We Didn’t Chat For Long

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This morning Aaron, of AP Maintenance, tackled the storm damage. He replaced the back drive barrier plants; repaired Jackie’s screen covering the five barred fence; gathered up fallen branches; and tidied up the cypress,

Cypress

which now looks like this.

Sending wood-chips flying from his chain saw, our friend began by cutting up the branches stretching down to the ground.

Aaron had not brought his ladder with him. He opted to climb the tree rather than go home for it.

Anyone of a nervous disposition may prefer to look away from his exploits up aloft, as he showered me with wood shavings.

This afternoon, Jackie drove us to Lepe beach and back.

The skies there already promised a good sunset.

Photographer and dog

I was apparently not the only photographer who thought so.

 

So crowded was this popular beach that we almost gave up finding a spot in the packed car park, until, as we bounced over the numerous potholes to leave, another vehicle rocked its way out in front of us. Jackie was then able to stay in the warmth of the vehicle whilst I stepped out with my camera.

Many wrapped up families walked and played along the sandy shingle. At water level in the last of this group of pictures is The Watch House, with the Coastguard Cottages on the hill above.

Mother and child

A little girl, not much bigger than her younger charge, staggered over to their mother carrying the distressed infant who had fallen. Maternal solace was then administered.

Another mother instructed her daughter in the art of chucking stones in the water.

A small boy enjoyed throwing up spadefuls of sand, before trotting off to the shoreline and inspecting

the whipped cream sweeping in from the sea.

Leaving Lepe, Inchmery Lane snakes alongside the seashore where, visible through twisted branches, slug-like dunes rose from lingering pools.

We reached Tanners Lane in time for sunset.

As we departed for home, we were delighted to meet Barry and Karen who had just arrived to walk their dogs on the shingle. It was now so cold that we didn’t chat for long.

This evening we dined at Milford on Sea’s Smugglers Inn. We both enjoyed our meals. Mine was rump of lamb with minty mashed potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, and red and green cabbage; Jackie’s was spaghetti carbonara.  I drank Doom Bar and my wife drank Amstel.

“You Can’t Keep A Good Brit Down”

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This morning we drove to New Milton to buy Jackie a bag to carry her overnight stay requirements for our trip to Bicester tomorrow. We then continued to Friars Cliff where we brunched in the Beach Hut Café.

Beach huts

There are two rows of beach huts there – one on the promenade above the beach level, and the other further down. These colourful buildings brighten such areas.

Dog walker at Friars CliffThis dog walker had probably made his way from Avon beach, curving away in the distance..

Silhouettes and shadows

Long shadows were evident even just before midday.

Clouds, sea, gull

A gull perched on a post catching what warmth there was from the sun piercing the clouds.

dog on beach

Dogs frolicked

Walkers and dog on beach

and their owners

Dog walkers on beach

crossed each other’s paths

Dog walkers on beach

on the sand.

Beach huts, women outside one

At one end of the lower level of beach huts

Women at beach hut

sat a couple of women, so well insulated from the chill air that Jackie cried “You can’t keep a good Brit down”, which they appreciated.

Gulls in shallows

On the way home .we diverted to Mudeford

Mudeford harbour

where gulls paddled in the shallows at low tide.

Boats, one overturned

Of the several boats

Beached boat, another overturned

tethered or grounded

Boats, one overturned

in the harbour one was overturned.

Rowing boat and yachts

Others fronted the moored yachts

Sky, Mudeford, boat

and the quayside buildings.

Twig on sand

Branches were spectacles on the sand.

Starlings on crab pots

On the sea front’,

Starlings, crab pots, buoys

having missed the boat that was stocking crabs on the van for Brixham,

Starling on crab pot

hopeful

Starling on crab pot

young starlings,

Starlings on crab pots

gathered

Starling on crab pot

for possible treats;

they would have enjoyed the great slabs of Spanish omelette that Jackie conjured from the seemingly entire contents of a greengrocer’s stall bound by the massed clutches of multiple brooding hens. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the malbec.

 

 

Shades Are Recommended

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HEALTH WARNING: WEARING OF SHADES IS RECOMMENDED

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.

Sunset 1

Shortly before sunset, the orb was bright, but the clouds still retained their slate colours intermingled with streaks of blue.

Sunset 2

A rather large anchor is embedded in concrete on the foreshore. This provided a frame for the scene,

Sunset 4

as did trees

Sunset 3

and grasses.

Sunset 5

Gulls perched

Sunset 6

on moored boats

Gulls

flew low over the water,

Mudeford Harbour

and gathered by the quayside.

Sunset 7

Smoky hues spiralled around blue skies, and gold-tinged clouds,

Sunset 8

gradually darkening as the sun descended.

