‘You Don’t Know Me…..’

This morning Jackie and I joined Helen and Bill, Shelly and Ron on a visit to the exhibition at The First Gallery. We had an enjoyable time together with Paul and Margery.

On the road from Brockenhurst to Beaulieu, a herd of cattle, complete with a number of calves, streamed out of the forest to our right, crossed the road with their customary insouciance, and came bearing down upon our little Modus.

Cattle on road 1

The car ahead of us edged forward. But, having enlarged the image by clicking on it, keep an eye on the two white calves towards the rear of the file on our left.

Cattle on road 2

They brought the optimistic driver to a halt by, oblivious of the cumbersome gait they would soon grow into, frolicking across the front of his vehicle like a pair of spring lambs. As can be seen we were already at a standstill.

Cattle on road 3

The animals had free access to the road from our right, but the forest was fenced on our left so, wherever they were going, they travelled, at what seemed an increasing rate the nearer they approached, along the tarmac.

Cattle on road 4

As I have mentioned before, they are inquisitive beasts,

Cattle on road 5

and are convinced that they own the road.

Cattle on road 6

I really think they imagined

Cattle on road 7

that, if they kept on coming,

Cattle on road 8

the obstruction that was our little car

Cattle on road 9

would simply move aside.

On our way home, having a hankering for an awesome Needles Eye Cafe breakfast, we took a diversion to Milford on Sea where

Isle of Wight and The Needles

the waves were becoming choppy,

Yacht passing The Needles

a yacht skimmed past The Needles lighthouse,


gulls glided on the wing,

Families on Promenade

and family groups promenaded.

In the cafe, as we sat with our drinks awaiting our fry-ups, I was approached by an attractive woman who opened with ‘You don’t know me, but I know you. You’re Derrick, aren’t you?’ Naturally I was keen to learn more. ‘I own this place, and I read your blog’. This was Simone. Not only had she remembered the photograph I had put on a post practically two years ago, but she recollected that on that day my toast had been forgotten. I did remind her that I would not have been able to eat it anyway.

Needle Eye Cafe

At least one couple were hardy enough to use the tables outside, and families enjoyed the children’s playground that was provided for customers.

This evening Jackie dined on her excellent lamb jafrezi and savoury rice, with a paratha. Well she had not had the maxed up breakfast and chips for lunch.

Making The Most Of Milford Seafront

This morning I accompanied Jackie to the GP surgery where she was prescribed antibiotics for what is now a chest infection. Afterwards, she drove us to the car park alongside the

Needles Eye Cafe

 Needles Eye cafe where she sat with a coffee whilst

Upper promenade 1

I ambled along the upper and lower promenades.

Hazy sea

The fog warning sounded as I took this hazy picture of the Isle of Wight and The Needles, after which the cafe has been wittily named.

Man and dog

This gentleman was perhaps searching for a sight of the island whilst his bored best friend was suggesting it was a waste of time.


A group of energetic retirees strode out, past the barriers that border the lower promenade where concrete huts once stood.

Public Convenience

Dog walker

Should they be taken short, a state of the art Public Convenience ushers in the prospective

Making the most of Milford seafront

rebuilding of the, now removed, damaged beach huts.

Throughout the day, Paul and I continued exchanging material for the forthcoming The First Gallery exhibition and flyer.

This evening we dined on Mr Pink’s, fish, chips, and pea fritters. Nothing was imbibed.


Today we took a break from packing. Off we went for lunch at The Needles Eye Cafe in Milford on Sea. This took us past our prospective new home outside which stood a furniture van into which items were being decanted from the house. This made us feel optimistic that we may be able to collect the keys fairly early on 31st.
Obtaining cash in the small town was an interesting experience. There was no bank. We thought there might be an ATM in the Co-op. There was. But it wasn’t working. The shop assistant directed me to a beauty parlour, on the outside wall of which I would find a cash machine. You see, the building used to be a bank. Quite handy if you needed cash for a make-over.
At the cafe, as I was feeling rather peckish, I treated myself to a perfectly cooked light snack while Jackie enjoyed a baked potato filled with cheese and beans. My fry-up should have been followed by toast and marmalade. By the time I realised this had been forgotten, I informed the staff that I would be quite satisfied without it. With it I would have been sated.
Jackie then admired the view whilst I wandered along the beach.Seascape with boat A boat was visible against the pale sea and skies merging in the weak sunlight.
This was the first time the tide had been low enough here for me to walk along the strand. It wasn’t long before I realised that I could neither continue hopping over breakwaters nor reach the footpath above. BarriersBeach hut remainsMy way to the bank was blocked by hundreds of yards of metal barriers erected on either side of what had once been long terracing of beach huts. A dog owner, whose pet was anxiously wandering along the barriers with that tell-tale tail wagging, told me she was ‘keen to get down to her favourite beach’.
Shingle on stepsShingle on steps 2

Shingle still covered the concrete steps.

