On The Trail


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


Sunrise with gull

a pink lining

Sunrise with gulls

came into view

Sunrise 2


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.


On the way down Holmsley Passage Jackie spotted


a string of ponies


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


She parked


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


as the ponies


dropped onto


what was a trail


they had regularly trodden.


It was fortunate


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


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


The black leader came into view and investigated the road;


when it was pronounced clear, the others followed


and were led




a delighted Jackie


in the car.


Having crossed to the other side


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.


On our return the sun was setting over Holmsley;


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


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


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?”.


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.

Folding Flyers

Moon and mahonia

Last night a full yellow, pink haloed, moon was framed by limbs of garden trees such as an evergreen mahonia

Moon and beech

or rolled in the grip of deciduous fingers of beech.

This morning we collected Paul’s mount board from Wessex Print in Pennington and delivered this, the flyers, and exhibition prints to The First Gallery, where, whilst enjoying coffee and Margery’s mini hot cross buns, Paul and I checked over my work, and

Jackie and Margery folding flyers

Jackie and Margery had fun folding flyers.


On the moors between Beaulieu and Lymington linger many pools in which trees stand.


On one, another grey pony slaked its thirst in its own bath water (I am indebted to Johnna of painkills2.wordpress.com for the bath water).

Ponies and pool

Suitably replenished, the dripping animal bounded onto the turf, circled the neighbouring pool above, and settled down to graze beyond its bay companion.

Table top

Unfortunately I had overlooked one of the A3 prints. This was the table top abstract which I therefore made on our return home. I suppose one out of fifty isn’t bad.

This evening Jackie’s delicious lamb jalfrezi was served with pilau rice, chick pea dhal, and parathas. We both drank Kingfisher

Crunchy Cottage Pie


On a mild, dank, morning a friendly robin trilled a greeting from a neighbour’s birch tree, encouraging me to take my walk to Hordle Cliff top and back.

Isle of Wight and The NeedlesDaddy longlegs

The daddy longlegs that had splatted against the bus shelter window during the summer is well on the way to becoming fossilised.

Shorefield Country Park 1Shorefield Country Park 2

By the time I returned through Shorefield Country Park, the skies had cleared to reveal a splendid sunny day.

The rest of the 1982 black and white images that I scanned yesterday involve a stay in the Drapers’ home in Meldreth, and another with Maggie and Mike in Southwell. As far as I remember Jessica and I were house-sitting at ‘The Dumb Flea’ in Meldreth, so named after the Tudor public house it had been before its current extensions.

Louisa 1982 1Louisa and Matthew 1982Louisa and Becky 1982

Matthew and Becky, who are seen here holding baby Louisa, decided to cook cottage pie for our evening meal. Having worked away in the hot kitchen, the two red-faced, glowing, children proudly placed the dish on the table and we all eagerly tucked in. The mashed potato topping was appropriately crisp and soft, but the filling was a little crunchy. And some. When Julie and Peter returned they explained the reason. They kept dogs. The children had used dog mince which must have been three quarters bone.

Jessica and Maggie 1982 1

After their London wedding some years previously, Jessica and I had not seen Maggie and Mike until I ran my first Newark half marathon later in 1982. We visited them, not dreaming that five years later we would move to Lindum House. The story of the renewal of our friendship is told in ‘Mordred’.

MoonWe will miss the Emsworth family who returned home this evening. Becky sent a text saying ‘Look at moon’, so we did. It was full, with a halo and balanced the rear lights of cars speeding along the darkness of Christchurch Road.

Egg, bacon and chips was the perfect meal for anyone wishing to come down to earth from an extended festive season. That is what we ate this evening.

An Aid To Autosuggestion

Waterlogged paddock

The weather today could not have been more of a contrast to yesterday’s. It was several degrees warmer, wet, and overcast. I took a short walk along Hordle Lane to visit the horses in a waterlogged Yeatton Cottage paddock.

Bracken and horsesHorses through fence 1Horses through fence 2

These miserable looking animals, wrapped in their winter rugs, could not even show their customary interest in my presence. They probably would have preferred raincoats.

Horses in waterlogged paddockHorses and Shetland pony

The Shetland pony belongs to the owners of the cottage who let space to accommodate the other two.


