The Head Of The Queue

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This afternoon Jackie and I transported to Oakhaven Hospice Charity Shop in New Milton several boxes of kitchen equipment rendered surplus to our requirements after the installation of the new kitchen. We then ordered a quotation for recovering our Chesterfield sofa from Jem Fabrics.

A drive to Hatchet Pond was next.

Swans and cygnet

I have noticed that when families are cycling in the area it is always the youngest member who speeds on ahead. So it is with cygnets. Here, under a sky the colours and texture of a soiled lawyer’s wig, one of this year’s offspring led its parents along the surface of the lake.

Cygnet flappingCygnet flapping

On shore, it flexed its muscles

Cygnet and gulls

and told the gulls where to go.

Coot

Coot

A coot paddling among the surf,

Mallards

 

and several mallards stepping out on the bank made up the avian population.

Fishing at Hatchet PondFishing at Hatchet Pond

Angling families tried their luck.

Pony

A wandering pony searched for fresh grass,

DonkeyDonkey

while a patient donkey, at the head of the queue,

Donkey and ice cream vendorDonkey and ice cream vendor

waited for its friend, the kindly vendor, viewed in his wing mirror,

Donkey and ice cream vendor

to hand over the last of his own ice cream.

This evening we enjoyed second helpings of Mr Chan’s Chinese Take Away fare. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and Elizabeth and I drank Calvet’s Cahors Malbec 2016.

Someone Is Going To Regret It

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In the late morning of this very hot Summer’s day, Jackie drove me to Mudeford Quay. This was the first occasion since my surgery on which I squeezed myself into the car without having been forced to do so by a medical appointment. My Chauffeuse Extraordinaire drove very slowly around the quay and the harbour, stopping on occasion for me to photograph a subject through the passenger seat window.

Boats and buoys, Isle of Wight

Departing boats and stationary buoys shimmered on the waves as we arrived;

Man watching sea and shading eyes

one gentleman shaded his eyes as, perched on his bag, he watched the activity.

Fishing was undertaken from the quay and from the spit opposite.

Boats and swans

Leaving the quay, we cruised along the harbour where swans paddled past moored boats

Swans, sailboarder, black-headed gull

and a skimming sailboarder.

Black-headed gulls

Squawking black-headed gulls strutted about

Dinghies parked

beside the dinghy park;

Sailboarder

and the sailboarder came into clearer view.

A little dog trotting beside its master paused and urged its mistress to keep up.

I wondered whether two women on a bench were aware that another pair was about to pass in front of them.

We diverted to Avon Beach where I disembarked and leant against the sea wall watching a small boy smoothing a log on the sand. He, and a couple in chairs nearer the shore were oblivious of each other.

Already, well before noon, the beach was filling up with sun-seekers settling into chairs or lying on the sand with varying degrees of protection. Some would undoubtedly regret the exposure tomorrow.

Man, boy, and crossword solver

While one gentleman and a boy engaged in bucket and spade activity, another grappled with a crossword.

This evening we dined on pepperoni pizza and plentiful salad.

Boating and Fishing

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On another low key day Jackie drove me to Lymington to collect my laptop, the battery of which had needed replacing.

Later I scanned the last of the colour negatives of the French holiday taken towards the end of 1985.

Matthew,Sam and Louisa 1985 1

In the evenings Matthew, Sam, and Louisa liked to sit and contemplate the pool;

Jessica 1985

Jessica kept an eye on proceedings.

MatthewandSam 1985 1

One day Matthew, starting with Sam, took family members in different combinations on a paddle boat trip on a local lake.

Matthew, Sam and Louisa 3

Louisa joined in, as did Becky, whose trailing arm is visible here;

Louisa, Becky, Jessica, Sam, and Matthew 1985 res. 2400Matthew, Sam, Jessica and Becky1985

and, later, Jessica.

Matthew 1985 res 1200

Back at the gite Matthew, with an improvised rod and line, went fishing,

Becky and Sam 1985Sam 1 res 1200Sam 2 res 1200

and introduce Sam to the pastime. The little chap made his own rod.

Sam and Louisa 1985 1

Before bed, Sam and Louisa made an exciting den with kitchen furniture. The scabby knees still look impressive.

This evening Jackie produced an excellent meal of Chicken fillets marinaded in sweet chilli and mango, on a bed on vegetable rice. The vegetable included onion, mushrooms, peas, beans, sweet corn, and carrots. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Barbera d’Asti.

Despite repeated attempts, intermittent loss of connection has made it impossible to load most of today’s pictures. I am giving up and going to bed, hoping that there will be some improvement in the morning.

