A B & B With Resident Sleepers

When I walked over the Braemore bridge a couple of days ago, I was aware that Jackie wanted to photograph Queen Anne’s Lace against the sky.

I hadn’t known that she had photographed me wielding my camera. When you understand that the screen of the Canon SX700 HS is badly cracked, reducing visibility to a few centimetres at the bottom, you will realise that we have a whole new perspective on ‘point and shoot’, and that my lady has done really well. I found these shots this morning.

Today’s clouds allowed the sun an occasional look-in, but mostly they kept bursting into tears. Nevertheless we took a drive into the forest.

The entrance to Old Chapel lies on The corner of Coombe Lane, Sway, and

Chapel Lane, along which the building,

and its graveyard stretches. Beneath the sward lie sleeping residents.

Originally constructed as a Baptist Chapel around 1836, the building is now a self-catering bed and breakfast facility. There is one large bedroom, and the wherewithal for the morning meal is provided. As so often on Trip Advisor, the majority of reviews are very positive and there is one disappointed customer. An Indian restaurateur once opined that the poor reviews were placed by rivals.

As early as mid-afternoon, the constantly changing light offered variable skies over the darkening moorland.

By 3 p.m. the lights of a transport van we followed through the narrow lanes were reflected  in the gradually filling pools on the road surface from which were propelled billows of spray.

Yesterday’s dinner was so enjoyable that Jackie raided the larder and the freezer and repeated it this evening. This was followed by mixed fruit crumble and ginger ice cream. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Madiran.

 

The Earliest Corms

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This afternoon Jackie drove me to New Hall Hospital for a physiotherapy session with Claire. This was encouraging. She has no need to see me again.

On our return home we turned off the main road to investigate where a bridge over the River Avon would take us. We were intrigued by a castellated tower we saw in the distance. Was it a castle or a church? Naturally we needed to seek it out.

This was the Church of All Saints at Harbridge,

a village on low meadow land to the west of the river between Ringwood and Fordingbridge. ‘The name Harbridge probably means “Hearda’s bridge”.[3] In the Domesday Bookof 1086, Bernard the Chamberlain held Harbridge from the King. Before 1066 it had been held by Ulveva. Harbridge is a referred to as a manor by the early 15th century.[1] In the early 19th century the manor passed to the Earl of Normanton, and like nearby Ibsley and Ellingham became part of his estate of Somerley.[1]Harbridge was a civil parish until 1974, when the parish was amalgamated with the parishes of Ellingham and Ibsley.’  ‘The church of All Saints consisting of chancel, nave, and west tower, was rebuilt in 1838.[1] The tower retains its 15th-century masonry, but it was raised in the 19th century reconstruction.[4](Wikipedia)

I wandered among the older gravestones, most of which were weather-worn and lichen-coated, rendering them indecipherable. Robert Robinson’s was the only name I could discern.

Tiny natural cyclamen were scattered among the graves. How many lifetimes could it be that the earliest corms had occupied this consecrated soil?

Elizabeth stayed overnight with Mum. Jackie and I dined at Lal Quilla. She chose chicken sag as her main meal, which she enjoyed, while I savoured lamb Ceylon. We shared special fried rice and an onion bahji; and both drank Kingfisher. The restaurant was quite busy, but we still received friendly service and excellent food.

 

 

 

 

Forgotten And Neglected

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Aaron

Aaron worked as hard as ever in the garden this morning. Lest it be imagined that he never takes a break, here is photographic evidence that we do allow him the statutory minimum.

It was not that long ago that I last photographed the garden from our bathroom window. This Wisteria was not then in bloom.

Our ubiquitous heucheras have now all sent up their flower stems.

Some of those are in the Rose Garden where the bushes are burgeoning, Roseraie de L’Hay bearing the first buds to open.

Numerous aquilegias are also standing proud;

one clump stands beside the shady path, still bestrewn with fallen camellia flowers.

The Viburnum Plicatum in the West Bed has also sprung to life in the last few days.

Sparrow on roof

Our resident sparrow still guards his family from the rooftop.

In order to prevent the risk of infection when, this coming Friday, my left knee joint is to be replaced by a man made model, I will have to wear new slippers. In search of a pair, we drove to Sainsbury’s at Christchurch this afternoon. Their sizes stop at 10, so we will need to try again when more shops are open tomorrow. We didn’t waste our trip out. Jackie set us off to the North of the Forest.

