A Window Frame

Early this morning Jackie photographed

Ellie, perched on tiptoe and reaching for Norrie on the TV screen.

She then applied her lens to her Morning Glory, and, at the end of our trip out, to the display boxes decorating New Milton’s roads.

After lunch, before our drive, she drove me to Sears Barbers for a haircut and photographed the process.

We returned along the coast road where I undertook the photography. Despite the ever stiffening breeze blowing off the Solent, still sporting my shirtsleeves, and having rather less hair covering, I was perfectly warm on the clifftop.

The Isle of Wight, The Needles, and the lighthouse with its red eye, stood out in the gloom,

as did the Hurst lighthouse.

Churning waves sped across the sea to the rocks beneath the crumbling cliff,

cleaving the line of breakwaters.

Walkers along the promenade passed thrift resisting the wind.

The sun occasionally glinted on the sea surface smooth enough for yachting.

On our return home a pony crossed Forest Road.

Beside Holmsley Camp Site ponies shared the landscape with English Longhorn and Belted Galloway cattle and their usual crows;

one foal made a beeline for a feed.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s tasty fusilli Bolognese and Parmesan cheese with which she drank Silvaner Spätlese Rheinhessen 2020, and I drank Selone Cabernet Zinfandel 2021.

The Barber’s Pole

By this morning I had passed another eight of Charles Keeping’s illustrations on my journey through ‘Martin Chuzzlewit’ by Charles Dickens. I therefore scanned them.

In ‘The Honourable Elijah Pogram fled with such precipitation that he forgot his umbrella was up’, the artist manages to convey the lurch backwards that such a sudden stoppage would generate.

‘The old churches, roofs, and darkened chimney stacks of home’

‘This is kind indeed!’ said Tom, bending down to shake hands with her’, displays Keeping’s mastery of perspective, partly by means of stepping out of the frame.

‘On he went, looking up all the streets he came near’, shows a typical Keeping street scene.

‘He went every morning to a barber’s shop to get shaved’ features a barber’s pole of the design contemporary with Charles Dickens. The history and a modern illustration of such a red and white U.K. motif is featured in my post ‘Reprising Ice Cream Selection’. I understand that these colours are red, white, and blue in America.

‘It was a perfect treat to Tom to see her with her brows knit, and her rosy lips pursed up, kneading away at the crust’

‘Down among the steam-boats on a bright morning’ displays a rich range of human features.

‘ ‘Could you cut a man’s throat with such a thing as this?’ ‘ has us wondering what Jonas has in mind.

This afternoon, as part of my progress in weeding the Gazebo Path, the Head Gardener agreed that we should

leave the forget-me-nots where they are,

yet thin out ivy choking one owl, threatening another, and keeping the ornamental tortoise in hibernation.

I am making some sort of progress.

This evening we dined on oven battered cod and chips; garden peas; pickled onions and gherkins, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Calvet Prestige Merlot-Cabernet Sauvignon Bordeaux 2018.

A Spectral Steed

Jackie has a penchant for before and after photographs.

When I visited Sears Barbers in Milford on Sea for my first haircut since they reopened after the coronavirus lockdown it was inevitable that she would record

before,

during,

and after Peter’s administration.

On our way home at lunchtime we had noticed windsurfers over Barton on Sea, and returned later in the afternoon to watch them. They had gone, so we made do with

socially distanced walkers on the clifftop against the background of clouds over distant hills and the Isle of Wight.

We continued with a brief foray into the forest where, at the Pilley end of Bull Hill, the Little and Large of the equine world grazed in a field.

The much smaller pony left off its feeding and trotted over to visit me. It was able to ignore the fly crawling towards its eye.

Perhaps the larger companion, giving every impression of posing as a spectral steed, was more vulnerable to the insect pests, as it sported full PPE in the form of masks designed to prevent entry to eyes and ears with the addition of a summer rug, light enough in colour to reflect the sun’s rays.

As always any clicked image gives access to its gallery – each picture can be viewed full size by clicking the box beneath it, and further enlarged with additional clicks.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s sautéed potato topped shepherd’s pie; crunchy carrots, cauliflower, broccoli; tender green beans, and tasty, meaty, gravy, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Rioja.

Bumps

Welcome steady rain fell for most of the day. What’s that? An Englishman welcoming rain in July?

Yes. It is much needed at the moment.

This morning we drove to Crestwood of Lymington to book an assessment for replacing the very poorly laid flooring in our sitting room that we inherited five years ago.

Later Jackie drove me to Sears Barbers in Milford on Sea where she photographed Peter cutting my hair. Bobby Moore and Mohammed Ali were on hand to vet the proceedings.

