The Reality

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This afternoon Jackie drove me out to Calshot and back.

Waiting in the queue at the Lymington level crossing gave me the opportunity to focus on one of the hanging baskets that adorn the lampposts of the town.

One of the cattle on the moor near Beaulieu Road Station suckled quite a large calf.

Ower Farm on Calshot Road is a splendid Georgian building.

 

On Calshot beach’s shingle, along which a gentleman led a colour coordinated little girl,

and beyond which yachts enhanced the seascape;

gulls basked, preened, and squawked and saw off a couple of crows. One of the sea birds homed in on an ice cream cone and hopped onto the wooded parapet.

The photograph above of Ower Farm is how an Estate Agent’s brochure may have presented it.

In reality it is hemmed in by Fawley Power station.

This evening the three of us dined on Jackie’s splendid lamb jalfrezi with savoury rice. Mrs Knight drank Hoegaarden, Elizabeth drank Becks Blue, and I finished the Saint-Chenian

 

 

Ever-Changing Skies

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Our friend Geoff Le Pard had asked, in his comment on yesterday’s post, whether the field at Longslade Bottom had flooded as it had in his youth.

South Sway Lane

Jackie therefore, via South Sway Lane, drove us out to investigate.

The area, well mowed by resident ponies, simply hosted a few paltry  pools. It was frequented by dog walkers, rooks, and the occasional gull.

Trees and figures were silhouetted against the sky.

Gravelled slopes led up, either side of the old railway bridge, to the line that is now a footpath.

Footpath

Another path led under the bridge.

Autumn leaves

Autumn leaves still clung to the shrubbery.

On our way home the skies various shades of bright blue and indigo were constantly changing; the virtual black and white over Horseshoe Bottom giving way to a rainbow crossing telephone wires above Brockenhurst,

Skyscape over Hatchet Pond

and golden tinges over Hatchet Pond.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s perfect paprika pork with wild rice and green beans. The Culinary Queen drank sparkling water, and I finished the Arbois.

A Clip Round The Ear

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Early this afternoon Jackie drove us off to the north of The Forest. Refraining from the opportunity to indulge in her customary giggle on passing Sandy Balls, she settled for a late lunch at The Fighting Cocks in Godshill.

View from The Fighting Cocks

Cattle 1cattle-2The view from the pub across to the green always includes animals. Today we had a predominance of cattle, including one of the Highland breed.

Pony and crows

The one pony in sight sheltered under a tree, surrounded by grubbing rooks.

Filled Yorkshire pudding meal

My choice for lunch was a large Yorkshire pudding filled with the pubs own tasty home made sausages, creamy mashed potato, fresh peas and onion gravy. This made me think of my maternal grandmother, a Yorkshirewoman whose eponymous puddings were made in a large baking tin. I drank Doom Bar. Jackie enjoyed a baked potato containing cheese and beans, accompanied by a coke. The publican was very friendly and accommodating of a couple who had turned up for a meal after 3 p.m.

Donkeys in car park 1Donkeys 1

Donkeys had taken over the gardens and car park.

Donkeys and cattle

This engaged some of the customers.

Family and donkeys

The crouching girl showed sensible discretion as she rapidly rose to her her feet which led her legs away faster than the rest of her as she clutched an adult hand when the donkey paid her some attention.

Donkeys scratching

Two other asses availed themselves of wooden posts for a good scratch

Donkey on road

then set off down the road in search of some traffic to disrupt.

The Fighting Cocks mural

The skilful mural decorating one of the inside walls of the hostelry obviated the need for me to photograph the building.

This is the time of year when, if you are quick, you will see sounders of swine as they speed through the forest, snuffling, foraging, grunting and squealing in search of mast, or acorns and other fruit of the trees.. The first group of these had vanished by the time I emerged from the car. This is an extract from the New Forest website:

“PIGS IN THE NEW FOREST (PANNAGE)

Pannage is the practice of releasing domestic pigs into a forest (also known as ‘Common of mast’), and goes all the way back to the time of William the Conqueror, who founded the New Forest. Pannage is no longer carried out in many areas but can still be observed every year here in the New Forest National Park. In the Autumn after the acorns, beechmast, chestnuts and other nuts have fallen, up to 600 pigs will work their way through the forest eating them from the forest floor.

