Picking Up The Autobiography

Yesterday evening, through the window beside my desk, Jackie photographed glistening pearls strung out by a furry spider.

For reasons which will become particularly apparent from my post “The Foam Rubber Mattress”, patient readers who may have notice an hiatus in the drafting of my autobiography, may be pleased to know that I picked it up again this afternoon. Hoping to have lifted my block I have taken material from that post and from “Chocolate Surprise Pudding”

Jackie carried out more planting, ably hindered by Nugget.

This afternoon we experienced more showers than sunshine as we drove to The Wheel Inn to book a table for lunch to celebrate Mum’s 97th birthday tomorrow.

The rain really set in as we continued into the forest, but desisted just as we had decided to return home. We stayed on at Brockenhurst where

pair of donkeys trotted alongside the school buses transporting youngsters home from Brockenhurst College

and idled past our windscreen.

Ponies

and cattle happily grazed among huge oaks just outside the village.

Pied wagtails are to ponies as robins are to gardeners. We watched one nipping around nearby hooves and muzzles.

Back at home, Jackie took her camera into the garden.

She is particularly pleased with this clematis, shrivelled and wizened when we arrived here five years ago.

 

Another great survivor is the Phoenix grass we tried to kill, now rising triumphantly from Elizabeth’s Bed.

The Dragon Bed, seen from the Gazebo, was a jungle five years ago.

Sculptural grasses come into their own at this time of the year. These are in the Palm Bed.

The helianthuses Lemon Queen sit before a curtain of Virginia creeper.

She cannot remember the name of this gorgeous fuchsia.

Other favourites are osteospermum;

the waving verbena bonariensis

and the peripatetic cosmoses mingling with them.

This evening we dined on roast chicken with sage and onion stuffing; roast potatoes, including sweet ones; crisp Yorkshire pudding; crunchy carrots and cauliflower with which I drank Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2018.

Beach Photography

Yesterday our blogging friend Jill Weatherholt posted about EtchASketch. She asked what toys from our childhoods gave us nostalgic memories. Responding to my comment she prompted me to feature the birthday present I gave Jackie on 1st June this year. She happened to mention her father’s Christmas Santa gifts which were designed

something like this kaleidoscope. Twisting the lens would produce different rose windows viewed from the opposite end of the telescopic device. I, too, cherished childhood memories of such objects. This prompted me, with help from Elizabeth, to research the internet for a genuine antique, as opposed to retro, example.

By turning the tiny handle the lucky children of 1870 were able to produce their own variations.

My short walk on this hot and humid afternoon was

along the clifftop at Barton on Sea, where it looks very much as if there has been more soil erosion since I last tramped there. This pair of readers kept a sensible distance.

Another couple carried their dripping ice creams

to the nearest bench where

taking a large bite was in order.

A number of people brought their own seats. Perhaps the lone woman’s companion had gone in search of ice creams,

perhaps from Marshfield Farm on sale at the Beachcomber café. Someone has lost their bobble hat; the child through the fence has retained his cap.

As always, a number of mobile phones were being put to use.

Mallow and grasses border the footpath;

Photographers shared a crow’s eye view of the Isle of Wight.

Various groups gathered on the beach or in the water; paddling, building sand castles, launching balls for dogs, carrying equipment, or swimming.

Others indulged in photoshoots.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy and aromatic chicken jalfrezi; her turmeric pilau rice, fresh onion salad; and paratha from the little shop in New Milton. The Culinary Queen drank Blue Moon, while I drank more of the New Zealand Merlot.

A Rorschach Test

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Our trip to the forest was somewhat delayed this afternoon;

our passage from our front drive was blocked by the rear section of a container lorry.

Close inspection revealed that this vehicle’s path was blocked by what appeared to be an injured cyclist being supported on the road.

In each direction along Christchurch Road traffic was being turned away by police. I ensured my photographs were anonymous, and thought it would seem unseemly to ask what had happened. Given that the invalid was talking and it was an hour and a half before an ambulance arrived, I can only assume that this was not the direst of emergencies.

