Disaster Averted

This morning Jesus beamed down on the Isle of Wight and The Needles as we drove to Milford on Sea to collect repeat prescriptions.

A black crow menaced a pair of white gulls settled on the wet tarmac of Paddy’s Gap car park.

We continued to Keyhaven and ignored the initial Road Closed sign at the entrance to Saltgrass Lane because we knew that at high tide this narrow, winding, thoroughfare is always

closed, because the road is often awash.

This was a shame today because I couldn’t approach the kite surfers who were enjoying

their acrobatics fuelled by the blustering winds.

Overwintering Brent Geese gathering in a field were intermittently joined by

flying couples

and straggly skeins clearing Hurst Castle

and its lighthouse.

As I photographed these two views and yachts risen to the surface on the tide

Jackie photographed the whole stretch,

and me.

Venturing further inland we found Undershore decidedly damp – reflecting pools stretched from side to side and mud washed down from the verges threaded longitudinal serpentine streaks down the centre.

Even as we neared midday the sun was very low in the sky, and most dazzling as we ascended the steep incline of the narrow Holmsley Passage with its eroded tarmac. When a cluster of two abreast silhouetted cyclists emerged at speed over the brow of the hill there seemed no way they could possibly avoid splatting lycra across the bonnet of our Modus. At best, their brakes would send them into a spin beneath our wheels.

Fortunately I am often observing that simple self preservation would prevent me from speeding around bends and down hills in the way that many of these enthusiasts do. “How could they possibly stop?” is my mantra. And even more fortunately Jackie is an excellent driver with sensible reflexes. She knows to anticipate such menaces.

Even so, had she simply applied her brakes and stopped, collisions would have been inevitable. She did the only thing she could. She took the car off the road.

The main bunch of riders continued down the hill and Jackie’s axle crunched the eroded road surface as her off side wheels dropped into the lowered lacuna.

The two following cyclists stopped and came back to help. Of course the car had needed to be relieved of my weight. This had not ceased the terrifying crunching sound. The driver of an oncoming car added his observations, but without the two cyclists we would have been in real trouble. The gentleman crouched on his hands and knees to see what was happening and to guide a reversing manoeuvre. Jackie felt relieved that she had not been standing behind our lycra clad samaritan as he adopted that position.

Eventually we were on the road and the oncoming vehicle reversed to allow our passage.

Back home, as we entered the porch, we rejoiced in a pink climbing rose,

cheerful pansies in a hanging basket,

and nasturtiums still scaling the garage door trellis All was well.

This evening, for our dinner, Jackie produced succulent lamb steaks; crisp roast potatoes, parsnips and onions; with crunchy carrots and Brussel’s sprouts with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more wof the red Bordeaux.

 

Water Sports

The storm which began at mid morning yesterday continues to rage until, we are told, midnight today.

This was the view from our French windows 24 hours after we had laid down the furniture. We had left the blue wooden table standing because we thought it heavy enough to withstand the gales. We were wrong. Against the window behind the figure is wedged someone’s dustbin lid. To have reached its resting point it has to have sailed over a fence as if a giant’s Frisbee and slalomed along one or two of our paths.

Feeling as if I had joined Dorothy in the grip of a Kansas tornado, I made a very brief survey of damage. Aaron had firmly fixed the long, now broken, mirror lying on the gravel to the struts on the fence. Beside it flops clematis Campaniflora, also wrenched from its moorings on the arch spanning the path.

Between that fence and the patio stands an ornamental poplar. Its branches are being severely twisted. Out of shot is a hook attached to wire which is used to hold open the wrought iron gate. I clipped it into place to take the second photograph. With a thunder clap the gate slammed shut when the wire was snapped.

Here is a representative sample of crashed pots and a rose ripped from its ties. A final inventory will perforce be featured tomorrow.

This afternoon, to take her mind off the garden destruction – rather more than I photographed earlier – Jackie drove us to Mudeford, where I discovered that what breaks the heart of a gardener encourages pleasure seekers to rush to become blown about and thoroughly wet.

