“Let’s Scarper”

This afternoon we drove to Mudeford where

marauding gulls hadn’t yet given up scavenging from a fishing boat that had unloaded its catch. In an attempt to secure a better angle for photographing them I perched on the lip of a large container. What I hadn’t realised was that I would tip over onto the pool of water in the centre. I yelled a bit as I leaped off. This caused a couple seated on a nearby bench to move over for me. I expressed some hesitation about taking this lower seat on account of my knees. This prompted a discussion in which I acquainted the gentleman with what he was in for when his wait for his replacement was over.

A motor boat sped along the surface alongside the quay.

We drove on to the north west of the forest, taking this lane through Woodgreen, where

pairs of twins in a sheep field raced each other for their mother’s dugs.

The woodland at Hale Purlieu is owned by The National Trust. I wandered around it for a while, looking down over the neighbouring landscape occupied by a solitary white cow,

and noticed ants darting along their route across the criss-crossing tree roots beneath my feet.

This Red Bull can tossed onto a lane at Hale rested inches from the bluebells, stitchwort, and other wild flowers on the verges.

From my passenger seat I noticed that a quartet of deer were grazing among the ponies on the moors bordering Roger Penny Way. They occupied a slope beneath a ridge, rendering them out of sight when I disembarked to approach them. It was therefore with some trepidation that I gingerly crossed a dry ditch and made my way across pitted terrain, being unsure whether they would still be there when I was able to look further down. In fact they were still chomping away. Eventually, of course they got wind of me. Taking an alert pose I overheard their conversation in which they pointed out the interloper and discussed what to do. “Let’s scarper” cried one, and they rapidly disappeared into the landscape.

Ponies on the slopes ignored them.

New foals are becoming commonplace now. Here is one of today’s keeping up with its mother.

Back at home this evening we dined on cheese centred smoked mackerel fishcakes; creamy mashed potato; piquant cauliflower cheese; ratatouille, carrots and cabbage, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Malbec.

In And Out Of The Water

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Late this afternoon, Jackie drove the three of us to Mudeford.

A cyclist ambled along the shore of the harbour where

kayakers, kite surfers, and sailboarders made good use of the choppy waters and the stiff breeze.

Leisurely kite flying took place on the grassy bank,

from which a mother and daughter dragged their inflated boat, pushed it into the water, scrambled in, and set off, passing a waterlogged rowing boat, paddles waving.

Wet suits and life jackets hung on and beside the van transporting a group of paddle boarders.

Back at home we dined on Jackie’s splendid spicy pasta arrabbiata, followed by bread and butter pudding and cream, with which Elizabeth and I drank DiMarco Primitivo Puglia 2015. The Culinary Queen had finished her Hoegaarden on the patio beforehand.

The Mist Did Not Desist

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Fire

This morning, the temperature having dropped ten degrees, we lit the fire.

Smoke from chimney

Barry the sweep has said he will expect to see smoke from the chimney when he drives by. Set against a misty, overcast, sky, he will perhaps have difficulty seeing this today. Our mix of coal and logs produced a really powerful heat.

I bought the cast iron coal scuttle in a Newark antiques centre almost thirty years ago. I used it in my study to keep coal. I have been unable to verify the dealer’s implausible and certainly impractical claim that it was an antique Belgian commode. Jackie will now have to find something else in which to store her potatoes.

By mid-afternoon when we drove out to Mudeford, the mist had persisted.

We diverted to Highcliffe Castle en route, for some atmospheric shots.

Although visibility was greater in Mudeford harbour, boats and houses looked rather gloomy,

as did beach huts

and associated buildings.

Buoys rested on slate.

Highcliffe Sailing Club and the masts of its yachts were somewhat obscured.

Dripping gulls looked somewhat under the weather.

Fishing paraphernalia displayed muted colour,

Group on quay

as did a group of hardy visitors. The mist did not desist.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s excellent chicken jalfrezi and mushroom rice with onion bahjis. I drank Château Plessis grand vin de Bordeaux 2014.

We are now about to watch the Six Nations rugby match at Cardiff between Wales and Ireland to be televised by BBC.

Now You See It, Now You Don’t

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Today was warmer and just one uniform shade of grey. This morning we travelled by car to New Milton where I visited the dry cleaners, the post office, and the bank. I collected cleaning, mailed a parcel and some letters, and paid a bill. All rather mundane really.

Jackie drove us on to Mudeford Quay where I went for a wander.

Bench and gulls

On the sheltered side of the quay, not even the gulls occupied the benches.

Crow in flight

A crow took off on my approach.

Boats and Haven House Inn

I imagine most people were patronising the Haven House Inn, beyond the Sailing Club masts

Gull

on the top of one of which perched a gull,

the solitary audience of the jingle jangling rigging orchestral performance.

Most such scavengers harassed those drivers and their passengers taking a break in the car park.

I wonder if anyone has any ideas about what the woman on the spit was seeking. Stones? Shells?

Waves and beach huts

She, of course ventured on the rougher, seaward, side of the harbour, where the waves roared, and no-one emerged from the beach huts.

Waves and buoy 1

A bright orange buoy bobbed on the surface.

Now you see it, now you don’t.

This evening we dined on lemon chicken with perfect carrots, cauliflower, greens, and boiled potatoes, followed by profiteroles. I drank Château Plessis grand vin de Bordeaux 2014.

Contrast

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Late this morning Jackie drove us to Mudeford for a visit to the quay, then on to Friars Cliff for brunch at the eponymous cafe.

Whilst I wandered around the harbour, Jackie enjoyed coffee in the cafe.

Waves

Looking out to sea, my ears were pounded by the white horses rumbling across the steely, turbulent, water’s surface, and crashing against the sturdy quayside;

Gulls and beach huts shrieking of the squabbling gulls. The guests at the boisterous shindig being held against the backdrop of the most expensive beach huts in the country, joined forces to evict a jet gatecrasher.

Making good use of scoops of seawater, still ogled by hopeful scavengers perched on posts, the crew of a small fishing boat were engaged in cleaning up at their docking area.

As always, neatly stacked on the quay, lay buoys and ropes between towers of crusted crab baskets.

Cygnet

The entrance to the harbour lies beyond a protective spit. At once, the squeals were silenced and the water became still as rippled sheets of reflective glass. In fact the only sound was a feeble squeak emitted by the open beak of an adolescent cygnet.

Anchored boats made no motion, even when the gulls took off and landed on their gunwales. The outboard motor in the first photograph reminded me of one Jessica bought secondhand in Newark and used for one day in Instow in Devon. She left her recently acquired dinghy in the bay facing our holiday house. In the morning the motor was gone. As was every other similar item from other boats. This was apparently the first time such a theft had ever occurred at that location. I guess that was another example of sod’s law.

angler

A solitary angler chose a position at the point of aquatic contrast.

This evening we dined on meat samosas, chicken and spinach curry, and paratha. I finished the chianti.

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.