Canine Encounters

I wasted two hours attempting to recover missing pictures to one of my Streets of London series of posts, then gave up and resorted to

which required the comparatively easy Convert to Blocks approach.

The Pharmacy at Milford on Sea shares the forecourt with our GP surgery and the Memorial Hospital. When we arrived there this morning the area was deserted, because neither of these other services is open on a Sunday and heavy overnight rain, according the the staff had kept people away on this first day of British Springtime clocks being put forward.

The consequent acoustics were such that, when I exchanged greetings with a woman emerging from the dispensary as I was approaching, our voices echoed.

From there Jackie drove me to the coast alongside Hurst Road,

where figures were silhouetted atop the shingle bank over which I crunched and listened, against the backdrop of the roar of waves and the mewing of the gulls, to the pebbles responding to my weight by hissing against each other as they repositioned their formation.

Norwegian Boulders form part of the defences against the

sparkling waves constantly

crashing along the rocks and the stepped seafront.

Dog walkers were out in force both there and

at Barton on Sea where a number of canines enjoyed close encounters.

Elizabeth visited this afternoon, bringing more clothes for Ellie donated by Ella and Jack, and staying for pleasant conversation, cups of tea, and a Tunnock’s tea cake..

Later, the rest of us dined on Red Chilli takeaway fare. Jackie’s main choice was Butter Chicken; Flo and Ellie’s, Chicken `Korma; Dillon’s, Chicken Dhansak; and mine, Naga Chilli Chicken. We shared Tikka Panir, Peshwari Naan, Pilau Rice, and Special Fried Rice. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Malbec.

Flying Foam

Late this morning Sam, Holly, Malachi, and Orlaith visited after another overnight stay at Elizabeth’s, and spent an emotional farewell hour as they left for North Wales on the next stage of their tour catching up with family and friends.

I was quite choked as I watched their hired car turn out of our front drive, and right along Christchurch Road.

The overnight howling gales seemed to have increased, with winds now 60 m.p.h. and unrelenting fierce driving rain.

Jackie and I took a drive down to Milford on Sea to focus on the weather.

What the Japanese call sea flowers flew up as the waves beat on the shining rocks whisking creamy clusters into the air to settle like snow drifts where they would.

With sharp precipitation needles stinging my wet cheeks; sticky salt Supergluing my fingers; rain and spray clouding my specs; gusts ripping at my dripping coat, keeping upright was all I could manage with confidence as I aimed my camera more in hope than conviction.

This evening we dined on Red Chilli’s excellent takeaway meals. My choice was tiger prawn dhansak and egg fried rice, with which I drank Paarl Shiraz 2021

Down To The Sea

Yesterday evening I watched a recording of the Six Nations rugby match between England and Scotland; this morning one of the match between Ireland and Wales.

After lunch I posted

Elizabeth e-mailed a selection of her photographs from yesterday.

Two ponies;

the cattle by the stream;

and me.

Heavy winds having howled throughout the night, we drove to Highcliffe this afternoon to have a look at the sea, which proved to be very brisk. Intermittent gusts of rain rivalled the flying salt water.

I left Jackie in the Modus and others on the clifftop as I made my way down to the waters below.

This involved negotiating sections of steep, deeply waterlogged steps alternating with slippery slopes. I leaned on the wooden rails to let these surfboarders pass.

Various couples and other groups ventured onto the rocky breakwaters. Some were somewhat sprayed.

A nonchalant crow on the rocks ignored the waters.

While intrepid human surfers frolicked on

the wild waves

A determined little dog thought about joining them, until he lost interest and trotted back to his family group.

This evening, dining on Jackie’s savoury rice with a rack of spare ribs, vegetable spring rolls, and tempura prawns from plates on trays, while seated on the sofa in front of the telly, we watched a recording of the Six Nations match between France and Italy. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Rioja.

Greys And Greens

We had booked to see Mum in the garden today, but it was too cold (11C), so we reverted to the Screen room. My mother was on good form, and able to hear me rather better.

After lunch Jackie drove us to New Milton where she deposited some clothes in Whites dry cleaners and, after a very positive eye test, I ordered some new specs.

