Jackie and I spent the best part of the daylight hours on an increasingly gloomy day pruning a crab apple tree. There are two in the front garden. She had worked on the smaller one last week. Today we tackled the biggie together. The tree had many branches crossing and rubbing against each other, which, especially in a fruit trees, is a no-no. Others stretched skywards endangering telephone wires in the street outside. There was only so much that could be done with loppers, and extensive sawing was required. Afterwards the debris had to be cut up for burning, and carted to the far end of the back garden, whilst the poor abandoned fruit was swept up.
Oh dear! I shouldn’t have mentioned back, for mine was again giving me gyp. That is why, when I took my walk in fading light I only travelled to Shorefield and back. Dammit! I’ve said it again. (A wonderful language, English. I’ve just used ‘back’ for three different meanings – and now I’ve iterated it).
I sat by the stream, had a rest, and explored my camera settings. I am of the generation who never can utilise all the facilities on modern electronic devices. I only use my Samsung Galaxy 4 mobile phone to make and receive calls. This despite the fact that my friend Luci, and my daughters Louisa and Becky produce admirable photographs with theirs.
So it is with my Canon SX700 HS camera. All I have currently managed to adjust is switching from automatic to manual focussing and, more recently, to shoot in monochrome. There are, however, numerous settings that provide different effects. Having nothing better to do, I sat on a bench and explored various new possibilities.
Having been a lifelong devotee of analog film, I turned to digital for the immediacy needed for this blog. The hilarious first purchase is recorded in the post ‘Choosing A Camera’. There are many advantages in digital photography, one of which is its ability to cope with the poor light available late this afternoon, but I still find film more natural. Imagine, then, my delight at finding a setting that reproduces the colours found with positive film, that which produces colour slides, always my favourite. I only hope I can remember how to do it again.
After the first two pictures reproduced here, I experimented with it. The second image of the holly by the stream demonstrates the difference. These were taken perhaps ten minutes apart. I had first experimented with a leaf at my feet. I deleted the original version. The close- up of a rose that still blooms on the bank shown above, was photographed with the film setting, as was the second blooming of the hydrangea on the approach to the footbridge, and the stream itself. This final picture demonstrates digital’s ability to read poor light.
I often enhance my photographs to a greater or lesser extent in iPhoto, but chose not to do that today, the better to illustrate my points. I would be interested in other views, especially those of Ginene, who has expressed a preference for the products of film. And please remember I am an amateur.
We both chose Cimarosa Pedro Jimenez 2013 to accompany Jackie’s meal this evening of haddock on a bed of spinach with mashed potato, crisp carrots, and runner beans. It was delicious.
When trying to phone Bev and John last evening, I could see a dialling signal on my new super duper Samsung Galaxy mobile, but heard nothing. The call ended sign then came up. Jackie phoned me. I got no ring tone. She was switched to Voicemail. She left a message. I did not receive the message, and could not ring Voicemail to receive it. This situation had probably been going on for a couple of days, since I last received a call.
This morning Jackie drove me to O2 at Christchurch where the problem was rectified. ‘What had I done?’, I asked. The helpful Philip replied: ‘Nothing’. He explained that the phone was like a computer, and every so often had a blip and had to be reset. Then it was necessary to locate the reset button and press it. I ask you! I had actually noticed this facility last night, but been scared to activate it.
After this we collected my dry cleaning from Johnson’s in New Milton, filled up with petrol, and returned home for a spell of tidying and watering in the garden before Jackie drove back to Christchurch via Walkford for lunch with her two sisters.
The hot autumn sunshine this afternoon brought bees and hoverflies buzzing around, especially enjoying the blue eryngium planum. The turning leaves of the snake bark maple are as attractive as its fascinating bark. Unfortunately this exquisite specimen appears to be dying, despite the surgery we performed earlier.
By August 1972 I had left the Social Services Department of the Royal Borough of Kingston upon Thames, and was working in Southwark. We still lived at Amity Grove in Raynes Park and I was still in touch with former colleagues, all of whom I encouraged to attend a crafts stall in Kingston market. This stall, and its holders, form the subjects of the next pictures in my ‘posterity’ series, all colour slides taken that month, and scanned and reproduced later this afternoon.
