Planes Of Boats And Trains

The morning was bright and sunny; the afternoon began with a deluge and ended in photogenic light.

Nugget can regularly be seen from the kitchen window. Jackie photographed him from there, where his own personal feeder hangs.

“Where’s Nugget?” (59)

At the dry end of the afternoon we drove to Lymington Harbour where the Assistant Photographer photographed the general scene;

a view of the monument;

and me making my own efforts.

I only saw one gull – or was it a cormorant?

and very view people on the wet quayside.

A solitary rower brought his boat into harbour past all the moored yachts.

The planes of boats and trains formed geometric artwork with the upright moored masts and surrounding buildings.

Barely a ripple disturbed steady reflections.

Before the street lamps ignited

wisps of grey smoke drifted against the pink sky presaging a sunset that disappeared behind lowering clouds.

The bandstand was nicely silhouetted with its mast guard.

In a vain attempt to catch the sundown we drove on to Lymington and Keyhaven Nature Reserve from where

Jackie photographed clouds over the wetlands;

pools along a gravel footpath;

and distant Hurst Castle with its lighthouse.

I focussed on a gaggle of Canada geese.

For dinner this evening Jackie produced Hunter’s Chicken; crisp duchesse potatoes; and tender runner beans, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Domaine de Sareval Valréas 2016.

 

 

Disaster Averted

This morning Jesus beamed down on the Isle of Wight and The Needles as we drove to Milford on Sea to collect repeat prescriptions.

A black crow menaced a pair of white gulls settled on the wet tarmac of Paddy’s Gap car park.

We continued to Keyhaven and ignored the initial Road Closed sign at the entrance to Saltgrass Lane because we knew that at high tide this narrow, winding, thoroughfare is always

closed, because the road is often awash.

This was a shame today because I couldn’t approach the kite surfers who were enjoying

their acrobatics fuelled by the blustering winds.

Overwintering Brent Geese gathering in a field were intermittently joined by

flying couples

and straggly skeins clearing Hurst Castle

and its lighthouse.

As I photographed these two views and yachts risen to the surface on the tide

Jackie photographed the whole stretch,

and me.

Venturing further inland we found Undershore decidedly damp – reflecting pools stretched from side to side and mud washed down from the verges threaded longitudinal serpentine streaks down the centre.

Even as we neared midday the sun was very low in the sky, and most dazzling as we ascended the steep incline of the narrow Holmsley Passage with its eroded tarmac. When a cluster of two abreast silhouetted cyclists emerged at speed over the brow of the hill there seemed no way they could possibly avoid splatting lycra across the bonnet of our Modus. At best, their brakes would send them into a spin beneath our wheels.

Fortunately I am often observing that simple self preservation would prevent me from speeding around bends and down hills in the way that many of these enthusiasts do. “How could they possibly stop?” is my mantra. And even more fortunately Jackie is an excellent driver with sensible reflexes. She knows to anticipate such menaces.

Even so, had she simply applied her brakes and stopped, collisions would have been inevitable. She did the only thing she could. She took the car off the road.

The main bunch of riders continued down the hill and Jackie’s axle crunched the eroded road surface as her off side wheels dropped into the lowered lacuna.

The two following cyclists stopped and came back to help. Of course the car had needed to be relieved of my weight. This had not ceased the terrifying crunching sound. The driver of an oncoming car added his observations, but without the two cyclists we would have been in real trouble. The gentleman crouched on his hands and knees to see what was happening and to guide a reversing manoeuvre. Jackie felt relieved that she had not been standing behind our lycra clad samaritan as he adopted that position.

Eventually we were on the road and the oncoming vehicle reversed to allow our passage.

Back home, as we entered the porch, we rejoiced in a pink climbing rose,

cheerful pansies in a hanging basket,

and nasturtiums still scaling the garage door trellis All was well.

This evening, for our dinner, Jackie produced succulent lamb steaks; crisp roast potatoes, parsnips and onions; with crunchy carrots and Brussel’s sprouts with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more wof the red Bordeaux.

 

Their Own Internal Tide Table

The clouds today were largely overcast, although rain did not set in until we were returning from our trip. This was firstly to Lyndhurst where we brunched at the eponymous Tea House. From our window seat we watched

a variety of visitors such as these older women seated on a bench with a view of younger mothers and their babies on the other side of the road.

Jackie’s choice of meal was Croque Madame;

mine being ham, egg, and chips.

Afterwards we continued our drive in the forest.

At Balmer Lawn I photographed a group watching Highland Water, then a foal grazing with its mother. When the youngster wandered away Jackie pictured it from the car. Bigifying the first of her pictures reveals the little wagtail it was following.

Along the gravelled Tiley Road a string of horse riders pulled over so we could pass. We didn’t. We stopped at the car park to watch more ponies and foals on the landscape.

When we moved on a crocodile of schoolchildren, presumably on a field trip, were shepherded along the road.

Yachts sailed past a gloomy Isle of Wight. The Needles, Hurst Castle and their lighthouses were, however, quite well lit.

