A Quotation From My Grandad

I have previously mentioned an unfortunate complication arising from my knee replacement operation in May. Today, after some delay and a cancellation, Jackie was able do drive me to Lymington Hospital for a visit to consultant, Mr J. Douglas. After various tests he offered the opinion that my prostate is only slightly enlarged and that there may have been some internal damage caused by efforts to insert a catheter. He was not worried about this, but, given that I cannot have my second knee replacement unless the condition, which might need a catheter designed for this not unusual problem, is confirmed, he has placed me on an urgent referral for further investigation with a camera.

Before this visit we lunched at Redcliffe Garden Centre at Bashley. Written on the roof supports of the establishment’s restaurant are memorable quotations about gardening. Following on from one from Longfellow is this one by

 ‘My Grandad’. Enlargement should make this legible, but for those needing it, here is the text: ‘A face without freckles is like a garden without flowers’.

I chose the steak pie meal. The excellent gravy relieved the impression that the meal was perhaps a bit overheated – it was, however, the last one, and despite appearances tasted very good. Jackie enjoyed her customary jacket potato with tuna mayonnaise and plentiful fresh salad.

We had taken a diversion in the forest. At Brockenhurst, just as I drew a bead on it a heron took off from the bank of a stream outside Brockenhurst.

After the consultation we sped off to the GP Surgery at Milford on Sea to deposit a requisition for medication to relax the casing of the prostate. Naturally this led us to the coast just before sunset.

The Isle of Wight, The Needles, and the lighthouse sat well in their pink and indigo pastel surroundings.

This colour scheme set off the more strident streaks of the setting sun,

opposite which sweeping clouds revealed blue skies.

As usual the heaving sea, the rock-splashing spray, and the crunching shingle reflected the overhead hues.

Soon after sunset the clearer skies revealed a finely drafted crescent moon above Downton.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s choice chilli con carne served with flavoursome savoury rice. Elizabeth drank Hop House Lager and I drank Outlook Bay Central Otago Pinot Noir 2017.

A Sodden String

Mum was quite perky when Jackie and I joined her at her home in West End late yesterday afternoon. Two carers were in attendance, one, shadowing the other, cooking our mother’s evening meal. Mum has chosen to go into respite care for another attempt at rehabilitation, rather than continue to struggle at home. Social Services have, we are told, accepted that she should not have been discharged home without far more care than, without seeing her, they were prepared to fund. They will now contribute to full time care, although this will by no means cover the total cost. Further discussion is to be undertaken on Monday.

Jackie and I collected an excellent takeaway meal for Elizabeth and ourselves from Jewels Indian restaurant in Bisterne. This was very good. My wife and I returned home before the waking nighttime carer was due to arrive. My sister was to spend another night with our mother until Jacqueline arrived the next day.

I was totally oblivious of Jackie photographing me watching Bargain Hunt after lunch today.

Elizabeth’s commitment to Mum over this crisis period has meant that she has been unable completely to move into her new home in Pilley.

Jackie and I transported her craft materials to Burnt House Lane this afternoon. These are mostly items for bookbinding and photography. I could barely lift the black iron book press at bottom left of the stack.

We have received plenty of rain in the last few days – enough to begin to leave pools on the lanes, such as Elizabeth’s own Burnt House one.

Shallow wavelets are sent rippling,

and spray spouted, by passing vehicles.

On our return home we were brought to a standstill on Bull Hill by a string of sodden ponies trooping down the road. The grey behind the bushes was soon to join them.

While we were dealing with Elizabeth’s belongings the Barbarians were playing rugby against Argentina at Twickenham. Having recorded the match, I was able to watch it later.

Elizabeth joined us for dinner and will stay a few more days. We dined on Jackie’s excellent beef pie; potatoes, mushrooms, and onions au gratin; and crisp carrots, Brussels sprouts and runner beans. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden while my sister and I finished the Cotes du Rhone.

 

Keeping Their Heads Down

Gusts from the recent storms still swept the garden today.

The plastic cover wrapping the garden chairs was sucked in and out like bellows. We did our best to loosen yet still implement the rope ties applied yesterday.

The pink rose seen in the background swayed to and fro;

as did all the trees. The  Weeping Birch limbs lashed like cats o’ nine tails, while flickering Japanese maple foliage frolicked on tightrope branches.

This afternoon we drove down to Milford on Sea for a brief look at the turbulent waves and  spray soaring over the protective walls and raking the rocks below. The Isle of Wight was barely visible, although I could clearly see an intrepid couple walking along the distant sea wall while I struggled to keep myself and my camera steady.

Some gulls swooped and hovered above the waves, but most kept their heads down on the lower ground of the car park.

One photographer sensibly employed a tripod.

From here we continued on to visit Helen and Bill in their new home at Fordingbridge. They have downsized to a bungalow which offers a most comfortable sense of space. With Jacqueline also engaged in selling her house and buying another, there is definitely a sense of sisters on the move.

This evening we dined on meaty beef burgers with sautéed potatoes, onions and mushrooms. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Domaine Bonval Cote du Rhone 2016.

Coordination

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First thing this morning Ross and Lee delivered some of the kitchen equipment and a chop saw. They also brought the old sink back in from outside so that Richard could fit it later for temporary use. They are all enjoying the blog, particularly because of the proof that they had been working. Richard was able to check last night that the floor would be ready for him today.