Jackie and I were eventually able to depart as  police officer, who informed us that the man  now being helped into the ambulance had “taken a tumble off his bike”, raised the barrier for Jackie to drive on in the direction of Lymington. On the outskirts of that town another screaming ambulance, blue lights flashing, heralded one more lengthy tailback necessitating us and many others turning back the way we had come. We took the road down to the harbour.  Eventually we reached Undershore and escaped to comparatively quiet Pilley.

Near Norley Wood the usual variety of miniature ponies grazed in the light of the late afternoon sun.

Against the backdrop of Beaulieu Abbey and its grounds, a solitary cygnet was surrounded by energetic mallards competing for food in the lake’s shallows. The deeper water was frequented by gliding gulls and sedately sailing swans.

Later we enjoyed a blazing sunset over Hatchet Pond. One gentleman photographing an expectant swan and her cygnet had first lured them with enticing comestibles. As he departed, his models floated off to present their own Rorschach tests.

On our return home we joined Elizabeth in the Royal Oak where we dined. After a pint of Razor Back, with the meal I drank a glass of Merlot. The ladies drank Amstell. My meal was a mixed grill; Elizabeth chose venison sausages, mashed potatoes and perfect vegetables; Jackie savoured gammon steak, chips and salad. The food was as good as ever under the current management.

Pannage Piglet Paddle

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On a day balmy enough for pink roses, honeysuckle, and solanum to be blooming on the trellis in the front garden, and whatever this flower is in the West Bed (see rusty duck’s identification below),

it seemed rather incongruous to take a trip to MacPenny’s Nursery in Bransgore in search of Autumn colour, but we were not disappointed. The bush rose bringing up the rear of this set of photographs sits in the small garden of Robin’s Nest, the nursery’s cafe, where Jackie enjoyed a scone and a coffee while I went for a wobble in the main garden. I think it rather unkind of her to describe my current gait as such.

There is still a month of the pannage period to go. A motley collection of piglets snuffled their way around the verges of Burley in their frantic search for acorns. One actually sneezed. It wasn’t the black one going for a paddle.

This evening, together with Bill, Jackie and I are dining at Shelly and Ron’s. Should there be anything of moment to report I will do so tomorrow.

The Watch House

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This morning we took a drive out to Lepe, during a brief window of sunshine in a gradually gloomier day.

Jackie dropped me off at the Watch House, from which I walked to the car park, alongside which, in the café, she was enjoying a coffee.

Watch House reflected

Perched on a rocky spit, the occupants of this house, reflected in the water, must have enjoyed an excellent view when on the lookout for smugglers.

Gate to Watch House 1

Grasses by sea

A set of steep stone steps leads down from the road

Lepe seafront with walkers 1

alongside the seafront,

on the other side of which stand the coastguard cottages, still undergoing refurbishment.

A number of pairs walked along the sea wall.

Dark Water Stream

The Dark Water stream flows under the road.

Gulls perched on the wooden breakwaters.

Piles

The sea has sculpted some of the piles into abstract forms.

Various vessels sped past the Isle of Wight.

Yacht, walkers, dog

Providing a backcloth to a dog straining to reach a gull, one yacht sailed into the harbour,

Yacht

and back out to sea.

Turnstones

Turnstones tried their luck on the shingle,

Dog chasing gulls

where a spritely little dog dashed about in vain attempts to catch gulls.

Turnstone

The only bird, another turnstone, that it could have caught hopped around at a safe distance in the car park, on one foot. It clearly found enough food.

Seafront with car park

Alongside the car park,

Man in heavy vehicle

in the cab of a heavy vehicle, sat a worker wielding a pen. Was he, like Jackie, working his way through a puzzle book?

From Lepe, Jackie drove us to Molly’s Den in New Milton where we bought a birthday present and my debit card was blocked. Fortunately I had enough cash to pay for the item. When we got home a phone call to the bank sorted out the problem. I really can’t be bothered to go into what they had done and the hoops I had to go through to put it right.