Jackie, and her friend Linda, had spent months crocheting, knitting, and working with pottery, cotton cloth, felt, and leather to produce a dazzling display of wares for sale.
Clothes, mob hats, and shoes for children, pottery mugs and pendants, and the then fashionable chokers in various materials were tastefully arrayed in the sunshine. Jackie’s art-work provided the faces on the models. The prices reflect the then recently post-decimalisation era, heralded in by Prime Minister Harold Wilson on 15th February 1971, when, in effort to bolster the pound, sterling went metric.
In one photograph, Jackie and Linda can be seen smiling at a studious eight year old Michael, while Joan Wilmot, one of my ex-colleagues, turns her back to examine the goods.
In the final photograph, Linda is rearranging some crocheted flowers.
This evening, we dined on fish, chips, mushy peas, and pickled onions. Mine was followed by a colossal cream slice Jackie had brought me back from Stewart’s Garden Centre where she had lunched with Helen and Shelly. We both drank Cuvee St Jaine, an excellent dry white table wine.
Today we attended a delightfully warm and loving wedding ceremony.
Jen, the bride of Jackie’s nephew Dave, designed this invitation which has been carefully guarded for some months now.
Setting off early for Sandbanks Hotel overlooking Poole harbour, we arrived in good time. This was just as well, because we had some difficulty in parking. First we had to work out the cost of leaving our car in the municipal car park until 8 p.m. when it was free. This was not easy to calculate, but seemed to be £14. The machine did not take notes and we didn’t have enough coins. But you could pay by card. After several fruitless minutes trying to do this with my as yet unfamiliar Samsung Galaxy, I emitted a strangled cry of ‘I can’t do this’, and gave up. Between us, we mustered £8 in coin, but the robot rejected £1. £7 would see us through to 4.30 p.m. Maybe the unwanted pound was a forgery. Never mind, later I put it in the pot for the sweepstake on how long the Best Man’s speech would last, and Jackie won the competition so we got it back anyway.
As Jackie climbed up the slope to place the ticket in the car, a group of Essex girls, of a certain age, approached and good-humouredly reproached me for letting her do this. They were of the opinion that I should do the manly thing and look after her rather better. I protested that it was her car. This prompted laughter and the statement that that didn’t make any difference. When I replied: ‘But I’m a real man, innit?’, they really fell about laughing and tottered off on their high heels repeating the phrase.
It was not until 2.30 p.m. that we learned that the wedding guests could avail themselves of the hotel’s parking facilities. We walked outside and found just one available spot on which I stood guard while Jackie collected the car. By the time she returned, I had got off pat my speech on why I’d rather other drivers didn’t park there. No-one demurred.
It was good to see all the members of the families of the bride and groom as we gathered in the bar before the ceremony itself. Bill’s brother Bob and his wife Patsy shared the opinion that we may meet again at the next wedding. Becky and Ian joined us some time before we all entered the registrar’s room. It was most moving to see tears flowing down the cheeks of both Jen and Dave, and I am fairly sure that the registrar herself dabbed the corners of her eyes with her handkerchief.
Through the open window behind the main attraction there was the occasional distraction of activity on the sands and in the sea beyond, but the event itself held our attention.
The dinner was excellent. A vegetable terrine was followed by roast chicken. Dessert was a mousse and strawberry jelly sandwiched into shortbread biscuits. Wine was plentiful, with champagne for the toasts that accompanied fulsome and entertaining speeches.
We had been asked to leave the photography to the professionals, so, as we were entertained by a keyboard and saxophonist duo, I focussed my lens on the idyllic setting. It was a perfect day for a wedding, or anything else, by the seaside.
As is our wont, after the first dance led by Dave and Jen, when everything became too energetic and, we couldn’t hear ourselves think, we oldies slid off home.
Clematis Hagley’s hybrid has bloomed at home in my absence. It has been chewed a bit.
Bournemouth is not a city you would wish to negotiate by car unless you had to, even if you could follow the utterly confusing signage failing to lead you to it. With further research it may be found to rival Southampton, but I don’t fancy carrying out the investigation.