You can usually find the pigs roaming the forest floors from around the third week in September or whenever the acorns begin to drop from the beautiful trees. The exact Pannage dates are decided by the New Forest Verderers and the Forestry Commission and is based on seasonal variations. The 2016 Pannage season start[ed] on 12th September.”

Gloucester Old Spot pig 1

Near North Gorley I managed to catch a trio of these animals including a Gloucester Old Spot. Note the rings through the noses, which would be the envy of some of our young people.

Pig head butt

The larger of the other two pink ones suddenly delivered a ferocious snout side-swipe to the other. The open mouth gives an indication of the decibels achieved by the resounding squeal emanating from the victim. Perhaps this was Mum administering a clip round the ear.

Gloucester Old Spot pig 2

It is difficult to convey the pace at which these apparently cumbersome creatures hoover the forest floor.

Pigs

After they had had their fill they flopped by the roadside.

Speaking of having had one’s fill, you have seen my late lunch, so will not be surprised that I did not join Jackie this evening in a second helping of our Chinese Takeaway.

‘…..Or Grandpa Photographing A Leaf’

Blue sea and beach hutsBlue sea and brambles

We enjoyed another gloriously sunny day. The sky and seas were both clear blue. It was nippy in the shade, but the sun was warming, as I took my usual walk to Hordle Cliff top, where the browns and ochres of the hillside brambles and the shining shingle contrasted well with the brilliant blues.

The Solent from Downton LanePools on footpath

The Solent had looked most inviting from Downton Lane, where a row of mirror glass had been laid along the pitted footpath through Roger Cobb’s maize fields.

RookRooksHouses through brambles

The Shorefield rooks are becoming more vociferous, and distant houses shimmered as I walked along the path to the beach.

Robins are territorial creatures, so the one I stalked from stalk to stalk among the brambles was probably the one I have photographed before on that same area of the clifftop.Robin

I exchanged greetings with a passing jogger and his dog I now see quite regularly on the coast road.JoggerWoman, boy and dogWoman and boy

Another customary acquaintance is a gentleman with a little dog which befriended a woman and a little boy who walked down the steps to play at the water’s edge.

Further lengthy conversations somewhat extended the timescale of my outing. The first was with a very gregarious woman who was checking the times posted at the bus stops in the jogger picture. With her pass it is worth her while to visit Waitrose where, if she spends £5 in the shop she can enjoy a free coffee and a copy of the Daily Mail newspaper.

After this, I met Roger outside Hordle Manor Farm, now occupied by his son Matthew and his family, who had indeed rescued Scooby on 17th August last year. He also told me that the lake I had photographed filling his field eleven days ago had now disappeared. This is apparently quite a regular occurrence.

Leaves backlitIn the car yesterday, Becky had described the 2012 film ‘The Sweeney’, in which a far more thuggish, twenty first century, Ray Winstone reprises John Thaw’s Jack Regan role. The eponymous TV series of the 1970s was iconic. ‘Sweeney!’ (1977) and ‘Sweeney 2’ (1978) were feature length cinema spin-offs. Our daughter, who had watched it with Flo, described an amazing car chase through a single lane winding ‘tree tunnel’. Becky had speculated about what could happen if various pedestrians, such as an old lady walking her dog, had been the other side of one of the bends. Flo had finished off the list with: ‘Or Grandpa photographing a leaf’. It just had to be done, didn’t it? The title, incidentally derives from ‘Sweeney Todd’ (the demon barber of Fleet Street),  cockney rhyming slang for the Flying Squad. The way this verbal device works is to take a two or three word phrase and just use the first one as the required term. Another example is Plates (of meat) for Feet.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s excellent fusilli and tagliatelle Bolognese followed by lemon tart, with which we both drank water and I finished the Cotes du Rhone Villages.

Black And White Challenge

This morning I received a photographic challenge from Kanan Buta. This requires the posting on Facebook of a black and white floral picture each day for five days, on each of which a challenge is to be issued to another friend. I have plenty of pictures of summer flowers that could easily be converted to monochrome, but it seemed to me that a challenge accepted in November should be photographed currently and that these colourful subjects should be chosen for their form. In discussing this with Jackie, she came up with the perfect suggestion for this, the anniversary year of the commencement of The Great War. This was a skeletal poppy head, stripped of all flesh yet still standing in the garden. Here is my first day’s entry:Poppy head

On this the first bright, finger-tingling day, taking my Hordle Cliff top walk, I happily obtained a more than ample haul for my five days. I will include one in each of my subsequent WordPress posts.

