Florence’s Autumnal View

This morning Jackie drove me to Lymington in order to collect my laptop following its successful surgical treatment by James Peacock. On leaving Peacock Computers I joined my lady in the St Barbe Museum & Gallery café where she showed me this

article from yesterday’s New Forest Post.

Sway Tower ,which has featured in many of my posts, has remained steadily standing sans oscillation for over 130 years.

Here it was this morning nestled among

Autumnal trees.

On our subsequent forest drive there was such a dearth of ponies in evidence, that we wondered whether the animals had scented the impending storm.

If so, a solitary trio on Hinchelsea Moor had not got wind of it.

One wandered across the road to rejoin its chomping companions.

This afternoon Jackie produced her own Autumnal photos of sculpture Florence’s view down the paths.

This evening we dined on New Forest Tandoori takeaway fare. My choice was king prawn vindaloo with egg fried rice; I also enjoyed a share of paratha, naan, and mushroom bhaji. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, while Elizabeth, Danni, and I drank Calvet limited reserve Merlot 2017.

A Touch Of Sea Air


On a bright and sunny morning Jackie drove us out to Flexford Bridge to survey the scene that had been waterlogged on our last visit.

These muddy-looking snowdrops had been struggling to keep their heads above water then.

Snowdrops 1

Banks of others lined the verges of

Flexford Lane

Flexford Lane which offers another view of Sway Tower, otherwise known as Peterson’s Folly.

The numerous catkins no longer bore droplets of rain.

On that earlier day sheep had held the higher ground that led down to the Avon stream;

today they cropped the fields of Bridge Farm.

Pools in track

To reach the livestock I had walked up a pitted byway,

passing a number of derelict sheds,

Trees through hole in shed

holes in one of which neatly framed a group of distant trees.

This afternoon Jackie cut back the clematis Campaniflora in the front garden. Unfortunately this climbs on the arch alongside one of the three manhole covers laid along the pipeline to the septic tank that carries our effluent. She decided to check this one. it was full of thick shit and toilet paper soup. She tipped a couple of buckets down it, to no avail. I took over the task and had the bright idea of shovelling out the mess, putting it in a bucket, and emptying it into the last hole. It hasn’t helped, which means there is a blockage between the first two manholes. It seems that the problem stems from inadequate equipment in the guest bathroom above. I deferred the next stage to tomorrow. It always pays to think about a problem. And I was knackered.

Probably everyone knows that unpleasant aromas linger in the nostrils long after you’ve scrubbed up. Today was no exception. It seemed like a touch of sea air was needed to blast the pong away. We therefore drove out to Calshot

just before sunset,

where a sailboarder was wending his way back to his car.

Against the backdrop of Fawley Power Station, boats and buoys rested on the silt at low tide,


whilst geese honked overhead.

This evening we dined on belly of pork served with boiled potatoes, carrots and broccoli. Jackie drank Hoegaarden whilst I drank more of the Cabernet Sauvignon opened a couple of days ago.

Mulching And Composting

Front garden 1

The early sun set the front garden glowing gold, as always, this morning. The autumn flowering cherry has been in bloom since last October. The telegraph pole, from which a cluster of cables fans out along Christchurch Road and all points of the compass, receives regular visits from BT engineers.

Front garden 2

What this area looked like a year ago can be seen in ‘Before And After: Through To The Front’.

Much maintenance was carried out today,

Rose garden mulching

my major contribution being mulching the three bags of Landscape Bark bought yesterday into the rose garden;

Jackie mulching palm bed 1

and Jackie’s, weeding and composting The Palm Bed.


This wide-eyed owl was decapitated by storm Katie. Surgeon Jackie performed the necessary operation.

We are still at least three bags of bark short for the rose garden, so this afternoon we drove back to

Mole yard

Mole Country Stores and bought them;

Ponies and Sway Tower 2

after which we took a roundabout route back through the farm lanes where we spotted a group of ponies, three of which masqueraded as sheep. Sway Tower can be seen in the background. Otherwise known as Peterson’s Folly, this landmark has featured in a number of these posts.

Finally, we topped up with compost in the form of ten 35 litre bags from Lidl.

We left those in the car and settled down for a beer (well, one each, actually) in the rose garden. It is quite a sun trap so we were certainly warm enough.

This evening we dined on tender fillet steak lost under lashings of fried onions. accompanied by mixed vegetables au gratin (left overs in cheese sauce), crisp carrots, Brussels sprouts, and new potatoes. Jackie drank sparkling water and I finished the Memoro.

Rosie Lea

This afternoon Jackie drove Becky and me on a recce through the waterlogged forest. On another reasonably warm day, we enjoyed a little sunshine and a lot of showers.

The first stop was near Wootton Bridge on the way to Brockenhurst.

Pool in forest 1Pool in forest 2Pool in forest 3

There we encountered expanding pools of water on the forest floor,

Pool in forest 4Trees and pool 1Trees and pool 2

Stream in forest 1

a swollen stream,

Forest trees 1Trees in forest 2

intermittent sunshine,


and moody clouds above.

