“She’s Got A Baby”

Today’s thirty minute walk was along the stony seawall path of Keyhaven Harbour. Jackie drove me there and back and waited in the car park while I strode out and crawled back.

As I began to open the gate leading on to the mallow lined footpath I noticed a woman carefully following the ungainly swan walking ahead. I did not see the little legs behind the mother.

From the car Jackie yelled “she’s got a baby’. Looking at the container the woman was carrying, I wondered what my wife was talking about, especially as there wasn’t much activity in the transparent tub.

In order to obtain a view from Jackie’s perspective I slid along the front of the Modus and saw the little imprinted cygnet.

I exchanged greetings with a number of other walkers and cyclists availing themselves of this mallow-lined stony path leading to Lymington with its views of the harbours, the Isle of Wight, Hurst Castle and associated lighthouse. The gentleman at the rear of the group in the fifth of these pictures is awaiting a knee replacement, and asked me what to expect. I gave him the benefit of my experience.

I’m not sure what kind of duck this is with its babies bobbing about.

I passed more walkers on my return to the car park,

on the other side of which the cygnet was learning preening.

This evening we dined on minty lamb burgers with roasted mushrooms; creamy mashed potato; crisp cauliflower and carrots, and tender runner beans. I realise I have been regularly remiss in not mentioning the delicious aroma emanating from steaming bowls of perfectly cooked vegetables. Today my nostrils gave me a wake up call. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Malbec.

Provoking A Squabble

Overnight winds had been powerful enough to blow this planted up stone urn off its pedestal.

Early this morning Jackie drove me to our G.P. surgery at Milford on Sea to order a repeat prescription.

We were not surprised to learn on BBC News that, at 79 m.p.h., the strongest gusts in Britain had rushed through The Needles which still seemed borne on a bed of spray as we passed them. Our home is in a direct line from these rocks, and always shares their buffeting.

The foaming waves of the Solent rolled rapidly towards our coastline, flinging ragged curtains of ocean droplets skyward. A motorboat speeding across the surface, despite its rapid rate, seemed to be bobbing up and down as it appeared to be engulfed.

Gulls reflected in pools in the car parks.

Masts at the Yacht Club stood against the sky at Keyhaven, where a group of walkers of the third age passed a younger woman with a dog.

We continued along the coast road towards Hurst Spit on and around which walkers strode beneath a fretwork of cotton clouds and streaking jet trails.

As we approached the bridge over the stream we became aware of a frenzied, shrieking, squabble of seagulls. What, we wondered, had provoked this activity?

A gentleman carefully placing muzzles on his pair of Dalmatians had spotted the answer.

He wasn’t prepared to risk a conflict between his dogs and the swans being fed from the bridge.

A string of Brent geese had found their own food in a field opposite.

Outside Solent Grange a store of stone sculptures awaited installation on the so pretentious walls.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s comforting cottage pie; crunchy carrots of virus hues; tender runner beans and cabbage.

Wrecking The Shrubbery

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This afternoon, Jackie drove me around the East of the forest.

A group of donkeys diced with death as they munched on the verges of the winding lanes approaching East End,

where a llama in a field slowly swivelled its gaze in my direction;

and seasonal signs included blackberries ripening in the hedgerows,

starlings gathering on overhead cables,

and pheasants trotting across the moorland.

Three young cyclists came whooping down the approaching slope and up the next,

until they ran out of puff, dismounted, and, with a certain amount of trepidation, negotiated their way past fly-pestered ponies bent on keeping cottages’ grass cropped.

One of the many wandering cattle at East Boldre craned over a white picket fence and set about wrecking the owners’ shrubbery.

Gulls and swans shared Beaulieu’s Hatchet Pond.

This evening we will shortly be driving to The Family House at Totton where we will meet Becky, Ian, and Elizabeth for an excellent Chinese meal.

P.S. The evening was most enjoyable. The restaurant served the usual excellent food; the ambience being as warm and friendly as ever.

 

 

Why Did The Pony Cross The Road?

