Stand-off

This afternoon our drive began at Keyhaven.

From the hill above the village we had a clear view across The Solent to the Isle of Wight. The mainland buildings are in the foreground. A solitary yacht passes the island.

At the bottom of the slope a field of black sheep introduced their very young lambs to life. Just two of the offspring were white.

A young cock pheasant face-off was under way at East End. Quite suddenly the more timid of the two turned and disappeared into the moorland,

leaving the victor to strut his stuff.

Casper, at East Boldre, enjoyed his own observation grill.

This evening we dined on Tesco’s finest fish pie; Jackie’s even finer piquant cauliflower cheese; crunchy carrots; tender peas and green beans. We both drank New Zealand’s The Quintet 2017.

Gulls And Buoys

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The steady rain we have been experiencing for a few days made way for sunshine by mid-morning, so Jackie drove us to Keyhaven and back.

Many of the roads, like this one leading to the harbour carpark, were waterlogged. I tested my Driver’s patience as I dallied on my way walking round the pool in order to photograph her driving through it. She created quite a splash, but looked rather less happy with the process than did a later driver and passenger.

Gulls on moored boats 1

 

I had been distracted by this scene of silhouetted gulls perched on moored boats with a yacht reflected in the ice-like surface of the water, with a walker on the distant spit.

Jackie parked, and I began to photograph the still, reflected, scenes of boats, gulls, and buoys. Even the birds in flight left their images on the waters beneath them.

Wishing to draw my attention to one particular precariously perched gull,

Mrs Knight gave up waiting for me to reach it, left the comfort of her car, and scattered a group of gulls basking on the mossy wall, thus providing a perfect opportunity for a shot of gulls and buoys.

Against the backcloth of Hurst castle and its lighthouse bird watchers paddled along the sea wall path. The sensible dog in the third picture

climbed the wall. I spoke to her owner, then realised that she had been the driver of the car I had photographed earlier. While we conversed, the dog went on ahead, placed her forepaws on the brickwork, dashed further along, and repeated the pose, as if to call her mistress to play. The woman seemed pleased when I told her that, with the car and her dog, she really was the star of the show.

Dogs in silhouette and waterfowl

Further on, approaching Hurst spit, we spotted a dog walker up aloft, while various waterfowl sped over the surface of the water.

Swans fed eagerly on the shore by the bridge. Had someone scattered food? we wondered.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s perfect pork paprika (recipe) with creamy mashed potato and swede, and firm runner beans. I drank McGuigan Black Label shiraz 2016

 

 

The Action Came To Me

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Moat

Jackie and I left Hurst Castle yesterday as we entered, crossing the bridge over the moat. What was once a deep defensive dug-out water-filled trench, now just collects a little precipitation when it rains.

Waiting for the ferry 1

We joined the crowds waiting for the ferry.

Waiting for the ferry 2

The small fleet of pleasure boats plied their way between Keyhaven and the castle. Even as one hove into view there was little movement among the visitors. Each boat only catered for twelve people, so those who were able might as well lounge around on the grass

Ferry arriving

until this arrival

Embarkation

had decanted its load and taken on fresh supplies.

Yachts on land 1 Yachts on land 2 Yachts on land 3

We gained a place on the next one and were soon back at Keyhaven.

Boats in harbour

On board the ferry Jackie had learned the story of the wrecked boat that I have featured in several previous posts. It is seen here with a severe list. The owner of the vessel has apparently died. Before his demise he had sold the mooring to someone at Mudeford. The purchaser has done nothing with it.

This afternoon we drove to Lepe to meet Elizabeth, Danni, and Andy. My sister is embarking on a documentary photographic series on ‘coast’ for her camera club. I had suggested Lepe.

Foal on road

On a wide junction with the Exbury Road outside Beaulieu, a young pony seemed confused. It stood in the centre, not knowing which way to turn, until Jackie stopped for it.

Gull

It had been agreed that we would make our ways to the car park and find each other. A friendly gull guided us to what seemed to be the only available space. Jackie waited in the car.

Beach scene with yachts 1

As I walked along the shingle there was much activity down by the shore at this low tide. Groups gathered in the shallows and yachts were much in evidence.

Beach scene with louring clouds

A louring sky did, however, send some off to the café.

Kite surfing 1

Kite surfers were undeterred.

Andy, Danni and Elizabeth

My extended family members, Andy, Danni, and Elizabeth, were to be found on the shingle at the far end of the car park.

Gull against louring sky

I had decided that, in walking back to inform Jackie, I would amble down to the shore, where the action was. A gull’s presence against the cloud curtain suggested rain was not far away.

