A Rorschach Test

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Our trip to the forest was somewhat delayed this afternoon;

our passage from our front drive was blocked by the rear section of a container lorry.

Close inspection revealed that this vehicle’s path was blocked by what appeared to be an injured cyclist being supported on the road.

In each direction along Christchurch Road traffic was being turned away by police. I ensured my photographs were anonymous, and thought it would seem unseemly to ask what had happened. Given that the invalid was talking and it was an hour and a half before an ambulance arrived, I can only assume that this was not the direst of emergencies.

Jackie and I were eventually able to depart as  police officer, who informed us that the man  now being helped into the ambulance had “taken a tumble off his bike”, raised the barrier for Jackie to drive on in the direction of Lymington. On the outskirts of that town another screaming ambulance, blue lights flashing, heralded one more lengthy tailback necessitating us and many others turning back the way we had come. We took the road down to the harbour.  Eventually we reached Undershore and escaped to comparatively quiet Pilley.

Near Norley Wood the usual variety of miniature ponies grazed in the light of the late afternoon sun.

Against the backdrop of Beaulieu Abbey and its grounds, a solitary cygnet was surrounded by energetic mallards competing for food in the lake’s shallows. The deeper water was frequented by gliding gulls and sedately sailing swans.

Later we enjoyed a blazing sunset over Hatchet Pond. One gentleman photographing an expectant swan and her cygnet had first lured them with enticing comestibles. As he departed, his models floated off to present their own Rorschach tests.

On our return home we joined Elizabeth in the Royal Oak where we dined. After a pint of Razor Back, with the meal I drank a glass of Merlot. The ladies drank Amstell. My meal was a mixed grill; Elizabeth chose venison sausages, mashed potatoes and perfect vegetables; Jackie savoured gammon steak, chips and salad. The food was as good as ever under the current management.

We Didn’t Chat For Long

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This morning Aaron, of AP Maintenance, tackled the storm damage. He replaced the back drive barrier plants; repaired Jackie’s screen covering the five barred fence; gathered up fallen branches; and tidied up the cypress,

Cypress

which now looks like this.

Sending wood-chips flying from his chain saw, our friend began by cutting up the branches stretching down to the ground.

Aaron had not brought his ladder with him. He opted to climb the tree rather than go home for it.

Anyone of a nervous disposition may prefer to look away from his exploits up aloft, as he showered me with wood shavings.

This afternoon, Jackie drove us to Lepe beach and back.

The skies there already promised a good sunset.

Photographer and dog

I was apparently not the only photographer who thought so.

 

So crowded was this popular beach that we almost gave up finding a spot in the packed car park, until, as we bounced over the numerous potholes to leave, another vehicle rocked its way out in front of us. Jackie was then able to stay in the warmth of the vehicle whilst I stepped out with my camera.

Many wrapped up families walked and played along the sandy shingle. At water level in the last of this group of pictures is The Watch House, with the Coastguard Cottages on the hill above.

Mother and child

A little girl, not much bigger than her younger charge, staggered over to their mother carrying the distressed infant who had fallen. Maternal solace was then administered.

Another mother instructed her daughter in the art of chucking stones in the water.

A small boy enjoyed throwing up spadefuls of sand, before trotting off to the shoreline and inspecting

the whipped cream sweeping in from the sea.

Leaving Lepe, Inchmery Lane snakes alongside the seashore where, visible through twisted branches, slug-like dunes rose from lingering pools.

We reached Tanners Lane in time for sunset.

As we departed for home, we were delighted to meet Barry and Karen who had just arrived to walk their dogs on the shingle. It was now so cold that we didn’t chat for long.

This evening we dined at Milford on Sea’s Smugglers Inn. We both enjoyed our meals. Mine was rump of lamb with minty mashed potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, and red and green cabbage; Jackie’s was spaghetti carbonara.  I drank Doom Bar and my wife drank Amstel.

From High Noon To Sunset Strip

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Just after midday, Jackie drove me to Sears Barbers at Milford on Sea for Peter to cut my hair.I am accustomed to barbers laying down their shears to answer the telephone, but today’s hiatus was brought about in a manner I not experienced before.

Peter’s next customer entered the salon with the announcement that “the parking police are out”. Peter dropped his scissors and rushed out of the door. Some time later, he returned, somewhat flushed. By the skin of his teeth he had moved his car just as it was about to receive a ticket. I had never seen a man with a bad back move so fast.

After the application of my barber’s artistry, I did my best to ruin it by taking on the best the high winds could throw at me on the cliff top. I have to say that I was so pummelled by the strongest gusts I have yet experienced, that neither I nor my camera could either remain stable or see what we were doing, as

I focussed on the sea below.

