Alfresco Dining

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There are still plenty enough crab apples on our trees to attract blackbirds daily. This morning I watched them eating. They are quite territorial over their meal table, tending to deter unwelcome guests. They prefer to approach the fruit on the higher branches. If they do not drop them onto the plants below, they are capable of swallowing them in one go.

Later this afternoon, diverting to observe the beach huts burnished by sunset over Friars Cliff, we drove to Curry’s/PC World at Christchurch for some Christmas shopping.

This evening we dined at Lal Quilla in Lymington. My choice was Purple Tiger (tiger prawns and aubergine) and Jackie chose Harayali chicken (not sure if I’ve spelled it correctly, but it is spinach based). We shared mushroom rice, tarka dal, and a paratha; and both drank Kingfisher.

Brunch

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Late this bright, sunny, and chilly, morning, Becky and Ian, Jackie and I, motored to Steamer Point for brunch in The Friars Cliff Cafe.

Blue sky and cotton clouds reflected their hues in ocean stripes against the backcloth of the Isle of Wight and The Needles, as walkers strode out along the steps of Friars Cliff beach.

Woman on bench

People basked in the sunshine, which was surprisingly warm;

enough for the cafe tables on the promenade to be well patronised.

Smaller beings slalomed their way among feet and shadows.

Becky led Scooby down to look at the water, but his attention became diverted by an elegant, waving, tail.

Even when seated at the outside tables many people discarded their coats, like a couple of boys who hung theirs on their scooters, equally superfluous to requirements on the shingle.

Group on beach

The group in the background of the picture containing the mobile phone user was just one of many at the water’s edge.

This evening the four of us dined on Jackie’s luscious sausage casserole, mashed potato and swede; crunchy carrots and Brussels sprouts; followed by the most appetising pumpkin pie I have ever tasted. The Culinary Queen attributes the success to an extra egg, evaporated milk, nutmeg, and cinnamon. She and Becky finished the sauvignon blanc, Ian chose Peroni, and I drank El Pinsapo gran seleccion rioja, 2011.

Frolicking On The Beach

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Sweet peas

There are many long-stayers in the garden this year.  One of the most amazing is the sweet pea.

This morning Jackie drove us to Steamer Point and back.

Boy sculpture on wall

On a wall outside one of the houses near the cliff, a lad perches to get a good view of

img_0583

Friars Cliff Beach.

Breakwater

Believe it or not, this sparkling waterfront is out of season,

Dog on beach

so dogs are now welcome to frolic in the sand and roam off the lead.

Spray on breakwater

Waves throwing up spray buffeted the breakwaters

 supported by strong beams bound by weathered bolts.

Also frolicking on the beach was a family group,

Friars Cliff Cafe and beach huts

who later joined the throngs in the Friars Cliff Cafe

big breakfast

where I consumed The Big Breakfast, not quite as daunting as the Olympics one, and Jackie settled for the more standard Friars Breakfast.

Later this afternoon we visited Mum in West End.

We took the route through Beaulieu where the now grown cygnets were being taken for a walk amidst ducks and jackdaws by their parents.

Donkeys on road

The donkeys in the background gave the birds a wide berth as they set off on their customary traffic disruption exercise.

We spent a couple of hours with Mum during which Jackie cooked her dinner. Elizabeth and Jacqueline joined us and Jackie and my two sisters left Mum to rest while we drove to Jewels Indian restaurant and enjoyed a convivial meal with much reminiscence. The food and service were excellent. My choice was king prawn pathia and pilau rice with which I drank Cobra. We shared a naan.

On The Beach (1)

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Today was largely overcast with the occasional glimpse of the sun. Jackie drove us to Mudeford and back.

Couple on beach

We began with Avon Beach , which this couple walked along.

Friar's Cliff Beach

Maybe they reached as far as Friar’s Cliff Beach to the left.

Spray

Spray 1

Spray and seaweed

The spray from the waves whooshing onto the shore reflected the red-brown tints of the seaweed they brought with them.