These holiday venues were much more substantial than the wooden ones we had seen at Hordle Cliff Beach. Beach hut debrisBeach hut missing wallBeach hut wrecked doorwayThey were built of breeze block with roofs of some kind of aggregate. The storms had destroyed some, rendered others unusable, and the whole area unsafe to enter. Entire buildings were now just gaps in the rows; others had lost walls, roofs, doors, or windows. A notice announced that ‘the work’ would be finished by April 11th. Men in hard hats wandered along the devastated stretches.
Beach hut missing roof & NeedlesThrough one space where a hut should have been, I had a clear view of the now calm sea with The Needles in the background. The fortuitous notice warning of ‘the gap’ was nothing to do with that created by the so recently raging ocean. It was akin to those similar signs painted on tube station platforms where the bend in the rail cannot be fully adjusted for by the train carriages, thus leaving a wide gap to be leaped over on entering the transport. Here there is a gap between the edge of the made-up footpath and the backs of the huts. I imagine it is possible, if you are really determined, to lose your leg down it.
Castle Malwood Park farm
The early morning rain had set in again by the time I, later, walked down to the postbox and back, passing Castle Malwood Park Farm.
Having seen what I had for lunch, Jackie really should have had mercy on me this evening. But, no, she presented me with an irresistible plate of her delicious chilli con carne (recipe) and wild rice and peas. I didn’t quite manage to eat it all.

‘They Are Her Friends Now’

After a frosty night we were treated to another crisp, clear, and cold morning, so Jackie and I made an early start for a trip to Milford on Sea.

ForestForest (1)The morning sun on the trees bordering the A35 beckoned beguilingly, so Jackie parked on a suitable verge for me to go on a photo foray. Deer in forest As I passed through a walker’s gate into the woods I glimpsed, in the far distance a group of siren deer.  This time I was a little quicker on the draw and did not allow them to tempt me off into the unknown as, sharpish, they scarpered.

From Paddy’s Point car park in Milford on Sea, I walked down steps to  the beach and along the shoreline, grating on sliding shingle, Beach with hutsas far as the The Needles (1)end of a row of beach huts from whence I climbed up more steps on the crumbling cliff and back along the top to the car.  Every few yards along the path was placed one of a row of memorial benches dedicated to people who had spent their last years contemplating The Needles from this point.

Gull surfingGullsAlong the shoreline unceasing, gently receding, wavelets in the slowly ebbing tide, covered, then revealed, glistening pebbles and glimpses of sand.  Bobbing up and down, a seagull sedately surfed until seen off by another.

Peacock butterfly & shadowBack in the car, as we blinked into the bright morning sun making its way up the clear blue sky, a rather ragged peacock butterfly rested for a few moments on the windscreen before flitting off to oblivion.

Bonfire on Isle of WightYesterday I had noticed a bonfire across the Beaulieu River.  Today we brunched in The Needle’s Eye cafe from where I watched smoke from another on the Isle of Wight playing along the sides of what appeared to be hills.  My full English breakfast and Jackie’s tuna in baked potato were very good.  You are always given marmalade with the full English toast.  I never eat the sweet spread. Don’t get me wrong, I love marmalade.  I just don’t think it sits right with a fry-up.

We stopped for a little Christmas shopping in New Milton on the way back.  As you leave Bashley there is a sign by the roadside warning that there are pigs on the road.  We have occasionally seen them but they were absent today.  This prompted me to voice my puzzlement about how it is that all the various different animals are allowed to roam in the forest but, sticking to their own localities, don’t seem often to get lost.  I was soon to receive the answer.

After a rest we drove out to Frogham to witness the sunset across the heath from Abbots Well car park.  This is the point from which Jackie watches me finish my walks across the heath.  The sunset sat well on the pond.Sunset

The track into the car park is pitted with deep pools.  A nasty grating thump somewhere in the nether regions of the car didn’t seem to have done any damage.  Following us in was a 4X4 which had much less difficulty negotiating the tricky terrain.  Heathland from Abbots Well car parkThe driver got out and studied the heath through a pair of field glasses.  He explained that he was looking for a cow that had been missing for eight weeks.  He had just found it, and was trying to work out how he was going to reach it. Miraculously, because I had several times walked over that terrain, I was able to be of some minor assistance.  Either that, or the gentleman was being very polite.

Apparently, the animals are safely left to roam because they like to stay with their friends. Cattle on heathland from Abbots Well car park - Version 2This particular cow, which, because of its black ears, he recognised, through his binoculars, among a group of white ones, had not been out much before and had wandered off alone.  After all this time the cattle she was with were now her friends.  Off went our acquaintance to spoil a marvellous friendship. 4X4 in heathland Jackie soon spotted him driving across the heath.

