An Akash Birthday

In 2008, Emily chose to celebrate her birthday at the Akash restaurant at 500A Edgware Road. Of the several posts that have featured this, my favourite over four decades, https://derrickjknight.com/2012/10/31/curry-a-biography/ places this gem in perspective.

I had remembered this splendid family occasion when speaking on the phone to Heidi yesterday. This morning I received a Facebook message containing two of

my daughter-in-law’s photographs of the event. Both focus on Emily and Oliver. The first includes Majid, the manager; Cath and Amy in the background, and my hand in the foreground. Majid had produced the splendid cake.

Today the weather was wet, windy, and decidedly dingy.

During a slight lull in rainfall Jackie photographed the crab apples because she doesn’t know how long they will last before the blackbirds have finished them off.

Immediately after lunch, peering through the rain-spattered windscreen, we drove to Pennington to deliver an acceptance letter for his decorating quote to Nick Hayter, and to make a booking at The Wheel Inn for Thursday evening.

Much against my better judgement, I allowed my Chauffeuse to cajole me into photographing waves from the clifftop at Milford on Sea. In order for me to disembark without the gusting winds tearing the passenger side door from my grip, Jackie needed to leave her own comfortable seat to hold my door. This was only fair, really. My cheeks were then pierced by ice cold driven needles. These were the rain, not the eponymous appendages to the Isle of Wight, because

the Isle, its Needles, and the lighthouse, as can be seen from these two pictures, had gone AWOL.

It is true that I couldn’t see what I was doing, but I know I was pointing my lens to where the island used to be.

I managed to photograph more waves

and rocks before I sank back into the Modus

and focussed more easily on empty benches through the front window.

Although it lacks the horns, Jackie’s beef pie would definitely be appreciated by the Dandy comic’s Desperate Dan. Packed with tender steak, succulent onions and firm chestnut mushrooms the Culinary Queen’s speciality is what we enjoyed for tonight’s dinner. This was served with tasty boiled potatoes; crunchy carrots; cabbage and green beans, with which she finished the Sauvignon Blanc and I drank more of the Barbera D’Asti.

Beechwood Fauna

This being the second day of 50+ m.p.h. winds it seemed one to have a look at the waves on The Solent.

The sun lit the cliffs of the island and the waves on the skyline.

When I photographed the sea,

rocks, and spume on the sand

I was not alone;

one young woman, exhibiting enviable knee flexion, took a bird’s eye view.

When I grew tired of bracing myself against the gusts, we drove through Shirley Holms into the forest,

where, on Beachwood Lane, our new foal, still keeping close to her mother, and needing to suckle, looked more as if her legs belonged to her and could, to some extent, risk making our acquaintance.

Other ponies wandered about

and a group of cattle were accompanied by a young calf.

They soon wandered off down the lane in order to trim residents’ hedges.

Perhaps we were downwind of the deer which occasionally peered out from the distant undergrowth before gradually moving off under cover.

One of the fallen trees appeared to have been uprooted quite recently.

Our return journey took us along Bickley Common Road with its bluebells and cow parsley on the verges.

This evening we dined on roast chicken breasts; potatoes roasted with onions and mushrooms; and crisp carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli; followed by strawberries and cream. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Dragon Hills Pinot Noir 2017.

Durdle Door

Today continuous rain fell from a leaden sky.

ERRATUM ERRATUM ERRATUM ERRATUM ERRATUM ERRATUM ERRATUM ERRATUM

MRS KNIGHT INFORMS ME THAT MY DURDLE DOOR IS IN FACT PULPIT ROCK AT PORTLAND. DURDLE DOOR IS AT LULWORTH COVE.

DOH! DOH! DOH! DOH! DOH! DOH! DOH! DOH! DOH! DOH! DOH! DOH! DOH! DOH!

As I focussed on the spray-spattered cliffs beneath Portland Bill lighthouse, a small yacht crossed the ocean near the horizon.

Lovers had carved their names in the weathered rocks. How long ago, I wondered, and are they still together?

Boat sheds perched above these geological specimens.

Having begun at dawn our group returned to take advantage of the evening light.

Elizabeth is third from our right of those focussing on the iconic

Durdle Door and its intrepid climbers.

Packs of frozen peas are regularly applied to ease the swelling on my operated knee. One of the bags has split. This meant that a plentiful helping of said peas appeared on our dinner plates this evening. These were alongside cheese centred smoked haddock fishcakes, tangy ratatouille, and piquant cauliflower and broccoli cheese. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I didn’t.

Elizabeth’s Standing Ovation

I have recently rediscovered a batch of colour slides made in September 2008, some of which images I featured from prints I had produced in 2014 for my post “Your Own Back Yard”. This was one of my ultimate sets of photographs taken with film.

Before focussing on the dawn images of Portland Bill lighthouse that appear in the above-mentioned post I watched waves crashing against the rocky shores beneath the cliffs.

These crumbling rocks are features of the famous Dorset Jurassic Coast.

Crispy fettuccine masquerading as drying seaweed blended well with the surrounding palette.

At first I thought a pair of Persil white mushrooms were eggs laid by a negligent bird on a grassy tussock.

My sister and I were attending a weekend course run by Chris Weston, an excellent tutor. This was essentially for digital photography. I was the only participant still using film, so much of the technical information was beyond my ken, but I learned a great deal about our pastime in general.