People returning from shore 1People returning from shore 2

Indeed, it wasn’t, so, swathed in towels, the action came to me;

Searching the shallows

some pausing to inspect the shallows.

Along with the entire population of the beach, we entered the café, fought for chairs, and drank our choice of hot or cold liquids.

Digging for bait and walking on spit 1

When the sun returned we walked down to the crumbling cliffs for Elizabeth to conduct her recce. There a couple of groups dug for lug worms to use as fishing bait,

Walking on spit and digging for bait 1Walking on spit and digging for bait 2

while others walked along the exposed sand spit.

Kite surfing 2Kite surfing 3

Kite surfers has continued undisturbed.

Geese 1Geese 2Geese 3Geese 4Geese and surf kite

A skein of geese flapped silently by above the scene.

Yachts in sunshine against dark clouds

The darkening sky had shifted enough for a pair of passing yachts to catch the sunlight.

Packing up the kite 1Packing up the kite 2

Soon it was time to pack up the surf kites

Packing up the kite 3

and carry them to the transport.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s splendid sausage casserole, boiled potatoes, carrots, and cauliflower with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Bardalino.

Every Night Something Atrocious

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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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reprising Ice Cream Selection

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Most of the beds in the garden are threaded with stepping stones placed for access. They have become rather overgrown. This morning I began opening them out, starting with

this one leading off the Dead End Path. You should be able to distinguish between the before and after photographs. There is, incidentally, no view of the garden that doesn’t include the smelly white alliums. They bring early delight to the beds, but need an enormous amount of thinning out. Not only does each plant grow on a bulb, but each single bell on the flowers contains another bulb which it drops onto the soil. Each of these grows a new allium the following year.

Owl and owlet

Regular readers will know that The Head Gardener can never resist an owl. This morning she excelled herself by buying this one with an owlet in a jumble sale.

Elizabeth came to lunch and stayed on for dinner.

Sears Barbers

Jackie drove us to Milford on Sea where Peter, at Sears Barbers gave me an excellent haircut which is visibly reflected here.

Wikipedia has this to say about the traditional red and white striped barber’s pole: ‘The red and white pole outside barber shops references a time when barbers were expected to perform bloodletting and other medical procedures to heal the sick; red represented blood and white represented bandages. “Barber surgeons” in Rome also performed teeth extraction, cupping, leeching, bloodletting, surgery and enemas. However, today’s barber poles represent little more than being a barber shop that cuts hair and does shaves.[10] Barber poles have actually become a topic of controversy in the hairstyling business. In some states, such as Michigan in March 2012, legislation has emerged proposing that barber poles should only be permitted outside barbershops, but not traditional beauty salons. Barbers and cosmetologists have engaged in several legal battles claiming the right to use the barber pole symbol to indicate to potential customers that the business offers haircutting services. Barbers claim that they are entitled to exclusive rights to use the barber pole because of the tradition tied to the craft, whereas cosmetologists argue that they are equally capable of cutting men’s hair too (though many cosmetologists are not permitted to use razors, depending on their state’s laws).’

A couple of doors away from the barber’s is situated Polly’s Pantry Tea Rooms, first featured in ‘Portrait of a Village’ a couple of years ago.

Here are some of the home-made cakes on display.

Jackie and Elizabeth enjoyed cakes, tea, and coffee served by the delightfully friendly Julie, while they waited in this establishment for my shorn appearance. I joined them with a pot of tea. As I sat facing the window I observed a number of passing visitors examining the cakes. It seemed to me that this would make a good photograph. However I had no wish to deter prospective customers by shoving a camera in their faces. Yet I did have a couple of available models.

I sent them outside to pose.

Boys choosing ice cream

Earlier, two little boys, noses pinned to the cabinet, had come in to choose ice creams.

Jackie and Elizabeth choosing ice cream

As my two ladies came back inside the shop, they reprised the youngsters’ pose.

Wreck in harbour

After this Jackie drove us on to Keyhaven, where the wreck has developed a lurch.

Gull and mallard 1

As I watched a mallard fishing, a gull homed in on it.

Gull and mallard 2

The duck sped off. Fortunately the gull gave up the chase.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s scrumptious cottage pie, runner beans, and carrots and Brussels sprouts cooked to such perfection that all the flavour was retained. Chocolate eclairs, cream slices and Madagascan vanilla cheesecake were the desserts from which to make a selection. Elizabeth and I drank Vacqeyras Côtes du Rhône 2015.

After a session of reminiscences Elizabeth returned home to West End.