Saltgrass Lane

After an early trip to Sears Barbers for my haircut we continued into the forest, now even damper after another twenty four hours of incessant rain still falling at the start of our drive.

Gulls played in the rippling pools on the surface of a car park with views of

waves through the eroded cliff top and the misty Isle of Wight and The Needles and its lighthouse.

Before we moved on Jackie photographed salty spray soaring over the sea wall. Her last image was produced immediately after the penultimate one, this time obscuring the distant view of the island.

Knowing that Saltgrass Lane at Keyhaven is prone to flooding at high tide and consequently closed at the best of times we decided to visit that narrow road running alongside the shore line. In the event we could not pass through Keyhaven Road,

which was well flooded.

While I photographed this scene Jackie produced images of me doing so, of a woman wading through the pools leading her dog behind her,

and of the van pictured last in my gallery splashing swirling rainwater.

A friendly local resident told us that this was the fourth time her environment had been flooded in a month, and that we could probably reach our goal from along New Lane.

The narrow, potholed, New Lane was not flooded, but was full of birders with cameras on tripods and their vehicles parked on such verges as there were, or exercising multiple-point turns in order to leave. They must have been alerted to a special visitor.

Saltgrass Lane was indeed flooded.

Back at home, rain fell all afternoon.

This evening Ian joined us for an even more enjoyable than ever meal at Lal Quilla, during which Ellie was her most beguiling. Friendly and attentive staff, excellent food, and efficient service is all one could ask for. My main course was prawn pathia with mushroom rice; other favourites were also enjoyed, and we shared onion bahjis, egg paratha, peshwari naan, and various rices. Kingfisher, white wine, J20, and Diet Coke were imbibed.

Stretching For Holly

Ronan of Tom Sutton Heating spent the morning fixing the boiler problem which turned out to be water in the oil; it seems it was not the drop in temperature which had stopped it working, but the very heavy rain which has got in somewhere. To be more sure Jackie has ordered a tank drier bag from Amazon.

The rain having desisted, much of the floodwater has receded and the icicles melted, although , on this still chilly but dry day ice not reached by the low, weak, sun remains, as we discovered on a forest drive.

Boldre Bridge overlooked a rippling stream, still bearing ice, and reflecting trees and fenceposts.

Nearby, Rodlease Lane still bore arboreal images in pools disturbed by passing vehicles.

Long shadows of a woman and a donkey stretched across the banks of Hatchet Pond and the potholed drive to it;

gulls admired their reflections in the remnants of its ice, while a paddling coot looked on.

The drift paddock on Furzey Lane reflected on the icy pool surrounding it, where

patterns remained unthawed.

A pony reaching up for holly in Ran’s Wood was lit by the lowering sun, which had

set by the time we arrived at Milford on Sea..

Later we dined on Cook’s very tasty vegetarian lasagna brought by Elizabeth last week, and Jackie’s equally flavoursome Chicken and vegetable stewp with delicious garlic bread brought by our sister from the same source. I drank more of the Shiraz and no-one else did.

Mudeford Murk

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Today the gloomy gales are back.

Headlights were the order of the day, even at 3.00 p.m. when we arrived at an almost deserted Mudeford Quay, where I brightened none of my photographs, in order that readers could see what we saw.

My specs and camera lens dripping with fat raindrops; coat soaked by salty sea spray; legs braced akimbo in an effort to stay upright, I had great difficulty in focussing on anything.

Distant hardy sailboarders, one dog walker;

a lad and his Dad trying at angling;

windswept women straining to steady buggies;

even a solitary gull out of its element, struggled against the gusts,

although some of the birds took to the air in search of sustenance, while crows remained on the car park tarmac.

Networks of glistening roots lay poised to trip the unwary.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy penne Bolognaise and Cook’s choice crumble crusted macaroni cheese furnished by Ian, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Malbec.

“He Is Taking Your Photograph”

It was fortunate that we chose this reasonably bright morning to transport the last garden parasol to its winter quarters in the orange shed, and to carry the wooden patio chairs to the comparative safety of the narrow area beside one side of the house, for no sooner had we finished than the clouds darkened necessitating lights being turned on in the sitting room, and once again we were treated to rivulets flowing down our windows.

After lunch we braved the rain and drove to Milford on Sea, by which time it had desisted somewhat in order for us to watch

flocks of gulls and crows sharing drinks in the plentiful puddles on the car park littered with pebbles dashed onto it from the adjacent stretch of shingle

by the turbulent sea’s tossed up spray-bearing waves.

In the distance on the promenade along which two young boys cycled could be seen a little dog in a red coat.

By the time he and his owner reached our vantage point I was ready for them, and encouraged by the windswept woman who advised her pet that a suitable pose would be in order.

Further into the forest we noticed the brightness the rain had lent to the now sun kissed sage lichen

and red-brown bracken

in the Wootton woodland.

A pair of cormorants conversed on their customary perches in Hatchet Pond.

We arrived home just in time for the next deluge.

This evening we dined on tempura and hot and spicy prawn preparations with Jackie’s colourful savoury rice topped with a thick omelette. We both drank Wairau Cove Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2021.


In mid-morning a smoky burnished golden brown cupola had descended over Downton. By lunchtime rain had set in for the day. Afterwards I posted

Peering through a rain-smeared windscreen Jackie and I took a drive in search of wet ponies.

On a soggy bank beside Hatchet Pond damp donkeys tore at prickly hedges, while the usual

pair of mallards occupied the waterlogged terrain seeming to extend the pond on the banks of which

gulls sat with dripping feathers.

