Fishing The Shallows

On a dank-dull afternoon we drove to Milford on Sea pharmacy for a repeat prescription, with a loop round Keyhaven’s Saltgrass Lane on our return home.

Occasional walkers, like this couple looking across the Solent to the Isle of Wight and The Needles, made their way along the sparsely populated clifftop promenade.

We followed a steady jogger along Saltgrass Lane until we paused to photograph walkers and dogs on the Hurst spit alongside which idle sail boats were moored.

Curlews and turnstones (I am grateful to Quercus for identifying the latter in his comment) fished the shallows;

an elegant swan sailed among resting gulls,

one of which passed the time of day with a trailing cygnet.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s especially spicy pork paprika; boiled potatoes; crunchy carrots; and tender runner beans, followed by aromatic rice pudding laced with a dollop of strawberry jam with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Malbec.


Part of Mum’s deal at Woodpeckers Care home is that she can entertain guests to lunch once a week.

Elizabeth, Jackie, and I were her visitors today. My meal was Cajun chicken with Lyonnaise potatoes, carrots, and curly kale; the others opted for gammon. Mum chose stewed apricots with ice cream for dessert; the rest of us enjoyed plum crumble. We were served in our own quiet room. Service was friendly and efficient. The food was very good.

Afterwards, Jackie and I took a trip around the forest.

It is not unusual to see requests for information about hit and run accidents involving ponies. This, featuring a Shetland on the road to Beaulieu, was one of two we passed today.

Although much of it has been cut back by now, blackthorn has proliferated in the hedgerows for several weeks now.

As we rounded a bend on approaching East End we were struck by this fortuitous juxtaposition of maple and photinia.

Nearby one of a group of basking cattle suckled her calf which was enjoying its own lunchtime.

Donkeys were hard at work trimming the village’s hedgerows.

More cattle were serving themselves to lunch from the verges of Tanners Lane.

Beside Sowley Lane a flamboyant cock pheasant flashed across the road and fled beneath barbed wire fencing.

Another merged into hay stalks among scavenging crows beside a field of rape, many of which

are beginning to slash the landscape with sunlight.

More of the more colourful birds foraged in

this historic field with its

views across The Solent to the Isle of Wight.

This evening we dined on spicy Diablo pizza with plentiful fresh salad. Jackie drank more of the Sauvignon Blanc and I enjoyed Maipo Valley Carménere 2016 from the Majestic Definition range.


This afternoon our drive began at Keyhaven.

From the hill above the village we had a clear view across The Solent to the Isle of Wight. The mainland buildings are in the foreground. A solitary yacht passes the island.

At the bottom of the slope a field of black sheep introduced their very young lambs to life. Just two of the offspring were white.

A young cock pheasant face-off was under way at East End. Quite suddenly the more timid of the two turned and disappeared into the moorland,

leaving the victor to strut his stuff.

Casper, at East Boldre, enjoyed his own observation grill.

This evening we dined on Tesco’s finest fish pie; Jackie’s even finer piquant cauliflower cheese; crunchy carrots; tender peas and green beans. We both drank New Zealand’s The Quintet 2017.

The Skate Park


Today was another featuring sunny intervals in cloudy skies. I began with a stroll round the garden where the latest opening rhododendron is progressing well.

Becky and Ian having stayed over, we all lunched at the Beachcomber in Barton on Sea.

The Solent’s waves were choppy; the Isle of Wight and The Needles were swathed in haze;

crows struggled against the blustery wind on the clifftop, and airborne alongside gulls.

This afternoon we took a trip to New Milton where Ian and I visited a solicitor for an executorship matter, while the ladies went shopping. Afterwards I sat on a bench in the Skate Park while Ian hunted for the shoppers.

Skate Park

Black- headed gulls scavenged on the grass against the backdrop of the distant mural;

a couple of young lads experimented with skateboards, until school was out when others joined them on bicycles.

This evening, before Becky and Ian returned home, we all dined on Jackie’s splendid beef pie, crunchy carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli, and creamy mashed potato. Becky and I drank more of the Malbec, Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and Ian, Peroni.


“Don’t Get Me In Your Picture”


Our friend Sheila Knight died last week. She had been ill for some time. We will be unable to attend the funeral, but I had been asked to write a tribute. I did so this morning and e-mailed it. It will be entered in a book and read out at the service.

At midday Jackie drove me to Milford on Sea for Peter at Sears Barbers to cut my hair.

Opposite the hairdressers Keith Mitchel was refurbishing the telephone box. He told me that the Parish Council had bought it for £1 from the telephone company and were seeking local views on the purpose to which it should be put.

We then travelled along the coast road. Sun sparkled on the Solent. The Isle of Wight and The Needles were nicely silhouetted against a streaky sky;

a speedboat sped across the surface of the sea,

into which three boys lobbed rocks.