Waterspout 9.68

The photograph of the waterspout taken on the beach at Shanklin in September 1968 that featured in my post of 3rd November, when I hung it on the downstairs loo wall, has proved so popular I may have to leave it there. Clearly it offers an aid to autosuggestion. Flo is so taken with it that she asked for a copy. I made one when I returned from my walk. Our friend Paul Clarke, when he last visited with Margery, brought me a pack of A3+ size photographic paper that had been found in a car boot sale. He thought I could at least use it for test prints. I used it for this picture and found it of excellent quality.

Moon and lights 2Moon and lights 3Moon and lights 1Before dinner Jackie drove Flo and me on a rather abortive Christmas lights tour. Lymington and New Milton still had them lit up in their streets, but Brockenhurst had switched off one side of the street and Lydhurst’s were extinguished altogether. Even the garden of the famous private house in Bartley was in darkness. The real star of the trip was, when it freed itself from the clouds, the almost full moon.

On our return we all dined on Jackie’s sausage casserole, as always, improved with keeping; and potatoes, cabbage, carrots,a and cauliflower, all cooked to perfection. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and I finally opened an excellent bottle of Bois du Riche Margaux 2007 given to me by Shelly and Ron for Christmas 2013. And drank some of it.

The Litter Nest

Tree topsWoodland 1Woodland 2Bunting rope My first walk today was through the woodland. After a while, I diverged from the footpath, and, although I kept it vaguely to my left, found it difficult to regain until I noticed a rope with strips of coloured cloth lying on the ground and leading off in the right direction. I had seen the other end of this a couple of days ago, so I followed it with success, and returned home in time for Jackie to drive Becky and me to Emsworth, so our daughter could keep an appointment in Havant and I could take a further amble around the quay.

From North Road I took the path through St James’s Churchyard to the A259 which I crossed and turned into Bath Road. I followed this alongside the Mill Pond as far as the Sailing Club and walked around the pond, along Fisherman’s Walk and down the jetty. This occupied me until the light changed as the dazzling sun gradually made way for the gentler moon. It had grown dark by the time my chauffeuse and Becky picked me up again at the corner of Bath Road. St James's Church Bath RoadGulls on Mill Pond 0-0-0-x773-mute-swan-litter-nest-12.05.13                               I had hoped to photograph the ‘litter nest’ which, for the last three years has been found beneath the bridge over the pond at that point. It was no longer there, so I have used Rosemary Hampton’s illustration from 2013. Becky told me the story. The nest, made from assorted pieces of litter, has been home to a pair of mute swans and their intended progeny. There has been much local concern at the failure to thrive of eggs that have been laid there, because the nest has regularly become waterlogged. This year, for example, of a clutch of six, only one has survived. It is seen in the foreground of this photograph I took today:                                                                                                          Waterfowl with young swan Conservationists have cleared away the nest and will place a nesting raft on the site. Any home built on it will float on the rising waters.   Gulls being fed 1Gulls being fed                                                                     In the bright afternoon sunshine seagulls squabbled over food that was being thrown to the waterfowl, by numerous walkers along the banks. Ducks, swans, gulls and coots played, paddled, drank, and fished in the pond.                                                                      Tree by Mill Pond Quayside Fisherman's Walk Swan stretchingOne-legged swanSwan dance Egret The tide was out on the far side of the well populated Fisherman’s Walk and under the jetty. Water dripped from their beaks as swans waddled, paddled, and slaked their thirst among coots, egrets and other wading birds among the silt and shallow stretches. One flapped its wings; another managed admirably on its one leg; and a seemingly inseparable pair formed curving patterns as they danced along. Boat and swansBoats

Pleasure boats lay apparently stranded.

Couple on jetty

A gentleman on the jetty pointed out godwits to his female companion.

Geese in skyGeese on water

Honking of geese at times filled the skies, at others dominated strips of water.


Jackie produced a splendid penne bolognese, with which she and Ian drank Peroni, for our evening meal. I finished the Cotes du Rhone Villages.