Becky, red coat in forest

Becky’s red coat brightened the landscape a bit.

Pony 1

Soon after we continued our journey, I spotted a pony mother and child foraging by the roadside, and prevailed upon my driver to stop. As I emerged from the car, my potential subject, completely oblivious of oncoming traffic, stepped into the road and made a beeline for me. Wary of the ticks these creatures carry, I returned to the passenger seat.

Pony at back window

Becky photographed our friend through the back window.

Pony at passenger window

The beast then walked round to my door and I took over the camera.

Pony holding up traffic

Our continuing progress was then briefly impeded by another pony in the road.

Oak tree

Eventually we arrived at Brockenhurst where the sun now shone on oaks


and lichen alike.

Tea cups

It was time for Rosie. A cup of, that is.

For those readers unfamiliar with Cockney Rhyming slang, tea is Rosie Lea, truncated by omitting the second word.

Rosie Lea's

The proprietors of Rosie Lea’s have chosen the full version in naming their tea shop which won the 2014 Hampshire Food and Drink Awards best tea/coffee shop and customer service awards. Incidentally the Bakehouse, that had the queue across the road yesterday, was the best baker. This photograph also doubles as a selfie for Jackie and me.

Tea and cakes

The cups and saucers in the cabinet photographed above are those used to serve tea in this establishment which also plays ’50s pop music for the customers.

Sway Tower at sunset

Shortly before sunset we returned via Sway Tower, otherwise known as Peterson’s Folly.

Sway Tower trial at sunset

Before building his monument, Judge Peterson erected a trial model, which is shown to the right of this picture.


Sunset was in its prime above Christchurch Road when we arrived home.

We will be eating rather late this evening. This is because Becky and Ian went out earlier and have been held up in traffic. But, fear not. I know what we will be having so I am able to include it and submit this post in reasonable time. It is beef hotpot, carrots, green beans, and cabbage, followed by profiteroles. I will drink more El Sotillo, Jackie will imbibe Hoegaarden, and I expect Ian will have a beer and Becky rose wine. The food will, of course, be cooked to perfection.

A Statuesque Beauty

Jackie dropped me at Silver Street again this morning. This time I walked along this road, which, like many local ones has no pavement. I the turned right into Woodcock Lane and crossed Everton Road into Hordle Lane and, eventually, home.
Peterson’s Folly is visible from our front bedroom windows, but there was a much clearer Peterson's Folly 1Peterson's Folly 2view from Silver Street, where moon daises were still blooming.Moon daisy
The ditch in Woodcock Lane, that is liable to flooding, is beginning to fill up.DitchRoad liable to flooding
A creature appears to have taken up residence in a dead tree stump.Stump
Ponies, some wearing jackets, could be seen through a hedge. Their owner, a young Pony 2woman, noticing me poking my lens through the shrubbery, politely enquired as to whether I might be recceing the joint with the intention of returning to steal the ‘rugs’, which I took to mean the jackets. Apparently this is a common occurrence. We had a long, enjoyable conversation in which she told me that the horses were all foresters, and became very Pony 1inquisitive and advanced on watchers, thus alerting her to their presence. She pointed out the unclad grey, which she thought the most beautiful.Sheep
Further along, sheep in a field were colourfully stained, perhaps decorated for Christmas.
Footpath blockedStilePony 3A public footpath on Hordle Lane, where I met another inquisitive pony, has been blocked with barbed wire. Perhaps the doggie poo bag had been tossed beside it to indicate what a rambler thought of this.
This afternoon we visited New Milton for some banking and postage stamps. After this we went on to Milford on Sea to make an appointment at the GP’s. On my left hand I have a Dupuytren’s contracture which has been progressing nicely for about five years, and is now becoming a little awkward, so I need a referral to a surgeon. Patient.co.uk has this to say about it:

‘Dupuytren’s contracture causes thickening of tissues in the palm. If it progresses, one or more fingers bend (contract) into the palm and you cannot straighten the finger. The cause is not known. In many cases it remains mild and does not require treatment. If the condition becomes more severe or the function of the hand becomes affected then a specialist may recommend treatment.’
Jackie’s sister Helen has discovered an early postcard photograph of their mother and her friend, Sheila. My lady volunteered my services for producing a set of prints for Sheila’s daughter Margaret and various family members. I scanned the original and, after a considerable

Mum Rivett & Margaret c 1940amount of retouching, made six copies. This photograph was probably taken around 1939/40 when Veronica Rivett, my delightful late mother-in-law, the statuesque beauty to the viewer’s left, would have been about eighteen.
This evening we dined on Jackie’s scrumptious cottage pie; roast parsnips; crisp carrots, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts; followed by bread and butter pudding and custard for me, evap for her. She imbibed Black Tower B rose, whilst I did the same with Longhorn Valley cabernet sauvignin 2012.

