‘Communication Is The Key’

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‘Every cloud’, we are told, ‘has a silver lining’. Sometimes this is difficult to see. This good outcome from my Broadband problems, however, became clear this morning when the very personable Mike Smith came to install a new phone line.

Firstly, the BT Openreach engineer climbed a ladder at the front of the house to work on the fixture on the eaves.

Health and Safety regulations meant that he was not permitted to climb the pole out in the street without someone in attendance to ensure that he did not come to grief. This was to be a colleague who needed to come from Fawley via Beaulieu where the road was closed.

This may have meant a certain amount of boring hanging about waiting for Andy, the other man to arrive. Not so. A treat was in store.

Mike had noticed that ‘someone was a photographer’. So was he. He has a Flickr account which he opened on my computer so that he could show me some of his superb work. He specialises in street photography, of which the site flickr.com/photos/zarfimages contains splendid examples. My shots above don’t do justice to these pictures. I recommend his site.

Naturally we had much to talk about. But eventually his support arrived and he had to get back to what I called “some real work”. Having climbed the ladder propped against our holly tree, helmetted, and hoisted, Mike did what he needed to do. Unfortunately there is a problem underground that requires the attention of a specialist team. Following our friend’s request this should be attended to in a couple of days.

Today’s title was Mike’s suggestion.

When visiting Bransgore yesterday, Jackie had noticed a splendid maple at the corner of St George’s Drive that she thought I would like to photograph. She drove me there this afternoon.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s luscious sausage casserole followed by her spicy pumpkin pie. The casserole was served with creamy mashed potatoes, crunchy carrots, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts; the pie with whipped cream. I drank Reserve des Tuguets madiran 2010.

Gnawing An Apple

This morning, I did a bit more lateral thinking about my computer problem. I did not really know whether my connection problem was a fault of WordPress or Apple. How could I be sure about this?

Well, with a stroke of genius, I determined that if I e-mailed a picture from the Mac to my Microsoft laptop I could attempt to load it from there. I did. It worked like a dream.

Aaron pruning cypress 2

Here is the result. It is Aaron up a ladder.

Somewhat strengthened by this I telephoned the Apple helpline. I really cannot bear to give a blow by blow account of the next four hours I spent on the telephone, resulting in my having to reload Sierra. This process occupied a further three hours after which I successfully uploaded one image, but it took ages.

That’s it. Enough gnawing for today.

There was only one thing to do. That was to return to The White Hart that we had discovered yesterday, for a meal. We did just that. I enjoyed such a plentiful steak meal that I couldn’t consider a dessert. I only regretted that I had not brought my camera with me. I had just about enough of dealing with pictures today, and I still have a lot to upload for yesterday’s post. Jackie’s choice was New Forest chicken followed by sticky toffee pudding and ice cream. She drank Becks and I drank Otter.

No Resolution

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Aaron pruning cypress 2

This morning Aaron began taking dead branches out of the cypress tree. As can be seen, there is still much colour in the garden. I photographed him and made him an A4 print which I cannot upload, receiving the same message as yesterday. I tried several times and have come to the conclusion that the problem is a direct result of the loading of the new Sierra Mac operating system on Friday. I cannot phone Apple because the help line is not operating at the weekend.

My granddaughter, Emily has asked me for some of her baby pictures for a project at her workplace. I sent her a link to an earlier post, ‘Emily Goes Wandering’ which she had already seen, and is pleased with.

Sam and Emily 12.93

I then e-mailed several scans of earlier prints. First Sam holding his niece;

Louisa and Emily 12.93

then Louisa cradlng her;

Derrick and Emily 12.93

and finally me.

This afternoon Jackie drove us to the beach at the end of Tanners Lane. On a mild, sunny, day a number of families were enjoying wandering among the donkeys, or searching for crabs in the rock pools. Sunlight glinted on the water and provided the clouds with highlights.

The Spinnaker

Jackie played with sea shells as she sat on a wooden breakwater within reach of Portsmouth’s spinnaker.

Boats and buoys bobbed.

Child on swing

Just as I was about to photograph the shadows cast by a tyre swing suspended from a stunted, gnarled, tree, the facility became occupied by a young girl. I found her mother and asked if I could photograph the current scene. Once the mother had recovered from her initial thought that I might have wanted the child removed, she was more than happy to grant her permission.

A young man from East Boldre told me that, on just one day in the year, it is possible, at low tide, to walk across to a Spitfire normally under water. He had done it when he was twelve, ten years ago. That looks like a subject for tidal research.

Pheasant
Roast potatos and Yorkshire pudding

After passing a pheasant-filled field on our way home we stopped for a drink at the The White Hart in Pennington. We received a very friendly welcome. It is not unusual in English pubs to have free nuts or crisps available on the bar counter. Here we were given roast potatoes and Yorkshire pudding with mint sauce.

