We lunched and caught up with each other at Tyrell’s Ford with Helen, Shelly, Bill, and Ron. My choice was steak, chips, onion rings, mushrooms, tomatoes, and peas. I had no room for dessert. I drank Flack’s Double Drop bitter. Jackie’s main course was turkey escalope, salad, and chips, followed by syrup madeira cake and ice cream; accompanied by Diet Coke. I won’t speak for the others, save to say that all the meals were enjoyed.
Jackie and I had to leave the sisters and their spouses to their coffees while we dashed back to Milford on Sea for our flu vaccinations.
Afterwards we drove to Keyhaven where I walked along the sea wall and we both took photographs as sunset approached.
I produced the first two images of a couple of sailboarders; the other two were Jackie’s.
I photographed a swan trying to discern its reflection in rippling water; Jackie focussed on me at the far end of the wall with the bird fishing in the foreground.
A couple walked on ahead of me while I concentrated on grasses in the landscape, a louring skyscape, and a skein of geese honking overhead.
Jackie photographed boats in the harbour and Hurst lighthouse in the distance; and, of course,
me in action
We both caught the sunset. Jackie’s are the last two with the rows of masts.
We returned via Saltgrass Lane where I pictured a further sunset to which Jackie turned her back to photograph the moon beyond a grass curtain.
As the sun lowered its sights another photographer and watchers were silhouetted on Hurst Spit.
On another wet afternoon we drove to Lymington for printer inks and to Milford on Sea pharmacy and Co-op, diverting to Keyhaven on our way home.
Saltgrass Lane was well waterlogged, even though the tide was not yet high enough for its closure.
Walkers, dogs, and vehicles were silhouetted on the spit against dramatic skies.
Sedate swans, occasionally dipping their benthic burrowing beaks, sailed along the water’s surface.
Skeins of geese honked overhead;
turnstones rested on rocks while
Jackie photographed me photographing them, as the rising tide lapped around them
Nearby she also spotted a thrush (identified by quercuscommunity’s comment below as more likely a rock pipit), curlews, geese, and an oystercatcher.
A hardy human pair spent some considerable time immersed up to their necks in the water, arousing the interest of a pair of swans when they changed into their dry clothes. The last picture is Jackie’s.
This evening we dined on tasty Welsh rarebit, Jackie’s choice chicken and vegetable stewp, and fresh crusty bread, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Macon.
The 106 m.p.h. wind that ripped through The Needles overnight howled around our house and garden.
Numerous plant pots were blown down;
tables and the new pig hit the deck;
owls were knocked off their perches;
broken branches and scattered trugs tossed around;
an arch bent and a rose dislodged. I had the sun in my eyes when the rose accosted me and pierced both my head and my jacket.
Late this afternoon we drove to Milford on Sea watching wild waves whipping up spray, lashing wooden breakwaters and wetting glistening rocks. Gulls swooped overhead; numerous walkers braced the bitterly cold wind. One group descended the slippery shingle, then attempted to avoid the rippling waves licking their feet. One young lady had forgotten to cover her legs.
It was hardly surprising that no-one sat at the picnic tables of the Needles Eye Cafe standing in reflecting pools.
My fingers tingled enough to send me back into the car while I waited for the sunset.
This evening we dined on Jackie’s post-Christmas soup with crusty bread followed by gooseberry and apple crumble with which the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Montaria.
Heavy rain fell from decidedly Stygian skies throughout the morning during which I finished reading the fourth chapter, entitled ‘ ‘Give me combat!’ France: 1894-9′, of Barbara W. Tuchman’s The Proud Tower.
I had previously been vaguely aware of the Dreyfus Affair with dominated the decade, but never really understood it until reading Tuchman’s analysis of the schism that split France. Dreyfus was a French army captain who happened to be Jewish and was unjustly accused of selling secrets to Germany. There is now no doubt that Captain Dreyfus was framed by the French military authorities who used forged documents to condemn him to years of imprisonment. It became a national conflict between the Dreyfusards, convinced of his innocence, and those who believed the military should be supported at all costs. Violent anti-Semitism developed and was pitted against those, largely artists and intellectuals, who fought for justice.
I will refrain from offering more details save to say that the ultimate pardon did not come with a finding of innocence. Ms Tuchman describes the physical and emotional violence of the warring parties, which also involved a failed assassination. France, too, had the seething undercurrent which seemed endemic to the rest of Europe.
My mid afternoon today the rain had ceased and a brief appearance of sun had cast a little light over the land.
While I readied myself for a trip into the forest Jackie nipped out into the garden and photographed
raindrops on weeping birch and clematis cirrhosa Freckles.
The chameleon skies were the canvas on which my camera painted
varying tones of indigo and smoky ochres with pink tinges.
This evening we dined on Jackie’s mixed meats and vegetable stoup followed by pepperoni pizza and fresh salad, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank The Second Fleet Cabernet, Merlot, and Petit Verdot Coonawarra 2019.