This afternoon I scanned a set of prints from 3rd June 2000. These were of Sam and the Wadham Eight competing in the Oxford Eights Week.

Wikipedia reports that ‘Eights Week, also known as Summer Eights, is a four-day regatta of bumps races which constitutes the University of Oxford‘s main intercollegiate rowing event of the year. The regatta takes place in May of each year, from the Wednesday to the Saturday of the fifth week of Trinity Term. Men’s and women’s coxed eights compete in separate divisions for their colleges, with some colleges entering as many as five crews for each sex.

The racing takes place on the Isis, a length of the River Thames, which is generally too narrow for side by side racing. For each division, thirteen boats line up at the downstream end of the stretch, each cox holding onto a rope attached to the bank, leaving around 1.5 boat lengths between each boat. The start of racing is signalled by the firing of a cannon, each crew attempting to progress up their division by bumping the boat in front, while avoiding being bumped by the boat behind. Once a bump has taken place, both of the crews involved stop racing and move to the side to allow the rest of the division to pass. It is possible to “over bump” if the 2 crews in front of your boat bump (and so drop out) and your boat can catch the boat that was in front of them. They then swap places for the next day’s racing, whether that be the calendar day or the first day of racing in the next year’s competition.’

The nearest boat in each of the first two of these images is the Wadham First Eight of which Sam was a member.

I imagine it was a normal ritual for the crew to hoist the cox. Sam appears to be pleased to be grasping the young lady’s thigh. The man on the right covering a mate’s eyes

later received a ducking.

When you appreciate that this was the gentleman, a good two stone heavier by December 2008, who, as recounted in “Oiling The Lion”, tackled me to the ground during a game of touch rugby, you will perhaps understand that now, with tongue in cheek, I think he got what he deserved.

It had been some decades since Wadham College last won an oar at the Eights. They won two during Sam’s time there. He has kept his own from 2000. I have this one from the 2001 Torpid.

The Torpids are the other of the two bumping competitions held each year.

Early this evening Becky and Ian arrived to stay for the weekend. After a pleasant exchange of information about our various ailments we all dined at the Royal Oak. Jackie and Ian chose very good burgers, chips, coleslaw and salad, while Becky and I enjoyed chicken pie, with an al dente vegetable melange. We all shared a vast portion of real onion rings. Jackie drank Amstell; Ian drank Moretti; Becky drank Diet Pepsi; and I drank Malbec.

None Of The Dogs

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This morning Jackie delivered me to a bench on the corner of the green at Milford on Sea an hour before my appointment with Peter of Sears Barbers who cut my hair. Off she went shopping, leaving me to play with my cameras, and returned to collect me afterwards.

My vantage point allowed me to watch a variety of people crossing the road;

Boxes on barrow

One young man, passing The Smugglers Inn car park, toted a pile of boxes on a sack barrow.

Couple turning corner

A couple walked around the corner into Sea Road;

Biker and passenger

another took a similar route by motor bike.

The window of Biscuit House at 64 High Street attracted attention for some; others, more interested in their arms around each other, walked leisurely past.

Dogs were being walked;

one terrier in particular was content to be tied up outside Village Veg while its owners shopped inside. Afterwards a sparring partner was encountered.

Customers of Hurst On The Hill, with another dog, were happy to take their refreshments outside. Maybe they had obtained their cash from the ATM in Winkworth’s wall being passed by this couple. This building was once a bank, then a beauty parlour. The cash machine has been kept in service by each occupier.

Village VegConversation outside Village Charity ShopWalkers outside Village Charity Shop

Various conversations were held outside the small shops, one on a mobile phone as the family walked on.

There was an interesting juxtaposition of bikers and a cyclist, who, later pushed his steed up the hill.

CyclistCyclist tying up bikeCyclist with shoppingCyclist

Noticing another cyclist coming into view, I waited for her to pass a parked vehicle, not realising she would provide a little story. She swung round and came to a halt beside me, tying her transport to the railings at the crossing. It was some time later that she returned, and, sensibly clinging to the bottle, dropped all her purchases which she decanted into the pannier and set off back the way she had come.

Readers will by now be aware that there was not a great deal of road space either at this junction or up the hill between the green and shops. Imagine my surprise, then, at seeing a lorry carrying a LONG Salisbury static caravan up this route. One gentleman walked in front, shooed away vehicles such as an obdurate Land Rover, and guided the skilful driver through his obstacle course.

Man with walking aid

I really admire some of the ageing residents who manage with all manner of walking aids.

