The First Gallery Christmas Show 2017

This morning we visited Margery and Paul at their home in Bitterne. We had been unable to attend the gallery’s Christmas show, so were pleased to enjoy some of the items awaiting collection.

Readers may have noticed that I have been unable to produce a gallery on this site for some months. One of the benefits of the improved internet connection arranged by James, of Peacock Computers, is that this is again possible. It therefore seems appropriate that our friends’ collection should introduce this renewed facility.

I have also taken the opportunity to substitute a gallery for one photograph in ‘Hot Pants’.

From Margery and Paul’s we drove on to Elizabeth’s where spent a couple of pleasant hours before returning home.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s choice chilli con carne and savoury rice. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Malbec.

A Perfect Ten

4TH DECEMBER 2017

This post is one day late, but we now have good internet access.

Now having tried one for lunch today I am bound to expand on my mention of the pork pies sold at Ye Olde Pork Pie Shoppe featured on 2nd, posted yesterday.

Walker’s are one of the best pork pies we know. It is therefore interesting that, in addition to their own Dickinson & Morris pies, the shop stocks those.

Dickinson & Morris

The proprietors’ own produce comes in two different wrappers. The red one appears standard.

Jackie bought a more expensive white wrapped pie.

We consider ourselves connoisseurs of this traditional English delicacy which can vary enormously in quality. There were a number of different varieties on offer in Newark when we lived there. We would rate them out of 10, taking into account both the filling which must be firm and not fatty, and the pastry which must be crusty and not soggy.

Until today we had not found a Perfect Ten. We have now.

Dickinson & Morris provide the following information on their website:

‘The business was founded by John Dickinson in 1851. In 1886 Joseph Morris joined the business as an apprentice and in 1901 the company changed its name to Dickinson & Morris.

Our bakery and retail outlet, Ye Olde Pork Pie Shoppe, is a tourist destination and key landmark in both Melton Mowbray and the UK as a whole. In March 1992, after fire had devastated the period style building, Samworth Brothers bought the property and carried out extensive refurbishment and renovation in conjunction with English Heritage.

Ye Olde Pork Pie Shoppe reopened in October of that year. Next door to Ye Olde Pork Pie Shoppe, The Sausage Shop now offers a selection of up to 20 different sausage varieties.’

James Peacock visited this afternoon, bringing back my restored iMac computer, and setting us up with EE mobile broadband. For me, this latter process was mystifying, fascinating, and conducive to reminiscence.

The mystification concerned all the clicks on the screen, too fast for me to follow. The fascination was about the mobile phone masts that James could plot on the maps he had accessed. There are three in New Milton within the range of the EE receiver. It was news to me that we could access the internet without broadband cables which are not a great deal of use in our location.

It was wandering around the house seeking a location for the best signal that evoked the reminiscence. James is too young to have remembered the hours of taking it in turns to stand holding an aerial in the early days of television. It was some years before the first sets could be operated without the use of a cumbersome external area. This was meant to stand on top of the old black and white apparatus. In reality it would only pick up a half-way useful signal in the most awkward corner of the room whilst being clutched in hands attached to  outstretched arms.

This evening I dined on Jackie’s excellent chili con carne and egg fried rice, while she chose a pasta bake. With mine I drank Mendoza malbec 2016

Almost Blown Away

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James, of Peacock Computers, visited to examine the iMac, and took it away to restore it to working order. In anticipation of the Apple’s removal, I had scanned a set of photographic prints from May 1993 onto the Windows laptop. We had also thought the weather would be bad this afternoon and I would be able to use these to illustrate today’s post. In the event, the sun shone and the winds were high enough, at more than 50 m.p.h. to suggest a trip into the forest. The 1993 set will appear tomorrow.

Cattle on hillside

A short distance  outside East End cattle grazed on a hillside that was topped by an oak tree sporting a car tyre.

Falabella

The little falabella pony which

Ponies at poolside

sometimes joins its cousins outside St Leonard’s Grange,

Falabella pony

 

spent its time crossing from one side of the road to the other.

Ponies on road

Another just stayed in the road.

Ruin in silhouette

When we reached this point, one of the ruins of the granary was nicely silhouetted

Ruin before sunset

against the lowering sun, bestowing a sepia tone.

Pheasants

We continued along the road, intending to return for sunset. Pheasants chased each other across the lanes and the autumnal fields.

Ruin at sunset

On our return golden streaks stretched along the sky.

Skyscape

We took a diversion down Tanners Lane on our journey home. Those streaks had deepened over the Isle of Wight.

