Early this morning Jackie drove me to Lymington Hospital where I underwent a posterior capsulotomy. This was nowhere near as nasty as it sounds. Sixty four summers ago I suffered a cricketing injury to my left eye, the story of which is told in ‘Cottenham Park‘. This developed in the need for a cataract operation some forty years later. Now a laser adjustment in order to reduce subsequent cloudiness. I had been warned to expect this. It was all very painless.

So comfortable was I that we continued into the forest where we encountered ponies and a foal on the lake at Pilley. Today, this former gravel pit does not look like a body of water. As recently as February ponies and cattle drank freely from water that lapped the banks and reflected the buildings alongside. That is how it has always looked to us in the past.

Today, the terrain was so dry that the young foal among these ponies would have taken some convincing that once where, like the crows, he was foraging among dried up mud, he could have enjoyed a paddle and a drink of bathwater. Much of the forest is now as parched.

This afternoon we enjoyed a visit from Margery and Paul.

Later, Jackie and I dined on Southern fried chicken fillets, roasted potato wedges and five varieties of baked bean. Mrs. Knight drank her customary Hoegaarden and I drank an unaccustomed English wine  she had brought back from her Somerset trip. This was Barebones Vineyard Newboy 2016





900 Years Of History


Steady rain fell all morning. This, therefore, seemed to be the day to visit Lymington Hospital to subject myself to blood tests and x-rays at their walk-in facilities. Unfortunately everyone in the catchment area had the same idea. I was advised that the best process would be to take a ticket for the blood tests, running more than an hour behind, then pose for the x-rays and return to see if my number would come up. This turned out to be a sound wheeze. Fortunately my arms are strong enough to reach behind me on the bed and support myself while seated upright in order that impossibly straightened legs could be twisted, kept still, and photographed. Not something to be tried at home. There was still another 40 minutes or so before my blood test number came up. It seemed as if Tony Hancock’s “very nearly an armful” was required. This was done to the strains of Nancy Sinatra’s ‘These Boots are Made for Walking’, which a nurse informed me was being sung to me, personally, because I deserved it. The blood tests were intended to check my fitness to tolerate surgery on the knees should the x-rays reveal the necessity.

The sparrows have again taken up residence in the gabionage which forms part of the hospital walls.

Early this afternoon the rain desisted and the sun began to make sporadic appearances. We there therefore went for a drive in the forest.

The landscape opposite the Church of St John the Baptist, Boldre was somewhat waterlogged, although the sky had brightened.

Daffodils and primroses still sprawled down the bank and in the churchyard.

On our previous visits to this historic place of worship we have been unable to gain entrance. Today the door was open in welcome. Although the exact date is not certain, a charter of c1100 refers to Bolra Church with its chapel of Brokehurst, and it is accepted that a church was built at Boldre by William I in 1079. We can be sure that the list of incumbents posted on a wall almost opposite a displayed bible of 1613 is accurate.

Jackie studies a laminated information sheet in boxes pews furnished with embroidered runners. Norman arches are seen on the left. Behind her is the West End. The Barrel or Wagon roof with its carved bosses are typical of fourteenth century country craftsmen.

The stained glass West Window, depicting Faith, Hope, and Charity, was made by Ward and Hughes of London inserted in 1864 in memory of Charles Winston. Other windows, in order, are in memory of Rosemary Bradley, Louise Emily Bowes Read and her baby son, John Philip Burrard; and lastly, The Millennium Window, designed and engraved by Tracey Sheppard FGE, and installed in April 2000.

Much of the paved flooring consists of early gravestones.

On the north wall of the nave is the John Kempe Wall Tablet. The subject was MP for Lymington in 1640. This portrait is a rare survival of the attentions of the hammers of Oliver Cromwell’s Roundheads, or the New Model Army of the English Civil War of 1642 – 51.

Two more recent works of art are the lectern designed by Cresswell Hartley Desmond and carved by his sister Phoebe over a period of twenty years from two pieces of oak from Boldre Grange given to the church in 1952; and Richard Bent’s chandelier commemorating the 900th anniversary.

This treasure will require at least another visit to fill in the gaps Jackie and I have missed.

This evening we dined on the Culinary Queen’s superb cottage pie with perfectly cooked carrots and cabbage. I finished the Navarra.


