The Siege Of Krishnapur

In the afternoon of this day of steady rainfall Paul and Margery visited to deliver the painting by John Jones that Paul has now framed. We had an enjoyable conversation over tea and mince pies, and are very pleased with both the picture and the framing.

During the rest of the day I finished reading J.G.Farrell’s historical novel ‘The Siege Of Krishnapur’. Originally published by George Weidenfeld and Nicholson 1n 1973, mine is the Folio Society edition of 2008 with an excellent and insightful introduction by Hilary Mantel and evocative illustrations by Francis Mosley.

Without revealing anything of the story I can say that the clearly impeccably and aimlessly researched work takes us into the period of the Raj, its customs, its class divisions, and its beliefs. The pace of the narrative reflects the ebb and flow of action and reflection of such an event. There is dramatic action and there dull, energy-sapping periods. All the senses are so well engaged. Sickness and death are rife. We see how people are revealed in their true colours – some rising to the occasion, others failing or turning it to their own advantage. Barriers between the sexes are broken down.

The boards are embossed with this design by the artist which also runs across the spine.

 

Mr Mosley, especially with his chosen palette, has captured the essence of the time and place.

As, this evening, we left home to meet Elizabeth at The Wheel Inn, Jackie photographed arboreal fingers reaching for the full moon draped in dramatic clouds.

The staff at the community pub, having reserved a friendly table,

had placed us beside the log fire. Jackie also produced these two photographs.

Elizabeth and I both enjoyed crispy duck with ginger salad starters.

My main course consisted of oven baked hake wrapped in parma ham, lobster sauce, sautéed potatoes and asparagus. The ladies were both delighted with their roast turkey with all the trimmings. Jackie finished with Christmas pudding, and I chose Eton mess. Both were very good. Jackie and Elizabeth  both drank Warsteiner and I drank Ringwood’s Best.

A Quotation From My Grandad

I have previously mentioned an unfortunate complication arising from my knee replacement operation in May. Today, after some delay and a cancellation, Jackie was able do drive me to Lymington Hospital for a visit to consultant, Mr J. Douglas. After various tests he offered the opinion that my prostate is only slightly enlarged and that there may have been some internal damage caused by efforts to insert a catheter. He was not worried about this, but, given that I cannot have my second knee replacement unless the condition, which might need a catheter designed for this not unusual problem, is confirmed, he has placed me on an urgent referral for further investigation with a camera.

Before this visit we lunched at Redcliffe Garden Centre at Bashley. Written on the roof supports of the establishment’s restaurant are memorable quotations about gardening. Following on from one from Longfellow is this one by

 ‘My Grandad’. Enlargement should make this legible, but for those needing it, here is the text: ‘A face without freckles is like a garden without flowers’.

I chose the steak pie meal. The excellent gravy relieved the impression that the meal was perhaps a bit overheated – it was, however, the last one, and despite appearances tasted very good. Jackie enjoyed her customary jacket potato with tuna mayonnaise and plentiful fresh salad.

We had taken a diversion in the forest. At Brockenhurst, just as I drew a bead on it a heron took off from the bank of a stream outside Brockenhurst.

After the consultation we sped off to the GP Surgery at Milford on Sea to deposit a requisition for medication to relax the casing of the prostate. Naturally this led us to the coast just before sunset.

The Isle of Wight, The Needles, and the lighthouse sat well in their pink and indigo pastel surroundings.

This colour scheme set off the more strident streaks of the setting sun,

opposite which sweeping clouds revealed blue skies.

As usual the heaving sea, the rock-splashing spray, and the crunching shingle reflected the overhead hues.

Soon after sunset the clearer skies revealed a finely drafted crescent moon above Downton.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s choice chilli con carne served with flavoursome savoury rice. Elizabeth drank Hop House Lager and I drank Outlook Bay Central Otago Pinot Noir 2017.

Cleft Cliff

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This afternoon we all watched Michael Caine, Morgan Freeman, and Alan Arkin, supported by Peter Serafinowicz and Ann-Margret, starring in ‘Going in Style’. This is a wonderful heist romp about three ageing friends getting their own back on a foreclosing bank. I won’t spoil the story by revealing anything more.

Afterwards the oldies in our group drove down to Barton on Sea for coffees at the Beachcomber café.

