On His Knees

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Richard was still working when Jackie and I went out for our meal last night. Using a scribing block, in preparation for the Crestwood flooring people tomorrow, he marked out a threshold, cut it to shape on his chop saw,

Threshold fit

and pressed it neatly into position in the doorway to my study area.

He then found he needed to remove the door, shave a little off the bottom, and screw it back up again.

Cutlery tray

When we returned we found that he had not only left the place spotless, but had also fitted the cutlery drawer.

This morning, Conor arrived to prepare the floor for its covering. His yellow knee pads are essential protection for joints that are constantly bending and sliding across floors. First he sanded smooth the screed applied last week;

then swept it clean; mixed up a firmer base with which to cover it; and spread that smoothly.

Dryer

It was then dried with a machine that sucked in air at room temperature and blew it out again. He delegated to me moving the dryer across the surface at regular intervals whilst he went off to another job.

In the afternoon he returned and once more smoothed the second screed before laying out the panels of pale limed oak Karndean flooring in two directions so we could decide in which direction we wanted it.

He then proceeded, with the edge of his long metal straight edge helping him transfer and mark his line, to cut his shapes;

apply his glue;

pressing the boards down by hand.

Elizabeth popped in for a while, and she and Jackie impeded my photographic progress by standing, squealing with glee, in the doorway.

This evening we dined at The Royal Oak. My meal was lamb shank served with an array of vegetables and bacon and spring onion mashed potato. With this I drank Ringwood’s Best, now termed Razor Back, apparently to appeal to a younger clientele. Jackie also enjoyed her chicken burger with fries and salad, She drank Amstell. I polished off the last of her fries.

 

Going For A Drink

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Late in the morning, Shelly and Ron paid us a visit. After our usual enjoyable conversation we all drove to Otter Garden Centre where we brunched. As we each went our separate ways, Jackie drove me in what developed into a circular route around East Boldre. Although we experienced no more rain until it set in again after dusk, enough has fallen in recent days for the ponies not to have to go in search of water.

The seasonal pool at the junction between St Leonard’s Road and the East Boldre road is even fuller than it was a couple of days ago. As so often, shooting into the sun produced a monochrome photograph.

While its companions grazed on the bank, a chestnut drank before joining them.

A damp dappled grey caught my eye. Although on the higher level, it was tantalisingly close enough to the rippling water for me to go into contortions in an attempt to catch its reflection. I was about to abandon the project when the obliging creature

set off along the turf,

Pony drinking

and, at a lower level, dipped its neck to slake its thirst.

Cyclist

A cyclist, rounding the bend, bore the unfortunate stains on his back which indicated nothing more unsavoury than that he had pedalled along soggy mud-laden roads.

On the outskirts of Beaulieu we passed Beaulieu Cemetery, beside the entrance of which stands a bronzed crucifix.

Alongside this burial ground, the waterlogged verges encourage the generation of weed and reflect the trees some of which now seem to be rising from their depths.

Whilst I was photographing further such scenes outside East Boldre, a gentleman, mistaking me for a birder, informed me that there were a lot of hawfinches about. I said I hadn’t seen any. He said neither had he, because of his eyesight, but he assumed I would know what I was looking at. When the conversation turned to the quality of the sunsets we were on more secure ground.

This evening we dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away fare, with which I finished the merlot

 

 

 

 

 

An English Country House

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Fulbeck Hall 2

Yesterday I featured a porcelain restoration class held at Fulbeck Hall.

http://www.visitoruk.com/Grantham/fulbeck-hall-C567-AT215.html tells us that

‘Fulbeck Hall is a fine country house dating from the early 17th-century, but largely rebuilt in 1733 by Francis Fane whose family had lived there since 1632.

The house, now a Grade II* listed building, was completely refurbished following World War II, by Henry and Dorothy Fane, having been left in a desperate state of repair by the army who had requisitioned it during the conflict.

The house, with 11 acres of formal gardens, has beeen restored back to its former glory and is now a private residence. It is not open to the public.

Visitors to the nearby Church of St. Nicholas will see monuments to the Fane family, residents of Fulbeck Hall for nearly 400 years.’

A more detailed history is provided by Wikipedia. From the following extracts I have deleted those sections in need of reference citations.

