Keeping Their Heads Down

Gusts from the recent storms still swept the garden today.

The plastic cover wrapping the garden chairs was sucked in and out like bellows. We did our best to loosen yet still implement the rope ties applied yesterday.

The pink rose seen in the background swayed to and fro;

as did all the trees. The  Weeping Birch limbs lashed like cats o’ nine tails, while flickering Japanese maple foliage frolicked on tightrope branches.

This afternoon we drove down to Milford on Sea for a brief look at the turbulent waves and  spray soaring over the protective walls and raking the rocks below. The Isle of Wight was barely visible, although I could clearly see an intrepid couple walking along the distant sea wall while I struggled to keep myself and my camera steady.

Some gulls swooped and hovered above the waves, but most kept their heads down on the lower ground of the car park.

One photographer sensibly employed a tripod.

From here we continued on to visit Helen and Bill in their new home at Fordingbridge. They have downsized to a bungalow which offers a most comfortable sense of space. With Jacqueline also engaged in selling her house and buying another, there is definitely a sense of sisters on the move.

This evening we dined on meaty beef burgers with sautéed potatoes, onions and mushrooms. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Domaine Bonval Cote du Rhone 2016.

Britain’s Most Expensive Beach Hut

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED.

The wind kept up this morning, but the rain did not return until this afternoon. The light changed by the minute.

Trellis and flowers

As the sunshine came and went, I had to be patient to take this photograph of the front garden trellis which held solanum, roses, rose hips, petunias, lobelia, nasturtiums, and cotoneaster. Only the clematis and honeysuckle have faded from sight.

Bench and dogs

We took a trip to Highcliffe beach. A pair of dogs romped along the clifftop,

Caution Falling Cliffs

where the sign warning of crumbling cliffs will probably need to be moved further inland.

Rainbow 1

When checking on the parking fees, Jackie was greeted by a fairly faint rainbow.

Feeding gulls 1Feeding gulls 2

A building worker shared his breakfast with the grateful gulls, and

Feeding gulls with rainbow 1

the rainbow shifted in his direction.

Pool rippling

Pools rippled in the car park, against which

Seascape with Isle of Wight and Needles

the Isle of Wight and The Needles were virtually misted from sight.

Watching the sea

One young man stood and watched the

Seascape 1

choppy seas

Clouds and sea 1Cloudscape 2

and cloudy skies.

Walkers and dogs 1

I only needed to turn my head inland to look down on walkers bathed in woodland sunshine;

Coastline 1

and twist again for a view of the light on the coastline to my left

Coastline, dog, carrying surfboard

and the sight of a dog that probably didn’t belong to the surfboard carrier.

Shrubs on clifftop

Leaving the scrub behind me,

Steps down to beachSteps down to beach 2

Down steps

Walkers in silhouette, shore

and slopes I descended

Sea shoreWalkers in silhouette, shore

to the shore.

Jogger and dog walker 1Jogger and dog walker 2

On the way down I watched a jogger and dog-walker pass each other.

Walkers, dog, shore

The woman with the dog went on to cross paths with a couple on a lower level,

Jogger, walkers, Ligeguard hut

and a young lady gradually overhauled another pair, as they passed the Lifeguards’ hut.

Seascape and breakwaterSpray on breakwater 2

Waves sprayed the breakwaters, and, unhindered,

Seascape 2Seascape 2aSeascape 3Seascape 4Seascape 5Seascape 6Seascape 7

rolled onto the shingle, now at my feet.

Christchurch Bay, Mudeford Sandbank, Hengistbury Head

Across to my right was a clear view of Mudeford Spit and Sandbank leading to Hengistbury Head. The beach huts visible in this photograph cost as much as £275,000. That’s right. £275,000.

According to metro.co.uk this one went on the market in July this year for £280,000. The article informs us that:

‘For £280,000 you could buy a four-bedroom detached house in Huddersfield or two three-bed cottages with an acre of land in the village of Maerdy, South Wales.

The sandbank can only be accessed by a 20 minute walk, a ride on a novelty land train or by ferry but its isolated position is what gives it its exclusivity and value.

Beach hut owners have to share communal bathroom facilities and can only sleep in the huts between March and October, but can visit any time of year.

