The Rainbow Blessing

This afternoon we drove into the forest, making use of the day’s changing light.

In contrast to the recent gales, the winds were so slow that the sun, albeit bright, would remain behind covering clouds for an age.

Although the distant Portsmouth’s Spinnaker Tower was well lit, the near Tanners Lane’s breakwater was not.

The skyscapes above the Isle of Wight reflected this, until

weak sun was briefly glimpsed.

We crept along Sowley Lane through which a string of dithering donkeys threaded their way;

one stopped for a scratch;

one toddler demanded its dinner;

another paused to chew on a stick.

As we approached St Leonards Grange

the road and its surrounding landscape were burnished by the brighter sun.

With showers of rain added to the mix rainbows separated trees and

blessed at least one of the jackdaw couples pairing off on the ancient granary roof.

Another two preferred the view from one of the ruin’s windows.

This evening Elizabeth joined us for dinner which consisted of succulent roast lamb; crisp roast potatoes, parsnips, and Yorkshire pudding; sage and onion stuffing; crunchy carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower; winter greens; tender runner beans; and tasty gravy, followed by Mississippi mud pie. My sister and I finished the Fleurie and I began a Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo 2018. Jackie drank Hoegaarden.

 

The Dying Of The Light

Increasingly sunburned clouds sped across the dawn skies over Christchurch Road this morning

as Jackie drove me to Lymington Hospital for my flexible endoscopy. It was just my luck that this procedure was carried out by a beautiful, slender, Italian doctor.

There is no apparent damage. I delivered a report to my GP in Milford on Sea, and the urologist has undertaken to write to my knee surgeon with recommendations for the next replacement operation.

Elizabeth completed her move into her new home today.

This morning’s procedure rather knocked me out for much of the day, so I had to defer a planned trial of my new lens in good light. At the last possible moment Jackie and I sped off to Mudeford to try out the 600mm monster.

There wasn’t much of a sunset itself,

but, at the dying of the light, I had fun seated on a bench watching geese skeins, sometimes keeping to the familiar V formation;

sometimes unravelling, as they left our shores;

and, coming in to land, gulls gathering together, purposefully preening.

This evening Jackie and I dined on her delectable chilli con carne and delicious savoury rice. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank Alzar Malbec 2017.

 

A B & B With Resident Sleepers

When I walked over the Braemore bridge a couple of days ago, I was aware that Jackie wanted to photograph Queen Anne’s Lace against the sky.

I hadn’t known that she had photographed me wielding my camera. When you understand that the screen of the Canon SX700 HS is badly cracked, reducing visibility to a few centimetres at the bottom, you will realise that we have a whole new perspective on ‘point and shoot’, and that my lady has done really well. I found these shots this morning.

Today’s clouds allowed the sun an occasional look-in, but mostly they kept bursting into tears. Nevertheless we took a drive into the forest.

The entrance to Old Chapel lies on The corner of Coombe Lane, Sway, and

Chapel Lane, along which the building,

and its graveyard stretches. Beneath the sward lie sleeping residents.

Originally constructed as a Baptist Chapel around 1836, the building is now a self-catering bed and breakfast facility. There is one large bedroom, and the wherewithal for the morning meal is provided. As so often on Trip Advisor, the majority of reviews are very positive and there is one disappointed customer. An Indian restaurateur once opined that the poor reviews were placed by rivals.

As early as mid-afternoon, the constantly changing light offered variable skies over the darkening moorland.

By 3 p.m. the lights of a transport van we followed through the narrow lanes were reflected  in the gradually filling pools on the road surface from which were propelled billows of spray.

Yesterday’s dinner was so enjoyable that Jackie raided the larder and the freezer and repeated it this evening. This was followed by mixed fruit crumble and ginger ice cream. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Madiran.

 

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 🙂