Provoking A Squabble

Overnight winds had been powerful enough to blow this planted up stone urn off its pedestal.

Early this morning Jackie drove me to our G.P. surgery at Milford on Sea to order a repeat prescription.

We were not surprised to learn on BBC News that, at 79 m.p.h., the strongest gusts in Britain had rushed through The Needles which still seemed borne on a bed of spray as we passed them. Our home is in a direct line from these rocks, and always shares their buffeting.

The foaming waves of the Solent rolled rapidly towards our coastline, flinging ragged curtains of ocean droplets skyward. A motorboat speeding across the surface, despite its rapid rate, seemed to be bobbing up and down as it appeared to be engulfed.

Gulls reflected in pools in the car parks.

Masts at the Yacht Club stood against the sky at Keyhaven, where a group of walkers of the third age passed a younger woman with a dog.

We continued along the coast road towards Hurst Spit on and around which walkers strode beneath a fretwork of cotton clouds and streaking jet trails.

As we approached the bridge over the stream we became aware of a frenzied, shrieking, squabble of seagulls. What, we wondered, had provoked this activity?

A gentleman carefully placing muzzles on his pair of Dalmatians had spotted the answer.

He wasn’t prepared to risk a conflict between his dogs and the swans being fed from the bridge.

A string of Brent geese had found their own food in a field opposite.

Outside Solent Grange a store of stone sculptures awaited installation on the so pretentious walls.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s comforting cottage pie; crunchy carrots of virus hues; tender runner beans and cabbage.

Almost Blown Away

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED.

James, of Peacock Computers, visited to examine the iMac, and took it away to restore it to working order. In anticipation of the Apple’s removal, I had scanned a set of photographic prints from May 1993 onto the Windows laptop. We had also thought the weather would be bad this afternoon and I would be able to use these to illustrate today’s post. In the event, the sun shone and the winds were high enough, at more than 50 m.p.h. to suggest a trip into the forest. The 1993 set will appear tomorrow.

Cattle on hillside

A short distance  outside East End cattle grazed on a hillside that was topped by an oak tree sporting a car tyre.

Falabella

The little falabella pony which

Ponies at poolside

sometimes joins its cousins outside St Leonard’s Grange,

Falabella pony

 

spent its time crossing from one side of the road to the other.

Ponies on road

Another just stayed in the road.

Ruin in silhouette

When we reached this point, one of the ruins of the granary was nicely silhouetted

Ruin before sunset

against the lowering sun, bestowing a sepia tone.

Pheasants

We continued along the road, intending to return for sunset. Pheasants chased each other across the lanes and the autumnal fields.

Ruin at sunset

On our return golden streaks stretched along the sky.

Skyscape

We took a diversion down Tanners Lane on our journey home. Those streaks had deepened over the Isle of Wight.

Windsurfer

The winds pressed so strongly against the car door that it felt as if it was close to a wall. Just one other vehicle was parked in front of us. Perhaps it belonged to the windsurfer

Windsurfer

who skimmed over the choppiest waves we have ever seen there,

Windsurfer

constantly changing

Windsurfer

direction, and almost blown away.

This evening we dined on Jackie;s gorgeously spicy chilli con carne, with her most savoury rice wearing an omelette jacket. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank Mendoza Parra Alta malbec 2016.

 

Pig On The Road

CLICK ON SMALLER IMAGES TO ACCESS RELEVANT GALLERIES

Hoping for the cloud to clear we drove out to the north of the forest late this afternoon.

pony and rider

Between Sway and Brockenhurst a woman rode a New Forest pony. This can only be managed after skillful ‘backing’ or breaking in.

Her steed carried her past a gathering of diminutive  Shetland or ‘Thelwell’ ponies, ignoring both me and the hair in their eyes as they foraged away.

Along Roger Penny Way we learned that pannage continues, as pigs scampered speedily along the verges

and across the road, snouts searching out mast.

Pony

Further along, a group of normal sized ponies grazed on a golf green, as a player prepared his putt. By the time Jackie had parked and I had walked back, a pair of brandished clubs had shooed off the interlopers who satisfied themselves with the roadside where they blended with the golden brown bracken.

Skyscape

We enjoyed dramatic skies across the moors. Blue skies peeped out from lighter clouds, and beams of sunlight pierced the darker ones.

Cattle led by farmer

At Godshill a farmer, carrying a bucket, led his little herd of cattle along the roadside;

Cow running

a deep bellowing emanated from one straggler who broke into a surprisingly spritely sprint, lest it might miss out on whatever was in the container;

Cow and calf

and a cow and calf had managed to find themselves on the wrong side of the road.

By the time we reached Abbots Well the landscape, and the cattle therein, basked in warm late sunlight;

Sunset

the skies on our return home added gold and magenta hues to the darkening slate.

This evening we dined on salmon and smoked haddock fish pie studded with prawns; crunchy carrots and broccoli; and fried leeks and spinach. We both drank Louis de Camponac sauvignon blanc 2015.

