Well Worth The Effort

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Regular readers may have noticed that it is some months since we enjoyed a brunch at The Beach Hut Café on the promenade at Friars Cliff. That is because I have been unable to make the trip down from the clifftop car park.

The first stage, from the car park, is reasonably level, but far enough for me at the moment.

Military communication satellite station plaque

The concrete rings have featured before. This plate explaining their purpose

is screwed to the rock to the right of this path bypassing the rings. The cyclist will slalom round the barriers down

the sloping footpath leading to the beach huts,

and the beach with its clear view of the Isle of Wight and The Needles.

The most difficult part of the descent for me was this very steep incline.

When I ran the fells in Cumbria I would much rather run up than down the slopes. And that was when my knees worked.

Having reached the promenade there is a straight, flat, section between the huts and the benches sited for those who wish to watch the waves;

taking us to the café, which was, as usual, full to bursting both inside and out, although the demography of the patrons is somewhat different from that in the school holidays. In fact, while Jackie joined the lengthy queue for service and I investigated the seating options, the only available possibility was sharing a picnic table with a friendly woman and her unobtrusive dog. Noticing my rather hopeless efforts at jackknifing myself into position, the kind lady offered to seek out a chair for me. She did so. I thanked her and sat down. Jackie then arrived to tell me that there was a free table inside. I thanked my new friend once more and took up a place inside. Shame, really.

The food was definitely well worth the effort. I couldn’t fit my plate containing two rounds of toast and marmalade into the shot.

After this, we had to retrace our steps. The rather bent elderly woman towing her shorn dulux dog kept up a pace neither of us had any hope of emulating.

Jackie had no trouble with the steep slope

but avoided the steps which were my preferred return route.

Our central heating has never really worked upstairs. Knowing weather was about to cool down, we asked Ronan of Tom Sutton Heating to sort out the radiators. He fixed a pressure problem and bled the radiators. A date was arranged for him to fit a new vent to one of them. The next dat the boiler stopped working. Fortunately our shower is electric and we have an open fire and a kettle. We limped through until today when Ronan made an emergency visit. I won’t bore people with the technicalities, but we need a whole new system, which is what I expected in the first place. This will take 3/4 days, need bedroom floors taken up, and be expensive.

This evening we dined variously. Jackie chose Tesco’s pulled ham with mashed potato and carrots accompanied by Hoegaarden; my Tesco’s prepared dish was chicken jalfrezi; Elizabeth enjoyed the last of Jackie’s beef pie. My sister and I both drank more of the Pinot Noir.

 

Paol Soren Was Right

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This afternoon I planned to take a trip to Mudeford Quay after watching the Wimbledon semi final match between Kevin Anderson and John Isner. After the third consecutive tie-break set I decided to leave the match and Jackie drove me to Mudeford. On our return home, the fifth set had just begun. This was clearly going to take some time, so we reversed our normal process; ate lasagna and salad from plates on our knees watching the match, and drank our Malbec and Hoegaarden in the Rose Garden almost two hours later. When the final point was scored, the set closed at 26/24; the contest had lasted 6 hours and 35 minutes; and both men had grown stubble.

The reason I was keen to go to Mudeford was that when, some time ago, we had last seen low tide at this location Paul Soren had calculated that the next time this would occur would be today.
Sure enough, my Australian friend was right. We could see the sandbanks and the marker buoys. In the final picture in the above group a little motorised boat comes into view.
For safe passage, this was steered through the port and starboard markers.
On this glorious summer’s day people of all ages and sizes endeavoured to catch crabs off the quayside,
while hopeful gulls circled overhead for any that may be dropped.
Angler
One solitary angler tried his luck.

 

Exercising Choices

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I undertook some minimal tidying in the garden this morning. Here are a few photographs of how it looks at the moment:

Daffodils

Many more daffodils are in bloom, including those in tubs and window boxes,

Weeping Birch Bed

and those in beds like the Weeping Birch one

Hellebore

which also has its share of hellebores.

Raindrops on primulas

Raindrops settled still on such as these primulas that survived the snow.

We have many blooming camellias. The shady path is bordered by them.

It could be considered mandatory that a tour of our area should include Big Breakfasts at The Beach Hut Café on

Friar’s Cliff Promenade.

So it was today. Jackie brunched on the marginally more moderate Friar’s Breakfast while Flo, Dillon, and I all went for the Big one.

A number of people were out exercising their dogs;

 others walked, jogged, or cycled.

Efforts at promoting fitness in Mudeford, for these two jet-skiers at least, were rather more strenuous.

Others basked in the sunshine or floated on the wing.

The usual fishing paraphernalia lay in tidy heaps on the quay.

Flags flapped in fortuitously reflective surfaces.

Our last visit was to Highcliffe Castle around which the young people wandered while I peered down the steps to the beach. This set has replaced the zig-zag sloping route used on 6th January 2016, now considered unsafe.

For our dinner the evening, Jackie produced her piquant cauliflower cheese with smoked haddock fish cakes and runner beans. Small portions were in order after our brunch. Flo’s favourite pudding, that gets her all of a quiver, is Grannie’s rice pudding with squirty cream. Naturally, this was served today. I finished the Navarra, and the young couple drank different soft drinks.

 

Brunch

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Late this bright, sunny, and chilly, morning, Becky and Ian, Jackie and I, motored to Steamer Point for brunch in The Friars Cliff Cafe.

Blue sky and cotton clouds reflected their hues in ocean stripes against the backcloth of the Isle of Wight and The Needles, as walkers strode out along the steps of Friars Cliff beach.

Woman on bench

People basked in the sunshine, which was surprisingly warm;

enough for the cafe tables on the promenade to be well patronised.

Smaller beings slalomed their way among feet and shadows.

Becky led Scooby down to look at the water, but his attention became diverted by an elegant, waving, tail.

Even when seated at the outside tables many people discarded their coats, like a couple of boys who hung theirs on their scooters, equally superfluous to requirements on the shingle.

Group on beach

The group in the background of the picture containing the mobile phone user was just one of many at the water’s edge.

This evening the four of us dined on Jackie’s luscious sausage casserole, mashed potato and swede; crunchy carrots and Brussels sprouts; followed by the most appetising pumpkin pie I have ever tasted. The Culinary Queen attributes the success to an extra egg, evaporated milk, nutmeg, and cinnamon. She and Becky finished the sauvignon blanc, Ian chose Peroni, and I drank El Pinsapo gran seleccion rioja, 2011.