Sometimes the unsteadiness showed in the results.

Midday sun

Even this image of the midday sun and the shot of The Needles above were naturally virtually monochrome.

Walkers 1

Eventually I sought refuge in the car. One of three walkers along the path replied that he didn’t blame me when I announced that I had had enough.

Soon afterwards I was amused to see one of these adopting the same bracing stance that I had taken, as he, also, captured the moment.

We then took a turn round the forest. On a lane outside Bransgore, with the sun shining straight into my eyes, I had not seen the pony crossing immediately in front of us. Fortunately Jackie, whose view was shaded, had seen the animal and slowed down as it ambled on its way.

Dog walkers on lane

Round the next bend a couple walking their dog hastened to the verge.

We were a little too late to catch the sunset at Barton on Sea, however, we were rewarded by one

Sunset

over Roger Cobb’s fields

Sunset in pools

which was reflected in the strip of potholes on the path between them.

This evening we dined on roast duck breasts and sweet potatoes; new potatoes and peas; with wonderful gravy, with which I drank more of the merlot.

 

The Photo Shoot

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Yesterday I expressed m intention to published the prints from Newark 1993. Today I changed my mind. I decided to hold them in reserve for the next dull day. This could have been one. But it wasn’t. It was one of bright, crisp, sunshine.

Jackie in greenhouse

Jackie continued potting up

Greenhouse 1

cuttings

Greenhouse 2

in the greenhouse.

After lunch, she drove us to Boscombe and back.

Boscombe pier 2

We stopped within sight of the pier.

Boscombe pier 1

As I walked down the slope, a young woman walked up.

Boscombe pier 3

A boat, approaching from the left, skirted the structure stretching seaward. Was it a lifeboat? The water was certainly rough enough for someone to be in trouble.

Sculpture 1

At the bottom of the slope two sculptures, one in a garden,

Sculpture 2

and another on Undercliff Drive, caught m attention.

Photo Shoot 1

I then had the serendipitous good fortune

Photo Shoot 2

to gatecrash

Photo Shoot 3

a photo shoot

Photo Shoot 4

conducted by

Photo Shoot 5

three delightful

Photo Shoot 6

young ladies. The third, given that she was carrying out the same role as me, is not in shot.

As we left this suburb of Bournemouth, the skies gave promise of the good sunset we were to witness later.

Cyclist 2

Despite a propensity to allow his exuberance to take him swerving all over the road,

Cyclist 1

this joyful cyclist, seen here approaching Hengistbury Head, kept up a good 20 m.p.h. We parted company with him as he wheeled onto the footpath leading up the headland.

Sunset 1

The sunset was ripe

Sunset 2

outside Burley;

Sunset 3

the murmuration of starlings swirling over Holmsley was a sweeping cloud formation;

Sunset 4

the crescent moon exchanged places with its daytime counterpart.

This evening we dined at The Monkey House pub just outside Lymington. The establishment was as packed as ever, demonstrating its quality and the friendliness of the staff. Jackie enjoyed prawn cocktail and gammon steak. My choice was whitebait followed by rib-eye steak. Everything excellently cooked. Jackie drank Amstell and I drank Flack’s Double Drop

 

 

The Best Part Of The Day

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Friends Rob and Helen visited for lunch today. They arrived late in the morning and remained until early evening. We spent a very enjoyable afternoon catching up with each other.

For lunch Jackie had made a superb leek and potato soup followed by plentiful cold meats and salads. Rob and I shared a bottle of Languedoc red wine of 2016 vintage.

Helen and I began early on a photographic tour of the garden.

Helen K photographing 5

She used a very impressive Fuji bridge camera,

Helen K photographing 2Helen K photographing 3

and actually focussed on some of my own favourite subjects, such as begonias

Helen K photographing 4

and the rose For Your Eyes Only.

Rose Lady Emma Hamilton

Alongside the latter, Lady Emma Hamilton is rejuvenated,

Rose Garden 2

Rose Garden 1

continuing to bloom in The Rose Garden where red antirrhinums still thrive.

Leaves on table

Autumn leaves are beginning to fall. Some, suspended in spiders’ webs, wait to reach this glass table on the decking.

Back drive barrier plants

Among the clematises enjoying another flowering are these in the Back Drive Barrier boxes, leading the eye from the purple petunias to the now reddening leaves of Virginia creeper on the back fence;

Clematis and Japanese anemones

and this one sharing Margery’s Bed with Japanese anemones.

Iron urn planting

Petunias continue to cascade from the iron urn,

Petunias, begonias, New Guinea impatiens

and from the hanging basket over the Shady Path. Begonias are planted in the bed below and New Guinea impatiens shares the basket.

