The Wrong Location For Mr Crocker


Today was a very wet one. This gave me the opportunity for taking another virtual trip to London, through the medium of another dozen colour slides, from August 2004, that I scanned this morning. These are all images of the Marylebone area.

St John's Avenue NW10

The skilled workman on the corner of St John’s Avenue NW10 is cutting paving blocks to lay beside the newly fitted wheelchair ramp, enabling disabled people to cross the road more easily. Note that the authorities have chosen to retain the early street sign and supplement it with the 10 added as the capital expanded, rendering NW an insufficient location.

In the background of the first of these images of Newcastle Place W2 the vast tower blocks of hugely expensive residential apartments that comprise the Paddington Basin development are under construction. The second shows shutters probably fitted when the building was pristine, although the replacement windows are not contemporary.

Corlett Street NW1

I am not sure how high the gentleman in this photograph of the building on the corner of Corlett Street NW1, is intending to climb, but I thought he may well have been as perplexed as the window cleaner featured on 1st October 2016.

Lisson Street/Bell Street NW1

The Brazen Head at 69 Lisson Street NW1 dates from the mid-19th century.

As can be seen, that public house stands on the corner of Bell Street, in which the second -hand bookshop at number 83 was kept in rather better order inside than was suggested by its window display. At any rate, the proprietor knew where everything was. Rather like my desk, really. FLOS marks the headquarters of the heating and lighting suppliers of that name, but anyone who knows our eldest granddaughter will understand why I photographed the building.

Marylebone Road NW1

Can you see what Spiderman was up to in Marylebone Road? Madame Tussauds provides the answer.

York Terrace West NW1

York Terrace West fronts Regents Park, owned by Crown Estates, hence the insignia on the bollards.

These three images of Melcombe Place NW1 provide a panorama of Marylebone Station’s frontage. Anyone wishing to discover why this was the wrong location for Mr Crocker is directed to the post ‘A Screwdriver Comes In Handy’.

During a brief sunny spell late in the afternoon we drove out to Keyhaven.


The tide was out in the harbour and the boats were all grounded.

Duck in outfall

A jet-propelled duck bobbing on a bubbling body of water alerted me to the fact that this tranquility was about to change.

The machine churning out foaming cappuccino coffee was the Avon Water Outfall, apparently controlled by sluice gates. An outfall is the discharge point of a waste stream into a river, a lake, or the sea. Here the Avon Water was discharging into the Solent, I imagine as an outlet from the recent storms.

This is what Wikipedia has to say about Avon Water:

“Avon Water is a small river in the south of England, flowing through the New Forest in Hampshire to the sea. It should not be confused with the larger River Avon, which also flows through Hampshire.

Along with the Beaulieu River and the Lymington River, Avon Water is one of the three main rivers which drain the New Forest southward directly into the Solent,[1] although it is smaller than the other two rivers.[2] It rises in the south-western part of the New Forest, near Holmsley, and flows south-eastward, in a fairly straight course for about 9 miles (14.5 km).[3] It flows into the Solent at Keyhaven,[4] close to the shingle bank that leads to Hurst Castle.[3]

The name “Avon Water” is considered modern,[5] although it certainly dates from at least the 18th century. It is labelled on Thomas Milne‘s map of Hampshire published by William Faden in 1791.[6] Cary’s New Itinerary of 1810 also refers to “Avon Water” but confounds it with a stream immediately to the west (the Danes stream near Downton).[7]

I have, of course, been confusing it with the River Avon.


The sky soon darkened, and Milford on Sea took on a dramatic air, in which


I and the gulls battled with powerful winds.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s very hot chilli con carne and savoury rice. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank Cimarosa Reserva Privada Carmenère 2015.

Making The Most Of Milford Seafront

This morning I accompanied Jackie to the GP surgery where she was prescribed antibiotics for what is now a chest infection. Afterwards, she drove us to the car park alongside the

Needles Eye Cafe

 Needles Eye cafe where she sat with a coffee whilst

Upper promenade 1

I ambled along the upper and lower promenades.