More sodden donkeys sought sustenance beneath naked trees at East Boldre;

hardy ponies on the moor were shrouded in rain-mist.

This very much seasonal reflecting pool is filling up once more.

Sopping ponies pastured along Tanners Lane, at the end of which

fresh pools had formed at the entrance to the beach.

This evening Becky and Flo cooked a very tasty chicken risotto which we all enjoyed. Becky and Ian drank Zesty white; Jackie drank Pinot Blush; and I drank more of the Monastrell.

Storm Dudley In A Gentler Mood

With storm Dudley raging outside I posted after lunch.

Later, the rain ceased and the wind lessened somewhat, so we drove to Mudeford to have a look at the sea which was in a remarkably gentler mood.

A gentleman safely watched his dogs frolicking in the water;

two sailboarders surfed happily (the last two photographs by Jackie).

Despite the gloom, a kitesurfer enjoyed a long stint on the more sheltered side. Again the last two images in this gallery are Jackie’s.

Perhaps to display her recent hairdressing, The Assistant Photographer produced these images of me, gaining support where I could, including those where she claims I blocked her view.

She also focussed on crab baskets and beach huts.

Gulls and oystercatchers caught my eye.

This evening we dined on baked gammon; piri-piri chicken; piquant cauliflower and broccoli cheese; crunchy carrots; boiled new potatoes; and tender runner beans, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Merlot

Piet Mondrian’s Pigments

Just as the sun was thinking about sinking into Mudeford Quay today,

gulls circled the Wolf Moon,

or basked in the bay,

in which a man stood on the sandbank and another walked his dog along the reddened shingle.

Easier to focus on the reflected sunlight bouncing off glowing windows

It took me a while to regain my vision from the first picture in this post, and from others that followed.

Until the golden orb dropped behind the Sailing Club window Piet Mondrian’s pigments plastered the single pane.

One more dog walker took advantage of the low tide.

This evening we dined at Lal Quilla. My main course was chicken Jaljala, Jackie’s, chicken Korma. We shared egg fried rice, egg paratha, and sag bhaji; and both drank Cobra. The food and service was as good as always..

We Needed The Horse Whisperer

On an only slightly cooler morning with the sun coming in and out, after a trip to the pharmacy at Milford on Sea we took drive along the coast before continuing inland.

A slight haze lay across the Isle of Wight while choppy waves slid back and forth on the wet shingle; sunlight stars glinted from rocks;

and columnar spray rose from breakwaters.

Gulls basking in the carpark occasionally took off on the wing;

couples passed rows of benches that were casting long shadows.

A thatched lych gate has been blown down in Hordle. Because vehicles cannot enter the grounds of the house beyond, the owners have placed a POST bin for deliveries.

Along Barrows Lane a robin perched on a gate through which a field containing horses could be seen beneath a sloping arboreal landscape.

When I left the car to photograph ponies in front of a house on the outskirts of Brockenhurst we noticed that one of a pair had a stick stuck in its collar.

This was clearly very difficult to dislodge. Because of the difference in size between the animals, I discerned that the one with the unwanted appendage was probably the foal of the other who was already becoming a bit twitchy at my interest. I felt I didn’t know enough to make a calm extraction, and decided to leave the task for someone who would have more knowledge.

What we needed was a Horse Whisperer in the form of John Corden.

This evening we reprised Jackie’s flavoursome sausages in red wine with fresh vegetables, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Cahors Malbec 2019

Sunset Is For The Birds

This morning I emptied a small cabinet of drawers which stood beside my desk. Some of the contents needed shredding, some were binned, and some found homes in our new cupboards. I then tackled two public bodies who I can only reach on line. I won’t bore you with the details of these, save to say that after nearly an hour on the phone with BT I wound up learning that I must pay £7.50 a month to retain my e-mail address. VAT wasn’t mentioned, but I bet that will be added.

Jackie and I moved the empty cabinet to the garden shed, and I calmed myself down this afternoon by posting

At the end of the afternoon we took a drive on which, over Beaulieu Road we noticed that

sunset was on its way.

Hatchet Pond rose up to meet it as we watched the gentle pink skies set ablaze reflecting on the surface among swans, gulls, and ducks, some of which each of us photographed

away from the the flaming areas. In mine gulls create ripples on the surface which Jackie’s sailing swans do not disturb. The Assistant Photographer has also captured reflecting gulls with wings raised and lowered in flight.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent sausages in red wine; creamy mashed potatoes; crunchy carrots; firm broccoli; and tender red cabbage, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Merlot.

Windblown Flames

After a full day of tidying and clearing we took a quick trip to catch the sunset at Mudeford.

Jackie managed to transport a carpet upstairs, one step and a time; we then moved a computing desk from the days when the devices all had towers downstairs to extend the long wooden desk I bought 34 years ago from the previous owner when I bought Lindum House. This enabled me to arrange iMac, scanner, and printer in a less cluttered manner, prompting me to tidy out the drawers on the basis that if anything inside them related to equipment I no longer used it was binned. I also continued disposing of ancient paperwork.

We drove though a dramatic shower and a range of moody skies which, by the time we reached our goal were quietly smouldering until

the flickering flames of a bonfire blew across the skies.

A stately cavalcade of swans and cygnets sailed past a row of mallards

A woman pushing a pram, and perching gulls provided picturesque silhouettes.

A dashing dog scattered other birds.

On our return, I published

Later, we dined on Jackie’s wholesome winter stewp with fresh crusty rolls with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Fleurie.