‘The hall was purchased, in 1622, by Francis Fane, 1st Earl of Westmorland, 8th Baron le Despenser and de jure 8th and 6th Baron Bergavenny, of Apethorpe Hall, Northamtonshire, from Sir George Manners, who remained in residence until he became the 7th Earl of Rutland in 1632.[11] The hall then went to the Earl of Westmorland‘s son, Sir Francis Fane,[11] a courtier, Royalist and commander of the King’s forces at Doncaster and Lincoln.

Under the Commonwealth, the estate was confiscated, however, Sir Francis Fane was allowed to buy it back, and before the Restoration of Charles II in 1660, he and his wife Elizabeth Darcy, daughter of Sir Edward Darcy MP, grandson of the executed traitor Thomas Darcy, 1st Baron Darcy de Darcy, occupied much of their time in rebuilding the Hall in Restoration style. It was burned down 30 December 1731,[11] and was rebuilt 1732-1733. His son, also Sir Francis, married Hannah Rushworth daughter of John Rushworth MP and private secretary to Oliver Cromwell .

In 1767 Fulbeck Hall was left to Henry Fane of Brympton owner of Brympton d’Evercy who was a grandson of Sir Francis Fane, the second of Fulbeck and Hannah Rushworth. Henry Fane of Brymton made a fortune as a successful Bristol privateer and he left his Wormesley estates in Oxfordshire to his younger son Henry and his estates in Somerset, Dorset, and Lincolnshire were left to his eldest son Thomas Fane, 8th Earl of Westmorland Thomas, 8th earl inherited the estates of his father and his cousin the 7th Earl making him one of the richest landowners in England. He left Fulbeck Hall to his younger son the Hon Henry Fane MP in 1783. (This man) followed a long list of Fanes as Members of Parliament for Lyme Regis the famil[y’]s pocket borough inherited from an uncle, John Scrope MP, Secretary to the Treasury and grandson of the executed regicide Colonel Adrian Scrope. The constituency at times provided the Fanes with two members of parliament at the same time and between 1753 and 1832 twelve separate members of the family represented Lyme Regis in the Tory interest. Throughout this period the Fane family also represented Constituencies in Somerset, Lincolnshire, Kent, Hampshire, Northamptonshire and Oxfordshire. In 1777 Henry Fane married Anne Buckley Batson, heiress of the Avon Tyrrell estate in Hampshire, by whom he had 14 children. 

During the 19th century the house was home to General Sir Henry Fane MP for Lyme Regis who was Commander-in-Chief, India as well as his brother General Mildmay Fane. Sir Henry bequeathed a life interest in the estate to his eldest son Col. Henry Fane(d.1836).[12] His nephew General Walter Fane who raised Fane’s Horse a regiment of volunteers to fight in China during the Second Opium War succeeded him at Fulbeck Hall. This regiment still exists as part of Pakistan’s armed forces. General Walter Fane is not to be confused with his brother Colonel Francis Fane of Fulbeck Manor, who raised the Peshawar Light Horse in 1857 as an irregular cavalry unit to fight against the mutineers during the Indian Mutiny. This regiment was disbanded in 1903.

During the Second World War 1939-1945 the house was requisitioned by the British Armed Forces and it was the location of the 1st Airborne Division before they left the United Kingdom for the Battle of Arnhem.

Many of the contents of Fulbeck Hall were sold by Sotheby’s in October 2002.’

Soon after the porcelain restoration event, in February 1993, I returned to make photographs to feature in a brochure for Mary Fry, the then owner. Today I scanned a selection of the prints.

Mary Fry in doorway

Here Mary stands at her open door

Entrance Hall

leading to the entrance hall,

Mary Fry in reception room

off which is found the reception room.

Sundial and entrance drive

A sundial can be seen standing before the main door in the initial picture. The avenue drive  leads the eye from this to the gates.

Mary Fry in drawing room 1Drawing room 2Mary Fry in drawing room 3

The elegant drawing room is beautifully furnished with fine furniture, ornaments, paintings,

Drawing room pianoPiano open

and a grand piano.

Drawing room detail

Here is one corner of the room.

Vase

My accompanying text is written in the present tense, as in 1993, but I have no idea whether this vase, seen beneath the mirror above;

Painting

this painting; or any of the other contents in my pictures, survived the sale of 2002.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent sausage casserole, perfect roast potatoes, and crisp cauliflower. I drank more of the malbec.

 

 

A Touch Of Sea Air

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On a bright and sunny morning Jackie drove us out to Flexford Bridge to survey the scene that had been waterlogged on our last visit.

These muddy-looking snowdrops had been struggling to keep their heads above water then.