Windsurfer

The winds pressed so strongly against the car door that it felt as if it was close to a wall. Just one other vehicle was parked in front of us. Perhaps it belonged to the windsurfer

Windsurfer

who skimmed over the choppiest waves we have ever seen there,

Windsurfer

constantly changing

Windsurfer

direction, and almost blown away.

This evening we dined on Jackie;s gorgeously spicy chilli con carne, with her most savoury rice wearing an omelette jacket. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank Mendoza Parra Alta malbec 2016.

 

A Particularly Strong Clue

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Helen and Bill dropped in just before lunch bringing a pair of splendid engraved cut glass goblets for our wedding present. We enjoyed conversation over coffee. Elizabeth came for lunch. I left the gathering briefly to engage in a Screen View session with James Peacock, of Peacock Computers, who managed to solve the problem I had experienced in changing my profile picture to one that Becky had produced at Rachel and Gareth’s recent wedding.

My post ‘Cottenham Park’ contains the story of the teenage accident to my left eye that was to necessitate a cataract operation about 25 years ago. At the time of the operation I was warned that future deterioration would be likely to require later laser treatment. Believing that time to have arrived I kept an appointment at Boots Opticians in New Milton this afternoon. My diagnosis was confirmed and a referral is to be made for surgery. Interestingly, the optometrist was able to see those old stitches in the affected eye. This was a history lesson for him, because sutures are no longer used. He had never seen them before.

Jackie and Elizabeth came along with me, waited in Costa’s for me to finish, then helped me select some new specs. Before returning to her own home, my sister presented us with a commissioned terra cotta sculpture for another nuptial gift. She has herself begun pottery classes and commissioned this piece from her tutor.

Aaron sculpture 1Aaron sculpture 4Aaron sculpture 2

Taking his references from photographs on this blog, John Cook, the sculptor, had produced this superbly detailed portrait. Here is a link to John’s site: http://picbear.com/morpheus_ceramics

Aaron sculpture 3

Should any of my regular readers be at a loss as to the subject’s identity, this image contains a particularly strong clue.

This evening we dined on Thai fish cakes, served on a bed of sautéed onions and peppers with savoury rice.

I drank Castelmaure Corbieres 2015 and Jackie drank Hoegaarden – in our new goblets. As Helen had hoped, the J glass took a whole bottle of the recipient’s favoured Belgian beer.

 

The Angel And Blue Pig Inn

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North Breeze garden work

Work starts early in the morning in the razed North Breeze garden. In preparation for the rear extension, soil has been dug out from the area behind the house. Presumably the digger is levelling off the heap. The fire is now concentrating on rubbish from indoors. We have a view across the pub car park to the fields beyond that the jungle has previously hidden from sight.

Garden view from Safari Suite

This is our garden from the same viewpoint. The blurred effects are from sunspots, not smoke.

Pedestal with dahlias

Mark, who has bought the house, has given Jackie this pedestal from the lounge. He thought she might be able to put something nice on it. He wasn’t far wrong.

Having taken two more orange bags of garden refuse to the dump we drove on to Lymington to the Register Office seeking an appointment for a marriage. This, the website informed us, was situated at

Lymington Library

Lymington Library.

What the website did not inform us was that appointments could only be made on line or on the telephone. There was nothing outside the library to confirm the location, but we found this at the back of the building. A very helpful librarian peered through the registrar’s office window and encouraged us to wait outside the room and nab her when she had finished with the people she was interviewing. This didn’t seem a particularly hopeful possibility, so we sat outside the small chamber and when I had managed to obtain a signal, I made a call to the general office.  Naturally all the staff were busy and I had to listen to repeated messages telling me I could do this on line. Eventually another very cooperative young lady took me through what we had to do to progress to the next stage, which would probably take two months. Then we would be given an appointment time. I’m sure the whole business was much more straightforward in 1968 when we enjoyed our first wedding.

Did I mention that Jackie’s ancient laptop died this morning? I thought not. This meant that our next visit was to Peacock Computers where Max, the sales person, was not available until 2.00 p.m. This left an hour and a half to kill.

We wandered down the High Street,

Ice creams, keys, mobile phone

passing visitors clutching car keys, ice creams, and mobile phones;

Family crossing road 1Family crossing road 2

and watching groups with pushchairs eagerly awaiting their chance to cross the busy road that mostly became clear when vehicles held each other up.

