Puttles Bridge

Today was mostly bright, sunny, and dry, except for a shower or two this morning.

While Jackie filled the bird feeders she met and photographed Eric the Pheasant who has returned for his annual visit to announce he has once again evaded the seasonal guns. We know it is Eric because he amuses himself chucking the Head Gardener’s rows of ornamental shells in all directions.

Later we visited New Milton Post Office to send off a card, then Milford on Sea pharmacy for a repeat prescription, and into the forest for a drive.

En route to Milford strong sunlight set the Solent sparkling and

silhouetted walkers on the coastal promenade.

Similarly silhouetted were moored boats and

a gentleman encouraging his dog to take a bath at Keyhaven harbour

where the parking area now reflected pedestrians. Jackie waited patiently for these two to pass in order to avoid spray-showering them.

A pair of swans investigated the tidal shore-side waters. The second two photographs are Jackie’s.

A steady jogger ran down Lymore Lane.

We stopped at Puttles Bridge over Ober Water which was now bordered by reflective pools.

Jackie photographed me making my way to the bridge,

 

taking some of my own pictures,

and walking across for more.

The fast flowing stream reflected still skeletal oaks, cerulean skies, and scudding clouds.

Stirred by rocky bends, bubbling surface water sped upstream, clearly revealing the gravel bed.

Not so clear was the mud coloured liquid in the shallower pools lined by last year’s oak leaves, now nurturing bright green weed.

I wandered off piste to picture a grazing pony;

a shadow-strewn path;

roots exposed by the erosive action of the waters;

 

further reflections;

and a friendly family group.

Our first wedding was 52 years ago today. After a somewhat lengthy hiatus we enjoyed a second in 2017. This evening we are off to The Family House Chinese restaurant in Totton where will partake of our favourite set meal while drinking Tsing Tao beer.

Double Yellow Lines

Steady, light, rain seeped from slate skies throughout the day.

This morning Jackie worked in the greenhouse while I ironed, read, and photographed raindrops on

our unidentified peach rose,

wallflower Sugar Rush Purple,

and a tiny primula.

This afternoon Jackie drove us to Keyhaven.

You may be forgiven for thinking that this is a picture of yachts moored in the harbour. In fact it is a photograph of Hurst Castle in the mist beyond them.

Here are a few more boats and buoys;

a silhouetted walker rounding the sea wall;

and some mizzled (it’s a Cornish word, WP) landscapes.

Saltgrass Lane is normally closed when flooded. Today ducks swam on the waterlogged flats;

a murky gull flew overhead;

another hazy walker could be glimpsed on the spit; and other waterfowl extended their search onto the shallow spate.

Intrepid turnstones contemplated shifting these boundary boulders,

and investigated the possibility of lifting the saturated tarmac.

A solitary swan swam along the cambered verge,

occasionally pausing to slake its thirst.

Note the double yellow lines indicating that parking in this road is forbidden at all times. Swans have diplomatic immunity.

This evening we dined on smoked haddock fillets; cod fishcakes in parsley sauce; piquant cauliflower cheese; Dauphinoise potatoes and a splash of colour from orange carrots and green runner beans. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Breede River Valley Pinotage 2017.

 

 

“She’s Got A Baby”

Today’s thirty minute walk was along the stony seawall path of Keyhaven Harbour. Jackie drove me there and back and waited in the car park while I strode out and crawled back.

As I began to open the gate leading on to the mallow lined footpath I noticed a woman carefully following the ungainly swan walking ahead. I did not see the little legs behind the mother.

From the car Jackie yelled “she’s got a baby’. Looking at the container the woman was carrying, I wondered what my wife was talking about, especially as there wasn’t much activity in the transparent tub.

In order to obtain a view from Jackie’s perspective I slid along the front of the Modus and saw the little imprinted cygnet.

I exchanged greetings with a number of other walkers and cyclists availing themselves of this mallow-lined stony path leading to Lymington with its views of the harbours, the Isle of Wight, Hurst Castle and associated lighthouse. The gentleman at the rear of the group in the fifth of these pictures is awaiting a knee replacement, and asked me what to expect. I gave him the benefit of my experience.

I’m not sure what kind of duck this is with its babies bobbing about.

I passed more walkers on my return to the car park,

on the other side of which the cygnet was learning preening.

This evening we dined on minty lamb burgers with roasted mushrooms; creamy mashed potato; crisp cauliflower and carrots, and tender runner beans. I realise I have been regularly remiss in not mentioning the delicious aroma emanating from steaming bowls of perfectly cooked vegetables. Today my nostrils gave me a wake up call. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Malbec.

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.

What’s In The Folds?

CLICKING ON ANY IMAGE IN A GROUP ACCESSES ITS GALLERY, INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS OF WHICH CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE BY SCROLLING DOWN AND CHECKING BOX AT BOTTOM RIGHT. THE LAST TWO PICTURES CAN BE ENLARGED WITH ONE OR TWO CLICKS

We are fortunate that Giles, now our oldest friend, lives nearby. He made a welcome visit this morning.

This afternoon, Jackie took me for a drive, to Keyhaven and its environs.

At high tide, with a stiff breeze, the water in the harbour was quite choppy.

Hurst Spit bore its usual silhouetted figures. It was not until some members descended the shingle slope that I could make out the baby being carried.

Two men approached and passed a couple holding hands.

Cyclist, figures on Hurst Spit

A cyclist patiently passed our parked car as I poked my camera through the open passenger seat window.

Builder and sculpture

The Solent Grange entrance to Carrington Park holiday homes is being embellished by the most pretentious sculptures, including massive white lions. I will have to wait until I am more mobile to do this justice. In the meantime the gentleman on the wall was happy to be photographed. What, we wondered, was stuffed into the folds of this figure’s dress?

This evening we dined on another excellent takeaway meal from Forest Tandoori. After onion bahjis, I enjoyed a lamb jalfrezi and special fried rice, while Jackie chose a chicken biriani. I drank sparkling water and Mrs Knight drank Hoegaarden.

A Pee And A Frolic With Santa

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. THOSE IN CLUSTERS ACCESS GALLERIES THAT CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE.

This morning I hand delivered some local cards.

We then drove to New Milton for some very last minute Christmas shopping, and on to Keyhaven

for a look at the harbour where sleek swans and male and female mallards foraged in the silt alongside each other, dripping water as they came up for air;

Gull

gulls perched on railings;

Sandpiper

and speckled sandpipers trotted about.

On the Hurst spit could be seen silhouetted figures such as the dog hurtling past its owner to cock a leg against a post. Presumably unaware of the urination, Santa rested his bike against the pillar, and another dog game scampering by for a frolic with the first. Fulfilling his social duty, the dog’s owner toted a filled poo bag.

Mathew, Becky, and Ian, with Scooby, arrived for the Christmas holiday at intervals during the afternoon. Tess and Poppy are to follow on later. Jackie fed us on a delicious cottage pie with crisp carrots and cabbage. I drank Doom Bar, and I’m not bothered about what the others chose.

christmas-lights

We hope that, tonight, Santa will find his way to the house. So we left some guiding lights on.

A Little Help From My Friends

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. THOSE IN GROUPS ACCESS GALLERIES WHICH CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE.

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.