Ever-Changing Skies

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Fence and compost bins

Aaron of A.P. Maintenance has recently completed the last section of fencing, and reorganised the compost bins. Today, he and his nephew Rory took away some of the resultant rubbish. This photograph is one of the few that I was able to take today in sunshine and with a dry camera.

During the rest of the day I was in and out to the garden attempting a few photographs of plants enjoying the sunshine and the showers. Perhaps only the duck and the frog were really in their element. The rain bejewelled primulas, daffodils, camellias, clematis cirrhosa, hellebores, iris, pulmonaria, and faux poppy sat for me quite nicely.

By mid-afternoon I conceded victory to the wind which enforced such rapid changes in the skies that all this last batch of pictures were produced within minutes during which rain fell continuously. Clouds rolled rapidly across the Heavens, sometimes concealing, sometimes revealing the sun

Holly trunk

throwing its glowing light on this holly trunk against a sludgy bank of cloud.

This evening we dined on minced beef pie, creamy mashed potato and swede, red cabbage, crunchy carrots, leeks, and onions. I finished the merlot.

I Was Set Up

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Somewhat encouraged by the lack of adverse effects on my knackered knees after the long, flat, walk round Keyhaven and Lymington Nature Reserve, I decided to take the somewhat shorter, yet undulating, route through Honeylake Wood. At about halfway I ventured into the undergrowth, after which I turned back.

A pedestrian gate breaking a hedge serves as an entrance to the field leading to the wood.

Reflection of hedge

The hedge was reflected in the muddy verge beside Christchurch Road.

Oak tree

A bent and aged oak on one edge of the field bowed beneath the prevailing wind,

which even around mid-day bit into me as I crossed to the wood.

Honeylake Wood entrance

On my way in the leafy path offered welcoming shelter,

Honeylake Wood exit

while a sight of Downton’s cottages as I left it gave notice that home was near, if not in sight.

Forest floor

Often springy underfoot, the forest floor,

Squirrel

over which squirrels scampered,

Stream

was, especially near the stream, occasionally waterlogged.

The wind roared overhead. There was much evidence of broken trees,

Autumn leaf

and, although some autumn leaves had not yet reached the ground,

others glowed in the sunlight

which played among the trees.

The bridge had been so severely damaged as to deter anyone from leaning on the rickety rail; a sapling had been converted to an entrance arch.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s classic sausage casserole, creamy mashed potatoes, and crisp carrots, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. I drank Basson Shiraz 2014. The others didn’t drink their Kronenbourg 1664 until afterwards so that didn’t count.

A minute particle of my casserole splashed up from my plate and onto my grandfather shirt. Jackie and Ian swooped on me to supplement the stains and Becky grabbed the camera. I was set up, I swear it.

A Dog To Befriend

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Today I scanned more of the black and white negatives from the French holiday of 1985.

Sam in den 1985

Whilst we were in the woods featured yesterday, Matthew helped Sam make himself a den.

We then explored the pastoral landscape,

taking time out for Mat and Sam to play catch on top of a shifting pile of grit.

As was their wont, Sam and Louisa found a dog to befriend. Jessica’s arm was ready in case of mishap.

Back at the gite in the evening, Jessica aspired to become a yokel chewing grass whilst basking in the sunlight.

For our dinner this evening, Jackie produced roast lamb breast with roasted vegetables, crisp carrots, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. Jackie drank her Hoegaarden and Bavaria mix, while I finished the Chateuneuf du Pape.

Save Our Stream

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Feeling considerably brighter today, I began by tackling two weeks administration. This involved settling bills, correspondence, and collecting a delivery that required a signature.

Jackie drove us to Lymington to retrieve the package from the sorting office. Almost across the other side of the High Street is situated Peacock Computer Systems where we took my HP laptop for a diagnosis. The charger has been plugged in but the device doesn’t charge up. The diagnosis is that it needs a battery transplant and is on the waiting list for a replacement.

After this we travelled back to Old Milton where we purchased a new dehumidifier to replace the old one which was crying in pain. It seemed sensible to detach it from its power source and buy an new one. We found one in The Home Appliance Centre, took it home, and went on a drive round the forest, where,

Forest road

the sun-streaked tarmac came hurtling towards us as Jackie drove between the trees.

There are many streams in the forest. The one that demanded my attention today was at Furze Hill near Fordingbridge.

Stream 2

The dappled sunlight increased its beauty;

Stream 1

the clear blue sky rippled in the breeze-stirred shallows;

Stream 3

Stream 8

 

 

 

 

 

the browns of pebbles and bed of the stream discoloured the impression of the clear water above them,

Stream 4Stream 7

blending with reflections of sky and greenery to produce pleasing abstract paintings.

Stream 10

We have had such a dry year that the water was quite shallow,

Stream 5Stream 6Stream 9

yet the scene was quite magical.

Sometimes serendipity plays a part in a blog post. So it was today. I had not realised the significance of this one of all the streams in the forest, until, further along the road, we came across this sign: Save Our Stream

 

Naturally I had to investigate. A barking dog alerted the people who lived behind the poster to my presence. There ensued a conversation about a five year battle by http://friendsoflatchmore.org  to prevent  the filling in of a large stretch of land above Latchmore Brook. Apparently this will change the course of the water and cover an important archeological site. Otters which frequent the local stream will, it is believed, be driven away by pollution.

