Location Established


The discovery of a few more colour negatives from 1986, with the aid of a properly labelled photograph album, enabled me to establish that the mountain scaled by Matthew and Sam in yesterday’s post was actually in North Wales, near Cerigydrudion, where Ann and Don were refurbishing their house.

Seen in context, with Louisa hastening to join them, the hillock doesn’t seem so daunting.

Early one morning Sam escorted his little sister on a recce down the lane leading from the farmhouse we had rented.



gave Louisa a lesson in building a sandcastle.

Sam and Louisa

I’m not sure where Sam and Louisa found this swing boat which gave so much pleasure.

Becky at Christmas tree with Easter eggs

This afternoon Jackie went out for newspapers and came back with the first Easter eggs of the year – and it’s not even Twelfth Night, when the Christmas decorations are customarily taken down. Becky suitably expresses the stupidity of our marketing practices. Indeed, it occurred to me that, unless kept at the right temperature, the chocolate would have a white film on it by the time of the festival for which it was intended.

This evening, with our dinner, Jackie, Becky, and Ian drank Don Cayetano Sauvignon Blanc 2015. My beverage was Louis Virion Costières de Nîmes 2014. We ate Jackie’s sublime roast lamb, potatoes, and parsnips; green beans, broccoli, and carrots; followed by Christmas pudding and cream.

Pirates Of The Caribbean

Aaron finished painting the landing doors this rainy morning, whilst I, through the medium of scanning further colour slides from March 2004, took a virtual trip to sunny Barbados.

Beginning with a continuation of my perambulations along the sheltered coastline in the vicinity of Port St Charles,

Sandpipers 2Sandpipers 3

there was a fling of what I think we decided were some kind of sandpiper.


The golden shoreline blended well with the blue sea, over which a solitary gull flew low.

Tree trunk weathered 1Tree trunks on beach 1

Tree trunks on beach 2Tree trunks on beach 3

Penetrating the sands, levitating, long-dead, lizard-like limbs defied gravity.

The bridge at top left of the second and third of these pictures is one that Sam had navigated when he arrived in Barbados a few days earlier. I wish I could remember what the factory was. Perhaps a cane sugar plant?

Pirate ship 1Pirate ship 2

On a sailing trip on one of the race organisers’ yachts, we observed a shipload of piratical tourists. I rather hoped that all those in the water before the black flag set off for the open sea, had been picked up to enjoy the rest of their trip.

Jackie, over dinner, observed that the onions in the savoury rice that accompanied her delicious chili carne were very finely chopped. That made me feel rather chuffed. She drank Hoegaarden and I finished the graves.


It was on 3rd November last year that I featured two large format photographic prints of a holiday to Shanklin in September 1968. Today, in my trawl through my colour slides for posterity, I reached the batch from which these were extracted, and scanned a dozen.Sun on wet sand 9.68Derrick's shadow 9.68Shirley's feet  9.68

Fun on the sun-kissed sand included me plying my camera; and Shirley substituting golden granules for flip-flops. I don’t remember whether anyone tickled her feet with the feather. Judging by the amount of sand scuffed up, it is of course possible. Incidentally, I just cannot get on with that style of sandal, expected to cling to one’s feet by means of a single post planted between the big toes and those next to them. I find them most uncomfortable. And I can’t keep them on.Jackie and Michael 9.68 001Jackie and Michael 9.68 003Michael 9.68 001Michael 9.68 002

The most delight of all was, of course, taken by Jackie and Michael, doing what has to be done with bucket and spade. The expression of my buried son doesn’t really indicate distress, given that the interment was at his request. He was hamming up a bit, because the following cheeky grin is far more reflective of his mood.Jackie and Michael 9.68 002

They also had a paddle in the sea, the other side of which possibly threw shingle up onto Hordle beach, which I have photographed on numerous occasions almost half a century on.Eyes 9.68

We visited other places on the island, such a Blackgang Chine, a scary tourist attraction featuring a ghost train running past enormous eyes that peered out of the darkness.Michael 9.68 003

I’m not sure where was the model village that Michael explored.

