Ponytails

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There was so much snow and ice around on Friday 2nd March, that we were unable to leave the house. It was, however, fifty years since Jackie and I first married. In our circumstances we are uncertain whether this date or that of our second wedding last year takes precedence. We couldn’t really let it pass unnoticed as we chomped our sandwiches in the evening, and I decided to buy a token present today. Jackie therefore drove me into New Milton where I bought some Givenchy Organza perfume which made her even more fragrant.

This afternoon we drove into the forest. Although the snow had largely disappeared there were a few pockets in the more sheltered spots.

More trees, like those on Boldrewood Drive, had been shattered by the winds of Storm Emma, requiring their limbs to be cut up, and left to join the relics of previous arboreal casualties, retained for ecological purposes.

The two small ponies seen foraging by the roadside were perhaps last year’s later foals. One, in particular, decorated its mane at tail with crisp bracken and leaves.

We stopped for a drink at The Royal Oak, North Gorley. Jackie, reflected in a pool on the road outside the pub, sports her own ponytail.

We then returned home just in time to receive a call from Richard of Kitchen Makers who came to fit the front of one of the drawers that had not been delivered to him before; and to change an existing power point so that it would match the new ones he had installed. Such is his attention to detail.

Pasta arrabbiata

Having mastered the hobs, this evening Jackie fed us on her spicy pasta arrabbiata. She had stocked up on her frozen delicacies. The bulk of this meal was heated up and more pasta cooked on the induction hobs. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

Terrifying Technology

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This morning we began the task of familiarising our new kitchen and slowly returning items to it.

Kitchen 1

Here is a reasonably complete view across the sink to the long work surface. To the left we have the fridge/freezer and ovens alongside the larder, opposite which are the induction hobs.

Fridge/freezer, ovens, cupboards

Alongside these latter is the small cupboard bearing Richard’s new door.

Dining areaSink and dining area

 

Looking across the sink area to the long window we have the dining table.

Jackie by bins

There is a cluster of waste bins under the sink.

I needed Jackie’s assistance to microwave my coffee this morning. She remembered this process, but found

Jackie with instruction books

the rest of the instruction booklets rather daunting.

Needless to say the room will now need expert decorating to do justice to the work of Kitchen Makers and Crestwood. We will have to wait for the money from France for that.

Much of the day was spent carrying items in from the library, wiping off the dust, and placing them in cupboards. We have decided to keep the free-standing Chinese cabinet in the kitchen in order to display the glasses. It also blends well with Richard’s oak shelving.

This evening we dined on a second helping of Mr Chan’s Hordle Chinese Take Away with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Concha y Toro.

We Have Survived

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Saucepans

This morning we unpacked a set of complimentary pans that came with the hob.

The garden has perked up after the snow. Sap is rising in no longer flaccid daffodils, hellebores, irises, and primulas; the first sunshine warms the beds, casting striking shadows.

A couple of days ago we thought it would be impossible for Aaron of A.P. Maintenance to work today, yet, here he was, pruning roses.

Meanwhile, Richard completed the kitchen. The cupboard doors were finished;

one he had made for the under stairs cupboard that had only had a curtain before;

having smoothed over yesterday’s plastering, new power points were fitted everywhere. Notice how Pauline’s light catcher bestows her blessings on the proceedings,

Smiley saucepan face

and a saucepan’s seal of approval is presented in a smiley face.

After a long day’s work, Richard carefully and patiently gave us tutorials on how to operate the scarily complex equipment. Tomorrow I will feature the total tour de force.

This evening, in our new dining area, we enjoyed a takeaway meal provided by Mr Chan at Hordle. I drank Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo reserva 2016.

 

 

 

Snowponies

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I was banned from the kitchen this morning in order to allow Richard to catch up on his largely snowbound day yesterday.

Rain and a slight rise in temperature had brought about the beginnings of a thaw, so Jackie drove us into the forest on roads that were no longer icy.

They were rather more slushy;

ditches, like this one with a birch perched on its bank, were still iced over;

and snow, still lying beneath trees, streaked the moors.

Rain falling from a leaden sky made heavier the coats of drooping ponies trudging across the roads.

Ponies, snow, bracken, gorsePonies, snow, bracken, gorsePony, snow, bracken, gorsePony, snow, bracken, gorse

A pair of grey snowponies, hoping for cosy scarves and carrots, had not yet begun to melt.