Off The Leash

The morning was spent in Lymington Hospital, to and from which Jackie drove me. First off was a physiotherapy appointment for my hand. This is apparently doing well. I need not see the therapist again, but will continue finger straightening exercises and massage myself for another six weeks. We then had a wait for an orthopedic appointment to discuss the knee x-ray results. I have no cartilage either behind the kneecap or on the left side, but there is some left on the right. The pain relief is working, and with careful management of that, I am encouraged to walk on the flat. On our return, the wind having desisted, we toured the garden replacing hanging baskets which, Jackie having taken them down before the gales, suffered minimal damage. Flies on peach rose

On the peach roses A fly was supervising its infant on its first outing into the world. Can you see the baby?


Another attractive variety of allium has flourished.

After lunch, Jackie drove me to the pharmacy at Milford on Sea to collect co-codomol which had been omitted from the medication collected yesterday. The fact that twice the normal amount of tablets had been left for me was rather ironic, since I had agreed with the physiotherapist that I would ween myself off them and turn to paracetamol. I now have a telephone appointment to discuss this with G.P. Dr. Moody-Jones. Footpath with walkers on horizon On the strength of all this, Jackie left me at the green at Milford and I walked up Park Lane, joining the cliff top path at The Beach House, turning into West Road and home through Shorefield. OK, it was a little more than the recommended half an hour, and not totally flat, but I managed it with just a few aching muscles that had not really been put to use for six months. Gardener tending roses

I had a long talk with a gentleman tending his roses in his small plot opposite the bus shelter in Milford.

Seascape with Isle of Wight

The wind coming off The Solent was still strong

Windsurfer and yachtYacht and Isle of Wight

enough for a windsurfer and a few small yachts to relish its power, and,

Bench and yachtDog walker and yacht

passing an empty bench, a woman, already being propelled along by the gusts, strained to contain one of her dogs.


A new set of warning signs has been posted along the cliff top since I was last here.

Honeysuckle and caterpillar

Attracted by honeysuckle in the hedgerow leading to West Road, I thus avoided missing


the rather splendid caterpillar lurking in the shadows. I rather like its red warning lights. Can you see it in hiding?

I definitely felt that Cheryl, the physiotherapist, had let me off the leash.

This evening we dined on smoked haddock fish cakes with cheese centres and topping; parsley sauce from our own crop; piquant cauliflower cheese; firm young peas and creamy mashed potato; followed by Lymington-grown tangy strawberries and vanilla ice-cream.

Smoked haddock fishcakes meal

Pretty as was the presentation of the meal,

Smoked haddock fishcakes meal on a plate

it tastes better off the plate.

You’ve Got To Hand It To Her

Two consecutive posts with ‘hand’ in their titles, shows that yesterday, at least, our subconsciouses were working overtime.

Today, you see, I received my Dupuytren’s fasciectomy.

This was performed by Mr Simon Richards at  Knightwood Ward, Lymington Hospital. He and rest of the team were friendly, efficient, and considerate. Although I was given a squeezy thingy to summon assistance if I needed it, at no time was I left to ask for anything.

I can’t describe the procedure because I was under a general anaesthetic at the time. I was most fortunate to be first on the list because before 11 a.m. I was in bed, awake, and dying for a pee. When, asked if I needed anything, I announced this latter fact, I was offered a bottle. I had to explain that I am emotionally unable to use such devices. Apparently it was a little soon for me to leave the bed. Two nurses therefore escorted me to the loo door. This was quite a relief. A short while after this, toast and marmalade and a large mug of coffee were brought in, followed by tea soon afterwards.Trees

There was a delightful woodland view from my bedroom window. Since there were other wards catering for up to ten other day surgery patients, I considered myself privileged to have been given my own room.

My blood pressure, pulse, and temperature were checked and pronounced satisfactory at regular intervals. I managed to mess things up a bit when a young woman was helping me to dress. The anaesthetic and any further necessities are applied through tubes attached to the back of the sound hand, by a small plug with a rather long needle inserted. This had not yet been removed.  When it came to my shirt, my dresser concentrated on the left, in the sling, arm, whilst I dealt with the other one. In error I pulled the needle out, and within seconds, I had a leech-like protuberance engorging itself on the hand. The young woman immediately obtained and applied an ice-pack to reduce the swelling, and replaced this with dental wadding to keep it down.

Wadding on hand

The photograph of the back of my hand shows the wadding; my bar code and best after date; and the Tissot watch Jessie gave me when I retired. I wear the latter all the time now.