Knife grinder.jpg

The walls were decorated with photographs of the area in bygone days. One of a knife grinder from 1900 reminded us that our streets had been visited by one during our childhood: mine in Stanton Road, Raynes Park, South West London in the 1940s; Jackie’s in Penge, South East London in the 1950s.

The sky, on our departure from the pub, was so enticing that we nipped over to Lymington to have a look at the sunset.

Anyone who feels deprived of photographs is advised to follow the link above. Otherwise, we must pray that the Apple help line can get to the core of my problem tomorrow, and I can insert the photos I took today. (It was not until 25th that I managed to complete this task)

This evening, we dined on superb chilli con carne and savoury rice. I drank more of the Madiran.

Take Pride In A Roaring Success

Here is the Mission Statement of The Lions Club of Bournemouth:

To empower volunteers to serve their communities, meet humanitarian needs, encourage peace and promote international understanding through Lions clubs.

Lions Clubs International is the world’s largest service club organisation with 1.4 million members in approximately 46,000 clubs in over 200 countries.

Lions are men and women who volunteer their time for humanitarian causes. Founded in 1917 by Melvin Jones, our motto is “We Serve.”

More information can be found on www.bournemouthlions.org.uk/

Our friends Barrie and Vicki Haynes are respectively President and Vice-President of this local branch.

Kinson Community Centre

This afternoon, Jackie drove us to Kinson, a suburb of Bournemouth, where this group put on their annual pantomime. Written, as usual, by Barrie this was the hugely entertaining ‘Polly the Pirate’, which took place in the Kinson Community Centre.

Tilly

While Jackie and I were waiting for the start, we were entertained by an engaging conversation with the intelligent and friendly six year old Tilly who sat in front of us and had come dressed for the occasion. Note her awesome, cool, skull T-shirt.

Barrie as Ella the Pirate 1

Proceedings were opened by Barrie, who laid out the general ground rules, such as that when he appeared as Ella everyone was required to shout out the he was a fella.

Polly the Pirate scene 1

Polly the Pirate scene 2

Barrie as Ella the Pirate 2Barrie as Ella the Pirate 3Polly the Pirate scene 3

Curtain up and he was joined on stage by the rest of the cast who performed with glorious gusto.

Hawk

Hawk introduced the second act,

Polly the Pirate scene 4

which rollicked along.

Barrie's legs

I am reliably informed that young ladies no longer wear tights, but I do remember the days when nail varnish came in handy in the case of a ladder. It is hoped that someone remembered that before Barrie/Ella trod the boards for this evening’s performance.

Polly the Pirate scene 5Polly the Pirate scene 6Polly the Pirate scene 7Polly the Pirate scene 8Polly the Pirate scene 9Polly the Pirate scene 10Polly the Pirate scene 11Polly the Pirate scene 12Polly the Pirate scene 13

The audience, being a matinee, had its fair share of the very young,

Audience participation

who, as is customary, were encouraged by Barrie into a singalong, in which the mayor and his lady joined.

Finale

The finale received rapturous applause,

Vicki announces raffle winners.

and Vicki closed by reading the winning numbers of the interval raffle.

I understand there are just 18 members of the Bournemouth Branch. They must all have been in service today; on stage, back-stage, or front of house. These lions should take pride in a roaring success.

This evening Jackie and I dined at The Royal China in Lymington. Jackie had dumplings for a starter, for which I had hot and sour soup; we then shared special rice, special chow mein, and king prawns in ginger and spring onions. We both drank Tsingtao beer.

Leaf Compost

The cranking clatter of marauding magpies heard as I walked down Downton Lane on my Mechanical diggerHordle Cliff top walk this murky morning, was to give way to that of a mechanical digger in Shorefield on my return. The latter, which was breaking up the concrete bases of the demolished chalets, could be heard from the beach.
Openreach engineer and vanPerched atop his ladder in the lane was an Openreach engineer whose van advertised Superfast Fibre. Perhaps others who have been sold this particular broadband are more fortunate than we are. This has been the fifth working day since BT informed us that it would take that long for us to be returned to our old copper broadband. We have heard no more.
Blackberry leavesBlackberry leaves at the cliff top and the seed cases of an unidentified shrub on the way Seeds of unidentified shrubup to Shorefield glowed brightly. It looks as if the seeds are relished by the birds. Does anyone recognise them?
StreamThe stream photographed late yesterday afternoon runs beneath Downton Lane and emerges near Bridge Cottage.
Perhaps because they were neither shrouded in mist, nor burnt out or silhouetted by strong sunshine, the South West side of the Isle of Wight and The Needles were as clear Isle of Wight, The Needles, and couple with dogas I have ever seen them. As I prepared to take this shot, the woman in the red coat disappeared from view, so I awaited her return. I then had a lengthy and wide-ranging conversation with the couple, while a cold wind blustered.
It has been my aim to build a row of compost bins similar to those I made at The Firs two years ago. I haven’t yet managed that, but leaves need to be treated rather differently than general plant matter, for they produce a more beneficial soil conditioner and therefore should be kept separately. In order to aid their decomposition they should have air circulating. A Leaf compost binplastic mesh frame found in the former kitchen garden provided the perfect receptacle, which, in fading light, I set up at the garden end of the back drive this afternoon, then made a rather desultory start to filling it from piles Jackie has been sweeping up over past weeks. The whirling wind gave me an acceptable excuse for deferring sweeping up any more today. I rather think we will need more of these containers.
Like most of their products, Lidl’s Bordeaux Superieur 2011 that I drank with my dinner this evening is surprisingly good. There is a twist to this particular bottle because Mo and John brought it back from Lidl in France, whereas we have bought similar in New Milton. Jackie drank another glass of the Cimarosa and we both enjoyed her succulent roast chicken, crisp roast potatoes and parsnips, and perfect peas, carrots and cauliflower. She says she is getting geared up for Christmas.

