I Couldn’t Hold The Camera

The winds coming off The Solent on this hazy morning must have been far stronger than the 58 m.p.h. that had been forecast. I say this because, for the first time, I was unable to stand still on the clifftop , and was constantly being blown backwards. I was forced to sit on a bench which was firmly rooted in place.

The Isle of Wight and The Needles were swathed in haze,

and I needed the security of the bench to photograph the choppy waves sparkling in the occasional shaft of sunlight

that also illuminated the Beachcomber café beside which a woman tossed a ball for her eager retriever.

In the opposite direction another woman walked alongside her canine charge.

Before collapsing onto the bench I photographed a couple’s progress along the promenade. Because I couldn’t hold the camera in the face of the fierce gusts I occasionally produced unexpected results, one of which is the black and white image above;

mind you, in this pairing you might think the shifted angle provided the more satisfying image.

Unbeknown to me the Assistant Photographer followed my proceedings.

She then drove us inland where we could expect the winds to be less forceful.

We followed lanes less travelled like Bennets, Anna,

and London, bearing its usual amount of fly tipping. On this particular corner beside a farm gate I have already pictured a burnt out car, and, further along a trio of abandoned fridges.

This evening we dined on cheese centred haddock fish cakes; piquant cauliflower cheese; firm boiled potatoes and carrots with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Cabernet Sauvignon.

A Vehicular Stand-off

A week or so ago I searched for a phone ringing to my right. I went through jacket pockets, opened cupboards etc – all to no avail. A while later the same thing happened. Jackie picked up the phone to my left which I thought had been silent. It was then I realised that the surfeit of wax in my left ear was now affecting my hearing; and I hadn’t imagined I would be unable to detect sound direction. This morning I kept an appointment for clearance at the Milford on Sea ear clinic. Most of the stubborn substance was removed, but I was given a date for another visit to complete the job.

We abandoned the idea of a walk along the clifftop because the car parks were filling up fast

and masks were not much in evidence.

Some couples were content to stand and stare at the pastel shades of the Isle of Wight and Hurst Castle in the haze that had set the fog warning sounding during the early hours.

We then tried Keyhaven where we were unable to park even if we had wished to scramble past visitors.

We proceeded along Saltgrass Lane to the spit which was again becoming decidedly overcrowded with visitors, some of whom were unaware that the shallows would deepen when the tide came in.

Once the lane bends to the right past the bridge the only possible passing spaces on what becomes a one track road would be the verges. These were all occupied by parked vehicles.

We soon approached a vehicular stand-off. The dark blue car in front of us sat nose to nose with the light blue model. The third picture in this series shows the intimacy of the snogging session. Eventually, seen in the next two shots, a mid-blue vehicle prised itself from its tight spot, leaving the lighter one the challenge of squeezing itself in. My maternal grandfather was fond of asking anyone who leapt into his vacant chair “would you be in my grave as quick?”. This driver was very unlikely to complete the manoeuvre with any turn of speed. We didn’t wait to see. We just got the hell out of there and went home to lunch.

During the afternoon we engaged in more sweltering watering and dead-heading activities until, early in the evening we drove for a while around the lanes less travelled.

In a field alongside Rodlease Lane

a group of small breeds of pony, one of whom studied us mournfully from behind the barbed wire fence.

In Brockenhurst it was the turn of ponies to block the road, one rather underfed mare still suckling her offspring.

Another had the good sense to stick to the woodland verges.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent sausage casserole; crispy duchess potatoes; and crunchy cauliflower and broccoli, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Mendoza Argentine Malbec 2018.

Ferndene Farm Shop Is Open

This morning I received an e-mail from our brother-in-law, Ron Salinger, attaching this photograph of a ship’s boiler exposed on Highcliffe beach last Thursday, 9th April, at the town’s lowest tide of the year. It is probably from Grampus, a tug wrecked in the 1920s.

Today the air was still hazy shortly before 9 a.m. when we drove to Milford on Sea hoping to find the fruit and vegetable shop open.

On the way there I photographed walkers and their dogs heading east along the cliff top.

Jackie photographed me against The Needles

from outside the empty car park. Note the closed sign on the money machine.

The view looking west towards Hurst Castle was layered in haze. The Isle of Wight image is another from Jackie.

Ever since we arrived here seven years ago I have chronicled crumbling clifftops. April is dubbed the month for showers. We have had none this year.

Consequently cracks clearly indicate the next rocky chunk to cascade down below.

Milford’s fruit and veg shop remains closed. We next tried Ferndene Farm shop where,

while I remained in the Modus, Jackie joined an orderly queue maintaining its two metre gaps as it turned a right angle at the corner of the main building. The occasional shopper exhibited some confusion and was given advice and explanation by vigilant staff including

a charming young man

who was on hand to dispense sanitiser for those not wearing gloves.

The system worked smoothly on a one out and one in basis. This gentleman concentrated hard on his boxes of eggs.

The plants outside were in excellent condition, although it was less easy for buyers to observe the requisite distance.

The Head Gardener was overjoyed as she returned to the car clutching crates of plants and robin food.

The ponies outside The Rising Sun at Bashley on our return home needed neither to queue for their sustenance

nor to keep social distancing.

A couple of weeks ago Jackie began tidying the patio.

On Sunday Aaron replaced the blue wooden furniture, and yesterday The Head Gardener photographed the area’s current condition.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious cottage pie; crunchy carrots and cauliflower, and tender runner beans, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Mezquiriz reserva Navarra 2013.