Our goal was

The Angel and Blue Pig 3The Angel and Blue Pig 4

The Angel & Blue Pig Inn, where we enjoyed excellent lunches.

The i New Forest website informs us that ‘Since the 13th century the Angel Inn has welcomed weary travellers. It is notorious with tales of smuggling and in the 18th Century Lymington like much of the south coast was rife with the ‘Free Trade’. There was a tunnel running under Lymington High Street to a smaller inn opposite and from there it proceed down the hill to the water. Smugglers could then haul their brandy, silk and spices without catching the eye of the customs men.

The Angel also has a spooky reputation. Allegedly one of the most haunted hotels in Britain. Up to 6 ghosts including a coach driver, naval officer and a phantom blonde have been seen on the premises.’

The building was refurbished in 2013.

Woman with dog on lap

We ate outside, where we attempted to converse with the archetypal lapdog which took vociferous exception to me when it turned around.

Pigs in metal

A pair of iron pigs kept us company

Cherubs

while a couple of cherubs, one coy, and the other sleeping, watched over us. At least, they would have done had they opened their eyes. Whoever modelled the sleeper certainly knows how baby boys are wont to crouch in their slumbers.

Pig dangling

Another pig was suspended from a makeshift gibbet.

The Angel and Blue PigThe Angel and Blue Pig 2

Most customers preferred the small garden area, but a few found the dimmer inside more comfortable.

My main meal consisted of wonderfully fresh fish and triple cooked chips with mushy peas and tartare sauce; Jackie chose salmon and haddock fish cakes and salad. We both enjoyed treacle tart with orange-flecked ice cream for dessert. I drank Ringwood bitter while Jackie drank Amstel.

That takes care of my customary culinary coda, so I will sign off after reporting that a satisfactory meeting with Max resulted in our ordering a new laptop for Jackie.

Sorted

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James, of Peacock Computers, returned today to set up the fibre optic broadband.

He began with his coat on, but soon discarded it. Naturally, I don’t fully understand the process. Actually, I don’t understand it at all. Lots of clicking of the mouse was involved. Various differently designed and coloured boxes appeared on the screen. Much scrolling up and down ensued. After lots of details and numbers were inserted, James got down on his knees. This was not to thank The Lord, but to read routers on the floor. Telephone calls were made with the service providers. A speed test revealed green and yellow blocks of colour showing download and upload speeds. The problematic upload speed is now five times that which it was before.

James Peacock

To ensure that the problem really was sorted, we uploaded the above photographs, beginning with this one of James.

Such is the monopoly of BT in this country that they supply all the phone lines, but are incapable of installing a fibre optic broadband more than 1 kilometre from the cabinet that contains the necessary equipment. That has to be done by another company who cannot supply the lines.

Christmas tree

In the meantime, Jackie has made a start on decorating the Christmas tree.

Haddock and chips

We have often walked past Lymington Fish Bar on the way to Lal Qilla, but never before entered it. On a recent post featuring Lymington Quay, a reader named Rob spoke of how he had loved to eat their fish and chips whilst seated on the harbour wall. This was the prompt we needed. We dined there this evening on cod/haddock, chips, and onion rings. Jackie drank San Miguel and I drank a good Italian pino grigio. Food and service was excellent. A good recommendation, Rob.

Everlasting Sweet Peas?

James Peacock brought back the cured iMac and checked everything was all plugged in and  working well. He also worked out the CR2 format problem. This was because the camera was set to film in RAW mode, and CR2 is the format for that. I had not noticed it before because the Mac automatically converts to jpeg for WordPress; whereas the Microsoft appears to please itself whether it does or not. Given Microsoft’s current advertising campaign in which a series of alleged Windows users work in the phrase “I couldn’t do that with a Mac” I wondered whether Apple would take this opportunity to retaliate with “Derrick couldn’t do that with his Windows”. I am up for negotiation. Interestingly, a set designer called Beowulf, in the first of these adverts, stated “I couldn’t do that with my Mac”. The “a” quite swiftly replaced “my”.

I therefore spent some time inserting the missing pictures into ‘No Resolution’ and ‘The Never Ending Summer’.

Raindrops on sweet peas

During the process of unravelling the CR2 issue, I nipped out and photographed the seemingly everlasting sweet peas. These are not, in fact, Lathyrus latifolius, but ordinary annuals which this year are thriving forever. Perhaps it is the sunshine and showers that keep them going.

Beef stew

The mashed potato served with Jackie’s bountiful beef stew this evening was as smooth as the main dish was packed with goodies. With this, the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I finished the madiran.