“Look, He’s Posing”

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This morning Jackie drove us to Lymington for me to take photographs that might be suitable for the walls of Lal Quilla restaurant. Raj had asked me for some a couple of days ago.

I began with a few featuring the building itself.

Gosport Road

The surrounding area includes Gosport Street, and

Quay Hill,

Painter Quay Hill

where the painter working on Sophie’s stopped to pass the time of day with a passer-by.

Quay Hill 1

 The King’s Head stands on the corner diagonally opposite Lal Quilla, at the point at which the High Street turns at right angles into Gosport Street. The tavern’s website tells us that

‘Despite dating back at least 300 years, many of the original features of The Kings Head can still be seen today.

The pub is known to have originally also been a bakers back in the day and even now the old bakers oven is still standing, along with the old well which is featured at the centre of the pub.

When you visit The Kings Head you will see the long-lasting beams made from Napoleonic Ships that only add to the character of this old English pub.

The pretty courtyard that we see today was previously used for fish-drying, whilst the buildings adjacent to the yard were an abattoir and fishermans house.

Despite these drastic changes over time, the inside of the pub has remained somewhat the same and the great open fire that cannot be missed is at least 300 years old.

It is these characteristics that, when you visit, make it easy to imagine the pub back in the 18th Century as a regular haunt for the smugglers and sailors that would frequent this famous sailing town.

Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you may even see one of the old regulars who used to pick up pots in exchange for ‘grog’ as he has been said to return occasionally as the pubs very own friendly ghost…’

I doubt that Raj, the manager, would want all the pictures I have produced, such as those of two alleys that can be seen from inside the restaurant, but I did need to indulge myself.

Quay Street lies at the bottom of Quay Hill. The driver who left his van at bottom right of the second picture was to be disappointed when he attempted to deliver a package to a closed shop. Winter hours in these establishments are somewhat restricted. The Boat House Café featured in the first scene is where we brunched,

People on bench

after I had wandered along the quay photographing a row of people seated on a bench;

Young woman on wall

a young woman crouching cross-legged on a concrete wall;

Shadow of young woman

and another casting a long shadow as our paths crossed.

Train crossing harbour

The train aiming for the Isle of Wight ferry traversed the harbour.

Lymington Quay 1

A pair of oriental tourists walked towards The Ship Inn,

the windows of which rippled in the water.

We drove on through the forest and found ourselves at Pilley Bailey, where, knee deep in water or autumn leaves, a group of ponies enjoyed their alfresco lunch.

Pony crossing road

One of these animals decided to cross the road. As I turned to watch it, I noticed

a trio of alpaca and dog walkers.

Alpaca walkers 4

One of the ungulates stopped still, staring in my direction. “Look, he’s posing”, cried his guide, as she strained at the leash.

Clouds on horizon

We were a little late to catch the sunset at Barton on Sea, but the bank of clouds resting on the horizon gave a differently dramatic effect.

This evening Jackie, for our dinner, produced roast chicken, mashed potato, green and runner beans, cauliflower, carrots, and ratatouille. She drank sparkling water and I drank Chateau Bonhomme Minervois 2016.

 

A Lost Shadow

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Ronan the Boilerman fitted a new thermostat to our hot water cylinder tank this morning. That means we no longer scald our hands and have to turn on the cold tap every time we want to wash them.

Jackie spent much of the day weeding and planting.

Elizabeth's bed

Once The Head Gardener had prepared it, I covered Elizabeth’s bed with compost. It took eight bags.

Brick path

The gradual burgeoning throughout the garden can be seen, for example, along the Brick Path – and, yes, Jackie has smuggled in another owl since this was las displayed –

Margery's Bed

and along Margery’s Bed, in the foreground of which a geranium palmatum has pushed its way into the light.

Tulips and pansiesTulips

We have varieties of tulip,

tulipa saxatilis lilac wonder

including tulipa saxatilis lilac wonder;

Daffodils

daffodil;

Aquilegia

and aquilegia.

Japanese maple

elegant leaves stretch their fingers out from this Japanese maple.

Pulmonaria and heuchera

Pulmonaria crops up everywhere,

Bee on pulmonaria

attracting equally hirsute bees clutching petals as they suck the nectar.

