Used Fireworks

All was quiet and still early this morning. Storm Eunice had passed on and the sun shone.

We began by shopping at Tesco. After half an hour the skies darkened, the wind speed rose seemingly faster than the predicted 46 m.p. h., and heavy rain steadily descended throughout our subsequent forest drive.

A team must have been on standby to carry out the amount of early clearing up that was in evidence.

A fallen tree on Silver Street had brought down a telephone line which stretched along the verge and across the road. Everyone drove over the cable on the tarmac. Open Reach engineers were in evidence throughout the day.

Broken branch debris, like this on Agars Lane and along Brockenhurst Road remained scattered.

Some fallen limbs, such as these either side of Silver Street and Brockenhurst Road had clearly traversed the thoroughfares.

On the corner of Silver Street beside the bank of snowdrops at Congleton,

lay a burgeoning branch ripped from a tree that was nowhere in sight.

Trees had fallen in South Sway Lane;

and in Mead End Road.

This fallen and sawn tree along Brockenhurst Road had already been well chewed by an ungulate, but I don’t think that is what brought it down.

These smaller branches were nearby.

As we kept our eyes open for fresh fallen trees we remembered our childhood searches for used fireworks along London streets the morning after bonfire night. Chris and I simply salivated over them as we sorted and graded the empty shells; Jackie and her sisters had scraped out powder residue and attempted to light it on the open fire.

The rain kept up into the afternoon. When I woke up after dozing with my hand on the mouse the sun shone once more and the wind had lessened, enabling me to photograph

scenes of the garden from above, showing that we had come off quite lightly really.

Today’s sunset was much more cheerful than that of yesterday, although when walking down to the back drive to find these shots I did discover

a displaced section of fallen fencing fortunately not our responsibility.

Elizabeth is experiencing a lengthy power cut so she came to our house to warm up and have dinner which consisted of more of yesterday’s with more chicken and more rice and tender green beans with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and Elizabeth and I drank Azinhaga de Ouro Reserva 2019.

Later my sister discovered that the problem would not be fixed until tomorrow. Fortunately she had brought her pyjamas just in case.

From Dawn To Dusk


The pale pastel pink and blue skies that Dawn ushered in this morning  showed a certain amount of promise. But she was only kidding. Within half an hour or so, she slid a slate canopy over our heads, and steady rain set in.


We paid a visit to Gordleton Barn where we found a new idea for our fireplace. we will ask Baz to vet it tomorrow.

Obviously I made a few more photographs of the artefacts on display.

Lichen over Avon stream

A tributary of the River Avon runs under Silver Street, the home of the barn.

Mill Race

On one side of the winding road lies Gordleton Mill, the race of which speedily rushed along.

On the other, a couple of woolly sheep snuffled among the sodden leaves.

By late afternoon, the canopy had, albeit temporarily, been retracted, enabling a fine sunset,

Isle of Wight 2

tingeing houses on the Isle of Wight, to put in an appearance over Milton on Sea.

A small group enjoyed the shoreline,

Silhouetted couple at sunset

others preferred the clifftop.

It is not unusual for Jackie to spot a potential view and sit in the car willing me to turn and see it. This was the case with this boat on the horizon. She yelled at me from her Modus. Naturally, I grabbed the opportunity. Neither of us realised that the vessel was visible approaching the sunbeams in my earlier shots.

For our dinner this evening, Jackie supplemented a second sitting of yesterday’s Chinese takeaway with shredded duck, cucumber, spring onions, and pancakes, with which I drank more of the Chilean Shiraz first opened a couple of days ago.

‘I Wouldn’t Dare’

My friend Geoff Le Pard, this time, gave me the correct location of the former Gosling home. It is actually on the corner of Woodcock Lane and Silver Street. Jackie drove me out there this morning.

Silver Thatch 1

I would imagine the gates are rather different than those Geoff would have known.

Agars Lane

Although very convenient for photographing Agars Lane, opposite, the strong sun immediately above the central gable militated against a head-on shot, so

Silver Thatch 2Silver Thatch 3

I walked down the Woodcock Lane side hoping for less glare. The very high fence is protected by the deep water-filled ditch alongside it.

Silver Thatch 4

Finally, a helpful cloud dimmed the haze at the front and I was able to take a reasonable view.

Having sight of such a splendid abode made it easy to forgive our friend for sending us on a Wild Goose Chase a couple of days ago.

This afternoon I dipped into the selection of rediscovered negatives once more. A reinforced envelope addressed to Elizabeth, containing a letter and a strip of four colour negs would have been impossible for me to identify had not the letter been dated November 2003. My sister had obviously asked, as is her wont, to borrow these treasures to ‘work on the images’. I must have ‘filed’ the package in a drawer when she returned it to me.

