Beechwood Fauna

This being the second day of 50+ m.p.h. winds it seemed one to have a look at the waves on The Solent.

The sun lit the cliffs of the island and the waves on the skyline.

When I photographed the sea,

rocks, and spume on the sand

I was not alone;

one young woman, exhibiting enviable knee flexion, took a bird’s eye view.

When I grew tired of bracing myself against the gusts, we drove through Shirley Holms into the forest,

where, on Beachwood Lane, our new foal, still keeping close to her mother, and needing to suckle, looked more as if her legs belonged to her and could, to some extent, risk making our acquaintance.

Other ponies wandered about

and a group of cattle were accompanied by a young calf.

They soon wandered off down the lane in order to trim residents’ hedges.

Perhaps we were downwind of the deer which occasionally peered out from the distant undergrowth before gradually moving off under cover.

One of the fallen trees appeared to have been uprooted quite recently.

Our return journey took us along Bickley Common Road with its bluebells and cow parsley on the verges.

This evening we dined on roast chicken breasts; potatoes roasted with onions and mushrooms; and crisp carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli; followed by strawberries and cream. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Dragon Hills Pinot Noir 2017.

Why We Always Talk About The Weather

The overnight gales persisted throughout this morning. We had also, once again, forgotten bottle collection day, so, driving to Milford on Sea for my medical prescription, we took the bottles to the bank in the car park, then proceeded to the coastline.

We have a phrase ‘I wasn’t born yesterday’, used to suggest ‘I’m not stupid’. Today is the one day of the year when I can legitimately claim that Jackie was born yesterday, albeit a few decades ago. She is prone to remember one morning in the 1970s when she awoke to snow on 1st June. It was therefore no surprise to her to see that road leading to The Marine restaurant, the village side of the sea wall, was covered in precipitation.

The Marine

But it wasn’t snow. What we were seeing, flying across the wall, was sea foam, spume, or, as the Japanese term it, sea flowers. Interestingly, given what happened to the restaurant’s windows on Valentine’s Night last year, that the greatest concentration of fume lay on the road and the shingle directly opposite the building.Spume on shingleSpume on rocks 1Spume on rocks 2Photographing couple in spume

A continuation of the barrier is afforded by huge granite boulders, also covered in their fair share of sea flowers.. A staff member of the restaurant knelt to photograph a couple beset by the flying flowers that had been ripped from the shore where they quivered, just like our own plants clinging precariously to the garden soil. I wandered up to them and quipped that at least it was not rocks this time. It was, you see, rocks that another stormy sea had hurled against the windows.

SeascapeShoreline in spume

Steps down to the beach, and line of shingle, as far as even the eye of the camera could see, was covered in a white shroud.

Seascape with Isle of Wight 1

Seascape with Isle of Wight 2

By late afternoon the wind speed had reduced to 20+ m.p.h., the skies had cleared, and the sun had emerged. Obviously we had to return to the beach. No longer was the spume covering the whole area, and the Isle of Wight was again visible.Waves 1Waves 2

Cohort after cohort of waves, however did pour onto the rocks, still creating flying foam which the wind send cartwheeling up the beach runway until it soared into the air.

Spume on rocks 3Spume on rocks 4Spume on rocks 5

Maybe this was the moment my sandalled feet and trouser bottoms became somewhat moistened.

The capacity to experience such a variety on one day is why we always talk about the weather.

This evening we dined on arrabbiata with some kind of tubular pasta; roasted peppers and mushrooms; and green beans, followed by pineapple sponge pudding and custard. Jackie drank Black Tower low calorie rose, whilst I finished the cabernet sauvignon.

