Ne’er Cast A Clout……


Today was rainy enough to warrant another trip back to the Streets of London colour slides from May 2005.

Hadrian Mews N7 5.05

Hadrian Mews, N7 is a gated street in Holloway, off Islington’s Roman Way. It probably pays to be security conscious here.

Epping Place and Granary Square N7 5.05

Epping Place and Granary Square, N1 are off Liverpool Road. The Lighterman bar at 3, Granary Square has mixed reviews.

Sheldon Square W2 5.05

Sheldon Square, W2, in the Paddington Basin development has featured a couple of times before. By May 2005 it was a popular venue for walkers, both real and artificial. The gentleman in the right foreground is destined to stride towards another out of shot, forever sporting his short-sleeved shirt, whatever the weather.

Paddington Green W2 5.05

Over at Paddington Green, Sarah Siddons dominates the scene.

Sarah Siddons 5.05

Two years ago her nose had not looked as complete as this.

Paddington Green W2

It is to be hoped that, from the relaxed attitude of this motorcyclist that the policeman was helping him with directions. Mrs Siddons can be seen to our left of the Telephone Boxes.

The Britannica website has this entry on her:

‘Sarah Siddons, née Kemble (born July 5, 1755, Brecon, Brecknockshire, Wales—died June 8, 1831, London, Eng.), one of the greatest English tragic actresses.

She was the eldest of 12 children of Roger and Sarah Kemble, who led a troupe of traveling actors (and were progenitors of a noted family of actors to a third generation, including a famous granddaughter, Fanny Kemble). Through the special care of her mother in sending her to the schools in the towns where the company played, Sarah received a remarkably good education, even though she was accustomed to making appearances on the stage while still a child. While still in her teens, she became infatuated with William Siddons, a handsome but somewhat insipid actor in her father’s company; such an attachment, though, had the disapproval of her parents, who wished her to accept the offer of a squire. Sarah was sent to work as a lady’s maid at Guy’s Cliff in Warwickshire. There she recited the poetry of Shakespeare, Milton, and Nicholas Rowe in the servants’ hall and occasionally before aristocratic company, and there also she began to exhibit a talent for sculpture (which was subsequently developed, especially between 1789 and 1790, and of which she later provided samples in busts of herself). The necessary consent to her marriage to Siddons was at last obtained, and the marriage took place in Trinity Church, Coventry, in November 1773.

The new Mrs. Siddons, aged 18, then joined a new acting company. It was while playing at Cheltenham in 1774 that she met with the earliest recognition of her powers as an actress, when by her portrayal of Belvidera in Thomas Otway’s Venice Preserv’d she won the appreciation of a party of “people of quality” who had come to scoff. When the theatrical producer David Garrick was told of her acting prowess, he sent a representative to see her. At the time, she was playing Rosalind in As You Like It in a barn in Worcestershire. Garrick offered her an engagement, but when she appeared with him at Drury Lane, London, in 1775, she was a failure. She then went back on tour in the country, where she earned a reputation as the queen of tragedy on the English stage.

In 1782, at the request of Richard Brinsley Sheridan, who had succeeded Garrick, she consented reluctantly to appear again at Drury Lane as Isabella in Thomas Southerne’s Fatal Marriage. This time her success was phenomenal. From then on she reigned as queen at Drury Lane until, in 1803, she and her brother John Philip Kemble went to Covent Garden. In 1783 she was appointed to teach elocution to the royal children. She retired from the regular stage on June 29, 1812, with a farewell performance as Lady Macbeth in Macbeth. On this occasion the audience would not allow the play to proceed beyond the sleepwalking scene, which Siddons was said to have performed to perfection.

  • Sarah Siddons (centre) performing at the Theatre Royal; Edinburgh; etching and aquatint by John Kay, 1784.
  • Sarah Siddons, detail from an engraving by Francis Haward, 1787, after a painting by Sir Joshua Reynolds, 1784.
Sarah Siddons (centre) performing at the Theatre Royal; Edinburgh; etching and aquatint by John …
 Harewood Avenue NW1 5.05
I wish I could remember anything about this bas-relief on the corner of Harewood Avenue, NW1. Perhaps someone will help me out.
Marylebone High Street W1 5.05

Gainsborough Flowers of 43 Marylebone High Street offer same day delivery to anywhere in Australia for orders placed before 4.00 p.m.

