This morning Jackie drove me to the GP surgery in Milford on Sea where I was relieved to learn that my lingering symptoms are probably due to stress – I can certainly agree with that, and just continue to take it easy.
This afternoon my Chauffeuse took me on a trip to the north of the forest.
A motley array of pigeons set off flying from the colourful tiles of the roof of Moyles Court School as we travelled through Rockford.
In a field across the road the more delicate domestic horses still sported their rugs as protection against the cold nights.
The sturdier New Forest breeds have no need of such raiment.
I closed my window before this chestnut at South Gorley could stick its nose through it.
As always, a pair of mallards took up occupation in a pool at North Gorley.
Donkeys lined the verges at Ibsley and on the Gorley Road,
where deer lounged in the sunshine, also frisking beneath Abbots Well Road,
where grazing ponies enhanced the landscape.
It is normally impossible to stop the car on Roger Penny Way. Today was the exception that enabled me to snatch this shot before following traffic arrived.
No passenger seat was vacated in the making of this post.
This evening we dined on excellent chicken shaslick, salad, and paratha from Forest Tandoori, followed by ginger ice cream.
The Head Gardener has become less enamoured of our Lucky pheasant who has clearly taken up permanent residence. Unfortunately, he tends to redistribute her careful placement of shells and peck new shoots off her heucheras. She now tends to attempt to persuade him to depart. He is, however, very smart. Yesterday he led Aaron a merry dance around the potting sheds. Humans are bound to stick to the paths. Lucky can nip across the beds from one to another.
On this, the warmest afternoon yet, as I moved from one bench to another basking in the sunshine,
our ring-necked strutter followed me around as if to enquire what I was doing here.
Meanwhile, overhead, taking up vantage posts in the still naked trees, well-fed pigeons dozed, preened, and stretched in readiness for the mating season to come.
This evening we dined on Forest Tandoori’s excellent takeaway fare. My choice was chicken jalfrezi with special rice; Jackie’s was chicken biriani.
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Today the sun slunk back behind the newly whitewashed ceiling from which occasional leaks did spring.
In July 2005 the weather was finer, so I took a trip back there in the form of scanning another dozen colour slides of the Streets of London series.
Unless they’ve relocated to much grander property in Wisconsin, Double K’s Snack Bar in the aptly named Sandwich Street WC1 is probably no longer trading.
The mural on this corner of the Lewis Carroll Library in Islington’s Havelock Street has not escaped the attentions of a graffiti spray can. Its premises in Copenhagen Street N1 currently appear to be rather more splendid. This is a popular educational resource for children and adults.
A palette and bags of building materials in Freeling Street serve as a seat for a worker taking a break for refreshments and phone conversation.
A typical London corner shop stands on this corner of Chapel Market and Penton Street.
At the close of the 18th century townhouses with rear gardens were built along what was then Chapel Street, when it formed the eastern boundary of the new suburb of Pentonville. A fire engine house was erected in 1792 and heightened in 1822; it survives today but in poor condition.
‘The essayist Charles Lamb lived at two addresses in Chapel Street in the late 1790s.
To the annoyance of the well-heeled residents, costermongers began to sell their wares along the street during the 19th century and by the 1860s a fully-fledged and relatively reputable market was in operation. Official designation as a street market came in 1879.
Three years later John James Sainsbury opened his first Islington store at 48 Chapel Street, managed for a while by his eldest son, John Benjamin. The venture was so successful that the Sainsburys opened three more shops in the street, including their first branch specialising in poultry and game.
By the 1890s Chapel Street had one of the two largest markets in the Clerkenwell and Islington areas, divided roughly equally between food and non-food stalls. Furniture, earthenware, second-hand clothing and drapery were among the most popular merchandise. The council renamed the street Chapel Market in 1936.
A few mainstream retailers and fast food outlets now occupy premises towards the eastern end of the street but for the most part this remains a traditional and unpretentious market, selling mainly household goods and food. It is open every day except Monday. Despite its continuing popularity, Chapel Market is vulnerable to a future change of use owing to the high value of land in Islington.’
The Victorian Royal Free Hospital began life as The London Fever Hospital. By the 1990s this redundant facility was redeveloped for varying types of residential accommodation. http://www.locallocalhistory.co.uk/islington/royalfree/ has much interesting history on this site, modern manifestations of which include
Old Royal Free Square N1
and Southwood Smith Street N1
London’s feral pigeons are ubiquitous. Here a trio dice with death near a corner of Battishill Street.
I do hope the driver of this Urgent Courier in Kember Street had managed to deliver his package before his van was clamped.
The gentleman on the balcony in Bernard Street WC1 appears to have scaled great heights in search of a mobile phone signal.
Now, can you spot Louisa and Errol outside the Victoria Palace Theatre?
I’ll give you a clue. The woman in white conversing on her mobile stands beside them when the traffic crossing figure is green. It becomes red while she approaches me, still apparently engrossed in the screen.
