Lunch At Steff’s Kitchen

Late this morning Jackie drove us to Fairweather’s Garden Centre in Beaulieu where we met Danni, Andy, Ella, and Elizabeth for lunch in Steff’s Kitchen.

The various trees in pools on the road from Brockenhurst were thoroughly irrigated.

Beaulieu Lake was also very full, to the satisfaction of the numerous swans.

Ella enjoyed playing games with her Dad, in particular practising her pointing,

which she also did with me.

We exchanged Christmas presents which, had we been well enough, was planned to have taken place on New Year’s Day. Later, Danni e-mailed photographs of our great niece playing with the one we had given her. I will publish those tomorrow.

Even when Ella had pinched a chip from Andy she worked hard to place it in her bowl before eating it.

Elizabeth and I both chose roast beef dinners; Jackie selected soup and a sandwich; Andy chose something and chips;

Danni enjoyed a potato tortilla.

Ginormous cakes, carrot for Danni,

and Victoria sponge for Jackie, needed to be shared out a bit.

Danni gave Elizabeth a taste of hers,

some of which found its way to Ella’s cheeks.

I was treated to more of this, and to half of Jackie’s.

After a tour round the well stocked shop we all drove to Elizabeth’s for another hour or so of enjoyable conversation.

As we drove along Lyndhurst Road out of Beaulieu,

a bright sun was making determined efforts to climb above scudding clouds.

There are a considerable number of Shetland ponies about at the moment. I counted eighteen along Pilley Street grazing n the green.

As I wandered among them, they took to the road

in order to sample fresh fodder further along.

It was close to sunset when we arrived home, so we drove on to

Barton on Sea to witness it.

This evening we dined on sandwiches and salad. Mine was ham and Jackie’s was peanut butter.

 

 

It Has To Go

As she toured the garden this morning Jackie was struck by the contrast between the number of survivors from spring and summer still blooming –

including clematis Niobe;

fuchsias Delta’s Sarah

and Mrs. Popple;

hebes;

hot lips;

bidens;

pelargoniums;

pansies;

campanulas;

and roses in the Rose Garden –

and the harbingers of spring to come, such as the budding rhododendrons;

the new shoots of Michaelmas daisies;

and the burgeoning mimuluses.

One of Aaron’s tasks was to clear dragons, hanging baskets, and other vulnerable artefacts from beneath the

rather brittle cypress that continually sheds dead branches and therefore has to go. It will be removed later in the week.

As we were planning to venture into the forest this afternoon the skies darkened, the previously still air produced gusts of more than fifty miles an hour, torrential rains fell, and the birds left the front garden feeders. Within half an hour tranquility returned.

Blue tits returned to the suet balls.This bird tried to masquerade as one;

and Ron, as we have named the front garden robin, was able to head for his seed feeder before the sparrows returned to dispossess him. It is almost impossible to distinguish between male and female robins. Should Ron turn out to be a female I guess she will be a Ronette. https://youtu.be/FXlsWB1UMcE

We then did drive into to forest.

Ponies at Norleywood had calmly weathered the storm that had added to

the pool at the corner of St. Leonards Road,

along which, like cannon-shot, clouds sped across the sky,

against which oak tree branches groped gnarled fingers.

It was not yet sunset when we passed St Leonards Grange and the ruins of its ancient grain barn.

Another winterbourne pool on which oak leaves floated reflected  the tree limbs and trunks;

a cheerful young girl running down the road was overtaken by a passing car;

and a pheasant was framed by a Star of David.

We drove on past Bucklers Hard, then retuned along St Leonards Road to catch

sunset both at the Grange

and a little further along the road.

This evening we dined on fish pie with Jackie’s succulent ratatouille; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; and tender cabbage, with which we both drank Barefoot Sauvignon Blanc 2016.

 

 

Golden Globe Descending

After lunch I watched recorded highlights of yesterday’s international rugby match between England and Australia. I then prised Jackie from her greenhouse so she could take me for a drive in the forest.

“Look, Derrick”, she announced, indicating a plant on this sunny but cold afternoon, “it’s a little chilly in the garden”.

Many moorland trees have now lost most of their leaves.