Fuchsia 1

Here is today’s example of a fuchsia. Helen created many good images of these and others.

Gazebo Path

We walked up and down paths like the one termed Gazebo

Margery's Bed at corner of Gazebo Path

sharing the corner of Margery’s Bed with the Phantom Path.

Rob

Just before lunch Jackie and Rob joined us.

Trunk of regenerated tree

Rob was intrigued by the regeneration of the apparently dead yellow leaved tree that has live stems on either side of the wasted trunk.

Given that rain set in early this afternoon, we had chosen the best part of the day to concentrate on the garden.

Jackie and I just grazed on small plates of salad this evening.

Ten Minutes

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Today’s weather was almost all wet, warm, and overcast. Our afternoon began with a trip to Milford on Sea where the excellent Peter at Sears Barbers cut my hair. We then went on a garden centre crawl seeking some boundary stones to hold back the soil around the greenhouse. Eventually we wound up at B & Q in Christchurch where we found, and bought, what we wanted.

Bridge Street

Having passed this rather attractive new housing development for retirees on the corner of Bridge Street, we noticed that the sky was lightening over Mudeford.

Gulls

Consequently we diverted to the harbour where gulls squabbled over a chimney top perch,

Boats and gulls

and screamed around the boats moored on images of the skies

Mudeford Quay 1Mudeford Quay 2Mudeford Quay 3

Mudeford Quay 4

against a backdrop of dark indigo and pale ochre clouds pierced by rays of a weak sun leaving light blue rents in the cloth.

Boats 2Boats and gulls 2Boats 1

The boats themselves reflected on their surroundings.

Photographer 1Photographer 2

I was not the only photographer grabbing the ten minutes that was all we enjoyed before the light dimmed once more. This gentleman, when I showed him these two pictures, was delighted that I had “got the person in”.

This evening for our dinner Jackie produced meaty cottage pie; colourful carrots, broccoli and green beans; and small new potatoes sautéed with onions, leaks, and red peppers. She drank Hoegaarden, and I drank more of the cabernet sauvignon.

Not A Dog’s Dinner

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After a boring morning’s admin, I helped The Head Gardener plant tulip and allium bulbs and flowering chrysanthemums. We then enjoyed a salad lunch and drove to

Lymington harbour,

where the rippling water reflected the boats and the blue sky with its attendant clouds

that had been depicted on the canvas above by a skilled painter.

Rowing boats were moored beside the jetty on the seaward side of which yachts were being berthed.

Squawking gulls landed hoping for titbits.

Other craft were coming and going all the time.

Emerging from the forest of masts, a small ferry boat chugged into harbour,

its master steered it to its mooring,

and the passengers disembarked.

The mother of one family returning to land told me that, on this afternoon of sunshine and showers, they had sailed through heavy rain, so it was only now that the junior pirate had been able to wear his Puffin hat.

Once she had fixed the trophy in place, he trotted off clutching his mother’s hand, while his Dad carried his sibling and everything else.

Walking into the first shot of the ferry boat is another photographer, who, when I showed him my portrait of him, smiled and said: “That’s what photography is for”.

Soon a working boat came into view and came to rest at the fishermen’s corner.

I wasn’t sure what was going on here, but a small terrier’s nose gave her a pretty good idea.

She needed some restraint to keep her away from

 

the slowly jerking crabs piled on top of each other in strong boxes.

One of these living creatures climbed over the lip of its container and landed on its back on the quayside. In my childhood I had often righted stag beetles in the same predicament, but I didn’t fancy providing a helping hand on this occasion.

Instead, I alerted the young man who had brought in his boat, mentioning that I wasn’t going to pick it up. Describing the crab as an escapee, he demonstrated that it couldn’t pinch because their claws were nipped when they were caught. This certainly wasn’t a dog’s dinner.

Before leaving, I walked along Quay Street

to the bottom of Quay Hill, feeling quite pleased that the car was parked by the waterside, so I wouldn’t have to follow the others scaling the heights. The little dog somewhat impeding the older woman’s progress was happy to continue once the younger woman carrying an infant had torn herself away from the shop windows.

On we travelled to the east of the forest. These ponies on the land along Thorneywood Road were soon to be spooked by a vehicle that turned round the bend towards us. This sent the animals running around in rather frantic circles.

Many others were grazing among the gorse. As so often, one smaller variety incongruously tagged onto the big boys.

Gwen and Yvonne may prefer to skip what follows.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s excellent liver and bacon casserole, mashed potato, carrots and green beans. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Reserve des Tuguets Madiran 2014.