“Smug Git”

We were engaged in a quiet morning opening presents and cards.

Just before lunch I enjoyed a FaceTime chat with Sam, Holly, Malachi and Orlaigh who sang “Happy Birthday”. Poppy joined in, but as she had not had the experience before she was a little bewildered; and it is a long way to Australia.

In fact, Western Australia is a very large area itself.

Later they sent me these photographs taken on their 15 hour drive from Fremantle to the north of the state where they are spending a holiday in warmer temperatures.

Over lunch we got into little ditties and unusual words that Poppy could happily recite. This prompted me to test her with one and to tell the story of a London bus journey about twenty years ago. I became aware of a conversation between a man and his grandson who were trying to spell an unusual word. I took out a pen and wrote it on my bus ticket which I quietly handed over. “Smug git”, said the gentleman as he read ‘supercalifragilisticexpialidocious’. https://youtu.be/1Pu1adxqUAg

Just before Mat and Poppy returned home, Shelly and Ron arrived, bringing presents and a card. This was a happy coincidence because they are also Poppy’s Grauntie and Gruncle.

Later, I finished reading

being the second novel in the saga of the Larkins, introduced in “A Freak Of Fate

Bates, in his enviably inimitable fashion, has his outrageous family convince at least one Frenchwoman that she should never again say ‘that the English were frigid and reticent or restrained or that they took their pleasures sadly or that fog perpetually covered their land.’

Early this evening Louisa, Jessica and Imogen rang to wish me a happy birthday. The girls usually sing one rude version or another. This time they didn’t. They must be growing up.

This evening, Elizabeth joined us for a meal at Faros Greek restaurant in Milford on Sea. Service and food was as good as ever.

Jackie’s moussaka was delectable; and Elizabeth enjoyed her marinaded chicken.

There are three ingredients that would make me hesitate to order a meal: ouzo, pasta, and cheese topping. I was felling adventurous when I chose this tender lamb stew which contained all three. It was delicious, and accompanied by plentiful fresh salad. I drank Harmony red Avantis Estate wine and the ladies chose Mythos beer.

Jackie’s dessert was chocolate brownie with ice cream; mine was baklava, and Elizabeth’s Greek yoghurt with walnuts.

I recounted the supercalifragilistic story for Elizabeth’s benefit. She responded with “citsiligarfilacrepus”.

Select Six

Much of the morning was spent trawling through twelve months of photographs, seeking a selection from several thousand of the New Forest from which to enter six images into the Everton Festival: three prints, and three electronic efforts. This was a daunting effort. How do you portray this particular forest? A pony portrait of course could have been produced anywhere. I managed to pick about sixty possibles.

The Assistant Photographer reduced these to 19. Now it is your turn. I would be grateful for any suggestions as to which should definitely be included/excluded.

Because I am running out of printer inks with which to make the prints we set off to Wessex Photo at Ringwood to collect these. But we didn’t get very far. As Jackie began reversing the Modus in the front drive, Helen and Bill drove in. It would have been rude not to have offered them coffee. So we did. And enjoyed a catch up conversation.

Afterwards we did travel to Ringwood and I made my purchases.

We diverted to North Gorley on our way home. There,

the greens were occupied equally by equine and bovine residents. Flies were beginning to plague the animals – cattle ignored them, ponies switched their tails; one pony paddled, another nursed its new-born foal; a bovine necking session was in progress.

This unnamed lane led us towards Ringwood.

Jackie’s perfect pork paprika; new potatoes, firm broccoli, and breaded mushrooms were what we dined on this evening. I finished the Carmenere. My Lady abstained because she had drunk her Hoegaarden on the patio beforehand.

Tanners Lane

This afternoon I ambled round the sunlit garden.

Pink and red camellias, which first bloomed in January, appear to be going on for ever.

Tulips, like these yellow ones, are now replacing some fading daffodils, while

a variety of others are still in the bloom of youth.

Jackie planted these leucojum vernum last Autumn.

The amanogawa cherry came with the house.

Primulas, hellebores, and euphorbia are regular visitors;

Snake’s head fritillaries have so far survived a year or two.

Shortly before closing time we drove to Streets ironmongers in Brokenhurst to order a tap fitment. We took a leisurely route home.

Beside the road to Beaulieu a group of small deer disappeared into the woodland.

It wasn’t far from sunset when we arrived at Hatchet Pond.

I’ve never seen a galloping donkey before, but the one silhouetted against the skyline near the group grazing opposite the pond, crossed the ground at a fair lick when a young woman began photographing its companions. As I explained, the creature had come in search of treats.

Nearer sunset we diverted to Tanners Lane in search of a scene such as this.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent, short crust, beef, onion, and mushroom pie; boiled potatoes; crisp carrots and broccoli, followed by sticky toffee pudding and vanilla ice cream. I drank Outlook Bay Central Otago Pinot Noir 2017 and my lady drank more of The Quintet.

Keeping A Ball In The Air

Mat, Tess, and Poppy returned to their home early this afternoon.