Butterfly Small White and honesty

Butterflies, like this Small White flitting from honesty to honesty, are also back,

Poppy and shadow

as are poppies, one of which, like Peter Pan, has lost its shadow.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s choice Ferndene Farm Shop chilli pork sausage casserole, mashed potato, carrots and Brussels sprouts, followed by chocolate eclairs. The Cook drank Hoegaarden, whilst I consumed more of the madiran.

Fried Egg On Toast

Today was a real scorcher. I set off for the rose garden rather early, intending simply to dig a few holes for the plants plonked yesterday. No such luck. The head gardener had already been out there for an hour. On the south side of the entrance arch had straggled two rather unattractive shrubs. Jackie had decided they had to go, and consequently cut them right back. All that was left were one thick trunk and masses of quite mature suckers. After carting her clippings to the burning pile, I set to with fork, axe, and saw, to remove them. This took quite some time, not helped by the pottery shards, CDs, plant labels, and bits of plastic and polystyrene, typical of our predecessors’ composting, that were tangled among the roots. We then boasted a clear trellis on which to plant the next climbing rose.Arch trellis

That was enough for the morning. After a short break, Jackie continued watering, and I ambled down to the corner of Roger’s field and back.

Bidens, cosmos, daisies, and lobelia

Neither of us had known bidens other than the normal yellow,

Bidens and petunias

so we are quite pleased with this unusual variety obtained from Ferndene Farm Shop.

Woodlouse in cobweb

A wayward woodlouse, suspended from a cobweb on a back drive stump, cast a static shadow.

Dappled tarmac

Strong sunlight dappled the tarmac on Downton Lane.

Snail on nettle

A congealed fried egg on nettle toast in the hedgerow revealed itself to be an over-adventurous snail.

This afternoon we planted yesterday’s floral purchases.

Rose garden planting

It is hard to credit that the two salvias, and what we hope is a pot-bound dwarf conifer, are occupying the place by the southern fence where a hidden bath stood a year ago.

Hydrangea climbing

This climbing hydrangea can tolerate the shade it will receive in the corner by the orange shed. Like our other additions it will grow bigger. The logs in the foreground are part of our insect hotel, which has been temporarily moved by Aaron, pending his last section of paving.

I watched two Wimbledon tennis matches on television. In the first, Novak Djokovic beat Bernard Tomic in straight sets. The second took much longer than anticipated, so we consumed our pasta and meatballs in a tomato based sauce, and salad, from trays on our knees, as we watched a thrilling match in which Serena Williams beat Heather Watson by taking the third set 7 – 5. A red Cotes de Bordeaux 2012 helped to mitigate my excitement. Miraculously, my shirt was unscathed.

Streets Of London

Shadow, grass, gravel

Again, the early morning sun, casting shadows across the gravel to meet grasses on the other side of the path, worked it’s magic

Peony

on the peonies;

Roses

on new rambling red roses;

Aquilegias

on rose tinted aquilegias;

Clematis Warsaw Nike

on the clematis Doctor Ruppel;

Geranium palmatum

on a somewhat nibbled geranium palmatum;

Bluebottle on frog's back

and warming the stone of a frog’s back on which a bluebottle hitched a ride.

I have mentioned before, my, as yet unpublished, Streets of London Series. From March 2004 until some time in 2008, I conducted this exercise, wandering around during breaks in my working day. The constraint I set myself was that the street signs should appear in the shots. There are many hundreds of these colour slides taken with my Olympus OM2, so I decided to embark upon scanning them. I entered the first dozen, from March to April 2004, today.

Streets of London001

From Hanover Gate, NW1 can be seen the burnished dome of Regent’s Park mosque.

Streets of London002

Warwick Place W9 stands on the corner of Warwick Avenue. The mind boggles at the van’s signage.

Streets of London003

The ubiquitous McDonald’s has an outlet on the corner of York Way N1. Perhaps Securitas is coming to collect the takings.

Streets of London004

A spindly young London Plane comes into leaf on Castellain Road W9.

Streets of London005

Maida Avenue W2 runs alongside the Little Venice stretch of the Regent’s Canal, forming a junction with Warwick Avenue which spans the bridge. The white building on our left is The Bridge House, featured in ‘Time To Go’.

Streets of London007

This corner of Gray’s Inn Road, WC1 stands diagonally opposite Kings Cross Station. The area is always clogged with traffic.