While their adults hunkered down in the car parks, the younger gulls bobbed about like rubber ducks in a wave bath.

Three or four of these unsuspecting youngsters suddenly appeared toting plastic packaging over which they squabbled.

From the quayside I was able to see both kite-surfers and sailboarders in the distance, operating from Avon Beach.

Crabbing was taking place as usual, however I was tempted to walk along to the beach for a nearer view of those engaged in water sports.

A gentleman rested his waking-boot-clad feet while his muzzled husky took a breather.

The powerful winds had been unable to uproot these secure mooring buoys.

Various groups wandered on and off the warm sands.

Skimming sailboarders and spraying surfers sped across stormy seas.

Races ensued;

other paths crossed.

While the winds were ushering me onwards, the walk to the beach had seemed quite a good wheeze. Not so the return during which, like the gulls in the air I laboured to stay still.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s tasty new “prawns and stuff” – “stuff’ being peppers, tomatoes, and garlic; with Tesco’s firm fish pie; her own piquant cauliflower cheese; and crunchy carrots. We both drank Definition Gruner Veltliner 2017.

Surfing The Solent

For lunch today, we joined Mum, Elizabeth, Danni, and Ella for lunch at Woodpeckers.

Ella seemed at home in her throne while she played with Mum’s finger;

afterwards she was happy to be passed around. Danni e-mailed these images to me.

We all enjoyed tender, lean, beef casserole; creamy mashed potatoes; tender carrots and green beans, followed by pear sponge and custard. Apple juice and red and white wines were on offer. Each of us chose our preferred beverage. Mum was given her requested orange juice. Teas and coffees were to follow.

Afterwards Jackie and I continued into the forest. As we left I wondered where else one would find

ponies wandering about outside a care home carrying the outstanding rating of the top 3% in the country?

On Furzey Lane, near Beaulieu, one chestnut pony waited patiently at a gate; and a thatcher’s donkey took a rooftop view.

“Ah. A donkey derby”, exclaimed Jackie as we reached East Boldre and encountered these animals on the road, some making their way to their job of trimming grassy areas and holly hedges, turning up their noses at as yet unripe blackberries equally within their reach.

One unfortunate child, missing a shoe, had been forced to hop home from there.

At the end of Tanners Lane strong winds whipped waves ashore, attracting

both sailboarders and kite-surfers.

I was able to watch a young man and his father set up his sailboard, and, whilst enjoying a conversation with the older man and younger boy,

watch an impressive display of sailboarding. As always, enlargement of these images may be obtained with clicks which will access the galleries.

This evening we dined on piquant cheese and bacon omelettes with toast. Jackie drank Blue Moon and I didn’t.

Dusk Descending

CLICK ON ANY IMAGE IN THE GROUP TO ACCESS THE GALLERY, INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS OF WHICH CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE BY SCROLLING DOWN AND CHECKING BOX AT BOTTOM RIGHT. FURTHER ENLARGEMENT MAY BE OBTAINED WITH A CLICK OR TWO

Jackie and I visited Mum this afternoon. This was one of her bad days, as she had not slept last night. She perked up whilst we were with her, and is looking forward to seeing Danni and Andy tomorrow.

We headed straight to Mudeford as we left the hospital, and were in time to watch

dusk descending. Apart from a few poor shivering specimens standing forlornly on the car park tarmac, gannet-like gulls swooped, plummeted, pounced to snatch crabbers’ spoils on the quayside. The Isle of Wight was a high-speed train thrusting through turbulent waters. Across at the bay, the streaky setting sun feebly attempted to penetrate deep indigo clouds which eventually scudded off before a palette of pink and cyan.

This evening Jackie fed us on a rack of lamb; roast potatoes and butternut squash; crisp carrots, cauliflower, cabbage, and Brussels sprouts; sautéed peppers, onions, and mushrooms; tasty gravy, and mint sauce. I drank Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, and the others didn’t.