Leaving the A338 at Mockbeggar Lane, Ibsley, we were intrigued by a notice suggesting that what Jackie discovered to have been St Martin’s Church was having a Closing Down Sale. In fact, as Wikipedia tells us, the church itself has been deconsecrated. Following the listing the church became the art gallery which is having the sale. Jackie entered the shop and pronounced it a purveyor of artificial flowers, anything of good quality being over-priced.

I, therefore, contented myself with a study of the surrounding graveyard. It seemed to me that the preponderance of dandelion clocks calling time on the neglected tombs of forgotten eighteenth and nineteenth century residents of the parish, was somewhat appropriate.

 https://www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/101350890-church-of-st-martins-ellingham-harbridge-and-ibsley#.Wvhu0i-ZNBw give us this information concerning its Grade 2 listing: ‘Parish church. 1832 by John Peniston surveyor, on site of old church. Brick with
some blue headers, east wall partly reused dressed stone, plain tile roof. Plan
of single cell chancel and nave with north and south porches and small west tower.
To east end Y-tracery window in chamfered opening; corner buttresses. To each side
of 6 bays, pointed lancet in chamfered opening,except to west,buttresses between
bays and at each end except between west of centre bays which have gabled porch
with pointed, chamfered opening. West end has small cross-section tower in centre
with similar window, and offset belfry stage with west and east bell opening and
gabled roof. Inside brass of 1599 on floor by altar, tablet to Mary Ann Gray 1757
in brick paviour central aisle. On south wall monument 1627 to John Constable of
2 large kneeling figures between 2 columns to wide open pediment, both hold vine
with busts of their children. C18 Perpendicular style font. On north wall tablet
1757 to Cray. At east end prayer boards, above west door Royal arms board.
Gallery at west end of timber with later screen under to form vestry.’

Jackie informs me that all the mentioned features are still there inside, covered by the gallery’s wares. What now, I wonder?

A small herd of deer grazed in their usual field at Ogdens. When I poked my lens in their direction, one doe pricked up her ears and gave me a stare, decided I was harmless, and returned to her dinner.

On our way home down Roger Penny Way we noticed an interesting vehicle pulling into the car park of The Green Dragon. This was a Morris Cowley bullnose, first produce in 1915. Before entering the pub the driver placed a chock beneath the near side front wheel. I surmised that the vehicle was possibly not fitted with a handbrake.

Cadnam Lane was littered with sheep and the occasional punk pig. One of the pigs masqueraded as an outsize sheep; others, occasionally raising a sleepy snout, snoozed by the wayside.

This evening we dined on roast pork with superb crackling, new potatoes, carrots, and broccoli, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Concha y Toro Malbec

 

 

 

 

900 Years Of History

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Steady rain fell all morning. This, therefore, seemed to be the day to visit Lymington Hospital to subject myself to blood tests and x-rays at their walk-in facilities. Unfortunately everyone in the catchment area had the same idea. I was advised that the best process would be to take a ticket for the blood tests, running more than an hour behind, then pose for the x-rays and return to see if my number would come up. This turned out to be a sound wheeze. Fortunately my arms are strong enough to reach behind me on the bed and support myself while seated upright in order that impossibly straightened legs could be twisted, kept still, and photographed. Not something to be tried at home. There was still another 40 minutes or so before my blood test number came up. It seemed as if Tony Hancock’s “very nearly an armful” was required. This was done to the strains of Nancy Sinatra’s ‘These Boots are Made for Walking’, which a nurse informed me was being sung to me, personally, because I deserved it. The blood tests were intended to check my fitness to tolerate surgery on the knees should the x-rays reveal the necessity.

The sparrows have again taken up residence in the gabionage which forms part of the hospital walls.

Early this afternoon the rain desisted and the sun began to make sporadic appearances. We there therefore went for a drive in the forest.

The landscape opposite the Church of St John the Baptist, Boldre was somewhat waterlogged, although the sky had brightened.

Daffodils and primroses still sprawled down the bank and in the churchyard.

On our previous visits to this historic place of worship we have been unable to gain entrance. Today the door was open in welcome. Although the exact date is not certain, a charter of c1100 refers to Bolra Church with its chapel of Brokehurst, and it is accepted that a church was built at Boldre by William I in 1079. We can be sure that the list of incumbents posted on a wall almost opposite a displayed bible of 1613 is accurate.

Jackie studies a laminated information sheet in boxes pews furnished with embroidered runners. Norman arches are seen on the left. Behind her is the West End. The Barrel or Wagon roof with its carved bosses are typical of fourteenth century country craftsmen.

