An English Country Churchyard

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After dinner yesterday evening we popped down to Barton on Sea to view the sunset.

This morning we drove around the forest.

The thatcher I spoke to at East End, where the albeit somnolent donkeys were having fun with the traffic,

replied that the project was “beginning to take shape”.

Jackie on tree seat

Our next stop was at St Mary’s Church at South Baddesley, outside which Jackie sat on a seat cut into a very large tree stump.

Ken Allen gateposts

Gateway and church

Alongside the church stretches a patch of uncultivated land accessed from an open gateway dedicated to Ken Allen 1918 – 2005.

Path from church to playground 1

From here a  path leads down

Playground

to a playground beyond a locked five-barred gate. I was unable to gain any information about Mr Allen or the leisure area that I speculated must be related to him.

It was quite refreshing to discover that the Victorian church itself was unlocked and welcoming. I found the stained glass windows particularly attractive.

Cap on pew

Hanging on the edge of a pew was a gentleman’s cloth cap. If it is yours it awaits your collection.

Primroses, English bluebells, and other wild flowers wandered, as did I, among the gravestones in this English country churchyard.

Angel gravestone sculpture

Most of the stones were quite simple, but there was one angel and child,

and the amazing resting place of Admiral of the Fleet George Rose Sartorius, GCB, Count de Penhafirme who died on 13th April 1885 in his 95th year. This was 70 years after he had served with Nelson at the battle of Trafalgar.

Admiral Sartorius's grave 2 – Version 2

What is particularly astonishing is the knowledge that the credible articulated linked anchor chain winding around the cross was carved from stone.

After lunch Jackie continued working her magic in the garden where I did a bit of clearing up and repelled some invading brambles along the back drive.

This evening we enjoyed our second serving of Mr Chatty Man Chan’s Chinese Take Away with which I finished the madiran. Jackie didn’t imbibe because she had drunk her Hoegaarden in the Rose Garden where we had a drink first.

P.S. Bruce Goodman, in his comment below, has provided a link to Ken Allen, which, incidentally explains that the playground I noticed is attached to a school. This is no doubt why the entrance would be locked during the Easter holidays.

It’s An Ill Wind…..

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Yesterday evening we dined with Helen, Bill, Shelly, and Ron at Tyrell’s Ford Country Inn and Hotel at Avon, near Christchurch. As the only group in the dining we enjoyed the attentions of a friendly waitress. My choice of meal was liver and bacon, mashed potato, carrots. swede, sugar snaps, green beans, and broccoli. My dessert was Dutch apple crumble and custard. Three of us shared a bottle of red, and three, white, wine.

Storm Doris, having vented all night, eased up enough for me to take a chance on keeping   my lunch appointment at La Barca in Lower Marsh. To this end Jackie drove me to New Milton where the London Train arrived on time.

Waiting for the train

These gentlemen viewed from the waiting room awaiting their transport were no more disappointed than I was.

Block of flats through train window

Soon after departure a tree was reported across the track outside Eastleigh. This afforded me the opportunity closely to examine the pastel shades of a line side block of flats.

After a while we were under way again, the train was only 35 minutes late, and I arrived at the restaurant before Norman had taken off his coat. We both chose artichoke soup for starters; my main course was swordfish steak in a piquant sauce served with sautéed potatoes, sugar snaps, green beans, and broccoli. We shared a bottle of the house Valpolicella. I needed no more sustenance in the evening.

The return journey was rather longer than the outward one. In addition to another tree on the track, there was a 50 m.p.h. speed limit ‘for health and safety reasons’.

Groups of assorted travellers stood on Waterloo Station, eyes glued to the departures board where they could read about delays and cancellations.

There had been many unfortunate travellers without seats on the outward journey. There were fewer of those on the way home, but they were even more discomforted when the food trolley or other passengers need to pass.

Graffiti

Once again I was able to study the trackside. There was graffiti between Waterloo and Vauxhall;

Trees from train

trees waving with the wind,

Trackside

and an embankment somewhere near Basingstoke.

Jackie had been expecting to meet me at New Milton. This was not to be, because the railway company decided to decant passengers for intermediate stations at Brockenhurst, and send the train non-stop to Bournemouth. She therefore set off for the latter station. As I walked out into the car park I could see a very long traffic queue stretching a long way back in the direction from which I expected her to arrive. I decided to walk to the end of it in an effort to save her getting stuck in it. When I got there I phoned Jackie to let her know where I was. She was approaching from the opposite direction from which there was no tailback. This meant I had to walk on further in an effort to find a place where she could stop.

Sunset was now on its way. Thank goodness for mobile phones.

We chased the sunset to Milford on Sea,

where the spirited waves rushed towards the shingle.

Silhouettes at sunset

I spent a very short time leaning into the wind. This family group who had come to watch the sea stayed out of their people carrier for an even shorter period.

Without Doris, I would not have enjoyed such line-side views, nor such moody sunsets. As they say, it’s an ill wind (that does nobody any good).

A Conundrum 2

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We took it easy today. Prompted by today’s post from thebikinggardener I wandered around the garden to see how our Hellebores are doing.

Some way behind Geoff’s, ours are coming through.

Many primulas have so far survived the winter.

Mist on cherub

The shattered bits of cherub Jackie found in the undergrowth a couple of years ago have gained a fine coating of moss.

Honesty and weeping birch

The remnants of honesty, hollowing ovals on stems, blends well with the weeping birch bark.

The parent viburnum Bontantense and its two children are blooming well. One joins with a leycesteria in beginning to mask Aaron’s new fencing.

Winter flowering cherry

Alongside the winter flowering cherry

Blackbird

and beneath the crab apples, a blackbird dropped down for a change of diet.

