Bracing

This morning we drove to the pharmacy in Milford on Sea for a repeat prescription and on to the coast to struggle against the wind of 50+ m.p.h.

The Isle of Wight, The Needles, and the breakwaters held firm against the choppy cream and toffee seas.

The gales failed to uproot the clumps of purple thrift clinging to the clifftop edges.

Walkers with or without dogs battled against the violent gusts;

others perambulated along the shingle below.

A solitary black headed gull shivered on the car park tarmac.

Jackie photographed me bracing myself against the buffeting.

This evening we returned to Hurst Road, Milford on Sea where we dined at the splendid Faros Greek Restaurant, Jackie was careful to ensure that I was the only diner visible in her two internal photographs.

The sky had cleared since this morning, but the wind was as fierce and the sea as turbulent.

Waves were whipped into a creamy spray topping,

careering and swirling up over the sea wall and taking root on the other side of the road, were bunches of what the Japanese call sea flowers. The first example above is situated in the centre foreground of the second picture, two more scud along the wall behind.

The restaurant only opened in February and is already justifiably popular. The staff are welcoming; the service friendly and efficient; the food and wines are excellent and the prices very reasonable.

We had begun our starters before I decided to photograph the Faros fare. Mine was fresh whitebait with garlic mayonnaise; Jackie’s kolokithokeftes consisted of four battered balls before she began.

My kleftiko was tender enough to fall off the bone and remain firm to the bite; Jackie’s Chicken kebabs and perfect chunky chips were equally enjoyable.

Had we known how much delicious loukoumades we would receive for dessert we may have considered sharing one portion. Jackie drank Meantime Hella lager and I drank Heraldique red wine.

Why We Always Talk About The Weather

The overnight gales persisted throughout this morning. We had also, once again, forgotten bottle collection day, so, driving to Milford on Sea for my medical prescription, we took the bottles to the bank in the car park, then proceeded to the coastline.

We have a phrase ‘I wasn’t born yesterday’, used to suggest ‘I’m not stupid’. Today is the one day of the year when I can legitimately claim that Jackie was born yesterday, albeit a few decades ago. She is prone to remember one morning in the 1970s when she awoke to snow on 1st June. It was therefore no surprise to her to see that road leading to The Marine restaurant, the village side of the sea wall, was covered in precipitation.

The Marine

But it wasn’t snow. What we were seeing, flying across the wall, was sea foam, spume, or, as the Japanese term it, sea flowers. Interestingly, given what happened to the restaurant’s windows on Valentine’s Night last year, that the greatest concentration of fume lay on the road and the shingle directly opposite the building.Spume on shingleSpume on rocks 1Spume on rocks 2Photographing couple in spume

A continuation of the barrier is afforded by huge granite boulders, also covered in their fair share of sea flowers.. A staff member of the restaurant knelt to photograph a couple beset by the flying flowers that had been ripped from the shore where they quivered, just like our own plants clinging precariously to the garden soil. I wandered up to them and quipped that at least it was not rocks this time. It was, you see, rocks that another stormy sea had hurled against the windows.

SeascapeShoreline in spume

Steps down to the beach, and line of shingle, as far as even the eye of the camera could see, was covered in a white shroud.

Seascape with Isle of Wight 1

Seascape with Isle of Wight 2

By late afternoon the wind speed had reduced to 20+ m.p.h., the skies had cleared, and the sun had emerged. Obviously we had to return to the beach. No longer was the spume covering the whole area, and the Isle of Wight was again visible.Waves 1Waves 2

Cohort after cohort of waves, however did pour onto the rocks, still creating flying foam which the wind send cartwheeling up the beach runway until it soared into the air.

Spume on rocks 3Spume on rocks 4Spume on rocks 5

Maybe this was the moment my sandalled feet and trouser bottoms became somewhat moistened.

The capacity to experience such a variety on one day is why we always talk about the weather.

This evening we dined on arrabbiata with some kind of tubular pasta; roasted peppers and mushrooms; and green beans, followed by pineapple sponge pudding and custard. Jackie drank Black Tower low calorie rose, whilst I finished the cabernet sauvignon.

I Think He Was Warning Me Off

Last night those, unlike me, who were awake to see it experienced the phenomenon known as supermoon. The moon in these circumstances is larger and considerably brighter than normal.  According to Wikipedia ‘A supermoon is the coincidence of a full moon or a new moon with the closest approach the Moon makes to the Earth on its elliptical orbit, resulting in the largest apparent size of the lunar disk as seen from Earth. The technical name is the perigee-syzygyof the Earth-Moon-Sun system. The term “supermoon” is not astronomical, but originated in modern astrology. The association of the Moon with both oceanic and crustal tides has led to claims that the supermoon phenomenon may be associated with increased risk of events such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, but the evidence of such a link is widely held to be unconvincing.’.

MoonA series of photographs I discovered in my camera suggested that Flo had been up and about at the relevant time.

This morning Jackie drove Sheila and me to Milford on Sea, and home via the beach and Sea, spraySea and breakwaterThe Needles Eye Cafe where the ladies drank coffee whilst I wandered along the wave and spray buffeted shingle. Sea foamBalls of the foam that the Japanese call sea flowers reached the car park as they rolled along in the wind which had torn them from the creamy surface of the water.

