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.

Not A Dog’s Dinner

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After a boring morning’s admin, I helped The Head Gardener plant tulip and allium bulbs and flowering chrysanthemums. We then enjoyed a salad lunch and drove to

Lymington harbour,

where the rippling water reflected the boats and the blue sky with its attendant clouds

that had been depicted on the canvas above by a skilled painter.

Rowing boats were moored beside the jetty on the seaward side of which yachts were being berthed.

Squawking gulls landed hoping for titbits.

Other craft were coming and going all the time.

Emerging from the forest of masts, a small ferry boat chugged into harbour,

its master steered it to its mooring,

and the passengers disembarked.

The mother of one family returning to land told me that, on this afternoon of sunshine and showers, they had sailed through heavy rain, so it was only now that the junior pirate had been able to wear his Puffin hat.

Once she had fixed the trophy in place, he trotted off clutching his mother’s hand, while his Dad carried his sibling and everything else.

Walking into the first shot of the ferry boat is another photographer, who, when I showed him my portrait of him, smiled and said: “That’s what photography is for”.

Soon a working boat came into view and came to rest at the fishermen’s corner.

I wasn’t sure what was going on here, but a small terrier’s nose gave her a pretty good idea.

She needed some restraint to keep her away from

 

the slowly jerking crabs piled on top of each other in strong boxes.

One of these living creatures climbed over the lip of its container and landed on its back on the quayside. In my childhood I had often righted stag beetles in the same predicament, but I didn’t fancy providing a helping hand on this occasion.

Instead, I alerted the young man who had brought in his boat, mentioning that I wasn’t going to pick it up. Describing the crab as an escapee, he demonstrated that it couldn’t pinch because their claws were nipped when they were caught. This certainly wasn’t a dog’s dinner.

Before leaving, I walked along Quay Street

to the bottom of Quay Hill, feeling quite pleased that the car was parked by the waterside, so I wouldn’t have to follow the others scaling the heights. The little dog somewhat impeding the older woman’s progress was happy to continue once the younger woman carrying an infant had torn herself away from the shop windows.

On we travelled to the east of the forest. These ponies on the land along Thorneywood Road were soon to be spooked by a vehicle that turned round the bend towards us. This sent the animals running around in rather frantic circles.

Many others were grazing among the gorse. As so often, one smaller variety incongruously tagged onto the big boys.

Gwen and Yvonne may prefer to skip what follows.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s excellent liver and bacon casserole, mashed potato, carrots and green beans. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Reserve des Tuguets Madiran 2014.

Sunshine And Showers

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Knowing that we were to expect heavy rain all weekend, and that the first hour or two this morning would offer sunshine and showers, we drove out to Mudeford seeking what light there was.

Cloudscape

This proved to be interesting. The sun came and went, offering dramatic cloudscapes over the sea;

Beach huts

over the beach huts;

Mudeford, clouds 2

over the harbour;

Mudeford clouds

and over the small town.

Car going through pool

Recent downpours had left pools for cars to drive though.

Boats moored 1

Moored boats bobbed on the choppy wavelets in the sheltered waters,

Speedboat

over which sped a powered vessel.

Waterlogged boat 1

A number of little rowing boats had filled with water

Capsized boat

or capsized.

Gulls (juvenile) on upturned boat

One, overturned, provided a resting place for juvenile gulls.

Setting up stall 1Mallet and staySetting up stall 2Open carSetting up stall 3

We felt sympathy for holidaymakers wrapped in waterproofs, and even more for the intrepid stallholders setting up for the weekend’s Art and Craft Fair.

Mudeford, jogger

Almost oblivious of the industry going on around them, a jogger,

Dog walkers

a pair of dog walkers,

Couple on shore

and a loving couple, continued about their business.

Paddleboards

A heap of bright red paddle boards awaited rental customers.

Crab potsCouple looking at crab pots

The usual fishing paraphernalia lined the quayside. This couple examined

Crab pot 1Crab pots 2

crab pots;

Ropes and linesRopes, rusty stakes, buoy

ropes and lines;

Flags

fluttering flags;

Buoys 1

and buoys reflecting sunlight

Buoy and reflection

or themselves mirrored in pools,

Queuing for ferry 1Queuing for ferry with reflection

as were visitors following the first young lady forming a queue for the ferry.

Couple looking out to sea

Around the side of the quay the couple I had just passed gazed out to sea.

Backlit figures on quayBacklit figures on quay – Version 2

The most dramatic light of the visit fell on a group beside the car park.

Sailboats

As we left Mudeford for a late breakfast at Friar’s Cliff’s Beach Hut Café, three sail boats set out to sea.

Sailboats

They had made it safely to Friar’s Cliff by the time we reached there.

Concrete plinth base

On the cliff top at Steamer Point lie three very large circular concrete bases.

Military communication satellite station plaque

Their story is now explained on an engraved metal plate fixed to a rock.

This evening we dined on chicken tikka and boiled egg salad. Well, we had had a large, late, fried breakfast. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and I drank more of the malbec.