Proliferated In The Last Month

On this fine spring morning we took a trip to Mudeford.

Gulls lined up to welcome us as Jackie drove towards the quay.

A pair of serene cygnets sailed across the calm harbour, while a hunched egret tried to pass itself off as a gull.

Currents meeting on the open sea created spray-tipped turbulence

towards which a speedboat motored.

A silhouetted group was breaking up on the quayside,

with its usual stacks of crab pots, buoys, and ropes.

Along the coast at Avon Beach solitary walker ignored the spray, while, try as it might, by kicking up sand, a dog was unable to distract its owner from her mobile phone.

We continued into the forest where, in the vicinity of Burley, grey ponies dotted the landscape.

Having laboured up a steep hill, a trio of cyclists seemed relieved to coast down the other side.

When we returned home I ventured out into the garden for the first time since my surgery. During my tour I was delighted with the array of hellebores, cyclamens, and snowdrops that have proliferated in the last month.

This evening we dined on pork chops baked with English mustard and almonds from elsewhere; roast potatoes and parsnips; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; and tender runner beans with tasty gravy.

Catch

We have been invited to a special meal in celebration of the 30th anniversary of

our favourite local Indian restaurant. Unfortunately this is tomorrow – less than a month since my knee replacement surgery. We therefore cannot manage it. This morning, featuring the above photograph, we made a card for Raja and his staff and placed in the post on our way to my physiotherapy appointment with Claire at New Hall hospital.

Progress is very encouraging. Both walking and flexibility are a great improvement on the first operation last May. I just wouldn’t have been able to sit comfortably at the restaurant tables.

The day, as evidenced in my photographs, was dismally damp and misty.

Even mistletoe was unable to brighten the lane through Bodeham,

Dripping snowdrops were more successful.

Mallards and a moorhen didn’t mind the weather over this stretch of the River Avon,

where an egret (I think) wandered and a cormorant (I think) watched from a treetop.

A circling kite was occasionally glimpsed above the naked trees.

Woodgreen Common was rather obscure.

As we headed towards Godshill we witnessed exciting catching practice. A gentleman playing frisbee with a circular ring skimmed it through the air where his triumphant dog leapt to catch and return it.

Someone had left a cap on a bench overlooking what would have been a splendid view in better light. The Godshill road itself was so shrouded in mist that a recently fallen tree was barely visible.

Fog lights were essential on the high risk (of animal deaths) Roger Penny Way, where some impatient drivers continued to follow the 40 m.p.h. speed limit.

This evening we dined on an excellent takeaway meal from New Forest Tandoori. My choice was king prawn madras with special fried rice; Jackie’s was prawn curry with pilau rice. We shared a paratha. I drank sparkling water and Jackie didn’t.

Speech Bubbles Are Invited

CLICK ON ANY IMAGE IN A GROUP TO ACCESS ITS GALLERY, INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS OF WHICH MAY BE VIEWED FULLS IZ BY SCROLLING DOWN AND CHECKING BOX AT BOTTOM RIGHT. FURTHER ENLARGEMENT MAY BE OBTAINED WITH A CLICK OR TWO

I trust my readers in the Philippines and the East Coast of America will forgive Jackie and me for choosing to visit the coast on a morning beset by winds of a mere 40 m.p.h.

Palms swayed in the wind at Milford on Sea; granite skies glowered over choppy waves; the Isle of Wight, The Needles, and the lighthouse were lent a translucent quality by the feeble, filtered, daylight and the misty sea-spray crashing on the rocks.

RunnerRunner approaching walkersRunnerRunner

An unperturbed young lady ran along the coastal paths at a respectable rate;

four hardy sailors clung to stays on one side of a red-sailed yacht in efforts to keep the mast upright as it skirted the Isle of Wight, The Needles, and the lighthouse.

I think this was an egret fishing at Keyhaven,

while a preening gull perched on a heap of seaweed.

Two gentlemen passed stacks of colourful boats in the sailing club yard.

Readers are invited to suggest speech bubbles for these two.