I need to wear the sling for three days, and begin follow-up physiotherapy next week. With just one functioning hand, and one dodgy leg, my manoeuvrability is somewhat hampered, but at least my good hand is capable of typing.Derrick

I had to rely on Jackie to take photographs; to drive backwards and forwards to the hospital; to relieve me of my laptop each time I fell asleep over it as I dozed away the afternoon; to continue the garden maintenance; and, recognising I would appreciate finger food, to collect a Chinese takeaway meal this evening. You’ve got to hand it to her.

‘Carer Fills The Dosset Box’

After yesterday’s trip I have to accept I can no longer just wait for my right knee to heal itself. Today, apart from a drive to the GP’s, I have furniture walked, with not a glimmer of polish. Given that Jackie is awaiting surgery on her left knee, she has speculated that we might do quite well in a three-legged race.

Once again, I am grateful that we live where we do. A phone call to the GP surgery in the morning resulted in an emergency appointment with the excellent Dr Simon Moody-Jones; medication prescribed, and collected; a recommendation that I dig out a stick I had used before the previous surgery; and back home with a completed application form for a perhaps optimistically termed walk-in x-ray in the afternoon; all in time for Bargain Hunt at 12.30.

A Dosset box is designed to contain medication marked to help people remember whether they have taken their pills or not. Little compartments are laid out according to days of the week and intervals in the days. The idea is that carers can fill them for patients otherwise unable to carry out the procedure. Whilst in hospital after my hip replacement five and a half years ago, I thought it amusing to tell a nurse that I had such a box, because we thought it a good idea for anyone. Jackie was fascinated to read in the notes on the clipboard at the foot of the bed, that ‘carer fills Dosset box’.

Obviously taking this allocated role to heart, she inserted Co-codamol for the pain, Naproxen for the swelling, and Omeprazole to counteract potential stomach damage from the Naproxen, to see me through the week ahead.Jackie's V sign whilst filling Dossett box

I am not sure quite what I said to earn the silent inverted gesture that went with it.

This afternoon we were in and out of Lymington Hospital’s X-ray unit in about twenty minutes, most of which was occupied by me walking from the car.

On our return I was delighted to receive an alert informing me that, under a blog post entitled ‘Dissection of a Wedding Party’, my friend Alex Schneideman on has produced enlarged images of individual portraits of the members of the group in my ‘Revealing The Ancestors’ post. Alex’s site is well worth a look.

We had never thought of Kenwood as a producer of dishwashers when we bought one on special offer from Curry’s. We had an initial problem getting it going but that was fixed under guarantee. What has always been metaphorically, and today literally, a pain has been that the tray runners don’t operate smoothly and are held in place by plastic wheels which frequently fall off into the rear nether regions of the machine, and are very difficult to manoeuvre back into their correct positions. A fiddly enough process at the best of times, today, feeling as if one of the knives had also fallen from its container and lodged itself in my knee, I had to give up and hand the job of recovery to Jackie.

She was then able to load up the dishwasher, normally my job, with the pots, crockery, and cutlery from our delicious evening meal of her lamb jalfrezi, egg fried rice, and vegetable samosas. Jackie drank T’Sing Tao and I drank Kingfisher.

Back In Time For Bargain Hunt

We now have quite a variety of daffodils in the garden. Here are some new ones:DaffodilDaffodils, camellia, and helleboresCamellia

Once they start turning an attractive ochre colour, the camellias develop an additional beauty.Pansies 1Pansy 1Pansies 2

Pansy 2

Numerous different pansies, some newly planted, some having prospered through the winter, enjoyed a warm, sunny day.Hyacinth

Hyacinths are really indoor plants, but it is always worth placing the bulbs in the garden once they have finished flowering, on the off-chance that they might survive. Some Jackie inserted last year have bloomed.

Just before mid-day Jackie drove us to Lymington Hospital for her post-scan consultation. She does need surgery to repair knee damage, and her name has consequently been put on a waiting list for an operation at the Nuffield Hospital in Chandlers Ford. Once again we were impressed with the friendly efficiency of the Lymington service. Where else could you drive six miles each way for a hospital appointment for 12.15, for which we admittedly arrived a few minutes early, and return home having missed only ten minutes of T.V.’s ‘Bargain Hunt’ which started at 12.30?Hellebores

We have so many hellebores shyly hanging their heads in the garden that Jackie decided to encourage the blooms to show their faces, and thus allow us to enjoy their variety without having to crouch down to look them in the eye. She cut a selection and placed them in a bowl of water. This ceramic was made by Jill Tattersall, a Newark friend.

The Happy Wok in Ashley was Jackie’s choice of Chinese takeaway dinner this evening. The portions are plentiful enough to feed us for a further day or two. She imbibed T’Sing Tao beer, whilst I consumed more of the claret..