Sea Flowers

This morning I made a start on reading ‘Madame Bovary’.
Tree against sky
Bough against skyJohn clearing elderLater, in a successful bid to avoid the rain, I walked down to The Splash and back via the church footpath. The sunshine and showers nature of the day and the speed of the wind produced ever-changing skies, bright blue clouding over in white and grey, and vice versa, with the sun regularly emerging and lending everything still bearing raindrops a brilliant sparkle.
John was busy clearing the elder, that I had thought was a buddleia when I noticed it on 28th January.
CloudscapeCloudscape 1
Wherever you venture into the forest at the moment, you are likely to come across scatterings of what look to me like crab apples, Crab appleslike those on the bank of the stream flowing under Running Hill. Now I think about it, they are almost always near streams. I can only imagine someone is feeding the ponies in this manner when they pause their cropping to slake their thirst.
One stream the banks of which are not so bestrewn is that which runs beneath the concrete bridge of The Splash ford. Stream at The SplashThere, the water flows fast enough for a build-up of spume that echoes the lichen on the surrounding trees.
All Saints ChurchSnowdropsYew - riven
Snowdrops have pierced the sward of All Saints Churchyard, and another riven yew rent in two has somehow spared the gravestones between which part of it has fallen.
Cloudscap with trees
Hengistbury HeadIn fact the rain held off for the rest of the day and Jackie drove us out to Hengistbury Head, making this a two walk day for me. I walked along the beach, up Warren Hill and back along the cliff top to the car park cafe where Jackie sat with her puzzles, cake, and coffee.
This was the roughest sea and fiercest wind I have yet experienced on the Dorset coast. Most exhilarating. Occasionally the incoming surges from the ocean clutched at my feet.
Creamy waves
Sea coming inSea foam formingSpume on sandRolls of spumeOn the shingled edge of the beach I watched the frequent waves rolling towards the breakwaters and turning to cream as they careered up the sand and flung what my Japanese friend Rie Sug tells me her compatriots call sea flowers against the rocks, sending them furling and unfurling along the beach. Our word spume, for this foam, is rather less attractive than the oriental one. This version made the same phenomenon seen at The Splash this morning skimpy by comparison. Rather like comparing the power of a full symphonic orchestra with a piece of gentle chamber music.
Sun on sand cliff edgeSun, sea & sandThe wintry sun that had seemed quite powerful on the occasions it peeped out this morning, when compared with the other elements in play in this wilder environment, seemed rather weak.
Walking along the cliff top I was intrigued by a woman’s voice berating what I assumed to be a recalcitrant child. Peering down I saw that the miscreants were a pair of red dogs.Dogs and walker They seemed to have got the message and were allowed to romp ahead.
Sun, sea, sand & Beach hutsAfter I joined Jackie she drove us along the coast road to Boscombe. We had a brief sojourn in a car park at Southbourne, where beach huts clung to the side of the cliff, as we watched the sun doing its best.
We turned round at Bournemouth and headed for home where we enjoyed another very tasty dinner. This consisted of roasted chicken thighs marinaded in lemon juice, coriander, parsley, and a chilli; accompanied by roasted red and orange peppers, onions and baby tomatoes; cauliflower cheese; mashed potato and swede; and broccoli. Jackie drank Hoegaarden whist I drank Lidl’s Bordeaux Superieur, so the drinks choice was back to normal.

Dover Beach

The weather today was very unpleasant, with driving rain and blustery winds.  I found myself agreeing to a trip to Highcliffe.  After all, we were going to get wet anyway, so why not at the seaside?

Isle of Wight from Highcliffe 11.12

Jackie drove me to the clifftop and pointed out the Isle of Wight, quite near, but only just discernible in the grey gloom.  She thought I might want a nice bracing walk along the seashore.  I thought I might wander around a new town.  In fact I did both.  We agreed a meeting time and point.  I left her heading for a carpark as I set off along the high street.  Having realised that Highcliffe town centre had far more than it’s share of House Clearance Specialists, Charity Shops, and Funeral Directors, I decided I wasn’t quite ready for it, and turned back to the coast.  The wind furling and unfurling The Solent was so strong that it held me up as I descended from the upper level.  On my return, it helped me up.  Seagulls were drinking from rainwater puddles in a park.  I’ve never thought of it before, but perhaps they don’t drink seawater.

Waves crashed against the stone breakwaters, one of which was having its ingredients arranged by a grabbing crane.  It’s flag fluttered violently.  Foaming spume clung to the pebbles and the rocks, quivering until the gusts of wind ripped chunks off it and flung them into the air to land on grass some distance away, like anaemic candyfloss fallen from a child’s fairground treat. Then I heard the sound of pebbles on Dover Beach.  Matthew Arnold’s poem of that name had entranced me in my teens as he described ‘…the grating roar of pebbles on the beach……….. begin and cease, and then begin again, with tremulous cadence slow….’.  The ‘begin and cease’ seemed to me perfectly to catch the sliding of pebbles grating together as the water slipped back down the beach ready for the next assault.  Through the buffeting of the wind and the clashing of the sea against the breakwaters a snatch of that music came to me as if in a vacuum and brought back a poem I hadn’t read for more than fifty years.

After meeting Jackie we had a late afternoon main meal of gammon steaks and sticky toffee pudding in the Globe Inn, during which I learned that she had done the rounds of the Charity and House Clearance shops and bought a number of treasures for our new home.  We returned to one and bought a beautifully made oval brass Indian tray table.  I told the proprietor his shop looked like my Mum’s sitting room.  He replied that a lot of people had said that.

This evening I read a bit more of A.L.Rowse’s ‘The England of Elizabeth which I had begun a couple of days ago.