchy carrots; and tender runner beans. I finished the Saint-Chinian.

Not Passing The Time Of Day

Holmsley Passage cuts through stretch of moorland on the way to Burley. There is a sweep down to a  deep valley which rises as a little bridge takes us up the other side.

Late this afternoon, as we drove along it, the sunshine and showers offered enticing landscape lighting

bringing a glint to a the eye of a trotting thrush.

Bright yellow gorse blended with burnished bracken,

among which bronzed browsing ponies nibbled

and cloven-hoofed cattle chomped.

A black cow ambled across the junction with the main road into Burley,

pausing to admire its reflection in a gutter pool.

Crossing the road at this point, and turning right takes us up to a popular dog walking spot.

Halfway up the slope lies a small pond also harbouring reflections

admired by a distant robin, its breast russet as an autumn leaf, standing out against the shadow of a lichen covered tree,

Back towards Burley the lowering sun still burnished the trees  and the bracken among which

walkers wandered

with their straining dogs,

while ponies cropped the grass.

One canine creature, its tail aloft, passed a busy grey pony. They did not pass the time of day.

Heading towards Lyndhurst the skies grew more dramatic,

in preparation for impending sunset which would soon be visible from the approach to Holmsley Road.

Elizabeth returned this evening after her next stint of moving in to her Pilley House. We dined on bacon chops; sautéed potatoes; spicy ratatouille; and piquant cauliflower cheese Jackie drank Hoegaarden and my sister and I drank Terre de Galets Cotes du Rhone 2016.