Mah Jongg

Dawn

Today’s fine weather lived up to the promise of the dawn skies on Christchurch Road.

Yvonne’s recent post in Hello World, prompted me to an exchange about the Lincoln imp, about which the Lincoln Cathedral website has this to say:

‘A HISTORY OF THE LINCOLN IMP

Posted on December 16th, 2011 | 

TODAY THE LINCOLN IMP SITS CROSS-LEGGED ON A PILLAR IN THE CATHEDRAL’S ANGEL CHOIR FOR ALL TO SEE.

Tales of how he came to be perched there have emerged over time. There are several versions of the story however all of them share the same basic plot: Satan sent the imp to Lincoln Cathedral to could cause trouble. The imp carried out his orders, and began destroying the Angel Choir. When an angel appeared to prevent him causing further mayhem, the imp jumped up onto the pillar and threw rocks at the angel. In order to put a stop to his mischievousness, the angel turned the little imp to stone.

Some versions of the imp story date to the 14th century and are contemporary with the construction of the Angel Choir. The presence of the imp in the Cathedral acts as a moral symbol and is a constant reminder that ultimately good will triumph over evil.

Lincoln’s imp is a well known emblem of the Cathedral and the city, to the extent it has been adopted as the symbol of Lincoln and by the 1930s was established as the nickname of the local football club. The imp began a commercial life in the late 19th century, when local jewellers James Usher and Son began advertising a range of ‘charming and very appropriate souvenirs of Lincoln’ featuring the imp. Lincoln imp merchandise is still available today in the Cathedral’s shop.

Recently Lincoln Cathedral received a surprise when a carved wooden replica of the famous imp was received through the post – all the way from Western Australia! To add to the mystery, the letter accompanying the imp was tantalisingly brief, stating that it was being returned as its custodian had died and that it was removed on behalf of the cathedral during one of the wars. Experts in the Cathedral’s Works Department believe the imp is a Victorian copy and is at least 100 years old. The Young Journalists from Monks Abbey Junior School are due to investigate the mystery of the wandering imp, and their report will be online soon as a Highlight of the Week.’

My regular readers will know that, for 20 years, I set cryptic crosswords under the pseudonym ‘Mordred’. One of the most complex appeared in the Crossword magazine Number 284 of December 2001.

Up to Mischief

The preambles and clues of this reproduction can be ignored by most of you. The final result spells out who has been ‘Up to Mischief’, and his current location.

Becky spoke this morning about a Mah Jongg game of mine that she remembered playing with in Soho with Jessica in the 1970s. She wondered what had happened to it. As she is now playing the game on line, and really appreciated the quality of this set I was pleased to give it to her.

Mah Jongg 1970s

The small photograph inset under the glass of the table in this picture is of a very young Flo, playing Mary at her infant school.

Skyscape

We all lunched at a packed Beachcomber cafe in Barton on Sea, where the pink sky was returning. Ian walked there, and Becky drove the rest of us.

Once more we dined on Jackie’s delicious Christmas curries and parathas; and Becky’s savoury rice. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank El Sotillo Spanish red wine. Becky’s choice was Toro Loco rose 2014, and Ian’s Grolsch.

Flytipping In Honeylake Wood

Vince, a heating engineer had visited a few days ago to overhaul our oil fired system that has never adequately functioned upstairs since we have been here. He got it going properly for the first time, but discovered that a hose had not been fitted to the boiler, a part of which was not functioning anyway. Today he came to fit the offending item.

Jackie drove off to Mat and Tess’s and I stayed in for Vince.

This afternoon I booked the Modus in for an M.O.T. test and walked on through the woods repeating the trip I had taken recently with Giles, who informed me that our local wood rejoices in the name of Honeylake Wood.

Skyscape 2

Even in the slight breeze and the shelter of the cooler trees I had no need of a jacket. Fiercer winds have left their impact on the lie of the oaks.

Wood entrance 1

Wood entrance 2From the beckoning entrance at the far side of the field on Christchurch Road,

Footpath to bridgeStreamthe woodland drops in a gentle incline to the stream,

then climbs to level off before reaching the road to Milford on Sea.

Footpath 1Footpath 2Pines and ferns

There is just one public footpath. The others are marked private.

The occasional startled pheasant squawked, rose from a covert, and lumbered, chuntering, off; a few feet in the air. Despite their slowness, I didn’t manage to catch one.

Flytipping

A pile of builder’s rubbish that had been left in the undergrowth when Giles and I passed this way has been tidied and moved to the side of the vehicle-wide path, no doubt for subsequent removal.

Having enjoyed a plentiful chicken and ham pie, corned beef, and salad lunch, I dined on egg and bacon sandwiches.