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This morning, headed for Hatchet Pond, we drove out to the forest early enough to see the children trailing to Lymington’s schools.

The pond itself was now rivalled by waterlogged terrain

that had been settled by a group of mallards, already pairing up among the reflected trees.

Gulls, mallards, crows, and ponies 1

Various gulls, more mallards, crows, and ponies

Gulls 1

basked

Gulls in flight 1

and flew around Hatchet Pond,

Herons

on the far side of which a couple of cormorants perched on posts in the water,

Swan and reeds

and a solitary swan drifted among last year’s plants.

Ponies and gorse 1

Dappled ponies grazed among the golden gorse,

Reflected tree and pony

and alongside additional pools.

These gentle creatures, ignoring the thorns of gorse and bramble, tore at the clumps of grass.

Pony crossing road

Now, why did this one cross the road?

Ponies and gorse 2

To join its foraging fellows.

The forest terrain was covered in clear rainwater bathing last autumn’s leaves,

and reflecting trees.

Waterlogged landscape 2

Balmer Lawn’s land alongside Highland Water was similarly awash.

That river runs under the A337 on the approach to Brockenhurst.

It provides reflections from the bridge over which we drive.

This evening we dined on our tried and tested choice of M3 from the set meals of The Family House Chinese restaurant in Totton. As so often the establishment was full of both Chinese and English family members with dual heritage children milling about. As I said to the assembled company on our departure, “one of the reasons we like this place is that it is a family house”.

Back On Track

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James Peacock of Peacock Computer Systems collected the iMac today and took it off for surgery. In the process he helped me out with the WordPress problem, and I was able to insert into the ‘No Resolution’ post

Sunset at LymingtonSunset at LymingtonSunset at Lymington

the sunsets at Lymington.

This afternoon we went for a drive in the forest.

Lymington River

Lymington RiverLymington River

The tide was out on a glassy Lymington River which was bright and clear in the sunlight.

Reedbeds

On the eastern side of the river stand the reed beds, where a solitary swan, tail in the air, dived for food.

Undershore Road

 Undershore Road road runs alongside the river.

Footpath

Jackie parked, at the point above, so that I could take a ramble along a footpath.

Reedbeds from footpath

This narrow way offered on the left a view of the reed beds.

Footpath

We have had such an extended dry period that the path mostlyFootpath remains reasonably dry;

Reedbeds from footpath

although streams meander from the river.

All this work has been carried out on my Windows laptop. I think you could say I was back on track.

This evening we dined on spicy Turkey, lamb and mint sausages, mashed potato, and carrots and runner beans al dente. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I consumed more of the Fleurie.

 

Lymington Quay

On a wet, mild, morning, I inserted the penultimate section into the garden album, and printed the final batch of photographs.

This afternoon Jackie drove us to Lymington quay and back. She left me to find Dials Antique Clocks, recommended yesterday by Highcliff Watchmakers, while she went in search of Peacocks and baby clothes.

Dials antique clocks

We were both successful. Dials has a most picturesque location at the corner of Quay Street. The clock repairer was happy to tackle a traditional clock bought by Michael for Jessica and me about 35 years ago. He didn’t do battery operated digital clocks like Mum’s carriage clock that had become so corroded that, when Elizabeth cleaned it, the contacts fell off. When I explained that it was one I had bought my mother many years ago, and bore my name as part of her identification of presents to be returned to the donor when the time comes, he changed his mind, although warned me of the cost., which is really not a factor. I have, incidentally, told Mum that I don’t any longer give her a present I wouldn’t want back at a later date.

Lymington Quay 1

I left the clocks at the shop and wandered back to the still water.

Boats 1Boats 2Boats 3

The only real sign of life, where the boats were all moored, was of the sea birds.

Gull and smaller bird

A wagtail bravely advances towards a gull.

Pigeon

Speaking of gulls, surely this mongrel pigeon has at least dual heritage.

Swan preening

Swans were busy preening,

Mallards 2

and a pair of sleepy mallards dozed to the rippling sway of their rowing boat.