Optical Aids

DawnMoon at dawnAs the dawn sun emerged behind the trees in our back garden, the moon still occupied the sky at the front of the house.
By the time I returned from my Hordle Cliff top walk the bright, cold, day had warmed up a little because these skies had clouded over.
Ivy CottagesFramed by a leafless arched bough, Ivy Cottages, dating from 1897, with their neighbours beyond Downton Service Station on BrackenCoke tin in hedgeChristchurch Road, could now be seen from the hedgerow on Downton Lane, where bracken has browned, and a Coca Cola tin blends with red berries. Most cans and bottles similarly discarded are not so happily juxtaposed.

Ice shardsShards of ice shattered by passing cars had been tossed onto the verges.

Isle of Wight, Needles, lighthouseThe Isle of Wight, The Needles, and their lighthouse were silhouetted against a pale pastel palette.
Cow parsley seedsOn a small piece of ground at the top of the steps leading into Shorefield from the path to the beach, fresh cow parsley still blooms. Some of this has begun to seed.
It is time to return to the ‘through the ages’ series. Today I have chosen to reproduce three, being Derrick and Samnumbers 53, 54, and 55, the first two from 1980 and the third from the following spring. These photographs Derrick and Sam 12.80were all taken by Jessica, the first two at Gracedale Road, the month of the second being indicated by its background Christmas tree.
The indentations left by over-tight nose pads in the first photo show that I was wearing specs in those days. Having been somewhat short-sighted since I was eighteen, vanity had led me to contact lenses in my twenties, but I managed to play Rugby without them, until, into my thirties I needed them to see clearly across the field. This was rather crucial for a second row forward, one of whose tasks was to cover the corners. I therefore began to wear lenses during the games. Until I lost three in a fortnight, that is. Quite apart from the cost of replacements, the search for little pieces of plastic in cold and soggy mud became somewhat disruptive. So I returned to spectacles.
The story of my first embarrassing visit to an optician, and of the accident which, many years later, resulted in a cataract operation, was told on 13th July 2012. Whether I have the eye specialist’s prediction or the new lens inserted more than fifteen years ago to thank for it, I just use varifocal lenses in specs with the close up element being plain glass, only for watching television or drawing from life. Until I purchased these about six years ago I had to choose between viewing either the model (with specs), or the texture of the paper (without them). Either that or keeping taking the glasses on and off.  I have never needed such assistance to read, and don’t even take them with me on my rambles with the camera.
Derrick and Sam 1981The third picture was taken at the very attractive Owl House Gardens at Lamberhurst near Tunbridge Wells in Kent. It was from one of the photographs in that day’s set that I made the drawing featured on 4th May.
This evening we dined on Jackie’s Cottage Pie, to which she had very successfully added a touch of garam masala; cauliflower, carrots, cabbage, runner beans and brussels sprouts; followed by blackberry and apple crumble and custard. She drank Stella, and I finished the malbec.

One Blowout After Another

Today we drove to Mat and Tess’s in Upper Dicker for lunch, making a slight deviation to Emsworth to collect Flo who joined us and returned this evening to stay for a few days.
It being Remembrance Sunday we listened to The Cenotaph Ceremony on the car radio, and, as always, I thought of two minutes’ silences with Auntie Gwen.
Monty and Louis are the sons of Mat and Tess’s friends Vickie and Dave. They are also, clearly not by coincidence the names of Tess’s two guinea pigs for whom Matthew bought a large dwelling place last Christmas. The two little animals have spent the last few months in a large metal cage in a well trampled compound in the garden, and today was the day Guinea pig Monty 1Guinea pigs insideGuinea pig LouisGuinea pigs Monty & LouisGuinea pig Monty 2for them to move to their winter quarters in the wooden structure inside the house. It wasn’t too difficult to move them, because they come when called, especially if a tasty carrot or pepper is being waved about.
The three photos of the pets inside their wooden house were taken by Flo.
Roast dinnerCauliflower cheeses & roast dinnerDessertsTess, who is a magnificent cook, produced a wonderful meal. We began with a Jerusalem artichoke and bacon soup with crusty bread;  roast chicken, lamb, potatoes, carrots, and leaks, with two kinds of cauliflower cheese, one containing chorizos, was the main course; after this came delicious lemon meringue pie and chocolate brownies. Various wines, beers, and fruit juices were also consumed in this veritable blowout.
After my introduction to Speed Scrabble, we spent an afternoon in entertaining conversation until Jackie, Flo and I set off back to Downton.
Tyre shreddedIt was then that we experienced our second blowout, in the form of a shredded tyre on the M27 while we were still East of Southampton. Jackie phoned the RAC and within half an Moon and traffichour of the call a breakdown lorry from Ravenscroft Motor Company had arrived. Until then, I had amused myself watching the stationery moon, and the traffic speeding by.
Jackie and FloThe repair man loaded our Modus onto his truck in which we got to ride to Rownhams Service Station where he intended to change the wheels. Unfortunately, after quite a struggle, he was unable to remove the spare wheel from its moorings in the back of the car. This meant our car was reloaded onto the breakdown vehicle and we all road home in the driver’s cab. The Modus was finally dropped onto our back drive. It is just as well we have spent so much time clearing this space, otherwise the lorry would not have got into it.

