Jackie drove me to and from New Milton station today, for me to lunch with Norman at The Archduke. He and I both enjoyed the sweet potato soup starter and the chicken escalope with chips. Norman went on to pecan pie. We shared a bottle of Sicilian shiraz.
The quill-like image on the windscreen of a parked car at New Milton was formed from reflections of the Masonic Hall, and its fence, situated opposite. Nearby, I picked up a bag of 70 Sparaxis tricolour corms. We had to look them up, and learned that they are gaudy, and should be planted in the autumn for spring flowering. I doubt that that will save a trip to any of the garden centres that Jackie frequents.
On the taxi Approach Road to Waterloo Station, a multi-storey cycle rack bears witness to the number of people who must bring their bikes up on the train. Or perhaps they cycle into the capital for work.
Before meeting Norman, I climbed the South Bank steps and peered at the River Thames from beneath the railway arches, a wall alongside which was decorated by a line of figures in a naive art style. The artist may be disappointed to learn that iPhoto only asked me to name the brunette with the red mouth, clearly not recognising the others as people.
It was a dull day, enlivened by the music of busker Scott McMahon, who gave me his e-mail address so that I could send him a copy of this photograph. He has a vibrant voice and a pleasant personality.
Multicoloured hangings proclaiming LOVE, like the one behind Scott, were affixed all around, their hues reflected in strident barriers protecting work in progress. These screens blended well with the parasols of the as yet unpatronised Strada restaurant, and gave a certain jaundiced tinge to passers-by.
Other pedestrians were, as usual, reflected in the three-dimensional rectangular structure I take to be sculptural, that stands at the corner of Sutton Walk. The fact that even the material from which this is constructed is not graffiti-proof confirms that the woman in the red jacket is part of the reflection.
Fellow blogger, arlingwoman, on learning that I was reading Robert Frost’s poems, assured me that I would enjoy them. How right she was. With uncomplicated, descriptive, language, particularly in the longer, narrative, poems, Frost moves seamlessly through straightforward observation to basic truths. These anecdotes, sometimes in the form of a dialogue, are written in the racy, sometimes vernacular, style of the countryman that the poet undoubtedly was. He writes of the weather, farm work and its implements, flowers, trees, animals, birds, and insects in a detailed, spare, manner, with an ease that belies his skilful craftsmanship; and clearly relishes the shelter and security that a home provides from the elements. As he ages, he reflects more on the human condition and its lifespan.
I have read widely all my life. As I closed my book, finished on the train, I reflected on the fact that I had left meeting such a man until now. My edition is of The Folio Society’s selection enhanced by Jonathan Gibbs’s illustrations, small examples of which grace the boards of the book.
I was back home early enough to photograph our eucalyptus flowers.
Can any of my antipodean friends specify the variety?
Our fearless little starling chicks, their pink pelican-like throats expanding and contracting beneath their buff baby fluff, poke their heads out of their cave, shouting for their food. Their more wary parents, when we are about, fly off again, their children’s dinner in their beaks.
The babies are already looking remarkably intelligent, even quizzical; and jostling for position on their balcony.
Our evening meal consisted of cheese, onion, and mushroom omelette and baked beans.