For our dinner this evening Jackie produced her delicious lamb jalfrezi, chicken tikka, onion and mushroom rice, and an onion bhaji. I drank Old Crafty Hen and The Cook chose sparkling water.

Water

I have mentioned Becky’s lesson on tagging. The way I am implementing this is to tag a few posts a day. This morning it was the turn of ‘A Rant’ from Aust 13th 2012. Whilst I was in the process of drawing my readers’ attention to my displeasure with O2 and Azzurri, I received a phone call from O2. Most politely, I terminated the conversation fairly quickly. Jackie was a little perplexed that this intervention had me screaming with laughter.

Today’s weather forecast had promised that the steady rain would desist soon after noon, when we would have fine weather until 8 p.m.  By mid afternoon we decided we couldn’t wait any longer for the fine weather and would drive to Ringwood. This was a signal for the rains to accelerate. Considerably.Castle Malwood Lodge through wet windscreen For us, peering through the windscreen as we clambered into the car, already pretty wet from our walk across the path to it, the view of our home was Upper drive through hailstones on windscreenmuch distorted. Crashing over the cattle grid leading to Upper Drive, the rain turned to hail.

A31

Traffic on the A31 was pretty solid, but as the rain let up a little, so did the blockage, and we were soon under way.  Upon arrival, Jackie set off for Sainsbury’s, and I made my way through the town, and across The Bickerley to the Castleman Trailway.

Today, I was forced into a detour that had not been necessary on 14th. Kingsbury's Lane (1) Ignoring the flood warding signs at the entrance to Kingsbury’s Lane, I walked down it. The red Peugeot on the right seemed accessible, and it wouldn’t be much further after that.Kingsbury's Lane Big mistake. When I reached the Escapade I backtracked and took the next lane along.

Sewage overflowWhen I had photographed this scene on 23rd December 2012, I had described a steady flow of liquid coming from beneath a concrete cover in a garden, as emanating from a burst water main. The same stream was bursting forth to join the rest of the flood on the road. It contained toilet paper. I was informed by a man who waded down the road in wellies, that this was the mains sewage, which could also be seen spouting from under a metal cover in the road itself.

Before going on to cross the sodden Bickerley I walked along to the pillar box end of the flooded street to inspect the scene there. This is where I met my informant. Kingsbury's Lane (2)He had been able carefully to traverse the hopefully temporary lake in his Wellingtons. A philosophical character, he took it all in his stride. ‘Could do without the sewage though’, he exclaimed.

Flloded fields

Castleman TrailwayAs I approached the Trailway it was immediately apparent that the River Avon and the millstream between them had completely claimed the surrounding fields. For some little time now there have been no ponies in residence. Today they would have stood no chance of keeping their feet dry or finding any food. I imagine they had been removed in anticipation of this.

The torrent from above had ceased by the time I reached the flooded street. When I was close enough to the Avon to hear it rushing to join the millstream, in partnership with which it was rapidly turning the fields into an expanding lake, the rain began again.Sunset Sunset (1)On my lens it produced bizarre effects most of which, except for one at sunset, I have since discarded. On the other hand, it has been difficult to discard all those of the sun, claiming illumination rights to the sunken fields.

On 30th November 2012, I had seen woman rescuing her ponies from the field I focussed on today. A five barred metal gate bars the way into what is now a waterlogged area.Sunset (3)Sunset (2) The gate bears a sign warning dog owners to protect the livestock within from their canine invaders. The only living creatures in there now are the waterfowl paddling upon it. Swan taking off in sunsetSwan in sunsetAs I leant on this barrier in order to photograph the sun subsiding beneath the waves, a loud flapping reminded me of this fact. A swan in the act of taking off came into view. It flew over the sun’s reflection on the waterlogged grassland.

Wishing to avoid the slow-moving A31 on our return journey, we travelled via Bransgore, along winding roads full of pools, in the dark. To describe this experience would be to repeat some of the content of yesterday’s post.

Soon after our return home we dined on a hearty beef casserole with crisp vegetables, followed by creme brûlée. I finished the Bergerac and Jackie drank Hoegaarden.