Gravel Pit Cottage

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We began this cold, bright, day with two trips to the recycling centre to dispose of bags of garden refuse. Afterwards we drove around the east of the forest and back.

The waterlogged green at Pilley reflected the houses beside it.

Trees,

horses,

  and buildings were similarly mirrored in the more permanent lake. Some of the animals drank the clear water, others dozed on the bank. Note the thatched homes.

The workman seen to the left of the nearest cottage was ignored by the ponies as he walked backwards and forwards from front to back of the house. Apart from the presently muddy bank and sodden bench, this was a convenient site for a bus stop. The house is named Gravel Pit Cottage, thus giving an indication of the origin of the lake. I’ve only ever seen animals drinking from the edge, suggesting that it is probably quite deep in the middle.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s special cottage pie; perfectly prepared broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and cabbage; and very tasty gravy. I finished the Chateauneuf du Pape.

 

The Biggest Aspidistra In The World?

(THE TITLE IS THE RESULT OF AN ERROR ON MY PART. AS SEVERAL COMMENTERS HAVE POINTED OUT, MY ASPIDISTRA IS A PLUMBAGO. AH, WELL, IT GAVE AN OPPORTUNITY TO INTRODUCE GRACIE FIELDS. I WON’T CORRECT MY TEXT, BECAUSE THE JOKE IS NOW ON ME, BUT THANKS ARE DUE TO ALL MY EDITORS 🙂

Even though today was Easter Sunday, and the weather was blustery and showery with occasional sunshine, Aaron and Robin finished weeding the gravel paths in the garden.

This afternoon I scanned the penultimate batch of Barbados negatives from March 2004.

These were the last few from the Bridgetown walk and the first from around the Sugar Cane Club hotel to which we transferred when realised that our initial choice, at the southernmost tip of the island, was so far from Port St Charles where Sam would be ending his epic row.

Tree

I would be grateful if anyone could identify this rather magnificent tree with its root tentacles.

House 1Houses

Here are some more roadside dwellings, both fixed and chattel examples, all with beautifully rusting corrugated iron roofs;

Bouganvillea

and, naturally, bougainvillea,

Hibiscus 1

 hibiscus,

Frangipani

and frangipani.

Flowers unknown 1Flowers unknown 2

I couldn’t identify these flowers.

I also learned that Gracie Fields’s claim for her brother Joe was probably rather dubious.

Aspidastra

Their aspidistra couldn’t have been as big as this one.

Sun loungers

Our new hotel, near the shores of the Atlantic, was well equipped with sun loungers.

Seascape 1Seascape 2

Seascape 3

The Ocean itself bore out Homer’s description of the ‘wine-dark sea’.

This evening we dined on roast duck; roast potatoes; colourful and crunchy carrots, broccoli and Brussels sprouts; and gravy so full of goodies as to accommodate a standing spoon. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished one bottle of the madiran and poured a glass from the next, with which I will continue now.

Entering Bridgetown

When you have been a townie all your life and you take up residence in an area that has none of the mains services that you have taken for granted, you tend to forget things. Like oil for the central heating. Because there is no gas. Then you tend to run out at a Bank Holiday weekend. And, being Easter, it is still chilly.

Stove

Fortunately we have a wood-burning stove. We have never before used it, but did have the chimney swept last autumn. And did have logs from the many pruning jobs we’ve carried out. All I had to do was get my head round operating it. Probably, if I had moved the church candle a bit further away from the heat it would not have melted. Hopefully we are not roasting the jackdaws that clatter the metal plate above the stove with nesting materials and, no doubt, a few jewels they have nicked. And no, I’m not going up there to find out.

Today was the first of a typical British Bank Holiday weekend, cold, wet, and windy. Just not the job for all those Egg Hunts. It was suitable for what Paul Clarke calls a ‘rainy day post’. Consequently I travelled back in my archives to a rather different day in March 2004 in Barbados, and scanned the next batch of the Bridgetown walk negatives.

bougainvillea 1bougainvillea 2

Bougainvillea continued to spread its various shades of magenta and pink along the roadsides. In the first of these two pictures, the rambling plant seeks the protection of the thorns of the plant to which it clings.

Wall collapsingBougainvillea and building

Others ramble around buildings that have seen better days.

Schoolgirl

I passed a slender schoolgirl complete with backpack on her way to her classes. Her hair had received the typical close attention that the turn-out of all these young people displayed.

Fencing in undergrowth

Although some of the roadside buildings remained rather unkempt,

Tree by roadsideHouses by roadside

others were smarter,

Steps

and even grander.

Road

Those steps, and the increasing traffic informed me that I was nearing the Bajan capital. Was the young woman with her arms folded pondering boarding the taxi/bus?