In the cold air I risked frostbite by photographing the dusk before joining the others. Some walkers hurried along the clifftop.

Cleft in cliff

I wondered whether they had noticed the recently rent cleft in the cliff edge. I also wondered whether this chunk of rocky soil would still be in situ next time we pass this way.

Others, walking their dogs, strode along the shore line.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s excellent beef, mushroom, and onion pie; creamy mashed potatoes; crisp cabbage, and crunchy carrots. I drank very flavoursome and full bodied 16 Little Black Pigs shiraz cabernet 2016, one of a mixed case Ian gave me for Christmas.

 

Sussing Possible Rentals

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For much of the day, Jackie drove me and Flo around the forest, focussing on the location of a few flats she has found that might be suitable for her to rent. First on the itinerary was one over the antiques centre where Elizabeth has a cabinet.

From there we drove on to Ashurst to survey the forested area surrounding the secluded building. The low sun sent sharp shadows across the sparkling frosted terrain; and brightened reflections in the developing pools. Lichen covered broken branches lay all around.

A pony ripped its way through the bracken in which it foraged.

Once in the north of the forest, we brunched at Hockey’s Farm Shop at South Gorley. There, Flo photographed the alpacas, the donkeys, and the chickens. She was making a video with some still photographs of the New Forest.

A diminutive pony fed from a box on the side of a pen.

Sow with piglets

A contented sow shielded her three day old piglets from prying eyes. A notice warned that she might become grumpy if they were poked.

Donkeys

Donkeys always seem more in evidence to the north of the A31.

Godshill was our next port of call. We are unable to find the selected property, but we did tramp along muddy paths. The car’s access to the most likely location was barred by three farm horses, one of which was particularly large. As we made our way past them, the animals picked up speed and appeared to be racing us down the soggy slope on which mud mingled with equine droppings.

Farm horses waiting for tea

We thought it best to stand aside from these heavy-hoofed beasts. They swung round the bend at the bottom of the hill, coming to a halt at the farm gate. We were informed by the woman apparently in charge of their reception committee that they were assembling for their tea.

We failed to meet Becky and Ian here. After waiting in Godshill Cricket car park watching the moon rise and the sun set, we returned home to find the others there. Our problem was the lack of mobile phone signals depriving us of the ability to communicate on the move, on which we have all become so dependent.

This evening we all grazed on cold meats, cheeses, and salads Jackie laid out on the kitchen table.

 

 

On The Trail

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At first light this morning Jackie drove us down to the clifftop at Milford on Sea to watch the sunrise.

Isle of Wight and The Needles before sunrise

The forest behind the Isle of Wight and The Needles was a bank of clouds. The lighthouse blinked.

Sunrise 1

Soon

Sunrise with gull

a pink lining

Sunrise with gulls

came into view

Sunrise 2

over

Sunrise 3

 

to the east.

Walker at sunrise 1

Just two lone walkers

Walker at sunrise 2

braved the two degrees centigrade temperature at 7 a.m.

This afternoon we visited the New Milton toy shop to investigate Christmas presents, and decided that we needed parental advice.

Afterwards we drove into the forest.

Ponies

On the way down Holmsley Passage Jackie spotted

Ponies

a string of ponies

Ponies

crossing a ridge. Watch the wavy lines in the bracken to the right.

Ponies

She parked

Ponies

beside the stream on the lowest part of the lane, while I watched

Ponies

as the ponies

Ponies

dropped onto

Ponies

what was a trail

Ponies

they had regularly trodden.

Ponies

It was fortunate

Ponies

for me that there were a couple of greys to help me pick them out against the bracken

Ponies

 or, as they reached level ground, among the trees.

Pony

The black leader came into view and investigated the road;

Ponies

when it was pronounced clear, the others followed

Ponies

and were led

Ponies

past

Ponies

a delighted Jackie

Ponies

in the car.

Ponies

Having crossed to the other side

Ponies

they reappeared on higher ground.

Reflections in pool

Further on, up the road to Clay Hill reflections in the calm pool

Reflections in pool

were clear and bright.

Sunset

On our return the sun was setting over Holmsley;

Sunset

blazing clouds shrouded Wootton Common,

Moon and clouds

where the moon was in the ascendancy.

