“You Can’t Keep A Good Brit Down”

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This morning we drove to New Milton to buy Jackie a bag to carry her overnight stay requirements for our trip to Bicester tomorrow. We then continued to Friars Cliff where we brunched in the Beach Hut Café.

Beach huts

There are two rows of beach huts there – one on the promenade above the beach level, and the other further down. These colourful buildings brighten such areas.

Dog walker at Friars CliffThis dog walker had probably made his way from Avon beach, curving away in the distance..

Silhouettes and shadows

Long shadows were evident even just before midday.

Clouds, sea, gull

A gull perched on a post catching what warmth there was from the sun piercing the clouds.

dog on beach

Dogs frolicked

Walkers and dog on beach

and their owners

Dog walkers on beach

crossed each other’s paths

Dog walkers on beach

on the sand.

Beach huts, women outside one

At one end of the lower level of beach huts

Women at beach hut

sat a couple of women, so well insulated from the chill air that Jackie cried “You can’t keep a good Brit down”, which they appreciated.

Gulls in shallows

On the way home .we diverted to Mudeford

Mudeford harbour

where gulls paddled in the shallows at low tide.

Boats, one overturned

Of the several boats

Beached boat, another overturned

tethered or grounded

Boats, one overturned

in the harbour one was overturned.

Rowing boat and yachts

Others fronted the moored yachts

Sky, Mudeford, boat

and the quayside buildings.

Twig on sand

Branches were spectacles on the sand.

Starlings on crab pots

On the sea front’,

Starlings, crab pots, buoys

having missed the boat that was stocking crabs on the van for Brixham,

Starling on crab pot

hopeful

Starling on crab pot

young starlings,

Starlings on crab pots

gathered

Starling on crab pot

for possible treats;

they would have enjoyed the great slabs of Spanish omelette that Jackie conjured from the seemingly entire contents of a greengrocer’s stall bound by the massed clutches of multiple brooding hens. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the malbec.

 

 

On The Trail

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At first light this morning Jackie drove us down to the clifftop at Milford on Sea to watch the sunrise.

Isle of Wight and The Needles before sunrise

The forest behind the Isle of Wight and The Needles was a bank of clouds. The lighthouse blinked.

Sunrise 1

Soon

Sunrise with gull

a pink lining

Sunrise with gulls

came into view

Sunrise 2

over

Sunrise 3

 

to the east.

Walker at sunrise 1

Just two lone walkers

Walker at sunrise 2

braved the two degrees centigrade temperature at 7 a.m.

This afternoon we visited the New Milton toy shop to investigate Christmas presents, and decided that we needed parental advice.

Afterwards we drove into the forest.

Ponies

On the way down Holmsley Passage Jackie spotted

Ponies

a string of ponies

Ponies

crossing a ridge. Watch the wavy lines in the bracken to the right.

Ponies

She parked

Ponies

beside the stream on the lowest part of the lane, while I watched

Ponies

as the ponies

Ponies

dropped onto

Ponies

what was a trail

Ponies

they had regularly trodden.

Ponies

It was fortunate

Ponies

for me that there were a couple of greys to help me pick them out against the bracken

Ponies

 or, as they reached level ground, among the trees.

Pony

The black leader came into view and investigated the road;

Ponies

when it was pronounced clear, the others followed

Ponies

and were led

Ponies

past

Ponies

a delighted Jackie

Ponies

in the car.

Ponies

Having crossed to the other side

Ponies

they reappeared on higher ground.

Reflections in pool

Further on, up the road to Clay Hill reflections in the calm pool

Reflections in pool

were clear and bright.

Sunset

On our return the sun was setting over Holmsley;

Sunset

blazing clouds shrouded Wootton Common,

Moon and clouds

where the moon was in the ascendancy.

Trees and sunset

Trellises of tree branches

Trees and sunset

screened the pink and indigo backcloth.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s wonderful savoury rice forming a bed for tempura prawns. We both drank Maison Castel Touraine sauvignon blanc 2015.

 

Shades Are Recommended

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HEALTH WARNING: WEARING OF SHADES IS RECOMMENDED

Having spent much of the day composing and e-mailing a draft complaints letter to the dilatory and devious conveyancing solicitors firm that handled our recent remortgage to our mortgage broker, I was in need of a trip to Mudeford to watch the sun go down. The administrative exercise had involved trawling through documents, letters, e-mails, and such notes as I had made of phone calls or the absence of them; then collating them in a logical order in intelligible prose. Our mortgage adviser couldn’t access my attachment, so I had to cut and paste it and send it as the text of another e-mail.