I Think He Was Warning Me Off

Last night those, unlike me, who were awake to see it experienced the phenomenon known as supermoon. The moon in these circumstances is larger and considerably brighter than normal.  According to Wikipedia ‘A supermoon is the coincidence of a full moon or a new moon with the closest approach the Moon makes to the Earth on its elliptical orbit, resulting in the largest apparent size of the lunar disk as seen from Earth. The technical name is the perigee-syzygyof the Earth-Moon-Sun system. The term “supermoon” is not astronomical, but originated in modern astrology. The association of the Moon with both oceanic and crustal tides has led to claims that the supermoon phenomenon may be associated with increased risk of events such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, but the evidence of such a link is widely held to be unconvincing.’.
MoonA series of photographs I discovered in my camera suggested that Flo had been up and about at the relevant time.
This morning Jackie drove Sheila and me to Milford on Sea, and home via the beach and Sea, spraySea and breakwaterThe Needles Eye Cafe where the ladies drank coffee whilst I wandered along the wave and spray buffeted shingle. Sea foamBalls of the foam that the Japanese call sea flowers reached the car park as they rolled along in the wind which had torn them from the creamy surface of the water.
Ongoing workBoards along the footpath give details of the damage wrought in the February storms, and an update on the ongoing work. Today the winds were strong enough to make the destruction of concrete beach huts entirely credible. Back in February, barriers were erected around the damage site. Signs suggested a rather optimistic timescale for the necessary work to be completed.Site of destroyed beach huts There has been considerable delay which will, no doubt continue for some time, because of wrangling over New Forest District Council’s plans to replace all 118 huts. The buildings are privately owned, but on council land. Many of them have been discovered to contain asbestos. The Local Authority wish to replace them all and charge their owners what a repair would cost. Some owners think that replacement is unnecessary; some residents consider them an eyesore anyway and would prefer their removal. I can see this debate outliving some of the protagonists.
ScoobieFor lunch, the rest of us enjoyed pizza and salad, whilst Scooby gnawed at the bone from yesterday’s lamb joint. I think he was silently warning me off.
This afternoon Jackie drove us all to Boscombe, in order to view the:
Boscombe Police Box notice                Boscombe police box and Community Support OfficersFlo and ScoobieCommunity Support Officers were in attendance, and Scooby was happy to be held up by Flo.
Boscombe beachBoscombe beach figuresWe drove round to the cliff above the beach, where Jackie and Sheila remained in the car Boscombe beach figures - Version 2and Flo and I walked for a while with Scooby. On this extremely blustery day there was very little activity on the beach far below.
Back home Sheila was to take us out to The Royal Oak for dinner. When we arrived we were told there would be a 45 minute wait for food. We didn’t want to wait that long so we drove on to The Crown at Everton which was closed. Next stop was therefore The Plough at Tiptoe, where Jackie and Flo enjoyed the half rack of pork ribs, Sheila the scampi, and I the mixed grill. When you’ve had the mixed grill, that’s it. You do not risk dessert. But Jackie and Flo scoffed creme brulee and Sheila ice cream. I drank Doom Bar. There was Becks for Jackie, Apple juice for Flo, and sparkling water for Sheila