Ashland Place W1 5.05

The gentleman using his mobile phone in this shot of Ashland Place, W1 is walking past a small public park in which I sometimes sat, although I never tried the Rajdoot

Paddington Street W1

in Paddington Street, which has many excellent reviews.

Seymour Place 5.05

In 1961 the old Marylebone Police Court moved from Seymour Place into a former swimming baths at 181 Marylebone Road. Marylebone Magistrates Court was closed and transferred to City of Westminster Magistrates Court in March 2007. (

Lisson Grove NW1 5.05

We in the UK will never agree on the meaning of ‘ne’er cast a clout until May is out. Clout is an archaic word for an article of clothing. May is both the fifth month and the May or hawthorn tree which blooms in that month. The controversy focusses on whether the aphorism refers to the blossom being out or the month being over. The two people here leaving Lisson Grove appear to be hedging their bets. The tree is in blossom, but the month was not over.

Late this afternoon we drove to Lymington postal sorting office to collect a letter that required a signature. When I eventually name and shame the culprits in the remortgage fiasco, this will be explained.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s marvellous beef and mushroom collage; toothsome carrots, Brussels sprouts, runner beans, and new potatoes. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the cabernet sauvignon.

P.S. See Becky’s comment below for important additional information on the mural. I should have remembered this was the old Woolworth’s head office because that is where George Onley, my club cricket captain from the 1950s and ’60s once worked.

Forest Pursuits


We spent the morning driving around the forest before lunching at Holmsley Old Station Tea Rooms.

Misty landscape with sun

The strong early morning sun forced its way through the rising mist, and eventually dominated the blue skies, warming

the landscape,

Oak branches

and eventually lighting the lichen-covered oaks,

some of which were reflected in the myriad of pools like these on the way to Burley.

Pool and golf green 2

Crossing the road I arrived at another small lake that turned out to be part of a golf course.

As I contemplated the green further up the hill, I imaged what it would be like to hit your ball into the water.

Preceded by their voices a group of golfers dragged their bags into view. I passed on my thoughts, and the gentleman facing me in the second picture, informed me, with a wry smile, that they didn’t need to imagine it.

There are many fords on the forest roads, with bridges for pedestrians wishing to cross swollen streams. This crossing near Burley was dry,

Stream 1

and clear water flowed fast beneath it.

On this fine spring Saturday there was much traffic on the road. This did not deter somnolent ponies who ignored cars slaloming around them and cyclists whizzing through the central gap.


A domestic horse tore nonchalantly at the beech hedge beside its wire fencing.

Telephone box reflected

At Brockenhurst a working Telephone box was reflected in a seasonal pool.

The structure had clearly been left exposed to the elements without protective paint for a number of years. A pile of rubbish carpeted the floor, and it was necessary to negotiate a discarded poop scoop bag to reach the peeling door.

Perhaps it would have been an idea to offer the management to local residents as in the case of this one at Wootton. This is also reflected, but it would be more savoury to make one’s way through mud and pony droppings than the obstacle mentioned above.

There were many golfers playing on various courses on this beautiful morning.

Dog being dried

Also engaged in forest pursuits were dog walkers like this couple drying their dog after a romp amongst the dewy bracken.

Cyclists abounded. Take note of the two heads ascending the hill behind those in the first picture.

Horse riders on Forest Road

Many horse riders were seen on the country roads and across the moors.

Joggers exercised alone,


or in couples. Do you recognise the two heads seen on the road to Burley? Here they are somewhat later.

For lunch at Holmsley Jackie chose her favourite macaroni cheese. My meal was an excellent fish pie served with carrots, peas, and greens.

This evening the Culinary Queen produced a thick mushroom and cheese omelette for our dinner.


