The Last Half Hour

An exchange of comments with another blogger this morning took me back to ‘Child Labour’ from 14th January 2014.

Later, I added some material from ‘Anticipating The Shot (2)’  and from ‘One Life Cut Short, Another  Changed Forever’ to the draft of ‘A Knight’s Tale’.

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Our crab apple trees have lost almost all their leaves. Their enticing fruit has still not tempted the blackbirds.

This afternoon Jackie drove me to Sears Barbers where Kelly cut my hair. Peter is recovering from his knee replacement operation. After this we continued along the coast to Barton on Sea where

we enjoyed watching the skies, walkers, and the sea, during the last half hour leading to a somewhat subdued sunset. Most pedestrians and their dogs remained on the clifftop; one man gazed at the waves down below; Another in a wetsuit even breasted the turbulent waters (he was too far away for my lens). A jet plane’s perspective gave the impression that it was heading down to the waves beneath. I was not the only photographer focussed on the golden orb.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s tender peri peri chicken in a lemon marinade; creamy mashed potato; sautéed mushrooms, onions and peppers; carrots and green beans with which I drank more of the Merlot. We saved some for Elizabeth who will be home later.

P.S. In response to Sandra’s comment below, Jackie has produced her annotated version of the BBC Good Food recipe for Pumpkin Pie

We Didn’t Chat For Long

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This morning Aaron, of AP Maintenance, tackled the storm damage. He replaced the back drive barrier plants; repaired Jackie’s screen covering the five barred fence; gathered up fallen branches; and tidied up the cypress,

Cypress

which now looks like this.

Sending wood-chips flying from his chain saw, our friend began by cutting up the branches stretching down to the ground.

Aaron had not brought his ladder with him. He opted to climb the tree rather than go home for it.

Anyone of a nervous disposition may prefer to look away from his exploits up aloft, as he showered me with wood shavings.

This afternoon, Jackie drove us to Lepe beach and back.

The skies there already promised a good sunset.

Photographer and dog

I was apparently not the only photographer who thought so.

 

So crowded was this popular beach that we almost gave up finding a spot in the packed car park, until, as we bounced over the numerous potholes to leave, another vehicle rocked its way out in front of us. Jackie was then able to stay in the warmth of the vehicle whilst I stepped out with my camera.

Many wrapped up families walked and played along the sandy shingle. At water level in the last of this group of pictures is The Watch House, with the Coastguard Cottages on the hill above.

Mother and child

A little girl, not much bigger than her younger charge, staggered over to their mother carrying the distressed infant who had fallen. Maternal solace was then administered.

Another mother instructed her daughter in the art of chucking stones in the water.

A small boy enjoyed throwing up spadefuls of sand, before trotting off to the shoreline and inspecting

the whipped cream sweeping in from the sea.

Leaving Lepe, Inchmery Lane snakes alongside the seashore where, visible through twisted branches, slug-like dunes rose from lingering pools.

We reached Tanners Lane in time for sunset.

As we departed for home, we were delighted to meet Barry and Karen who had just arrived to walk their dogs on the shingle. It was now so cold that we didn’t chat for long.

This evening we dined at Milford on Sea’s Smugglers Inn. We both enjoyed our meals. Mine was rump of lamb with minty mashed potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, and red and green cabbage; Jackie’s was spaghetti carbonara.  I drank Doom Bar and my wife drank Amstel.

Ever-Changing Skies

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Our friend Geoff Le Pard had asked, in his comment on yesterday’s post, whether the field at Longslade Bottom had flooded as it had in his youth.

South Sway Lane

Jackie therefore, via South Sway Lane, drove us out to investigate.

The area, well mowed by resident ponies, simply hosted a few paltry  pools. It was frequented by dog walkers, rooks, and the occasional gull.

Trees and figures were silhouetted against the sky.

Gravelled slopes led up, either side of the old railway bridge, to the line that is now a footpath.

Footpath

Another path led under the bridge.

Autumn leaves

Autumn leaves still clung to the shrubbery.

