Missing Some Of The Action

This morning I read more of Emil Zola’s “Nana”, and this afternoon,

photographed by Becky, I watched the Six Nations rugby match between Ireland and Italy. I may have missed some of the action.

This evening we all dined on Jackie’s succulent chicken and ham pie; boiled potatoes; firm broccoli, and crunchy carrots, with which she drank more of the rosé and I drank Montaria red vinho regional Lisboa 2022.

Becky added an egg to Jackie’s decoration and made the first of these two photographs.

“You Have To Get The Ball Over That Line By Throwing It Backwards”

Here is the post I didn’t have time for yesterday, featuring the Six Nations rugby match between Wales and Ireland.

The primary aim of a game of rugby is to score as many tries as possible by

grounding the ball on the opposite side of the opponents’ goal line.

The try notches up 5 points. Afterwards the best place kicker has the opportunity to convert this to 7 by kicking the ball over the bar and between the goal posts.

The referee, in the white shirt is there to ensure fair play, to interpret the rules, and to make decisions about points scoring.

We now, with the benefit of technology, have the Television Match Official who, having access to replays, has the task, at his request, of aiding the on field referee.

The grounding must be controlled and the feet inside the touchline. The score above was legitimate.

The ball carrier may be tackled by an opposition player. There are strict rules about the execution of this.

One of the consequences of an infringement is the set scrum. This is where two packs of forwards, each weighing in total 850/950 kilos, shove against each other to gain mastery and possession of the ball which is tossed into the middle by the scrum half, seen in green in the first picture, and red in the second. This can eat up 5 minutes of playing time.

Loose scrums. rucks, and, mauls result in less choreographed tussles.

These pieces, with or without the intervention of the referee, are followed by a lining up of the three quarter backs, one of whom will pass the ball along while the opposition attempt to dispossess them. It was this passing process that in 1965 prompted my late brother Chris, accompanying Jackie on her first time of watching me play, to utter the memorable one line explanation; “You have to get the ball over that line by throwing it backwards.” Although players may kick the ball ahead, a forward pass is not allowed.

Medical assistance is essentially on hand. This player struggled on fo a while before having to leave the field.

This one, captain Jonathon Sexton, had no choice. Despite his reluctance he had to go off for a compulsory Head Injury Assessment.

Earlier, he was the first of the faces I pictured in this gallery. His opposing captain, facing him, sporting a black eye, has plaster on his ear.

The masked supporters could not show theirs.

This scene reminded me of the season in which I lost three contact lenses in a fortnight. I then gave them up on the grounds that there is a limit to the number of times one can have 30 men in rugby kit crawling around in the mud in search of them.

Primroses For Tootlepedal

This morning I watched most of the second day’s play of the current cricket Test Match between England and Indian Channel 4. During the afternoon and early evening it was the turn of ITV’s coverage of the Six Nations rugby internationals between Italy and France; and between England and Scotland.

I am so grateful to my blogging friend Tootlepedal for tactfully pointing out an error in yesterday’s original title by letting me know that he could not find any primroses that it seemed the decent thing to do would be to nip out into the garden between sporting binges and

find some to redress the lack. They are a bit manky, but at least they are survivors.

After the rugby I scanned three more of Charles Keeping’s illustrations to ‘Little Dorrit’

‘Gowan seized the dog with both hands by the collar’.

The different natures of the two sisters were clearly pictured by the artist in ‘Fanny was so very much amused by the misgivings, that she took up her favourite fan’.

‘The Dowager Mrs Gowan drove up, in the Hampton Court equipage’.

This evening we dined on succulent baked bacon; piquant cauliflower cheese; creamy mashed potatoes; crunchy carrots, and tender cabbage, with which Jackie drank more of the Sauvignon Blanc and I drank more of the Macon.




Donna and Neil hosted a housewarming event in their lovely new house in Westmoors. A certain amount of necessary segregation took place in their extensive living room. The ladies, Donna, Shelly, Helen, Daphne, Ron’s sister Jackie, and my Jackie sat round the table beside the garden window, while Neil, Ron, Malcolm, and I watched the rugby. Bill, who was unwell, was sadly missed.

We were generously plied with and array of sandwiches, dips, and cakes; beer and wines. As Donna said “watching rugby requires a great deal of concentration”.

First we watched the match between England and Ireland on ITV.

We then switched to BBC for the Wales/France match. I was pleased to be able to provide a profile portrait of Leigh Halfpenny for my wife. He is not the one with the dreadlocks – that is the formidable 20 stone French captain, Mathieu Bastareaud.

