Fascinated By His Shadow

We use door stops in the flat. This morning I bent down to hold back the living room door so that Jackie could wheel in the coffee trolley, nutted the mock-Georgian brass handle, and cut my forehead. That, I thought, was a trick worthy of the early film-makers. I doubt I could do it on purpose.
The fierce wind howling through the trees and hurling blinding icy darts into my face as I set off for today’s walk was much more powerful than that coming off the Channel yesterday. I just about reached Minstead Hall before I decided I didn’t want the exercise that much, turned around, and retreated back to Castle Malwood Lodge.
Derrick Leicester marathon 1983
As always, when rain is that piercing, I think of the Leicester marathon in 1983. Although this photograph looks sunny enough, there was an awful squall which hit us as we turned a corner somewhere en route. Perhaps it was short-lived in reality, but it has lingered long in the memory.
After lunch I scanned another 16 black and white negatives from 1982. On the very end of a rollI found another of the line out pictures featuring on 15th January. Derrick in lineout 1982Much of the image suffers from light pollution, but I think it is amusing enough not to crop it. Here I am definitely about to leap. For those who don’t know, I’m the hairy one in the middle.
Brewery Tap chimney maintenance 1982The Brewery Tap 1982The next roll of film would have been used after October in 1982. Intrigued by the maintenance work on its chimney, I took several shots of Wandsworth’s Brewery Tap. Like so many pubs, this historic hostelry is now, having been closed in 2006, about to give way to redevelopment. I was just trying out my telephoto lens, unknowingly reproducing something for posterity.
Jessica 1982Sam & Soldier outside building 1982Soon after this, Jessica and I took Sam and Louisa out to a National Trust establishment where the rest of the film was shot. I don’t remember the location, and the only clue I can offer is contained in the elongated photo of Sam and ‘Soldier’. Should anyone recognise the corner of the building I would be grateful to hear from you.
Recently, under the auspices of Facebook, a distraught little girl was reunited with ‘Roar’, her soft lion toy. I wrote of such Transitional Objects on 29th January. Sam & Soldier 1982Well, ‘Soldier’ never came back from this trip, and Sam did not appear at all troubled. We needn’t have feared. There was, of course, no Facebook then.
Sam & shadow
It was clearly a sunny day on that occasion, for our son was fascinated by his shadow.
Whilst I was working on these negatives, I became aware of a steady drip that told me the recent leak had returned. Once again the gully on the balcony upstairs had to be cleared. Apparently the felt roofing is in a very bad state and has to be attended to.
We dined this evening at Family House Chinese restaurant where, as usual, we enjoyed a good meal in a friendly family atmosphere. Jackie drank T’Sing Tao beer and I drank the house red wine.
As we leave Totton and approach the Cadnam roundabout there is a large road sign which should make clear which turn-off you need when you approach the roundabout. What follows is no longer a problem now we know our way around. Van on A336There is however, almost always, as there was this evening, a small van bearing ladders parked right in front of and obscuring part of this notice.

How Do You Slice A Cottage Loaf?

It is becoming more difficult to summon up the enthusiasm for a sloshy, muddy, tramp around waterlogged streets and footpaths.  However, I managed it once again this morning.  After problems on the A31 brought about several changes of plan and direction, Jackie drove us to Sainsbury’s at Hedge End.  She went shopping and I went for a walk.  As I struggled along Tollbar Way it was the rain that did the driving.  The headwind and other conditions were very similar to the first time I ran the Leicester marathon in 1983.  This had me thinking of the very kind woman I never met who had sponsored me for whatever charity I was running for on that occasion.  She wrote me a letter complimenting me on my finishing time in such unpleasant blustery weather.