Pieris

This pieris takes my mind off the fact that the grass needs cutting.

Hydrangea

A few youthful pink cheeks survive amid those ageing, wrinkly, and skeletal ones of this hydrangea.

Eggshells on new bed

Finally, the conundrum. Who has dragged a clutch of eggshells from the compost heap across the New Bed? Well, we did spot a rat, hands and nose pressed to the pane, peering, like Tiny Tim, through our window when we ate our Christmas dinner.

Just before 4.30 p.m., we dashed out to Barton on Sea to watch the sun sink into Christchurch Bay. I did not stage the photograph of the woman kicking it back up into the sky.

A while later we dined at Lal Quilla. My choice was lamb shatkora massala; Jackie’s prawn sallee. We shared an egg paratha, mushroom rice, and sag bahji; and both drank Kingfisher.

Keep Your Eye On The Silly Hat

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Jackie was really unwell today. I needed to ask for a home visit from the Milford Medical Centre GP. The service was its usual brilliant self. Dr Bartlet visited. He was as thorough as ever and demonstrated that his bedside manner is as excellent as that in the surgery. He prescribed medication for a severe chest infection and she had perked up by the evening.

Just before sunset, Becky drove me to the surgery to collect the prescription and have it dispensed at the next door pharmacy.

Cyclists 1

On the way down Downton Lane our route was blocked by a couple of cyclists riding two abreast. Keep your eye on the silly hat. Becky informs me that cycling training courses now teach their students ‘defensive cycling’, requiring them to take up as much room as a car, so that drivers will not be tempted to rush past them. So cyclists are being trained to annoy car drivers. Nice.

Cyclists 2

We were even unable to pass these two at the bottom of the road, because they had to pass a parked BT/Open Reach van. As always, these vans advertise advance fibre optic broadband. I found myself being grateful that this company that had mis-sold me such equipment which they could not deliver had not yet spawned the generation of solicitors touting for business on the back of PPIs. Keep your eye on the silly hat.

It was almost sunset when we reached the clifftop, within sight of the Isle of Wight and The needles.

I was not the only photographer keen on observing the view.

Dog walkers and cyclist

A couple of cyclists sped past a pair of dog walkers. Did you keep your eye on the silly hat?

This evening we dined on pizza, breaded mushrooms, samosa, and salad. I drank Cabbalié 2015, a rather splendid Catalan red supplied by Ian, who contented himself and Becky with finishing the pinot grigio.

 

Flying Off Into The Sunset

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This afternoon we drove to Lymington and to Molly’s Den in Old Milton for some successful Christmas shopping.

Trafficator

During my early motoring days many cars were still fitted with trafficators like this one (photo from Wikipedia). There was one on either side of the car. These would click up to indicate in which direction the driver was intending to turn. If it didn’t work you had to use hand signals and hope the driver behind understood what you were doing.

Veteran car

This car we followed along the road used one of these to indicate turning left.

When we emerged from the antiques emporium the late, lowering sun burnished bracken and ponies alike. The last of the creatures in this set of pictures yanked away at brambles and gorse as a variation on the customary diet of grass.

Later still the warm rays drew mist from the dampened terrain;

Sunset with plane

and finally, a passenger plane seemingly leaving Southampton airport, flew off into the sunset.

Back at home we dined on roast duck, boiled and mashed potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, and spinach, followed by steamed syrup pudding and Cornish ice cream. I finished the shiraz.

Alfresco Dining

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There are still plenty enough crab apples on our trees to attract blackbirds daily. This morning I watched them eating. They are quite territorial over their meal table, tending to deter unwelcome guests. They prefer to approach the fruit on the higher branches. If they do not drop them onto the plants below, they are capable of swallowing them in one go.

Later this afternoon, diverting to observe the beach huts burnished by sunset over Friars Cliff, we drove to Curry’s/PC World at Christchurch for some Christmas shopping.

This evening we dined at Lal Quilla in Lymington. My choice was Purple Tiger (tiger prawns and aubergine) and Jackie chose Harayali chicken (not sure if I’ve spelled it correctly, but it is spinach based). We shared mushroom rice, tarka dal, and a paratha; and both drank Kingfisher.

Pig On The Road

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Hoping for the cloud to clear we drove out to the north of the forest late this afternoon.

pony and rider

Between Sway and Brockenhurst a woman rode a New Forest pony. This can only be managed after skillful ‘backing’ or breaking in.

Her steed carried her past a gathering of diminutive  Shetland or ‘Thelwell’ ponies, ignoring both me and the hair in their eyes as they foraged away.

Along Roger Penny Way we learned that pannage continues, as pigs scampered speedily along the verges

and across the road, snouts searching out mast.

Pony

Further along, a group of normal sized ponies grazed on a golf green, as a player prepared his putt. By the time Jackie had parked and I had walked back, a pair of brandished clubs had shooed off the interlopers who satisfied themselves with the roadside where they blended with the golden brown bracken.

Skyscape

We enjoyed dramatic skies across the moors. Blue skies peeped out from lighter clouds, and beams of sunlight pierced the darker ones.

Cattle led by farmer

At Godshill a farmer, carrying a bucket, led his little herd of cattle along the roadside;

Cow running

a deep bellowing emanated from one straggler who broke into a surprisingly spritely sprint, lest it might miss out on whatever was in the container;

Cow and calf

and a cow and calf had managed to find themselves on the wrong side of the road.

By the time we reached Abbots Well the landscape, and the cattle therein, basked in warm late sunlight;

Sunset

the skies on our return home added gold and magenta hues to the darkening slate.

This evening we dined on salmon and smoked haddock fish pie studded with prawns; crunchy carrots and broccoli; and fried leeks and spinach. We both drank Louis de Camponac sauvignon blanc 2015.