Whitemoor Pond, near Brockenhurst, is one of those many normal waterlogged areas of the New Forest that has been bone dry for most of this year,

In recent days it has filled up again, which is good news for ducks, specifically a happy paddle of mallards.

From there we motored on to Burley, where, at the busy crossroads outside The Burley Inn

a suckling foal caused great delight among the youngest visitors

who failed to notice the other pony ambling amongst the traffic.

It is not that unusual to see a grey mare with a black foal.

Approaching sunset we enjoyed the pastel skies beyond Picket Post,

then sped back to Burley to watch the golden globe descending.

This evening Jacqueline joined us for dinner before returning to stay with Mum. Jackie produced a superb starter of hot and spicy vegetable soup with homemade croutons followed by classic cottage pie served with crisp carrots, cauliflower, and runner beans. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden while Elizabeth and I finished the Brouilly.

Sunset Wakes

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Richard began this morning by fitting oak surfaces to the sink trim and the window sill. Shelves were cut to an exact fit, clamped, and glued into place.

The cupboard cornices, cut to size with the Festool chop saw, having perfect mitres, were then fitted, with cable threaded through for lighting.

Jackie and I visited Banging Breakfast Café for brunch, and arrived back in time to witness the delivery of the Cimstone Arcadia quartz worktops. Richard had been expecting these tomorrow, but they came a day early and he fitted them firmly into place.

He had made a template for these last week. The only join required was at the junction between the long worktop and the piece to hold the hobs. Richard mixed the adhesive and wedged the material in place, having mixed the adhesive seen on the palette resting over the hob space.

Hole cut for extractor fanCore cutterRichard drillingRichard drilling

The most difficult task today seemed to be drilling the outlet for the new extractor fan. This involved a much larger core cutter. One hole was cut above the hob site through to the library. Another across the other side through the outside wall. Each drilling had to be centred first with a smaller drill. Richard was very careful when working in this very awkward space. The oar seen standing to the right of the drill is one of two won by Sam whilst at Wadham College, Oxford.

Late this afternoon Jackie drove us into the forest for a while. We watched the sun, reflected in icy pools, lowering over the moors at East Boldre,

Dogs with balls

where a couple of romping dogs eagerly rushed to display their balls.

Sunset arrived with us at Hatchet Pond,

Waterfowl and cloud reflected at sunsetWaterfowl and reflected skiesWaterfowl and reflected clouds at sunsetWaterfowl wakes

where wakes of waterfowl disturbed the clear reflections,

Branch in Hatchet Pond

and the Loch Ness Monster appears to have relocated.

My choice of sandwich this evening was egg and smoked ham salad.

 

 

 

Getting The Measure Of The Kitchen

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Yesterday I was asked by the suppliers of our greenhouse whether I had any photographs they might use in their next brochure. Regular readers will know the answer. This morning I e-mailed them links to four posts.

Dale, from Crestwood Showrooms, visited at midday in order to measure our kitchen floor to accommodate the new appliances. It is sad that we will need to replace the existing tiles which will no longer fit. Having made his measurements, this very friendly and personable gentleman checked his figures and photographed the existing area. He chatted for a while, explaining just how the flooring would be synchronised with the carpentry and installation processes.

To the left of Dale in the first picture above can be seen the edge of the island on which the current hobs stand. His hand is above the kitchen sink which, along with everything else on that wall, is to be replaced. What should be apparent is the distance the water source is from the cooking area. On the other side of the dining table stands a kitchen cabinet and a set of IKEA shelves which will probably be brought into service elsewhere.

After lunch we motored into the forest.

Highland cattle

On the outskirts of Brockenhurst, a group of Highland cattle often seen wandering the streets and forested areas, were now confined to a field.

Along the Rhinefield and Boldrewood Ornamental Drive the recent high winds and the rains loosening roots have replenished the stock of arboreal casualties whose limbs and trunks now join those fallen earlier, to be left mouldering in the interests of ecology.

Today was one more of showers than sunshine, which did make for fascinating skies over the moorland and, later, at Milford on Sea where gulls played on the thermals

until the setting sun kissed the waves below.

This evening we dined on juicy chicken Kiev; crunchy carrots and runner beans; and creamy mashed potato. I drank Mendoza Beefsteak Malbec 2016.

