Happy Campers


This morning and early afternoon I watched the three autumn international rugby matches I had recorded yesterday.

Given that the best light had departed when the recordings were finished, it seemed appropriate later to publish the Newark photographs scanned on 22nd.

James B, Richard, Matthew S, Sam, Warren 5.93

One afternoon in May 1993 Sam, in the blue T-shirt, as was his wont, gathered a few friends around him in the garden of Lindum House. To his left, in ascending order of height, are Matthew S, Richard, and James B. I think Warren swings in the hammock.

Paddy, Richard, Gavin 5.93

Paddy, who we saved from imminent death in the R.S.P.C.A. rescue centre, here converses with Richard and Gavin. Making up for stepping out of shot in this image,

Matthew S and Richard 5.93

Matthew S poses with his scooter.

James B and Warren 5.93

James B has joined Warren in the hammock. Three of the tents pitched in the orchard are in the background. James lived in the Working Men’s Club next door.

James B, Warren, Matthew S, Richard, Gavin, Sam 5.93

These two stayed put whilst

Matthew S, Richard, Gavin, Sam

the others positioned the picnic table removed from the lawn for service in this adventurous campsite.

Sam and friends 5.93

James stirred himself, but Warren appears to be directing proceedings from his bed.

Sam, James B and friends 5.93

Perhaps it is because James

James B and friends 5.93

is a few years older than the others

James B and friends 5.93

than the others that he takes care of the brick-bound camp fire,

James B and friends 5.93

turning back when satisfied all is well.

Warren 5.93

Warren follows on,

Richard and friends 5.93

and catering planning recommences.

All Sam and Louisa’s local friends would spend many happy days on projects in our garden. James once counted 25 birds’ nests. I have forgiven him for thinking that Louisa was my granddaughter when we first arrived.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s deliciously spicy lamb jalfrezi and pilau rice with which I drank more of the malbec.



Criminals Beware


Jackie drove me to New Milton this morning for me to catch the train to Waterloo so I could lunch with Norman. It had been the intention that she would drive me home at the end of the day, but that is not how it worked out. Normally I telephone her when I know  an arrival time. I do this on my mobile phone. But I left it in the car.

From Waterloo I took the underground via Finchley Road to Preston Road station and walked through the John Billam Sports Ground to Norman’s home in Woodcock Hill, Kenton.

Cigarette ends on litter bin

The litter bin outside Preston Road clearly doubles as an ash tray for those people desperate for a cigarette as they leave the underground where smoking is prohibited.

Child on scooter

On the thoroughfare itself a happy child enjoyed her new scooter,

Vehicle turning

while a large vehicle struggled to negotiate the corner beside All Seasons fruit and vegetable store without squashing the produce.

Rubbish in street 1

On the other side of Preston Road, I turned down Preston Waye (sic) which has clearly seen better days. Rubbish bags surrounding the trunk of an ornamental tree

Criminals Beware

wrapped by a sign warning criminals off rather detract from its autumn garb. The website of Smartwater, the company responsible for the glaring sleeve, claims: ‘We are an international crime fighting and crime prevention company with an established track record for detecting and deterring criminal activity. We have created a wide range of crime reduction programmes utilising our cutting-edge and proprietary traceable liquid products which have been highly successful in reducing crimes, such as burglary, robbery and asset theft. We work extensively with Law Enforcement, both at a local level and internationally, to implement our crime deterrence strategies.’

Can on Wall

The drinks can seen on the wall beyond the tree is one of many stretched along the alley.

Preston Waye

Like many similar areas, the number of front gardens abandoned to several motor cars, and the rows of refuse bins, suggest multiple occupancy.

Sofa in front garden

A garden where roses still bloomed there was interestingly furnished;

Trees and shrubs

at the bottom of the road were well tended shrubbery and trees,

Litter on football pitch

to the right of which a path leads to the John Billam Sports Ground. Perhaps one of the visiting magpies had investigated the contents of a bag of litter on the football pitch.

Man walking with stick

A gentleman, like me, no longer able to play the game, made his way along the footpath and sat on the bench he was aiming for.

Plastic bag round bollard

Beyond the flame red trees, two huge industrial ride-on mowers swung onto the grass. One of their bags blew off and nestled around a bollard.