Hazy sea

The fog warning sounded as I took this hazy picture of the Isle of Wight and The Needles, after which the cafe has been wittily named.

Man and dog

This gentleman was perhaps searching for a sight of the island whilst his bored best friend was suggesting it was a waste of time.


A group of energetic retirees strode out, past the barriers that border the lower promenade where concrete huts once stood.

Public Convenience

Dog walker

Should they be taken short, a state of the art Public Convenience ushers in the prospective

Making the most of Milford seafront

rebuilding of the, now removed, damaged beach huts.

Throughout the day, Paul and I continued exchanging material for the forthcoming The First Gallery exhibition and flyer.

This evening we dined on Mr Pink’s, fish, chips, and pea fritters. Nothing was imbibed.

Bedraggled That is what 50 m.p.h. winds have turned our wet and warm days into.  (Mr WordPress took my joke one stage further. I didn’t type http:// and he won’t let me erase it)

We went out for a drive this morning; first down to the clifftop over Hordle beach at Milford on Sea; then through the forest via Burley, Fritham, Lyndhurst, and Brockenhurst.

In the early part of the afternoon I watched the second televised Rugby League match between England and New Zealand. This reminded me why I had given up on it years ago.

Afterwards, I worked on the morning’s photos. Normally, I do very little in the processing, but today I wanted the results to reflect the mood of the day, so I converted most into black and white, and toned down the colour a little in the three that were not made into monochrome. This subduing was because the camera had produced slightly brighter colour than was available to the eye.


Jackie parked the car at Paddy’s Gap, so we could watch the mountainous seas pounding beneath us. I had a very difficult job prising the car door open against the gale, and when I emerged, the driving rain blurred my vision and, as can be seen, left its mark on the camera lens.


Car on roadRoadCars on roadA pair of lone joggers performed the involuntary dance of falling leaves, as they battled along the path. I swear the lighter one was lifted aloft.

Interestingly, the more we drove into the forest, the less the wind blew, but the rain was just as heavy and pools were beginning to develop on the grass and heathers. All cars had their headlights in operation, even at 11 a.m.

Perhaps we should not have been surprised than there was scarcely a pony in sight. Areas where we would expect to see many of them cropping the grass or molesting tourists in the car parks, bore no sign of life except the wind sending reluctant leaves, not yet ready for hibernation, spinning on the more slender twigs before spiralling downwards.

Most equines had no doubt repaired to the middle of the forest in search of shelter.

Birch and Heathland

Heathland 1Heathland 3

The outskirts of Fritham are normally well populated by shetland ponies.

Pony in landscape

Pony 1Pony 2

Today, just one, bedraggled, muddied, munched alone.

For dinner this evening, The Cook produced a tasty lasagna with a melange of fried Mediterranean vegetables, followed by Tesco’s chocolate eclairs. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Madiran.

Singapore Prints

This morning we drove Elizabeth to The Coastal Gallery in Lymington, where we admired good art works at, for us, prohibitive prices. On our return, my sister and I completed the task of printing Mr. Boyle’s black and white negatives from 1950s Singapore for Frances.

Patricia 003

Here Patricia enjoys the swimming pool,

Patricia and friend 002

and in the garden with a local friend.

Frances 012

The artistic photographer pictured Frances gazing out to sea.

Frances, her Mum, and others 004

Perhaps mother and daughters are loading this van, or maybe making a purchase.

Frances's Dad 026

Here the sisters’ father sits reading.

Frances, Catherine and Patricia 007

He photographed them together,

Francis 020

and separately Frances,

Catherine 022


Patricia 029

and Patricia.

Clouds and seaSilhouettes on shore

Danni and Andy joined us for lunch, after which we all drove to Barton on Sea, where the threatening clouds did not drop their precipitation, as they were penetrated by Jesus beams.

Danni and Andy

The young couple sat a bit closer to the edge of the clifftop than would have suited me. We ambled down to the shore so that Danni could dip her toes in the water.