In the field opposite Solent Grange stands a large haystack that defied the wind.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s luscious beef pie; creamy mashed potato; and crunchy carrots, cauliflower and cabbage. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden; Elizabeth, Patrick Chodot’s Fleurie 2016, and I finished the same producer’s Brouilly.

 

 

The Spanish Invasion


Strong winds and heavy rain rampaged through the morning, keeping me occupied with administration and ironing, while Jackie did the shopping.

Just two of the administrative events are worthy of note. It is rather more complicated than I would have thought to close a French bank account which is in credit with no unpaid cheques outstanding. This has been exacerbated by what turned out to be a standard letter contradicting what I had been advised on the telephone. Phone calls and letters have been involved. I was advised to ignore the latest letter. I should be receiving a statement and a transfer of funds soon. We’ll see.

A further telephone call related to the setting up of a funeral plan. Well, you never know.

Soon after lunch the rain ceased and an assertive sun shouldered the dismal clouds aside, sending us off in search of bluebells.

Opposite the shadowy woodland of Shirley Holms

Doves on roof

Jackie spotted a pair of white doves on a farmhouse roof.

Bluebells and hellebores

In 1588 the Spanish Armada failed in their attempt to conquer England. A peaceful invasion is, however under way in the form of their national bluebells. These in our garden are bigger, stronger, and lighter in colour than

the English ones that still line the hedgerows and stock the woodlands of Boldre and other parts of the forest.

Muddy tracks have been left by the recent rain, but it is now warm enough for horses in fields to discard their rugs.

As we drove through East End the leader of a trio of three cows fixed our Modus with a stare and bellowed instructions to get out of the way.

An egret occupied the beach at Tanners Lane against the backdrop of rape fields on the Isle of Wight.

This evening we dined at The Royal Oak. Jackie enjoyed an excellent beef burger in sourdough bread with French fries and salad. My equally good meal was superbly cooked haddock, chips and peas. My heap of chunky chips with skins was extremely daunting and Jackie couldn’t finish her fries. She drank Amstell and I drank Malbec.

 

Brief Encounter

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. THOSE IN GROUPS ACCESS GALLERIES THAT MAY BE VIEWED FULL SIZE.

On a gloriously sunny morning that would have graced any day in Spring, Jackie drove me, via a network of of narrow, populated roads like

Platoff Road

Platoff Road

Normandy Lane

and Normandy Lane, to a footpath leading to Keyhaven and Lymington Nature Reserve.

Canada geese

As I used my long lens to bring the masts of Lymington Marina into this shot of Canada geese congregating in a field, beside which Jackie parked the car, little did I realise I would make closer acquaintance with the boatyard before my trek was over.

As I walked along the path I noticed first a woman walking along what I soon realised was a brick path around the bird sanctuary;

Cyclist silhouette

then a cyclist approaching from the opposite direction.

Walker and cyclist silhouette

Did they, I wondered, pass the time of day as they passed each other on their brief encounter.

A five-barred gate gave onto a sloping track that led to a large rectangular route around the water lands, around which others rambled.

Walker and gorse

This perambulator had obviously dressed to blend in with the gorse.

Waterfowl basked in their sanctuary.

Heron and mallards 1

I rely on my ornithologist friends to correct me if necessary, but I think this is a stationary heron being passed by paddling mallards;

whereas this is an egret admiring its reflection.

Ducks and pigeon

A slender pigeon-like like bird didn’t manage to merge into varieties of duck that I would need some help to identify.

Gulls undertook daredevil low-flying manoeuvres, running barbed wire gauntlets.

Brent geese preferred the high skies,

Approaching Lymington Marina

especially on the approach to Lymington Marina.

Woman on bench

The woman in the foreground of this picture, after I enjoyed a chat with her, had taken a rest on one of the suitably placed observation benches, but it didn’t take her long to overtake me again.

Bird watchers

Bird watchers availed themselves of another seat.

Lymington Marina from Nature reserve 1

About halfway round the rectangle, I realised that I had a choice between walking on to the marina to find my way back to the car from there, and retracing my steps. I’m not one for taking the latter option, but this has, on occasion, presented problems. I stopped  group of people and asked if I could return to Normandy Lane from there. I was told I could, and how to do it, with the observation that I couldn’t get lost. “Don’t you believe it,” I replied. “I can get lost anywhere”.