A Bunch Of Daffs


Before settling down to an afternoon of vicarious rugby on the television, I wandered round the garden and picked a virtual bunch of varieties of daffodil.

Here it is.

The Six Nations rugby matches were Scotland v. Italy at Murrayfield; France v. Wales in Paris televised by BBC; and finally Ireland v. England in Dublin on ITV.

As is my normal practice, I won’t reveal the results of these games, but I cannot remain totally silent about the second match, certainly the longest and most bizarre I have ever seen. A rugby match lasts 80 minutes. In certain situations it may continue until a natural stoppage after full time. This would normally be no more than 2 or 3 minutes. The first 79 minutes of this contest were most unmemorable. There then followed 21 further minutes, including struggles a few metres from one try line, a certain number of offences, a sending off, some replacements, and perhaps a cheeky bit of cheating involving a team doctor. That will probably never be forgotten.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy pasta arrabiata with mange toutes and rocket salad, followed by tiramisu. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and I abstained because I had drunk a bottle of Doom Bar whilst watching the rugby.

On The Beach (2)


Darting pin points of fleeting snow given added impetus by biting winds crossing Christchurch Bay failed to deter family out to enjoy fun on the sand, despite this morning’s gloom necessitating the use of car headlights.

For the first time this year my fingers tingled painfully as I plied my camera while Jackie snuggled up in the car with her puzzle book. The precipitation did not settle.


Children brought their own transport into play, in the form of smart scooters

Cycling child

and a wobbly bicycle.

Woman on mobile phone

Judging by the gesticulation displayed in the twist of her free hand, one young woman was engaged in an animated mobile conversation.

Child walking on wall

A little girl put the sea wall to the use for which it was intended.

Dogs frolicked with or without their owners,

Dogs meeting on beach

and made welcome new acquaintances.

A photographer operated on the roaring waves with the use of a tripod and an extension cable.

He wasn’t so concerned with the two ferry boats coming into harbour, bearing a few intrepid passengers.

Crow on beach

A crow on the sand watched the incoming waves,

Bobbin on beach

and a stranded cotton reel had once been bobbin’ on the tide.

On this second weekend of the Six Nations rugby tournament, I watched first ITV’s coverage of the game between Italy and Ireland in Rome, followed by Wales v. England on BBC in Cardiff. The first game was far too one-side to enthrall; the second one of the most thrilling I have ever seen.

Our dinner this evening (look away, Yvonne) consisted of Jackie’s hearty liver and bacon casserole, served with boiled potatoes, carrots, and curly kale. This was followed by Sicilian lemon tart and cream. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, my choice was Cimerosa Reserva Privada cabernet sauvignon 2015.

Start Of The Six Nations


Today I watched Six Nations Rugby.

The first game, between Scotland and Ireland was played at Murrayfield, and broadcast by BBC. Pundits, like Jeremy Guscott and John Inverdale and spectators, such as James Nesbitt, are important participants.

After this, ITV broadcast the match between England and France held at Twickenham. The pundits in this batch of photographs are Johnny Wilkinson, Brian O’Driscoll, and Sir Clive Woodward.

This evening we dined on succulent roast lamb with mint sauce; creamy mashed potatoes; and crisp carrots and broccoli, with which I finished the bottle of Doom Bar that had accompanied my afternoon’s viewing.

A Little Tart


This morning the brilliant neck of the pheasant, joining the pigeons and doves scavenging for scraps from the smaller birds’ breakfast table, occasionally emerged from the pieris camouflage and peered expectantly awaiting the next morsel to be dropped.

After our coffee I scanned some more colour slides from 1971. The photographs were all taken in the garden at 76 Amity Grove.Jackie 4.71 002

Jackie 4.71 003

In April Jackie had borrowed my Old Wimbledonians rugby jersey. There was quite a strong  body of opinion that suggested she looked better in it than I did.Michael, Shaun, Jamie & Jay 5.71 001

By May, blossom was clothing the apple tree that featured in ‘Becky’s Book’. Michael and his friends Shaun, Jay, and Jamie, turned it into a tented house which they reached by scaling a ladder. I don’t imagine they all four managed to sit on the seat together.Becky 8.71 006

Becky 8.71 002Becky 8.71 004Becky 8.71 005Becky 8.71 007Becky 8.71 008

Fruit had been produced by August. From the expressions on Becky’s face she may have found her first apple a little tart.Michael & Beccy 8.71 copy

The marguerites were past their best, but Michael had found smaller daisies, and dandelions, thriving. Becky’s pink plastic one needed no nurturing.

