Having spent much of the day composing and e-mailing a draft complaints letter to the dilatory and devious conveyancing solicitors firm that handled our recent remortgage to our mortgage broker, I was in need of a trip to Mudeford to watch the sun go down. The administrative exercise had involved trawling through documents, letters, e-mails, and such notes as I had made of phone calls or the absence of them; then collating them in a logical order in intelligible prose. Our mortgage adviser couldn’t access my attachment, so I had to cut and paste it and send it as the text of another e-mail.
The elements did not disappoint.
Shortly before sunset, the orb was bright, but the clouds still retained their slate colours intermingled with streaks of blue.
A rather large anchor is embedded in concrete on the foreshore. This provided a frame for the scene,
as did trees
on moored boats
flew low over the water,
and gathered by the quayside.
Smoky hues spiralled around blue skies, and gold-tinged clouds,
gradually darkening as the sun descended.
All at once
an orange wash was
brushed over the skyscape.
As the sun sank the orange pigment
drizzled down the horizon,
and their dogs.
For our dinner this evening, with which I drank Mendoza Argentina malbec 2016, Jackie produce Thai fishcakes on a bed of ratatouille served with breaded prawns, perfect roast potatoes, and crisp cauliflower.
This afternoon, Jackie drove me to Lymington to visit the bank. This is now the nearest NatWest branch remaining open. My chauffeur parked outside and I joined a small queue. We spent quite some time listening to the lone cashier negotiating with a woman about whether or not she should withdraw £10 before Saturday. The problem was compounded by another woman having difficulty in operating the rapid deposit machine. Eventually it was my turn to be attended to. I needed to order some Australian dollars to send to Orlaith for her fifth birthday. This involved putting my bank card into a machine. It was then that I was informed that I was in Lloyd’s Bank and that NatWest was next door. I turned and entered the next building. All went smoothly after that.
We continued on to a forest drive.
At Brockenhurst, grazing ponies,
and eager walkers,
some with dogs, enjoyed the late afternoon sun
that lit the autumn leaves,
and was a little lower by the time we reached Rhinefield Ornamental Drive, and stretched even longer shadows.
A group of ponies hovered on one verge, contemplating crossing to the other side.
trees stretched over
streams that flowed under the road, and, like Narcissus, admired their reflections.
In photographing the forest scenes I occupied myself deciding whether to offer images in colour
or to convert them to black and white.
For this image, colour,
or black and white? It is your choice.
This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious chilli con carne with peas and rice. I drank Arboresque Fronton 2016.
Today’s weather pattern was similar to yesterday’s, that is mostly overcast with the sun emerging late in the afternoon. The emergence was rather later this time, and
the orb lacked complete confidence as it vied with the smoky clouds.
Once again we ventured into the forest where, on the moors near Holmsley, I disembarked to mingle with a group of ponies.
One of this year’s earliest foals was growing into a fine young chap.
He seemed rather brighter when the sun burst through;
as did his blonde companion.
A woman in the background hurried through this shot in order not to spoil it. I told her that, on the contrary, she had made it.
I followed the animals as they forced their way through their bracken camouflage,
and crossed Holmsley Passage
to try the fodder on the other side.
I spent some time with them here.
A group of walkers with a couple of small dogs passed by
and I turned to rejoin Jackie in the Modus. She was not where I had left her. I set off down the hill in search. Soon I saw her driving back up. Not having seen me slinking into the trees, she had gone in search of me. As she said, at least she had not been trying to preserve a table in a crowded café, which has sometimes been her lot as I have gone a-wandering.
On our return to Lymington we took a diversion to Goatspen car park to watch the skies taking on a smoky pink hue as the solar frisbee skimmed across them.
Jackie was delighted to spot a group of large toadstools.
We dined at Lal Quilla. My main meal was lamb Ceylon; Jackie’s, chicken sag; we shared special fried rice, an egg paratha, and an onion bhaji. We both drank Kingfisher. The food and friendly service was as good as ever.
The sun returned today. This set us up nicely for our trawl through local solicitors in order to find one acceptable to the Family Building Society and willing to witness our signatures on the Mortgage Deed and the Declaration of Understanding.
Starting off at Milford on Sea we hit the jackpot with Dagless and Whitlock. Almost.
For these forays Jackie remained in the car while I tested the ground. This firm were willing, but they only had one Partner. The lenders insisted on two. I therefore decided to phone Garry, our mortgage advisor to see if he could find a way around this. There was no signal. When, a little later, there was one, Garry was on answerphone. I left a message.