As I focussed out to sea a crunching of the shingle behind me alerted me to a group of donkeys purposefully making their way onto the seaweed laden dry low tide bed.

One of their number paused for a scratch on the rubbish bin, while the others dined on seaweed salad. These creatures clearly carried their own internal tide table.

All those readers who were concerned for the safety of the three ducks seen on South Baddesley Road “In A Flap” may relax. They occupied it again today.

This evening we dined on pepperoni pizza with extra cheese topping, and plentiful fresh salad with Helman’s Mayonnaise or Tesco’s French dressing, according to taste. Jackie drank Blue Moon and I drank more of the Pomerol.

“Where’s It Gone?”

We took an early drive to the east of the forest this morning.

Having left Lymington we traversed Snooks Lane. The nature of this narrow, winding, road suggests that it is madness to reach the 40 m.p.h. limit marked on these lanes.

Despite the idyllic location and the recently completed cleaning of the Burrard Monument someone has tossed a coke can over the low wooden rail bordering the grounds.

The tide was out at Tanners Lane where a black headed gull foraged among the silt.

The Isle of Wight, The Needles, Hurst Castle, and the two lighthouses could be viewed through a certain amount of haze.

Our next stop was at Sowley Lane, where a pony grazed, a friendly gentleman trotted with his dog, a cyclist approached; and alongside which oilseed rape blazed through a field.

It was a sleeping baby on the opposite side of the road from his mother that had caused me to disembark. After a while he woke, awkwardly found his feet and wobbled across to the pony mare who, continuing to fuel herself, offered no assistance to her offspring who eventually, unaided, latched on to his source of nutriment.

Just as we were about to continue on our way, the Modus experienced a thudding sound and a gentle rocking. The foal was using it as a scratching post. While Jackie made these portraits our little friend even allowed her to stroke his nose.

We felt a bit stuck in place while the pony seemed stuck on us.

After a last lingering caress, he turned his head and bent it in the direction of his mother. This enabled us to take off, albeit slowly. Turning back in our direction he looked somewhat nonplussed as his image in my wing mirror gradually diminished. I swear he was thinking “where’s it gone?”.

For dinner this evening Jackie produced tandoori chicken; savoury and pilau rice; and fresh salad, with which I drank The Long Way Round reserve Carmenere 2018, another excellent selection from Ian’s Christmas case.

Sweet Smell Of Success

On a dull, damp, afternoon we took the Angel Lane route to Milford on Sea to pick up a repeat prescription from the Pharmacy, then drove on to Keyhaven.

Low tide in the harbour revealed seaweed on which gulls preened and one cannibal crow scavenged. Boats tilted and buoys bobbed. Hazy distant views of Hurst Castle and its lighthouse could be discerned.

We left via Lymore Lane where we inhaled the sweet smell of success of oilseed rape farmers as we travelled alongside

their fields and the escapees brightening the verges.

Even greater success has been exhibited by The Wheel Inn at Bowling Green. When we first came to the area five years ago this old pub was so run down as to be totally uninviting. A couple of years ago the local community formed a committee which refurbished the building and created a thriving establishment where we stopped for a drink. An excellent review appears in The Lymington Times of 9th March: https://www.advertiserandtimes.co.uk/wheel-inn-review

Jackie photographed some of the covered salad plants grown by the volunteer gardener for use in the kitchen.

This evening we enjoyed our second sitting of Hordle Chinese Take Away’s excellent food, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank sparkling water.

Every Night Something Atrocious

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED.

This morning we set off to spend the best part of the day on a trip to Hurst Castle.

We began with a drive to Keyhaven to park the car and take a ferry to the castle, perched as it is on a spit in the middle of The Solent.

Yachts being prepared 1Yachts being prepared 2

A youthful group were preparing for a sailing trip in the harbour.

Children on ferry boat

Our small boat could take twelve people with weight evenly distributed on each side. I caused some amusement when I asked one small boy how much he weighed. There was keen competition to sit in the front.

Yacht

A yacht sped past us on our way over.

Disembarking

We disembarked after our short trip,

Hurst Castle walls 1

Castle Walls 2

and were soon confronting the castle walls

Children running

along which a couple of children ran freely.

Calor gas consignment

A delivery of Calor Gas was in progress.

Hurst Lighthouse 2

Maybe it was destined for the lighthouse.

People on shingle bankJackie viewing Isle of Wight 1

We walked past this to the shingle bank

Breakwater, Isle of Wight, The Needles 1

that is the nearest viewpoint to the Isle of Wight and The Needles.

Wing battery, breakwater, Isle of Wight, The Needles, gull

Here a Wing battery forming coastal defence from late Victorian times flanks the Solent, and a gull takes a rest.

38 ton gunGun barrel

The 38 ton guns that fired from here are capable of firing a 12 1/2 inch shell, weighing 820 lbs, nearly 3 1/2 miles.They became part of the castle’s secondary armament and were kept permanently loaded.