There are many similar roundabouts leading to the Hedge End Park.  Coming away from there I crossed a major road and took a footpath alongside Hedge End Retail Park.  These two shopping areas, as my post of 21st October last year makes clear, are definitely not to be confused.  The path led along the backs of houses until it came to Goodalls Way in Hedge End.  At this point a stream runs under the main road and continues through meadow and woodland on the other side. Goodalls Way bridge There is a recently constructed elaborate set of steps in a reinforced embankment that seems to be going nowhere but to the bed of the stream.  I can only imagine it is there to provide access to clear a passage under the road when the stream is filled with loose mud, gravel, and vegetation.

Across the road lies Goodalls Meadows.  A few minutes in there was enough.  It was far too boggy.  I walked along Goodalls Way and, at the far end of a side road, spotted a dog owner with her pet, entering the wooded area.  I followed.  This was a nature reserve that was even too wet for ducks.  The woman told me of a good gravel path that would take me back, eventually, to Sainsbury’s.  She then told Barney, her lurcher, that he’d had enough for today and they were going back.  Along the ensuing path there were a couple of signs directing walkers to a footbridge to the superstore.  This had to be Sainsbury’s, which helped me know I had followed directions reasonably well.  The footbridge wasn’t over the stream. Superstore footbridge It was a massive construction spanning the motorway and leading directly to the car park.  Had I known that I wouldn’t have ignored it in the past, and would have been saved my battle with the headwind.  I took the bridge, and was grateful that the railings were high enough to prevent me from either being blown or jumping off it.

Sainsbury's carparkThe logo of this huge store is so distinctive and brightly coloured that it was clearly visible from my perch through the bare branches of substantial trees.  This had me reflecting on how much this concern had grown and developed from the High Street grocers of my boyhood.  Then, assistants in aprons stood behind a counter stocked with goods.  They used a mechanical till.  Tins and jars were on the shelves behind them.  Fresh cured meat was sliced in front of you and wrapped in greaseproof paper.  I don’t remember cling film.  Cheese was cut from a block with a wire.  You could buy just the quantity you wanted, not a whole bagful, and BOGOF had not been invented.  In immediate postwar days the amount of each item you could purchase was rationed.  Each household had a ration book and had to hand over coupons from it with their cash.  The penny that Holly found on 13th would have bought quite a few sweets if you had enough of that era’s stamps.

As arranged, I met Jackie in the store’s cafe, and once more stared at the misty spray from cars in front on the journey home.  One of her purchases was a cottage loaf.  For those who are not familiar with this type of bread, it looks rather like two different sized rounded pieces of dough, one on top of the other.  It was a childhood favourite.  When it came to slicing this for lunch, I had just cut a couple of sections from a Walker’s, greatly to be recommended, pork pie.  Now, there are several schools of thought about how to slice a cottage loaf.  Not being sure what Jackie’s preferred option was, I asked her if she subscribed to the view that the smaller, top, section should be removed and tackled first.  She was incredulous at the idea, and said she wanted a slice, not a chunk.  Well, if you cut a slice from the loaf as a whole, you only get a small one because it doesn’t reach the smaller, top piece.  When you reach the top section, it is likely to fall off from the first two or three cuts, because the join is so thin, so you in fact get two slices.

Cottage loaf (French version)So you can see, I was a bit discombobulated.  And I’d just taken a wedge of pork pie.  This must have been in my subconscious, because I attacked this rounded loaf in the same way as Jackie had her chocolate cake yesterday.  And anyway, what she had served was a slice of cake, wasn’t it?  I proudly produced a small but perfectly formed wedge of bread.  She didn’t think it was a slice.  So I then cut a bit off the crusty side.  The result was a kind of zigzag assault.  The reason Jackie hadn’t wanted to take the top off was that she didn’t want the opened part to dry out.  I think I rather defeated the object.  In fairness to me, the division between top and bottom sections is usually more marked than this one was. What would you do?

Opting for safety, Jackie served up slices of a farmhouse loaf with our oven fish and chips this evening.  We drank Latitude 35 degrees S chardonnay/semillon 2010 with this.