The elements did not disappoint.

Sunset 1

Shortly before sunset, the orb was bright, but the clouds still retained their slate colours intermingled with streaks of blue.

Sunset 2

A rather large anchor is embedded in concrete on the foreshore. This provided a frame for the scene,

Sunset 4

as did trees

Sunset 3

and grasses.

Sunset 5

Gulls perched

Sunset 6

on moored boats

Gulls

flew low over the water,

Mudeford Harbour

and gathered by the quayside.

Sunset 7

Smoky hues spiralled around blue skies, and gold-tinged clouds,

Sunset 8

gradually darkening as the sun descended.

Sunset 9

All at once

Sunset 12

an orange wash was

Sunset 13

brushed over the skyscape.

Sunset 14

 

As the sun sank the orange pigment

Sunset 15

drizzled down the horizon,

Sunset 16

its remnants

Sunset 17

 

streaking above

Sunset 19

silhouetted walkers

Sunset 18

Sunset 20

and their dogs.

For our dinner this evening, with which I drank Mendoza Argentina malbec 2016, Jackie produce Thai fishcakes on a bed of ratatouille served with breaded prawns, perfect roast potatoes, and crisp cauliflower.

 

 

 

 

 

None So Brazen

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Autumn tidying in the garden produced enough clippings to warrant a trip to the Efford Recycling Centre. In exchange for two bags of these and £4 we returned with four firm chair cushions for raising the front passenger seat, and a plinth for the owl in the new arbour.

Hatchet Pond 1Hatchet Pond 2

Towards the end of the afternoon we drove through the forest and stopped at Hatchet Pond

Gulls over Hatchet Pond

where gulls occasionally took off after food,

Donkey being petted 2

and donkeys attempted to share visitors’ refreshments.

Donkey being petted 1

When I asked the group in a camper van if they minded the photographs, the gentleman, beaming, replied: “I don’t mind. It’s not my donkey”.

Highland Water 1

Approaching Brockenhurst on our way home, we deviated to that extension of Highland Water that flows under the A337.

Trees and shadows

Shadows were cast beneath the trees.

Family at Highland Water 1

A family and a couple lingered, enjoying the last rays of sunshine.

Tree roots and family at Highland Water

Tried not to trip over tree roots, probably laid bare when the stream has been in spate.

Please take your litter home

The usual samples of litter had been left behind, none so brazen as this.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s luscious lamb cobbler, new potatoes, carrots, and Brussels sprouts.  The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Graves.

Flower Arranging

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Today is the hundredth anniversary of my father’s birth. Born on Michaelmas Day 1917 he died on Christmas Day 1987, so did not live to see this one.

Catherington cemetery 1

This afternoon Jackie drove herself and me to Elizabeth’s where we decanted into my sister’s car and she drove us to Catherington Cemetery where our father is buried.

Gulls at Catherington

The resting place is on high ground and surrounded by fields over which gulls flew

Horses in field

and in which horses grazed on this day.

Dad's Gravestone 1

We gathered at Dad’s grave and paid our respects.

Elizabeth with watering can

Elizabeth fetched a watering can

Elizabeth watering

from which she filled the vase.

Elizabeth and Jackie arranging flowers 1Elizabeth and Jackie arranging flowers 2Elizabeth and Jackie arranging flowers 4Elizabeth and Jackie arranging flowers 5Elizabeth arranging flowers

Elizabeth and Jackie arranging flowers 6Flowers on Dad's Gravestone

With Jackie’s assistance she then arranged the flowers she had brought with her,

 

Elizabeth photographing

finally photographing the result,

Catherington Cemetery - Dad's gravestone bottom right

which lies in the bottom right of this picture.

Catherington cemetery 2

Behind the hedge beyond the upper level of this modern graveyard stands the Church of All Saints with the much older stones of this parish dating from the twelfth century. We did visit the church and its surroundings, but, because of the lateness of the hour, I must leave reporting on that until tomorrow.

We took a leisurely drive back to Wickham where we dined at the excellent Indian restaurant, the Veranda. My choice of meal was tender and spicy Lamb Lal Maas, with my share of special fried rice, plain paratha and a vegetable dish containing cashew nuts, the name of which I cannot remember. Elizabeth and I drank Kingfisher while Jackie drank Diet Coke.