My capacity for emulating Dan’s Grandfather was so extremely limited that I needed a trip to the seaside town to visit the O2 guru for him to take me through the basics of the Samsung Galaxy. On the phone Paul, the wise man, gave me the address and said it was ‘just down from Marks and Spencer’s’. With a print-out of the Google map, it should have been easy to find. It wasn’t. After driving round and round in circles for a while, we decided to abandon the car in a multi-story park. Jackie walked to the sea front whilst I ambled up the steep hill to find 5 Commercial Road, which wasn’t where the Google arrow indicated. A helpful woman directed me to the site in a pedestrian precinct around the corner. We’d never have found it by car.
Paul acquainted me with the simplest of operations offered by the device, then, figuratively, of course, held my hand while I phoned Jackie to tell her we were all done and I was on my way to meet her.
From O2, I walked through the Pleasure Gardens to the sea front for our rendezvous. Jackie then drove us home. That public amenity is most impressive. Sightseers sat on benches, walked around, played mini golf, ate ice creams; and, with camera lenses, their own eyes, or fingers, admired the splendid flower beds. Beautiful cosmos lined the railed footpaths.
Later this afternoon, taking the Shorefield/cliff top/Park Lane route, I walked to Milford on Sea and back. My link between the cliff path and Park Lane was The Beach House. This recently refurbished hotel/restaurant has a clear view of the Isle of Wight and The Needles. A dangerous footpath remains closed.
People sat on or walked along the beach, and a group of youngsters dragged rubber boats to the water.
I have often been confused about the correct spelling of the name of that establishment offering coin-operated washing machines and dryers for the use of members of the public who do not have the use of such facilities at home. The producers of the 1985 comedy-drama film ‘My Beautiful Laundrette’ favoured one spelling. Peg, in Milford, seemed to be slightly misquoting the film title in the name of her launderette. However, whoever painted the signs on the windows favoured film director Stephen Frears’s version. What does it matter anyway? Many people say ‘laundryette’ (my computer didn’t like that).
Our evening meal consisted of lamb curry, cauliflower baji, and boiled rice, with which we drank Cobra beer. I have never eaten a cauliflower baji as both crisp and succulent as this one of Jackie’s.
This morning I reacquainted myself with our Downton garden where I found signs of impending autumn. The phantom hydrangea turns pink during that season, and is beginning to do so now. Leaves are starting to fall, and, although the day was warm and sunny, the early temperature was a little cool.
A new honeysuckle, saved from the jungle of the early summer, now clings to the golden arches. Similarly rescued, an unidentified clematis now festoons the copper beech. Cyclamens are emerging into the light. One has fought its way through rough soil beneath the holly near the head gardener’s den.
Calls to my Blackberry phone, even after I have returned from France, are very crackly. I therefore decided to request what is probably only my fourth upgrade in about fifteen years. This meant a trip to O2 in Christchurch. The process of making the necessary adjustments to my contract, filling in the forms, and choosing and setting the new Samsung Galaxy took all of two hours. For starters, the computer indicated that I wasn’t eligible, so the assistant had to work manually.
Dan, who attended to me while Jackie sat beside us, was a delightful young trainee who occasionally needed help from his willing and more qualified colleagues. It was really quite an entertaining afternoon, the highlight of which was probably the selection of a new device. Dan was not phased by this elderly gent saying he didn’t want internet and didn’t feel comfortable with touch screens. He asked me how old I was. When I told him he replied that his grandfather was in his eighties and was very effectively using a phone that carried all the facilities once confined to a computer.
Obviously I had to opt for what was good enough for Dan’s Grandad.
Jackie regretted that it would have been rather undignified for her to emulate the little boy who, in boredom, silently rolled around under the chairs whilst his father was discussing his contract.
Afterwards she drove us to the cleaners at New Milton, then home to Downton.
This evening I failed my first test with the new device. I received, or rather didn’t receive, a call from my friend Jessie. Not knowing how to answer it, I missed it. Fortunately, by the time the subsequent voicemail message came in, I had figured out how to respond, so was able to listen to it and return the call.
We dined on cod, chips, and mushy peas at Daniel’s in Highcliffe. Jackie’s drink was coffee, and mine was tea.