The Forester’s Arms in Frogham has been closed when we have attempted to visit it before.  It has reopened under new ownership, and we very much enjoyed the atmosphere there as we stopped for a drink on the way home.

Jackie then produced a splendidly spiky chicken jalfrezi with fragrant onion rice, followed by spicy bread pudding and custard.  I finished the Saint-Emilion whilst Jackie drank Hoegaarden.


Cottage from Seamans Corner 1.13

Just after dawn I set off walking to Lyndhurst to visit the GP Surgery.  I took the A337 route which is half a mile less than the Emery Down one, as I wanted to be sure of being in good time.  Consequently I was twenty minutes early, and could easily have chosen the pretty route.  The purpose of my visit was to discuss removal of a seborrhoeic wart which has adorned the side of my face, hidden in sideburns until recently, for about fifteen years.  The time has come, I decided, for us to part.  My new GP, Dr. Alison Cleland, agreed, and an appointment is to be made for its removal.

Walking along the A337 I pondered upon GPs I have not known.  It has been my good fortune not to have troubled the NHS much, and, apart from the period in 2010 when I was in need of a hip replacement, I have only made two other visits in 40 years.  These were both in Newark.  I do not remember the name of the second man I saw.  It was he who told me the growth on my face was benign.  He asked if I would like it removed and I opted to leave it.  The first was Dr. Mark Hunter.  My need for him followed an incident on one of London’s minor bridges.

I cannot recall which particular bridge I was crossing a bit more than twenty years ago, when, for some reason, I raised my right arm to point something out.  I was walking on the right hand side of the pavement and pointing across my body.  This meant my elbow was sticking out a bit.  Suddenly.  Smack!  The elbow had been hit with a loud crack from behind.  A quick inspection told me that the crack hadn’t come from inside my funny bone.  I looked up to see, speeding on down the road, a van with a bent wing mirror.

I wasn’t going to let the driver get away with that, so I sped on after him.  Unfortunately for him, he had picked me out during my running days, I was wearing my trainers, and he had to stop at a red traffic light.  All of which was in my favour.  He was a little surprised at seeing a raging Fury banging on his side window.

I told him what he had done.  He was crestfallen, and possibly rather scared.  He said he didn’t know he’d done it.  When I pointed to his wing mirror he had to accept that he may have hit something.  By this time I was feeling sorry for the startled gent; my elbow wasn’t hurting; and I couldn’t be bothered any more.  I’d used up all my adrenalin in the chase.  I also reflected that I may not have been entirely blameless.  Maybe my elbow had been stuck into his wing mirror, rather than the other way round.  So I let him off, just this once.

That night I became aware of another bodily growth, rather more alarming than the one on my face.  A soft-centred tennis ball had appeared on my elbow.  The next day I visited Mark Hunter who sucked out the unnecessary fliud.  With an instrument, I hasten to add.  Apparently I had bursitis.  All this was quite painless.

My visit to Dr. Cleland today wasn’t quite painless.  She suggested that she took my blood pressure whilst I was there.  ‘Fine’, I said.  She then asked me if I’d ever had a ‘flu’ jab.  I hadn’t, and wasn’t about to.  She persuaded me otherwise.  I had my first ‘flu’ jab after my blood pressure was tested.  All this was very good-humoured.  As she began to take the reading she said that maybe she shouldn’t have mentioned the innoculation before taking the blood pressure.  She needn’t have worried.  It was ‘nice and low’.  The needle stung a teeny bit.  I hadn’t been afraid of the needle.  I just didn’t want stuff which might make me feel under par for a day or two to be stuck into me.  Well, it has been.

I decided to walk back via Emery Down.  Unbeknown to me Jackie had decided to come and fetch me.  She rang me from Lyndhurst as I was walking through the village.  By the time she reached me I had passed through Emery Down.  After I got into the car we decided to go to Ashurst and check out the London trains, as this is rather nearer than Southampton Parkway.  The station was, unsurprisingly, unpersoned, but we gleaned the necessary information.  We decided on a drive through the forest.  Breakfast at Needles Eye Cafe, Milford 1.13Via Brockenhurst and Lymington we arrived at Millford-on-Sea where we brunched at The Needles Eye Cafe from which we had a misty view of the Isle of Wight.  (Florence, please note the absence of the apostrophe in Needles is no doubt deliberate, innit?).  Watching the slender rays of sun sliding through the cloud cover and painting a silver line on the sea was fascinating. Isle of Wight from Milford-on-Sea 1.13 Strangely enough, the more the sun appeared, the more the view of the famous outcrops at the end of the island was obscured.

This evening Jackie produced ham and pea soup, followed by cheese and mushroom omelette, and very tasty they were too.  Strawberry jelly and evaporated milk was for afters.