October 8th. All pictures are now inserted

The Drift

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The Boat House Café

On another beautiful late summer sunny day we brunched at The Boat House Café in Lymington. I chose the Full English Breakfast with tea, while Jackie selected a baked potato generously filled with prawns, accompanied by a cappuccino . The food was good, and the drinks enormous, but further visits would be happier when not on a scorching hot day in the height of the holiday season.

Lymington Quay 1

This was the view outside the eating house. Henrietta can be seen at her strawberry stall.

Strawberries and shoe 1

On the wall against which her sign is propped, can be seen a child’s shoe and a small punnet of the fruit. I asked this lovely lady what was the story behind this display. She explained that she was trying to draw attention to the lost item of footwear. She had originally placed a strawberry inside the shoe. Never one to pass up a photo opportunity, I asked her to do it again.

Strawberry in shoe 1Strawberry in shoe 2

She obliged. I was not surprised that someone has loved her enough to adorn her wedding finger.

Lymington Quay 2

The quayside was very well populated; people were occupied

Lymington Quay 3Harbour master crewBoats

boating,

Lymington Quay 4Fishing 1Fishing 2Fishing 3

crabbing,

Feeding ducks

feeding the ducks,

Couple on quayside

or just sitting.

Jackie drove right past our house afterwards and headed off to the forest in search of ponies. As far as the eye could see the sun-blest, purple heather-carpeted moorland between Sway and Brockenhurst was devoid of ponies. We wondered why. It was then that my driver saw the road signs such as: Pony Round-up sign

Maybe we were going to be in luck after all. But which way? We did an about turn and turned left in the direction of Brockenhurst. In the distance a line of parked vehicles came into view. We headed for them. Eventually we came to a track under a railway bridge from which a rather frantic neighing emanated. Jackie parked on the gravelled path and I walked in the direction of the sounds. Having moved under the bridge I came upon the round-up, known as The Drift.

Pony round-up 1Pony Round-up 19

This was an area penned off with very stout poles. An increasingly active and vociferous mass of equine flesh and hides was contained within its confines. Spectators of all ages lined the structure, leaning or sitting on the struts.

Pony Round-up 9

Pony Round-up 8

Seeing the handlers in the pen surrounded by heavy, heaving, horseflesh, hooves thudding on the impacted soil, I wasn’t surprised to read signs saying that anyone attending The Drift did so at their own risk. When I was absorbed in taking the last photograph above, I almost backed into a pony that had been freed.

Brands in fire

A tap on my shoulder alerted me to the fact that if I stepped backwards I would encounter a hot branding iron hanging from the tree behind me. I had noticed a fire, and walked close to the heat of it, but I had not examined it closely enough to notice that it was heating an array of such implements.

These creatures were being given an annual health check. They were rounded up; had their condition inspected; branded; and given a tail trim. Any that had problems were returned to their owners on whom it was incumbent to resolve any problems before letting them back into the forest. Those to be branded with their owners’ initials were either new to the forest, or had been born since the last annual event. I have mentioned before that the animals’ tails are cut in a particular way specific to the area in which they roam. This is the reason for the trim.

Pony Round-up 13

The gentleman in this picture was one of those tasked with trimming and branding inside a smaller enclosure into which the ponies were led in manageable groups. Managing involved prodding with a stick, slapping on the rear, and only occasionally shouting. The horses made far more noise than their carers. Interestingly, those animals which had been in the forest for several years, and therefore knew the ropes, were far less alarmed than the younger ones.

Ponies on road

They also knew that, branded, brushed, and treated to a new collar they would, like those in this shot, be set free to worry the traffic and set off under the railway bridge to Brockenhurst for a good feed.

Pony Round-up 11

Pony Round-up 12

Once a few had been cajoled into the the treatment pen, a little space opened up in the main enclosure,

Pony Round-up 3

Pony Round-up 7

until newcomers filled it.

Pony Round-up 14Pony Round-up 15Pony Round-up 16

Occasionally the seething masses would divide enough for

Pony Round-up 2Pony Round-up 4

human handlers,

Pony Round-up 5Pony Round-up 10Pony Round-up 17

and equine captives to steal the show.

The gentleman in the purple T-shirt on the left of the first picture in this series was my informant today. Further information can be obtained from this excellent website: http://www.newforest-life.com/New-Forest-Drift.html

This evening we dined on pork spare ribs in barbecue sauce with Jackie’s savoury rice and green beans, followed by Bakewell plaits and custard. I finished the syrah.

Kingston Connections

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Given to me by Barrie earlier in the year, Neil Grant’s book ‘Village London Past & Present’, which I just finished reading, was a perfect adjunct to David Lawrence’s ‘Bright Open Spaces’.