Returning to our car I had the opportunity to envy groups of carefree folk enjoying the sunshine on the green.
We drove round to the GP surgery to collect a prescription. A spider sunbathed in the car park. It was then that I remembered Anansi. Was this creature a good omen?
We decided to hedge our bets, and try more solicitors in New Milton.
Outside Roger Cobb’s farmhouse on the coast road, a string of starlings seemed prepared to take off on a murmuration.
Neither Dixon & Stewart
nor Heppenstalls were prepared to witness the signatures, because this would suggest that they had advised us, which they hadn’t.
I was about to enter a third legal establishment when Garry rang me back with the news that a firm with only one Partner was acceptable to the lender. Monogamy rules. Back we went to Milford on Sea where we made an appointment for the witnessing, to take place on 18th.
We had definitely earned a brunch at the Beach Hut Café at Friars Cliff.
Sunlight slashed the ocean,
and was borne by the waves
onto the beach where people walked their lolloping dogs and the red seaweed has almost disappeared.
One canine was keener to get to the water than was its owner.
On leaving the car, I had carried my camera, lenses, and the mortgage paperwork in a hessian supermarket bag. When I had finished taking the beach shots I didn’t have the bag. Thinking I must have put it down somewhere, I retraced my steps up to the carpark. The bag was nowhere to be seen. Back down the slopes and the steps towards the café I trudged.
Then I noticed Jackie, clearly wondering where I had got to.
Then I noticed what she was clutching. Having removed the camera I had handed her the bag. I was definitely losing the plot.
Suddenly I recovered my appetite. Now we could enjoy our brunch.
As we left the café I watched a young man allowing a little boy to be adventurous on a rocky breakwater while keeping a safe closeness.
It was definitely a day for ice creams. Despite his expression in this photograph the concerned gentleman shared his companions’ pleasure at the picture.
Another couple struggled a bit with the breeze.
Only a couple of days ago I had been told that I needed to send the report of the mortgage valuation of the house to the solicitors. The final task of the day was to return home, place this, with a covering letter, in an envelope and post it to the manager of the solicitors in Stockport, by recorded delivery. This involved a second trip to New Milton. At least it means I will know when they have received it, and they won’t get away with pretending it had arrived later.
This evening we dined on a spicy stuffed crust pizza and fresh salad, with which I drank Mendoza Parra Alta malbec 2016.
I spent most of the day grappling with long-distance legal professionals over a small remortgage. I cannot summon the energy to detail this, but it has been going on for weeks and has only been necessary because I am too old to secure a mortgage from my bank. I have grown heartily sick of prevaricating, incompetent, and mendacious professionals who are happy to take your money while providing a useless service.
It is thirty years since I last negotiated such a loan. In those days you could walk to an office, speak to a person, and trust that what you were promised would be done. I don’t think I need tell anyone how it is now, in our progressive, unprincipled, digital age.
Jackie spent much of the day in the garden where she reshaped and added plants to the Dragon Bed section beside the greenhouse.
By 4.30 p.m., for the sake of my sanity, I was desperately in need of a ride in a motor car. Jackie happily obliged.
We began with a look at the sea at Barton. One member of a group on the beach seemed to have brought along a tent;
another man played with his dog;
a couple sat together on a bench;
one with a golden retriever, kept to the path along the clifftop.
Whenever a group of dog walkers meet, they swap engaging stories about their pets. Sometimes the animals are not so friendly. Lily was in trouble. She was admonished as being very naughty for nipping one of the others.
Cliffs are still crumbling.
Only the crows (if they are rooks forgive me – I don’t know the difference)
can truly feel safe on them.
As if to prove this statement, one of these took off, and clung precariously to the loose pebbles.
Down below a jogger on the beach path
checked her watch without breaking her stride.
As we travelled inland, ponies periodically exercised their right to ownership of the roads.
Sunset smiled over Roger Penny Way on our return.
Later, The Raj in Old Milton provided our takeaway meal with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the malbec.
Today the temperature was unseasonably warm, and the skies overcast. Although we have a great number of flowers still blooming beyond their normal time, I chose this morning figuratively to pick
a bunch of dahlias from the garden.
On my way round my attention was drawn to a fallen leaf, twisting frantically in an attempt to free itself from the spider’s web from which it was suspended. This brought the arachnid scampering down its central line, only to be disappointed in what it had trapped.
