Talking Heads

I may have mentioned that my Canon 70-300mm lens became stuck just before Christmas, and I took it into Wessex Photographic in Ringwood for a quotation. This has come back. The cost is £70 more than a second-hand one the store had in stock. That being a no-brainer, Jackie drove me to replace my older second-hand model with a newer one.

Afterwards we brunched in Café Aroma, and, through their crystal clear plate glass window, I tried out this newly acquired piece of equipment, by photographing

passers-by.

One gentleman vaped outside the smokers’ shelter,

through the transparent sheet of which I photographed some talking heads.

Suitably sated, we continued into the forest where a light frost still lay in patches. Perhaps because we are so near the coast we haven’t yet experienced this.

At North Gorley a saturated area of turf wore white patches beside a pool covered in semi-melted ice. Reflections rested undisturbed on the otherwise limpid surface.

As the leisurely grazing sheep discovered on Cadnam Lane, frost lingered beside the hedges. Perhaps the equine droppings among the ovine diners had been left by

the string of stubby ponies following their relatively gigantic grey leader down the road. One forlorn little fellow just couldn’t keep up,

until its companions paused for refreshments.

A motley array of cuddly creatures clambered over a farm gate in an endeavour to escape the peacocks within.

On our way home we noticed that The Bell at Bank has a rather cheeky event coming up on 25th January

Jackie said she felt like another Christmas dinner today, so she produced roast chicken; Yorkshire pudding; roast potatoes and parsnips; moist bread sauce; firm sage and onion stuffing; and crunchy carrots and cauliflower. Becky drank Diet Coke, and I drank Famille Perrin Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2016. Ian wasn’t feeling well. Maybe he will eat later.

On The Beach

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENHANCE. THOSE IN GROUPS ACCESS GALLERIES THAT CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE.

Darting pin points of fleeting snow given added impetus by biting winds crossing Christchurch Bay failed to deter family out to enjoy fun on the sand, despite this morning’s gloom necessitating the use of car headlights.

For the first time this year my fingers tingled painfully as I plied my camera while Jackie snuggled up in the car with her puzzle book. The precipitation did not settle.

Scooters

Children brought their own transport into play, in the form of smart scooters

Cycling child

and a wobbly bicycle.

Woman on mobile phone

Judging by the gesticulation displayed in the twist of her free hand, one young woman was engaged in an animated mobile conversation.

Child walking on wall

A little girl put the sea wall to the use for which it was intended.

Dogs frolicked with or without their owners,

Dogs meeting on beach

and made welcome new acquaintances.

A photographer operated on the roaring waves with the use of a tripod and an extension cable.

He wasn’t so concerned with the two ferry boats coming into harbour, bearing a few intrepid passengers.

Crow on beach

A crow on the sand watched the incoming waves,

Bobbin on beach

and a stranded cotton reel had once been bobbin’ on the tide.

On this second weekend of the Six Nations rugby tournament, I watched first ITV’s coverage of the game between Italy and Ireland in Rome, followed by Wales v. England on BBC in Cardiff. The first game was far too one-side to enthrall; the second one of the most thrilling I have ever seen.

Our dinner this evening (look away, Yvonne) consisted of Jackie’s hearty liver and bacon casserole, served with boiled potatoes, carrots, and curly kale. This was followed by Sicilian lemon tart and cream. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, my choice was Cimerosa Reserva Privada cabernet sauvignon 2015.

A Garden Of Delights

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Japanese anemone suspended petal 1Japanese anemone suspended petal 2Japanese anemone suspended petal 3

Watching the suspended petal of a Japanese anemone this morning set me musing. First I considered the strength of the thread that grasped it. As the flower part spun and twisted in the breeze, its captor clung on, just as it would with a fly’s frantically thrashing death throes.

On a more musical note, my head recalled the rhythmic tones of chirpy Chubby Checker from 1960:

This afternoon we went on an outing to Stratford Tony Manor House garden which was open under the National Gardens Scheme. It was my idea of a delightful garden.

Lakeside

There was space for large lawned areas, many trees, a stream, and a lake.

Shrubbery 1Shrubbery 2

The large borders, especially those planted against walls, were really rather splendid,

Couple admiring border

and admired by many,

Jackie admiring festooned wall

including Jackie.