Travels Of A Table

Hurricane Bertha beset Downton this morning, as we drove Sheila to New Milton for her to attend a Quakers meeting. We went off to Tesco superstore for a shop, and by the time we had finished and returned for our friend, Bertha had hastened on her way to London.
The Quaker meeting house put me in mind of Muriel and her table. Muriel Trapp was my Area Manager when I first arrived at Westminster Social Services Department in 1974. Muriel’s funeral in 1980 was the only meeting I have attended. I was impressed by the calm silence we experienced except when someone had something meaningful to say. My former manager had been a Friend.
When Jessica and I first set up home later in the year of my arrival, we bought two second-hand items from Muriel, who lived in North London. I think we paid 50p for the broom and £30 for the table, first setting it up as a dining table in our Lloyd Baker Street flat in North London. This item of furniture is of the kind that is often found in retro-style pubs that are furnished with a hotchpotch of the kind of pieces your mother might pass on to you or buy for you, to equip your first home, from house clearance or charity shops. Already quite elderly forty years ago, it had a central leaf that could be utilised by pulling out the main two that were mostly in use. So rarely had this operation been performed that the unused section was still bright and shiny beneath its scratched and stained companions.  It travelled with us to Horse and Dolphin Yard in Soho, and on to Gracedale Road in South London, each time serving the same purpose. When we moved to Newark, where a long kitchen table was already installed, it was converted to an arts table at which we sat to make and paint things. We kept it clean, but a few ink stains were inevitably added to its surface.
In 1997 Jessica’s siblings gave us our first computer. Muriel’s table then became a computer table, and remained as such until, in 2006, I moved back to London. It reverted to my dining table in Hyde Park Square and again in Leinster Mews. When, in 2007, I moved to Sutherland Place, it was transported to Elizabeth’s garage in West End, Southampton. At some stage, my sister’s garage/workshop suffered a leak. A little mildew consequently mingled with the other surface stains.
In 2009, Muriel’s table was scraped clear of vegetable matter, crossed the channel and became the kitchen dining table in my house in Sigoules.Sitting room 2.13 A year or two later I bought another table for the kitchen and moved the subject of this story to the sitting room where, once again it became a table for a computer and various other gentle activities. In the picture it bears a notebook, a camera, a bowl of walnuts, a number of dictionaries, and Michael and Heidi’s wedding group photograph. The walnuts were a gift from Chris’s lifelong friend Mike Ozga and his wife Oona. They brought these from their own garden about 30 odd kilometers away in Acquitaine.
When Sheila visited The New Forest last year we had, at her request, gone in a fruitless search for Sway Tower. The following October Jackie and I found it, and I featured it as Peterson’s Folly. Today we took Sheila to see it.
This evening we all dined on a wonderful roast lamb dinner, followed by rice pudding. I finished the Medoc, Jackie drank the last of the Lambrusco, and Ian drank Hoegaarden. Sheila’s choice was sparkling water. After this Becky and Ian returned home, leaving Flo and Scooby with us.

Peterson’s Folly

There is no O2 signal at Castle Malwood Lodge today.  After the period in France I began to worry.  I rang O2.  The French and English experiences are allegedly coincidental.  The man I spoke to, from our landline, of course, told me that O2 had had a complete shutdown yesterday, but all should be back to normal now.  He advised me to take out both battery and SIM card, wipe the card with a dry cloth, and reinsert both the card and the battery.  He didn’t await the outcome.  I did what he said.  There was no difference.  I rang again.  A machine told me that they were inundated with phone calls and couldn’t take mine, so I would have to try later.

Along the A31, on the way to do some banking in Ringwood, I had a signal.  I guess I will just have to be patient at home.  Or I could just chuck the phone through  the window.

EarringThe earring still adorns the information board in Ringwood car park.  It has now been hooked over a metal staple and sways seductively in the breeze.

Our business concluded, Jackie drove us to Sway, on the other side of the forest.  Today’s objective was the Sway Tower, which our friend Sheila had sought on her last visit.  As thorough as ever, Jackie had Googled the landmark and walked the walk on the internet.  Able to retain such information, she took us straight there. This Grade 11 listed building is 66m or 200 ft tall.  Fashioned from concrete made of Portland cement, it is the tallest non-reinforced concrete structure in the world.  It was built by Judge Andrew Thomas Turton Peterson on his private estate from 1879 to 1885, and is, unsurprisingly, known as Peterson’s folly.  Originally intended as a mausoleum and advertisement for the material from which it was made, it is now a private house.  Despite having been, except for the window supports, constructed entirely of concrete, this is rather an attractive edifice.

Sway Tower

As I mounted the steps up to the gate leading to the house next door on the right, I coughed, alerting a most friendly young woman who was pegging out her washing.  She was almost eager to come out and tell us what she knew of the building, including its reincarnation as a private dwelling.  There is another house to the left.  The ruined folly was virtually in the garden of that property.  These neighbours sold their own house, bought the tower, and refurbished it.  Fire regulations do not allow residence above the fourth floor, because there is no passing space on the narrow staircase.  This information had not surprised Jackie too much because she had clocked the curtains.

A plentiful salad provided our evening sustenance with which I drank some Belle Tour Merlot 2012 from the Pays d’Oc.