The Dying Of The Light

Increasingly sunburned clouds sped across the dawn skies over Christchurch Road this morning

as Jackie drove me to Lymington Hospital for my flexible endoscopy. It was just my luck that this procedure was carried out by a beautiful, slender, Italian doctor.

There is no apparent damage. I delivered a report to my GP in Milford on Sea, and the urologist has undertaken to write to my knee surgeon with recommendations for the next replacement operation.

Elizabeth completed her move into her new home today.

This morning’s procedure rather knocked me out for much of the day, so I had to defer a planned trial of my new lens in good light. At the last possible moment Jackie and I sped off to Mudeford to try out the 600mm monster.

There wasn’t much of a sunset itself,

but, at the dying of the light, I had fun seated on a bench watching geese skeins, sometimes keeping to the familiar V formation;

sometimes unravelling, as they left our shores;

and, coming in to land, gulls gathering together, purposefully preening.

This evening Jackie and I dined on her delectable chilli con carne and delicious savoury rice. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank Alzar Malbec 2017.

 

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.

Pink Seas

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Yesterday I finished reading ‘An Orderly Man’, the third volume of Dirk Bogarde’s autobiography. Incidentally, Elizabeth informs me that these first editions fetch up to £150 each on various internet sites.

This volume deals with the author’s work with various international directors and his blossoming as a writer.

Elizabeth and Jacqueline left after lunch to collect Mum from hospital and settle her in at home. Jacqueline is to stay overnight with her.

Meanwhile, Jackie and I went for a drive.

 

We stopped at Sandy Down to admire the splendid autumn reds and golds.

The silhouetted confetti descending from the skies was revealed to be rapidly falling leaves.

 St Andrew’s Church at Tiptoe, still ensures that we will not forget those who died fighting for our future in the First World War.

Some time ago, Jackie had stumbled upon Tutton’s Well at Sanpit whilst surfing the net for something else. She drove me there as a surprise. The tablet photograph tells the story of this historic phenomenon. It seems too much of a coincidence that a nearby village is called Purewell, but I cannot trace a connection.

We then visited Mudeford Quay and Harbour where a perching gull secured an excellent viewpoint from which to observe boisterous waves buffeting bobbing buoys.

Other gulls flanked skeins of geese honking overhead

Moody skies permitted the sun an occasional appearance.

Shortly after sundown pink seas reflected rosy clouds above.

Elizabeth arrived home soon after we did. She brought positive news about Mum’s immediate comfortable return to her familiar surroundings.

This evening we dine on Jackie’s excellent beef pie with deliciously meaty gravy; new potatoes; crisp cauliflower, carrots and tender green beans. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden while Elizabeth and I drank Chateau Pinenc Minervois 2017.

 

 

Road Rage

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Forlorn pasty-faced skies wept for most of the day. After an early lunch Jackie and I drove to Southampton General Hospital to visit Mum. The good news is that she was looking much better and is to move tomorrow to a Rehabilitation Centre at Romsey. We will see what they can do to get her on her feet again. She has already been transferred to a less intense ward ‘for older people’. Joseph and Angela were with our mother when we arrived. They left soon afterwards, but I don’t think it was any thing personal.

Avoiding Millbrook roundabout which we knew to be closed from our direction, Jackie managed to negotiate the terrible Hampshire roads to bring us to the barrier of the one car park in the hospital that had some spaces. Peering through the rainswept windscreen we waited our turn for the barrier to rise for our admittance.

Having driven around for a while inside in search of one of the vacancies, we waded over the uneven paving that is de rigueur for any modern public development. We were directed to Mum’s new ward, which was helpful.

When paying for parking on departure, we considered that one out of three properly working machines was perhaps fortunate.

People, such as taxi drivers, not wishing to park, but delivering patients as near as possible to the front door, do rather tend to cause something of a blockage in visitors’ escape route.