Sculpture 1

There were a number of interesting sculptures.

Three girls sculptures

Three girls sculpture 2

The story behind those of three girls sheltering among cyclamen under a weeping willow is  rather endearing. Made some twenty years ago, they are the daughters of the family. The eldest, now brings her own child to visit the family home. This scene, reminiscent of Enid Blyton characters from an earlier time, has been brought into the 21st century with the subtle placement of a mobile phone. The standing child once had a tennis ball placed with  equal whimsy, but the dog kept taking it.

Fossilised stump

Two apparent sculptures were in fact fossilised stumps with polished tops.

Photographer photographed 1

A more modern garden ornament features in this photograph of a photographer and her subjects. We had a delightful conversation about this, and I gave them details of this blog.

Photographer photographed 2

The next picture I made of them will be a surprise to them. (I hope you like it, folks).

Visitors to garden 1

Some quite large groups of visitors wandered around, negotiating the sometimes steep slopes,

Tea Terrace

leading to the tea terrace where a very busy team of helpers kept us all supplied.

Flower arrangement

On each table was placed one or two very tastefully arranged vases of flowers.

Bridge

There were suitably placed bridges over the still lake;

Crossing the bridge

visitors enjoyed crossing them,

Lake 1

or just contemplating the tranquil scene,

Reflection

the tempting water,

Swan 1Swans 1

and the swans.

Gate

The nicely rusting iron gate to the kitchen garden contrasted with the green grass behind it, revealed by suitable excised symbols.

Field 1

At a short distance from Stratford Tony, an army helicopter chugged over crows in a recently harvested field

Field 2

now draped with striped curtains.

Back at home, Mr Chatty Man Chan of Hordle Chinese Take Away provided our evening meal with which Jackie drank sparkling water and I drank more of the Kekfrankos.

Anticipation

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED.Mudeford Quay 1

Early this morning Jackie drove me out to Mudeford Quay for a photoshoot.

Neatly piled up are fishermen’s equipment, such as

Ropes and chains

ropes and chains,

Crab pot

and what I believe are crab pots,

Buoys

and marker buoys.

Yacht and buoy on Solent

It must have been the hazy heat that led us to water for the second day running. Even quite early it wrapped The Needles and their lighthouse in clingfilm as a yacht slipped past the Isle of Wight and a buoy bobbed in the bay.

Holiday accommodation

Holidaymakers were emerging from their picturesque accommodation,

Rowers 1

Rower and lady

but otherwise families had not yet driven in their droves when we arrived and I wandered around watching various aquatic activities such as rowing;

Punting

what I am grateful to several commenters below, to be able to call paddle-boarding;

Yachting

yachting;

Casting

and casting for fish.

Motor boat leaners

Discussion about plans for the day took place while leaning on a boat,

Man on mobile

or by means of the mobile phone. This paddling gentleman was soon joined by two children and a woman who rang to ask where he was. He was amused when I showed him the picture.

Gull

Even the gulls kept largely out of sight, except for one looking startled on the water,

Rooftop with gull

and another surveying the scene from a rather motley rooftop.

Roofing

Nearby, a roofer’s head was already lit by the sun which would soon bear straight down on him;

Watering hanging basket

and The Haven staff were already watering the hanging baskets.

In eager anticipation of the first ferry trip to Hengistbury Head

Down to the ferry 1

Down to the ferry 2

families surged onto the quay

Down to the ferry 3

Down to the ferry 4

and formed an ever-lengthening queue.

Down to the ferry 5

Down to the ferry 6

Down to the ferry 7

The transport arrived on time and eager embarkation began.

Steps

The barriers around the quayside are to prevent anyone taking a dive down the steps leading up to the platform.

Down to the ferry 8

This father looked as if he was feeling the strain;

Down to the ferry 9

until he entered the boat and his partner brought along the empty buggy.

Down to the ferry 10Down to the ferry 11

The last few boarders took their places,

Ferry

and the fully laden boat set off.

Dog, reader, gull

As I returned to the car I spotted a large sandy dog excavating the spit across the water.

This afternoon I gave Jackie token assistance with watering the garden.

This even we dined on the Culinary Queen’s wholesome sausage, bacon, and heart casserole. She drank Hoegaarden and I quaffed more of the Côtes du Rhône.