Couple at bench, phone box, pillar box

On an earlier visit to my barbers I had watched the telephone box, now taken over by the community, being restored. I wondered what it would be used for. In fact it contains racks for Dementia Information. At the moment they are empty.

Walkers along High Street

Across the road, indicated by its red and white striped pole, is the barbers.

Pointing boy

None of the dogs on leads tugged at their owners. That could not be said of this little boy.

This afternoon I watched the Wimbledon tennis match between Serena Williams and Evgeniya Rodina.

This evening we enjoyed two excellent meals at The Royal Oak. Mine was smoked pork rib, French fries, coleslaw, and fresh, well-dressed salad. Jackie’s was a burger in a brioche, with French fries. The fries were presented in large bowls, the coleslaw in a smaller one. Each meal was served on a large wooden platter with a handle. Jackie drank Amstell and I drank Malbec.

 

 

From High Noon To Sunset Strip

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Just after midday, Jackie drove me to Sears Barbers at Milford on Sea for Peter to cut my hair.I am accustomed to barbers laying down their shears to answer the telephone, but today’s hiatus was brought about in a manner I not experienced before.

Peter’s next customer entered the salon with the announcement that “the parking police are out”. Peter dropped his scissors and rushed out of the door. Some time later, he returned, somewhat flushed. By the skin of his teeth he had moved his car just as it was about to receive a ticket. I had never seen a man with a bad back move so fast.

After the application of my barber’s artistry, I did my best to ruin it by taking on the best the high winds could throw at me on the cliff top. I have to say that I was so pummelled by the strongest gusts I have yet experienced, that neither I nor my camera could either remain stable or see what we were doing, as

I focussed on the sea below.

Sometimes the unsteadiness showed in the results.

Midday sun

Even this image of the midday sun and the shot of The Needles above were naturally virtually monochrome.

Walkers 1

Eventually I sought refuge in the car. One of three walkers along the path replied that he didn’t blame me when I announced that I had had enough.

Soon afterwards I was amused to see one of these adopting the same bracing stance that I had taken, as he, also, captured the moment.

We then took a turn round the forest. On a lane outside Bransgore, with the sun shining straight into my eyes, I had not seen the pony crossing immediately in front of us. Fortunately Jackie, whose view was shaded, had seen the animal and slowed down as it ambled on its way.

Dog walkers on lane

Round the next bend a couple walking their dog hastened to the verge.

We were a little too late to catch the sunset at Barton on Sea, however, we were rewarded by one

Sunset

over Roger Cobb’s fields

Sunset in pools

which was reflected in the strip of potholes on the path between them.

This evening we dined on roast duck breasts and sweet potatoes; new potatoes and peas; with wonderful gravy, with which I drank more of the merlot.

 

Reprising Ice Cream Selection

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Most of the beds in the garden are threaded with stepping stones placed for access. They have become rather overgrown. This morning I began opening them out, starting with

this one leading off the Dead End Path. You should be able to distinguish between the before and after photographs. There is, incidentally, no view of the garden that doesn’t include the smelly white alliums. They bring early delight to the beds, but need an enormous amount of thinning out. Not only does each plant grow on a bulb, but each single bell on the flowers contains another bulb which it drops onto the soil. Each of these grows a new allium the following year.

Owl and owlet

Regular readers will know that The Head Gardener can never resist an owl. This morning she excelled herself by buying this one with an owlet in a jumble sale.

Elizabeth came to lunch and stayed on for dinner.

Sears Barbers

Jackie drove us to Milford on Sea where Peter, at Sears Barbers gave me an excellent haircut which is visibly reflected here.

Wikipedia has this to say about the traditional red and white striped barber’s pole: ‘The red and white pole outside barber shops references a time when barbers were expected to perform bloodletting and other medical procedures to heal the sick; red represented blood and white represented bandages. “Barber surgeons” in Rome also performed teeth extraction, cupping, leeching, bloodletting, surgery and enemas. However, today’s barber poles represent little more than being a barber shop that cuts hair and does shaves.[10] Barber poles have actually become a topic of controversy in the hairstyling business. In some states, such as Michigan in March 2012, legislation has emerged proposing that barber poles should only be permitted outside barbershops, but not traditional beauty salons. Barbers and cosmetologists have engaged in several legal battles claiming the right to use the barber pole symbol to indicate to potential customers that the business offers haircutting services. Barbers claim that they are entitled to exclusive rights to use the barber pole because of the tradition tied to the craft, whereas cosmetologists argue that they are equally capable of cutting men’s hair too (though many cosmetologists are not permitted to use razors, depending on their state’s laws).’