Back at home we played Scrabble, until it was time for us all to dine at The Smugglers Inn at Milford on Sea. The service was friendly and efficient, the ambience convivial, and the food excellent. My choice was beef and horseradish pie, new potatoes and vegetables. I drank Doom Bar. None of us had room for a sweet.

Off The Leash

The morning was spent in Lymington Hospital, to and from which Jackie drove me. First off was a physiotherapy appointment for my hand. This is apparently doing well. I need not see the therapist again, but will continue finger straightening exercises and massage myself for another six weeks. We then had a wait for an orthopedic appointment to discuss the knee x-ray results. I have no cartilage either behind the kneecap or on the left side, but there is some left on the right. The pain relief is working, and with careful management of that, I am encouraged to walk on the flat. On our return, the wind having desisted, we toured the garden replacing hanging baskets which, Jackie having taken them down before the gales, suffered minimal damage. Flies on peach rose

On the peach roses A fly was supervising its infant on its first outing into the world. Can you see the baby?


Another attractive variety of allium has flourished.

After lunch, Jackie drove me to the pharmacy at Milford on Sea to collect co-codomol which had been omitted from the medication collected yesterday. The fact that twice the normal amount of tablets had been left for me was rather ironic, since I had agreed with the physiotherapist that I would ween myself off them and turn to paracetamol. I now have a telephone appointment to discuss this with G.P. Dr. Moody-Jones. Footpath with walkers on horizon On the strength of all this, Jackie left me at the green at Milford and I walked up Park Lane, joining the cliff top path at The Beach House, turning into West Road and home through Shorefield. OK, it was a little more than the recommended half an hour, and not totally flat, but I managed it with just a few aching muscles that had not really been put to use for six months. Gardener tending roses

I had a long talk with a gentleman tending his roses in his small plot opposite the bus shelter in Milford.

Seascape with Isle of Wight

The wind coming off The Solent was still strong

Windsurfer and yachtYacht and Isle of Wight

enough for a windsurfer and a few small yachts to relish its power, and,

Bench and yachtDog walker and yacht

passing an empty bench, a woman, already being propelled along by the gusts, strained to contain one of her dogs.


A new set of warning signs has been posted along the cliff top since I was last here.

Honeysuckle and caterpillar

Attracted by honeysuckle in the hedgerow leading to West Road, I thus avoided missing


the rather splendid caterpillar lurking in the shadows. I rather like its red warning lights. Can you see it in hiding?

I definitely felt that Cheryl, the physiotherapist, had let me off the leash.

This evening we dined on smoked haddock fish cakes with cheese centres and topping; parsley sauce from our own crop; piquant cauliflower cheese; firm young peas and creamy mashed potato; followed by Lymington-grown tangy strawberries and vanilla ice-cream.

Smoked haddock fishcakes meal

Pretty as was the presentation of the meal,

Smoked haddock fishcakes meal on a plate

it tastes better off the plate.

‘It’s Not A Rat, Is It?’

Thanks to Facebook comments from Jackie and from Barrie Haynes, I was able this morning to add some interesting detail to the thatching description in ‘A Christmas Rehearsal’.
Jackie then drove me to Milford on Sea where I did a little Christmas shopping then walked back home by my usual route.Clifftop footpathGrasses
The fierce headwind on the clifftop was so strong that, had I not hooked my shopping bag over my arm, I would have undoubtedly watched it soaring aloft among the crows and the gulls, which were themselves struggling to remain airborne. Ornamental grasses bent into the banks.
On her visit yesterday, Margery had said that she was fond of pictures of the sea, so I attempted to produce some she might like.Closed stepsIsle of Wight and The NeedlesSeascapeWaves on breakwater                                                                            There were so many damaged, and therefore closed off, sets of steps leading down to the beach that it was a while before I could descend and slither and slide along the shifting, crunching, pebbles, to watch the roaring, oscillating, ocean crash into the shingle and the breakwaters. Dog walkerAn intrepid young woman walked a pair of dogs along the shore.
It was actually a relief to reach the comparative shelter of Shorefield where, on West Road someone seemed to have abandoned the attempt to freshen the 10 m.p.h. sign with Tipp-Ex. Or maybe this was a misguided effort at erasing it.10 mph and Tipp-Ex
Great tit in streamAs I crossed the footbridge over the stream, I noticed a flicker of movement at the water’s edge. Leaning on the rail, I pointed the camera, pressed the shutter and hoped for the best. It was then that a woman peered over my shoulder and asked me what I had seen. I didn’t know. ‘It’s not a rat, is it?’, she asked, rather timidly. ‘Let’s have a look’, I replied, zooming in on the shot. If you care to do the same you will see that it was a great tit perched on a stone, probably having a drink. Refraining from mentioning that I had found a dead one in our garden, I assured my companion that I had never seen rats in that location.
This evening we are on our way to The Family House at Totton where we have booked a table for Flo’s eighteenth birthday celebration. I doubt that I will be up to writing any more, even if I am awake, when we return, so I will report on the event tomorrow.