Touches Of Gothic

Ripped by a fierce cold wind pines creaked against fencing as, taking the Shorefield section first, I reversed my Hordle Cliff top walk. With howling gusts forcing me backwards, turbulent waves crashing against the shingle, and swirling clouds looming overhead, there was a Skyscapetruly Gothic feel over The Solent. One only had to imagine the light came from a midnight moon to fancy one had stumbled into a Hammer film set.

Soon after midday we arrived at Shelley and Ron’s for the annual laying of a wreath on the ashes plot of the mother of Jackie, Helen, and Shelley featured in yesterday’s post. After the trip to the Walkford Woodland Burial Ground, we all, together with the two brothers in law, enjoyed a delicious meal cooked by Shelley, with various red and white wines. Leak and potato soup was followed by a wonderful chicken casserole, potatoes, and vegetables. Then came a suitably tangy lemon meringue pie, coffee and mints.

A game of Trivial Pursuit took us into the evening, and further enjoyable conversation.

Christmas treeChristmas tree through stained glassBeautiful as are many of the unusual trees in the garden, a number have been misplaced, causing a certain amount of overcrowding. An example is an interesting fir plonked in the front garden perhaps two metres from the house. At this time of the year there is only one use for it. Jackie has festooned it with white lights, which, when viewed through a piece of Giles’s stained glass present glowing colours. This treasured artwork is based upon my initials, DJK, in Gothic script.

The Uses Of Enchantment

200px-Three_little_pigs_1904_straw_houseThe gales are back in force. As the wind howled and the rain lashed at our window panes, tearing down the wisteria outside the kitchen door, I felt like a little pig. One of three, that is. Fortunately in a house made of brick. Had it been of straw we would have woken up exposed to the elements. I refer, of course, to the fairy tale featuring a big bad wolf who huffed and puffed and blew down two of the houses, built of insubstantial materials, with disastrous consequences for the piglets. The wiser, better prepared, porker survived. Other versions have the third brother rescuing his siblings. Either way, it is an entertaining fable, which has given generations of children scary delight.

Not everyone today would agree that this, like many other such tales, is a suitable story for young children. I cannot now remember whether this one featured in Bruno Bettelheim’s 1976 book, ‘The Uses of Enchantment: The Meaning and Importance of Fairy Tales’. ‘Little Red Riding Hood’, also featuring a frightening wolf certainly did. All children have fearful fantasies that they need to come to terms with in a safe atmosphere and environment. Bettelheim’s thesis is that folk tales featuring death, destruction, witches and injury, help children to do so. I have more than once referred to the Brothers Grimm’s ‘Hansel and Gretel’, which some people, as with much of this duo’s work, consider too dark. I am, however, in agreement with Bettelheim.

Heinrich Hoffman, for me, is another matter. His ‘Struwwelpeter’, of 1845, at one time the most prolifically published children’s book in the world, is aimed at scaring infants into behaving themselves. StruwwelpeterThe cover of my 1909 copy of Routledge’s English translation illustrates what happens to Little Suck-a-Thumb. There is no possibility of redemption in these cautionary tales – just horrific punishment. Contrast this with what must be Wild Thing illustrationuniversally the most popular children’s book of today, Maurice Sendak’s ‘Where The Wild Things Are’ from 1963. Max, punished for ill-treating the family dog is banished to his room, indulges his fantasies, and is finally forgiven by his mother. It is one thing, although not good, for a child to wave a fork to frighten a dog, quite another for an adult to snip off thumbs.

Nasturtium leavesBy mid-afternoon everything had calmed down and I could cease my internal rambling and walk the Hordle Cliff top route in reverse. Water bubbles balanced on nasturtium leaves sparkled in the sunlight.

When we arrived at Downton at the beginning of April a flood around a manhole cover on a bend a short distance from our back drive was being pumped out. Today the lake is back. FloodThe flood warning sign has lain in the hedgerow all summer. I fished it out and leant it against a tree. Without this warning the car in the picture would have rushed through the water the driver would not have seen on the blind bend, and given me a cold shower. Pool reflecting skiesOther pools reflected the skies at regular intervals.

Broken umbrellaThe skeleton of an umbrella no longer fit for purpose lay abandoned in a bus shelter that has also seen better days.Skyscape with dog walkers

Even the dogs on the cliff path showed no interest in descending to the shingle below.

This evening’s dinner consisted of rack of pork ribs marinaded in chilli sauce, served with pilau rice and green beans, followed by ginger pudding and custard. Unless you are of a certain age you will not remember the runner beans that, by the time they reached the greengrocer’s, had tough skins with strong cords running down the sides. If you do remember, you may have helped your mother top and tail them, deftly stripping off the stringy bits. Now, the young vegetables reach the supermarkets in tender condition and you just toss them into the boiling water or the steamer. With our meal Jackie finished the Pedro Jimenez, and I began the Rawnsley Estate shiraz grenach mourvedre 2012. Incidentally, it was competition from the Australians that forced the French to name the grapes on their wine labels.