Chances Of Making It Through Christmas

This Wednesday weather was warm, wet, yet unwilling to welcome the slightest sign of sunshine.

Jackie and I visited Lyndurst for a little Christmas shopping then enjoyed

brunch at Lyndhurst Tea Rooms, after which we took a trip by car into the dripping forest.

A clutch of chickens at East Boldre

gave the cold shoulder to

a pair of geese who were no doubt discussing their chances of making it through Christmas.

Peering through the misty precipitation from the end of Tanner’s Lane I presumed that EU regulations have not  restricted the activities of the sole fishing boat trawling  The Solent at that point.

On such a day as this, loggers burning branches at Norley Wood surely had no need of the flames to keep them warm.

A string of ponies blocking the road at Pilley conveniently stepped aside, just giving me time to bring up the tail.

We retuned home via Burnt House Lane, where there was no flame in sight.

Tomorrow morning, Elizabeth will be driving Mum to a respite care home in Netley. In readiness for this, friends Pauline and Jo sent Elizabeth this photograph, attached to a text with the caption

Cheering up your Mum.

On the wall to the far right of this picture is a charcoal portrait of Elizabeth watching our first television that I made about 60 years ago.

This evening we dined on smoked haddock; creamy mashed potatoes; piquant cauliflower cheese; moist ratatouille; crisp carrots; and tender runner beans. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and Elizabeth and I drank Western Cape Malbec 2018.

The Watchers Watched

Path to orange shedIncluding strimming the grass, Jackie continued with general gardening this morning whilst I scanned the last ten of the photographs for Norman’s book, retouched the images, and made a dozen prints. The quality of these large-format negatives dating back to 1957 is very good.

One could hardly call the creative task Jackie finished this evening ‘general gardening’. She completed a completely new path to the orange shed, obviating the need to deviate through the kitchen garden arch.

This afternoon and evening I burnt more of the heap of cuttings. Having aimed to complete the task, I had to concede defeat.

Fires have a profound fascination for most people. This is why it is a shame that city living in particular militates against the open hearths of my childhood. Watching flames and seeing pictures in them was almost better than the television that, in modern homes, has taken the place of the grate as a focal point.

A bonfire holds a similar amount of interest as the flames lick, the smoke curls, the foliage sizzles, and the branches snap and fall, changing the framework of the image in a flash.Bonfire smoke striated My evening bonfire’s thin clouds of smoke were striated by the rays of the lowering sun.

Fire 3.68As we experienced during our Ockley holiday in March 1968, what really draws the crowds is an unexpected fire that spells potential disaster for someone. While we were exploring the deserted house featured on the 18th of this month, we noticed crowds gathering around what looked like a rather attractive house on fire. Naturally, there was a certain amount of disappointment when the conflagration was discovered to be a burning shed. Nevertheless, I was there with my camera. After taking a few shots I returned to the upper floor of the empty property, where I could discreetly watch the watchers. Spectators at fireJackie and other fire spectators 3.68Jackie stands a little aside from the others, bounded by an attractive window frame. The fire brigade eventually arrived and the spectators were able to watch them smartly move into action and dowse the flames.

Our dinner this evening was Jackie’s spicy chilli con carne (recipe) with wild rice, followed by gooseberry and apple crumble with custard in my case, and cream in hers. We both drank lambrusco Emilia reservato 2012.