These three shots were all taken from outside an Indian restaurant where the three of us had enjoyed a pre-theatre meal before seeing the show, aptly described on the board as ‘The Greatest British Musical I’ve Ever Seen’.
Once more, by late afternoon, the sun shone from a gently clouded blue sky.
This evening we dined on Jackie’s superb sausage casserole and mashed potato flecked with carrot. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank Barossa Valley Shiraz 2016.
My 75th birthday was very pleasurable. Matthew, Tess, and Poppy woke up here in the morning, and Shelley and Ron, Becky and Ian visited in the afternoon. We all sat in the garden after lunch.
The first present I opened was from Poppy, who had chosen it. A certain amount of self-interest was rapidly confirmed.
Our granddaughter provided her parents with their own party hats.
Matthew obligingly assembled a colourful bird house that Louisa and Errol had sent me. Poppy saw it as a handbag and commandeered it for a tour of the garden she undertook with Tess;
she was intrigued to be introduced to one of her floral namesakes,
and to many other blooms,
with some of which she picked and adorned herself.
This was one view of the Kitchen Bed,
and another seen across Margery’s Bed, each containing
a number of day lilies, some of which Jackie dug up for Tess along with several other plants.
This scene is beyond the Heligan Path bench.
Being a Kiwi, Tess was able to describe exactly how to propagate New Zealand flax, and to explain the haka.
The reason for this was that I understand that this war dance also represents other events such as courtship, and I had no idea whether the capers of the pigeons on our roof represented war or love.
Becky brought over a beautifully hand stitched and embroidered dress that her niece Poppy had left behind at her home. Poppy couldn’t wait to strip off and model it. This treasured possession had been made by Tess’s friend, Daphne Harris.
This evening, except for Shelly and Ron who had left earlier, we are all going to dine at Lal Quilla. Regular readers will understand that that means I will enjoy a hot curry and drink Kingfisher, and at the end of the meal will be past caring what anyone else consumed. Should anything out of the ordinary occur, I will report on that tomorrow.
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Anyone having followed the broadband connection saga will no doubt share my delight in the fact that this morning I uploaded the ten following pictures in five minutes. Until James Peacock flew in to the rescue any one image would take far longer than that.
The Needles foghorn reverberated around Downton this morning, as sea mist combined with low sun to produce beautiful monochrome garden scenes. Silent pigeons in the trees were unfazed by this.
The final picture is of Christchurch Road, showing the murky driving conditions.
Incidentally, peacocks can fly, albeit no great distance.
Throughout the day, Jackie worked on the Christmas decorations. She finished the tree, but this is only the start of the festooning. In the last of these photographs I chose to focus on the reflected image of our wedding photograph from 1968 lit by Giles’s stained glass lamp.
This evening we dined on Carbonara pasta topped with bacon and served with broccoli and cauliflower florets. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Collin-Bourriset Fleurie 2015.
Before we leave for New Milton for my London lunch trips, Jackie always asks me if I’ve got ‘all (my) bits’ with me. One was missing this morning. It was my mobile phone. A search among all the usual places revealed nothing. Jackie rang the number several times. Silence ensued. We then tried the car. A muffled ring-tone suggested that the device was under one of the seats. It wasn’t. Eventually I spotted it lodged between the front seats. On its side. Barely visible, and needing great dexterity to remove it from its hiding place.
I set back the meeting time with Norman at Tas in The Cut, and caught a later train.
This still gave me time to investigate Waterloo Millennium Green, where people enjoyed a lunch break in the sun and,
a month earlier, I had seen scaffolding being erected. The huge temporary Old Vic stage had been completely dismantled and removed, leaving the dried grass to members of the basking public
It was after I took this last shot that a woman, whom I had not photographed, screamed at me and called me a pervert, and I decided to show a little discretion and walk away.
Norman and I enjoyed good conversation and lunch. My choice of main course was the best battered halibut I have ever tasted, followed by a excellent cold rice pudding, the name of which escapes me. As usual, we shared a bottle of the house red wine, served at the perfect temperature.
Especially when I take the slightly later train home, I tend to sit in the quiet carriage and avoid groups of businessmen. For those who are unaware, this carriage is one where passengers are not permitted to use mobile phones and must quieten other electronic quiet carriage, devices. This doesn’t deter everyone from talking at the tops of their voices.
Shortly before we were due to depart a gentleman rushed into the seat opposite me, spreading various items of luggage across the table. He then proceeded to have, interspersed with mouthfuls of salad-spilling burger, a work conversation at the top of his voice.
I gave him five minutes, which, in the circumstances I thought rather generous, and certainly more than some of the protagonists in the Dick Francis novel I was trying to read would have allowed. Not wishing actually to interrupt his flow, either of talk, or bits of burger, I tapped on the table and pointed to the signs, one of which was above his head. He shrugged and continued. An interruption became necessary. ‘You must comply with this’, I said, ‘that is why we sit in here’. So sotto voce as to be barely audible, he continued his conversation. When he had finished he apologised and politely called me sir.
Jackie collected me at New Milton and drove me home where, this evening, I needed no further sustenance.