No Through Road

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This afternoon Jackie drove me to Boots opticians to collect a new pair of varifocal specs. I don’t really need glasses for reading or close work, but for TV or distance. This means I have to keep taking the myopic aids off for looking through the camera viewfinder, so varifocals seemed a good idea.

We continued on to the forest to try them out. I am reasonably comfortable with them.

Holmseley Passage, with increasing signs of Autumn, had the honour of breaking them in. We are due boisterous winds overnight, so some of the earliest foliage to fall will probably coat the ground tomorrow.

Burley golf course, never in need of non-equine mowing, lies on either side of Wilverley Road. Hard working ponies were , in the glow of the lowering sun, engrossed in their green duties. A couple who had reached the next hole on the other side of the road carried on regardless.

Sometimes we cannot resist exploring a ‘No Through Road’. Often, as in the case of this one in the vicinity of Linwood, they wend their undulating, serpentine, way for long enough to make us wonder if we will ever get out again. Often, as with this one, the adventure is rewarded with pleasant surprises. Playful sunlight enhanced the lovely lane  and lit the somnolent farm horse and its companion pony in a small field, throwing their shadows across the sward. The grey roused from its slumbers and strode purposefully over to pass the time of day with me.

Before sunset we reached Abbots Well, where, from the deeply pockmarked car park we looked down over the layered landscape below and the moody, indigo, clouds above.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s excellent, spicy, pasta arrabbiata and green beans with which she finished the Sauvignon Blanc and Elizabeth and I drank Brancott Estate Merlot 2016

 

 

Height Restrictions Apply

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Heavy rain this morning ricocheted from the roofs, and bounced from the basin catching a leak landing on the kitchen table. Even Aaron was unable to work.

As if by magic the skies cleared to accommodate skimming clouds and warm sunshine. Jackie therefore took me for a drive in the forest. She first parked in the Boundary parking area, where I walked past

the woods

to look down on the tree-lined valley below. I noticed two figures with a couple of dogs. They disappeared into the trees and I waited for them to appear in the next clearing, when I focussed on them once more. Readers may care to enlarge these to spot the subjects.

Our next stop was along Rhinefield Road where I photographed more forest scenes.

Cattle roamed the moors around Fritham.

For ponies foraging a little further along, height restrictions applied. Only those tall enough could feed on leaves. The little ones hand to keep their noses to the ground. I found myself thinking pigs at pannage were needed to mop up the fallen acorns which are poisonous to equines.

Meanwhile, a solitary cow wandered past another small pony across the road, currently occupied by donkeys playing havoc with traffic.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s fishy potato pie (remnants of fish pie topped with sautéed potatoes; piquant cauliflower cheese; crunchy carrots; tender green beans; and succulent ratatouille. My wife drank Hoegaarden; my sister and I drank Western Cape Malbec 2017.

 

 

Mud, Mud, Glorious Mud

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This afternoon Jackie drove me to the recycling centre where we dumped my old scanner; on to Otter Nurseries where we bought compost and ordered a new wooden arch for the garden to replace a rather flimsy metal one smashed by the recent winds; and then to Wessex Photographic in Ringwood where I collected a 35mm  lens for my Canon 5D camera Mark II, for which I have never had one previously.

Such a dull day was not conducive to photography, but I really couldn’t be expected to receive a new lens and not try it out.

I focussed on some landscapes at North Gorley, Abbotswell, and Frogham.

At South Gorley I spotted a couple of pigs freed for pannage. As I left the car, another couple stopped with the same idea. The porkers dived into a ditch where one enjoyed a delicious wallow, reminding me of this Flanders and Swan Classic:

This evening we dined on a rack of pork spare ribs in spicy barbecue sauce with Jackie’s superb savoury rice. Mrs Knight drank Hoegaarden while Elizabeth and I finished the Fleurie

“I Was Trying To Get Out Of Your Picture”

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Late this afternoon Jackie and I took a car ride into the forest.

Braggers Lane

Whilst we were making our leisurely way along Braggers Lane,

we passed a friendly young woman riding a horse. I exchanged waves with the rider.

Ferns

Further on, I disembarked to photograph fresh ferns in the hedgerow

Landscape with poniesLandscape with ponyLandscape with ponies

and the sloping landscape with ponies.