The stained glass West Window, depicting Faith, Hope, and Charity, was made by Ward and Hughes of London inserted in 1864 in memory of Charles Winston. Other windows, in order, are in memory of Rosemary Bradley, Louise Emily Bowes Read and her baby son, John Philip Burrard; and lastly, The Millennium Window, designed and engraved by Tracey Sheppard FGE, and installed in April 2000.

Much of the paved flooring consists of early gravestones.

On the north wall of the nave is the John Kempe Wall Tablet. The subject was MP for Lymington in 1640. This portrait is a rare survival of the attentions of the hammers of Oliver Cromwell’s Roundheads, or the New Model Army of the English Civil War of 1642 – 51.

Two more recent works of art are the lectern designed by Cresswell Hartley Desmond and carved by his sister Phoebe over a period of twenty years from two pieces of oak from Boldre Grange given to the church in 1952; and Richard Bent’s chandelier commemorating the 900th anniversary.

This treasure will require at least another visit to fill in the gaps Jackie and I have missed.

This evening we dined on the Culinary Queen’s superb cottage pie with perfectly cooked carrots and cabbage. I finished the Navarra.

 

Up To St Mary & St Nicholas

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We arrived at Leatherhead’s Travelodge in time to watch the Six Nations rugby match between Ireland and Wales. I must say this hotel is the best appointed and friendliest in the budget chain that I have experienced. I was happy to tell the manager this the next morning.

Early in the evening we dined at Piazza Firenze Italian restaurant in High St with Helen and Bill, Pat, Christine, and Olivia. Shelly and Ron joined us a bit later. The service was friendly and efficient and the food and wine excellent. I enjoyed a starter of meat balls, a calzone, and a crepe Vesuvio. Pat, Bill and I shared a bottle of Montepulciano. I rather lost track of what anyone else ate or drank.

We then watched the Godalming Operatic Society’s production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Sorcerer, directed by Jackie’s cousin, Pat O’Connell. Pat has now directed the whole of the G & S canon for this company, and has decided that this will be his last. I have no doubt, however, that the players will wish to keep very much in touch with him.

Supplemented for this production by the professional tenor David Menezes as Alexis, this is a very fine amateur group that has been performing regularly since 1925.

I am no connoisseur, but it seemed to me that it took a while to warm up, yet when it did it burst into delightful fun, for players and audience alike. There were many good voices, splendidly performed choreography, lively group scenes, and a number of amusing comic turns.

Afterwards we enjoyed drinks and conversation in the bar.

As usual, in the morning, being first up, I ventured into the quiet, sunlit Leatherhead streets. A gentleman I met walking his dog described the morning as “fresh”. I had to agree. The manager was manning the hotel reception desk. During our conversation he directed me to the church of St Mary and St Nicholas where he said there was an historic tree. I didn’t find the tree

but I did walk up Church Street

As one leaves the modern section pictured above, buildings of older eras still stand.

The Mansion garden wall bears a plaque detailing its history.

A variety of windows catch the eye. The first of the trio above, protected by an iron grill, reflects the rooftops opposite. The second bears the name of Vapepit, the twenty first century occupant of the premises of a nineteenth century coal merchant. Vape is what you do with an e-cigarette in an attempt to give up nicotine. There is quite an intense controversy about whether this is beneficial or more harmful to health. More information is contained in this article from The Guardian newspaper: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/dec/13/e-cigarettes-vaping-safe-old-fashioned-smoke.

The last of the three windows is on the wall of the church

alongside which is a public park.

After wandering among the gravestones for a while I gave up looking for the tree. Between two stones in the last of this group of pictures lies a brick formation in the shape of a human body.

Our group gathered in the foyer and repaired to Weatherspoons for an excellent, remarkably inexpensive, breakfast. When the party dispersed Jackie drove us home where I watched a recording of yesterday’s rugby match between England and Scotland.

I enjoyed a salt beef, mustard, and mayo sandwich this evening. Jackie’s choice was tuna mayo.

Going For A Drink

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Late in the morning, Shelly and Ron paid us a visit. After our usual enjoyable conversation we all drove to Otter Garden Centre where we brunched. As we each went our separate ways, Jackie drove me in what developed into a circular route around East Boldre. Although we experienced no more rain until it set in again after dusk, enough has fallen in recent days for the ponies not to have to go in search of water.

The seasonal pool at the junction between St Leonard’s Road and the East Boldre road is even fuller than it was a couple of days ago. As so often, shooting into the sun produced a monochrome photograph.

While its companions grazed on the bank, a chestnut drank before joining them.