Nick continued his meticulous preparation work on the sitting room today. The first four of these pictures show him filling blemishes; in the next he tests his smoothing success; the last shows a filled section of wall. This was all done before we left him to it and travelled to Tyrell’s Ford hotel for lunch with Helen, Bill, Shelly, and Ron, before such a meeting is subjected to the next coronavirus lockdown the day after tomorrow.
We enjoyed congenial company reminiscing and discussing Netflix series, politicians, Covid 19, and suchlike. My choice of main meal was an excellent beef burger served with relish on a wooden plank, and a miniature fish fryer scoop full of well cooked chips. Jackie’s pick was linguini; the others all chose beef (sic) bourguignon. My dessert was apple and blackberry crumble and custard – a popular choice. Jackie and Helen each preferred a rich chocolate thingy. I drank Flack’s Double Drop. The rest of the group drank different beverages and coffee, from which I abstained.
We returned home via
continuing to Bennet’s Lane where Jackie parked while I photographed the
effects of the late afternoon sun,
while a solitary plane chugged overhead.
She also allowed me to disembark at Harrow Road, on the other side of Bransgore where I produced more
this one reminiscent of a reversal of Hokusai’s wave on which I based my logo for Sam’s ocean row, “The Big Sea”.
There was no need for further sustenance this evening.
Jackie wandered around the garden with her camera. She went out to photograph the Amistad salvia but got carried away and also pictured agapanthus seeds, dahlias, rudbeckias, roses, clerodendrum trichotomum, begonias, fuchsias, sedum, phlox; and a fly, wasps, and a shield bug perched on ivy flowers. As usual individual titles appear in the gallery which can be enlarged by clicking on any image.
On our afternoon drive we witnessed dramatic skies releasing a number of heavy showers as seen descending from the louring clouds in two of these images and producing at least one rainbow. The last three of these pictures were taken from Beaulieu Road on our way home. The first two from Coombe Lane, Sway where
sunlight picked out the autumn colours in the trees as a lone horse walked down its sloping field.
The first shower sent a group of ponies alongside the Brockenhurst road to shelter as close to the trees as possible.
Pannage pigs munching on sweet chestnuts brought a number of visitors’ cars to a halt in order to disgorge their drivers and passengers to watch and photograph the animals delighting in their change of diet from the more available acorns.
This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious sausage, liver, and bacon casserole; creamy mashed potato; firm and flavoursome Brussels sprouts; crunchy carrots; and tender runner beans, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Cotes du Rhone.
Episodes 7 and 8 of ‘The Crown’ really rather confirmed my reluctance to begin watching it because I imagined it to be intrusion into the lives of some still living people who could not answer back. We will probably persevere because of the history that we ourselves have lived through.
On this day of gloom and drizzle, Nugget occupied himself checking out the area beneath the wisteria where his own personal feeder hangs.
Now, “Where’s Nugget?” (57)
As the skies began to clear a little later this afternoon to a drive towards Hatchet Pond, returning home via East End.
Along the road between Brockenhurst and the Pond several trees spend their dryer months in sunken areas which fill with water at times like this.
This gives them something to reflect upon.
On the Hatchet Pond side of the road into East Boldre vast areas are now waterlogged, whereas
the lumpy landscape on the other side remains dry and crisscrossed by pony tracks.
Occasional blue streaks now threaded the skyscapes – enough to patch a Dutchman’s trousers,
as a wide, flashing, farm vehicle ensured that our journey through East End was perforce slower than expected.
Becky was still with us this evening when the three of us dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away’s excellent fare with which I drank more of the Fleurie.
This was a much milder day – the consequence of a wet, overcast morning. In anticipation of a possible break in the weather, we drove to Cadnam in ever-increasing rain. By the time we reached
Wittensford Lane the rain had ceased, clouds were on the move, and the sun took an occasional peek onto the landscape.
The stream flowed across the ford.
I watched Jackie sending spray either side of the Modus as she crossed the water,
and followed by way of the footbridge.
Reflections and oak leaves lay on and under the pools in the gutter
and the forded overflow.
We turned left into Kewlake Lane,
where, in order to focus on the landscape I stepped gingerly over fallen oak leaves covering lichen coated branches and barbed wire broken from a fence guarding
Another roadside pool reflected overhead
naked oak branches set against the variable sky
which gave the landscape a light that belied the time of mid-afternoon.
Occasional flocks like these gulls speckled the skies.
While still on Kewlake Lane we approached silhouettes of sheep on a darkened ridge.
Nearer home, Sway Tower was just visible.
It must have been London’s Piccadilly Theatre in which I saw the musical show Black Nativity and bought the vinyl recording in 1962. Wikipedia tells us about the exhilarating production which had come to London the year after its opening on Broadway. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Nativity
This memorable song ran through my head as I gazed up at these clouds.
Here is a “Where’s Nugget?” (51) Jackie made earlier. Biggifying the image is recommended as our resident robin attempts to hide behind an honesty seedpod.
This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious cottage pie; crunchy carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli; and tender cabbage with tasty gravy. The Culinary Queen drank Blue Moon and I drank Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2018.