In The Verges

Today was sunny and warmer. I made my way this morning down to Roger’s footpath and back. This was more of a hobble than a ramble, but the swelling on the knee has subsided and I have left off the Ibuprofen.

To be found in the verges of Downton Lane are:Crocuses





More celandinesDaffodil

DaffodilsGrape hyacinth

Grape HyacinthsBudweiser can

and drink cans, like this one from Budweiser which will soon be nestling in ladies’ bedstraw.Celandine blue

We have blue celandines in the garden, whereNew bed

Jackie has continued work on the new bed,Chain

and we have erected a plastic chain to enhance the barrier at the end of the drive. This seems at least to have deterred a plumber’s van.


When the tits give them a chance, chaffinches are now visiting the bird feeders.

This afternoon Jackie drove us to Lymington Hospital for my pre-assessment to see whether I am fit for surgery for the fasciectomy. After completion of a questionnaire, checking of blood pressure and pulse rate; measuring height and weight and calculating BMI; taking swabs from nostrils and groin to check for MRSA; applying an ECG; taking blood tests; and anything else I might have forgotten, it seems that I am. The operation should take place some time in April.

Elizabeth came for a visit and, later, we drove off to Lymington’s Lal Quilla in our separate cars, and enjoyed the usual excellent meal and friendly service, including a chat with the chef who really loves his work. My meal was king prawn naga and special fried rice. We all had onion bhajis for starters and drank Kingfisher.

Lal Quilla

Quay HillScarf on lamppostThis morning Jackie drove us to Lymington Hospital where she had her knee x-rayed. We were very impressed with this well-laid out building, making it easy to find the walk-in service, and the efficiency of that provision when we arrived. Afterwards we parked behind the High Street and walked down to the quay, where Jackie sat on a bench whilst I wandered around; I then walked the length of the main street, seeking Canon printing ink suppliers. I bought some in W.H.Smith’s and ordered another in Stephenson’s. We then met up back at the car park.

In New Street, Jackie spotted a scarf lying in the road, and I tied it to a lamppost. It was still there on our return. If it belongs to you, I hope you recover it before the promised storms arrive.

High Street and Quay HillQuay reflectedQuay 1Quay 2Quay and flagQuay with gull on postQuay with gull rflectedGulls reflectedMallardsBoatsJackie on bench

Many boats were moored in the harbour, but there was little activity other than that of gulls and mallards.

Zooming the third picture above will reveal, on the left-hand edge of the High Street, Lal Quilla Indian restaurant. We thought we would give it a try this evening, and drove back to Lymington. We were not disappointed. My choice of king prawn naga and special fried rice, Jackie’s of prawn sally with mushroom rice, the popadoms, the onion bajis, and the egg parata were all excellent. We both drank draught Kingfisher. The service was friendly and engaging. Even the chef asked if we had enjoyed our food.

P.S. I am grateful to Lakshmi, another WordPress blogger, for pointing out that Lal Quilla is the Hindustani name for what we call Red Fort. This is how it is described by Wikipedia:

‘The Red Fort was the residence of the Mughal emperor of India for nearly 200 years, until 1857. It is located in the centre of Delhi and houses a number of museums. In addition to accommodating the emperors and their households, it was the ceremonial and political centre of Mughal government and the setting for events critically impacting the region.[1]

The Red Fort, constructed by Shah Jahan, was built as the fortified palace of Shahjahanabad, capital of the fifth Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan,[2] in 1648. Named for its massive enclosing walls of red sandstone, it is adjacent to the older Salimgarh Fort, built by Islam Shah Suri in 1546. The imperial apartments consist of a row of pavilions, connected by a water channel known as the Stream of Paradise (Nahr-i-Behisht). The Red Fort is considered to represent the zenith of Mughal creativity under Shah Jahan. Although the palace was planned according to Islamic prototypes, each pavilion contains architectural elements typical of Mughal buildings, reflecting a fusion of Timurid, Persian andHindu traditions. The Red Fort’s innovative architectural style, including its garden design, influenced later buildings and gardens in Delhi, Rajasthan, Punjab, Kashmir, Braj, Rohilkhand and elsewhere.[1]With the Salimgarh Fort, it was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2007 as part of the Red Fort Complex.[1][3]

The Red Fort is an iconic symbol of India. On the Independence Day of India (15 August), the Prime Minister of India hoists the national flag at the main gate of the fort and delivers a nationally-broadcast speech from its ramparts.[4],’