Ferry boat

The Wight Link ferry boat soon sailed past the marina.

Ducks in flight

Ducks took to the wing;

Dog walker and runner

a jogger and a dog walker took no advantage of their brief encounter;

Boats

and I found myself in the marina,

where boat maintenance was being undertaken.

Kettle

A kettle was on hand;

Hull for repair

parts of hulls had been marked out for attention;

Devil on hull

and a devilish Chad peeped out.

As I left the marina and approached a path that would lead me to Normandy Lane, I met the group who had directed me earlier. “You are still on track” was the cheery greeting. I hadn’t the heart to let them know that I had been somewhat delayed by taking an incorrect, muddy, track.

Jackie was waiting for me, some two hours after my departure. A little more than intended.

This evening we dined on second helpings of yesterday’s curries, with which I consumed Chapel Vineyard cabernet sauvignon 2015.

Little And Large

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. THOSE IN GROUPS ACCESS GALLERIES THAT CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE.

After lunch Jackie drove me on a short forest trip, after which we shopped at Lidl for basics such as toilet rolls.

Ferry

An Isle of Wight ferry boat passed the mudbank at Tanners Lane, where

the tide was so far out that the little boat that usually bobs on the water was beached.

I watched a lithe, pure white, egret stretch, then curl, its elegant neck; stab the shallow water; stretch again, shake its undulating throttle, spraying liquid; stride along the bank; and do it all again. Thus it enjoyed a late lunch.

Seaweed on breakwater

Seaweed on the wooden breakwaters indicated sea levels at high tide,

whilst two friendly women walked their Rescue lurcher who ‘has bits in him’. They were not sure of his full provenance.

Ponies 1

Keeping the grass verges at Sowley well cropped were the usual group of ponies

including Little and Large performing their routine double act.

This evening we dined on a takeaway curry from The Raj in Old Milton. We shared onion bahji starters. My main meal was prawn naga and special fried rice. Becky and I finished the Cabalié. The other didn’t drink, and I haven’t registered what they ate.

On The Road To Bridgetown

Ladybird

Ladybird in window box

I very rarely stage a photograph, so I probably wouldn’t have thought of Jackie’s ladybird shots this morning. She spotted a somewhat sleepy ladybird – not literally of course, because this one already wore its spots – on a rounded pebble in a colourless corner. Thinking it needed something red to set it off, she picked up the pebble perch and plonked it among primulas in the window box on the front wall. The obliging insect stayed put.

We then filled two more canvas bags with hedge clippings and took them to the dump. Our spoils included two large pots and three folding wooden chairs.

Through the medium of donations of plants, seeds, gardening book and tools, the forthcoming First Gallery exhibition intends to raise funds for Southampton public libraries. Jackie will be donating some of the many seedlings that crop up in our paths and elsewhere in the garden. One of these is the geranium palmatum, a splendidly shrub-like perennial.

Geranium palmatum

I made some small prints with which to enable buyers to know what they were purchasing.

Path - dead end

This image of The Dead End Path shows the scale of the plants.

This afternoon I scanned another dozen colour negatives taken on my walk along the road to Bridgetown, Barbados, in March 2004.

Bougainvillea 1

Bougainvillea 2Bougainvillea 3

Most gardens contained a brightly coloured, prolific, bougainvillea, which also adorned the roadside.

Taxi in road

Taxis were really people carriers who happily held the centre of the road as they careered along,

Woman boarding bus

occasionally stopping to pick up passengers at bus stops. Were they actually a variety of bus, I wondered?

Egret

An elegant egret, craning its neck in the undergrowth,

Plane BWIA

seemed oblivious of the BWIA passenger plane flying overhead.

Like the shady tree in the bus stop picture above

Flower unknown 1Flower unknown 2Flower unknown 3Flower unknown 4

I could not identify many other blooming flowers.

This evening we dined on succulent chicken Kiev, creamy mashed potato, green beans, and ratatouille; followed by chocolate sponge pudding and cream. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank reserve des Tuguets madiran, 2012