Trees and sunset

Trellises of tree branches

Trees and sunset

screened the pink and indigo backcloth.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s wonderful savoury rice forming a bed for tempura prawns. We both drank Maison Castel Touraine sauvignon blanc 2015.

 

Welcome To The World

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This morning we took a trip to the bank in New Milton, then on to Milford on Sea where Peter of Sears Barbers gave me an excellent haircut.

Three days ago, in ‘Quads’ I recounted Louisa’s memories of her time rounding up and milking the cows on the farm of Geoff and Maureen Carruthers in Cumbria. On 18th of August 1992, I photographed the following sequence taking place in one of the fields:

Cow with newborn calf 18.8.92 1

The scanned negative images are presented in the order in which they were captured. They feature a cow and its newborn calf; from the first moments of delighted tail-wagging licking, the tender nudging to the baby’s feet, helping up when slips occurred, to the final reward of a swollen udder.  The first picture, apart from the removal of the date stamp, shows the whole scene, reproduced from a sensitive distance.

The rest have been variously cropped as seemed appropriate.

Having forgotten to draw some cash at the bank this morning, we drove out shortly before sunset to rectify the situation.

Entrancing light lit Christchurch Road as we left. Close examination of the second picture will reveal from his gesture that the driver of the leading car was less than happy about being photographed.

By the time we reached Barton on Sea, the skies had became more moody, buildings glowed, and the red eye of The Needles lighthouse gleamed.

As I looked skyward, the half moon raced across my line of sight. Or was I losing my balance? Neither. The fast moving clouds gave the impression that the stationary object they tracked was on the move. They soon left it in their wake.

This evening we dined on tasty fish cakes topped with Cheddar cheese, and served with sauteed potatoes, bright green spinach, fresh carrots and sweet sugar snaps. We both drank Corte Alle Mura Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2014 which seemed an excellent accompaniment.

Save Our Stream

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Feeling considerably brighter today, I began by tackling two weeks administration. This involved settling bills, correspondence, and collecting a delivery that required a signature.

Jackie drove us to Lymington to retrieve the package from the sorting office. Almost across the other side of the High Street is situated Peacock Computer Systems where we took my HP laptop for a diagnosis. The charger has been plugged in but the device doesn’t charge up. The diagnosis is that it needs a battery transplant and is on the waiting list for a replacement.

After this we travelled back to Old Milton where we purchased a new dehumidifier to replace the old one which was crying in pain. It seemed sensible to detach it from its power source and buy an new one. We found one in The Home Appliance Centre, took it home, and went on a drive round the forest, where,

Forest road

the sun-streaked tarmac came hurtling towards us as Jackie drove between the trees.

There are many streams in the forest. The one that demanded my attention today was at Furze Hill near Fordingbridge.

Stream 2

The dappled sunlight increased its beauty;

Stream 1

the clear blue sky rippled in the breeze-stirred shallows;

Stream 3

Stream 8

 

 

 

 

 

the browns of pebbles and bed of the stream discoloured the impression of the clear water above them,

Stream 4Stream 7

blending with reflections of sky and greenery to produce pleasing abstract paintings.

Stream 10

We have had such a dry year that the water was quite shallow,

Stream 5Stream 6Stream 9

yet the scene was quite magical.

Sometimes serendipity plays a part in a blog post. So it was today. I had not realised the significance of this one of all the streams in the forest, until, further along the road, we came across this sign: Save Our Stream

 

Naturally I had to investigate. A barking dog alerted the people who lived behind the poster to my presence. There ensued a conversation about a five year battle by http://friendsoflatchmore.org  to prevent  the filling in of a large stretch of land above Latchmore Brook. Apparently this will change the course of the water and cover an important archeological site. Otters which frequent the local stream will, it is believed, be driven away by pollution.

The views of these who wish to carry out the infill may be found at http://www.hlsnewforest.org.uk/info/100/latchmore

We drove on to Latchmore and eventually lunched at the Hyde-Out cafe at Hyde, before a gentle trundle home. Many people were eating outside. At one point, a little boy aged about six made an impressive entrance and demanded: “Where’s the cake?”.

Sunset

Before dinner, despite the paucity of clouds, we drove down to Barton on Sea to admire the pastel shades of the skyline at sunset.

Sunset and moon

The moon and walkers aided this composition.

We then dined on fish fingers, chips, and baked beans, followed by ice cream. Good nursery convalescence food.