Readies; Reads; Resuscitation


Over coffee this morning, we had reason to try to remember the name of a cafe in Milford on Sea. We now have two reference points for such information. Jackie favours the Google walk; my preference is this blog. This morning we had a race to find it. I won. It was Polly’s Pantry.

Ditch maintenance

At Wilverley, on our way through the forest today, regular ditch maintenance was under way.

The forest pools and their reflections basked in sunshine,

as did ponies amid the bracken. These somnolent creatures perked up to pose for their pictures.

Pony on Road 1

As we ascended the hill up to Nomansland, a lethargic pony occupied the middle of the road.

Pony on Road 2

It took its own leisurely time in crossing to the other side.

The countryside is littered with obsolete, often derelict, iconic red telephone boxes. Apparently, when BT wish to decommission a phone box they must obtain a “No Objection” statement from the local District Council. According to Milford on Sea ‘Village Voice’ magazine for February/March 2017, one has been obtained for the structure on the Village Green. The periodical’s article says that “The Parish Council has applied to BT to adopt the box and is waiting to hear if this has been successful. The box could then be hired by local groups for displays, exhibitions, pop-up shops and other ventures on a monthly basis. If you have an idea about how best the kiosk can be utilised, let the Parish Council know!”.

Today we visited some of those within our vicinity.

At Pennington, one has been adapted as a cash machine. The telephone on one side of the box doesn’t work.

Book exchanges are popular. We spotted these at Fritham,

at Bramshaw,

and at Minstead Newtown.

That opposite ‘The Trusty Servant’ in Minstead itself has simply been disconnected.

Perhaps the most innovative conversion is the defibrillator at Nomansland.

On our way home we indulged ourselves in a late lunch at Holmesley Old station tea rooms, and very good it was too. My choice was steak and mushroom pie with tasty gravy, perfectly cooked carrots, cabbage, chips and peas. Jackie’s was a whopping  jacket potato containing cheese and coleslaw served with plentiful salad. She drank coffee and I drank sparkling water. Later sustenance this evening was surplus to requirements.

Oak Tree Farm

Oak Tree Farm telephone boxes

Yesterday’s observant readers will have noticed the post was earlier than usual.  This is because I pressed ‘Publish’ rather than ‘Preview’ by mistake.  Once today’s posts have been set in motion there is no turning back.  Some of us, of course still use what is jocularly termed ‘snail mail’, where you write on paper, place the missive in an envelope, write an address and stick a stamp on that and place it in a red box.  Until placed in the box there is plenty of time to rethink and even alter what you have written. Modern technology allows you endless painless revisions, but once you have pressed the button your message is metaphorically snatched out of your hands.  There are no snails in cyber space.  Mind you, the normal post, be it adminstered by the Royal Mail or its commercial rivals, is pretty quick.  We can still expect first class letters to arrive the next day.  Once it was even quicker.  In my childhood there were two deliveries a day; in Victorian times even more.  It was then possible to arrange an evening’s meeting through exchange of letters beginning that morning.  There was no texting in those days.

The Penny Post was introduced by Sir Robert Peel in 1841.  Originally horsepower was harnessed to carry the mail.  Now huge vans cart them along our motorways and special locomotive vans transport them through the night.  I once knew a man who worked on the mail trains.  The vans were mobile sorting offices.  Bags of mail were loaded onto the carriage, their contents removed and sorted, and unloaded at the other end of the country.  The system required the bags to be upturned and thoroughly shaken, to ensure that no mail had been caught in the seams.  One day he had adopted this procedure when a slim sheet of paper floated to the floor.  It was a postcard sent some forty years earlier from Germany.  Strenuous efforts were made to seek out the parents of the young man who had sent it during the war.

Soon after our dinner of Jackie’s liver and bacon casserole David Small arrived to replace the broken garage lock.  The light was fading by the time he finished.

The casserole was served with crisp vegetables and sauteed potatoes enhanced by onion and garlic.  It was rather a miracle that the spuds were not limp.  These hang in a bag behind the kitchen door, so they won’t turn green if you leave them too long.  Yesterday’s Murphies were wizened and bendy, displaying the creases you see in a new born baby’s skin.  Much of their stuffing had been drawn out by the new shoots they were sprouting.  But they weren’t green.  Jackie had disguised this beautifully.