Who would have dreamed, in those far off days that Jackie and I would one day be living just a mile away from a clear view of the Isle of Wight which we had once explored?

This evening we dined on Jackie’s luscious sausage casserole; crisp carrots, brussels, and cauliflower; and creamy mashed potato. Dessert was cherry crumble and custard. I drankChateau Clos Renon Bordeaux Superieur 2012, and Jackie didn’t.

I Watched The Needles Disappear

Since, except when there is no visibility, I always look across at the Isle of Wight when I walk along the cliff top to Milford or Barton on Sea, it is quite fortuitous that the next two of my interchangeable large format photographic prints that I substituted this morning should be of a trip to Shanklin taken by Jackie, Michael, and me in September 1968. This holiday is described in my post Michaelentitled ‘Mumbai’. The unframed picture of Michael, happily buried in the sand, also illustrates that article.Water spout

The water spout drained onto the beach.

It was late in the afternoon before today’s rain stopped. Except that, attracted by the ever-changing light Apartment blockCloudscapeCrow over SolentGull and crow over SolentCloudscape with crowCrow silhouetteSun, sea, cloudsSun's raysover The Solent, and deterred by the muddy footpaths, I returned by the clifftop and the coast road, I took my usual route to Milford on Sea and back. Crows perched on the edge of the cliff before taking off and soaring up above. SilhouettesWalkersIt was a much cooler day and the wind brought a chill from the sea, so walkers were well wrapped up.

The rainfall I had seen earlier falling on the headland to the West, eventually made its way The Needles disappearedacross to the Isle of Wight, and I watched the Needles disappear before making my way Skyscape with househome.

Cow scratching

A cow momentarily left off its grazing in order to have a good scratch.

For this evening’s dinner Jackie produced her most edible chilli con carne (recipe) with savoury rice that was a meal in itself, followed by blackberry and apple crumble and clotted cream. She drank Hoegaarden whilst my choice was Castillo san Lorenzo rioja reserva 2009.

Her Very Own Seaside

Molly’s Den is the name of a company that runs vast Vintage Antiques emporia in Hampshire and Dorset. We chose to visit the one in New Milton this morning. It offers several hours entertainment and the opportunity to pick up interesting bargains. There is a tea room, a very large play area, including an old bus, for children to amuse themselves for hours. The refreshments and the children’s facility provide welcome respite from wandering up and down the aisles examining the fascinating wares on display in units varying in size from a cabinet to a twelve foot square room-sized cubicle.

Elizabeth pointed out a ‘monstrosity‘, the family term for which is explained in my post of A 'monstrosity'that title. In fact the Molly’s Den one is far more tasteful than the telephone table described in that story.

Birdshit on deskAn unexpected embellishment to a desk caused me to look up to the ceiling in search of an open skylight. There wasn’t one.

As always, exploring outlets for items which for some are history and for me reminiscent of my own lifetime, I was taken back to childhood by some exhibits.The Beano The several copies of the Dandy and Beano on offer dated mostly from the 1990s. We enjoyed them at home in the 1940s and ’50s, but we had to wait for Mum to read them first. In my photograph can be seen two painter’s footprints and Elizabeth and my sandalled toes. That seemed quite a happy coincidence.

I have already featured the practical use Mum made of dressmaking patterns. Dress designsToday I noticed a rack of possible covers which were guaranteed to be contemporary with the tissue paper we sat and contemplated in our early years.Elizabeth reflectedDerrick reflected

There was plenty of opportunity for Elizabeth and me to appear in a reflective mood. I even managed a selfie.Rug

I bought an apparently unused 6 foot by 4 foot pure wool rug with hand-knotted fringes for the incredible price of £18. Jackie capped it with nine Victorian etched glasses for half that price.