Britain’s most expensive beach hut goes on sale for a mere £280,000
Worth a quarter of a million? BNPS

Hut 78 is in a handy location close to the ferry jetty and the communal facilities.

It looks out Christchurch Harbour where the new owners will be able to enjoy stunning sunsets.

The timber home measures 16ft 7in by 10ft 2in and comfortably sleeps four, with a double bed in a mezzanine level.

Solar panels on the roof power the fridge and lights, the cooker runs on bottled gas and there is a water tank that feeds into the kitchen sink.’

Walkers

As I climbed back up to the car park, another couple of walkers greeted me and continued along their path.

I rejoined Jackie who drove us on to Barton on Sea. From there we were called back home in a hurry. We had been told by our mortgage lender to expect a call this morning from a surveyor coming to value the house. His call would be to arrange a viewing. He did call me. He was outside our house. He had been given a time to be there. We hadn’t.

I guided the gentleman round the house and garden. We then returned to New Milton for some shopping and banking, and brunched at Wendy’s excellent café. Then the rain came.

For dinner this evening Jackie produced a tasty fish pie, mashed potato, carrot and swede mash, and sautéed leeks, peppers, and green beans. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Fleurie.

An Electric Light Show

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Becky and Ian returned home at lunchtime. I spent the afternoon printing off a draft novel a friend has sent me, doing me the honour of seeking my opinion on the work.

We left the printer processing the last few pages and set off for Tanners Lane to witness the sunset.

Naturally we were obliged to take our time in the queue to the beach. Some of the ponies sported day-glo orange to make sure they were noticed.

Isle of Wight

While waiting for a clear path we observed the evening light on the Isle of Wight in the distance.

This glow lent lively colours to the beach and sea waters at high, lapping, tide; and, of course, the Island, The Needles, and the lighthouse.

One other photographer was abroad. Naturally we had a chat.

Eventually, the sun sank low enough for the Electric Light Show to begin.

Back home this evening, Jackie and I dined on her wonderful sausage casserole, mashed potato, and boiled carrots, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. I drank Mendoza Bodega Toneles malbec 2012.

Storm Imogen

The winds of Storm Imogen, that reached 96 m.p.h. off The Needles, howled all night and continued at 55-65 m.p.h. throughout the day. Carol had the good sense to suggest I might need to postpone our lunch date. This was very wise as the trains I would need to catch were severely disrupted, and trees were reported down on roads such as the A35.

We were warned against venturing out unless our journey was urgent. I trust you will agree that investigating the views across Christchurch Bay to the Island fitted that bill.

Isle of Wight and The Needles

We began on Hordle Cliff Top where it was impossible to see what I was doing, as I was forced backwards by the gusts. Consequently I needed to straighten this one up in my Mac. The computer that is, not the one I was wearing.

Enticed by the prospect of spray on the rocks at Barton on Sea, that is where I took the rest of the photographs.

Man descending steps

Descending the car park steps was easier than the battle that was the return.

Shoreline and Isle of WightShorelineSpray 1Spray 2Spray 3Spray 5Spray 6

Shoreline 3Clouds and sprayClouds and Sea

Close examination of the images will reveal the effects of the flying spray spattered on my lens.

Clifftop buildings

The buildings on the clifftop clung to their perches,

Dog walker

beneath which one of the very few dog walkers in evidence clung to her hood.

Barton on the news

Back home, the BBC 1 p.m. News, featured Barton on Sea. Actually, the scene looked more like Milford to me, but never mind. I’m probably wrong.

It being Elizabeth’s birthday, we further braved the storms to meet her, Danni, and Andy for dinner at The White Hart at Cadnam. We shared, olives, stuffed peppers, and bread in a balsamic vinegar dip. My main course was rabbit, ham and lentil broth with parsley dumpling. I shared a cheese board with Danni; and good Chilean red wine with her and Elizabeth.

The Caribbean Sea

Today was another rainswept blustery day, so I returned to my photographic archives and scanned a dozen slides from May 2004. This was the month in which Sam completed his Atlantic Row, which I have featured from time to time. During the few days waiting for him to arrive in Port St Charles, Barbados, and afterwards, I took the opportunity to roam the Island with my camera. There are many more in this set.