Steak and pizza

At Bransgore we lunched at The Crown Inn, of the Vintage Inn chain. We both enjoyed our meals. Jackie’s was pizza diablo with chips; mine, also with chips, was rib eye steak with peppercorn sauce, tomato, onion rings, and green salad. Jackie drank Amstel and I drank Razor Back, still known as Ringwood’s Best.

Outside Bransgore, on our way home, we noticed a sheep trying to supplement its wool with a straw shawl, whilst neighbouring alpacas grazed.

Richard had not been idle. He had fitted most of the cupboard doors,

continuing with them and adding the hob before leaving a little later. The dishwasher door display is projected onto the floor.

This evening’s meal consisted of instant minestrone, chicken tikka, and tomatoes.

The Sexiest Statue In The Capital

 

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Treacherous snow and ice lying on the ground today kept us inside and prevented Richard from getting his van out of his drive until mid afternoon, so I decided to visit The Streets of London. Trains were not running so this was achieved through the medium of a batch of colour slides from June 2005.

 

 

The Hilton Hotel Paddington is actually in Praed Street, on the corner of Harrow Road, WC2. Paddington Walk, revealed when the large van had passed on, was still under construction at the time I made these pictures.

Long Acre WC2 6.05

 

Still in WC2, Covent Garden Tube Station, opened in 1906, stands on the corner of Long Acre and James Street.

Floral Street/James Street WC2

Floral Street is at the other end of James Street. Many scooter riders have their directions perched on a board in front of them.

Carting Lane WC2 7.05

The brass number plate at 80 Strand, on the corner of Carting Lane, WC2 clearly receives regular polishing.

Arundel Street, WC2 shares a corner with Temple Place, on which is sited Temple

 

 

Underground station.

Victoria Embankment EC4 7.05

Along Victoria Embankment

Savoy Place WC2 7.05

lies Savoy Place where stands a memorial to Michael Faraday at the edge of Victoria Embankment Gardens.

Arthur Sullivan Memorial WC2 7.05

There we find another, depicting the Muse of Music, celebrating Sir Arthur Sullivan. I know my self-imposed restraint on this series of photographs is that they must contain the street sign, but on this occasion I couldn’t help myself.

https://memoirsofametrogirl.com/tag/memorial/ tells us:

‘Sitting on reclaimed land on what used to be the River Thames stands Victoria Embankment Gardens. It’s a small pocket of greenery in the West End just a stone’s throw from the waterways located beside Embankment tube station. For many workers and tourists, it’s a nice place to have lunch, but it is often passed by. As well as playing host to a café and summer lunchtime concerts, the Gardens also feature a collection of monuments to the great and good.

One such monument is the Grade II listed memorial to legendary composer Sir Arthur Sullivan. Situated in the slimmer part of the gardens nearer to the north-eastern exit, it is located looking towards The Savoy Hotel. Sullivan and his frequent collaborator, dramatist WS Gilbert were closely linked to The Savoy Theatre, which was built by their producer Richard D’Oyly Carte in 1881 using profits from their shows. Gilbert and Sullivan’s last eight comic operas premiered at The Savoy Theatre, so it is only fitting that the Sullivan memorial is so nearby. Eight years later, The Savoy hotel opened next door, also built from profits of their opera The Mikado, which had premiered at the theatre four years previously.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl

Lambeth-born and Chelsea-raised Sullivan is widely recognised as one of the greatest English composers. Although best known for his operatic collaborations with Gilbert, he also wrote many operas, orchestral works, ballets, plays and hymns, among other musical compositions alone. Among his work with Gilbert included HMS Pinafore, Patience and The Pirates Of Penzance. Following an incredibly successful career and a knighthood in 1883, Sullivan died at his London flat of heart failure on November 1900, aged 58. Despite his wishes to buried with his parents and brother at Brompton Cemetary, Queen Victoria ordered he was to be laid to rest at St Paul’s Cathedral.

© Memoirs Of A Metro Girl

Nearly three years after his death, Welsh sculptor Sir William Goscombe John’s memorial to Sullivan was unveiled in Victoria Embankment Gardens by Princess Louise on 10 July 1903. The monument features a weeping Muse of Music, who is so distraught her clothes are falling off as she leans against the pedestal. This topless Muse has led some art critics to describe the memorial as the sexiest statue in the capital. The sculpture is topped with a bust of Sullivan, with an inscription of Gilbert’s words from The Yeoman Of The Guard inscribed on the side: ‘Is life a boon? If so, it must befall that Death, whene’er he call, must call too soon.’ At the bottom of the pedestal is a mask of Pan, sheet music from The Yeoman Of The Guard and a mandolin inscribed with W Goscombe John A.R.A. 1903.