Snowdrops 1

Banks of others lined the verges of

Flexford Lane

Flexford Lane which offers another view of Sway Tower, otherwise known as Peterson’s Folly.

The numerous catkins no longer bore droplets of rain.

On that earlier day sheep had held the higher ground that led down to the Avon stream;

today they cropped the fields of Bridge Farm.

Pools in track

To reach the livestock I had walked up a pitted byway,

passing a number of derelict sheds,

Trees through hole in shed

holes in one of which neatly framed a group of distant trees.

This afternoon Jackie cut back the clematis Campaniflora in the front garden. Unfortunately this climbs on the arch alongside one of the three manhole covers laid along the pipeline to the septic tank that carries our effluent. She decided to check this one. it was full of thick shit and toilet paper soup. She tipped a couple of buckets down it, to no avail. I took over the task and had the bright idea of shovelling out the mess, putting it in a bucket, and emptying it into the last hole. It hasn’t helped, which means there is a blockage between the first two manholes. It seems that the problem stems from inadequate equipment in the guest bathroom above. I deferred the next stage to tomorrow. It always pays to think about a problem. And I was knackered.

Probably everyone knows that unpleasant aromas linger in the nostrils long after you’ve scrubbed up. Today was no exception. It seemed like a touch of sea air was needed to blast the pong away. We therefore drove out to Calshot

just before sunset,

where a sailboarder was wending his way back to his car.

Against the backdrop of Fawley Power Station, boats and buoys rested on the silt at low tide,

Geese

whilst geese honked overhead.

This evening we dined on belly of pork served with boiled potatoes, carrots and broccoli. Jackie drank Hoegaarden whilst I drank more of the Cabernet Sauvignon opened a couple of days ago.

From Antiques To Ancestors

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Recently, Barry and Owen Chislett-Bruce, of New Forest Chimney Sweeping & Repairs, cleaned out our chimney and removed the wood-burning stove in order for us to enjoy an open fire next time we run out of oil. Barry recommended Richard at Gordleton Barn to supply the iron basket to hold logs in the grate.

Today we visited

Gordleton Barn entrance 2

Gordleton Barn entrance 1

Unfortunately Richard did not have one small enough for us, but we enjoyed browsing in the barn, which contained

mostly wooden artefacts

Log burning stove and scales

and one large wood burning stove standing beside a pair of brass scales.

Lampshades were conveniently placed throughout

Interior

this interior reeking history.

Door and window

Fascinating doors, like this one that would no doubt interest Robin Cochran who makes excellent contributions to Norm Frampton’s project, are propped up around the place.

Mask

Quirky objects like this mask, possibly an off-colour Green Man,

Sculpted face

and a sculpted face perhaps inspired by Salvador Dali, are found in unexpected corners.

Scrap yard

Outside in the yard stand various items that may be considered enhanced by a patina of rust.

As it was a fine, warm, day, we continued on a drive through the forest.

Such was the overnight rain that it has added to the ponies’ drinking supply, being particularly helpful in lying in roadside gullies so that, like a human drinking wine with a meal, they can slurp up the water which then drips from their mouths and trails back into the ditches to provide another sup.

Ponies

The drinker above stopped to observe the photographer for a moment,

Pony

while another watched from the other side of the road.

Moving on, we discovered

The Parish Church of St John the Baptist noticeboard

This church was built in the early 11th century, but there is some speculation that it is much older because three Sarsen stones have been discovered in the foundations. Neither, situated as it is on the top of a hill, is it very near Boldre. The parking referred to is nearer than the parishioners’ one further along the road.

The building itself, entered through a kissing gate,

 is surrounded by an extensive graveyard,

most of the older stones of which are so weathered as to be barely legible.

The William Gilpin Tomb

An exception is this memorial to an 18th century vicar and his wife, who, like everyone else, needed to be pardoned for their repented transgressions.

Jackie was particularly intrigued by the name Jules Joseph Hyacinth Duplessis and the less exotic, to modern ears, of his wife Louise Fanny. They warranted a marble column which bears a legible inscription. The other two sides name their one year old daughter; and a woman whom we assumed to be Jules’s first wife.

Mary's casket

Most graves were marked with stones, but Mary was graced with a stone casket.

Some of the windows were particularly interesting. Through one could be seen the light pattern on an inside wall from a smaller light.