As we had promised ourselves, we took another trip to Ferndene Farm Shop, joined the throng and well and truly stocked up.  I have never been to a Harrods sale, but I have seen pictures in newspapers of bargain-hunters frenziedly elbowing each other out of the way to get at the goodies on display.  Some of the most frail-looking customers in what is really a food supermarket of excellent quality and reasonable prices, would not be out of place at a Harrods free-for-all.Oak Tree Farm private letter box

Oak Tree Farm pillar boxesAcross the road from the shop lies Oak Tree Farm, a haven for red pillar and telephone box enthusiasts. Oak Tree Farm telephone and pillar boxes The gravelled courtyard behind a securely locked pair of entrance gates are filled with these symbols of England.  A black-painted Georgian wall-mounted letterbox is set in the establishment’s brick wall.  The owner is a serious collector.

Anyone interested enough in the subject of red telephone boxes may also like to read my post of 15th October last year entitled ‘Kersall Telephone Box’.

On leaving the shop we went driveabout.  New Milton’s main street was closed to traffic.  This made it rather difficult to reach Milford-on-Sea, but we managed it in the end and walked along the sea front past Hurst Pond Nature reserve out to Hurst Point, and back to The Needles Eye cafe (see post of 10th January).

High Ridge Crescent house

We happened to pass a house for sale in High Ridge Crescent that we had seen on the internet.  It confirmed our interest.

As we left our car in the Hurst Road car park and I announced my intention to take photographs, a woman advised me to make sure the horizon was straight.  I didn’t mention that it wouldn’t matter too much because I have an editing facility which can straighten images. Crow My picture of a crow aiming for the point of an arrow that was the water’s edge, seemed to me to be enhanced by the angle of the skyline, so I didn’t change it.

HeronA heron on the hunt in the pond did not move for the whole time it took us to walk to the spit and back.

The area is an intriguing nature reserve because it lies at a point where freshwater from the River Dane meets tidal water coming up the gully from the spit. Black capped gull The sight of the seabirds swooping, manoeuvring, and diving at an alarming rate along this channeled out watercourse reminded Jackie of the X-wings speeding along the tunnel during the famous Death Star battle in ‘Star Wars’.

Jackie on Norwegian rocks

Like much of the Dorset coast this area is subject to erosion.  In an attempt to stay the inevitable action of the waves, huge rocks line the shore alongside the nature reserve, providing shelter for the Californian poppies clinging to the pebbled margins. Norwegian rocks These were imported from Norway, and today the quartz they contain glinted in the sunlight.

This evening’s meal was a tender and lean roast lamb dinner.  Maipo reserva merlot 2012 was my wine.

A Vigil

I had some difficulty reading the Oxford History on the train to Waterloo today.  After unsuccessfully struggling to shut out a conversation between two men sitting opposite about a business meeting concerning the creation of a website, I decamped to a seat further up the carriage.  This was not entirely successful; first because their voices continued unabated throughout the journey, and were most penetrating; secondly because even they could not compete with that of a young woman like delivering like a monologue to her friend like mostly about the like stupid people like on Jeremy Kyle, or about like her own like relationship and whether it was like on or off.  Even her sandwich was inadequate to stem the flow.  Her constant repetition reminded me of a similar speech delivered on a commuter train from Newark to London about twenty years ago.  It would have been impossible to calculate how many times the words Tom and Cruise were woven into a young woman’s delivery taking the whole of a journey of an hour and a quarter.

Just, no doubt, for variety, today’s cacophony was supplemented by the speaker system.  Some time after we left Woking, the last stop before Waterloo, we were treated to the automatic announcement welcoming us to this train and listing every single station since its departure.  Twice.  On the way back I sat in the quiet coach.