For some reason Jackie and Elizabeth were amused at my efforts at photographing the glasses. I was oblivious of this as I concentrated on the subjects and got my lady to hold up a towel in an effort to reduce glare from the window. That particular device was soon abandoned because it produced a coloration that suggested that the receptacles already contained wine.Jackie assisting Derrick photographingWine glasses

Reminiscing about our respective childhoods over lunch led to discussion of those rare trips to the seaside. Jackie’s grandfather, a motor factor, always had a car; but when Elizabeth was very small our Dad didn’t, and we relied on those of uncles. I have entirely forgotten one of our outings, but my younger sister has not. She was too young to remember the venue, but the story, from about 1959, has stood the test of time. Apparently Dad, Chris and I had sneaked a small suitcase onto the beach, unbeknown to our little sister. When we got home she was presented with the container. When she opened it, there before her very eyes was a heap of sand and shells enclosed in a secure space. She had her very own ‘seaside’ with which to play in her London garden.

This afternoon Jackie drove us to Woodgreen near Fordingbridge where nineteen artists feature in Hampshire Open Studios. First stop for us was to Pete and Nicky Gilbert’s idyllically sited beautifully restored home where Pete showed his paintings along with work by Hugh Lohan, Frances Barker, and Yukari. All the paintings, pastel portraits, photographs, jewellery, and woodwork were impressive. Pete’s landscapes and his life’s journey were truly inspirational. Further information can be found on his website at http://www.pgilbert.me.ukPete Gilbert

Elizabeth bought a print of one of Pete’s pieces, more of which are seen behind him in my photograph. She then dashed back for a chopping board.

We proceeded to Coach House Studio to see the work of Andrea Finn, Dawn Gear, Sarah Orchard, Sarah Waters and Wendy de Salis. These included jewellery, ceramics, sculpture, textiles, and paintings.I had a long conversation with Sarah Waters who is developing the creation of fabrics using the combination of yeast and bacteria in a glucose solution. Sarah Waters processSarah Waters textilesSarah Waters fabricsThis produces a mat of cellulose fibres which form a vegetable ‘leather’. One table displayed Kombucha, the process; and another the product, more of which was suspended against the light. Sarah’s website is http://www.sarahwaterstextiles.com

We bought three of Wendy de Salis’s ceramic birds to hang in our trees. Smokebush treeThe sun, playing in the smokebush tree in Wendy’s garden, seemed to know it was part of the group of artists.

Hordle Chinese Take Away provided their usual splendid meal for our dinner. Elizabeth and I drank more of the Cuvee St Jaine. Drank open, and enjoyed, the dry white version.

The Heligan Path

Last night, with Giles, Jean, another Jackie, and Paul, we were entertained, first by Windmill Swing Band, at Milford on Sea Community Centre. This was an interesting experience. It was difficult for me, with my untrained ear, quite to decipher what we were hearing. The female singer had a powerful voice and performed very well, but was rather obscured by the number of instruments on and overflowing from the small stage. Of the sixteen accompanists, ten were saxophonists.

After the break came the Sugar Rush. Quite the most outstanding wind player, guesting as soloist for Windmill in the first session, turned out to be one of a quartet forming this second group. He played saxophones, clarinet, and flute. He was one of two Marks, the other playing keyboard. Two excellent, lively, and entertaining female singers made up the four. Given the option to leave during the brief interval in their performance, we declined, because we were enjoying them so much.

Giles, being rather partial to the flute, called out for more of this instrument and was rewarded with a melodic solo. So were the rest of us.

This morning Benjamin of Abre Electrical came on time and thoroughly investigated our problems. The fault seems to be under the kitchen tiles, with which we will not interfere. We cannot use the power points in a kitchen cupboard until a feed is drawn from upstairs, and we need a new fusebox.

We experienced more steady rain, which by the afternoon had stopped.Jackie riddling The last push on the previously invisible path was a joint one. We began with Jackie riddling, with a sieve, the earth I dug out of the track, to gather what gravel and impacted sand was still present. That was soon given up as pointless and Jackie, who now shared my job, and I tossed each spadeful, complete with stones, into the crowded shrubberies. That should help keep the weeds down, and we will probably be digging out gravel and chucking it piecemeal back onto the path for some time to come.

