The Mist Did Not Desist

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Fire

This morning, the temperature having dropped ten degrees, we lit the fire.

Smoke from chimney

Barry the sweep has said he will expect to see smoke from the chimney when he drives by. Set against a misty, overcast, sky, he will perhaps have difficulty seeing this today. Our mix of coal and logs produced a really powerful heat.

I bought the cast iron coal scuttle in a Newark antiques centre almost thirty years ago. I used it in my study to keep coal. I have been unable to verify the dealer’s implausible and certainly impractical claim that it was an antique Belgian commode. Jackie will now have to find something else in which to store her potatoes.

By mid-afternoon when we drove out to Mudeford, the mist had persisted.

We diverted to Highcliffe Castle en route, for some atmospheric shots.

Although visibility was greater in Mudeford harbour, boats and houses looked rather gloomy,

as did beach huts

and associated buildings.

Buoys rested on slate.

Highcliffe Sailing Club and the masts of its yachts were somewhat obscured.

Dripping gulls looked somewhat under the weather.

Fishing paraphernalia displayed muted colour,

Group on quay

as did a group of hardy visitors. The mist did not desist.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s excellent chicken jalfrezi and mushroom rice with onion bahjis. I drank Château Plessis grand vin de Bordeaux 2014.

We are now about to watch the Six Nations rugby match at Cardiff between Wales and Ireland to be televised by BBC.

Rasputin

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Shed by trees and strewn around the garden’s beds and paths, last winter’s twigs would have filled a mattress.

Twigs

Those I gathered this afternoon certainly occupied the best part of one of our orange bags of ‘green’ refuse destined for the recycling centre.

Father Christmas was generous with hose this year. Even so, my sock drawer gradually became surprisingly full to overflowing. Jackie’s, however, was rapidly emptying. Eventually she realised that I had been mistaking hers for mine.

Jackie's socks and hearth

I really have no claim on these.

Also shown here are the cast iron fireplace and the wooden surround still awaiting final fixing. The copper fender was a present from our son and daughter, so must be accommodated. The blue tiles were already in situ. Whilst the laminate flooring is quite good quality, if you like that sort of thing, it has been appallingly fitted and we really would like to see the back of it. That, of course, would require lifting it to reveal what we hope will be the original floorboards. With any luck these will not have been butchered. Fingers crossed.

Readers will remember that, hands flattened on our kitchen window, bewhiskered nose twitching, an amiable rat peered longingly at our Christmas dinner. Some time after that Jackie discovered holes in the birdseed on the utility room shelf; later still, she heard rustling. It was time to put down bait. On a daily basis, the poisoned seed was disturbed in the morning. Either our visitor deserved the name Rasputin allocated to him, or his whole family had followed, or come to look for him when he didn’t return.

Rat bait

We were rather sad when, today, we discovered an undisturbed pile of bait.

This evening we dined on starters of prawn toasts and spring rolls from Tesco; Jackie’s sublime egg fried rice; and Lidl’s tender oriental pork. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank San Adres Chilean merlot.

Father And Son

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Today work began on our fireplace. First Baz and Owen inspected the prospective purchase at Gordleton Barn, pronounced it suitable, and set about making ready for it.

This is the doubtful D.I.Y. effort that started the day in our living room.

Barry and Owen Chislett-Bruce are New Forest Chimney Sweeping & Repairs. This father and son team are personable, thorough, efficient, and work quickly, cleanly, and tidily.

Here they are at work removing the orange shelf and the bodged tiling.

They were pleased not to have damaged any of the tiles, which Owen stacked up neatly.

They then carried out the task of clearing the raised rock-hard concrete from the open space,

hoovering as they went along.

Baz and Owen contemplating fireplace 1

Baz and Owen then collected the Victorian replacement from the barn, and contemplated it for a while.

Baz and Owen contemplating fireplace 2

This involved Baz sticking his head up the chimney.

There were several possible options for ensuring a tight fit, the preferred one being removing a row of the original hearth floor tiles, and removing more of the concrete. This required considerable effort.

Fireplace 3

The cast iron tiled fireplace was firmly fixed, ready for the next stage.

A final vacuuming was carried out,

Fireplace 4

and this is how they left us until further elements are obtained and fitted.

Observant readers will have noticed that the men, while working their socks off, do so in their socks. This, the groundsheets, the hoovering,

Rubble bags

and bagging up the rubble as they go along, demonstrates their careful attention to the homes in which they work.

Whilst at the barn, I took a few more pictures of the interior.

It is now soon after 3.00 p.m. We will be driving over to Elizabeth’s for the three of us to attend Margery’s exhibition at Southampton Art Gallery, after which we will have a meal together. I will then have no time (or energy) to post this, so I will do so know and report the evening tomorrow.

From Dawn To Dusk

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The pale pastel pink and blue skies that Dawn ushered in this morning  showed a certain amount of promise. But she was only kidding. Within half an hour or so, she slid a slate canopy over our heads, and steady rain set in.

Fireplace

We paid a visit to Gordleton Barn where we found a new idea for our fireplace. we will ask Baz to vet it tomorrow.

Obviously I made a few more photographs of the artefacts on display.

Lichen over Avon stream

A tributary of the River Avon runs under Silver Street, the home of the barn.

Mill Race

On one side of the winding road lies Gordleton Mill, the race of which speedily rushed along.

On the other, a couple of woolly sheep snuffled among the sodden leaves.

By late afternoon, the canopy had, albeit temporarily, been retracted, enabling a fine sunset,

Isle of Wight 2

tingeing houses on the Isle of Wight, to put in an appearance over Milton on Sea.

A small group enjoyed the shoreline,

Silhouetted couple at sunset

others preferred the clifftop.