Streets of London011

The station itself stands on the corner of Euston Road and York Way, N1.

Streets of London008

The subject of the witty window cleaner sculpture in Chapel Street, NW1, scratches his head in contemplation of the task of cleaning Marks and Spencer’s glass fronted tower standing alongside Edgware Road Metropolitan Line station.

Streets of London009

From this corner of Warwick Avenue, W2, narrow boats on the Regent’s canal are visible through the railings.

Streets of London006

In Sardinia Street WC2, Angelo advertises his hairdressing, whilst thespians trip the tango.

Streets of London012

The eponymous Church Street Market runs from Edgware Road. At this far end it is joined by Penfold Street, NW8.

The sign for Gracedale Road, SW, is now many miles from Furzedown, so I have inserted it in a more appropriate post.

Margery and Paul popped in for a very welcome surprise visit, ‘to check up on’ me. This was, as usual, great fun. Paul put me right on the jackdaws I had recently incorrectly identified as hooded crows. I amended the post accordingly. Thanks, Paul.

Jackie returned home early this evening, and we dined on her superb chicken and egg jalfrezi with special fried rice. She drank Hoegaarden whist I opened another bottle of the Madiran and drank some of it.

Shanklin

It was on 3rd November last year that I featured two large format photographic prints of a holiday to Shanklin in September 1968. Today, in my trawl through my colour slides for posterity, I reached the batch from which these were extracted, and scanned a dozen.Sun on wet sand 9.68Derrick's shadow 9.68Shirley's feet  9.68

Fun on the sun-kissed sand included me plying my camera; and Shirley substituting golden granules for flip-flops. I don’t remember whether anyone tickled her feet with the feather. Judging by the amount of sand scuffed up, it is of course possible. Incidentally, I just cannot get on with that style of sandal, expected to cling to one’s feet by means of a single post planted between the big toes and those next to them. I find them most uncomfortable. And I can’t keep them on.Jackie and Michael 9.68 001Jackie and Michael 9.68 003Michael 9.68 001Michael 9.68 002

The most delight of all was, of course, taken by Jackie and Michael, doing what has to be done with bucket and spade. The expression of my buried son doesn’t really indicate distress, given that the interment was at his request. He was hamming up a bit, because the following cheeky grin is far more reflective of his mood.Jackie and Michael 9.68 002

They also had a paddle in the sea, the other side of which possibly threw shingle up onto Hordle beach, which I have photographed on numerous occasions almost half a century on.Eyes 9.68

We visited other places on the island, such a Blackgang Chine, a scary tourist attraction featuring a ghost train running past enormous eyes that peered out of the darkness.Michael 9.68 003

I’m not sure where was the model village that Michael explored.

Who would have dreamed, in those far off days that Jackie and I would one day be living just a mile away from a clear view of the Isle of Wight which we had once explored?

This evening we dined on Jackie’s luscious sausage casserole; crisp carrots, brussels, and cauliflower; and creamy mashed potato. Dessert was cherry crumble and custard. I drankChateau Clos Renon Bordeaux Superieur 2012, and Jackie didn’t.

A Slap In The Face With A Wet Fish

I don’t watch enough television to make it worth while viewing anything that is serialised, because I am bound to miss some episodes. I find it preferable to await the appearance of boxed DVD sets. Thus, those two superb HBO series, ‘The Sopranos’ and ‘The Wire’, kept me entertained whist I was recovering from my hip replacement operation at the end of 2010. I have so far missed ‘Homeland’, which is well recommended and until now, ‘Downton Abbey’. This began to be rectified yesterday evening because Becky and Ian bought Jackie the boxed set of all five series for Christmas. We watched the first episode.

Serious frost, its outlines emphasising the patterns of nature, descended upon Downton overnight.Frost on primulasFrost on heucherasFrost on bramblesFrost on leafFrost on oak leafFrost on shrubFrost on gorseFrost on gateposts Seeking to savour the spectacle I took an early walk to Hordle Cliff top and back. Downton Lane was very slippery. Ice on the pools made its own patterns. The owner of a boxer dog tottered gingerly down a slope, whilst his pet, legs splayed, the claws of its paws scratching the surface, slithered on ahead. Footprints of walkers and dogs, and deeply rutted cart tracks stood proud in frozen mud.IceFrozen footprints

I crunched my way along the more crackly than usual shingle for a while, noticing that frost clung to organic matter, like driftwood and cuttlefish, rather longer than to the colder stones. As I walked down the steps I was momentarily alarmed by a cry of ‘Scooby’. I turned around and saw a Jack Russell/Pomeranian cross, bearing the same name as Flo’s Jack Russell/Beagle. This mixture had produced an animal not weighed down by an oversized head.