One aspect was lighting and the fact that overhead sun burns out too much of a subject. The beginning and the end of the day offer the best angles for our chosen theme of landscapes.

For this reason we were prevailed upon to convene just before dawn on the first morning. Elizabeth knew she was very unlikely to be awake at that time and would probably have to follow on afterwards.

As we all gathered in the hall, my sister, festooned with cameras, lenses, equipment and other bags, staggered in. She was given a standing ovation by the assembled company.

Elizabeth visited us late this afternoon, bringing with her the brochures of two potential care homes for Mum. She had visited both and we discussed her findings.

Afterwards Jackie and I dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away’s excellent fare.

A Quotation From My Grandad

I have previously mentioned an unfortunate complication arising from my knee replacement operation in May. Today, after some delay and a cancellation, Jackie was able do drive me to Lymington Hospital for a visit to consultant, Mr J. Douglas. After various tests he offered the opinion that my prostate is only slightly enlarged and that there may have been some internal damage caused by efforts to insert a catheter. He was not worried about this, but, given that I cannot have my second knee replacement unless the condition, which might need a catheter designed for this not unusual problem, is confirmed, he has placed me on an urgent referral for further investigation with a camera.

Before this visit we lunched at Redcliffe Garden Centre at Bashley. Written on the roof supports of the establishment’s restaurant are memorable quotations about gardening. Following on from one from Longfellow is this one by

 ‘My Grandad’. Enlargement should make this legible, but for those needing it, here is the text: ‘A face without freckles is like a garden without flowers’.

I chose the steak pie meal. The excellent gravy relieved the impression that the meal was perhaps a bit overheated – it was, however, the last one, and despite appearances tasted very good. Jackie enjoyed her customary jacket potato with tuna mayonnaise and plentiful fresh salad.

We had taken a diversion in the forest. At Brockenhurst, just as I drew a bead on it a heron took off from the bank of a stream outside Brockenhurst.

After the consultation we sped off to the GP Surgery at Milford on Sea to deposit a requisition for medication to relax the casing of the prostate. Naturally this led us to the coast just before sunset.

The Isle of Wight, The Needles, and the lighthouse sat well in their pink and indigo pastel surroundings.

This colour scheme set off the more strident streaks of the setting sun,

opposite which sweeping clouds revealed blue skies.

As usual the heaving sea, the rock-splashing spray, and the crunching shingle reflected the overhead hues.

Soon after sunset the clearer skies revealed a finely drafted crescent moon above Downton.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s choice chilli con carne served with flavoursome savoury rice. Elizabeth drank Hop House Lager and I drank Outlook Bay Central Otago Pinot Noir 2017.

Keeping Their Heads Down

Gusts from the recent storms still swept the garden today.

The plastic cover wrapping the garden chairs was sucked in and out like bellows. We did our best to loosen yet still implement the rope ties applied yesterday.

The pink rose seen in the background swayed to and fro;

as did all the trees. The  Weeping Birch limbs lashed like cats o’ nine tails, while flickering Japanese maple foliage frolicked on tightrope branches.

This afternoon we drove down to Milford on Sea for a brief look at the turbulent waves and  spray soaring over the protective walls and raking the rocks below. The Isle of Wight was barely visible, although I could clearly see an intrepid couple walking along the distant sea wall while I struggled to keep myself and my camera steady.

Some gulls swooped and hovered above the waves, but most kept their heads down on the lower ground of the car park.

One photographer sensibly employed a tripod.

From here we continued on to visit Helen and Bill in their new home at Fordingbridge. They have downsized to a bungalow which offers a most comfortable sense of space. With Jacqueline also engaged in selling her house and buying another, there is definitely a sense of sisters on the move.

This evening we dined on meaty beef burgers with sautéed potatoes, onions and mushrooms. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Domaine Bonval Cote du Rhone 2016.

Speech Bubbles Are Invited

CLICK ON ANY IMAGE IN A GROUP TO ACCESS ITS GALLERY, INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS OF WHICH MAY BE VIEWED FULLS IZ BY SCROLLING DOWN AND CHECKING BOX AT BOTTOM RIGHT. FURTHER ENLARGEMENT MAY BE OBTAINED WITH A CLICK OR TWO

I trust my readers in the Philippines and the East Coast of America will forgive Jackie and me for choosing to visit the coast on a morning beset by winds of a mere 40 m.p.h.

Palms swayed in the wind at Milford on Sea; granite skies glowered over choppy waves; the Isle of Wight, The Needles, and the lighthouse were lent a translucent quality by the feeble, filtered, daylight and the misty sea-spray crashing on the rocks.

RunnerRunner approaching walkersRunnerRunner

An unperturbed young lady ran along the coastal paths at a respectable rate;

four hardy sailors clung to stays on one side of a red-sailed yacht in efforts to keep the mast upright as it skirted the Isle of Wight, The Needles, and the lighthouse.

I think this was an egret fishing at Keyhaven,

while a preening gull perched on a heap of seaweed.

Two gentlemen passed stacks of colourful boats in the sailing club yard.

Readers are invited to suggest speech bubbles for these two.

In the field opposite Solent Grange stands a large haystack that defied the wind.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s luscious beef pie; creamy mashed potato; and crunchy carrots, cauliflower and cabbage. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden; Elizabeth, Patrick Chodot’s Fleurie 2016, and I finished the same producer’s Brouilly.