Head To Head

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A patch of mostly dull and cold weather is giving me ample reasons for continuing with the scanning of the negatives of the long walk of the rather hot July of 2003. Today we are again back on the River Thames in South Oxfordshire.

Couples walking 7.03

This was still near enough to normal civilisation for elderly couples to be out walking along the banks.

If there were any footpaths on this stretch, they lay beneath the ripeness of Summer requiring negotiation, in the form of wild flowers attracting bees; grasses in seed; plantains trip over; broad backlit leaves bearing shadows of other floral forms; and convovulous carrying tiny beetles.

Convolvulus reflected 7.03

One of the latter plants trailed over the river, reflecting on the murky water.

Derelict hut 7.03

An avian trio perched on the coping stones of a derelict shed in need of replacement tiles;

a pair of peacocks entered into head to head negotiations;

Mallard and ducklings

a mallard paddled along ahead of her imprinted offspring;

Swans and cygnets

and a pair of swans introduced their cygnets to further reaches of the Thames.

Sheep and farm buildings 7.03

A flock of sheep grazed alongside what I took to be farm buildings of some sort.

The sun-baked natural world disregarded the two young men taking a leisurely row along the sleepy waters, passing a dangerous-looking weir, and negotiating a narrow lock.

Here, at home, dusk this evening lent a dramatic air to the looming skull of the virtually gutted North Breeze next door.

Shelly and Ron gave me a couple of very good Blason du Rhone Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2015 wines for Christmas. I drank a glass this evening with Jackie’s excellent chicken jalfrezi, and aromatic pilau rice, served with vegetable samosas. My lady finished the Coquimbo.

Savouring The Meaning Of Life

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On this dull but dry morning, we transported more garden refuse to the dump and returned with a shove ha’penny board. First of all, having just received a contract giving a start date of 31st March 2014, but no bill I made another telephone call to British Gas. This time I was informed that my position was justifiable. Having consulted her manager the representative told me she had to “monitor the account” until 23rd August, but I need not “stress about the three years” during which I have not been billed.

Before we arrived home, we drove to Friar’s Cliff Café for lunch, then on to the forest.

Always swim between the red and yellow flags

A large banner on the beach at Friar’s Cliff advised swimmers to stay between two flags;

Beach scene 6

some followed the advice;

Beach scene 5

others didn’t.

Beach Scene 1Beach scene 2

Young families went for a paddle,

Boy digging in sand 1Boy digging in sand 1

or, like this energetic boy tossing up spits of sand,

Beach scene 3Beach scene 4Beach scene 7employed their buckets and spades.

Beach scene with rowers

A pair of rowers gently glided by.

Pulled pork burger 1

Jackie enjoyed her baked potato filled with beans, coleslaw, and cheese with a lavish salad. I was, for the first time ever in this excellent establishment, was disappointed with my pulled pork burger, chips, and salad. Any relative difference in size is purely the result of perspective.

Pulled pork burger 2

My problem was that the few bits of lettuce beneath the burger constituted the salad, and the burger was beef with a topping of the shredded pork. I didn’t think that lived up to the above description, but was prepared to write it down to experience and make no complaint. We were, however, asked how our meal was, so, politely, and in a friendly manner, I explained why it wasn’t what I expected from the description. This was accepted and the description will be changed.

Rosa rugosa AlbaRosa rugosa Alba hips and blackberries

At the top of the cliff a hedge containing rosa rugosa Alba with its splendid hips,

Blackberries and rosa rugosa Alba hips

blackberries,

Blackberries and thistle

thistles,

Budweiser bottle in hedge

and Budweiser, tolerates the fiercest winds.

Blackberries in heather

Blackberries also mingle with

Heather 1Heather 2

the heather on the moors.

Horses in stream 1

Horses at North Gorley preferred to do their paddling in the stream;

Horses in stream 2Horses in stream 3Horses in stream 4

 

one, rather shy, took refuge behind its companion.

Bullock/42

As we approached Stoney Cross Plain, Jackie spotted a bullock she thought had found the meaning of life.

You have seen what we had for lunch, so will not be surprised to learn that a small amount of Mr Chan’s Take Away sufficed for our sustenance this evening.

 

 

 

 

Anticipation

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED.Mudeford Quay 1

Early this morning Jackie drove me out to Mudeford Quay for a photoshoot.

Neatly piled up are fishermen’s equipment, such as

Ropes and chains

ropes and chains,

Crab pot

and what I believe are crab pots,

Buoys

and marker buoys.

Yacht and buoy on Solent

It must have been the hazy heat that led us to water for the second day running. Even quite early it wrapped The Needles and their lighthouse in clingfilm as a yacht slipped past the Isle of Wight and a buoy bobbed in the bay.

Holiday accommodation

Holidaymakers were emerging from their picturesque accommodation,

Rowers 1

Rower and lady

but otherwise families had not yet driven in their droves when we arrived and I wandered around watching various aquatic activities such as rowing;

Punting

what I am grateful to several commenters below, to be able to call paddle-boarding;

Yachting

yachting;

Casting

and casting for fish.

Motor boat leaners

Discussion about plans for the day took place while leaning on a boat,

Man on mobile

or by means of the mobile phone. This paddling gentleman was soon joined by two children and a woman who rang to ask where he was. He was amused when I showed him the picture.

Gull

Even the gulls kept largely out of sight, except for one looking startled on the water,

Rooftop with gull

and another surveying the scene from a rather motley rooftop.

Roofing

Nearby, a roofer’s head was already lit by the sun which would soon bear straight down on him;

Watering hanging basket

and The Haven staff were already watering the hanging baskets.

In eager anticipation of the first ferry trip to Hengistbury Head

Down to the ferry 1

Down to the ferry 2

families surged onto the quay

Down to the ferry 3

Down to the ferry 4

and formed an ever-lengthening queue.

Down to the ferry 5

Down to the ferry 6

Down to the ferry 7

The transport arrived on time and eager embarkation began.

Steps

The barriers around the quayside are to prevent anyone taking a dive down the steps leading up to the platform.

Down to the ferry 8

This father looked as if he was feeling the strain;

Down to the ferry 9

until he entered the boat and his partner brought along the empty buggy.

Down to the ferry 10Down to the ferry 11

The last few boarders took their places,

Ferry

and the fully laden boat set off.

Dog, reader, gull

As I returned to the car I spotted a large sandy dog excavating the spit across the water.

This afternoon I gave Jackie token assistance with watering the garden.

This even we dined on the Culinary Queen’s wholesome sausage, bacon, and heart casserole. She drank Hoegaarden and I quaffed more of the Côtes du Rhône.