One of these photos, from July 2003, was hopelessly out of focus, and another was of no great interest. I scanned and worked on

Deadly nightshade fruit

the fruit of deadly nightshade pictured alongside London’s Regents Canal,

Dandelion seeds on canal water

and dandelion seeds floating on the water.

Someday I must compare with Elizabeth what we each did with them.

When, later this afternoon, I came to begin drafting this post, we lost our Broadband connection. Not only that, but all BT’s telephone lines, even including the sales number, were engaged. I may have uttered the odd expletive. And possibly some not at all odd.

There was nothing for it but to lose myself in Josephine Tey’s elegant novel, ‘Brat Farrer’. After a couple of hours or so were back on line. Having calmed down somewhat I asked Jackie to remind me that there was no point in doing anything other than sitting and waiting when this happened again. ‘I wouldn’t dare’, she said.

Jackie fetched, and we ate, a meal from Hordle Chinese Take Away this evening. We drank water.

Whilst Jackie was out, I checked the line again. All was well, except that I could not access WordPress because ‘the server was not replying’. I really was comparatively calm when I rang Apple Support after dinner. The server replied whilst I was in the Apple queue. It seems my patience had borne fruit. I left the queue and posted this.

A Family Outing And A Disappearing Act

Continuing our post-Christmas sort out, I came across a Fortnum and Mason picnic hamper from a previous Wolf and Luci Christmas present. This now contains various items of photographic interest, including some early negatives and slides.

I scanned four black and white negatives from a family trip to Richmond Park in 1962. Three of these have been published before, but scanned from rather faded prints because I had not found the negatives. Despite the fact that a considerable amount of retouching was required, I have now been able to offer more clarity. The wallet in which they were contained was labelled, telling me that I had taken these shots with my old Box Brownie camera. The format of these  images is square.

Mum, Joseph, Maureen, Auntie Jean & Vivien, Uncle Derrick, 1962

Given that I found them in a hamper, it is fortuitous that the first picture is of a picnic (complete with hamper) taken in Richmond Park. My two year old brother Joseph is here stuffing a titbit into his younger cousin Maureen’s willing mouth. Continuing clockwise around the image we have my Auntie Jean, Vivien, unfortunately chomping, Mum, and Uncle Derrick. My sister Elizabeth is largely obscured by my first wife.

Joseph and Maureen 1962 001Joseph and Maureen 1962 2

Joe gave Maureen a piggy back,

Dad and Joseph 1962

and had something to say to Dad.

I have learned through overlaps with my blogging friend Geoff Le Pard, how small a world we inhabit. Geoff grew up not far from where we now live in Hampshire, and he now lives near my childhood home in London. We have often jogged each other’s memories. In a recent post of his, he wrote of the gardening he did in his teens for Mr and Mrs Gosling who lived in a house, which he thought was called ‘Silver Thatch’ on the corner of Vaggs Lane and Silver Street, and wondered whether one day I might photograph the house.

Jackie drove me there today to investigate. Unfortunately we couldn’t find such a house.

April CottageApril Cottage and Spar garage

The only thatch on that particular spot, now featuring a mini roundabout, is actually behind the petrol station and Spar shop on the corner of Silver Street and Everton Road. It is called ‘April Cottage’. Jackie parked in Everton Road whilst I took the above two photos

VaggsLane/Silver Street corner

then walked across to photograph the Vaggs Lane corner as it is today.

I am afraid the Goslings’ house has probably disappeared. Just as Jackie had done when I walked back over to where I had left her. The Modus was nowhere to be seen. Had she done a runner?

As I stood there scratching my head she sped down Vaggs Lane from the other end, round the roundabout, and into the garage forecourt. I entered the vehicle. ‘Where were you? Didn’t you see me parked beside you?’ she asked me most calmly, and with not the slightest inkling of a screech.

Well, no. Why would I? I was concentrating on what I was doing.

My driver had considerately followed me over to the opposite corner, not seen me cross back to Everton Road and had torn up Vaggs Lane in search of me. So, what was she doing? Perhaps whoever spirited away ‘Silver Thatch’, had been having a laugh.

Gammon Steaks meal

This evening we enjoyed the second of our Hello Fresh meals. This was excellent Honey Mustard Gammon Steaks with Parsley Sauce, with which I drank equally good Solliard bordeaux 2014 given to me by Shelley and Ron; and Jackie drank Hoegaarden.