Frost on shingleFrost on driftwoodFrost on cuttlefishFrost on stepsFrost on bench

Where shadows had fallen across the steps down to the beach, or the sun had not yet risen above the back of a bench on the path leading to Shorefield, the white precipitation persisted.

Shadow of building on conifer hedge

A house on Pless Road cast its sharp black shadow on the bright evergreen hedge opposite.

Flo, Becky, and wet fish

All her life Flo has fondly imagined giving someone a slap in the face with a wet fish. Imagine her delight when, Jackie having bought some smoked haddock for this evening’s dinner, Becky volunteered to precede her shower by being the recipient.

We watched three more episodes of ‘Downton Abbey’ before Jackie and Becky prepared the classic symphony in white fish dish. We are now as hooked as were the contents of the meal, the accompaniment to which was Wairu Cove sauvignon blanc 2014.

 

Fascinated By His Shadow

We use door stops in the flat. This morning I bent down to hold back the living room door so that Jackie could wheel in the coffee trolley, nutted the mock-Georgian brass handle, and cut my forehead. That, I thought, was a trick worthy of the early film-makers. I doubt I could do it on purpose.

The fierce wind howling through the trees and hurling blinding icy darts into my face as I set off for today’s walk was much more powerful than that coming off the Channel yesterday. I just about reached Minstead Hall before I decided I didn’t want the exercise that much, turned around, and retreated back to Castle Malwood Lodge.

Derrick Leicester marathon 1983

As always, when rain is that piercing, I think of the Leicester marathon in 1983. Although this photograph looks sunny enough, there was an awful squall which hit us as we turned a corner somewhere en route. Perhaps it was short-lived in reality, but it has lingered long in the memory.

After lunch I scanned another 16 black and white negatives from 1982. On the very end of a rollI found another of the line out pictures featuring on 15th January. Derrick in lineout 1982Much of the image suffers from light pollution, but I think it is amusing enough not to crop it. Here I am definitely about to leap. For those who don’t know, I’m the hairy one in the middle.

Brewery Tap chimney maintenance 1982The Brewery Tap 1982The next roll of film would have been used after October in 1982. Intrigued by the maintenance work on its chimney, I took several shots of Wandsworth’s Brewery Tap. Like so many pubs, this historic hostelry is now, having been closed in 2006, about to give way to redevelopment. I was just trying out my telephoto lens, unknowingly reproducing something for posterity.

Jessica 1982Sam & Soldier outside building 1982Soon after this, Jessica and I took Sam and Louisa out to a National Trust establishment where the rest of the film was shot. I don’t remember the location, and the only clue I can offer is contained in the elongated photo of Sam and ‘Soldier’. Should anyone recognise the corner of the building I would be grateful to hear from you.

Recently, under the auspices of Facebook, a distraught little girl was reunited with ‘Roar’, her soft lion toy. I wrote of such Transitional Objects on 29th January. Sam & Soldier 1982Well, ‘Soldier’ never came back from this trip, and Sam did not appear at all troubled. We needn’t have feared. There was, of course, no Facebook then.

Sam & shadow

It was clearly a sunny day on that occasion, for our son was fascinated by his shadow.

Whilst I was working on these negatives, I became aware of a steady drip that told me the recent leak had returned. Once again the gully on the balcony upstairs had to be cleared. Apparently the felt roofing is in a very bad state and has to be attended to.

We dined this evening at Family House Chinese restaurant where, as usual, we enjoyed a good meal in a friendly family atmosphere. Jackie drank T’Sing Tao beer and I drank the house red wine.

As we leave Totton and approach the Cadnam roundabout there is a large road sign which should make clear which turn-off you need when you approach the roundabout. What follows is no longer a problem now we know our way around. Van on A336There is however, almost always, as there was this evening, a small van bearing ladders parked right in front of and obscuring part of this notice.