Dead Flies And Sherry Trifle

Geoff Le Pard, who entertains us so hugely with stories on his TanGental blog, would have us believe that he was once a lawyer. This cannot be true. No teenager could have had such a past profession. And Geoff is surely in his teens. Who else could so convincingly represent the mind of a nineteen-yer-old, as he does in ‘Dead Flies and Sherry Trifle’, which I finished reading yesterday?

Dead Flies...026We know that this writer is a master of dialogue, which he uses to great effect in this tale of intrigue, crooked dealings, bullying, and burgeoning sexual angst. It is funny too. I won’t reveal the story, but every time I read the name of the character ‘Nigel Sodding Parsons’ – almost always ‘Nigel Sodding…….’, I heard the voice of the hapless Harold Spittle, and could hardly stifle a giggle. Doesn’t that strike a chord with anyone who has experienced the pungent wit of adolescent relationships?

The setting is on the fringes of The New Forest, where Geoff grew up, and where I now live. The story, with its focus on interplay between the characters, and its rising tensions, could take place anywhere. The period, for those of us who lived through the UK’s scorching summer of 1976, is well described; the heat of the sun synchronising so well with that of Harry’s hormones.

Nice one, Geoff.


Today, the amaryllis that Frances gave us for Christmas produced its final bloom;


whilst our crocuses are reaching their peak.


Helen brought her grandson, Billy, for a visit this afternoon. I made a print for him to take home to Stephanie and John, his Mum and Dad.

Shelley joined us later on.

After our guests had retuned to their homes, Jackie drove me,

Lymington River 1Lymington River 2

via the Lymington River mirror,

Hatchet Pond 1Hatchet Pond 2Hatchet Pond sunset 2Hatchet Pond sunset 3Hatchet Pond sunset 4Hatchet Pond sunset 5Hatchet Pond sunset 6

 to catch the sunset reflected on Hatchet Pond,

Sunset on heathland

and the flooded heath near Beaulieu.

This evening we dined on Thai prawn fishcakes followed by smoked haddock and Davidstowe cheddar cheese fishcakes, with ratatouille, carrots, green beans, and mashed potato. We both drank Louis de Camponac sauvignon blanc 2014.

A Family Outing And A Disappearing Act

Continuing our post-Christmas sort out, I came across a Fortnum and Mason picnic hamper from a previous Wolf and Luci Christmas present. This now contains various items of photographic interest, including some early negatives and slides.

I scanned four black and white negatives from a family trip to Richmond Park in 1962. Three of these have been published before, but scanned from rather faded prints because I had not found the negatives. Despite the fact that a considerable amount of retouching was required, I have now been able to offer more clarity. The wallet in which they were contained was labelled, telling me that I had taken these shots with my old Box Brownie camera. The format of these  images is square.

Mum, Joseph, Maureen, Auntie Jean & Vivien, Uncle Derrick, 1962

Given that I found them in a hamper, it is fortuitous that the first picture is of a picnic (complete with hamper) taken in Richmond Park. My two year old brother Joseph is here stuffing a titbit into his younger cousin Maureen’s willing mouth. Continuing clockwise around the image we have my Auntie Jean, Vivien, unfortunately chomping, Mum, and Uncle Derrick. My sister Elizabeth is largely obscured by my first wife.

Joseph and Maureen 1962 001Joseph and Maureen 1962 2

Joe gave Maureen a piggy back,

Dad and Joseph 1962

and had something to say to Dad.

I have learned through overlaps with my blogging friend Geoff Le Pard, how small a world we inhabit. Geoff grew up not far from where we now live in Hampshire, and he now lives near my childhood home in London. We have often jogged each other’s memories. In a recent post of his, he wrote of the gardening he did in his teens for Mr and Mrs Gosling who lived in a house, which he thought was called ‘Silver Thatch’ on the corner of Vaggs Lane and Silver Street, and wondered whether one day I might photograph the house.

Jackie drove me there today to investigate. Unfortunately we couldn’t find such a house.

April CottageApril Cottage and Spar garage

The only thatch on that particular spot, now featuring a mini roundabout, is actually behind the petrol station and Spar shop on the corner of Silver Street and Everton Road. It is called ‘April Cottage’. Jackie parked in Everton Road whilst I took the above two photos

VaggsLane/Silver Street corner

then walked across to photograph the Vaggs Lane corner as it is today.

I am afraid the Goslings’ house has probably disappeared. Just as Jackie had done when I walked back over to where I had left her. The Modus was nowhere to be seen. Had she done a runner?

As I stood there scratching my head she sped down Vaggs Lane from the other end, round the roundabout, and into the garage forecourt. I entered the vehicle. ‘Where were you? Didn’t you see me parked beside you?’ she asked me most calmly, and with not the slightest inkling of a screech.

Well, no. Why would I? I was concentrating on what I was doing.

My driver had considerately followed me over to the opposite corner, not seen me cross back to Everton Road and had torn up Vaggs Lane in search of me. So, what was she doing? Perhaps whoever spirited away ‘Silver Thatch’, had been having a laugh.

Gammon Steaks meal

This evening we enjoyed the second of our Hello Fresh meals. This was excellent Honey Mustard Gammon Steaks with Parsley Sauce, with which I drank equally good Solliard bordeaux 2014 given to me by Shelley and Ron; and Jackie drank Hoegaarden.