The Stone Face


This afternoon Jackie drove me to Hengistbury Head, where she drank coffee and I explored the scene.

Hengistbury Head

En route to the beach, I passed the top of the hill, where walkers could be seen, to my left,

and observed silhouetted figures against the sea and skyline.

Isle of Wight and The Needles

There was a new angle on the Isle of Wight and The Needles.

Hengistbury Head and beach

Walkers accompanied their dogs along the beach,

Group on beach

where a group did their best to dodge the advancing tide.

A gentleman contemplated the scene, and walked down the shingle to join them.

Eventually I did the same, and watched the sea slap the flanks of the rocks,

receding, sliding, slipping over the glistening, tinkling, shingle, and sucking at the seeping sand.


Soon the rolling waves came roaring in

Stone face

and I walked back up to the footpath, passing a stone face, mouth open, ready to drink from the spume that would hopefully reach it.

Walkers on Hengistbury Head

I watched walkers ascending the hill which had once been home to Stone Age people (

beach scene

Below, others were returning along the beach where

Hengistbury Head beach

a pair of swans I had seen earlier still floated on the water.

Boscombe Pier

We continued on to Boscombe where the pier was set against the sunbeams lighting the sea,

before returning home to a meal of fish cakes in lemon and parsley sauce, with boiled potatoes, carrots, cauliflower and broccoli, followed by bread and butter pudding. We finished the sauvignon blanc.


Sea Flowers

This morning I made a start on reading ‘Madame Bovary’.
Tree against sky
Bough against skyJohn clearing elderLater, in a successful bid to avoid the rain, I walked down to The Splash and back via the church footpath. The sunshine and showers nature of the day and the speed of the wind produced ever-changing skies, bright blue clouding over in white and grey, and vice versa, with the sun regularly emerging and lending everything still bearing raindrops a brilliant sparkle.
John was busy clearing the elder, that I had thought was a buddleia when I noticed it on 28th January.
CloudscapeCloudscape 1
Wherever you venture into the forest at the moment, you are likely to come across scatterings of what look to me like crab apples, Crab appleslike those on the bank of the stream flowing under Running Hill. Now I think about it, they are almost always near streams. I can only imagine someone is feeding the ponies in this manner when they pause their cropping to slake their thirst.
One stream the banks of which are not so bestrewn is that which runs beneath the concrete bridge of The Splash ford. Stream at The SplashThere, the water flows fast enough for a build-up of spume that echoes the lichen on the surrounding trees.
All Saints ChurchSnowdropsYew - riven
Snowdrops have pierced the sward of All Saints Churchyard, and another riven yew rent in two has somehow spared the gravestones between which part of it has fallen.
Cloudscap with trees
Hengistbury HeadIn fact the rain held off for the rest of the day and Jackie drove us out to Hengistbury Head, making this a two walk day for me. I walked along the beach, up Warren Hill and back along the cliff top to the car park cafe where Jackie sat with her puzzles, cake, and coffee.
This was the roughest sea and fiercest wind I have yet experienced on the Dorset coast. Most exhilarating. Occasionally the incoming surges from the ocean clutched at my feet.
Creamy waves
Sea coming inSea foam formingSpume on sandRolls of spumeOn the shingled edge of the beach I watched the frequent waves rolling towards the breakwaters and turning to cream as they careered up the sand and flung what my Japanese friend Rie Sug tells me her compatriots call sea flowers against the rocks, sending them furling and unfurling along the beach. Our word spume, for this foam, is rather less attractive than the oriental one. This version made the same phenomenon seen at The Splash this morning skimpy by comparison. Rather like comparing the power of a full symphonic orchestra with a piece of gentle chamber music.
Sun on sand cliff edgeSun, sea & sandThe wintry sun that had seemed quite powerful on the occasions it peeped out this morning, when compared with the other elements in play in this wilder environment, seemed rather weak.
Walking along the cliff top I was intrigued by a woman’s voice berating what I assumed to be a recalcitrant child. Peering down I saw that the miscreants were a pair of red dogs.Dogs and walker They seemed to have got the message and were allowed to romp ahead.
Sun, sea, sand & Beach hutsAfter I joined Jackie she drove us along the coast road to Boscombe. We had a brief sojourn in a car park at Southbourne, where beach huts clung to the side of the cliff, as we watched the sun doing its best.
We turned round at Bournemouth and headed for home where we enjoyed another very tasty dinner. This consisted of roasted chicken thighs marinaded in lemon juice, coriander, parsley, and a chilli; accompanied by roasted red and orange peppers, onions and baby tomatoes; cauliflower cheese; mashed potato and swede; and broccoli. Jackie drank Hoegaarden whist I drank Lidl’s Bordeaux Superieur, so the drinks choice was back to normal.