I chose a different route to walk from Waterloo to Green Park where I boarded a Jubilee Line train to Neasden.  This was across the Golden Jubilee Bridge to Charing Cross station and onwards via St. Martin’s-in-the-fields, Leicester Square, Shaftesbury Avenue, and Piccadilly Circus with a diversion along Jermyn Street.

London Voyages BoatA bitterly cold wind swept across the bridge and I admired the spirit of those in the London Voyages speedboat that rushed underneath it.

Tourists and telephone box

Overlooking Embankment I gained a different perspective on tourists’ fascination with our red telephone boxes.

On the steps of the famous church beside Trafalgar Square, with a companion, 72 year old Nara Greenway is holding a vigil in memory of 117 Tibetans who have immolated themselves.

Nara Greenway's vigil

One of the features of sightseers’ London is the group of visitors being lectured on the city and its history.  The speaker in Jermyn street sounded German to me so I could not tell if he was relating the tale of Beau Brummel, the early nineteenth century dandy who stood behind him.  Beau Brummel's audienceNotes were being taken.

Not to be confused with the memorial to Diana, Princess of Wales, in Hyde Park, the Diana drinking fountain in Green Park was originally erected in 1954.  It stands near a food and drinks outlet near the Piccadilly entrance.  Presumably the vendors do not see it as a serious rival waterhole.  As it was in disrepair, retaining E.J.Clack’s statue of ‘Diana of the tree tops’, the fountain was replaced in 2012 by The Constance Fund which exists to promote the art of sculpture in London’s parks.Diana Fountain The huntress and her hound, perched above their gilded supports, were interestingly silhouetted  against the grey sky.

Norman produced turkey thighs and vegetable bake followed by trifle for lunch with which we shared a bottle of Carta Roja.

School was out as I walked back to Neasden underground station to catch the tube train direct to Waterloo to return to Southampton where Jackie collected me.  Children in various stages of disarray, accompanied by or straggling behind their parents, wended their way home.  One small boy, wearing his bright green uniform jumper with his raincoat hung loosely over his head by means of its hood, carrying his blue plastic schoolwork container, ran on ahead and skidded to a halt when bellowed at by his father.

Kersall Telephone Box

This morning I let my feet do the directing.  They took me into Morden Park and along the wooded paths, having approached them along the cleared route between the backs of Hillcross Avenue gardens and the park itself.  An untended fenced section peters out into pleasant woodland in which I was confronted by a Rottweiler which was more surprised than me and turned tail to join its owner and spaniel companion.  The gentleman walking these pets greeted me with ‘no dog?’, and there followed an entertaining conversation about our mutual need for exercise.  While this was going on the elderly larger dog stood panting whilst the spaniel sat patiently.  I had first met a Rottweiler on one of my training runs around Newark in the 1990s.  I regularly ran twenty miles on a Sunday morning, often passing fairly isolated houses, animals belonging to the residents of which tended to get rather excited at my trotting past.  They were not always fenced in, so I would slow to a walk and hope for the best.  A snapping at the heels was the usual treatment.  One day an agile representative of the breed cleared the gate in its boundary wall, leapt to my side, frolicked around, and nipped my wrist.  Fortunately it seemed to be a playful puppy.  I’m sure that had it had evil intent I would have lost my arm.  I went into the yard, rang a bell, and politely informed the owner that her pet was a highjumper.  She was rather surprised.

Whilst still on the first path today I stopped to look at a red phone box in someone’s garden. (Click here for a large collection in the garden of Oak Tree Farm)  A man called out to me, wondering if I wanted anything.  He, too, had a vociferous dog.  Perhaps the sight of a white head peering over their high fence had somewhat purturbed them.  I explained what I was doing and I think the gentleman was satisfied his security was not about to be breached.  It was only after I had moved on that I remembered Kersall and the woman who had hosted a bed and breakfast holiday Jessica, Sam, Louisa, and I had enjoyed in 1987 in that village outside Newark.  We had decided to stay up there for a fortnight and search for a house.  My discovery, with my friend Giles Darvill, of Lindum House advertised by Gascoigne’s estate agency in Southwell, was the result.