The author’s style is both informative and entertaining, and the book is lavishly illustrated with photographs from the past and what was, to Mr Grant when published, the present. Much is made of the pace of change at a time when the Millennium Dome and the London Eye were both buildings of the future. Indeed, when studying photographs labelled ‘today’ in 1991, I found myself asking questions. Even my own ‘Streets of London’ series begun in 2004 is now history.

100 years ago, the metropolis was indeed a series of villages, and residences of, say Wimbledon or Dulwich cling to that term today. It is hard to believe that the un-idyllic Camberwell once harboured an eponymous beauty in the form of a butterfly.

Having lived and worked in various of London’s villages for most of my life, I am familiar with most of the book’s coverage. I have chosen just one area of the capital to illustrate this post and outline my connections.

Let me begin with 1966, the year when, as an Assistant Child Care Officer, I entered Social Work. My post ‘An Attachment To The Gates’ tells of what I did to the gates of Kingston’s Guildhall. For a good laugh, it is to be highly recommended.

Kingston Market

An important town in the Middle Ages, Kingston has probably the oldest continuing market in the country. It was in August 1972 that Jackie and her friend Linda set up a stall in this market, displaying their own hand-crafted goods. I encouraged my work colleagues to admire the contents.

Anglers at Kingston

Sometime later in the 1970s, Matthew was seriously into fishing. It is perhaps possible that it was somewhere near this bank of the Thames, seen in about 1890, that I accompanied him on such an outing. I was somewhat relieved that we didn’t catch anything.

Kingston was also where we carried out most of our mudlarking.

Today’s heavy rain had desisted by mid-afternoon revealing

Weigela and allium

a humble white allium paying obeisance to a weigela;

rose Jacqueline du Pre

bejewelled Jacqueline du Pre;

rose Absolutely Fabulous

sparkling Absolutely Fabulous;

Fungus on dead tree root

fungus breaking out on the dead tree root;

Dianthus Sweet William

the dianthus Sweet William;

clematis Doctor Ruppel

and clematis Doctor Ruppel.

Cow parsley

Anyone having read last year’s posts may be aware of a slight difference of opinion between The Head Gardener and her serf about the wisdom of welcoming cow parsley into our garden. This year Jackie has reinforcements. Apparently these plants are now in fashion. Naturally I now offer not even token resistance.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s choice chicken jafrezi, mushroom rice, and parathas. She drank Hoegaarden, and I drank Llidl’s Bordeaux superieur 2011.

 

The Carpet

Tesco Clubcards

Jackie has been having difficulty obtaining a correct Tesco Clubcard. Twice she has clearly spelt out KNIGHT on the telephone. She has received two cards now, the second one, this morning,  having at least an N where an M was originally given. She has another phone call to make.

Having seen a sign indicating a path to the beach on my last walk through Shorefield Country Park, I walked that way again this bright, windswept, morning, turning right at Dane Road.Clifftop with Isle of Wight and The Needles I was at the cliff top, from which I could see the Isle of Wight and The Needles, in half an hour.Sunrise Bushcraft sign

Shorefield has a Sunrise Bushcraft education project, the hoarding for which I passed on my way.Fishing on the beachMan and boyFisherman

Taking a walk along the shingle, I conversed with a couple of intrepid fishermen who needed to keep a low profile from the gusts coming of the choppy sea.Group with blue balloonTwo women  with blue balloons- Version 2RooksMatthew in garage library

The usual groups of adults and children enjoyed themselves at the water’s edge. One child lost a balloon which rapidly disappeared back up and over the cliff.

I took a shorter route back home, through the rookery, where vociferous and voracious chicks now kept two parents busy, and magpies were, in no uncertain terms, informed that their presence was not required.

Our son Matthew, and his wife Tess, brought us lunch and stayed for the afternoon. Mat, a true professional spent a couple of hours laying a carpet, which Michael had given us, in the garage library, which is now a garage/library/laundry room. This was a magnificent effort involving moving heavy boxes of books backwards and forwards across the room as the floor covering, including underlay, was unravelled. I wasn’t much help.

The carpet had been sent down from Graham Road with our furniture by Michael. It was a well-nigh perfect fit.

Yesterday’s second application of Bullitt to the shower plug hole had proved no more successful than the first. Not content with his work in the library, Mat then took a flexible rod to the shower, and, we think, cleared it.

Finally, a very full day was rounded off by a visit from sisters Jacqueline and Elizabeth who arrived in time to chat for a while with Mat and Tess, who then went on to visit Becky, Flo, and Ian.

The rest of us dined at The Royal Oak, where we enjoyed our usual warm welcome and attentive service.