Black And White

Bright sunshine lifted the lingering morning mist as we set off for a short forest drive today.

Shafts and shadows streaked across Jordan’s Lane, where

our path was soon blocked by a driverless tractor, the cab of which was

soon occupied by a man who drove it on its way, complete with trailer.

Distant tree lines alongside Shotts Lane remained somewhat hazy.

The colourful Georgian terrace of Southampton Road with its clusters of

towering chimneys at its point of departure from Lymington has often attracted me, but it is not a place to stop the Modus.

Today I regretted not making an exception, so Jackie drove around the block and parked in a side road while I walked back.

You may be able to spot the gentleman approaching me on the left hand pavement.

He proved to be another man who, in the days of film, had turned his kitchen into a darkroom in order to print black and white images with trays of chemicals and an enlarger poised on the daytime work surfaces while black sheets covered available windows.

We had an enjoyable reminiscing session, in which he explained that he had a large collection of black and white photographs that he really ought to “move [his] butt” to print. I informed him that the only real editing I carried out with my digital photography was cropping and converting to black and white.

I hope I had inspired him to take up his printing once more as he inspired me to produce these converted images.

The uncropped version of this 1982 portrait of Becky first published in 2014 has not yet been recovered from WordPress, but I include this header picture of her eyes from a later post as an example of a print of such a size that I needed to project the enlarger onto the floor to produce it.

Late this afternoon, having collected Dillon from Heathrow, our daughter delivered him and his young family back home and returned to her own in Southbourne.

We dined on tender roast pork, crisp Yorkshire pudding and roast potatoes, crunchy carrots, firm cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, and meaty gravy, followed by a spicy pumpkin pie which Jackie had baked in honour of Dillon’s return. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Gran Selone.

Who Lived Down Here?

This morning Jackie drove me into the forest.

At the bottom of Bull Hill a troop of donkeys blocked the road. After negotiating her way round them, Jackie drove on until she could stop safely, when I disembarked and walked back to find that the animals had

ambled off to disrupt traffic further down the road.

Undeterred, I followed, trying not to inconvenience the traffic myself, and found them separately secluded in various entrances.

At the narrow, Portmore, end of Jordans Lane

I spotted a stationary stone squirrel sited on slate tiles.

We wondered who lived down here.

On our return home I received a message from EE stating that my number had been transferred – and another from O2 informing me that I was on emergency calls only.

Flo then helped me get my head around using the new device. This, of course, required much patience from her as she watched her grandfather’s nervous fingers stubbing away, often inserting the wrong information, if only with one incorrect digit. She positioned the various icons in Grandpa-friendly locations on the screen.

This evening we dined on tricolore fusilli pasta arrabbiata with cauliflower and broccoli al dente sprinkled with Parmesan cheese accompanied by Hoegaarden in Jackie’s case, and more of the Cabernet Sauvignon in mine.

Spring Verges

Rain yesterday had prevented me from photographing Martin’s garden work.

First he completed the tidying of the Back Drive. When our neighbours put up a new section of the fence between us the hook retaining our five barred gate disappeared. Martin fitted a new one, straightened the last of the line of bricks, removed refuse from beyond the gate, and transplanted some geraniums to brighten the bank opposite the raised bed.

Next, he cut the grass, then

weeded the Phantom Path and the southern half of the Brick Path.

Early this morning Jackie and I took a brief drive along the lanes to the east of the forest,

where wild flowers pack the verges, like these on the lane approaching Portmore;

and on the narrow section of Jordans Lane,

featuring a hole for a gate cut into a conifer hedge, and a horse and hound weather vane.

After lunch Jackie finished planting violas to complete the aforementioned Raised Bed, which she photographed herself.

We still have many camellias, a Vulcan magnolia, and burgeoning rhododendrons.

This evening we dined on fillet steaks, oven chips, and peas, with which Jackie finished the Cabernet Sauvignon and I drank Bordeaux Supérieur 2019.

Scratching And Suckling

Sue W’s post reminded me of a story from before my WP days, which I thought should be told.

Sometime in the late 1970s I travelled to King’s Lynn on the Norfolk coast in order to deliver a speech about Social Work to the nuns of a convent about ten miles away. From London this involved a lengthy train journey and cab rides. The town was etched in my memory because it had suffered from the North Sea flooding of 1953.

The last passenger train was, as far as I remember, about 6.30 p.m. This was confirmed by the sole station staff member. I arrived in such good time that I went for a walk, returning to see a train departing.

I became further perturbed when I saw the single employee pedalling away. I caught up with him and asked if that had been my train. With a look of terror he informed me that there was only the night train to come and cycled off in haste.

There was a long wait ahead of me. No dining establishments were open. There was a cinema – showing ‘Stand Up Virgin Soldiers’. I bought a large cup of popcorn and settled into my seat – one of three now occupied.

The film was meant to be funny, but I wasn’t in the mood.

The night train got me home in the small hours of the morning.

Fast forward to this morning, when Jackie and I visited Milford on Sea Pharmacy for repeat prescriptions, after which we did not linger on the coast,

the car parks of which were fast filling up with older visitors watching the sun glinting on the waves against a backdrop of Hurst Castle, and those

entertaining pre-school age children at the seaside.

Leaving Milford, cyclamen continue to decorate the roadside verges.

It was donkeys, some quite young, that dominated the roads like Jordan’s Lane at Pilley, where they indulged in suckling and scratching on any available surface.

We both spent some time watering pots and Hanging baskets.

This evening we dined on roast pork, parsnips, and potatoes; crunchy carrots; tender cabbage and green beans, with tasty, meaty gravy. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2019.