Bembridge

Jackie rose early this morning and sat in a chair on the patio with a cup of instant coffee.

In an instant Nugget was on a paving stone peering hopefully up at the rim of the cup.

Now, “Where’s Nugget?” (16).

Today’s weather was blustery and damp. The Test Match was delayed until after lunch. I spent the afternoon listening to the BBC Sport broadcast and scanning the first batch of a set of prints from negatives I have lost from a holiday with friends in August 2000. This was at the home of Sarah and Howard at Bembridge. Although we live so near the Isle of Wight this was the last time I visited it.

Jessica and Heidi towed Emily and Oliver in our dinghy;

Howard wandered

along the shore

and helped Jessica into their small yacht,

while Michael took over dinghy duties.

The skies had brightened a bit by the end of the afternoon when we visited Otter Nurseries to buy two more bags of compost and somehow came away with four more phlox plants and another bag of tulip bulbs. We continued on for a short forest drive.

Many of the verges, like these along Sandy Down, are already carpeted with cyclamen.

This gnarled fungus has more right to be there than

this shiny drink can.

Moody skies glowered over Sway Tower.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy chicken jalfrezi and boiled rice, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank El Zumbido Garnacha Syrah 2017.

Commandeering Cattle Go Unchallenged

Who cares whether we have followed the meteorologists into autumn or await the equinox on 21st of this month? This morning was bright, sunny, and warm. We took an early trip into the forest where I walked for half an hour along the Rhinefield Ornamental Drive.

There was still enough water to carry reflections in the now very shallow stream that is spanned by Rhinefield Road.

Shadows dappled the forest floor strewn with pine cones and gnarled roots of the giant Douglas firs morphed into stumbling stones along the footpath;

and leaving imprints on the trunks.

Bracken, mossy stumps, fallen trees, and fungus abound. Notice how the spears of grass pierce these Danish pastry lookalikes.

So silent was the air that voices of walkers on the other side of the road could be heard.

Most schoolchildren have now returned home, leaving the forest to me; to the above mentioned walkers; to couples with or without dogs; and of course,

to the returning ponies.

Highland cattle have now commandeered the almost dried-up paddling pond at Whitemoor. Here ponies adopt sensible discretion and leave the big horned beasties unchallenged.

Later I was due to have Peter cut my hair. I wondered whether my barber would fancy having a go at these creatures, flies and all.

Before keeping my appointment I printed this picture Jackie had taken on 19th July when I had my last one, and presented it to Peter.

When we arrived there was another Derrick sitting waiting. Apparently he and I sound the same on the phone. This gentleman’s appointment had been an hour earlier than mine anyway. To settle the confusion I stepped aside and rebooked for a couple of hours later. Jackie had visited the charity shop seeking another choice of teapot home for Nugget. I joined her there and explained what had happened. The shop volunteer joined in the conversation with the observation “what if you had been waiting for results and they had been given to him?”. “I only want him to cut my hair”, said I. The woman had, of course, thought we were talking about a medical appointment. And here was I thinking I look quite healthy now.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s sumptuous sausages in red wine; new potatoes sliced and roasted in their skins; crunchy carrots; and tender cabbage and runner beans from the garden. She drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Malbec.

Flounces

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We are experiencing a little colder spell at the moment, and, this morning drove out to the forest in bright, crisp, sunshine

Woodland

At the top of Mead End Road, on the outskirts of Sway, lies Boundary car park, leading to a wooded area

Ponies in landscape

overlooking moorland on which, today I spotted just two distant ponies – a grey and a chestnut.

Reflections in pool

Flecks of ice still lay on the reflecting surfaces of recent pools

and crusted the muddy paths trodden by the horses

on their way down the slopes.

Horse riders

One pair of riders chose to keep their mounts on the road.

The lengthy log stacks, with the application of saw cuts, splits, lichen, fungi, moss, ivy, and painted lettering, contain much abstract potential.

Tree stump

This two-faced stump looks both jubilant and resigned at having evaded the final felling.

Reflections in pool 1

Reflections in waterlogged terrain, such as this at Wootton enhance much of the forest floor.

At this point an extended area sported the silvered flounces of a can-can skirt.

This evening we came back for a second sitting of Jackie’s splendid pasta arrabbiata with which I drank Reserve des Tuguets Madiran 2014.

 

 

A Menacing Hoodie

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This morning I made a birthday card for Orlaith, using this photograph taken by Holly a few days after her daughter’s birth.

Holmsley Passage 1

Jackie drove me to New Milton to post it this afternoon, and on afterwards for a forest trip via Holmsley Passage.

Pony in landscape

Beside the passage this pony

Pony stamping bracken 1

caught my attention

Pony stamping bracken 2

as it appeared

Pony stamping bracken 3

to be scratching

Pony stamping bracken 4

the bracken. Actually it was stamping it down so it could get at the grass. Too much bracken is harmful to horses.

Birch trees

Birch trees

Landscape with trees 1

stood out on the moorland,

Holly berries

and holly berries brightened the woodland opposite.