Wave, gull, seaweed 1Gulls, seaweed, spray

Gulls picked their way among the vegetation and the myriads of flies rising from it.

Wave, Gull, Dog, seaweed

Dogs periodically dashed after the birds.

Dog, gull, seaweed

They would probably be astounded if they ever caught one.

Gull surfingGull surfing 2

Bobbing up and down amidst the choppy surface, the gulls showed how surfing should be done.

Gulls surfing

Especially the synchronised version.

Family on stone breakwater

A family stepped out on a stone breakwater,

Lifeguard hut and photographer

then one member photographed the others as I focussed on the Lifeguards Hut.

Sunlight strip

Periodically the sunlight slashed the horizon,

Skyscape

or pierced the clouds with gentler Jesus beams.

We moved on to Mudeford Quay, where the above photograph was taken.

Motor dinghy 1Motor dinghy 2Motorised dinghy 3Motorised dinghy 4

A series of motor dinghies braved the choppy waters.

Boats, buoys, waves

They battled through conflicting currents before turning to starboard and slaloming a series of buoys on their way to the open sea.

Lifeguards hut

We think this is another Lifeguards Hut on a spit opposite the quay.

This evening we dined at Royal China in Lymington, where we enjoyed the usual excellent food and friendly service. We both drank Tsingtao beer.

‘What Is Your Tactic?’

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As stated yesterday, Jackie drove us late in the afternoon to Steamer Point Nature Reserve where she parked the car and we walked down to Friar’s Cliff beach.

Here is the origin of the name of this area:

The Steamer sign

From the Nature Reserve, we could see

Steamer Point beach

Highcliffe to our left,

Couple on beachIsle of White, The Neeles, and lighthouse

The Isle of Wight and The Needles straight ahead,

Friar's Cliff Beach

and Friar’s Cliff Beach to the right.

Woman and two dogs

WhippetWoman and dogs on beach 1

A number of people were exercising their dogs on the sands

Woman and dogs on beach 2

and in the water.

Women, boys, and dog on beachBoys and dog on beachPewople and dogs on beach, Isle of Wight, The Needles

Two boys joined in.

No dogs on the beach

It was not until I had moved along towards Friar’s Cliff Beach that I saw this notice.

The Beach Hut cafe

It was just as well that I photographed the beach yesterday, because steady rain set in for the day as we entered The Beach Hut Café.

The reason we were here was that Jackie, drinking coffee here yesterday whilst I was photographing, had noticed Olympics breakfast on the menu. This was apparently something of a challenge, and came with a ‘no sharing’ rule. We decided I would try it for brunch. Our initial disappointment at its no longer being on offer was dismissed when we explained that we had only come for this treat and we were told that, in that case, they would produce one. This, of course, meant that I was really on my mettle. No way could I fall down on the challenge. Even though I did not know what this meal would contain. Jackie opted for the Big Breakfast which was, in itself, quite a challenge, but

Olympics breakfast

nothing like this, which was placed in front of me with a certain amount of glee.

I had barely begun when Danny emerged from the kitchen and asked me ‘What is your tactic?’ Seeing that I clearly didn’t have one, our young friend, who had managed the feat on one occasion himself, suggested making sandwiches with the toast. As there were three fried eggs and six half rounds of toast, that is what I did.

In fact, I found myself imagining that I was in a generous Indian restaurant and reaching the painful stage when it was only my determination not to leave anything that kept me going. This helped, as did the periodic visits of the catering staff who informed me that I was ‘the best yet’, when I still had some way to go. Perhaps being a former marathon man trained to run through the pain barrier was of equal assistance.

Olympic breakfast nearly there

When I was on the final lap, Jackie demanded the camera,

Olympic breakfast last mouthful

and stayed poised for the last mouthful,

Olypic breakfast all done

and the empty plate.

I swear My Grandfather’s Shirt was not so tight before I sat down.

Should anyone feel inclined to enquire about my evening meal, I would simply refer them to my brunch.