Elizabeth then drove us back to her home whence Jackie drove us home in her Modus. As we travelled over the moors from Beaulieu we experienced the benefits of a reflective collar around the neck of a dusky pony crossing in front of us. It is good to see that some of them retain their luminosity.

My New Haircut

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Today the temperature was unseasonably warm, and the skies overcast. Although we have a great number of flowers still blooming beyond their normal time, I chose this morning figuratively to pick

Dahlia 1Dahlia 2Dahlias 1Dahlias 2Dahlias 6Dahlias 4Dahlias 2Dahlias 3Dahlias 5

a bunch of dahlias from the garden.

Spider and leaf

On my way round my attention was drawn to a fallen leaf, twisting frantically in an attempt to free itself from the spider’s web from which it was suspended. This brought the arachnid scampering down its central line, only to be disappointed in what it had trapped.

Bench in West Bed

I have recently featured developments in the West Bed, cleared of shrubs and an old rose by Aaron, and having two new roses set to climb the arch by Jackie. There is now a new bench ready for positioning on reconstituted stone paving.

Elizabeth came for lunch and dinner. This afternoon we all travelled to Friar’s Cliff Beach and visited the Beach Hut Café for refreshments.

Yacht and couple on beach

A heavy haze restricted rendered the Isle of Wight invisible beyond a passing yacht.

Couple and dog on beach

From Steamer Point nature reserve I watched the couple seen in the above picture  continuing along the beach in the direction of Mudeford.

Man and dog on beach 1Man and dog on beach 2

Other dogs were frolicking on the beach;

Retriever on beach 1Couple and retriever on beachMan and retriever on beach 1Man and retriever on beach 2

one retriever in particular swimming like a seal,

Woman filming man and retrieverWoman filming man and retriever 2

its antics being filmed from the breakwater.

Red seaweed and group of peopleRed seaweed on beach 1Red seaweed en masse

Red seaweed on beach Friar's Cliff Beach

Even as far away as the clifftop car park we could smell the red seaweed that coated the sand

Gull and red seaweed 1

where a solitary gull wandered.

Gulls

This bird was joined by another and quickly took off,

Gull flying

flying out to sea,

Gull on beach

leaving the visitor all forlorn.

Seawater

Bubbling eddies swirled around

Rocks and seaweedFriar's Cliff BeachFriar's Cliff Beach

the rocks swathed in green and red weed.

Seaweed tinged wavesSeaweed on beach and tinging waves

As the waves rolled in they were tinged with red.

Gull leaping waves

The gull bobbing on the wave above leapt to avoid the next one,

Wader flying

and a wader flew off as I approached in an attempt to identify it.

Elizabeth photographing

I photographed my sister focussing on the water,

Derrick Photographing

and she got her own back.

Derrick photographing 2Derrick photographing 3Derrick photographing 4Derrick photographing 5

This served a dual purpose in that we could satisfy the request of LordBeariofBow to feature my new haircut so that he could pass judgement on it.

This evening’s dinner consisted of Jackie’s superb sausages in red wine, creamy mashed potatoes, and crunchy carrots and cabbage. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and Elizabeth and I drank Parra Alta malbec 2016.

 

 

Ten Minutes

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Today’s weather was almost all wet, warm, and overcast. Our afternoon began with a trip to Milford on Sea where the excellent Peter at Sears Barbers cut my hair. We then went on a garden centre crawl seeking some boundary stones to hold back the soil around the greenhouse. Eventually we wound up at B & Q in Christchurch where we found, and bought, what we wanted.

Bridge Street

Having passed this rather attractive new housing development for retirees on the corner of Bridge Street, we noticed that the sky was lightening over Mudeford.

Gulls

Consequently we diverted to the harbour where gulls squabbled over a chimney top perch,

Boats and gulls

and screamed around the boats moored on images of the skies

Mudeford Quay 1Mudeford Quay 2Mudeford Quay 3

Mudeford Quay 4

against a backdrop of dark indigo and pale ochre clouds pierced by rays of a weak sun leaving light blue rents in the cloth.

Boats 2Boats and gulls 2Boats 1

The boats themselves reflected on their surroundings.

Photographer 1Photographer 2

I was not the only photographer grabbing the ten minutes that was all we enjoyed before the light dimmed once more. This gentleman, when I showed him these two pictures, was delighted that I had “got the person in”.

This evening for our dinner Jackie produced meaty cottage pie; colourful carrots, broccoli and green beans; and small new potatoes sautéed with onions, leaks, and red peppers. She drank Hoegaarden, and I drank more of the cabernet sauvignon.