A damp dappled grey caught my eye. Although on the higher level, it was tantalisingly close enough to the rippling water for me to go into contortions in an attempt to catch its reflection. I was about to abandon the project when the obliging creature

set off along the turf,

Pony drinking

and, at a lower level, dipped its neck to slake its thirst.

Cyclist

A cyclist, rounding the bend, bore the unfortunate stains on his back which indicated nothing more unsavoury than that he had pedalled along soggy mud-laden roads.

On the outskirts of Beaulieu we passed Beaulieu Cemetery, beside the entrance of which stands a bronzed crucifix.

Alongside this burial ground, the waterlogged verges encourage the generation of weed and reflect the trees some of which now seem to be rising from their depths.

Whilst I was photographing further such scenes outside East Boldre, a gentleman, mistaking me for a birder, informed me that there were a lot of hawfinches about. I said I hadn’t seen any. He said neither had he, because of his eyesight, but he assumed I would know what I was looking at. When the conversation turned to the quality of the sunsets we were on more secure ground.

This evening we dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away fare, with which I finished the merlot

 

 

 

 

 

Friday The Thirteenth

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Why would I go out to photograph a churchyard on such a dull day as was this one?

All will become clear later in the post.

Gravestones 1Gravestones 2

Here are some of the gravestones in the churchyard of St Mary the Virgin, Bransgore;

Gravestone with anchor chain

many ivy clad, like this one bearing an anchor chain,

Gravestone, holly

or this already sporting its Christmas holly.

Gravestones, holly

A few are upright,

Gravestone leaning

some less so,

Gravestone in grass 1Gravestone in grass 2Gravestones 3

and others had given up the battle with gravity.

Tree stump and gravestones 1Tree stump and gravestones 2

The stump of a fallen tree was in good company.

Roller

This roller hid round the back of the church.

Door handles

St Mary the Virgin 1

As in most of our churches today, the front door was locked.

St Mary the Virgin 2

Fortunately for me, Jenny was working in the small office accessed by an open side door.

This very friendly person showed me into the church, currently set out for the various community activities offered, that can be found on https://bransgore.org.

Stained glass 1Stained glass 2Stained glass 3Stained glass 4

She put on the lights so that I could photograph the stained glass, much of the original of which has been lost.

Stained glass July 3rd 1922

In particular, climbing on a chair to do so, Jenny was keen to show me the preserved panel from July 3rd, 1822, bearing the etched date in the bottom left hand corner. To the left of the bottom of the orange cross the name of R. Carter, glazier, Priory Glassworks can be discerned when the image is enlarged.

Wikipedia tells us that ‘the church of Saint Mary the Virgin was erected in 1822 as a chapel of ease.[10][11] The church is of brick with stone dressings,[11] with a tower and originally a spire.[12] However, the spire was removed in 1967. The early 16th-century font, which is said to have come from Christchurch, is octagonal, with a monogram J D, perhaps for “John Draper,” the last Prior of Christchurch Priory.[11] The ecclesiastical parish of Bransgore was formed in 1875 from parts of Christchurch and Sopley.[11][13] Henry William Wilberforce, son of William Wilberforce (known for his campaign against slavery), was once the vicar of Saint Mary’s church.’

When we visited MacPenny’s Garden Centre two days ago we were given this brochure:

We would always welcome an opportunity to try out a new curry restaurant. When the proprietor had the courage to open the venture on Friday 13th, this proved irresistible. Jenny explained that the church had the facilities and was there to help local activities.

The evening in the church hall was most convivial, and the food served by the Bartlett family quite superb. Jack was a splendid sommelier who assisted his sister Sophie with the waiting tasks.

From the moment of entry our nostrils were enticed by the authentic aromas emanating from the kitchen on full view of diners. Everything was cooked to order.

Dave’ s cooking was a marvel. We began with superb crisp popadoms with a variety of chutneys. The prawn puris that followed were as good as any we have ever tasted.

Majid, the manager of the Akash in Edgware Road that I regularly frequented for more than 35 years, would remove from the table any onion bhajis that his eyes told him were not up to scratch. He, and I, would have given Dave’s full marks, for their perfect crisp texture and exquisite taste.

Prawn jalfrezi

My main course was prawn jalfrezi, and Jackie’s prawn bhuna. Both were succulent, and superbly flavoured. We shared delicate pilau rice and soft chapatis. Encouraged to bring our own bottles, we brought an Argentinian white wine that I can’t remember. Jack kept it in the fridge for us and kept our glasses replenished. That’s probably why I can’t remember what it was.