In the direction of our return home, the Millbrook Roundabout was actually open, but we were advised to expect delays. Listening to the thud/squeak rhythm of the windscreen wipers; avoiding being mesmerised by the brake lights we were following; ignoring the temptations of fish and chips; and finding some amusement in ‘Elves Behavin (sic) Badly’ we settled down for the long haul along the A33. In one of those brilliant planning touches we find on Hampshire’s roads more roadworks came into focus further along the way. We were now reduced to one lane, the queue being supplemented by vehicles filtering in from the left.

Jackie took the first opportunity to strike out across the forest by turning into Deerleap Lane. Within very few minutes we were once again breathing fresh air on familiar winding lanes where the only road rage experienced was the alarm sounded by what must surely have been Roman geese guarding a soggy farmyard.

It being our first second wedding anniversary we dined at Fleur de Lys in Pilley. We both enjoyed truffles and celeriac soup with scrumptious fresh crispy bread. Jackie went on to mushroom risotto, while I enjoyed a succulent steak, French fries, and green beans. Mrs Knight drank Blue Moon and I drank an excellent Merlot.

 

I Taut I Taw A Puddy Tat

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Early this morning, Ross visited briefly to help Richard move the furniture back to the far end of the kitchen. Richard then set about building the bespoke cabinets and work surfaces. These had all been designed and cut to size in the craftman’s workshop. Clamps were applied to the sections; screws selected from the relevant boxes; the drill and spirit level employed;

 

and further refining cuts made with the chop saw, equipped with its own laser beam.

Ham, egg, and chips; macaroni cheese, salad, and garlic bread.

At lunchtime we left Richard to his work and visited Otter Nurseries café for lunch. My choice was ham, egg, and chips; Jackie’s was macaroni cheese, salad, and garlic bread.

Staplewood Lane

We then took a trip through the forest. At Staplewood Lane

 

we experienced what must have been rerun of a 1950s cartoon. A paddle of ducks swam in a full ditch.

 

 

A scout, leading them across the road to Little Staplewood Farm, spotted a black and white cat advancing from a distance, and alerted its discombobulated followers

 

to turn back to the safety of the water, and cross the road when the coast was clear.

 

Sylvester, however, had sneaked into the farmyard and hidden under a Range Rover. He was not unnoticed by the guinea fowl, the geese, and other ducks who set up a vociferous alarm. One of the geese, in particular, was bent on saving Rome.

 

Towards the end of the day, before Richard carried out his customary spotless clean and tidying, he paused with a coffee and discussed with Jackie this week’s progress and plans for the next. She looks quite pleased.

This evening we dined on tasty fresh chicken and egg salad. I also enjoyed an excellent ham and cheese sandwich.

 

Early Films

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Yesterday was Matthew’s birthday, and he, Tess, and Poppy will be flying to New Zealand on Christmas Day. That is why Jackie drove us to Upper Dicker and back. I just had time yesterday to publish a taster in the form of a picture of the sunset from one of the flat windows.

Train crossing

Although Berwick is a very small station with few trains passing through, we always seem to have to wait at the level crossing just a few miles from our destination. This time was no exception. We sat patiently behind this young man as the transport trundled past. We were caught again on the way back home.

 

The Birthday Boy and his family were pleasantly surprised. After Becky and Ian joined us, Matthew opened his birthday presents and we all unwrapped our Christmas gifts from each other.

 

Several people noticed a deep pink sunset, so I nipped into a bedroom and poked my camera through a window.

Later, Tess ordered the delivery of a truly excellent Indian takeaway meal. We shared plentiful pilau rice, onion bhajis, vegetable samosas, and naans. My main choice was lamb naga, and Mat gave me the whole green chillis from his jalfrezi. Peroni and a good Chateauneuf du Pape were imbibed. Poppy chose orange juice.

As always, we turned to reminiscing. Knowing that Shane is my all time favourite film, Mat told me he had just seen this masterpiece from the 1950s and agreed that it was an excellent production.. Our son had not known why I had enjoyed it so much, so I enlightened him. He then told us of his earliest remembered film,

and why it was also a favourite. This was because I had collected him from school and taken him to see it. The singer on this clip is the late great Roger Miller.

Coincidentally, one of my favourite songs is by this performer.