On our way home the skies various shades of bright blue and indigo were constantly changing; the virtual black and white over Horseshoe Bottom giving way to a rainbow crossing telephone wires above Brockenhurst,

Skyscape over Hatchet Pond

and golden tinges over Hatchet Pond.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s perfect paprika pork with wild rice and green beans. The Culinary Queen drank sparkling water, and I finished the Arbois.

Hatchet Pond

This afternoon Jackie drove us to Beaulieu and back. We began at Hatchet Pond, so named because of its shape.

Hatchet Pond 1

Skyscape 1

These first two photographs of and over Hatchet Pond have received no editing.

Skyscape 3

An about turn produced this one.

Pool

Pool 2

The recent, now ceased, rains have distributed various pools nearby.

Donkey

Wandering donkeys did what donkeys do: chomped on thistles,

Donkeys being tempted

and prevented a driver from opening his boot to release his dappled collie. A certain amount of persuasion was required to allow the dog its freedom.

Hatchet Pond, Becky, Ian and Scooby

Becky and Ian took Scooby for a walk along the waterlogged track around the pond.

Becky and swan

Swans

On her return Becky’s bag of poop scoop attracted the attention of a pair of swans who lurched along to engage her in conversation. Or perhaps they were just having a hissy-fit.

Swan

Each of these birds was tagged.

Beech in landscape

This birch, stripped of it leaves, embellished one skycape.

Skyscape with geese

Others were enhanced by geese,

Skyscape with gull

or gulls.

Beaulieu Abbey

Beaulieu Abbey was nicely silhouetted.

Terraced housing

In the village’s main street are a number of interesting terraces with long chimneys;

Herringbone brickwork

one group of dwellings has fascinating herringbone brickwork.

We payed a visit Steff’s Kitchen in Fairweather’s Garden Centre, where the others enjoyed superb flapjacks and cappuccino’s. My salad lunch had rendered me incapable, but I kept them company.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s scrumptious cottage pie, mashed carrots and swede, crisp cauliflower, and green beans.

P.S. See my reply below to Timi at Lively Twist. She has pointed out a disgraceful omission 🙂

Out Of The Dark

On another unseasonably mild day, I wandered around the garden with my camera, picking

Allium

allium,

Daffodil

daffodil,

Camellia 1Camellia 2

camellias,

Viburnum rhytidophyllum

viburnum rhytidophyllum,

Periwinkle

periwinkle,

Bergenia

and bergenia.

This afternoon we drove through the forest to Burley. On the way we stopped at a New Forest car park for a short walk with Scooby.

Ponies always gather round the parked cars because there is always a reasonable chance of hands offering titbits on the ends of arms extended from open windows. So it was today, until a family turned the tables and advanced on the ponies in great excitement.

Family tracking ponies 1Family tracking ponies 2Ponies leaving

It wasn’t long before the animals turned tail,

Ponies in landscape

only to return to their habitual patch of heathland when the coast was clear.

Gorse bush, man, and boy

A track, up which various walkers clambered, led down to a valley below.

Skyscape with poniesSkyscape with poolSkyscape with tree

Still an hour away from sunset, we were treated to some interesting skyscapes.

It was not yet 4.00 p.m. by the time we arrived in Burley, but the targeted tea rooms were closed. We therefore sought refreshment in the Burley Inn. Mine was a pint of Flack’s Double Drop.

Still not 5.00 p.m., we returned home in the dark. As we left the village and entered the less than broad, unlit roads across the forest, a stream of traffic approaching on our right, Jackie hit the brakes. Out of the dark, a black and grey pony appeared, in the Modus’s dipped headlights, ambling straight towards me on the passenger side. My chauffeuse barely had room to swerve around the beast to slip between that and the oncoming traffic.

Becky, two cars behind, was treated to a similar experience. This was our closest encounter yet.

