The Long Jump

For the last few days we have been unable to control the smart aspect of our TV. This has meant we could only watch free to air live and nothing would record. James Peacock of Peacock Computers fixed the problem this morning. Intermittently I listened to England’s innings against New Zealand in the men’s Cricket World Cup.

This afternoon we went for a drive in the east of the forest.

One of the lessons we have needed to learn is when to expect animals to cross the road in front of us. An example of this was found today at East Boldre. Jackie slowed the car for us to see a foal. Suddenly its mother took it upon herself to lead her offspring to the other side.

Litter picking is quite an industry here. The major roads are cleared by paid staff, but areas like Hatchet Pond rely on volunteers. This group enabled their dog to participate by tossing a stick into the lake. The branch was constantly retrieved.

We have come to the conclusion, confirmed today, that the small birds, like thrushes, often dogging ponies’ footsteps, are gleaning worms and other food revealed by the equine activity. Unfortunately I have managed to lose the photograph of a bird with a worm in its beak.

One spritely youngster, from its vantage point on a pony’s shoulders took a leap over the animal’s long, concave back, landing on its sturdy rump.

On Sway Road we were held up by an encounter between a double decker bus and a very long container truck. We had to admire the skill of these two drivers. No doubt the bus driver was accustomed to the situation. It was the man in the truck who had to become a tree hugger and reach out to haul in his wing mirrors before inching ahead.

On our return I listened to the bulk of New Zealand’s innings.

This evening we dined at The Wheel, Bowling Green, Pennington. We both enjoyed starters of Tempura prawns, salad, and sweet chilli dip. Jackie’s excellent Wheel Inn burger, salad, and chips featured the best onion rings she has ever tasted; my cod, chips, and peas was equally good. Mrs. Knight drank Kaltenberg, and I drank Ringwood’s Best. Service was efficient and friendly.

Gone Fishing

The final fatal body blow to my hopes for a daily post during my hospital stay was dealt by EE mobile on the late afternoon of the day before my surgery. Today I began to fill in the gaps with the entry planned for

8th January 2019

On this bright, sunny, morning we set out to enjoy a drive in the forest and to gather a few photographs for my final pre-op publication.

We began by joining a number of bird watchers at Eyeworth Pond near Fritham. Three gentlemen sat on rails, at their lunches, and watched the waterfowl.

Others, like me, photographed

the various tits, including those of blue, marsh, and long tailed examples; thrushes; and a robin, tempted by feeders suspended from branches, and by nuts left on posts, flitting about among the surrounding trees and shrubs, pecking up scraps among the gravel beneath.

Ducks, geese, and a moorhen, occasionally diving for their prey, and surfacing dripping and glistening with pond-water, could certainly be said to have gone fishing.

Ponies basked in the midday sun at Fritham,

where donkeys also grazed

We brunched at Hockey’s Farm Shop before continuing

via Roger Penny Way where pools were filling up for drinking and paddling.

As we drove along the Poulner stretch of Southampton Road, we wondered why there was a seemingly equal body of water being sprayed by vehicles on its surface.

The answer lay in a Christmas tree that still had its lights cascading.

I had, this morning received a message from Alex at Peacock Computers informing me that my laptop was ready for collection. This, of course, meant that I could be on line in hospital.

It was therefore with a certain amount of glee that I sat down to draft this post.

Then came the blow. We had no internet connection and the router was dead. I took this equipment with me to Peacock Computers where James confirmed my diagnosis. Even though it was close to his own closing time, James sped off to the EE shop, attempting to obtain a replacement. After more than an hour of negotiation he returned with a loaned device and an undertaking to repair the faulty article. At least I came home with my MacBook Pro.

I was unable to make the loaned router work. The reason will be revealed in a subsequent post. Eventually I conceded defeat.

We dined on pizza and salad. I drank water.