This, the last day of the Six Nations Rugby Tournament, was the most thrilling of my lifetime. I watched all three matches on television. The championship was wide open, three teams being in a position to win it, and if they all won their contests today, it would be decided on points difference. This meant we were treated to three open games where the teams were all aiming to score as many points as possible. The three sides were Wales, Ireland, and England. Wales beat Italy in Rome 61-20; then Ireland beat Scotland at Murrayfield 40-10. I won’t bore you with the match, but this meant that England, in the final match, at Twickenham, needed to beat France by 26 points. England won the game 55-35. Ireland won the championship.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s luscious lamb jalfrezi, egg fried rice, and vegetable samosas, followed by rice pudding. Her choice of accompanying beverage was T’Sing Tao; mine was Kingfisher.


Desk untidy

This morning was spent making up for procrastination in various ways. My desk sits in the hall that doubles as a study. Despite the fact that I know where everything is, it does become a little untidy. Jackie never complains, but I know she would rather visitors saw some sort of order when they entered the house.

DowelBefore moving some of the material from on and under the desk into the hall cupboard this required a little repair. The door of the Chinese cabinet is hinged with wooden dowels, one of which was broken in the move to Minstead in November 2012. The damaged piece needed to be drilled out to make room for a replacement which Jackie had bought soon after our arrival at Castle Malwood Lodge. I thought I had better get around to that, and fixed it before tidying up the desk. When they were children, Matthew and Becky bought me the slate coasters that are now visible and can serve their proper purpose instead of delegating that to any bit of paper or blotter that could be reached.Desk tidiedDesk after cleaning

It looked even better after Jackie had got at it, made a few adjustments, and cleaned the computer screen.

For a while we have been meaning to check the contents of the oil tank. I did that. It was a bit low, but not crucially so. A similar task was arranging the next emptying of the septic tank. I did that by e-mail.

It must be four or five months since I last had a haircut. Again, we have been saying for some time that I needed one, especially as anyone might think I was trying to recover my long haired days, which would probably be a bit sad. Jackie did it in the kitchen this morning whilst I sat and watched tits, robins, chaffinches, pigeons, and sparrows flitting past the window and enjoying their breakfast.

Derrick reflected in computer screen

When asked to photograph her handiwork for the blog, Jackie had the bright idea that I should repeat my previous unwitting image of a good haircut, so I photographed my nice clean Apple screen.

It was another Six Nations Rugby afternoon. I watched it on television. In the first, quite the best game of the tournament so far, Wales, in Cardiff, beat Ireland 23-16. In a rather less intriguing contest at Twickenham England beat Scotland 25-13.Aaron

Aaron continued his work on the back drive, which is looking very good.

This evening we dined on pork rib rack marinaded in barbecue sauce, and Jackie’s egg fried rice and stir fry vegetables with teriyaki sauce. I drank Chateau Les Mourleaux Bordeaux 2012, and Jackie didn’t.

Inside The Deserted House

Jackie has provided me with updated information on the deserted house mentioned yesterday. Here it is:  ‘Having driven fairly regularly past this house over the years, I can report that altho’ it has lost some of it’s character, it still exists, and houses on this prestigious Surrey village green cost an absolute fortune (close to £1,000000!). It was a distant village in 1968, but with rail and road connections so improved, it is now considered to be within working distance of London so commands premium prices. It is a shame really as the whole village is now full of very rich people and does not have the character of the 1968 village we knew. Even the wonderful village store, that sold everything (even leather boot laces for farmers’ boots) has been converted into a very posh dwelling.’

Today I felt much better from the virus, but still stayed indoors and scanned fifteen more of the honeymoon colour slides from March 1968. Here are some from inside the derelict house, with its riddled roofs, gaping windows, and bare boards:

Inside deserted house 3.68 01Inside deserted house 3.68 2

Jackie's shadow 3.68

Newspapers and shoes inside deserted house

In ‘Tales From The Window Sills‘, I speculate about the ownership of the shoes and newspaper left in the corner of one room.The Kings Arms sign 3.68

The Kings Arms Hotel is where Jackie and I spent our four days.

This afternoon’s Six Nations rugby match on television was between Scotland and Wales at Murrayfield. This, the most engaging match of the weekend, resulted in a 26-23 victory for Wales.

Jackie found the energy to do three weeks’ ironing, and cook a roast dinner. Even I managed to press four shirts.

The said dinner consisted of roast pork, potatoes, and parsnips; and boiled carrots and cauliflower. Egg custard was for dessert. I drank a little via di Cavallo chianti 2012.