20 Is Plenty

At 30 mph today’s wind was six miles per hour faster than yesterday’s. Colin, the former marathon runner I had met yesterday, had taken the different route in order to avoid being blown off the cliff top. Fighting my way down Bob‘s steps to the deserted shingle on my Hordle Cliff walk this morning, I rather saw his point.
Bridge Cottage hedgeThe owner of Bridge Cottage had told me how impossible the salt wind to which the corner of Downton Lane is exposed has made growing a hedge. Trees bentIt was also clear why so many trees grow bent away from the sea.
SeascapeEven in the lane the roar of wind and waves that were pounding the shingle was thunderous.
Demolished chaletThe older chalets in Shorefield Country Park are being demolished to make way for more modern structures. The woman who explained the pile of flammable material fenced in by a high barrier regretted their passing because they were a ‘cheap and cheerful’ way of taking a summer holiday.
MahoniaA mahonia on the approach to the footbridge over the stream leading to the rookery was a gleaming beacon.
Apart from the Bridge Cottage photograph, those taken after the sea spray coated my camera lens bear traces of the film this produced.20-is-plenty-226x300
To put today’s blasts in perspective, 30 miles per hour is the traffic speed limit in UK’s built-up areas. Not so long ago a series of television adverts alerted us to the fact that a child on impact with a vehicle travelling at that rate would almost certainly be killed. At 20 mph there was more of a chance of survival. For this reason, many zones, particularly in the vicinity of schools, like the one in West End, signed with the slogan ’20 is plenty’, have reduced the limit to 20.
For our dinner this evening we repaired to The Red Lion at MIlford on Sea. With my rib eye steak I drank a large glass of valpolicella; Jackie drank peroni with her piri-piri chicken; and we both chose caramel apple pie and custard. This was all as enjoyable as last time.
Once again our Royal Oak neighbour has closed down. It does seem to be difficult to make this hostelry, which relies on holiday trade and has no real local clientele, pay.

The White Feathers

I don’t think the fact that it was a dull overcast morning today when we made continuing slow progress on the work of clearing the edges of the back drive, was really the reason I am beginning to find it very boring. Perhaps you are too.

I brought bolt cutters into play to assist in disentangling the chain link fence from the trees. The task took a further two hours, and I still left parts of links protruding from the trunks of trees that had grown round them. The metal was so deeply embedded in the example shown here that, some way into its cut, my saw struck it and I needed to employ an axe.

Having, for the second month running, missed the home bottle collection, this afternoon Jackie drove us down to the bottle bank at Milford on Sea, where we unloaded our bottles and jars, and I walked back home via the footpath alongside the stream and through the Nature Reserve. This time, instead of arriving at Shorefield, I diverted into the Woodland Walk and across a paddock which brought me out, via Westminster Road, to the cliff top.

At regular intervals on the shrubbery along the footpath, small white feathers were neatly laid on leaves. It was as if the birds who had eaten Hansel’s breadcrumbs, taking pity on the lad, had replaced them with scraps of plumage.