We Will Remember Them

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When James of Peacock Computers set up our EE Mobile internet he had searched the house for the optimum site for the modem. This was situated in the single bedroom upstairs, not beside my iMac downstairs. Although I managed to post yesterday with the borrowed dongle, the lead for which is not very long, I could find no signal this morning. A phone call to James produced the necessary advice. He suggested I switched SIM cards, and rather crucially, told me how to do it. These cards were smaller than the finger nail with which I prised out the one for the dongle. That from the EE hub required the insertion of a needle. I carried out the operation with surgical precision, otherwise you would not be reading this.

Sporting a knitted poppy she had bought, Jackie had waited for me yesterday in Costa Coffee in Lymington. Whilst there a woman had asked her if she had made it herself. She replied that that would have been rather mean. They both laughed and her interlocutor told her about

the knitted poppies fixed to the hedge around St Mark’s Church, Pennington.

We visited them on the way to visiting Mum this afternoon. My mother is growing stronger by the day, and was able to swing her legs out of bed as Jackie helped her into her chair.

On our return home we took a diversion up Roger Penny Way, where pannage pigs, beneath pink/indigo clouds, grunted contentedly as they rooted beneath oak leaves in search of acorns. As usual, they wandered across the road at will.

After the ever-earlier sunset we turned back at Godshill.

By the time we reached the darting pigs again, the area was pitch-black, and lit by the searchlights of crawling cars whose drivers were doing their best to avoid taking home roadkill of pannage pork from the eager Exocets darting hither and thither.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s classic cottage pie; crisp carrots and cauliflower; and flavoursome Brussels sprouts, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Joseph Scalzi Corse 2016 while Elizabeth abstained

 

Snakes And Ladders

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Unfortunately my internet problem has not been fully resolved. Although my own laptop had been judged innocent yesterday, it devoured 10 GB of data in less than an hour this morning, when I was answering comments on my blog.

There was nothing for it, before Peacock Computers opened shop, but to finish reading ‘Snakes And Ladders’, the second volume of Dirk Bogarde’s autobiography. It’s an ill wind…..

The book is another masterpiece of the genre. The author writes beautifully, with luscious poetic description. He uses a positive plethora of apposite adjectives and adverbs; and has a superb grasp of dialogue. The title is a metaphor for life and its ups and downs. Just as the board game relies on the luck of the dice, the actor’s career was often directed by good fortune and serendipity. In this volume he takes us from the war years to what he considered the acme of his cinematic career.

The book is generously illustrated with black and white photographs. Bogarde’s drawings are restricted to the endpapers.

‘Snakes and Ladders’ is also a perfect analogy for my struggle to maintain my daily blog. I had to wait to reach Peacock Computers until after lunch. This is because first of all I needed to keep an eye test appointment at Boots in New Milton. This took some time, partly because one of the machines failed to function at first attempt. I had been seated for the site test, but for the pressure test and photographs of the orbs, I was required to stand. Unfortunately it was not possible to raise the machines to accommodate my height, so I had to rest my chin on the necessary platform with my dodgy knees bent. It was rather a good thing that both knees had begun the day in the best condition for a long time.

Alex at Peacock offered to lend me a dongle with their password, pending a visit from James for which I would not be charged. Having been driven by Jackie into Lymington for collection, I am now using that device on my iMac. I carried the errant laptop with me. Nick, who had visited yesterday, checked the machine and discovered fresh evidence enabling him to reopen the case. The device has been refused bail and remains in custody.

Jackie is about to serve up spare ribs with the rest of yesterday’s Chinese Take Away meal. She will drink Hoegaarden and I will drink Cahors Malbec 2016. Elizabeth will wait until later. Normally I post after the meal, but I am afraid of being sent down a ladder all the way to the bottom.

Sway Tower Sunset

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Our BT Internet reception was so consistently poor that I closed the account a year or so ago and eventually transferred to EE mobile. This is far more expensive, but, by and large, reliable. We regularly need the maximum data allowance. Since Elizabeth joined us in July we have sometimes needed topping up. Suddenly, in the last couple of weeks, the allocation has been ingested through an insatiable, invisible, avaricious, maw. This morning, Nick, a technician from Peacock Computers, came to the house and checked all our devices, including the smart TV and my sister’s two computers. Culprits were identified, and advice given.

