A Melodious Voice

Derrick 9.77It is a while since I featured a ‘through the ages’ photograph. Here is number 52 which was taken by Jessica at the Soho Festival of Summer 1977, during the spaghetti eating contest. I reported on Michael’s attempt the previous year on 29th June 2013. At that event I also entered the cigar smoking competition. In ’77 my son was not inclined to repeat his effort, and as I struggled through a plateful of pretty dry pasta, I soon discovered why.
I posted this image as a little light relief from the morning’s boring admin tasks, one of which concerned a cheque from Southern Electric. This was a refund relating to our closing account at Castle Malwood Lodge. That contract was in our joint names, but we do not have a joint bank account. The cheque was made out in both our names, and, even if we both signed the back of it, the bank would not accept it. It had to be returned to the utility company with instructions as to who should be the recipient of the replacement. I did this.
RabbitsIsle of Wight and The NeedlesI took my usual walk to Hordle Cliff top where, on my approach, rabbits scuttled into the bramble, and, as always, I was presented by a different view of The Isle of Wight and The Needles. As I had said to a woman photographing the scene a couple of days ago, the island looks different every time I walk this way.
Bridge cottage landscapeOn Downton Lane, where Bridge Cottage basked in the mid-day sun, a happy cyclist weaving all over the road sang at the top of his voice. He paused as he passed me and continued afterwards. Perhaps he was more embarrassed than was the very talented comedian I had encountered at Oxford Circus tube station quite a number of years ago. As I walked through one of the passageways between platforms, a most melodious singing echoed behind me. I slowed enough for the operatic voice, which did not pause, to drift by. Apparently oblivious of my presence, there before me walked Paul Whitehouse whose amazing voice has enlivened many of the skits on the Harry Enfield show. One of my favourite sketches from that series features Paul singing Figaro in ‘Harry Enfield – Who’s That Girl on Vimeo’. It’s worth a look.
Dog noticeA notice stapled to a tree in Shorefield Country Park asks residents to keep their dogs on a lead. By and large, pet owners comply with this request.
This afternoon we drove to New Milton for shopping and banking. The window of the Poundstretcher store announced significant reductions for large women:Poundstretcher window
As it was a sunny day we travelled on to Barton on Sea to sit and watch the ocean for a Isle of Wight and The Needles 2while. Yet another view of the Isle of Wight was to be enjoyed, and walkers threw long Walkers' shadowsshadows..
On Milford Road  a car driver used a hand signal to indicate turning left. Many people today would not recognise this, but when I learned to drive this method of alerting following drivers to your intention was normal practice. Now we all have electronic indicators. Some vehicles in those days still bore yellow flags that flipped up either to the right or to the left to indicate which way you wished to turn.
It is important to use hand signals if you have an electrical fault. It must have been more than twenty years ago when I last wound down my driver side window and indicated slowing down. A policeman stopped me for a chat. He was most amused. His opening remark was: ‘It must have been a long time ago when you passed your test’.
Dinner this evening consisted of belly of pork, chipolata sausages, roasted peppers and mushrooms, mashed potato, cauliflower and green beans, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Cuvee St Jaine red table wine.

The Soho Festival

In The Oxford Illustrated History of Britain this morning I finished reading Paul Langford’s ‘The Eighteenth Century’, and progressed to begin ‘Revolution and the Rule of Law’ by Christopher Harvie.

It was a beautiful balmy day as I walked the two fords loop peaking at Forest Road. Radio mast Sheep grazed against the backdrop of a mast that is the reason we are so fortunate with internet and mobile phone signals where we live.  An uninterrupted reception is rare in the New Forest.  I was later to appreciate just how lucky we are.

Horses through gap in hedge

Through a gap in the hedge on Furzey Gardens road could be seen a horse favoured with a fly sheet.  Perhaps its uncovered companion stayed close for shelter from the pestilential insects.

As I Ieft the first ford and was about to veer left towards Newtown, I fell in with a tall, elegant, lively, and attractive South African woman named Yolanda, and her elderly dog, Trigger.  She was making her way to her place of employment at the far end of the bridle path.  I chose to change my route and accompany her.  Yolanda is a freelance live-in companion for elderly people.  We naturally spoke about Social Work.  She has no signal where she is living.

A golden labrador that now ignores my passing, barked with intent through gaps in its fencing.  It clearly wasn’t Trigger happy.  Being hard of hearing, Yolanda’s old boy quietly ignored the noisy young whipper-snapper.