It is not unusual for Jackie to spot a potential view and sit in the car willing me to turn and see it. This was the case with this boat on the horizon. She yelled at me from her Modus. Naturally, I grabbed the opportunity. Neither of us realised that the vessel was visible approaching the sunbeams in my earlier shots.

For our dinner this evening, Jackie supplemented a second sitting of yesterday’s Chinese takeaway with shredded duck, cucumber, spring onions, and pancakes, with which I drank more of the Chilean Shiraz first opened a couple of days ago.

The Village That Died For D-Day

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Space for greenhouse

This morning, Aaron and Sean cleared space for the anticipated greenhouse. Holly and Bay trees were cut back and Jackie’s old work corner dismantled.

Jackie contemplating space for greenhouse

The sun danced over Jackie’s head as she contemplated the opening.

This afternoon Jackie drove us to Tyneham in Dorset and back.

Now uninhabited for the last 73 years, Tyneham was a thriving village from a previous age, until the villagers were ordered to leave their homes as part of the war effort in 1943. They were never allowed back. Today the remnants of this community were swarming with visitors.

Tyneham Century of Change

The story of its century of change is fixed to a wall near the telephone box. All will become clear when this photograph is enlarged.

Tyneham Village 1

The Tyneham Phone Box story

The replaced telephone box bears it own story,

Post Office

as does the shell of the Post Office.

Tyneham Village 3

Most of the buildings are now ruined husks

Fireplace

revealing such as fireplaces,

Window frames

Through a window

and vacant windows fitted with stout wooden supports.

Tyneham Village 2

Exceptions are the school and the church. Jackie waits for me in the shadows outside

Schoolroom 1

the schoolroom where there is a permanent exhibition. Here are the children’s desks.

Teacher's desk 1Teacher's desk 2

The teacher’s faces down the classroom. Note the cane.

Sovereigns on wall

Queen Victoria and King George V hang on the wall.

School photo 1912

The school photograph from 1912 features, third from right on the front row, Fred Knight.

Coat hangers 1Coat hook names 2

We met a man who had worked with this former pupil some twenty years ago. Apparently, after Fred’s wife died, he often returned to the village to sit and think. In the second of these rows of coat hooks, young Frederick’s coat hanger is clearly labelled.

Churchyard from schoolroom

Did this lad and his classmates gaze through the schoolroom window and contemplate where they may be laid to rest one day? If so, this was not to be.

Grant grave

One gentleman who had grown up in Tyneham did come back to be buried there in 2010, to be joined by his wife five years later.

Hillside beyond church

Man and dog outside church

Beyond the churchyard, as from anywhere else in the village, can be seen the Purbeck Hills.

Welcome to Tyneham Church

The Century of Change board pictured above tells us that it is Evelyn Bond who pinned the notice to the church door on the day the village died.

Piscina 2

Priests first washed their hands in the piscina behind the font more than 700 years ago.

Dog tethered

With their own little dog straining at the leash, a couple ascended the slope beyond this tethered collie

Silhouettes

which was unperturbed as they loomed into silhouette.

Military Firing Range

Beyond the Military Firing Range on Povington Hill

Povington Hill view 1Povington Hill view 2Povington Hill view 3Povington Hillk view 4

we can see how close the sea is to the low-lying village. If you examine these pictures carefully, you should be able to distinguish between hay bales and sheep in the fields.

As we approached Wareham on our return journey it became apparent that  the road home was very busy. There was therefore only one course of action.

Rajpoot and King's Arms

We turned off into this very attractive town and sought out The Rajpoot Indian restaurant. It was not yet open, so we dropped intoThe King’s Arms next door for drinks. The restaurant itself was first class. I enjoyed king prawn naga, as Jackie did her chicken shashlick. We shared the chef’s secret spice rice, an egg paratha, and an onion bahji. We drank small bottles of Kingfisher.

 

The Ship Inn

Today was warm and wet; for most of the time the leaden, overcast, weather didn’t even have the decency to be dramatic. Leaving Becky and Ian at Downton, Jackie drove us to The Ship Inn at Upavon where we met sister-in-law Frances, niece Fiona, her husband Paul, and great nephew, James, for lunch.

Upavon is fifty miles into Wiltshire, and is so named because it is further up the River Avon than Netheravon, through which we drove on the way.

As we settled into the pub, the wind did gust enough to threaten to tear the alfresco Christmas tree from its moorings.

Ship model

That may be why the superb model sailing ship inside the dining room appeared to be ‘tempest-toss’. On the other hand it could be that I had to tilt the camera to get the whole vessel in the frame, without it being obscured by the table and chairs.

Fireplace

One of the attractions of our old hostelries is the open log fire. This one is not original to the building, but either a reclaimed Victorian example, or a comparatively modern original. The same may be said of the horse brasses hanging on either side. We suspect that the carpet is classic pub seventies fare. This particular grate would originally have been intended for coal.

Log pile

The logs are piled up in a niche in the wall.

Frances, Fiona, Paul, and JamesFrances, Fiona and James

James is in the foreground of these two photographs featuring his parents and grandmother. In eating his food, he follows a time-honoured tradition of leaving the best till last. Chips first; then fish fingers; followed by peas. A somewhat surprising order for a little chap.

James Arondelle

He was given a real digital camera for Christmas, and is enjoying following in his father’s footsteps. Paul is an excellent photographer.

My meal consisted of a succulent rib-eye steak cooked to perfection, excellent chips, and a superb salad; followed by gingerbread pudding and custard laced with brandy. My drink was Wadworth’s 6X. The service was very good, and very friendly without being intrusive.

The rain was heavy on our way home, and, later this evening, fried egg on toast was just the job.