Having more confidence in logging on, I added a little more to ‘A Knight’s Tale’, adapting a small section of ‘Questions’.

Later this afternoon, Jackie drove me, via Barton on Sea, to South Sway Lane in time to catch the sunset.

Clifftop visitors at Barton, like this seated, bespectacled, gentleman, created silhouettes against the skyline.

A crow catching the lowering sun at Wootton was more exposed now many of the leaves are falling;

 burnished bracken blazed among banks of trees;

Jackie’s handbrake application startled a browsing chestnut pony.

Lucy, a grey with kindly eyes,

chomped, first food from a trug provided by her owner, then from grass, alongside her tubby neighbouring bleating lambs.

These animals were tinged with the red-gold hues of the Sway Tower sunset.

This evening we dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away fare with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and Elizabeth drank Cahors Malbec 2016, while I abstained.

 

“Just One Tooth Away From Killing Itself”

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It was touch and go whether I would be able to post at all today. This was because my iMac disc was allegedly full, and I couldn’t open anything.

Apart from a pleasant early lunch at Redcliffe Garden Centre where I enjoyed a breakfast  bap containing bacon, sausage, and egg; followed by half of Jackie’s moist Victoria sponge that followed her excellent vegetable soup with thick crusty bread, I spent much of the day positioned between necessarily noisy labour of Kitchen Makers in the kitchen and a computer screen shared by James of Peacock Computers.

Richard and Lee were severely hampered in the kitchen by the state of the electrical wiring exposed when the old equipment was removed. Apparently most of the wiring, although connected, was dead and not doing anything. Admirable patience was displayed as they attempted to find the cable from which everything on that side of the wall and floor was actually doing anything.

Richard

Throughout this struggle Richard remained his cheerful, affable self.

An additional factor was the evidence of a ravenous rodent. Richard showed me the affected wiring. The red and black wires had been nibbled. He was of the opinion that at least one mouse had been “just one tooth away from killing itself”.

Lee was tireless in chipping adhesive away from the floor tiling, clearing up afterwards, and leaving a good surface for the preparation tomorrow for the final flooring to come later.

Meanwhile, James sent my cursor careering across my screen, lighting on a likely culprit, cleaning it up, dashing across to another, and leaving sets of figures to mount up or die down. All in all it was really reassuring relying on others remedying  electrical and ethernet enigmas.

Further offerings from Hordle Chinese Take Away afforded us our evening sustenance, with which I drank more of the Madiran.

 

 

Plein Air Painting

A BT engineer spent most of the morning with us. He found a fault in the line up the street, a faulty hub and possibly a faulty TV Box. The good news is that this was all the provider’s equipment, so we will not have to pay £130 for the privilege. The engineer would put all this in his report. He thought we might be able to use BT on our laptops. We tried after he had left. We couldn’t. Neither could we access Players and Apps on our TV.

We just had time to collect our Antipodean dollars from the bank at Lymington before it was James Peacock’s turn to administer to our internet. He brought a new modem for the EE line, and activated Players and Apps through that. Everything is now working brilliantly.

BT Broadband clearly has to go. I now had a dilemma. I could ring BT and cancel their package, or we could drive to Tanner’s Lane and catch the sunset. There wasn’t time to do both.

No prizes for guessing that we caught the sunset over the beach;

honking swans flying across the backdrop of the Isle of Wight;

along the lane itself;

Donkeys

 donkeys employed in pruning a holly hedge;

Sunset 11

and masts of yachts in Lymington harbour.

Sunset painting

Whilst walking along the shingle at Tanner’s Lane beach I admired the plein air painting of Barry Peckham. My camera lens at deep dusk has failed to do justice to this friendly man’s accurate rendering of a painting executed in the short time available. The delicacy with which he has captured the skies, and reflections on the water is most impressive.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s pork baked in mustard and brown sugar, topped with almonds and served on sautéed mushrooms and onions; boiled potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, and runner beans. She drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Cabernet Sauvignon.