Horse and rider

I was pleased to hear the gentle, rhythmic, clopping that told me the rider was approaching. I waited for her to arrive and she effected a skilled manoeuvre taking her steed across the road taking backward steps.

She was happy to be photographed, but said “I was trying to get out of your picture”.

“I wanted you in it”. I replied, “It’s all part of the scene”.

“I guess so”, was her smiling response.

“Definitely”, said I,

Horse and rider

and she continued on her way.

Further waves were exchanged a little later on.

New Forest tour bus

As we neared Burley, a New Forest tour bus approached us. We keep promising ourselves a ride on one. We must look into it. The photographic perspective should be interesting.

This evening the three of us dined on mango and chili chicken fillets; juicy ratatouille; roasted sweet potatoes; and tender runner beans. Jackie drank a local wheat beer, and Elizabeth and I drank more of the Merlot.

The Garden Of Delights

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Derrick

Here is a photograph of yesterday’s Barnet (Cockney rhyming slang – Barnet fair – hair. Geddit?)

This morning Jackie drove me to New Hall Hospital for a physiotherapy session with the excellent Claire who expressed surprise and pleasure at my progress. After she had strong-armed my leg she had taken the straightened knee to just one degree short of perfect, and the bent position to 105 degrees, already acceptable, but aiming for the 120 target.

There had been a nasty motoring accident on the Salisbury road, causing major delays and lateness for my appointment. We therefore took a diversion on our way home. Once we noticed that the signposts in all the tiny villages we wound our way through were pointing to Shaftesbury we realised that something was awry.

Never mind, on the road to Nunton we passed the patterned fields of Longford Farms Ltd,

and the neighbouring rolling landscape.

On the corner of Whitlock rise and the road through Bishopstone, climbing up to the bungalows above, Jackie spotted a sight to behold. She turned the car round and parked in the street beside a garden. I just had to disembark with my camera. At that moment a friendly woman with a small dog carrying out guard duties also left another car. She was the creator of what had attracted us.

She was thrilled that I wanted to photograph this Garden of Delights. She said most people simply take a shot in passing, whilst waving at the figures on the bench, imagining them to be living humans. She asked me to be sure to feature the boy on the donkey. A neighbour had given her the doll to complete the look. The wheels turn in the wind, and at Christmastime the lights are all lit. Local children love it. Having given me the information she entered her house saying she would “leave [me] to it”.

We struck lucky with The Talbot Inn in Berwick St John where we lunched. My pork Madras curry was the best I have ever tasted in a pub, and Jackie found her Italian chicken with spaghetti equally to her liking. She drank Diet Coke and I drank Ringwood’s Best.

The Fovant BadgesThe Fovant BadgesThe Fovant BadgesThe Fovant Badges

Soon after this we found the A30 to Salisbury and set off home. At Fovant we found a good view of the remaining Badges,

The Fovant Badges plaque

which are explained in this plaque. This final image will need the double enlargement to read the detail.

This evening I watched the football World Cup semi-final match between France and Belgium. Following the lunch we enjoyed earlier, we had no further need for sustenance.

P.S. For a short video of the badges see the comment of efge63 below.

 

 

Sometimes I Couldn’t Keep Up

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Paul Auster’s ‘The New York Trilogy is a series of novelettes, originally published in sequence as City of Glass (1985), Ghosts (1986) and The Locked Room (1986); and combined into a single volume the following year. The author, born February 3, 1947, ‘is’, according to Wikipedia, ‘an American writer and director whose writing blends absurdism, existentialism, crime fiction, and the search for identity and personal meaning.’

Last night I finished reading the first story which I soon realised was describing a descent into madness. Whose, I wasn’t sure; because of the several identities, realities, and time-frames.

There is also an intertextual relationship with Cervantes’ Don Quixote. It is so long since I struggled to make sense of this great Spanish classic that the significance of the link escaped me.

Chapter 2 almost had me abandoning Auster’s tale. However, I saw it to the end and came to appreciate what the author was presenting. I thought it worth persevering with, and was left happy to tackle the next one.