Becky’s early memory was the 1975 Disney film ‘One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing’. I don’t appear to have had an input to this. It was, however, very topical, because Poppy really likes dinosaurs and we had given her a toy one which she had immediately identified as a triceratops, which was more than I could have done.

This afternoon I enjoyed studying the Victoria & Albert Museum’s 2016 production of The Twelve Days of Christmas, beautifully illustrated by Liz Catchpole, who has incorporated William Morris’s designs. This was one of the presents given to me by Mat and Tess.

Here I feature the decorated front board and two of the spread sheets of the text.

For our dinner this evening, Jackie produced succulent pork chops topped with sage and onion stuffing, pork sausages, new potatoes, firm Brussels sprouts, and crisp carrots, with meaty gravy. I drank Somontano Pyrene 2011.

 

The Action Came To Me

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Moat

Jackie and I left Hurst Castle yesterday as we entered, crossing the bridge over the moat. What was once a deep defensive dug-out water-filled trench, now just collects a little precipitation when it rains.

Waiting for the ferry 1

We joined the crowds waiting for the ferry.

Waiting for the ferry 2

The small fleet of pleasure boats plied their way between Keyhaven and the castle. Even as one hove into view there was little movement among the visitors. Each boat only catered for twelve people, so those who were able might as well lounge around on the grass

Ferry arriving

until this arrival

Embarkation

had decanted its load and taken on fresh supplies.

Yachts on land 1 Yachts on land 2 Yachts on land 3

We gained a place on the next one and were soon back at Keyhaven.

Boats in harbour

On board the ferry Jackie had learned the story of the wrecked boat that I have featured in several previous posts. It is seen here with a severe list. The owner of the vessel has apparently died. Before his demise he had sold the mooring to someone at Mudeford. The purchaser has done nothing with it.

This afternoon we drove to Lepe to meet Elizabeth, Danni, and Andy. My sister is embarking on a documentary photographic series on ‘coast’ for her camera club. I had suggested Lepe.

Foal on road

On a wide junction with the Exbury Road outside Beaulieu, a young pony seemed confused. It stood in the centre, not knowing which way to turn, until Jackie stopped for it.

Gull

It had been agreed that we would make our ways to the car park and find each other. A friendly gull guided us to what seemed to be the only available space. Jackie waited in the car.

Beach scene with yachts 1

As I walked along the shingle there was much activity down by the shore at this low tide. Groups gathered in the shallows and yachts were much in evidence.

Beach scene with louring clouds

A louring sky did, however, send some off to the café.

Kite surfing 1

Kite surfers were undeterred.

Andy, Danni and Elizabeth

My extended family members, Andy, Danni, and Elizabeth, were to be found on the shingle at the far end of the car park.

Gull against louring sky

I had decided that, in walking back to inform Jackie, I would amble down to the shore, where the action was. A gull’s presence against the cloud curtain suggested rain was not far away.

People returning from shore 1People returning from shore 2

Indeed, it wasn’t, so, swathed in towels, the action came to me;

Searching the shallows

some pausing to inspect the shallows.

Along with the entire population of the beach, we entered the café, fought for chairs, and drank our choice of hot or cold liquids.

Digging for bait and walking on spit 1

When the sun returned we walked down to the crumbling cliffs for Elizabeth to conduct her recce. There a couple of groups dug for lug worms to use as fishing bait,

Walking on spit and digging for bait 1Walking on spit and digging for bait 2

while others walked along the exposed sand spit.

Kite surfing 2Kite surfing 3

Kite surfers has continued undisturbed.

Geese 1Geese 2Geese 3Geese 4Geese and surf kite

A skein of geese flapped silently by above the scene.

Yachts in sunshine against dark clouds

The darkening sky had shifted enough for a pair of passing yachts to catch the sunlight.

Packing up the kite 1Packing up the kite 2

Soon it was time to pack up the surf kites

Packing up the kite 3

and carry them to the transport.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s splendid sausage casserole, boiled potatoes, carrots, and cauliflower with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Bardalino.