We Didn’t Chat For Long

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This morning Aaron, of AP Maintenance, tackled the storm damage. He replaced the back drive barrier plants; repaired Jackie’s screen covering the five barred fence; gathered up fallen branches; and tidied up the cypress,

Cypress

which now looks like this.

Sending wood-chips flying from his chain saw, our friend began by cutting up the branches stretching down to the ground.

Aaron had not brought his ladder with him. He opted to climb the tree rather than go home for it.

Anyone of a nervous disposition may prefer to look away from his exploits up aloft, as he showered me with wood shavings.

This afternoon, Jackie drove us to Lepe beach and back.

The skies there already promised a good sunset.

Photographer and dog

I was apparently not the only photographer who thought so.

 

So crowded was this popular beach that we almost gave up finding a spot in the packed car park, until, as we bounced over the numerous potholes to leave, another vehicle rocked its way out in front of us. Jackie was then able to stay in the warmth of the vehicle whilst I stepped out with my camera.

Many wrapped up families walked and played along the sandy shingle. At water level in the last of this group of pictures is The Watch House, with the Coastguard Cottages on the hill above.

Mother and child

A little girl, not much bigger than her younger charge, staggered over to their mother carrying the distressed infant who had fallen. Maternal solace was then administered.

Another mother instructed her daughter in the art of chucking stones in the water.

A small boy enjoyed throwing up spadefuls of sand, before trotting off to the shoreline and inspecting

the whipped cream sweeping in from the sea.

Leaving Lepe, Inchmery Lane snakes alongside the seashore where, visible through twisted branches, slug-like dunes rose from lingering pools.

We reached Tanners Lane in time for sunset.

As we departed for home, we were delighted to meet Barry and Karen who had just arrived to walk their dogs on the shingle. It was now so cold that we didn’t chat for long.

This evening we dined at Milford on Sea’s Smugglers Inn. We both enjoyed our meals. Mine was rump of lamb with minty mashed potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, and red and green cabbage; Jackie’s was spaghetti carbonara.  I drank Doom Bar and my wife drank Amstel.

The Photo Shoot

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Yesterday I expressed m intention to published the prints from Newark 1993. Today I changed my mind. I decided to hold them in reserve for the next dull day. This could have been one. But it wasn’t. It was one of bright, crisp, sunshine.

Jackie in greenhouse

Jackie continued potting up

Greenhouse 1

cuttings

Greenhouse 2

in the greenhouse.

After lunch, she drove us to Boscombe and back.

Boscombe pier 2

We stopped within sight of the pier.

Boscombe pier 1

As I walked down the slope, a young woman walked up.

Boscombe pier 3

A boat, approaching from the left, skirted the structure stretching seaward. Was it a lifeboat? The water was certainly rough enough for someone to be in trouble.

Sculpture 1

At the bottom of the slope two sculptures, one in a garden,

Sculpture 2

and another on Undercliff Drive, caught m attention.

Photo Shoot 1

I then had the serendipitous good fortune

Photo Shoot 2

to gatecrash

Photo Shoot 3

a photo shoot

Photo Shoot 4

conducted by

Photo Shoot 5

three delightful

Photo Shoot 6

young ladies. The third, given that she was carrying out the same role as me, is not in shot.

As we left this suburb of Bournemouth, the skies gave promise of the good sunset we were to witness later.

Cyclist 2

Despite a propensity to allow his exuberance to take him swerving all over the road,

Cyclist 1

this joyful cyclist, seen here approaching Hengistbury Head, kept up a good 20 m.p.h. We parted company with him as he wheeled onto the footpath leading up the headland.

Sunset 1

The sunset was ripe

Sunset 2

outside Burley;

Sunset 3

the murmuration of starlings swirling over Holmsley was a sweeping cloud formation;

Sunset 4

the crescent moon exchanged places with its daytime counterpart.

This evening we dined at The Monkey House pub just outside Lymington. The establishment was as packed as ever, demonstrating its quality and the friendliness of the staff. Jackie enjoyed prawn cocktail and gammon steak. My choice was whitebait followed by rib-eye steak. Everything excellently cooked. Jackie drank Amstell and I drank Flack’s Double Drop