An Owl Hunt


Back Drive

This morning I made a little more progress on weeding the back drive.

The new lilies have begun to flower.

Matthew arrived with Poppy just before lunch. Our granddaughter was quickly into all the familiar toys, playing with her Dad and Grannie,

Poppy 4

but a little more sceptical about Grandpas face extension.

Poppy studying photographs

She certainly recognises pictures of herself, but whether or not she links them with the camera is a moot point.

Poppy, Mat & parrot

Norman’s parrot had to be released from his perch suspended from the ceiling.

This afternoon Becky took her niece on an owl hunt in the garden. This involved lots of pointing and exclamations from Poppy and expressions of amazement from Becky.

Poppy was particularly enamoured of the blue-bespectacled bird alongside the Heligan Path.

This evening we all dined at Lal Quilla, where the food and service was as excellent as ever, and Poppy was a delight, My main choice was lamb Ceylon, with which I enjoyed a share of  special fried rice, onion bhaji, and paratha.  The ladies drank diet Coke, the gentlemen, Kingfisher, and Poppy. water.

Mat and Poppy returned home to Upper Dicker and the rest of us came back to Downton.

Take Pride In A Roaring Success

Here is the Mission Statement of The Lions Club of Bournemouth:

To empower volunteers to serve their communities, meet humanitarian needs, encourage peace and promote international understanding through Lions clubs.

Lions Clubs International is the world’s largest service club organisation with 1.4 million members in approximately 46,000 clubs in over 200 countries.

Lions are men and women who volunteer their time for humanitarian causes. Founded in 1917 by Melvin Jones, our motto is “We Serve.”

More information can be found on

Our friends Barrie and Vicki Haynes are respectively President and Vice-President of this local branch.

Kinson Community Centre

This afternoon, Jackie drove us to Kinson, a suburb of Bournemouth, where this group put on their annual pantomime. Written, as usual, by Barrie this was the hugely entertaining ‘Polly the Pirate’, which took place in the Kinson Community Centre.


While Jackie and I were waiting for the start, we were entertained by an engaging conversation with the intelligent and friendly six year old Tilly who sat in front of us and had come dressed for the occasion. Note her awesome, cool, skull T-shirt.

Barrie as Ella the Pirate 1

Proceedings were opened by Barrie, who laid out the general ground rules, such as that when he appeared as Ella everyone was required to shout out the he was a fella.

Polly the Pirate scene 1

Polly the Pirate scene 2

Barrie as Ella the Pirate 2Barrie as Ella the Pirate 3Polly the Pirate scene 3

Curtain up and he was joined on stage by the rest of the cast who performed with glorious gusto.


Hawk introduced the second act,

Polly the Pirate scene 4

which rollicked along.

Barrie's legs

I am reliably informed that young ladies no longer wear tights, but I do remember the days when nail varnish came in handy in the case of a ladder. It is hoped that someone remembered that before Barrie/Ella trod the boards for this evening’s performance.

Polly the Pirate scene 5Polly the Pirate scene 6Polly the Pirate scene 7Polly the Pirate scene 8Polly the Pirate scene 9Polly the Pirate scene 10Polly the Pirate scene 11Polly the Pirate scene 12Polly the Pirate scene 13

The audience, being a matinee, had its fair share of the very young,

Audience participation

who, as is customary, were encouraged by Barrie into a singalong, in which the mayor and his lady joined.


The finale received rapturous applause,

Vicki announces raffle winners.

and Vicki closed by reading the winning numbers of the interval raffle.

I understand there are just 18 members of the Bournemouth Branch. They must all have been in service today; on stage, back-stage, or front of house. These lions should take pride in a roaring success.

This evening Jackie and I dined at The Royal China in Lymington. Jackie had dumplings for a starter, for which I had hot and sour soup; we then shared special rice, special chow mein, and king prawns in ginger and spring onions. We both drank Tsingtao beer.

Norman’s Parrot

This morning, after very early delivery of my NatWest Your Points vouchers, Jackie drove us to Curry/PC World in Christchurch where I bought a new laptop and collected my older cleaned-up one. This time I have a Hewlett Packard Pavilion. Never having used Air Miles or Your Points before, I was rather amazed to learn that we could obtain cash vouchers for them. So that was very handy.
From Emery Down to a long way along the A35 we followed an open-topped Triumph convertible from a previous era, driven by a white-haired gentleman with a blonde hoodie passenger. For most of the time this car exceeded the speed limits, occasionally emitting blackish clouds from its exhaust pipe. As Jackie said, turning off the switch which allowed our car to inhale ‘fresh’ air from outside, ‘It reminds us of what cars used to smell like’.
We were in the store for a very long time, firstly because they were short-staffed, and secondly because the explanation of the pros and cons of the various machines was doing my head in. For example, Mike, who was the very patient salesperson who helped me, said Curry’s recommended one security system that I had once used but changed when told it was no good. Towards the end of the process Jackie took part in a customer survey. She said, on my behalf, that the absence of a customer toilet was a serious omission. I had already pointed out that this lack seriously affected my concentration, and was therefore escorted to the staff facilities. Otherwise, we had no complaints.
Taking a stroll round the grounds after lunch I investigated Eleanor’s abandoned den. Until late last year this young lady and her friend Henry spent many happy hours building a home of their own, somewhat appropriately within the branches of a vast rhododendron. Jessica and Imogen had enjoyed playing in it last May. When Eleanor moved away with her family the abode fell into disuse.
My friend Norman, now unable to perform his priestly activities, is possessed of a beautiful Welsh singing voice which he used in expected and unexpected ways. With a great sense of pageant Norman is a brilliant writer and deliverer of sermons. He would on occasion burst into song from the pulpit. He would also, when it seemed helpful, bring along a prop, such as the parrot a mutual friend Janice once gave him. As he mounted the pulpit steps and gradually emerged into his own delivery perch, the congregation was treated to the sight of this bird upon Father Norman’s shoulder.
Norman's parrot
When preparing for a down-sizing house move Norman asked me if I could find a home for his parrot. I was sure Eleanor would love it to join all her other embellishments to her den. That is where it ended up. Today it still guards Eleanor’s discarded wind chimes. When we change our own dwelling place we will take it with us.
I needed that little diversion before wrestling with the new laptop this afternoon. The first hour or so seemed quite smooth. Then I came to installing Microsoft Office. I can’t bear to detail the problems on the way. Suffice it to say I forgot a password I’d given at the beginning and had to reset it, which brought its own complications. Then I couldn’t find it in the pc. How was I to know I wouldn’t get an automatic icon on the screen? After all there are ones for things like e-bay and Wild Tangent Games which I will never use. All in all the Office installation took about two neck and shoulders stiffening hours, and I’m afraid I did utter the odd expletive.
I seem to be secure; am in a Cloud somewhere; and if I am not very careful I’m on a webcam, looking extremely perplexed.
Five year old Malachi, where are you? I need your guidance and assistance.
When I eventually tore myself away from the new laptop, on which I am finishing this post, last night’s superb jalfrezi meal was reprised. As always, this involved additions to the time-improved base, in this case supplementary freshly cooked chicken and chickpeas, which seemed quite a pleasing choice. I finished the cabernet sauvignon. Jackie abstained.