This evening, Jackie, for our dinner, produced tender roast lamb, roast parsnips, Yorkshire pudding, stuffing, perfect carrots and Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower cheese. Apple crumble would have followed had anyone left enough room for it. Becky and Ian drank rose and I finished the El Sotillo.

Weak Salmon Skies

This morning I pasted the South End section into the garden album and printed the Patio set of photographs.

This afternoon I had another needle stuck into my arm. So did Jackie. These were our flu vaccinations at the GP surgery. So efficient was the service that appointments were one minute apart. At reception we were  given a red sign reading FLU. As we approached the woman at the far end of the waiting area who told us to roll up our sleeves, I felt like a mediaeval leper wearing his ‘unclean’ label.

Ushered in on the conveyor belt, Jackie and I were allowed into the torture chamber together, and pricked in quick succession. It was all very jolly.

It was now barely twenty minutes to the early sunset. Jackie drove us along the clifftop to Barton on Sea, where I disembarked and wandered about photographing the weak pastel salmon shades of the sea and skies. The wind was still, and the temperature mild, enough for me to be wearing an unbuttoned jacket.

Sea view 1

Sea view 2                                                                                                                                       These first two views tell the story of the gradually collapsing coastline. The recent falls in the foreground display the stones still to fall, and the terraces down to the coast, bearing plenty of greenery, show the different levels that have collapsed earlier. As always, clicking on these images will show more detail. The Isle of Wight is on the first horizon. The other looks across its eponymous bay towards Christchurch.

Sea and sky

Sea, sky and clifftop                                 The next two pictures have similar orientations.

Tree and sky

This tree has bent to stronger winds than those of today.

Sky over static caravans

Clouds, sea and clifftopThe concrete path on the land of the Hoburne Naish static caravan site in the foreground of this picture, comes to an abrupt end where it collapsed into the sea.

Walkers

Down below, a trio of walkers strode along the water’s edge.

After this, we drove on to Highcliffe with a bag of work for Highcliffe Watchmakers. Two items, being clocks, were ruled out immediately. The very obliging craftsman didn’t ‘do clocks’, but he knew man who did. His diagnosis on my Tissot watch was that the winder needed a tweak. This did the trick. He then replaced the strap, and inserted a new battery into Jackie’s watch. All he charged was the cost prices of the strap and the battery. Nothing for telling me there was nothing wrong with my watch.

We went on to Sainsbury’s outside Christchurch where we bought some baby clothes.

Our dinner this evening consisted of Jackie’s delicious lamb jalfrezi, onion bhajis, and naan. I drank Old Crafty Hen.

A Loony

Dawn skies 1Dawn skies 2Dawn skies 3Dawn skies 4

I couldn’t resist nipping out this morning to photograph the dawn skies. When Jackie opened the bedroom curtains she saw what she later described as ‘this loony standing in the middle of the road in his dressing gown and slippers. He must have been freezing’. The first two pictures above are looking down Christchurch Road at the front of the house. The others are from the back garden.

The wind was eerily still after several weeks raging.

Rose ballerina

Even the Ballerina just outside the rose garden held a motionless pose.

Pelargonium

Sub-Zero temperatures overnight have not killed off the pelargoniums, although some are looking a little crinkly at the edges;

Geranium palmatum

and their hardier relatives, geranium palmatums having been fooled, by the earlier temperate weather, into a fresh flush of flowers, remain resilient.

Griselinia hedge

This morning, Aaron and Robin completed the pruning of the griselinia hedge,

Sawn beech trunk

then cut down a self-seeded beech tree that was threatening our neighbour’s fence. In cutting inserts for rain, Aaron had a stab at engraving his own initials.

Here is the link to my posting on http://livelytwist.com/2015/11/22/shifting-gears-3/ today.

I pasted the recycling section into the garden album, and printed up the next section.

This evening we dined on chicken and bacon pasta bake, cauliflower, carrots, and green beans, followed by Post House Pud. My choices of filling for the meringue nest were lemon cheesecake and vanilla and toffee ice cream. In case you are wondering, that wasn’t a great mix. I drank Bardolino classico 2013.