Holmsley Passage 2

As we continued along the road,

Mobile phone mast disguised as a tree 1

we noticed a strange tree in the distance.

Mobile phone mast disguised as a tree 2

This was the Burley mobile telephone mast in disguise.

Milestone

At the end of the Passage, according to this milestone just one mile from Burley,

Pool in landscape 1Pool in landscape 2

we turned off right along a cul -de-sac on which we discovered a pool

Reflections in pool 2Reflections in pool 1Reflections in pool 3Tree and reflection

reflecting

Trees and leaves on groundShadows on autumn leaves 1

the surrounding trees.

Fungi

Fungi sprang from fallen logs;

Branch against pool

a dead branch dangled.

Poolside possible Drift site

An enclosure beyond the far side looked rather like a Drift pen.

Trees and bracken 2Trees and bracken 1

The road led to the enticing woodland

Landscape Clay Hill

and undulating landscape of Clay Hill.

Woodsmoke over Bashley

The mist rising above Bashley on our return had a distinct aroma of woodsmoke.

Cloudscape

We diverted to Keyhaven where the clouds looming overhead

Clouds reflected in pool

were reflected in the waterlogged tarmac,

Figure on Hurst Spit

and a menacing hoodie lurked on Hurst Spit.

This evening we dined at Mansoori Heights, a recently opened Indian restaurant in Milford on Sea. It was very good. Jackie’s main meal was paneer shashlick; mine was prawn vindaloo; we shared a starter platter, egg rice, and a methi paratha, and both drank Kingfisher.

 

 

 

Feeding The Birds

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Mat arrived with Poppy this morning. Our granddaughter was walking about and talking scribble. She was straight into toys.

She likes playing with the mice;

but was soon absorbed with the seal box and its fish contents, making lots of cooing noises.

Halloween Table

Stopping for beverages at Beaulieu Farm Shop, where there was an Halloween table on display

Gulls

we took a packed lunch to Hatchet Pond so Poppy could see the gulls,

which Jackie began to feed with the stock of seed that Matthew had supplied.

It wasn’t long before the hopeful donkeys came over for what they saw as their share. They were even more interested when our lunch appeared. Matthew  correctly observed that that was why we were discouraged from feeding the asses..

Poppy wandered around clutching her food, which, naturally, was liberally smeared around her mouth.

Mushroom

A rather large fungus mushroomed through the turf.

Matthew feeding swan

Matthew used an interesting method of feeding the swans;

then took his daughter to look at the water.

He and Jackie then began a swinging game which had to be constantly repeated.

Thinking Poppy might like the tyre swing on Tanners Lane beach, we made that the next visit. She wasn’t happy with this swing, which was a little too advanced for her, but she was quite content to wobble about the shingle.

Yachts across Tanners Lane beach

Across The Solent we could see a string of yachts passing the Isle of Wight.

After our offspring had returned home, Jackie and I dined on her perfect pork paprika with wild rice, followed by chocolate eclairs. She drank Hoegaarden and I finished the shiraz.

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.

 

Bricks In The Hopper

Hellebore, snowdrops, ferns, heuchera

As our garden awakens, hellebores, snowdrops, ferns, and heucheras stretch their limbs and jostle for position.

Hellebore

Some hellebores, petals perhaps frost-bitten, raise their heads,

Jackdaws

possibly having been alarmed by our jackdaws jousting over the rooftop chimneys,

Fungus on maple

What was once a maple on the grass had been cut back by our predecessors. Although we have some new shoots the stump now bears some fascinating fungus. We hope that is not a sign of the tree’s imminent demise.

HopperDuring the recent heavy rain, a hopper at the front of the house overflowed. Today I decided to investigate the blockage. The device contained a couple of pieces of brick that seemed to serve no purpose except partially to block the down pipe. I removed these items and Jackie filled a bath upstairs and let it flow into the pipe. All seemed to be running smoothly. Unfortunately Jackie had lifted the manhole cover to the septic tank.

This system, for homes not on national mains drainage, operates via sections of piping across the garden. There are three such covers. When we had our houseful at Christmas, we had experienced some overload in the waste pipes, creating an unsavoury heap in this first access point. Buckets of water, we thought, had solved the problem.

238490DF00000578-0-image-8_1417020292158

The residue in that pit, now solidified, resembled sand formations in the Arizona Desert,

which is why, having broken it up with a metal post, kicked up a stink, and begun to apply further buckets of water filled by Jackie,

Drainage access

I decided it was more sensitive to refrain from photographing the site until it was cleared. It had been necessary to pour the water down at speed, which incurred a certain amount of splash-back, best nimbly avoided.

The bucket drill was applied to each of the other access points, in order to ensure that the coagulated substance had been coaxed along the pipes. If that hasn’t cured the problem we will call in the experts.

This evening we dined once more on Jackie’s superb, well-matured, liver and bacon dish, served with mashed potato and swede, carrots and green beans. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank Louis Virion Costieres de Nimes 2014.

After dinner, I watched the highlights of England’s earlier rugby match against Italy.