Lifted By Colour


This morning we were in the grip of storm Georgina. This prompted the Muse of my youth, believing that “if we are having to put up with it, we might as well get something out of it”, to take a trip to the coast. I chose Highcliffe as the venue.

It was all right for Jackie, who could take refuge in the car after a brief foray along the clifftop. I, however, had the task of battling down the steep wooden steps to the shoreline in order to capture some images of the sea. Whilst the driving rain lashed my dripping face and the spray lathered my attire, the 60 m.p.h. winds played me like a marionette. I feared for my camera lens which I frequently dabbed with a sodden handkerchief. I couldn’t really see what I was doing, but fortunately the camera had better vision.

Gulls on shingle

Even the gulls took refuge on the shingle.

Wave after wave of cream-layered golden syrup swirled around the shore, crashing on the steadfast rocks.

Just two intrepid walkers, one with dogs, also ventured down below, where the flagpole bent like a bow.

Warnings of Unstable Cliff etc

As if the gale were not enough, there were plenty of other phenomena to be warned against.

It wasn’t until I had fought my way back up to the car park, that the sun made a brief attempt to put in an appearance.

I have learned that Paul Auster’s works are examples of Absurdist fiction, which essentially focusses on protagonists’ vain attempts to find any purpose in life through a series of meaningless actions.’Ghosts’, being the second novella of this author’s New York Trilogy, would certainly seem a case in point. I finished reading this today. Set as a detective story it pretty much follows the same course as ‘City of Glass’. Who is watching whom?, we wonder. Do we actually care? There didn’t seem much point in this repeat performance. Maybe that was the point. Meaningless it is.

Each character bears the name of a single colour, but it is the colour applied to Tom Burns’s illustrations for the Folio Society edition that lift the story, and perhaps this otherwise virtually monochrome post.

Following gyozo and won ton starters for our dinner this evening, we enjoyed Jackie’s really excellent egg fried rice served with pork ribs in barbecue sauce. She drank Hoegaarden and I finished the shiraz.

Gulls And Buoys


The steady rain we have been experiencing for a few days made way for sunshine by mid-morning, so Jackie drove us to Keyhaven and back.

Many of the roads, like this one leading to the harbour carpark, were waterlogged. I tested my Driver’s patience as I dallied on my way walking round the pool in order to photograph her driving through it. She created quite a splash, but looked rather less happy with the process than did a later driver and passenger.

Gulls on moored boats 1


I had been distracted by this scene of silhouetted gulls perched on moored boats with a yacht reflected in the ice-like surface of the water, with a walker on the distant spit.

Jackie parked, and I began to photograph the still, reflected, scenes of boats, gulls, and buoys. Even the birds in flight left their images on the waters beneath them.

Wishing to draw my attention to one particular precariously perched gull,

Mrs Knight gave up waiting for me to reach it, left the comfort of her car, and scattered a group of gulls basking on the mossy wall, thus providing a perfect opportunity for a shot of gulls and buoys.

Against the backcloth of Hurst castle and its lighthouse bird watchers paddled along the sea wall path. The sensible dog in the third picture

climbed the wall. I spoke to her owner, then realised that she had been the driver of the car I had photographed earlier. While we conversed, the dog went on ahead, placed her forepaws on the brickwork, dashed further along, and repeated the pose, as if to call her mistress to play. The woman seemed pleased when I told her that, with the car and her dog, she really was the star of the show.

Dogs in silhouette and waterfowl

Further on, approaching Hurst spit, we spotted a dog walker up aloft, while various waterfowl sped over the surface of the water.

Swans fed eagerly on the shore by the bridge. Had someone scattered food? we wondered.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s perfect pork paprika (recipe) with creamy mashed potato and swede, and firm runner beans. I drank McGuigan Black Label shiraz 2016



Getting The Measure Of The Kitchen


Yesterday I was asked by the suppliers of our greenhouse whether I had any photographs they might use in their next brochure. Regular readers will know the answer. This morning I e-mailed them links to four posts.

Dale, from Crestwood Showrooms, visited at midday in order to measure our kitchen floor to accommodate the new appliances. It is sad that we will need to replace the existing tiles which will no longer fit. Having made his measurements, this very friendly and personable gentleman checked his figures and photographed the existing area. He chatted for a while, explaining just how the flooring would be synchronised with the carpentry and installation processes.

To the left of Dale in the first picture above can be seen the edge of the island on which the current hobs stand. His hand is above the kitchen sink which, along with everything else on that wall, is to be replaced. What should be apparent is the distance the water source is from the cooking area. On the other side of the dining table stands a kitchen cabinet and a set of IKEA shelves which will probably be brought into service elsewhere.

After lunch we motored into the forest.

Highland cattle

On the outskirts of Brockenhurst, a group of Highland cattle often seen wandering the streets and forested areas, were now confined to a field.

Along the Rhinefield and Boldrewood Ornamental Drive the recent high winds and the rains loosening roots have replenished the stock of arboreal casualties whose limbs and trunks now join those fallen earlier, to be left mouldering in the interests of ecology.

Today was one more of showers than sunshine, which did make for fascinating skies over the moorland and, later, at Milford on Sea where gulls played on the thermals

until the setting sun kissed the waves below.

This evening we dined on juicy chicken Kiev; crunchy carrots and runner beans; and creamy mashed potato. I drank Mendoza Beefsteak Malbec 2016.

“You Can’t Keep A Good Brit Down”


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


Starling on crab pot

young starlings,

Starlings on crab pots


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


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


Sunrise with gull

a pink lining

Sunrise with gulls

came into view

Sunrise 2


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.


On the way down Holmsley Passage Jackie spotted


a string of ponies


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


She parked


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


as the ponies


dropped onto


what was a trail


they had regularly trodden.


It was fortunate


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


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


The black leader came into view and investigated the road;


when it was pronounced clear, the others followed


and were led




a delighted Jackie


in the car.


Having crossed to the other side


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.


On our return the sun was setting over Holmsley;


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



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


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


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.