I was delighted to note the name of the house in which my conversationalist was working.  Two days ago, a district nurse, driving up and down Running Hill, had asked me if I knew Skymer.  She was the person I had been unable to direct on that day, and was a long way from her goal.  SkymersThere, today, at the entrance to the splendid house at which we had stopped, was the sign, Skymers.  Yolanda confirmed that the nurse had indeed arrived, but it had taken her a long time to find the place.

To cap this I was able to achieve 100% success rate in my traffic directing role.  As two separate drivers waited their turn for my information, one for Tom’s Lane and the other for Furzey Gardens, the man who had kindly deferred to an elderly woman, said, with a smile: ‘You’ve got a queue’.

It was not until I worked on the Ondekoza photographs yesterday that I realised the large Romeo and Juliettas for the Soho Festival cigar smoking contest had coincidentally been provided by a supplier called Knight.  The idea was that you smoked one of these lengthy monsters for as long as you could without losing the ash.  When I entered in 1977, I actually had the longest ash, but mine was bent. Derrick cigar smoking competition 1976 I came second to a woman whose was straight.  You can imagine the ribaldry that provoked.

When we lived in Horse and Dolphin Yard during the 1970s this was a new and popular event, and, held in September usually enjoyed perfect weather. Punch & Judy audience, Soho Festival, 9.76 (1) A Punch and Judy show in 1976 gave entertainment for all ages. Beccy, Soho Festival 9.76 (3) copyOne photograph I took of the audience featured on the cover of the Social Care Association’s monthly magazine.  Becky, on this occasion, was distracted from the puppets by the sight of my lens.  A little boy nearby, was engaged in that familiar comforting exercise of thumb-sucking combined with ear-twiddling.  Another had lost one of his front incisors.

The first family member to have the courage to enter a spaghetti eating competition was Michael.

Michael, spaghetti eating, Soho Festival 9.75 copyAs the dry spaghetti was ladled onto his plate, he looked as if he was about to bite off more that he could chew.  The thin coating of tomato sauce, looking no more appetising than ketchup, didn’t seem to do much to improve the digestion. Michael, spaghetti eating, Soho Festival 9.75 (2) copy My son soon got stuck in.  He and one of his rivals seemed to think the nearer the dish they got, the better their chances.

Old man.001

An elderly gentleman, eating at a leisurely pace, had probably just come along for his dinner.

The 39th Soho Festival is to be held this September.  Details can be obtained from the Soho Society at 55 Dean St., W1.

For my evening meal I enjoyed Jackie’s delicious chicken curry, savoury rice, and samosas so much that I paid scant attention to the last of the Terre de Galets which was meant to accompany it.


Seamans Lane

Rose and honeysuckleAlthough it brightened up enough around noon to add a glow to vibrant magenta roses intertwined with honeysuckle in a Minstead hedgerow, the day dawned dull and dank as I walked the Seamans Lane/Shave Wood loop.  I did not venture off the tarmac.Roses and honeysuckle

The blossom I had seen on the edge of the forest leading to Football Green was indeed apple, as evidenced by the little green fruit on the boughs.

Apple tree

Until I met Anne in Minstead, I had the road to myself.  The elderly woman has been away for a while whilst her dilapidated house with its waterlogged garden, photographed on 21st April, was being refurbished.  It was good to see her back home and looking well.

On 24th February I posted information about Elizabeth’s Open Studios exhibition to take place in August. Ondekoza, 9.76. 001 There I mentioned that I was to submit some photographs of drumming that I took in September 1976, of the stunning Japanese band of timpanists that entertained the Soho Festival that year.  Ondekoza, 9.76. 002This afternoon I made a start by unearthing the original colour slides, scanning them and uploading  (if that’s the right word) them to my computer.  There was a fairly considerable amount of retouching to take out tiny blemishes in these little rectangles of positive film almost 37 years old.  They do not have the sharp clarity of today’s digital images, but maybe they are none the worse for that. Ondekoza, 9.76. 002 - Version 2 One I have even managed to crop, yet still retain enough of a focus to show the speed of the drumstick fanned across the drummer’s face.  We’ll see what I manage to do when I come to print them tomorrow.

Ondekoza, 9.76. 003

Jackie is camping at Corfe Castle with Helen and Shelly, but she still fed me this evening.  She has left me enough cooked meals and cold meats, pies and bread to last me a fortnight, let alone the four days she will be away. Chicken curry meal This evening I made a little impression on the large casserole of chicken curry, and ate one of the beautifully served dishes of savoury rice with a vegetable samosa and a nan, accompanied by a bottle of Kingfisher.  I did have to microwave the home-cooked dishes and heat the samosa and bread in the oven, but that wasn’t really any hardship.