Road maintenanceAs I walked down Downton Lane, a cloud of dust billowing from Shorefield Road alerted me to road repairs that were being undertaken. A cutting blade was being applied to the edge of the tarmac. Rooks

The rooks are nesting again and soon Shorefield Road will be reverberating with their cries.

Frost on grassFrost on leavesCondensationFrost was coating the fields and hedgerows, and condensation, reminiscent of that described in my ‘Armistice Day’ post, lined the bus shelter in the corner of which a daddy longlegs had met its end.

Isle of Wight and The NeedlesWoman walking dogsThe sea was calm; The Needles, sharp and clear, pierced the pastel skyline; and a woman with a pair of dogs crunched along the shingle.

We had a little less disruption in our internet access today, which is why I had the confidence to wait until tonight to post my offering. Given that the fourth engineer is booked in tomorrow, I do hope there will be difficulties in the morning, otherwise it will be like a visit to a doctor, when you suddenly feel better whilst sitting in the GP’s patient chair.

This evening Jackie produced a splendid pork casserole for our dinner. This was accompanied by crisp carrots, brussels sprouts, and broccoli; roast potatoes and Yorkshire pudding. Dessert was steamed syrup sponge and custard. Jackie drank Peroni and I drank Via di Cavallo chianti 2012.

Clapham Common

It was a bright and sunny day for my visit to old friends Wolf and Luci. Jackie, as usual New Milton stationTrain in New Milton stationdrove me to and from New Milton Station for the train to Waterloo. From the terminal, I took the Northern Line to Clapham Common, along the South Side of which I walked, Elms Roadcrossing over to Elms Road, right into Abbeville Road, and left into Hambalt Road to their home. I returned home by the same methods.Clapham CommonLeaf clearing

Maple leaves were falling on the common where work forces were engaged in clearing them up, mostly with extended ‘big hands’ to aid the process. Maple trunkBlue pigment on a particularly gnarled trunk produced an interesting abstract painting.

Pigeons and rooksCanada geesePigeons and cattle troughPigeons, rooks, and Canada geese scratched about in well clawed soil, and Bullfrogs overlooked the redundant cattle trough, now planted with flowers.

Temperance fountainAlso apparently redundant, certainly unusable, is the drinking fountain provided by The United Kingdom Temperance and General Provident Association. This grand sculptured structure, even if it were functioning as it did in Victorian times, would probably be eschewed by the various gentlemen occupying the benches as they glugged alcoholic beverages straight from their cans. Temperance fountain lionThe lions embellishing each side would probably never again have their thirsts slaked by the blocked and rusting fountain.

When I lived or worked in London I had enjoyed a monthly lunch with my friends. Unfortunately this frequency is no longer possible but whenever Jackie and I see them it is equally pleasurable, as it was today. Today Luci produced a tender lamb casserole, wild rice, parsnips, and brussels sprouts, followed by her trademark flavoursome crustless pumpkin pie. She and I both drank Wolf Blass red wine, while Wolf drank his customary apple juice.

Luci wrapped up a helping of the dessert for Jackie, who enjoyed it as much as I did. After that superb lunch, I didn’t join my lady for dinner.

Derrick and WolfOn my return home I was greeted by an e-mail from Luci containing very good photographs of Wolf and me taken with her Samsung mobile phone.

‘Look At That Book’