Unfortunately, I cannot remember our hostess’s name, which is a pity because she ran an excellent establishment, and was instrumental in a campaign to save her hamlet’s famous red telephone box from extinction.  She carpeted the box, and kept fresh flowers, a visitors book, pencil, and various telephone books inside it.  It was regularly cleaned and sweet-scented, and received many visitors.  Unfortunately it wasn’t profitable and whichever of our enlightened telephone operators was responsible for this treasure wished to close it.  The battle to keep it functional continued into 2008, later residents having kept up the continuing care.  I do not know the outcome.

Across the other side of the park today I met the man with the two dogs again.  We greeted each other warmly.  A very fit female runner also crossed my path several times.  With us both still on the move, I suggested that she might one day run a marathon.  She wasn’t convinced.

This evening Jackie and I dined on a sausage and pork casserole I had made some months earlier.  In case anyone is worried that it might have been off, it came out of the freezer.  I finished off the Maipo Merlot 2010 and began a rather fine Era Constana 2009 Rioja.  Jackie preferred a Wickham Limited reserve white of 2010.  She’d probably have drunk Hoegaarden had we any in, but we hadn’t.

Banknotes And Phonecards

Today was a Mordred (posted 12th. July) day.

I took my usual route to SW1 for coffee with Carol.  A flattened frog, having attempted to cross the sodden footpath in Morden Hall Park, hadn’t made it.  As I slalomed around the pools, a cyclist who had crept up behind me deftly avoided me as I crossed her path.

The warning notice on the tramway which divides the National Trust property from the Wandle Trail must have been inspired by the push-me-pull-you from the 1967 film, ‘Doctor Dolittle’, starring Rex Harrison and Anthony Newley.

An announcer at Victoria politely requested travellers to ‘stand on the right and walk down on the left of the escalator’.  This seemed to me to be an impossibility.

In speaking with Carol, I mentioned a collector I had once disappointed.  When Louisa was very young she had become interested in foreign banknotes.  I took great delight in scouring Newark market stalls for samples with which to enhance her collection.  In her teens she moved on to other things and returned them to me.  Learning of my friend’s interest I offered them to him.  And was unable to find them.  When moving back to London in 2006, I unearthed them and sent them to him.  He was very pleased.

Phonecards required me to be a bit more adventurous.  In the 1980s, when Louisa began collecting them, I was working in London, which is, of course, full of phoneboxes.  These cards contained a reader which recorded the time left available on them.  When exhausted, they would often be abandoned in the boxes.  Rich pickings for someone prepared to tramp the streets and, if necessary, cross the road to forage.  They would come in sets.  I remember one celebrating a Pierce Brosnan James Bond film, the name of which escapes me.  I would happily try to fill in the gaps for my daughter, proudly presenting them on my return to Lindum house in the evenings.  It was a red-letter day when I found one of the first cards ever issued.  Since this was some time after its publication, I imagined it had been deposited by a tourist on his or her return to England.  I once mentioned this obsession to a friend of mine.  Now, these boxes also contained cards of another nature.  Often bearing obviously lying glamour photographs, sexual service advertisements were frequently pasted on the walls.  My friend got quite the wrong end of the stick and pulled my leg unmercifully.  Cursory glances into today’s telephone boxes on my return to Victoria demonstrated that these wares are still being marketed through this medium.  Most are now torn off, leaving stubborn fragments attached to the glass.  They look rather like a price label attached to a present, or a charity shop paperback, which you cannot completely remove.  Whilst carrying out my research I rather hoped that no-one watching would also get the wrong end of the stick.

That early phonecard, issued by BT (which in those days did truly stand for British Telecom) has now been superceded by a myriad of companies issuing cards without a reader; and the mobile phone has severely limited the call for public phone boxes.  Louisa eventually also donated that collection to me.  I don’t know where it is now.

For this evening’s meal I created a totally new version of chickem jalfrezi.  It never is quite the same as previous efforts, but this time it was an almost total invention because I’ve lost the recipe.  I’ve made it enough times for that to be no real problem, it just makes for variety.  With it, we drank Kingfisher and Cobra 2012.