Cigarette packets on grass

Further on towards Woodcock Hill, cigarette packets

Food packaging on grass

and fast food packaging mingled with fallen autumn leaves.

Norman and I lunched on pork pie, beef, and ham salad followed by chocolate eclairs. This had been produced by Jackie and toted by me. Our friend provided an excellent Waitrose beaujolais. Before I left, I phoned Jackie to say that I would be unable to call again without my mobile, and would therefore take a cab home from New Milton.

So far, so good. The train from Waterloo was subject to a certain amount of delay because of “trespassers on the line at Totton”. This meant we had to leave our train at Brockenhurst unless we wanted to go non-stop to Bournemouth. There was a stopping train waiting for us, but that was held back to give another precedence.

Once at New Milton, the cab was quickly available.

P.S. More useful information on Smartwater is contained in Osyth’s comment below.

The Patience Of A Dog


I needed a trip to the bank in New Milton today. As it was a fine frosty morning we took a drive in the forest first and moved on to Friar’s Cliff for big breakfast brunches in the eponymous café.

On the way through Tiptoe we fell in behind a splendid horse and cart. After I had photographed hooves through the car windscreen, Jackie overtook the antique vehicle and stopped further down the road so that I could lay in wait for a full frontal shot.

Holmesley Passage, was bathed in both sunshine

and frost;

as was the still autumnal woodland and the bracken covered moor.

The stream that runs under the road flowed fast over the concrete ford.

Wrapped up and back-packed walkers strode across the moor.

Diners 1

The Friar’s Cliff café was so full that many diners sat outside (remember the dog)


watching the sea, a canoeist kayaking by,

Woman and dog on beach

and dogs frolicking on the beach.

Water and crisps

We are given a slip of paper containing our order number, and wait for the superb, freshly cooked, food. One couple didn’t touch their bottled water and crisps. They, too, were to receive a café meal.

A young mother clutched both her small son and his scooter as she made for the café. She didn’t drop either before she reached her destination.

We admired the patience of a golden haired dog ogling its owners’ bacon sandwiches without moving a muscle.

This evening we dined on fish fingers, chips, onion rings, and baked beans, with which I finished the cabernet sauvignon.


Amity Grove

This morning I scanned a dozen colour slides from April 1969. This exercise took rather longer than usual, firstly because colour restoration was required, and secondly because of the amount of retouching that was necessary. My Epson Perfection V750 PRO scanner has a template that takes 12 slides of the 35 mm variety, and scans them in a batch. Unfortunately the colour restoration facility only works on one at a time.

Today I present a selection taken at Amity Grove which I bought for my second marriage. My American WordPress friends have been amazed at the ‘crazy’ real estate prices that prevail in UK. I paid £5,000 for that house in 1968. It was sold last year for £745,000.

Jackie 4.69 001Jackie 4.69 2Jackie 4.69 3

Here are three portraits of Jackie photographed in the garden, where Michael enjoyed playing. At just five years old, perhaps he was showing signs of the practical bent that saw his setting up and managing his own building firm sixteen years later.Michael 4.69 1Michael 4.69 2Rio's rattle 4.69

Rio, seen here stretching for her sun-kissed rattle, lived next door.Elizabeth and Matthew 4.69Elizabeth 4.69 4Elizabeth 4.69 2

Elizabeth carefully bottle feeds her nephew Matthew. The wall decorations behind my sister were produced by me cutting out pictures from photographic magazines, mounting them on boards, and hanging them in an asymmetrical manner. She wasn’t experimenting with a new eye makeup. That was the best I could do with a damaged slide.

This afternoon Jackie drove us to Leatherhead for the family’s annual Gilbert and Sullivan performance. We will be staying there overnight, so I will report on that tomorrow.