Richard then set about installing the kitchen units. I was fascinated by the red beam from the laser level, which had the benefit of demonstrating the straightness of the craftsman’s back.

For lunch today Jackie and I repaired to the Banging Breakfast Café at Old Milton. We had not visited them for a good couple of years since they changed their name, and were happy to find that there has been no reduction in quality, and that they still serve Ferndean Farm Shop sausages.

After this we took a short drive into the now waterlogged forest, where, after much heavy rain, rivulets ran down the verges of lanes like Rodlease, and pools gathered at the bottom, reflecting the skies and vehicles splashing through.

Jackie had parked further up the hill and I walked down to take these shots. After I had rejoined her she continued on the way we had been travelling.

We then encountered a big blue beast quite incapable of backing up. Jackie had to reverse down a steep gradient and into a driveway forcing the car into a wheelspin. In fairness, I have to point out that BT Transport is nothing to do with our telephone line provider.

Riders on road

At least the riders we later encountered in Church Lane were able to skip onto the verge.

Early this evening, Richard cleared the far end of the kitchen

in readiness for Andy’s arrival. The man from Crestwood came on time and laid the screed on that end which had been cluttered with furniture. He had no Connor with him so had to mix and carry through the preparation himself, putting me in mind of artists like Vermeer, who mixed their own paints. As he cheerfully said, it was “self service”.

It is this kind of reliable coordination that makes these teams work so well.

 

 

Elemental Effects

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This afternoon Jackie took me for a car ride in the forest.

 

So much rain has fallen in recent days that some of the roads are becoming waterlogged, making for bright reflections and spray from car wheels. A stream of traffic made its way to and from the East End Arms.

 

The forest floor does not drain well. Rippling pools lie on the surface.

 

The high winds have also been punishing. Loggers on the road approaching Beaulieu had been out early this morning cutting up a very large fallen tree and removing its limbs from the path of vehicles.

 

As we left Beaulieu on the road to Lyndhurst we passed a group of somewhat soggy ponies grazing on the verge beside another pool.

Woman with St Bernard 1

I was just thinking of turning back to the car when a fluffy object I took to be a St Bernard puppy was led past me and across the road. His name was Charles. I know this because he was warned to keep off me. Which was merciful. (LordBeari’s comment below correctly identifies Charlie as a Newfoundland)

 

No-one warned this pony off when it took it upon itself to cross over and follow me, breathing down my neck, quickening its pace before I managed to open and close the Modus passenger door with me inside.

 

Soon after this, clouds darkened once more, Jesus beams shone onto the moors, and heavy rain ensued.

This evening we all dined on Jackie’s excellent chicken jalfrezi; boiled egg korma; savoury rice; onion bahji’s; and vegetable samosas.

 

A Blustery Day

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On a day of winds fit to threaten lingering autumn leaves like those on our crab apples, Jackie drove us to our GP surgery at Milford on Sea for our flu jabs (influenza vaccines).

Down at the coast, vociferous waves crashed onto breakwaters and rolled onto the shore and over the sea wall.

Gulls

Even the gulls found huddling on the car park tarmac preferable to facing the buffeting elements.

Dramatic skies, seas, and lighting effects gave yet another perspective to the Isle of Wight and The Needles.

When I had my fill of being coated in salt water in the interests of my art, I rejoined Jackie  in the car, and did my best to clean the camera lenses.

Friars Cliff Beach

We then continued on to Friars Cliff beach where we brunched at the cafe.

Spray on brerakwater

Here the breakwaters also took a pounding,

Walkers and dogs

but four walkers and a couple of romping dogs ventured onto the beach.

The smaller of the two dogs had a debate with its owner about whether it was possible to take refuge in the cafe. This somewhat obstructed my entrance.

 This evening we dined on Jackie’s chicken marinaded in piri-piri and lemon; roasted vegetables, steamed cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, with mashed potato, I finished the madiran.

The Stone Face

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This afternoon Jackie drove me to Hengistbury Head, where she drank coffee and I explored the scene.

Hengistbury Head

En route to the beach, I passed the top of the hill, where walkers could be seen, to my left,

and observed silhouetted figures against the sea and skyline.

Isle of Wight and The Needles

There was a new angle on the Isle of Wight and The Needles.

Hengistbury Head and beach

Walkers accompanied their dogs along the beach,

Group on beach

where a group did their best to dodge the advancing tide.

A gentleman contemplated the scene, and walked down the shingle to join them.

Eventually I did the same, and watched the sea slap the flanks of the rocks,

receding, sliding, slipping over the glistening, tinkling, shingle, and sucking at the seeping sand.

Waves

Soon the rolling waves came roaring in

Stone face

and I walked back up to the footpath, passing a stone face, mouth open, ready to drink from the spume that would hopefully reach it.

Walkers on Hengistbury Head

I watched walkers ascending the hill which had once been home to Stone Age people (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hengistbury_Head)

beach scene

Below, others were returning along the beach where

Hengistbury Head beach

a pair of swans I had seen earlier still floated on the water.

Boscombe Pier

We continued on to Boscombe where the pier was set against the sunbeams lighting the sea,

before returning home to a meal of fish cakes in lemon and parsley sauce, with boiled potatoes, carrots, cauliflower and broccoli, followed by bread and butter pudding. We finished the sauvignon blanc.