The weather was wild, wet and windy when we drove on to Milford on Sea where,

buffeted by blustery winds and unable to see what I was pointing at, I photographed swathes of sweeping storm-tossed waves; billowing salt-spray; resilient rocks; sturdy breakwaters; and Hurst lighthouse. Checking my results really was rather a lucky dip.

Just one grey pony stood out among the varied layered greens of the mushroomed leaves now clothing the distant trees seen as we looked down over Wootton.

After a visit to Ferndene Farm Shop we retuned home.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s well-filled beef pie; boiled potatoes; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; tender runner beans; and spicy ratatouille, with which the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Malbec.

Battling To Bring Them Down

Fierce winds, having raged overnight, continued for a good part of the day, sending us to Milford on Sea’s coastline,

to photograph the ocean with its spraying, creamy, waves pounding the breakwaters and the sea wall.

Jackie watched the play of my writhing jacket.

A formation of distant kite surfers took us off to Keyhaven for a closer look. Hurst Castle appears in this last image.

Like speedboats the surfers sent up their own spray; wrestled on the shingle with the kites flung into life by the blustery winds; and performed silhouetted aerobatics. Meanwhile sea defence trucks travelled along the spit.

Once the kites were in the air and the time had come for departure the surfers set about battling to bring them down, sometimes one aeronaut anchoring another.

We also enjoyed a closer look at Hurst Castle.

This evening we dined on Mr Chan’s Hordle Chinese Take Away excellent fare with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Mendoza Malbec 2019.

Now I am going to settle down to watch the last Six Nations rugby match, between France and Scotland.

“Tomorrow Will Be A Good Day”

Knowing that we are about to experience strong gales for three days I lay down the garden chairs and the new water feature as a precaution this morning, and this afternoon we visited the coast at Milford on Sea to make calmer photographs than we would anticipate for a while.

Although from a distance the sea looked calm enough as I focussed on the Isle of Wight and a woman on the seafront shingle,

it wasn’t that tranquil.

Jackie focussed on me photographing

waves advancing in a rush, and seeping back across the shingle.

As we left, a black-headed gull was perched for takeoff.

Should there be anyone who does not know of Captain Sir Thomas Moore, you are advised to consult to read about the inspirational gentleman approaching his 100th birthday who, during 2020 raised our nation’s spirits; £34,000,000+ for the NHS; and, ultimately Queen Elizabeth II’s dubbing arm. This man’s favourite phrase, “Tomorrow will be a good day”, has been celebrated in yarn on the Pilley Street letter box.

After passing this, we drove on to Lepe where, from Inchmere Lane

we looked out over the flats, where I photographed

a solitary oyster catcher, and Jackie photographed

a motor boat.

I disembarked beside a seasonal pool on Exbury Road where I photographed

reflections of overhead trees;

fallen branches; and a mossy bank.

Do ducks lay eggs on a bare scratched circular area of ground? If so, I found one.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s chicken and vegetable stewp with fresh bread, followed by her spicy pasta arrabbiata and tender runner beans, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Primitivo Salento.

Late Afternoon

The 106 m.p.h. wind that ripped through The Needles overnight howled around our house and garden.

Numerous plant pots were blown down;

tables and the new pig hit the deck;

owls were knocked off their perches;

broken branches and scattered trugs tossed around;

an arch bent and a rose dislodged. I had the sun in my eyes when the rose accosted me and pierced both my head and my jacket.

Late this afternoon we drove to Milford on Sea watching wild waves whipping up spray, lashing wooden breakwaters and wetting glistening rocks. Gulls swooped overhead; numerous walkers braced the bitterly cold wind. One group descended the slippery shingle, then attempted to avoid the rippling waves licking their feet. One young lady had forgotten to cover her legs.

It was hardly surprising that no-one sat at the picnic tables of the Needles Eye Cafe standing in reflecting pools.

My fingers tingled enough to send me back into the car while I waited for the sunset.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s post-Christmas soup with crusty bread followed by gooseberry and apple crumble with which the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Montaria.

Waterditch Road

I wasted the best part of a rainy afternoon wrestling with my scanner because I had planned to start a new series of slides and negatives, but it is so long since I worked on any of those that I managed to mess up the settings and couldn’t sort them out. I even downloaded a manual from the internet but couldn’t understand what to do with it. Children, grandchildren, great nieces and nephews – help me please.