Gurkha Pensions

Today was one for visiting Norman and Carol in their different parts of London. Jackie drove me to and from New Milton station for the purpose of this trip.
As is often the case, a young woman sat next to me on the train to Waterloo with her huge luggage container effectively blocking two seats opposite in the crowded carriage. She made no effort to accommodate an elderly couple who squeezed themselves into one and a half seats. A now familiar conversation ensued between me and the newcomers about the lack of adequate storage space on board. Addressing the other passenger, I said: ‘It must be embarrassing for you’. In a quite unconcerned tone she replied: ‘Not really’. With good humour, the gentleman opposite observed that ‘the young today are far more thick skinned than we were’. Smiles all round. ‘Well, you should be’, said I to the young woman. Here the conversation ended.
I took my usual routes to each of my friends’ homes. Much of the Metropolitan Line runs above ground. This means that, in common with the overground railways in the Graffitimetropolis, its adjacent buildings are decorated with graffiti, like this example photographed from the platform at Preston Road. Some would find this, in its own way, equally as artistic as the work of Banksy, although it commands neither the admiration nor the high prices of his efforts.
Jet planeAs always, a plane thundering over the recreation ground on the way to Norman’s reminded me that this area is on a flight path from Heathrow.
Norman provided us with a lunch of what he called a salmon and prawn ‘concoction’ with savoury rice, followed by Christmas pudding and well-laced custard. We shared a bottle of Italian white Triade, 2012.
As I left Westminster underground station en route to Carol’s, traffic around Parliament Gurkha demonstration 1Gurkha demonstration 2Gurkha demonstration 3Gurkha demonstration 4Gurkha demonstration 5Gurkha demonstration 6Gurkha demonstration 7Gurkha demonstration 8Gurkha demonstration 9Square was somewhat disrupted by a dignified and silent demonstration by retired Gurkhas and their families. A recent government report has disappointed them in their quest for adequate pensions.
There follows the text of a report by Yahoo! news:

‘About 300 former Gurkha soldiers and their relatives protested outside Britain’s parliament on Thursday to demand better pensions, after rejecting an official report they had hoped would address their grievances.

Many of the veterans — Nepalese soldiers who served with the British army — had invested high hopes in the parliamentary inquiry launched last year into decades of alleged discrimination at the hands of the British government.
But the report proved a bitter disappointment for the veterans and hundreds gathered outside the Houses of Parliament in protest, holding up placards saying: “Price of loyalty — injustice” and “Gurkha pension rights”.
“It has taken over 20 years of campaigning to get to this stage, and we thought this would be an opportunity to put an end to the Gurkha grievances once and for all,” said Deepak Maskey, a spokesman for the Gurkha Satyagraha campaign.
“But that has not happened.”
One veteran, Gyanraj Rai, said he might have to resume a two-week hunger strike he carried out last year, which only ended with the launch of the inquiry by the All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Gurkha rights.
“We want the value of our blood and tears. We want to be treated as our British counterparts,” the 56-year-old, who served 19 years with the British army, told AFP.
Afterwards many of the protesters, the men wearing suits and the women wrapped in brightly coloured scarves, took their message to Prime Minister David Cameron with a demonstration outside Downing Street.
The Gurkhas are renowned for their ferocity, loyalty, bravery and razor-sharp kukri fighting knives. They first served as part of the Indian army in British-run India in 1815 and around 2,700 are currently enlisted.
But it is only since 2007 that they have had the same pay and conditions as British soldiers, and campaigners have been demanding rights for veterans and their families, many of whom they say have been left in poverty.
One of the key issues was the income of almost 21,000 veterans on the Gurkha Pension Scheme, but the parliamentary report did not make any recommendations, citing ongoing legal action.
Instead, it focused on issues it said were more clear-cut, such as the policy to discharge any Gurkhas who married outside Nepalese society.
This was “racism pure and simple”, the lawmakers said, saying any Gurkha who wished to pursue legal action should be given British state funds to fight their case.
APPG chairwoman Jackie Doyle-Price, a lawmaker with Cameron’s Conservative party, acknowledged the Gurkhas’ disappointment at her report.
She stressed that her group only had the power to advise, not compel, the government, but said it was only a “staging post on the journey — it’s not the end of it”.’
Further on, down Victoria Street, a bus was mounted on the pavement. Amy and Bus ArtThis, apparently, is the year of the bus. Scattered around the capital are sculptures of these vehicles which will eventually be sold in support of charities. Themes that have been used in the past have included cows, and elephants which Jackie and I took Flo to see about five years ago. This involved obtaining a list of the exhibits and tracking down as many as we could. Today, Amy, on her scooter was carrying out a similar tour with her father.