A Period Of Reflection

During a deceptive spell of sunshine between lashing gales sending floodwater pools from fields and moorland flowing across verges and resurfacing tarmac now streaming car headlights we drove to Ferndene Farm Shop to purchase items for tonight’s dinner.

Early on, bare branches stretched out against a deceptive sky.

Reflecting pools in the shop carpark evidenced the heavy rainfall;

cut chrysanthemums, packed kindling wood and seasoned logs, bulbs potted for planting, and above all

Christmas trees fast being scooped up indicated the time of year at the popular Ferndene Farm Shop. Wet surfaces did not deter shoppers enjoying the comparatively warm and dry moments, yet these people were soon dashing to there cars, as was Jackie, emerging with her shopping beneath heavy precipitation with the force of sleet which

bounced off the road surface as we left the outlet. This was to continue until we arrived home, when it eased enough for us to dash in with our purchases.

Even at mid-morning headlights were necessary, if only to highlight the deeper pools to avoid, given that we could not now be sure how deep were the proliferating potholes which would set our vehicles shuddering as we showered others.

Ponies, like these alongside Brockenhurst Road, ignored the rain, relied on towelling hide to keep their innards dry, and continued tugging the soggy sward.

Further along the road floodwater erased division of moorland and road. Notice the half-submerged gate to a path across the common. Both the approaching vehicles avoided the deeper section. I made sure I kept well back from this point when

I stepped out for a period of reflection.

Rain continued as we waited for traffic lights at the end of Hordle Lane,

and even hammered down on this tree surgeon in Everton Road who would not give up.

This evening we all dined on Ferndale’s meaty pork and garlic sausages; creamy mashed potatoes; crunchy carrots; tasty mac and cheese; tender cabbage and green beans, and substantial gravy with which I drank Calvet Prestige Côtes du Rhône Villages 2022.

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.

Backing Notes

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“You are very brave coming out on a morning like this”, was a greeting given to Jackie when we arrived at

Setley Farm Shop.

The rhythm of the windscreen wipers; the whoosh of wheels throwing up spray; the torrential tattoo beaten on the car roof as we peered into approaching headlights became backing notes as we sped along our route. The radiating starlights approaching in the third picture was the driver’s warning signal of the cyclist standing beside the left bridge support.

Once arrived at Setley Jackie had to rush through the rain leaving its marks on the Modus windows.

Rivulets ran, and raindrops splashed puddles, down lanes, like Sandy Down, where lies a somewhat

battered tree trunk barrier intended to deter verge parking.

A string of damp equestrians trekked up Church Lane,

while hardy ponies stood on the far side of the swollen lake at Pilley.

Jacqueline visited this afternoon and a wide-ranging conversation ensued until she returned to Elizabeth later.

Ian rejoined us and we dined on battered fish, chips, onion rings, and mushy peas from Ashley’s, with which I drank more of the Kruger Elements.

Waterditch Road

I wasted the best part of a rainy afternoon wrestling with my scanner because I had planned to start a new series of slides and negatives, but it is so long since I worked on any of those that I managed to mess up the settings and couldn’t sort them out. I even downloaded a manual from the internet but couldn’t understand what to do with it. Children, grandchildren, great nieces and nephews – help me please.

My caring Chauffeuse, despite the increasing hammering of rain lashed by 50+ m.p.h. winds, dragged me out of my slough of despond by suggesting we went out for a drive.

We began on the eroded cliffs of Milford on Sea

along which I struggled against the gales.

Waves crashed against the rocks below and the Isle of Wight was barely visible to intrepid walkers.

Ripples blew across the car park; traffic control signs, and barriers to road works were flattened.

Continuing inland we listened to the mesmerising swish of windscreen wipers and the cacophony of clattering rain,

gazed on wet fields with neither sheltered livestock nor sensible wildlife in sight.

We were about to turn for home, but on such a day it seemed obligatory to investigate Waterditch Road. So we did.

As we traversed the ford over the stream that no doubt gave the road its name we felt grateful that we did not live in the house beside it.

British Summer Time does not end until 2 a.m. tomorrow morning, but, driving into headlights through Highcliffe soon after 5 p.m. one would never have known.

This evening we dined on toothsome baked gammon; crisp roast potatoes; succulent ratatouille; crunchy carrots; and tender runner beans with which the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Montpeyroux. Afterwards we enjoyed Jackie’s aromatic apple pie and cream.

Damper And Damper

Yesterday evening we watched the last two episodes of Series One of The Crown.

Today was swathed in rapidly increasing gloom.

Jacqueline dropped in for a brief visit late this morning. Afterwards Jackie drove me to Hockey’s Farm shop for lunch. We left home in slight drizzle, and returned in a deluge.

Even though it was only early afternoon headlights and wet roads were the dominant view from the dripping windscreen.

Hardy ponies at Ibsley saught shelter where they could;

the more cosseted field ponies made the best of their wet rugs;

Alpacas alongside Ringwood Road just cheerfully became damper and damper.

This evening we dined on a second sitting of Hordle Chinese Take Away’s excellent fare, with which I finished the Fleurie