Meanwhile, if you come out the Gardens and cross the road, there is a memorial to his former writing partner Gilbert on the retaining river wall. It features a profile of the dramatist, two females, two wreaths and a shield. It reads: ‘W.S. Gilbert. Playwright and poet. His Foe was Folly, and his Weapon Wit.’ Gilbert died May 1911 after suffering a heart attack in the lake of his Harrow Weald estate while trying to rescue the artist Patricia Preece, who was 17 at the time.’

Sutton Walk SE1 7.05

This crossing in SE1 leads from Sutton Walk to Waterloo Station, which, had I gone up by the non-running train, would have carried me back to New Milton.

So slippery was it in our inclined drive that, when Richard did manage to arrive, he needed to lay a large dust sheet over the icy surface in order to carry in his tools and equipment.

 

 

He installed the extractor fan;

 

 

switched the hinges and lighting buttons of the doors of the fridge freezer, which, of course, involved drilling precise new holes;

 

 

and set it in its allocated space beside the ovens, from which he burnt off the insulation.

 

Plaster in various places was prepared for later smoothing.

We were so iced in this evening that it wasn’t even safe to walk along to The Royal Oak. I may not have mentioned before that we are not blessed with adequate street lighting. So it was instant vegetable soup and egg mayonnaise sandwiches for our dinner, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Doom Bar.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carefully Cutting To Shape

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Compared with that experienced in other parts of the world, including the rest of the UK, the Christmas cake icing barely coating our garden when we awoke this morning could hardly be called snow. It was a little thicker later on,

and by late afternoon could even display avian footprints.

The Waterboy’s fountain was so frozen that its pump had to be turned off.

Despite a heavy cold, Conor turned up early this morning and completed the flooring. Some of the furniture had been placed in the far left corner to enable him to cover all the other areas. When he was ready to fill that space he rang for help to move the items off the previously prepared screed. Within ten minutes Andy arrived to help. A sheet of plywood was utilised to protect the new flooring. Andy, working at his usual rate of knots, didn’t even take time to remove the hooded jacket that had protected him from the sweeping snowflakes.

Once the final screed base had dried, Conor, carefully, cutting to shape where necessary, completed the job to an exemplary standard.

The fact that we ate at The Royal Oak for the third night running had more to do with the treacherous weather conditions than anything else. This was no hardship. I enjoyed my chicken ham hock, and cider pie in short crust pastry with red wine sauce, broccoli, manges touts,  peas, and mashed potato accompanied by Razor Back beer; Jackie was equally happy with her barbecue flavoured macaroni cheese and garlic bread. She drank Amstell.

On His Knees

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Richard was still working when Jackie and I went out for our meal last night. Using a scribing block, in preparation for the Crestwood flooring people tomorrow, he marked out a threshold, cut it to shape on his chop saw,

Threshold fit

and pressed it neatly into position in the doorway to my study area.

He then found he needed to remove the door, shave a little off the bottom, and screw it back up again.

Cutlery tray

When we returned we found that he had not only left the place spotless, but had also fitted the cutlery drawer.

This morning, Conor arrived to prepare the floor for its covering. His yellow knee pads are essential protection for joints that are constantly bending and sliding across floors. First he sanded smooth the screed applied last week;

then swept it clean; mixed up a firmer base with which to cover it; and spread that smoothly.

Dryer

It was then dried with a machine that sucked in air at room temperature and blew it out again. He delegated to me moving the dryer across the surface at regular intervals whilst he went off to another job.

In the afternoon he returned and once more smoothed the second screed before laying out the panels of pale limed oak Karndean flooring in two directions so we could decide in which direction we wanted it.

He then proceeded, with the edge of his long metal straight edge helping him transfer and mark his line, to cut his shapes;

apply his glue;

pressing the boards down by hand.

Elizabeth popped in for a while, and she and Jackie impeded my photographic progress by standing, squealing with glee, in the doorway.

This evening we dined at The Royal Oak. My meal was lamb shank served with an array of vegetables and bacon and spring onion mashed potato. With this I drank Ringwood’s Best, now termed Razor Back, apparently to appeal to a younger clientele. Jackie also enjoyed her chicken burger with fries and salad, She drank Amstell. I polished off the last of her fries.