Spaghetti Junction

Here is the recipe for broccoli and stilton soup I had hoped, last night, to be able to provide this morning. Thanks to our caterer-in-chief:
Take a largish saucepan.
With approximately 2oz butter and 1 and 1/2 oz plain flour make a roux.
Then add 3 to 4 oz crumbled stilton to taste.
Meanwhile, heat a pint and a half of water in a separate pan, into which dissolve two good quality (e.g. Knorr) stock cubes, one chicken and one vegetable. If possible these should be low salt because stilton can be salty.
Simmer chopped broccoli and/or cauliflower in the stock until soft.
Gradually stirring it in add the broccoli and stock to the roux and ‘cook for a bit more’.Broccoli and stilton soup

We had some for lunch. It has a delightful piquancy.

Before that, we had driven to Knights ironmongers in Lymington, where we bought a number of practical items, like sink plugs, door locks, hacksaws, chisels, and a preparation for clearing the blocked shower. I had used Bullitt before, but couldn’t remember the name. The very helpful young man in the shop went straight to it when I described our needs.

Bullitt is 95-97% sulphuric acid and claims to dissolve pretty well all organic matter that can legitimately find its way into pipes. It comes with considerable safety warnings, and emitted a steam, which we are advised not to inhale, on application. Unfortunately, whatever is down there, it seems impervious to sulphuric acid. I suppose it could be fossilised. After following the instructions and scouring the scummy tray, there was no speedier a trickle down the plug hole. I applied another dose and walked away without much hope of success. Jackie, on the other hand, made a good job of fixing sink plugs and door locks.

My first car, bought in December 1966, was a red Hillman Imp. During our courting days I was able to drive to Jackie’s family home in Beckenham, sometimes with Michael, sometimes leaving him with Mum in 18 Bernard Gardens. Always a keen photographer, I kept the camera in the car. One afternoon in September 1967, I stopped at traffic lights, and glanced to my left. There a window cleaner was engaged in polishing a large sheet of glass under the gaze of a baby in a pram inside the room that it was lighting. I grabbed my all-manual Kodak Retinette 1b camera, and, in the seconds before the red light turned to green, snatched the shot. Baby and window cleaner 9.67It remains one of my favourite ‘posterity’ images. Judith and Barrie will, no doubt be intrigued to recognise the roof of my car reflected in the window of the room.

Aficionados may be able to identify the make of the pram. Window cleaning has now become much more sophisticated. Does anyone still use a ladder, chamois leathers, and elbow grease?

When she was here last week, Flo observed that we had our TV in a funny place. This was because it was behind Jackie’s chair and consequently rather obscured from view. Users guides and remotesThis in turn was because I was too scared to attempt to set up the Sharp Aquos TV; BT Vision complete with the Powerline adapters required because the Home Hub was far enough away from the telly to need it; and the Bose 123 CD/DVD player complete with its bulky Acoustimass module.400px-Spaghetti-Junction-Crop

The Gravelly Hill interchange on the M6 at Birmingham is the original spaghetti junction. This is a nickname given to a network of connecting roads that appears a tangled mess. It could equally apply to the wiring system focussing on the seven year old TV. Television set-upWith constant reference to the various users guides that came with the equipment; to the tags at some stage or another attached to the various wires; with some of the tentacles still attached at one end to the relevant gadgets; and with a good deal of foraging among a container labelled ‘phone wires and stuff’, a miracle was achieved. We can now watch telly, choose a programme from BT vision, play a DVD, or listen to a CD.

Whilst I was grappling with technology in the living room, Jackie successfully did so in the kitchen, where, on her induction hobs, she produced a lamb jalfrezi (recipe) as good as ever. She served it with wild rice. I finished the merlot.