In A Different Light

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The car was repaired this morning and passed its M.O.T. test whilst it was at it. We therefore celebrated with a drive to Keyhaven and back.

Barnes Lane

The outward trip was via Barnes Lane and Milford on Sea.

The tide was far out. Without water on which to float, the damaged boat, Blue Dawn, lurched even more than it had a couple of days ago.

Hurst Castle, its lighthouse, and the recumbent hulk that is the Isle of Wight were all more clearly visible.

There were fewer birds about. Tinkling of the wind chimes in the yachts’ rigging replaced the honking of geese and the squabbling of seagulls.

Helicopter

Like a lofted shuttlecock, a helicopter whirred overhead.

Leaving Jackie in the car, I walked along the pebbled shore, past the paddling birds near the castle, and round the bend as the sea wall makes way for a coastal footpath.

Dog whiteSpotting a potential passage through the undergrowth to the promenade, I pushed through it. On the upper level I was warned off by a big beautiful beast. Scaling a slope with vociferous open jaws ahead of me and brambles encircling my legs, I was loath to miss a photo opportunity, although not in complete control of the framing. Clearly no stranger to the camera lens, my subject sheathed its fangs and adopted an angelic expression. My canine friend at last obeyed its master’s voice, and caught up with him and his more obedient companion, whilst I made my way back to the car in the opposite direction, there to

bid farewell to waders and gulls. The apparently preening cygnet is in fact a stray buoy.

It is fair to say that we had achieved our aim to see Keyhaven in a different light.

This evening we dined on lean beef burgers, new potatoes, and crunchy cauliflower, followed by blackberry, apple, and plum crumble with vanilla ice cream. I finished the Côte du Rhone.

A Little Help From My Friends

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Keyhaven harbour with boats

Today dawned dull and dry, so Jackie and I took an early drive to Keyhaven harbour and ambled along the sea wall.

Many boats were peacefully moored after the recent gales,

Boat damaged

although one looked a bit of a wreck.

Except when silhouetted against the grey waters, well camouflaged wading birds, picking their way among pebbles and seaweed in the shallows, scuttled to and fro, pausing to probe promising crevices.

Swans and cygnet

I can recognise swans and a cygnet,

Redshank

and I am fairly confident that this is a redshank, and that many of the others will be the same, but for clear identification I will need a little help from my birding friends.

I imagine that these are more overwintering Brent geese that we saw at Lepe, but I am not sure. In the foreground of the landscape photographs are many more of our own waterfowl.

Quite a few birdwatchers walked along the wall with their dogs. Unfortunately there was evidence that some owners bring their pets out to empty them, as we put it.

Hurst Castle and lighthouseHurst Castle

Hurst Castle and its lighthouse were visible through the haze.

The website of this historic building tells us:

“The History of Hurst Castle

Hurst Castle is situated at the seaward end of the shingle spit that extends 1.5 miles from Milford-On-Sea. The end of the spit, only three-quarters of a mile from the Isle of Wight, and the views from the top of the centre keep are spectacular.

Hurst Castle was the perfect location to defend the western approach to the Solent. The castle was built by Henry VIII as one of a chain of coastal fortresses and was completed in 1544.

Charles I was imprisoned here in 1648 before being taken to London to his trial and execution.

The castle was modernised during the Napoleonic wars and again in the 1870’s when the enormous armoured wings were constructed. Two of the huge 38-ton guns installed in the 1870’s can be viewed in their casemates.

During World War II, Hurst was manned with coastal gun batteries and searchlights.

Since the castle has been opened to the public many more exhibits and exhibitions have been installed, including the Trinity House lighthouse museum.”

Mittens on tree

On our way from Keyhaven to Hurst Spit, Jackie spotted a pair of mittens fitted on the lichen-covered limb of a bare tree. Although the slow-growing pale green organism suggests that its host is fairly elderly, I think the gloves have not been placed there to keep it warm, but to alert the parents of a small child who now has cold fingers.

Isle of Wight and The Needles

When we passed them earlier, the Isle of Wight and The Needles had been invisible. Just before noon, the emerging sun  revealed them.

Steamed syrup pudding and custard followed Jackie’s spicy paprika pork with wild rice and green beans for our dinner this evening. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank Séguret Côtes du Rhone Villages, 2014.

Salt Marshes

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Early this morning I walked around the garden to survey the elemental damage. The review of the situation was actually encouraging.

Nicotiana and agapanthusAgapanthus

The nicotiana and agapanthus staked up a couple of days ago have perked up;

Gladioli

as have the white gladioli,

Gladiolus Priscilla

and the surviving Priscillas

New Bed

in the New Bed.

Clematis Campaniflora 1Clematis Campaniflora 2

When we arrived, the clematis Campaniflora in the front garden rambled over all the other plants, including numerous brambles. We cut it down drastically. It has set off again and is now, the tiniest such bloom we have, dancing with abandon.

Hot lips

The Hot lips salvias are similarly enticing.

Gauras, heucheras, and geranium

The gauras, and heucheras have just bent gracefully with the wind.

Clematis

This clematis at the top of the Agriframes arch, an unnamed bargain from Lidl, has proved sturdy enough.

On the strength of that pleasant surprise, we enjoyed a drive around the forest. We didn’t visit Buckler’s Hard, which featured on 12th January 2013,

Buckler's Hard

but peeped through the fence at others who were doing so as we drove past.

St Leonard's Grange

St Leonard’s Grange is one of the fifteen barns that once served Beaulieu Abbey. There is not much of it left at Beaulieu St Leonard’s. Just one and a half gable ends and one and a half walls. At 300 ft long and more than 50 ft wide it was one of the largest in Europe.

