In His Element

The onset of rain somewhat curtailed this morning’s dead-heading session. Never mind, I managed to catch up, and it didn’t rain at The Oval where Australia were playing Sri Lanka in the men’s Cricket World Cup. Naturally I listened to this.

One of the pictures of Jessica in “More For The Slideshow” was taken at Instow in August 1999.

Today I scanned another set of prints from that holiday, when we took a trip to Croyde Bay for a

where Sam was in his element.

While drafting this I received a phone call inviting me to the Everton Festival final event tomorrow to receive my prize as Runner Up in the photographic competition

for my print ‘Drinking In The Gorse’. Thank you, everyone, for contributing to my final selection.

It being Danni’s birthday she, Andy, Ella and Elizabeth came over for an Indian takeaway from Forest Tandoori this evening. My choice of meal was king prawns vindaloo; Ella’s was her first taste of paratha. I haven’t recorded everyone else’s choices, but we all shared rices, onion bahjis, and parathas. Danni, Elizabeth, and I drank Galodoro Reserva 2016; and Andy drank Diet Coke.

There was much reminiscing about Danni’s childhood memories of her time visiting us at Lindum House. She was able to describe all the rooms she had known. This prompted Jackie to google the house on https://www.rightmove.co.uk/house-prices/detailMatching.html?prop=6676327&sale=59659542&country=england.

Pictures From A Life

Louisa wishes to produce a slideshow of pictures of her mother, Jessica, in order to recognise what would have been her 70th birthday later this month. At different spells over this weekend I have e-mailed her a selection, some of which are included here.

These two were produced in June 1974 in the garden of Droop Street.

Here, in January 1975, she picks cabbages in her parents’ garden at Bulcote.

In May that year she is reflected in the window of the Peel Institute Youth Club.

Here she stands with Michael on the threshold of our flat in Horse Nad Dolphin Yard, in December 1979.

Sam was two days old on 21st June 1980;

Louisa joined them in May 1982.

In 1983 there were holidays in Newark, in Devon, and in North Wales.

This trio from 1985 were made in Southern France, in Mousehole, and in my parents’ Morden home at Christmas.

On a visit to Haslemere in 1986 Sam and Louisa made a bid to return to the womb.

In June 1990, James Bird, our neighbour in Newark, brought home this coot which he had found by the roadside, and thought might survive by our pond. It disappeared after a few days.

In the first of these images from Michael and Heidi’s wedding on 5th October 1991 Jessica stands with Becky; in the next two she sits beside Werner, the bride’s father. Matthew took the top table pictures.

In August 1992 Jessica reached the summit of Place Fell. What is more surprising is that so did I – and held my nerve to take the shots.

On 4th October that year we attended Mum’s 70th birthday party. Jessica stands amid Sam, Adam, and Danni. Louisa is just out of shot.

In August 1999 Jessica was present to cheer on the builders of the great sandcastle on the beach at Instow.

While waiting for Sam’s arrival in Barbados in March 2004 Jessica swam with turtles in the Caribbean Sea;

We all greeted him as he tottered off his boat.

This evening Jackie and I dined on haddock cheese-centred fishcakes; crisp Lyonnaise potatoes with succulent onions; piquant cauliflower cheese; and bouncing peas. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Carinena.

Rockford End

This morning I made my final cut of the Everton Festival Photographic Competition with the subject of The New Forest.

I am grateful to all those of you who contributed to the debate about my submissions. The ‘Happy Thatchers’ was a clear favourite. Although they were very popular I have reluctantly excluded those of sunbeams through the trees. This is because, in reality, they could have been photographed anywhere. For the same reason, the deer with the crow on its nose had to go. People may be surprised at the rank outsider which made it to the finish. I had removed ‘A Vantage Point’, namely the photographers on the hill, on the same grounds, and ultimately persuaded myself to reinstate this image because, after all, they were photographers, and there was a lot of gorse in the foreground.

I have made A4 prints of ‘Happy Thatchers’; ‘Drinking In The Gorse’; and ‘The Watersplash’.

‘A Huddle’; ‘Hedge Trimming’; and ‘A Vantage Point’, required in digital form, have been despatched in an e-mail.

Later this afternoon Jackie drove me to Everton Post Office where I delivered the prints, and on into the forest.

I disembarked at Wilverley in order to photograph the landscape. Jackie made the first photograph, then focussed on me after I had crossed the road for a closer vantage point.

She even captured me aiming at the

Ryanair plane flying overhead.

From this very narrow, winding, unnamed lane at Rockford End, I could look down on

a horse in a field surrounded by his entourage of crows and geese;

and a bevy of doves pinpointing a thatched roof.

Back at home this evening we dined on fillet steak – mine perfectly medium/rare and Jackie’s well done; creamy mashed potato; succulent ratatouille; and crunchy carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden while I, sadly, finished the Garnacha Syrah.