Jessica, Louisa, and I began our stay in an hotel some miles from the finishing point, but soon transferred to join Chris, Frances, and Fiona in one in the luxurious developing holiday playground.

This area presented a stark contrast to how the rest of the inhabitants of Barbados lived. Our hotel was surrounded by a compound patrolled by armed guards to keep out people like a coconut seller seated on the wall outside. His produce looked unappetising and he charged fairly optimistic prices.Coconut seller 5.04

Some distance away, a young woman, seated on a rugged outcrop gazing out to sea, was persuaded to rise to her feet.Young woman against spray  5.04 002Youn woman against spray 5.04 003Young woman against spray 5.04 001

map-barbados-360x270-cb1434489582Port St Charles (Speightstown on the map) lies on the Caribbean Sea to the north west of the Island. To the east storms the Atlantic ocean. The two bodies of water meet at the northern tip of the Island. Rowers need to navigate this point with precision. Too wide and the current would would carry them to Cuba, too near and they would be smashed on these rocks. The competitors rowed in pairs or solo. One of the pairs hit the rocks, and had to be rescued.

Caribbean Sea 5.04 002Caribbean Sea 5.04 005Caribbean 5.04 006Caribbean 5.04 009

These seascapes are of the more gentle Caribbean.

Much less inviting was the dark, violent, Atlantic that, on the last couple of days, swept my son so fast towards his final destination that he dropped his anchor to slow himself down in order to arrive in daylight. Not for him, Cuba or the rocks.

Late this afternoon the rain desisted and the sun put in a brief appearance.

Red hot pokers

The red hot pokers were not extinguished,

Day lilies

and raindrops glistened on day lilies,

Dahlia

dahlias,

Clematis Duchess of Albany

the clematis Duchess of Albany,

Gladiolus Priscilla

Priscilla, the gladiolus,

Rose Absolutely Fabulous

the Absolutely Fabulous rose,

and any others you care to imagine.

This evening we dined on a rack of pork ribs in barbecue sauce, and Jackie’s chicken in black bean sauce, stir fry vegetable noodles, and rice noodles, followed by rice pudding. I drank more of the cabernet sauvignon, and Jackie abstained.

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.

Exceeding The Speed Limit

Shelving fallen

Table overturnedSoffitOur home was hit by winds of forty one miles per hour throughout the night after the expected storm hit yesterday evening. Although lessening a little, they continued during the day.  Havoc was wreaked in the garden, many of Jackie’s structures being blown down, tables overturned, and two pieces of soffit from the back of the house were dislodged. I know this is not quite so unusual in other parts of the world, but for us in the UK it is a comparatively recent phenomenon.

One bonus has been the fact that I could, as usual, begin uploading photographs and posting for the day before 4.30 p.m. We were, you see, due to be without electricity from 9 a.m. this morning because of essential maintenance our supplier, Scottish and Southern Energy, intended to carry out in our area. This was cancelled because of the gale warning. As I completed this post this evening, the thumping gusts still beset the double-glazed window beside me.

Seascape 1Seascape 2WavesSeascape with crumbling footpathYoung woman crouchingFootpath crumbling

Undeterred, I determined on a clifftop walk. To this end, Jackie drove me to Milford on Sea and I took that route back. This involved battling into a headwind which definitely exceeded the speed limit in the town, and possibly on the coast road. A cord attached to my camera is meant, by being slipped around my wrist, to prevent me from dropping the device. The wind constantly blew it back over my hand to the camera and I had considerable difficulty holding on to it to take shots of The Solent as rain clouds gathered. The only other person on the spot was a young woman who crouched for her view. Even she decided she was a bit close to the edge, where the barrier to the crumbling footpath had itself been blown down. The netting can be seen in the foreground of the picture.

Realising that I would be struggling, Jackie laid in wait in a car park to offer me some respite. I gratefully entered the Modus and she drove me to West Road, from which I returned through Shorefield.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s luscious liver and bacon casserole, mashed potatoes, crisp carrots and cauliflower, followed by lemon sponge tart. She drank Peroni whilst I chose Cotes du Roussillon Villages 2013.