St Leonard's Grange

Here are part of the roofs of a newer building.

Farm buildings 1Farm buildings 2

I found some nearby farm buildings equally photogenic.

Further on past Sowley, we ventured down a dead end road called Tanner’s Lane. This led straight to a shingle beach we couldn’t drive onto because this is what it was:

Tanners Lane sign

Saltmarsh 1

These were the salt marshes we had seen from the cruise boat out of Lymington Marina,

Lymington Marina

which was, in turn, even in the hazy sunlight, visible from here;

Hurst Castle

as was Hurst Castle,

Hurst Castle and The Needles

and The Needles, demonstrating that the castle is on the nearest mainland point to the island.

Boat and buoysBoat, buoy, and saltmarsh

An empty boat bobbed among the buoys.

Saltmarsh and Isle of Wight

Here is yet another view of the Isle of Wight and The Needles, for the delight of Mary Tang.

We will shortly leave for Barry and Vicki’s home in Poole. We are to try out the Isan Thai restaurant in Parkstone Road. Anyone who wishes to be informed about our gastronomical investigation must defer their gratification until tomorrow.

A Collection For Posterity

Frosty lawn

A bright sun streaked through the trees and across the frosted lawn this morning.  It was still pretty cold, so, although I am beginning to feel like taking a reasonable walk again, it probably wouldn’t have been sensible and my rambling was done through my photographic archives.

A task I have been putting off ever since I acquired my iMac, had been to rescan all my old slides and negatives.  I made a start on my very first colour slide, taken in August 1963.

Mum, Joseph, friend 8.63Vivien and I had married two months before, and, whilst searching for our first owned home, lived in my parents’ house at 18 Bernard Gardens, SW19.  Ever since his birth, as Jackie and I were to do later, she and I had taken my young brother everywhere with us.  It is perhaps therefore appropriate that I begin this renovation process with a picture of Joe on a seesaw in the garden of that Wimbledon house.  Mum is doing the seesawing by the side of an unidentified friend.

Kodak-Box-BrownieOnly one of our honeymoon pictures survives.  It was probably taken with the Box Brownie my grandfather had passed on to me some years before.  I am not sure where the print is now, but, like most amateurs in those days, I didn’t keep the negatives.  Colour slides were different.  Unless you had them made into prints, which rather defeated the object, you couldn’t view them without a projector shining light through the positive film.  That is why my collection for posterity began with colour slides.

The colour of the original fifty year old slide has deteriorated into a monochrome pink sepia.  There were also numerous little black specks and tiny hairs on the scanned image.  With the marvellous iPhoto application, I have managed to get some of the pristine picture back.  No doubt, my friend Alex Schneideman would have improved it still further.

Having been encouraged by the honeymoon photo of a Cornish fishing village I had decided to upgrade my camera and begin with colour slides. 200px-Kodak_Retinette_and_case That is when I bought my Kodak Retinette 1b, which is what I would have taken the August picture with.  Although it had a good lens for the money, in keeping with those days, there was nothing electronic or automatic about the device.  In particular you had to work out your focussing by estimating the distance between you and the subject.  This was aided later by the purchase of a rangefinder which you clipped to the top of the camera body.  Even then a calculation was required.  It will be apparent from the said photograph that I had some improvement to acquire in that department.  A knowledge of depth of field might have been useful.  For the uninitiated this is the range of the picture that will be in focus with any specific combination of lens aperture and shutter speed.  This meant that even if Joe had been in sharp focus, Mum was not going to be.  Not that anyone has to worry too much about that now.  The factors are more critical when taking close-ups, but the modern camera does the thinking for you.

This afternoon Jackie drove us through splendid forest roads glorified by the strong, low, winter sunshine, to Calshot to show me Henry VIII’s small castle.  No doubt, like the nearby Hurst Castle, this was part of a warning system and a minor defence against a possible Spanish invasion.Calshot Castle Today there is an observation tower equipped with modern technology alongside the Tudor building. Tanker passing Calshot Castle Passing the castle was the oil tanker ‘Sovereign’, another symbol of modern life undreamt of by the sixteenth century holder of that title.

Gull rounding Calshot Castle

Gulls, rounding the castle, hovered on the gusts of wind that tore across Southampton Water, just as their antecedents have done for more than half a millennium.

Shoreline

Choppy waves sped across the channel separating us from the docks and Fawley refinery, and slid up the shingle beach and back down again.  WindsurfingThe wind that urged them along and held up the gulls provided exhilarating power for a number of kitesurfers, one of whom had to stop to blow up his kite.

There were many yachts wrapped and lined up near the bay. Yachts The Beach huttinkling of their tackle against the masts provided charming wind chimes.

Although, at high tide, we saw only shingle today, judging by the rows of beach huts lining the shore between the village and the castle, Calshot Beach must be sandy.  Jackie managed to pinpoint on the map exactly where we were and therefore to identify the docks; the refinery; and the Spinnaker tower on the far shore opposite the castle. Beach hutsRealising how close, when parked near the huts, we were to the Isle of Wight, she also identified Cowes and Ryde. Cyclist with Labradors

A cyclist taking his two Labradors for a walk wheeled through the car park, across the road, and back the way he had come.

We dined on Jackie’s juicy chicken jalfrezi and savoury rice, followed by sticky toffee pudding and cream.  I drank a glass of Via di Cavallo Chianti 2012.  Perhaps a little light for a fiery curry, this was nevertheless an excellent wine and just right for my head this evening.