Bathroom floor Downton LaneBluebell WoodTractor ploughing, gulls, rooks, Isle of WightCattle, tractor ploughing, gullsJackie spent most of the day cleaning and renovating the rancid master bathroom. This floor, unevenly tiled in some kind of rubbery squares, gives an example of what she was dealing with. The difference she has made is evident in this photograph taken as she began. When I returned from my walk the whole surface was the colour of the clean ones you see. From Downton Lane I took the path through the fields and alongside the bluebell wood, into which I deviated. The tractor ploughing against the backdrop of the Isle of Wight on the horizon attracted its usual entourage of gulls and rooks. When I reached the road I turned left and continued on past the bottom of our lane to Milford on Sea. Cattle alongside this route seemed oblivious of the then distant ploughman. Weeds pushing up tarmacAs I marvelled at the weeds and grasses forcing their way through the tarmacked surface of the narrow path to Milford, I thought fondly of Dickie Hamer. Father Hamer, S.J. was the gentle, well-loved, Jesuit priest at Wimbledon College who guided us towards O Level French. I don’t remember why we called him Dickie. Perhaps his first name was Richard. It was he who had first told us of the power of something as slender as a blade of grass to battle its way into the sunlight in search of the energy for photosynthesis. One day, as he took a tour round the classroom, he admired the drawings Matthew Hutchinson had made in the margins of his exercise book. ‘I’ll have some of that’, I imagined. So, on another occasion, I started embellishing my pages. When Dickie reached my desk, instead of the hoped for praise, I received disappointed admonishment. ‘Look at that book’ exclaimed the schoolmaster. I hear his voice, see his face, and feel the shame to this day. The experience was worsened because I knew I could never match Matthew’s art.Catch cricket and young MumsCatch cricketCatch cricket 2Catch cricket 3 A game of catch cricket was in progress on the Hordle Cliff top. When the ball was hit in my direction and I failed to grasp it, all round hilarity ensued. My unspoken excuse is that a cricketer accustomed to pouching a hard leather bound ball cannot catch a bouncy one designed for tennis. And anyway my effort was one-handed with the camera hanging from my wrist. Moreover, one bout of shame is enough for any one day. Books for charityI returned by the Shorefield route at the beginning of which is a house that in dry weather has baskets of books outside for sale in aid of children’s charities. A couple had parked their car and stopped to make a selection of purchases.

This afternoon I made a start on the garden. In the immortal words of Captain Lawrence Oates, ‘I may be some time’.

For one of my birthdays in the early Newark years, Jessica gave me a cast iron replica of the Nottingham Castle benches. This has accompanied me on most of my moves since, and brought to Downton from storage by the splendid Globe Removals team. There are twelve hardwood slats linking, by bolts, the very heavy metal sides. Whilst at Sutherland Place I replaced some of the deteriorated wooden sections with iroko I had cobbled from a picnic bench. The bench has been dismantled for transit. I decided to put it together again.

The cast iron pieces lay beneath the heaviest skip pile consisting largely of IKEA contiboard. I shifted all that and dragged the iron out. Then I couldn’t find the nuts that held the bolts in place.Weeding pathSawn trunk

So I had to do something else, and made a start on weeding the paths. I didn’t get very far before diverting myself by looking up at the shattered tree. The main trunk of this as yet unidentified plant had obviously suffered in the winter gales. I had to cut the top off. There was no time like the present. I sawed off the damaged section, lopped up the branches just coming into leaf, and carried them to the far end of the garden where there has obviously been a bonfire at some time.

All this time Jackie continued to work like Helen, or maybe another Trojan, upstairs, apart from a small break when she pruned a climbing rose in an effort to preserve my scalp when walking underneath it.

Trailing weedI suppose every garden has its pernicious weed that defies all efforts to eradicate it. Ours I recognise, but cannot name, from the garden at Lindum House. It is a long trailing and climbing creature with velcro epidermis that clings to anything. The creeper emanates from a buried, elongated lichee like object burrowing underground. All I will have time for this year will be to pull the greenery up by the handful before its little white flowers appear.

Extracting one such cluster revealed this fascinating little plant:Plant - unidentified

Each set of petals is about the size of a daisy. I don’t know what it is.

This evening we dined at The Jarna restaurant, the decor of which was described two days ago, when I vowed to return with my camera:The Jarna decor - Version 2Booth in The Jarna

Sam was doing deliveries himself tonight. Tiger windowAt one point he went out into a heavy shower of rain. He placed his container beside his car whilst he opened up the boot. JackieThis could be seen through the tiger left in the window glass otherwise covered by a laminate.

Ceiling lights of different hues imparted their glow to the diners, to their napkins, and to Sam’s head as he took the orders. Ours was green.

The food was good too.

P.S. Jackie put this comment on Facebook: Just done some research, seems that Ladies bedstraw is slightly different, it is Gallium verum , the weed in our garden is Gallium aparine , AKA- catchweed, everlasting friendship, Robin-run-the-hedge, even sticky Jack, and my favourite, Sticky Willy!!