As the dawn sun emerged behind the trees in our back garden, the moon still occupied the sky at the front of the house.
By the time I returned from my Hordle Cliff top walk the bright, cold, day had warmed up a little because these skies had clouded over.
Framed by a leafless arched bough, Ivy Cottages, dating from 1897, with their neighbours beyond Downton Service Station on Christchurch Road, could now be seen from the hedgerow on Downton Lane, where bracken has browned, and a Coca Cola tin blends with red berries. Most cans and bottles similarly discarded are not so happily juxtaposed.
Shards of ice shattered by passing cars had been tossed onto the verges.
The Isle of Wight, The Needles, and their lighthouse were silhouetted against a pale pastel palette.
On a small piece of ground at the top of the steps leading into Shorefield from the path to the beach, fresh cow parsley still blooms. Some of this has begun to seed.
It is time to return to the ‘through the ages’ series. Today I have chosen to reproduce three, being numbers 53, 54, and 55, the first two from 1980 and the third from the following spring. These photographs were all taken by Jessica, the first two at Gracedale Road, the month of the second being indicated by its background Christmas tree.
The indentations left by over-tight nose pads in the first photo show that I was wearing specs in those days. Having been somewhat short-sighted since I was eighteen, vanity had led me to contact lenses in my twenties, but I managed to play Rugby without them, until, into my thirties I needed them to see clearly across the field. This was rather crucial for a second row forward, one of whose tasks was to cover the corners. I therefore began to wear lenses during the games. Until I lost three in a fortnight, that is. Quite apart from the cost of replacements, the search for little pieces of plastic in cold and soggy mud became somewhat disruptive. So I returned to spectacles.
The story of my first embarrassing visit to an optician, and of the accident which, many years later, resulted in a cataract operation, was told on 13th July 2012. Whether I have the eye specialist’s prediction or the new lens inserted more than fifteen years ago to thank for it, I just use varifocal lenses in specs with the close up element being plain glass, only for watching television or drawing from life. Until I purchased these about six years ago I had to choose between viewing either the model (with specs), or the texture of the paper (without them). Either that or keeping taking the glasses on and off. I have never needed such assistance to read, and don’t even take them with me on my rambles with the camera.
The third picture was taken at the very attractive Owl House Gardens at Lamberhurst near Tunbridge Wells in Kent. It was from one of the photographs in that day’s set that I made the drawing featured on 4th May.
This evening we dined on Jackie’s Cottage Pie, to which she had very successfully added a touch of garam masala; cauliflower, carrots, cabbage, runner beans and brussels sprouts; followed by blackberry and apple crumble and custard. She drank Stella, and I finished the malbec.