As will be apparent from the picture of Jackie at her initial task, there was far more soil than gravel on the path. This meant we had not bought enough stones, given that we now had to re-cover the whole area. After lunch, therefore, we took another trip to Ferndene Farm Shop and returned with five more bags of them.

In Everton Road a little boy of about six years old gave himself a nasty shock. On his bicycle, he sped out from between two oncoming cars he was trying to avoid, turned and rode straight at us, forcing Jackie to make an emergency stop. Terror was written all over his face. A few yards further on we decided to turn back and see if he was all right. By the time Jackie had found a suitable turning space and backtracked, he had disappeared. We rather hoped he was trembling on his mother’s knee.

Back home, we completed the laying down of the stones, and raked and swept them. Jackie added the finishing touch of six varied heucheras. Heligan path 1Heligan path 2Heligan path 3Just as I finished photographing our achievement, the rain returned.

I call this the Heligan path, after the famous lost gardens of that name in Cornwall, because we really didn’t know it was there.

Several new roses are in bloom. Here is one:RoseIris

And an iris.

This evening we dined on Moroccan roast lamb, pilau cous-cous complete with chilli, and carrots and green beans, followed by apple strudel. I drank a Langedoc reserve 2012.

Camouflaged Beauty

Knowing we were in for rain today we optimistically shopped at Ferndene Farm Shop for six bags of compost and four of gravel. Jackie had made an early start on weeding more of the brick paths, but as soon as I put in an appearance the precipitation that was to develop into a lengthy thunderstorm began to descend.

On our return from the trip to the shop, I busied myself changing the occasional pictures I first focussed on on 27th April. As before, these A3+ prints have been photographed in situ  so that the rooms make their own reflective contributions to the images.Joseph & Michael

Michael in the kitchen sink has been replaced by an October 1967 shot of him chasing his Uncle Joseph down an autumn leaf-strewn slope in Cannizaro Park.Jackie

Helen and Michael have made way for a honeymoon portrait of Jacke taken at The Kings Arms in Ockley in March 1968. The considerable enlargement of what is a very small part of a colour slide has given the picture, taken in natural light, a smooth grainy quality which I rather like.

Although the deluge desisted this afternoon, rain still dripped off the trees, and formed puddles on the ground, enforcing on us a probably much-needed rest. Raindrops on poppiesRaindrops on spurgeThe accumulated water droplets formed translucent bubbles that clung to the cases of the, as yet inchoate, poppies, or perched on the spread leaves of the sparkling spurge.

We were able to return to the gardening tasks later this afternoon. Toad camouflagedJackie added to her tally of toads when she found this superbly camouflaged beauty which steadfastly refused to be disturbed. Brickwork clearedShe cleared more of the radial brickwork leading to the house.

I finished exposing and raked yesterday’s unfinished path. From its construction I would date this feature much earlier than the other footpaths so far tackled. The gravel is laid on road stone and sand, without a weed suppressant lining, much like those I created in Newark, under Matthew’s guidance, in the 1980s. I think this was then a long established method. It probably also explains why the area was so overgrown with plants, both attractive and unattractive. A fresh layer of gravel is needed, and I will need to dig out the raised level of the soil against the left hand boundary of brick so that the new pebbles do not overflow onto the flower bed. I have to thank the eagle-eyed head gardener for suggesting this additional task.Path cleared 1

In order fully to display the sinuous curves created by the first designer of the garden,Path cleared 2Path cleared 3I have taken two additional photographs to supplement the same view as yesterday, one at the far end from beside the weeping birch, and the other from the centre of the track. The key is the spray of white flowers no-one has yet been able to identify.

We began this evening’s dinner with a delicious pork and vegetable soup. Chilli con carne (recipe) and vegetable rice (recipe) was to follow, with apple strudel as our sweet. Sparkling water was the drink we each chose.