My copy is The Folio Society’s 2008 edition which benefits from the powerfully atmospheric illustrations of Tom Burns, which won the V & A  2009 Overall book illustration Winner for this work. The museum’s website states that ‘the judges commented that these illustrations make great use of colour, capturing the city in a very fresh and original way. They felt the images integrate perfectly with the text and manage to evoke a variety of sensations such as loneliness, complicated relationships and a sense of speed.’ I’d say he was a worthy winner.

This morning, I scanned another batch of colour negatives from my long walk of July 2003. Regular readers will know that this was executed as an exercise in support of Sam’s epic row of the following year; those who followed the link to ‘Nettle Rash’ will also know that this was not without its obstacles.

There were a certain number of occasions when I lost sight of the rower, either because of these or because there were not enough locks holding him up and giving me a chance to keep pace.

Some of the more pleasant stumbling blocks were created by the flora covering the absent footpaths. Although I can recognise a thistle and a wasp, I lack the knowledge to identify the wild flowers or the white butterfly.

There was ample opportunity to focus on the landscape alongside what I think is the Warwickshire stretch of the Oxford canal. Sometimes there was a benefit in being unable to keep up.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s splendid pork paprika, roasted sweet potatoes, green beans, and red cabbage. I drank more of the Shiraz and the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden.

 

The Foxton Flight

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It rained all day today. Aaron, who could not work in such weather, came for a pleasant chat over a mug of tea.

I will not bore either my readers or myself with full details of today’s BT episode. But it does warrant a brief mention. Yesterday, as you know, I had been promised a phone call from a manager about the charge of £50 to change the name on my account. The young lady who telephoned me from India this morning was certainly no manager. When we came to an impasse she transferred me to someone in England. The best I could glean from her, after she had consulted with her manager, was that this could only be done free of charge was by changing the phone number then transferring it back. There was no guarantee that our existing number would be accurately returned. I told her, for the recording, precisely what I thought of her company, stated that it was only my reluctance to change our number and my e-mail address, that kept me with them; and that I wouldn’t bother to take her up on her kind offer.

Then I scanned another set of colour negatives from my longest walk.

I don’t usually tinker with the colours in my photographs, but I did have a play with these three landscape shots.

Sam in Pacific Pete 7.03

Beyond Oxford, Sam took to the Grand Union Canal

alongside which the footpaths were often completely overgrown, albeit

with pleasant wild flowers, such as meadowsweet and willow herb.

Of the many butterflies flitting about, I only recognised the red admirals. (See John Knifton’s comment below)

Oak leaves 7.03

The shade from trees like this oak was often welcome in the heat of the day.

About the Foxton Flight of Locks, built between 1810 and 1814, Wikipedia informs us:

‘Foxton Locks (grid reference SP691895) are ten canal locks consisting of two “staircases” each of five locks, located on the Leicester line of the Grand Union Canal about 5 km west of the Leicestershire town of Market Harborough and are named after the nearby village of Foxton.

They form the northern terminus of a 20-mile summit level that passes Husbands Bosworth, Crick and ends with the Watford flight

Staircase locks are used where a canal needs to climb a steep hill, and consist of a group of locks where each lock opens directly into the next, that is, where the bottom gates of one lock form the top gates of the next. Foxton Locks are the largest flight of such staircase locks on the English canal system.

The Grade II* listed locks are a popular tourist attraction and the county council has created a country park at the top. At the bottom, where the junction with the arm to Market Harborough is located, there are two public houses, a shop, trip boat and other facilities.’

On the day Sam guided Pacific Pete down this staircase, family visitors were out in force. For once I was ahead of my son, and reached the locks in time to learn that the canal-side telegraph was buzzing with the news that a large rowing boat was on its way through.

The audience gathered to watch Sam use his giant oar to steer and propel the boat through the locks because there was no room to row.

Asian family leaving Foxton Flight 7.03

Did you notice the Asian man gesturing to his family in the first picture, and shepherding them over the bridge in the last, in order to lead them down the slope to see the rower on his way?

Child helping at the locks 7.03

There had been no shortage of helpers to push the long balance beams operating the gates.

There were plenty of narrow boats on the waters, but no other ocean-going rowing boats.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s glorious sausage casserole; crisp carrots, cauliflower and red cabbage, and creamy mashed potatoes. She drank Hoegaarden and I finished Helen and Bill’s Malbec.