On enlarging the photograph, it should be simple enough for those comfortable with mirror writing to decipher the inscription on this beautifully etched glass. The second picture shows an older window on the other side of the church. I longed to enter the place of worship to gaze at this work of art from inside. Unfortunately, like so many of our churches today, it was firmly locked, denying entrance to nice people like us as well as nefarious thieves and vandals.

A wild garden has been planted around one area. We could see snowdrops just beginning to break the soil, and vowed to return to see this a little later.

Donkey on road

No trip through the forest would be complete without at least one animal blocking the road. This duty was taken on by a drowsy donkey at East Boldre.

This evening we dined on smoked haddock, fishcakes, sautéed potatoes, leeks, and peppers, and Jackie’s trademark piquant cauliflower cheese. She drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Bordeaux.

Not Much Happening In Lymington

We managed to mess up our clock today. It was losing a minute or two a day so we decided to adjust it. After we had done so we had great difficulty in getting the pendulum back in. When we did, the clock stopped. We calmed down. Eventually. And this afternoon took it back to Martin at Dials.

Christchurch and Lymington Roads are now subject to flooding, so we were given numerous washed by the spray thrown up by cars, and especially lorries, in front.

Ducks at quayside

Apart from the ducks on the quayside water there was not much life in Lymington,

Quay Street

and what there was was covered in waterproofs or wielding umbrellas. Even Quay Street was rather deserted.

Old Solent House doorwayDoorstep

The post person had made a delivery to Old Solent House. The observant of you may be able to discover how I know by perusing the worn stone doorstep.

Ashtray

Forming a right angled corner between this house and Dials is a municipal ash tray. The soggy stubs thereon betrayed the fact that at least two smokers had abandoned their cigarettes.

Shoes in doorway

Further down towards the quay a pair of slip-on shoes had been left outside a closed shop. Although they were under a short porch, I though their owner would probably go home in wet tights.

Gift shop window

Given the nautical nature of the Quay Side Gift Shop window display, it probably welcomed the raindrops through which shoppers, had there been any, would have peered in order to absorb the suitable ambience,

Alley behind The Quay

reflected in the paving of the alley behind The Quay. Chewing gum spots get everywhere.

This evening we dined on a rack of pork ribs in barbecue sauce; Jackie’s egg fried rice; and prawns wrapped in filo pastry masquerading as roast parsnips, that The Cook termed ‘things’. Jackie enjoyed the last of the chablis and I drank Fortes del Colli chianti classico 2012.

Santa’s Little Helper

Bathroom door 1Bathroom door 2When Aaron, continuing his work on the bathroom, engaged Jackie and me in a debate about whether or not he should paint both sides of the bathroom door, he observed that he loved a difference of opinion. Jackie said he could do what he liked – the other side of the door will be painted anyway when he does its companions on the landing. I pointed out that that left him in the position of having to choose between us, and likened it to Christmas at Mat and Tess’s a few years ago.

I have two Antipodean daughters in law. Tess is from New Zealand, and Holly is an Aussie. They each presented me with a bottle of their native wines, asking which I would like to open first. I was between the rock of Marlborough and the hard place of Margaret River. Aaron suggested I might have taken a nice French one out of the cupboard. Sitting firmly on the fence, I said we would no doubt drink them both, so I would open them together – a somewhat difficult manoeuvre, especially for one who is not exactly a dab hand with a corkscrew.

Yesterday afternoon in New Milton, and today in Lyndhurst, we had far more success with Christmas presents than hitherto.

Lyndhurst, the tourist hub of The New Forest, was very busy.

Post Boxes and Santa's little helper

Santa’s Little Helper stood by the twin post boxes, keeping her eye on a cardboard container on the wall surrounding the Christmas tree. I imagine this was for the collection of letters to Father Christmas. (In truth she was selling cup cakes, but let’s not allow the truth to spoil an idiotic idea.)

It is normal for our post boxes to bear a bas-relief of the sovereign’s initials. The one against which our subject is leaning is embellished with GR and the other with EIIR. I don’t know which of the six Georges was on the throne when the first was installed; and since there were no such amenities during the reign of the first Elizabeth, the II on the second is probably a little superfluous.

Skyscape

On our way home, as the sun was thinking about calling it a day, we diverted to Milford on Sea. The concave section of the cliff edge in this shot, is where another section has fallen away.

Jogger on shore

A number of joggers were about. Here one runs along the shoreline.

This evening we enjoyed a dinner of Jackie’s glorious sausage casserole; crisp carrots and Brussels sprouts; boiled potatoes; and fried leeks. I drank Old Crafty Hen.