The rest of us drove to Barton on Sea where Jackie, Becky, and Ian enjoyed coffee in the Beachcomber. I joined them for sparkling water after I had photographed the activities of visitors from the clifftop.

A pink streak divided the indigo bands of Solent and sky while a weak sunset attempted to make itself known.

Among groups gathering on the beach one young boy was intent on keeping a tennis ball in the air.

Pairs masqueraded as ships that pass in the night;

while engaged in an activity I couldn’t make out, one gentleman attempted to avoid entanglement in his dog’s lead;

a lone couple remained transfixed by the incoming waves.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s tender beef in red wine; sage and onion stuffing; bread sauce; Yorkshire pudding; and creamy mashed potato; Becky and I drank Calvet Fleurie 2016; Ian drank Chardonnay and Hoegaarden; Jackie also drank the Belgian beer.

Hay Ho

This morning Aaron of A.P. Maintenance completed his preparation of the Rose Garden for winter that is still being kept at bay.

A week or so back he gave the shrub roses a good haircut. Today he laid our two year old compost around their bases.

Clumps of bright yellow bidens, like these at the foot of our sculpture, Florence;

Little irises, heucheras, lamium, and geraniums;

a fig flowering in the Palm Bed;

and this clematis on the Westbrook Arbour, all speak of the season’s confusion.

This morning I helped Elizabeth load her car with belongings to take to her Pilley house. This afternoon Jackie and I followed this up by unloading them for her. We then continued on a forest drive.

The lake that has been mostly dry during the summer once more bears ripples and reflections.

Bustling goats in a field alongside Jordans Lane competed in a dodgem race for first bite at the bundles of hay clutched under their speeding keeper’s left arm.

On an open space beside Bull Hill a group of stumpy little ponies chomped on their own food.

From here we sped off to Mudeford, arriving just in time for sunset. While I was taking these shots

I was unaware that Jackie was adding her own sequence, featuring me among the silhouettes.

Preening swans,

one with an entourage of gulls, completed the picture.

Elizabeth returned in the evening and we all dined on Jackie’s splendidly hot chilli con carne and toothsome savoury rice. My sister drank Hop House Lager; my wife drank Hoegaarden; and I finished the Merlot

Not Passing The Time Of Day

Holmsley Passage cuts through stretch of moorland on the way to Burley. There is a sweep down to a  deep valley which rises as a little bridge takes us up the other side.

Late this afternoon, as we drove along it, the sunshine and showers offered enticing landscape lighting

bringing a glint to a the eye of a trotting thrush.

Bright yellow gorse blended with burnished bracken,

among which bronzed browsing ponies nibbled

and cloven-hoofed cattle chomped.

A black cow ambled across the junction with the main road into Burley,

pausing to admire its reflection in a gutter pool.

Crossing the road at this point, and turning right takes us up to a popular dog walking spot.

Halfway up the slope lies a small pond also harbouring reflections

admired by a distant robin, its breast russet as an autumn leaf, standing out against the shadow of a lichen covered tree,

Back towards Burley the lowering sun still burnished the trees  and the bracken among which

walkers wandered

with their straining dogs,

while ponies cropped the grass.

One canine creature, its tail aloft, passed a busy grey pony. They did not pass the time of day.

Heading towards Lyndhurst the skies grew more dramatic,

in preparation for impending sunset which would soon be visible from the approach to Holmsley Road.

Elizabeth returned this evening after her next stint of moving in to her Pilley House. We dined on bacon chops; sautéed potatoes; spicy ratatouille; and piquant cauliflower cheese Jackie drank Hoegaarden and my sister and I drank Terre de Galets Cotes du Rhone 2016.

 

 

 

The Last Half Hour

An exchange of comments with another blogger this morning took me back to ‘Child Labour’ from 14th January 2014.

Later, I added some material from ‘Anticipating The Shot (2)’  and from ‘One Life Cut Short, Another  Changed Forever’ to the draft of ‘A Knight’s Tale’.

CLICK ON ANY IMAGE IN A GROUP TO ACCESS ITS GALLERY, INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS OF WHICH CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE BY SCROLLING DOWN AND CHECKING BOX AT BOTTOM RIGHT

Our crab apple trees have lost almost all their leaves. Their enticing fruit has still not tempted the blackbirds.

This afternoon Jackie drove me to Sears Barbers where Kelly cut my hair. Peter is recovering from his knee replacement operation. After this we continued along the coast to Barton on Sea where

we enjoyed watching the skies, walkers, and the sea, during the last half hour leading to a somewhat subdued sunset. Most pedestrians and their dogs remained on the clifftop; one man gazed at the waves down below; Another in a wetsuit even breasted the turbulent waters (he was too far away for my lens). A jet plane’s perspective gave the impression that it was heading down to the waves beneath. I was not the only photographer focussed on the golden orb.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s tender peri peri chicken in a lemon marinade; creamy mashed potato; sautéed mushrooms, onions and peppers; carrots and green beans with which I drank more of the Merlot. We saved some for Elizabeth who will be home later.

P.S. In response to Sandra’s comment below, Jackie has produced her annotated version of the BBC Good Food recipe for Pumpkin Pie