My caring Chauffeuse, despite the increasing hammering of rain lashed by 50+ m.p.h. winds, dragged me out of my slough of despond by suggesting we went out for a drive.

We began on the eroded cliffs of Milford on Sea

along which I struggled against the gales.

Waves crashed against the rocks below and the Isle of Wight was barely visible to intrepid walkers.

Ripples blew across the car park; traffic control signs, and barriers to road works were flattened.

Continuing inland we listened to the mesmerising swish of windscreen wipers and the cacophony of clattering rain,

gazed on wet fields with neither sheltered livestock nor sensible wildlife in sight.

We were about to turn for home, but on such a day it seemed obligatory to investigate Waterditch Road. So we did.

As we traversed the ford over the stream that no doubt gave the road its name we felt grateful that we did not live in the house beside it.

British Summer Time does not end until 2 a.m. tomorrow morning, but, driving into headlights through Highcliffe soon after 5 p.m. one would never have known.

This evening we dined on toothsome baked gammon; crisp roast potatoes; succulent ratatouille; crunchy carrots; and tender runner beans with which the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Montpeyroux. Afterwards we enjoyed Jackie’s aromatic apple pie and cream.


Rain battered our windows and a fierce wind, courtesy of storm Francis, howled and whistled throughout the night. We drove into Milford on Sea for a 9.30 a.m. appointment for the last of my earwax extraction, and afterwards Jackie parked in an empty coastal carpark while I battled with the warm gusts, trying to ignore the precipitation obscuring specs and lens.

A group of hardy individuals walked along the spit, the slope of which wasn’t quite as steep as the wind forced me to make it seem.

I hopefully waved the camera in the direction of the turbulent waves churning creamy Costa coffee crashing into the sturdy breakwaters and slip-sliding over resistant rocks.

From the comfort of her driving seat the Assistant Photographer recorded the proceedings.

As I was about to return to the car I noticed a windswept young lady leaning into the storm, her hair writhing like Medusa’s. She was joined by her male companion possibly more eager than I to photograph the moment.

I have chosen not to brighten any of these images in order faithfully to represent what we actually saw at 10 a.m. on an August morning. In fact the rain eased up and the sun appeared by midday although the wind continued even more ferocious throughout the rest of the day, apparently more than 80 m.p.h. through The Needles directly in line with us.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s lemon chicken and savoury vegetable rice topped with an omelette. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank Charlotte Fabre’s Tesco’s Finest Cateauneuf-du-Pape 2015.

Sea Foam

I spent much of the afternoon of this humid-damp day finishing reading

The author is one of New Zealand’s finest. ‘Katherine Mansfield (1888–1923) is one of the most highly regarded short story writers of the 20th century. A contemporary of James JoyceVirginia Woolf and D H Lawrence, she played her part in shaping modernism by experimenting with style, subject matter and theme in a body of work that re-defined the genre. As well as short stories she also wrote letters, reviews and journals in a prolific career which was cut short by her untimely death at the age of 34.’ This quotation comes from which describes her rather tragic story.

My view of her stories is that, with fluent, uncluttered, prose she describes her detailed observation of intimate snippets of lives and her surroundings including those absorbed on her travels. The tales selected by Jane Miller are of varying lengths. Three incorporate one particular family, suggesting to me that these could perhaps have formed part of the novel the author never penned.

My own tenuous link with Ms Mansfield is described in

What impresses me most about Jennifer Campbell’s illustrations to this volume is

that within such bold, stylised, outlines she manages to convey the range of emotions reflecting the writer’s own variety.

Late in the gloomy afternoon Jackie drove us down to Milford on Sea where the south westerly wind was surprisingly warm as it whipped

sea foam through the rocks at the seething water’s edge, up into the air, swirling past my nose, and rolling across the promenade, where

walkers enjoyed the view,

while others could be glimpsed through the unseasonable gloom against the backdrop of Hurst Castle. I chose not to brighten up these photographs to demonstrate what the light was like on this early summer afternoon.

This evening we dined on succulent roast pork; wholesome sage and onion stuffing; crisp roast potatoes, some of them sweet, and Yorkshire pudding; crunchy carrots; and tender greens, with tasty gravy. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Colle Marrone Appassimento 2016, a powerful, complex, Italian red wine.