Godwits Galore

This morning we drove to Ferndene Farm Shop for three bags of all Purpose compost.

Jackie explored the rows of plants on sale as she also bought some trailing lobelias, and

found time to encourage one of the resident pigs, which was labouring somewhat, to step up to the trough for a drink.

On our way home we took a short diversion through the forest. Like the New Forest itself it has been some time since the title ‘new’ was applicable to the first of these lanes; the second avoids the problem of nomenclature by not having any.

Ponies dotted around the moors en route to Burley.

As in the lanes above the foliage of Holmsley Passage bore an almost luminescent glow.

Late this afternoon Giles picked me up at home and drove me to the bird hide at Milford on Sea where we spent a pleasant hour in a very crowded cabin watching the birds.

One black headed gull was fascinated by his reflection in the shallow water;

others shared Hurst Pond with shelducks and swans.

For serious birders the highlight was 31 black tailed godwits, their long legs beneath the surface.

We think this might be a snipe, but it had its back to us so we could not discern the length of its beak.

A pied wagtail trotted along much nearer the hide.

Giles stayed on for dinner which consisted of roast lamb; mashed potato and swede; Yorkshire pudding; crunchy carrots; firm cauliflower; and tender runner beans, with rich gravy. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and our friend and I chose Mora Vista Merlot Bonarda 2018.

“Where’s It Gone?”

We took an early drive to the east of the forest this morning.

Having left Lymington we traversed Snooks Lane. The nature of this narrow, winding, road suggests that it is madness to reach the 40 m.p.h. limit marked on these lanes.

Despite the idyllic location and the recently completed cleaning of the Burrard Monument someone has tossed a coke can over the low wooden rail bordering the grounds.

The tide was out at Tanners Lane where a black headed gull foraged among the silt.

The Isle of Wight, The Needles, Hurst Castle, and the two lighthouses could be viewed through a certain amount of haze.

Our next stop was at Sowley Lane, where a pony grazed, a friendly gentleman trotted with his dog, a cyclist approached; and alongside which oilseed rape blazed through a field.

It was a sleeping baby on the opposite side of the road from his mother that had caused me to disembark. After a while he woke, awkwardly found his feet and wobbled across to the pony mare who, continuing to fuel herself, offered no assistance to her offspring who eventually, unaided, latched on to his source of nutriment.

Just as we were about to continue on our way, the Modus experienced a thudding sound and a gentle rocking. The foal was using it as a scratching post. While Jackie made these portraits our little friend even allowed her to stroke his nose.

We felt a bit stuck in place while the pony seemed stuck on us.

After a last lingering caress, he turned his head and bent it in the direction of his mother. This enabled us to take off, albeit slowly. Turning back in our direction he looked somewhat nonplussed as his image in my wing mirror gradually diminished. I swear he was thinking “where’s it gone?”.

For dinner this evening Jackie produced tandoori chicken; savoury and pilau rice; and fresh salad, with which I drank The Long Way Round reserve Carmenere 2018, another excellent selection from Ian’s Christmas case.

Market Day

Lymington High Street descends a steep incline towards Quay Street at the bottom. The good quality Saturday Market stalls are set up on both sides of the street.

Who would be daft enough to struggle through these throngs up and down the hill combining Christmas shopping with a photographic record of the Saturday before Christmas?

OK, OK, you’ve got me. I did my best not to injure anyone.

Jackie drove me to the main car park from which I walked to the High Street. She drove off elsewhere and we rendezvoused in the same place 50 minutes later. This time span was a test of my knees. I just made it.

If there is a way with the new editor to return to the old jigsaw type galleries, I haven’t found it. The default system crops my pictures ‘for alignment’, it says – in other words to produce uniform sizes which mean I lose parts of my images. If I prevent this, the sizes of my images are altered, leaving gaps as above. Once the galleries are accessed (by clicking on any one in a group), the pictures are fine and can be enlarged in the usual way.

The titles of each of the pictures is given in the galleries. I will let them tell their own stories.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent sausage casserole; boiled potatoes; crunchy carrots; and tender runner beans. I finished the Saint-Chinian.

Up On The Roof

This morning I made four 5 x 7 prints for Ian from his and Becky’s wedding.

After lunch I made a start on the Christmas cards and Jackie and I drove to New Milton for some Christmas shopping, and continued on into the forest.

The day was dull and dry.

We arrived at a glassy Hatchet Pond when a pink strip above the tree line was a precursor of the impending weak sunset.

Waterfowl in evidence included a pair of swans and their adolescent cygnet

flexing its muscles

in sight of gulls, mallards, and moorhens.

One vociferous gull seemed to be reflecting on this 1962 classic of The Drifters:

 

The tide was high at Tanners Lane where the Isle of Wight, The Needles, and the lighthouse were silhouetted against the pink precursor.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s flavoursome lamb jalfrezi with tasty savoury rice. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Malbec.