Elizabeth, Danni and Andy joined us this evening and we all drove to Lal Quilla in Lymington for the usual excellent meal with really friendly service. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and Andy drank diet Coke. The rest of us shared two bottles of the house merlot. After that, if you expect me to detail the meals other than my own king prawn Ceylon and mushroom rice you will be disappointed.

Park Life Part 2

Ceramic pigeons

On the decking an unusual new pair of pigeons glistened in this morning’s drizzle,

Grasses

which bejewelled ornamental grasses alongside the Phantom Path.

Rose Just Joey

Heavier rain had spattered rose Just Joey with up-tossed soil.

Tom Jones’s parents had featured in the last of yesterday’s scans of Park Life prints from 20th July 1996. Now a teacher himself, he co-starred in the next scene:Park Life 20.7.96018Park Life 20.7.96019

Park Life 20.7.96021Park Life 20.7.96022

Even lollies didn’t detract from audience rapture,

Park Life 20.7.96023

although Jessica, in the centre background, had spotted something to divert her attention,

Park Life 20.7.96025

which she then conveyed to Jane Keeler.

Park Life 20.7.96027

Care was on hand to administer a puffer to a young lady who had perhaps become overexcited.

Park Life 20.7.96020Park Life 20.7.96028Park Life 20.7.96029Park Life 20.7.96030Park Life 20.7.96031Park Life 20.7.96032Park Life 20.7.96033Park Life 20.7.96034Park Life 20.7.96026Park Life 20.7.96035Park Life 20.7.96036Park Life 20.7.96037Park Life 20.7.96038Barry, of New Forest Chimney Sweep and Repairs, visited on time, to sweep the chimney and check on its condition. It will come as no surprise to anyone who has read about the general maintenance of Old Post House under the previous ownership, that the sweep extracted 65 litres of soot, and pronounced a relining, although not essential, to be advisable. He would be unable to do that until the Spring. He left our sitting room spotless.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s classic chicken jalfrezi, pilau rice, and vegetable samosas, followed by mango Soleros. I drank Kumala reserve shiraz 2013. Jackie and Ian chose Kingfisher, and Becky a Grenache rose 2014.

40+ MPH

Candlestick

Unless I am seeking good light for photography, I am fairly impervious to the weather. Not so the head gardener. Jackie is usually very even tempered. Except when we have a heavy wind (or another driver is ‘up [her] bottom’ on the road). Then she wanders around the house muttering imprecations, before dashing out into the garden bringing her own whirlwind to lay down anything that the weather hasn’t yet dislodged, and picking up hanging baskets that have succumbed. The tall ecclesiastical candlesticks used as planters are particularly vulnerable.SkylineBeech and birch branches 1Beech and birch branches 2Windswept shrubberyWindswept birchWindswept grassWindblown bird feeders

Today’s gusts ran at 40+ MPH.

We needed to buy some more bird food. Now that the crows have found it, replenishment is required more often. The small birds who made it to the swinging containers this morning were disappointed as must have been Eric and the larger pigeons as they scrabbled around underneath for droppings.

When Jackie bought the feed this morning, and loads for us and our Easter guests, her full trolley was blown across the car park as she began to decant the contents into the car. A kind young gentleman wheeled it back to her.

Later, the sun emerged and the wind speed increased. The blue tits and other small birds were happy to perch on their now filled swinging feeders, and a young dove felt safe enough to leave its rooftop camouflage to feast on suet balls.Grass and ivy on chimney potblue tit on swinging feederDoveDove and suet balls
Lal Quilla meal

This evening we enjoyed the usual excellent meal at Lal Quilla in Lymington. They were quite full, which is probably why we didn’t have the usual chat with the chef. We both had well filled, juicy,  prawn puri starters with fresh salad, drank draught Kingfisher, and shared a perfect parata. My main course was delicious king prawn naga with special fried rice; Jackie’s was excellent chicken biriani.