Molehills also appeared at regular intervals along the way. The solitary creatures who make these, beset at this time of the year by the urge to mate, blindly shuffle along their dark tunnels until they find their object of desire, do the necessary, and return to their lonely existence. Every so often, the head gardener informs me, rather similarly to the activity of escapees from a prisoner of war camp, the earth has to be cleared from the tunnel, and is consequently pushed up to the surface.
As I approached one of the bridges I watched an excited family playing Pooh Sticks.

By the time I reached them they had moved on, and were now, as they said, engaged in a hunt for the poo possibly left in the undergrowth by their dog. It was the grandfather who told me about the route across the paddock.
Once on the cliff top, hoping to find a path emerging near the bottom of Downton Lane, I walked further along in the direction of Barton on Sea. I was disappointed in this, since all the stiles bore a Private notice, so I backtracked at took my usual route back through Shorefield via West Road.

Windborne crows chased each other across the skies.

Clouds loomed over Hengistbury Head, as a weak sun glinted on the sea, and a yacht sailed against the backdrop of The Needles.

The hedge to the garden of The Wilderness on the approach to Shorefield glowed brightly with vibrant honeysuckle and rose hips.
This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious chicken jalfrezi (recipe) and pilau rice, followed by profiteroles. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank El Pinsapo rioja 2011.

Finishing Touches

We have a long, but not tall, Chinese oak cabinet which has gone up and down stairs in our new home like a yo-yo. The library had seemed its most likely final resting place.  The almost completed project no longer offered space for it. So back upstairs we carted it. When I bought the chests of drawers from Fergusson’s, one was intended to stand beneath this piece of furniture. We had second thoughts. Now we have thought again.
I then emptied the last four boxes of books; Jackie got out the vacuum cleaner; and we set about transporting the games table into the library. Had we not covered the garage door this would have been quite a simple matter. But we had. So it wasn’t.
The table was surplus to requirements in the sitting room. We carried it into the hall, intending to take it through the kitchen into the library. We couldn’t get it into the kitchen. So we took the casters off. We got it into the kitchen cupboard known as the glory hole. We couldn’t get it out into the kitchen itself. So we shifted it back into the hall and had a think.

I then had the bright, albeit somewhat tardy, idea of taking it out through the front door, round the side of the house, and in through the back door which now leads straight into the library. This worked like a dream. When I suggested to Jackie that we may not have needed to remove the casters, she suggested that I should not ‘even go there’.
The legs of the piece had taken a bit of scuffing in its various moves, so Jackie applied wood stain to the wounds and polish to both limbs and surface. A piece of string held the slightly loosened leg in place whilst the glue dried.
The carpet that Michael had given us had just one grease mark on it. To complete the creation of the room my lady got down and scrubbed this with an application of Vanish. She fixed a clock to the side of one of the bookcases.
Still visible in one corner of the library are a handful of Safestore boxes containing a selection of volumes for a charity stall our friend Heather is running in August.

A wander round the garden followed. The bungalow next door has been unoccupied for many years and such fence as there ever was between this and our property has been swamped by shrubs, one of which is a photinia. We think it is not ours, but never mind it blooms in our garden.

There are also a couple of yellow flowering shrubs we could not identify until Jackie’s research revealed them to be corokia cotoneasters which originate in New Zealand.

The copper beech is now in full leaf.

White was the dominant colour of the hedgerows in Downton Lane as I took an early evening walk into a fierce headwind coming off the Solent.

Cow parsley, stitchwort and may blossom have replaced the yellow daffodils and dandelions.

Rooks struggled against the wind to keep their bearings as they winged to and fro to their now clamouring chicks.

It was an evening for kite surfing such as my friend John Smith would relish.

As I arrived at the coastline a lone surfer was about to be joined by others walking down the steps from Hordle Cliff top. They were still setting up by the time I left the beach on which the rollers were again piling up the shingle. An intrepid yachts person was seen in the distance, and the Isle of Wight and The Needles made a landmark backdrop to the scene.

The surfer didn’t manage to keep out of the water.

Hordle Chinese Takeaway provided a spread for our evening meal. The Co-op’s cheesecake was to follow. Jackie drank Hoegarden and I finished the chianti.