The Modus Rocks

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This afternoon Jackie drove me to New Hall Hospital for a physiotherapy session. This was another positive outcome. I am now just 5 degrees short of the knee flexion target of 120. There remains tightness in the tendons and muscles used to straighten the leg. Claire, my physiotherapist, thinks that this dates from the hip replacement nine years ago. She has given me exercises for this and another session has been booked to work on it further.

We took a leisurely drive back home.

At Nomansland we witnessed a comic drama. The waste bins in the New Forest are designed to be pony proof. The effectiveness of this was demonstrated by a pony that didn’t know this. While the animal struggled to gain access, some members of a visiting family paid attention to the mare’s nearby foal. Suddenly they began pointing past me. Having given up with the bin, the mother pony had homed in on the family lunch bags. The human mother was alerted and came to the rescue. Others joined in.

Clouds of flies were, of necessity, ignored by the pestered animals at this site;

and by this family group on the verge of Roger Penny Way.

We parked the car by the side of Manor Farm in Cadnam Lane, which was overrun by three sows and a sounder of piglets. You can’t get much rasher than that. These snorting, grunting, trotting, creatures dashed hither and thither scratching their flanks on anything in sight, including the Modus, which they sent rocking. I needed to guide Jackie when she wanted to drive off, to ensure that she didn’t have a pig in front of her car.

This evening the three of us dined on Mr Chan’s excellent Hordle Chinese Take Away fare. Jackie drank Hoegaarden while Elizabeth and I finished the Merlot

A Rapid Change Of Light.

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Robin juvenile

Early this morning we had an avian visitor, in the form of a juvenile robin looking wistfully through the kitchen window, during intervals between frantic flapping. Jackie lifted it up and set it free, but didn’t wait for me to get in another shot.

Unbeknown to us, when we visited Lymington Quay a little later, we just missed Frances and her friends Dave and Kay who also spent some time there.

Young man on Mavis Robinson's memorial bench

Initially oblivious of the hydraulic load-lift behind him, a young man dozed on a bench

Ship Inn

against the backdrop of the Ship Inn,

Ship Inn rooftop

with its lichen painted roof.

The Boat House Café

Tourists gathered around The Boat House Café,

Waiting for a cruise

 waited for the cruises to begin,

Train and boats

or travelled on the ferry port train.

Boat detail 1

Rigging

while more regular visitors prepared the rigging of their boats,

Kayakking

and a pair of kayakers set off between moored hulls.

As the quayside filled up and the hot sun rose in the sky, we set off for the cooler, less crowded, forest.

Boxer Dog

At East Boldre an imperious boxer dog occupied his own personal observation platform. (See comments from arlingwoman and 10000hoursleft below. The dog is an Old English Mastiff)

Cyclists

Cyclists enjoyed their track around the Ladycross Estate near Brockenhurst

Woodland

where dappled sunlight played on the woodland trees,

Log rising from bog

and Jackie saw a dinosaur emerging from a dried up bog.

Ponies 1

In this weather, ponies tend to shelter under trees, utilising their fly whisks.

Ponies 2

It seems they have learned that those in white clothing need less shade.

Even before we arrived home, we could see mist rolling in from the sea. I didn’t need to suggest we went and had a look at it. My Driver just turned away from the house and made straight for the coast, where

Sea mist with invisible Isle of Wight

the Isle of Wight was invisible,

Beach scene in mist 1Beach scene in mist

and a light pall lay over those on the beach.

This afternoon we received a delightful surprise when the three people we hadn’t known had been at the quay arrived for a visit. We spent an enjoyable few hours together, naturally involving highly satisfying admiration of the garden.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s splendid chicken jalfrezi and savoury rice.

Not a bad day, really.

P.S. Barrie Haynes put the following additional information about the lifting device on my Facebook page:  ‘As an amendment to that, the heavy duty ones (as in this case) do use oil when going down. It is released through a small orifice, thus making the tail lift go down slowly and safely with a heavy load and taking the stain of up to a couple of tons off the operating mechanism. So you were right after all Derrick it’s Mechanical (two big chains) Electrical (separate battery on lorry) and Hydraulic (for safety). For anybody reading this, never use a tail lift on a hired vehicle unless you are happy you know exactly how to do it. They can remove fingers!’

The First Gothic Novel

Jackie, as usual, drove me to and from New Milton for my trip to London to visit Norman for lunch, and Carol afterwards. I took my usual routes from Waterloo to their respective homes.

A woman also being delivered to the home station this morning, left her driver with a farewell that had me chuckling. ‘What?’ she asked, addressing him through the still open passenger window……… Then ‘sod off’, followed by a cheery ‘see you later’. I hadn’t caught what had provoked the imprecation.

A short while later she and I had a good laugh about it on the crowded platform.

It was a gloomy day in London, which is probably why I focussed on some of the more seamy aspects of the capital’s suburbs. Littered around a bench in the recreation Litterground at the far end of Preston Waye (sic) were beer cans, fag ends, and other debris from a party, the attenders of which had eschewed the bin provided. The bicycle rack Cycle rackUnderpants in phone boxacross the street from Preston Road tube station had not saved one owner from losing his wheels, and judging by the rusting condition of what was left of his transport he had decided to leave it where it was. Alongside this a pair of soiled underpants or panties lay on the floor of a telephone box. I didn’t investigate them closely enough to determine the gender of their erstwhile wearer.

Signal failures between Eastleigh and Basingstoke extended my outward journey by forty minutes and caused chaos at the end of the day when two train-loads left the terminus on one service, resulting in large numbers of passengers standing or sitting on the floors of the aisles. Squeezing past the standers and stepping over prone people on the way to the loo was rather embarrassing, especially as it was impossible not to touch them, and absolutely necessary to be careful where you did.

Horace Walpole’s ‘The Castle of Otranto’ dubbed by Andrew Graham-Dixon and others the first Gothic novel is a short book. I read it on the train. Published in the 1760s, the first edition rapidly sold out and has been in print ever since.

Harking back to the Middle Ages, as Gothic does, the book had all the necessary ingredients for evoking a romantic image of that period. There is a feudal tyrant, knights on a mission, damsels in distress, forbidding weather conditions, and a gloomy castle complete with dungeons, empty corridors, and a hidden passageway. The well-constructed plot, in five chapters, follows the form of Greek Tragedy, and the author borrows from Shakespeare devices such as his clown characters.

Walpole’s story was perfectly timed to engage the enthusiasm of his times for such tales, and spawned many others, such as Matthew Lewis’s ‘The Monk’, with which I continued whiling away my extended train journey.

Keeping illusrationMy Folio Society edition of ‘The Castle of Otranto’ is illustrated by Charles Keeping, one of my all-time favourites. He has a distinctive style and remains faithful to the text, nicely capturing the required mood. Here we have Isabella, a young woman fleeing the tyrant Manfred. A gleam of light in the gloomy castle depths renders her visible and displays the frightening path with rippling pools she has to tread.