The views of these who wish to carry out the infill may be found at http://www.hlsnewforest.org.uk/info/100/latchmore

We drove on to Latchmore and eventually lunched at the Hyde-Out cafe at Hyde, before a gentle trundle home. Many people were eating outside. At one point, a little boy aged about six made an impressive entrance and demanded: “Where’s the cake?”.

Sunset

Before dinner, despite the paucity of clouds, we drove down to Barton on Sea to admire the pastel shades of the skyline at sunset.

Sunset and moon

The moon and walkers aided this composition.

We then dined on fish fingers, chips, and baked beans, followed by ice cream. Good nursery convalescence food.

The Beach House

Late on this crystal crisp clear blue sky morning Ian drove Scooby and me to Marine Drive, East, Barton on Sea, whence we walked along the clifftop.

Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight was again sporting a pastel palette,

Dog walkers

as we joined other dog walkers, many of whom are now familiar to Ian and Scooby,

Scooby encounters another dog

whose stance and cocked ears at one fresh encounter betrayed the slight concern that possibly brought about his first bowel-emptying session.

Cliff erosion 1Cliff erosion 2Scooby on clifftop

He exhibited no such nervousness in dashing along the steadily eroding edge.

Walkers

A few other pedestrians strode down below.

Sun on sea

There, waterborne sunlight dazzled,

Beachcomber Cafe

as did the windows of the Beachcomber Cafe where we stopped for coffee.

The Beach House entrance 1The Beach House entrance 2

This afternoon we paid another visit to The Beach House in order to introduce Ian to its exquisite ambience. Clicking on these images will reveal some of the stained glass that adorns this oak panelled building.

Stained glass window

More of this can be seen in the Sun Room where we took our tea, coffee, and cakes, at no further cost than Costa’s.

Sunset in lounge

Sunset through lounge window

The sunset could be enjoyed from the lounge,

Sunset through dining room window

the dining room,

Sunset through back room window

the back room,

Sunset through Sun room window

and the Sun Room,

where we enjoyed our refreshments whilst, through a protective glass screen we observed

Isle of Wight through Sun Room window

The Isle of White,

Isle of Wight and garden from Sun Room window

the garden,

Pigeon in pines

and silhouetted pigeons (this photograph is Becky’s).

Foyer

The foyer, photographed from the first floor gallery, shows the aforementioned oak panelling that also lines all the corridors to the bedrooms.

Although the personnel were different, the service was as efficient and friendly as we had found yesterday.

For our dinner this evening, Jackie produced a superb beef casserole; cauliflower and broccoli cheese; perfect boiled new potatoes; and crisp carrots and green beans. I finished the El Sotillo, Ian drank Peroni, and Becky drank zinfandel rose.

Fried Egg On Toast

Today was a real scorcher. I set off for the rose garden rather early, intending simply to dig a few holes for the plants plonked yesterday. No such luck. The head gardener had already been out there for an hour. On the south side of the entrance arch had straggled two rather unattractive shrubs. Jackie had decided they had to go, and consequently cut them right back. All that was left were one thick trunk and masses of quite mature suckers. After carting her clippings to the burning pile, I set to with fork, axe, and saw, to remove them. This took quite some time, not helped by the pottery shards, CDs, plant labels, and bits of plastic and polystyrene, typical of our predecessors’ composting, that were tangled among the roots. We then boasted a clear trellis on which to plant the next climbing rose.Arch trellis

That was enough for the morning. After a short break, Jackie continued watering, and I ambled down to the corner of Roger’s field and back.

Bidens, cosmos, daisies, and lobelia

Neither of us had known bidens other than the normal yellow,

Bidens and petunias

so we are quite pleased with this unusual variety obtained from Ferndene Farm Shop.

Woodlouse in cobweb

A wayward woodlouse, suspended from a cobweb on a back drive stump, cast a static shadow.

Dappled tarmac

Strong sunlight dappled the tarmac on Downton Lane.

Snail on nettle

A congealed fried egg on nettle toast in the hedgerow revealed itself to be an over-adventurous snail.

This afternoon we planted yesterday’s floral purchases.

Rose garden planting

It is hard to credit that the two salvias, and what we hope is a pot-bound dwarf conifer, are occupying the place by the southern fence where a hidden bath stood a year ago.

Hydrangea climbing

This climbing hydrangea can tolerate the shade it will receive in the corner by the orange shed. Like our other additions it will grow bigger. The logs in the foreground are part of our insect hotel, which has been temporarily moved by Aaron, pending his last section of paving.

I watched two Wimbledon tennis matches on television. In the first, Novak Djokovic beat Bernard Tomic in straight sets. The second took much longer than anticipated, so we consumed our pasta and meatballs in a tomato based sauce, and salad, from trays on our knees, as we watched a thrilling match in which Serena Williams beat Heather Watson by taking the third set 7 – 5. A red Cotes de Bordeaux 2012 helped to mitigate my excitement. Miraculously, my shirt was unscathed.