Sunset 9

All at once

Sunset 12

an orange wash was

Sunset 13

brushed over the skyscape.

Sunset 14

 

As the sun sank the orange pigment

Sunset 15

drizzled down the horizon,

Sunset 16

its remnants

Sunset 17

 

streaking above

Sunset 19

silhouetted walkers

Sunset 18

Sunset 20

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.

 

 

 

 

 

Your Choice

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This morning, including material from ‘Oiling The Lion’, and from ‘The Hornby Train Set’, I continued writing ‘A Knight’s Tale’.

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.

Pony on heathPony 1Pony and shadow

At Brockenhurst, grazing ponies,

Ponies and cyclist on heath

leisurely cyclists,

Trees, walkers, pony

and eager walkers,

Walkers, dogs, pony

some with dogs, enjoyed the late afternoon sun

Autumn leaves

that lit the autumn leaves,

Sun streaks

and was a little lower by the time we reached Rhinefield Ornamental Drive, and stretched even longer shadows.

Ponies 2Ponies 3Pony 2

A group of ponies hovered on one verge, contemplating crossing to the other side.

Trees over stream

trees stretched over

Reflections in stream

streams that flowed under the road, and, like Narcissus, admired their reflections.

Forest scene 4Forest scene 5Forest scene 6Forest scene 7Forest scene 8

In photographing the forest scenes I occupied myself deciding whether to offer images in colour

TreesForest scene 2Forest scene

or to convert them to black and white.

Forest scene 3

For this image, colour,

Forest scene 3 Version 2

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.

Slinking Into The Trees

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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

Sun through clouds 1

the orb lacked complete confidence as it vied with the smoky clouds.

Ponies

Once again we ventured into the forest where, on the moors near Holmsley, I disembarked to mingle with a group of ponies.

Foal adolescent

One of this year’s earliest foals was growing into a fine young chap.

Foal adolescent 2Foal adolescent 3

He seemed rather brighter when the sun burst through;

Pony 1

as did his blonde companion.

Pony - woman in background

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.

Pony and bracken

I followed the animals as they forced their way through their bracken camouflage,

Pony crossing roadPony crossing road 2

and crossed Holmsley Passage

Ponies 2Ponies 3

to try the fodder on the other side.

Ponies 4Pony 2Ponies 5Pony 4Pony 6Pony 3Pony 7Oak leaf and ponyPony 8

I spent some time with them here.

Walkers with dogs

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.

Sun through treeSun disc and landscape 1Sun disc bordered by treesSun disc over horizonSun disc over landscape 2

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 and toadstoolsToadstools 1

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.

 

Losing The Plot?

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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.

Dagless & Whitlock

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.

Group on greenBicycle wheel and feetCouple on bench with dog

Returning to our car I had the opportunity to envy groups of carefree folk enjoying the sunshine on the green.

Spider in web

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.

Starlings

Outside Roger Cobb’s farmhouse on the coast road, a string of starlings seemed prepared to take off on a murmuration.

Dixon & Stewart

Neither Dixon & Stewart

Heppenstalls

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.

Yacht on sunlit sea

Sunlight slashed the ocean,

Waves

and was borne by the waves

Group with dog on beachDog on beach

onto the beach where people walked their lolloping dogs and the red seaweed has almost disappeared.

Man and dog on beach

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.

Jackie 1 Then I noticed Jackie, clearly wondering where I had got to.

Jackie 2

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.

Man and boy on beach 1Man and boy on beach 2Man and boy on beach 3

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.

Group with ice creams

It was definitely a day for ice creams. Despite his expression in this photograph the concerned gentleman shared his companions’ pleasure at the picture.

Couple with ice creams

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.

Only The Crows

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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.

ImpatiensDragon Bed

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.

Group on beach 1

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;

Man and dog on beach

another man played with his dog;

Couple on bench 1

a couple sat together on a bench;

Walkers 1

Walkers,

Man and dog

one with a golden retriever, kept to the path along the clifftop.

Meeting of dog walkers

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.

Crumbling cliff 1

Cliffs are still crumbling.

Crow 1Crow 2

Only the crows (if they are rooks forgive me – I don’t know the difference)

Crows on crumbling cliff 1

can truly feel safe on them.

As if to prove this statement, one of these took off, and clung precariously to the loose pebbles.

Jogger and beach

Down below a jogger on the beach path

Jogger checking watch

checked her watch without breaking her stride.

Ponies on road 1Ponies on road 2

As we travelled inland, ponies periodically exercised their right to ownership of the roads.

Sunset 1Sunset in wing mirrorSunset 2

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.