Ongoing workBoards along the footpath give details of the damage wrought in the February storms, and an update on the ongoing work. Today the winds were strong enough to make the destruction of concrete beach huts entirely credible. Back in February, barriers were erected around the damage site. Signs suggested a rather optimistic timescale for the necessary work to be completed.Site of destroyed beach huts There has been considerable delay which will, no doubt continue for some time, because of wrangling over New Forest District Council’s plans to replace all 118 huts. The buildings are privately owned, but on council land. Many of them have been discovered to contain asbestos. The Local Authority wish to replace them all and charge their owners what a repair would cost. Some owners think that replacement is unnecessary; some residents consider them an eyesore anyway and would prefer their removal. I can see this debate outliving some of the protagonists.

ScoobieFor lunch, the rest of us enjoyed pizza and salad, whilst Scooby gnawed at the bone from yesterday’s lamb joint. I think he was silently warning me off.

This afternoon Jackie drove us all to Boscombe, in order to view the:

Boscombe Police Box notice                Boscombe police box and Community Support OfficersFlo and ScoobieCommunity Support Officers were in attendance, and Scooby was happy to be held up by Flo.

Boscombe beachBoscombe beach figuresWe drove round to the cliff above the beach, where Jackie and Sheila remained in the car Boscombe beach figures - Version 2and Flo and I walked for a while with Scooby. On this extremely blustery day there was very little activity on the beach far below.

Back home Sheila was to take us out to The Royal Oak for dinner. When we arrived we were told there would be a 45 minute wait for food. We didn’t want to wait that long so we drove on to The Crown at Everton which was closed. Next stop was therefore The Plough at Tiptoe, where Jackie and Flo enjoyed the half rack of pork ribs, Sheila the scampi, and I the mixed grill. When you’ve had the mixed grill, that’s it. You do not risk dessert. But Jackie and Flo scoffed creme brulee and Sheila ice cream. I drank Doom Bar. There was Becks for Jackie, Apple juice for Flo, and sparkling water for Sheila

Sea Flowers

This morning I made a start on reading ‘Madame Bovary’.

Tree against sky

Bough against skyJohn clearing elderLater, in a successful bid to avoid the rain, I walked down to The Splash and back via the church footpath. The sunshine and showers nature of the day and the speed of the wind produced ever-changing skies, bright blue clouding over in white and grey, and vice versa, with the sun regularly emerging and lending everything still bearing raindrops a brilliant sparkle.

John was busy clearing the elder, that I had thought was a buddleia when I noticed it on 28th January.

CloudscapeCloudscape 1

Wherever you venture into the forest at the moment, you are likely to come across scatterings of what look to me like crab apples, Crab appleslike those on the bank of the stream flowing under Running Hill. Now I think about it, they are almost always near streams. I can only imagine someone is feeding the ponies in this manner when they pause their cropping to slake their thirst.

One stream the banks of which are not so bestrewn is that which runs beneath the concrete bridge of The Splash ford. Stream at The SplashThere, the water flows fast enough for a build-up of spume that echoes the lichen on the surrounding trees.

All Saints ChurchSnowdropsYew - riven

Snowdrops have pierced the sward of All Saints Churchyard, and another riven yew rent in two has somehow spared the gravestones between which part of it has fallen.

Cloudscap with trees

Hengistbury HeadIn fact the rain held off for the rest of the day and Jackie drove us out to Hengistbury Head, making this a two walk day for me. I walked along the beach, up Warren Hill and back along the cliff top to the car park cafe where Jackie sat with her puzzles, cake, and coffee.

Waves

This was the roughest sea and fiercest wind I have yet experienced on the Dorset coast. Most exhilarating. Occasionally the incoming surges from the ocean clutched at my feet.

Creamy waves

Sea coming inSea foam formingSpume on sandRolls of spumeOn the shingled edge of the beach I watched the frequent waves rolling towards the breakwaters and turning to cream as they careered up the sand and flung what my Japanese friend Rie Sug tells me her compatriots call sea flowers against the rocks, sending them furling and unfurling along the beach. Our word spume, for this foam, is rather less attractive than the oriental one. This version made the same phenomenon seen at The Splash this morning skimpy by comparison. Rather like comparing the power of a full symphonic orchestra with a piece of gentle chamber music.

Sun on sand cliff edgeSun, sea & sandThe wintry sun that had seemed quite powerful on the occasions it peeped out this morning, when compared with the other elements in play in this wilder environment, seemed rather weak.

Walking along the cliff top I was intrigued by a woman’s voice berating what I assumed to be a recalcitrant child. Peering down I saw that the miscreants were a pair of red dogs.Dogs and walker They seemed to have got the message and were allowed to romp ahead.

Sun, sea, sand & Beach hutsAfter I joined Jackie she drove us along the coast road to Boscombe. We had a brief sojourn in a car park at Southbourne, where beach huts clung to the side of the cliff, as we watched the sun doing its best.

We turned round at Bournemouth and headed for home where we enjoyed another very tasty dinner. This consisted of roasted chicken thighs marinaded in lemon juice, coriander, parsley, and a chilli; accompanied by roasted red and orange peppers, onions and baby tomatoes; cauliflower cheese; mashed potato and swede; and broccoli. Jackie drank Hoegaarden whist I drank Lidl’s Bordeaux Superieur, so the drinks choice was back to normal.