A couple of doors away from the barber’s is situated Polly’s Pantry Tea Rooms, first featured in ‘Portrait of a Village’ a couple of years ago.

Here are some of the home-made cakes on display.

Jackie and Elizabeth enjoyed cakes, tea, and coffee served by the delightfully friendly Julie, while they waited in this establishment for my shorn appearance. I joined them with a pot of tea. As I sat facing the window I observed a number of passing visitors examining the cakes. It seemed to me that this would make a good photograph. However I had no wish to deter prospective customers by shoving a camera in their faces. Yet I did have a couple of available models.

I sent them outside to pose.

Boys choosing ice cream

Earlier, two little boys, noses pinned to the cabinet, had come in to choose ice creams.

Jackie and Elizabeth choosing ice cream

As my two ladies came back inside the shop, they reprised the youngsters’ pose.

Wreck in harbour

After this Jackie drove us on to Keyhaven, where the wreck has developed a lurch.

Gull and mallard 1

As I watched a mallard fishing, a gull homed in on it.

Gull and mallard 2

The duck sped off. Fortunately the gull gave up the chase.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s scrumptious cottage pie, runner beans, and carrots and Brussels sprouts cooked to such perfection that all the flavour was retained. Chocolate eclairs, cream slices and Madagascan vanilla cheesecake were the desserts from which to make a selection. Elizabeth and I drank Vacqeyras Côtes du Rhône 2015.

After a session of reminiscences Elizabeth returned home to West End.

 

Welcome To The World

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This morning we took a trip to the bank in New Milton, then on to Milford on Sea where Peter of Sears Barbers gave me an excellent haircut.

Three days ago, in ‘Quads’ I recounted Louisa’s memories of her time rounding up and milking the cows on the farm of Geoff and Maureen Carruthers in Cumbria. On 18th of August 1992, I photographed the following sequence taking place in one of the fields:

Cow with newborn calf 18.8.92 1

The scanned negative images are presented in the order in which they were captured. They feature a cow and its newborn calf; from the first moments of delighted tail-wagging licking, the tender nudging to the baby’s feet, helping up when slips occurred, to the final reward of a swollen udder.  The first picture, apart from the removal of the date stamp, shows the whole scene, reproduced from a sensitive distance.

The rest have been variously cropped as seemed appropriate.

Having forgotten to draw some cash at the bank this morning, we drove out shortly before sunset to rectify the situation.

Entrancing light lit Christchurch Road as we left. Close examination of the second picture will reveal from his gesture that the driver of the leading car was less than happy about being photographed.

By the time we reached Barton on Sea, the skies had became more moody, buildings glowed, and the red eye of The Needles lighthouse gleamed.

As I looked skyward, the half moon raced across my line of sight. Or was I losing my balance? Neither. The fast moving clouds gave the impression that the stationary object they tracked was on the move. They soon left it in their wake.

This evening we dined on tasty fish cakes topped with Cheddar cheese, and served with sauteed potatoes, bright green spinach, fresh carrots and sweet sugar snaps. We both drank Corte Alle Mura Vernaccia di San Gimignano 2014 which seemed an excellent accompaniment.

Panic-Engendering Chaos

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This morning I took advantage of a brief window of sunshine in an otherwise slate grey day

to discover in the garden daffodils, hellebores, crocuses, cyclamens, snowdrops, and camellia buds all bursting through.

After lunch, Jackie drove me to Sears Barbers in Milford on Sea, where I had my hair cut. The barber wound me up with the question; “Short back and sides?”. He knew what my answer would be. I only had to smile. He just gave me a much-needed trim.

On our way home we had a look at the sea, which was very choppy. There was a strong, mild, wind, stirring it up. Jackie likened the misty Isle of Wight to a body being towed over to France by the red-eyed sea monster lighthouse and The Needles.

As I sat down to draft this post I placed a pint glass full of fizzy lime squash on a fountain pen. This is not exactly the most stable surface. It would have been quite useful in a logrolling competition. The consequences were far reaching. And rapid. My pad of blotting paper produced a number of colourful Rorschach results; bubbling liquid raced across the desk, under the printer and under the computer, and swirled around smaller objects like a box of paper clips. The waves above would have been proud of the panic-engendering chaos. A dry cloth was useless. I used half a kitchen roll mopping up, and Jackie had to hold up the printer while I swabbed underneath it.. At least everything is clean now. And still works.

This evening we dined at The Family House, Chinese restaurant in Totton. It has been 18 months since we were last there, but our welcome was as friendly as ever. We chose our customary M3 set meal which was as good as usual, and both drank Tsingtao beer, which was remembered.