Hurst Castle was built between 1541 and 1544 as one of a chain of artillery defences protecting key ports and landing places round southern England from Continental attack. It was sited to guard the Needles Passage, the narrow western entrance to the Solent, and gateway to the trading port of Southampton and the new naval base at Portsmouth.

The castle soon developed into powerful fortress. On occasion it was also used as a prison. King Charles 1 was briefly held captive there during the Civil War.

Jackie walking through arch

Having begun our tour in the Victorian section, we turned back and walked through the gateway to the Tudor original building.

Stone steps 1

The stone steps leading up to the first floor were reasonably manageable.

First floor walls and window 2First floor walls and window 1

We wandered around the large circular room with its stone floors, mixed material walls,

Window

and reinforced windows.

Sailor figure

A young sailor had been left behind by his ship.

Stone steps 2

Ascending the outside wall was a further set of steps that were much more daunting;

Spiral staircase

through a door at the top of this flight, a spiral staircase became ever steeper.

Toby in doorway

Having reached the highest level a notice advised us to lower our heads. This involved almost crawling through the doorway. Young Toby, probably the only person up there who could stand upright, was delighted to provide my photograph with a sense of scale. He was rather chuffed to learn that his photograph would go round the world this evening.

The Solent currents

 

From this viewpoint Jackie notice a peculiar meeting of currents in The Solent;

West Wing

and we were able to look down on the West Wing, where we then enjoyed a wholesome lunch in the café.

Lighthouse parts

Of the many other exhibitions and displays of information, were a number on the lighthouse;

Bofors gun

a Bofors 40mm gun, designed in the 1930s, which was still in service in 2013, making it one of the longest serving artillery pieces of all time.

Garrison theatre

We were fascinated by the Garrison Theatre which is possibly the last such establishment to survive from the Second World War.

ENSA notice

ENSA, or the Entertainments National Service Association, was known to the squaddies as Every Night Something Atrocious.

Apart from signing off in my usual manner, I have to leave the trip there, and report on the return home tomorrow.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s splendid penne pasta arrabbiata with which she drank Hoegaarden Anno 1445, and I drank Giulio Pasotti Bardolino Classico 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Guided Tour Of Sturt Pond

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED

Despite the heat today, Jackie continued with planting and weeding. I cut up branches from a tree Aaron had begun removing yesterday, and stuffed them into orange bags,

Late this afternoon Giles collected me and drove me to the bird hide overlooking Sturt Pond at New Milton.

Birds on Sturt Pond and static caravans

There we were able to observe the birdlife on the water between us and the static caravans opposite.

Swans taking off and landing 1Swans taking off and landing 2

This tranquil scene was soon to be disturbed by a pair of swans playing ducks and drakes.

Common tern on rock 1Common tern on rock 2

My friend and I employed quite an interesting arrangement. Giles would spot something of interest through his binoculars. I relied on the naked eye and had to be guided so I could point and click at something I couldn’t see. Take, for example, the common tern on the rock. Starting from the pale blue parasol to the right of the caravans, I would be expected to drop down to the reflected gull immediately below this and turn left at right angles to the next bird along.

Common tern on rock 3

My trust in Giles was rewarded.

The Bill Smith Tern Raft

The Bill Smith Tern Raft floats in the pond. After a ten-year development stage, the Milford Conservation Volunteers (MCV) finally launched the Bill Smith Tern Raft at Sturt Pond and the very first bird to land on it was a common tern, which also determinedly removed a herring gull who also took up temporary residence on the craft. Keith Metcalf, Conservation Manager, stated “Bill, with his band of volunteers, was a stalwart for maintaining the Solent Way footpath and this small tribute to Bill will be a lasting memorial to the services he gave so readily to the local community”. Today the raft belonged to the gulls. (See Paul Clarke’s comment below – the bird to the left is a tern)

Sparrows

A pair of young sparrows had popped over from the village in the hope that someone may have filled the empty bird feeders.

Shelducks

In the bottom left corner of this photograph are a pair of shelducks.

Sturt Pond and Hurst Castle

Across the pond lies Hurst Castle with its lighthouse.

Sturt Pond's birds

We left the hide and walked round to the bank of the pond.

Oystercatcher

An oystercatcher,

Oystercatcher in flight

finding nothing tasty, took flight.

Little terns and black-headed gull 1

Two little terns shared a rock, whilst, behind them a common tern searched for prey;

Little terns and gulls

another gull studiously ignored them;

Little terns and black headed gull 2

and one more went fishing,

Little terns and black headed gull 3

prompting one of the terns to nip off and bring back a fish for his mate.

Cormorants and black tailed godwit 3Cormorants and black tailed godwit 1

Black tailed godwit

With a pair of cormorants on a rail in the background, we watched a black tailed godwit scavenging along the shore. Giles observed that this specimen had been left behind when all its companions had left our waters because it had an injured right leg.

(Any errors of identification are entirely the responsibility of the author.)

This evening we dined on Jackie’s tasty chicken tikka, onion and mushroom rice, and salad. She drank Hoegaarden, and I drank more of Jessie’s superb chablis.