A Robotic Swivel

At New Milton station, where Jackie delivered me on this bright, cold, morning for the Silhouttes on bridgeLondon train, the strong sun silhouetted travellers crossing the bridge linking the two platforms.

Norman and I changed our venue today. We lunched at The Archduke on Concert Hall Approach Road opposite Waterloo Station. I had not been there since, when we both worked in London, Wolf and I frequented it up to about five years ago. It has changed ownership and now has a jazz theme. The food, wine, and service was as good as ever. My choice was Cumberland sausages, mashed potato and onion gravy followed by pecan pie with clotted cream. We shared an excellent bottle of Sicilian red wine.

Station Approach roadAs I was early for our rendezvous I took a walk along Lower Marsh  and back to Waterloo The Incredible Hulkvia Station Approach Road, where the graffiti constantly changes. In a tunnel behind a metal grill, perhaps fitted to keep him contained, The Incredible Hulk prepared for action.

By the time I left Norman and walked to Carol’s via South Bank and Westminster Bridge, the light had failed and the sky clouded over. Westminster Winter Festival was again South Bank and Big Beninstalled on the South Bank. A jolly little train was parked in the sidings in sight of Big Ben.

Living statueA metallic military living statue stood motionless beside the stalls. With my now customary comment: ‘If it’s worth a photograph……..’ I made a donation, in the process dropping an additional 5p piece which, because my lower back still has a knife stuck in it, I was unable to pick up. I told him this, and that he was welcome to it. He smiled, swivelled robotically, and raised his hand in acknowledgement.

Guantanamo demonstrationOn Parliament Square a demonstration urged the immediate cessation of Guantanamo torture.

Again early, I sat in Christchurch Gardens for a while before visiting Carol for our usual enjoyable conversation. Afterwards I returned home by the usual methods. Jackie, of course, was waiting at New Milton on time.

Clapham Common

It was a bright and sunny day for my visit to old friends Wolf and Luci. Jackie, as usual New Milton stationTrain in New Milton stationdrove me to and from New Milton Station for the train to Waterloo. From the terminal, I took the Northern Line to Clapham Common, along the South Side of which I walked, Elms Roadcrossing over to Elms Road, right into Abbeville Road, and left into Hambalt Road to their home. I returned home by the same methods.Clapham CommonLeaf clearing

Maple leaves were falling on the common where work forces were engaged in clearing them up, mostly with extended ‘big hands’ to aid the process. Maple trunkBlue pigment on a particularly gnarled trunk produced an interesting abstract painting.

Pigeons and rooksCanada geesePigeons and cattle troughPigeons, rooks, and Canada geese scratched about in well clawed soil, and Bullfrogs overlooked the redundant cattle trough, now planted with flowers.

Temperance fountainAlso apparently redundant, certainly unusable, is the drinking fountain provided by The United Kingdom Temperance and General Provident Association. This grand sculptured structure, even if it were functioning as it did in Victorian times, would probably be eschewed by the various gentlemen occupying the benches as they glugged alcoholic beverages straight from their cans. Temperance fountain lionThe lions embellishing each side would probably never again have their thirsts slaked by the blocked and rusting fountain.

When I lived or worked in London I had enjoyed a monthly lunch with my friends. Unfortunately this frequency is no longer possible but whenever Jackie and I see them it is equally pleasurable, as it was today. Today Luci produced a tender lamb casserole, wild rice, parsnips, and brussels sprouts, followed by her trademark flavoursome crustless pumpkin pie. She and I both drank Wolf Blass red wine, while Wolf drank his customary apple juice.

Luci wrapped up a helping of the dessert for Jackie, who enjoyed it as much as I did. After that superb lunch, I didn’t join my lady for dinner.

Derrick and WolfOn my return home I was greeted by an e-mail from Luci containing very good photographs of Wolf and me taken with her Samsung mobile phone.

The Isle Of Man

This morning Jackie drove me to New Milton for me to catch the London train. This took her eight minutes, but added half an hour to my train journey. It is far preferable than driving to Southampton for her, and no problem for me.

Lilac, bluebells, moon daisiesIn a small patch of garden alongside the statioMoon daisiesn buildings lilac, bluebells, and moon daisies Moon daisy with raindropsglistened with raindrops. As I photographed the daisies a woman on the platform pointed out the display of daisies I had already shot. She said she had not seen them there before, and wondered whether they had been planted or were self-sown.

TulipFrom Waterloo I took the Jubilee and Metropolitan Lines to Preston Road and walked to Norman’s. Much tilling was being undertaken in the allotments adjacent to the John Billam Sports Ground. One holder had planted a bright array of tulips.

My friend fed us on roast lamb, paprika wedges and vegetables followed by blackberry and apple crumble and custard. We shared a bottle of excellent Crozes-Hermitage.

In narrating the condition of our new home I was prompted to mention Sheila Darzi. Sheila was a member of our Intake Team of social workers in Westminster in the early 1970s. The insanitary conditions of a house to which she made an assessment visit were such that she had to go home to change into a pair of Wellington boots. The Old Post House is not quite that unsavoury, but it comes a close second.

Before I left home this morning I had examined the legs of the reproduction Victorian free-standing bath in our master suite. As far as we can tell, it is quite new, and we would seem to be the only people to have used it. Once each. It is so small that we can only sit cross-legged in it. Not even each at the same time. Yesterday Jackie felt it move. She discovered that none of the legs is fixed to the floor and one of them came off the bath in her hands. My inspection revealed that the other three limbs are at least bolted to the bath.Bath

Perhaps there is some significance in the fact that the lock on the family bathroom door photographed a couple of days ago bears the three-legged symbol of the Isle of Man.

From Preston Road after lunch I took the Metropolitan and Jubilee Underground lines to Westminster, and walked from there to Carol’s. After spending some time with her I returned, via the 507 bus and the train from Waterloo to New Milton where Jackie was waiting to drive me home.

On the train today I began reading Desmond Seward’s history of ‘The Wars of the Roses’. It promises to be very good.

At home, Jackie produced a tangy broccoli and stilton soup with which I drank water and she Hoegaarden. I will attempt to prise a recipe out of her for publication tomorrow.