I have recently featured developments in the West Bed, cleared of shrubs and an old rose by Aaron, and having two new roses set to climb the arch by Jackie. There is now a new bench ready for positioning on reconstituted stone paving.
Elizabeth came for lunch and dinner. This afternoon we all travelled to Friar’s Cliff Beach and visited the Beach Hut Café for refreshments.
A heavy haze restricted rendered the Isle of Wight invisible beyond a passing yacht.
From Steamer Point nature reserve I watched the couple seen in the above picture continuing along the beach in the direction of Mudeford.
Other dogs were frolicking on the beach;
one retriever in particular swimming like a seal,
its antics being filmed from the breakwater.
Even as far away as the clifftop car park we could smell the red seaweed that coated the sand
where a solitary gull wandered.
This bird was joined by another and quickly took off,
flying out to sea,
leaving the visitor all forlorn.
Bubbling eddies swirled around
the rocks swathed in green and red weed.
As the waves rolled in they were tinged with red.
The gull bobbing on the wave above leapt to avoid the next one,
and a wader flew off as I approached in an attempt to identify it.
I photographed my sister focussing on the water,
and she got her own back.
This served a dual purpose in that we could satisfy the request of LordBeariofBow to feature my new haircut so that he could pass judgement on it.
This evening’s dinner consisted of Jackie’s superb sausages in red wine, creamy mashed potatoes, and crunchy carrots and cabbage. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and Elizabeth and I drank Parra Alta malbec 2016.
The wind kept up this morning, but the rain did not return until this afternoon. The light changed by the minute.
As the sunshine came and went, I had to be patient to take this photograph of the front garden trellis which held solanum, roses, rose hips, petunias, lobelia, nasturtiums, and cotoneaster. Only the clematis and honeysuckle have faded from sight.
We took a trip to Highcliffe beach. A pair of dogs romped along the clifftop,
where the sign warning of crumbling cliffs will probably need to be moved further inland.
When checking on the parking fees, Jackie was greeted by a fairly faint rainbow.
A building worker shared his breakfast with the grateful gulls, and
the rainbow shifted in his direction.
Pools rippled in the car park, against which
the Isle of Wight and The Needles were virtually misted from sight.
One young man stood and watched the
and cloudy skies.
I only needed to turn my head inland to look down on walkers bathed in woodland sunshine;
and twist again for a view of the light on the coastline to my left
and the sight of a dog that probably didn’t belong to the surfboard carrier.
Leaving the scrub behind me,
and slopes I descended
to the shore.
On the way down I watched a jogger and dog-walker pass each other.
The woman with the dog went on to cross paths with a couple on a lower level,
and a young lady gradually overhauled another pair, as they passed the Lifeguards’ hut.
Waves sprayed the breakwaters, and, unhindered,
rolled onto the shingle, now at my feet.
Across to my right was a clear view of Mudeford Spit and Sandbank leading to Hengistbury Head. The beach huts visible in this photograph cost as much as £275,000. That’s right. £275,000.
According to metro.co.uk this one went on the market in July this year for £280,000. The article informs us that:
‘For £280,000 you could buy a four-bedroom detached house in Huddersfield or two three-bed cottages with an acre of land in the village of Maerdy, South Wales.
The sandbank can only be accessed by a 20 minute walk, a ride on a novelty land train or by ferry but its isolated position is what gives it its exclusivity and value.
Beach hut owners have to share communal bathroom facilities and can only sleep in the huts between March and October, but can visit any time of year.
Hut 78 is in a handy location close to the ferry jetty and the communal facilities.
It looks out Christchurch Harbour where the new owners will be able to enjoy stunning sunsets.
The timber home measures 16ft 7in by 10ft 2in and comfortably sleeps four, with a double bed in a mezzanine level.
Solar panels on the roof power the fridge and lights, the cooker runs on bottled gas and there is a water tank that feeds into the kitchen sink.’
As I climbed back up to the car park, another couple of walkers greeted me and continued along their path.
I rejoined Jackie who drove us on to Barton on Sea. From there we were called back home in a hurry. We had been told by our mortgage lender to expect a call this morning from a surveyor coming to value the house. His call would be to arrange a viewing. He did call me. He was outside our house. He had been given a time to be there. We hadn’t.
I guided the gentleman round the house and garden. We then returned to New Milton for some shopping and banking, and brunched at Wendy’s excellent café. Then the rain came.
For dinner this evening Jackie produced a tasty fish pie, mashed potato, carrot and swede mash, and sautéed leeks, peppers, and green beans. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Fleurie.