Traffic policeman

Had she done so, she would probably know what offence the hapless driver went on to commit.

Oleander

Other flowers in the hedgerows and gardens were frangipanis

Hibiscus

and hibiscuses.

This evening we dined on a rack of pork ribs in barbecue sauce, prawn gyazas, and vegetable fried rice topped with omelette. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and I drank more of the madiran.

 

 

 

 

Animals On The Road

This afternoon Jackie drove us on a tour of the east of The New Forest.

Ponies

The first stop was just outside Sway, where I spotted an attractive looking pony. Once out of the car and approaching my prey, I found there was another family member emerging from the gorse bush, some of which still adhered to my chosen subject, who had the decency to take her head out of the bush and pose for me.

Cyclists under bridge

Brockenhurst has quite an important railway station. Bridges are therefore found over the approach roads. As I prepared to take the first of these shots, I noticed two cyclists coming into view, paused, and clicked a few times.

Railway Bridge

The house on the left of this image is a comparatively recent building, and demonstrates an affinity for the area. The car approaching the bridge has its headlights on, as do many when driving through the forest.

Little Popes

On Roger Penny Way, just beyond Cadnam, stands the epitome of chocolate box thatched cottages.

Stream at Little Popes

A stream, here providing refreshment for a fluttering white dove, runs alongside and in front of

Little Popes garden

the idyllic country garden.

Sheep on road 1

Further along, at Burwash, we encountered a flock of sheep lazing on the road.

Sheep on road 2

 In stepping out to make their acquaintance I disturbed them enough to cause them to take off down the road,

Sheep on road 3

leaving evidence of their fright peppering the tarmac.

Donkeys 1

Nearing sunset, back on Roger Penny Way, a pair of donkeys were oblivious of the local rush hour traffic,

Donkeys 2

until they left the the road across which they cast their lengthy shadows.

Sunset 1Sunset 2

Tethering Drove in Hale Purlieu. Now there is a place with a name that deserves to host a decent sunset or two.

Sunset 3Sunset 4

There were more possibilities at Woodgreen.

Sunset 3 – Version 2

As the ponies cropped the grass, I cropped the first of these last two pictures.

This evening we dined on oven fish and chips, mushy peas, pickled onions, and cornichons. Jackie’s choice of beer was Hoegaarden, and mine, Old Speckled Hen.

More Of North Wales

This morning we prepared the rooms upstairs in readiness for the Christmas hoards. The first task was replacing the towel rail and cabinet and cleaning the bathroom that Aaron has redecorated. Our friend, who is A.P. Maintenance, would have come back to carry this out, but we encouraged him to stick to his well earned holiday. The three spare bedrooms were then cleaned and their beds all made up. After this came the hoovering. My role could best be described as supporting and carried out somewhat tardily.

After lunch YouView stopped working on the TV. I grappled with it for a while, then calmed myself by scanning sixteen more colour negatives on Agfa film from the 1983 holiday in North Wales. Fortunately, the equipment required for this functioned satisfactorily, and whilst I was working on this, Jackie informed me that the BT service had returned to normality.

We stayed in a farmhouse near the home of our friends Ann and Don whilst their own property was being renovated.

Hillside

Hills like this were all around us.

Houses in valley

Here is a broader view of the houses lying beneath the heaps from the discarded slate mine featured in ‘Aberfan’. As always, clicking on the images gives more detail, such as that of the children’s playground indicating the family nature of this fairly remote community near Cerrigydrudion in Corwen.

Village in the valley

A second picture shows rugby and soccer pitches alongside each other. I wondered which was the more popular game here.

Landscape

This view looks across the further side of the valley,

Jessica and Matthew approaching cattleJessica with cattle in farm field

above which nestles the farm at which we stayed. In the first of these two pictures Becky and Matthew approach the cattle. Jessica replaces them in the second,

Footpath to farm

The farm was approached from this rough track.

Louisa and cow

Louisa made the acquaintance of the inquisitive local fauna,

Louisa working train

and tried her hand at bringing life back to the train in the disused mine.

Barbed wire on post 1

Barbed wire attached to a weathered wooden post in front of a large boulder exemplified the rugged nature of the landscape,

Thistle

to which plentiful spiky thistles spoke,

Foxgloves

and in which foxgloves managed to survive.

This evening Jackie cooked a chicken jalfrezi for the eighteen people she will be feeding on Boxing Day. Eyes streaming until she created a through draft by opening the kitchen doors to the 40+ m.p.h. prevailing winds, I peeled and chopped the onions.

Hordle Chinese Take Away provided our own dinner with which I finished the malbec and Jackie drank Hoegaarden