We lunched at Sails café in Barton on Sea.

Travelling north past Ringwood we paused beside Linbrook Lake, and watched reflections in a stream that feeds it.

Browning bracken curled in the woodland;

spiders span their webs therein (can you spot one?).

As we rose to higher land we spied a marina down below,

and a sunbathed landscape with deer.

On a bend entering Ibsley a herd of cattle, mainly Herefords (identified by Bruce in his comments below), sprawled on the leaf-strewn sward. The majority of these creatures sported identical black eyes;

the odd chestnut brown made the exception;

all were tagged with their owner’s details.

Families frolicked in the nearby stream;

rounding the bend past the cattle visitors were greeted by

a van selling a variety of ice creams, some of what this gentleman called “come and buy me colour”.

Cattle at Gorley Lynch made their leisurely way along the road. So, perforce, did we.

High ground at Ogdens swarmed with snorting, snuffling, mast-seeking pigs.

As I aimed to photograph a gentleman jogging past some porkers, a woman opened her car door, crying “don’t get me in your photograph”. Recognising the humour in her voice, I pointed out that she had pushed her way into it. She and her two young girls had stopped to admire the animals which they photographed very well on their tablets. We enjoyed a pleasant conversation during which she expressed satisfaction with her portrait.

Our way at Frogham was blocked by a donkey, fast homing on on which was a dog walker with a number of charges.

This evening we returned for another excellent Indian meal at Bartlett’s restaurant in the Church Hall at Bransgore. We took our own drinks. Jackie’s was Hoegaarden and mine  Graves.

P.S. See Paol’s comment below for good further information on Herefords

A French Holiday, A Porridge Bath, A Wedding, And A Mystery Woman

Once again this month we had not put the bottles out for recycling. Jackie therefore drove us to the bottle bank in Milford on Sea where I enjoyed the sound of smashing glass as I lobbed our assorted bottles and jars into the large green bins. Jackie then left me by The Beach House and I struggled home by the usual route.

Why struggled? This was because I began battling against powerful winds, coming off the sea to my left and straight ahead.I was somewhat buffeted.


When I took this photograph of the solitary speedboat venturing onto the water, I couldn’t keep my eyes open, and had to hope for the best.

Seascape 1Seascape 2Seascape 3

The turbulent Solent took on various colours of slate, as usual reflecting the skies above. I was at first able to descend to the level of the beach huts on the outskirts of the village and watch the oncoming waves.

Soon, sharp needles assailing my cheeks, made me aware that the spray ascending the cliff sides had been superseded by almost horizontal rods of rain. I was being pricked, drenched, and blinded.

In order to open my eyes for a few minutes, I took refuge in one of shelters along the path. I had, until then, been alone on the cliff top. I blinked, dragged my wet raincoat sleeves across my brow, and, as the Isle of Wight rapidly disappeared, saw a couple with the wind behind them, being swept along past me. The blemishes on the photograph are caused by raindrops on the camera lens.

Walkers in rain

Fully understanding why the America’s Cup yacht race had been cancelled yesterday, I resumed my trek into the wind, and was eventually relieved by the comparative calm of the more sheltered Shorefield Country Park. When I arrived home I needed to peel off my garments, and dry myself.

This was clearly going to be a day for scanning old photographs. As I pondered which ones to embark upon, the post arrived. A welcome bundle from Frances was delivered. This contained items from Chris’s postcard collection, some of his photographic prints, and a tiny Kodak transparency measuring one by one and a half centimetres.

The postcards were from my maternal grandparents, and from my great uncle Chris, addressed to my parents and the family in September 1951. All bearing French stamps and clear postmarks there was

Cannes 9.51

one from Cannes,

Peira-Cava 9.51

one from Peira-Cava,

Nice 9.51

and one from Nice.

In ‘Fundraising’ I wrote about a charitable stunt I was engaged in on 2nd July 1987. Chris took all the photographs at that event. Here are a couple more of them:

Derrick & Jane Reynolds 2.7.87 002

I entered the porridge bath as Jane Reynolds, Westminster Mencap’s Director, was leaving.

Derrick 2.7.87 003

 I then had it to myself for a while.

My brother’s second photo shoot was at Michael and Heidi’s wedding.

Michael & Heidi and Mark Banks 5.10.91

Here are the bride and groom, with Michael’s Best Man, Mark Banks.

Michael & Heidi wedding couple, parents, and bridesmaids

Parents and bridesmaids now join the couple. Reading from left to right, we have Heidi’s sister, Cath, me, Jessica, Louisa, Michael, Heidi, Heidi’s parents Werner and Joan, and two more bridesmaids.

Michael & Heidi wedding Couple, Derrick & ushers 5.10.91

Next it was the turn of gents in top hats. The two fathers flank their offspring. Matthew stands next me, then comes Heidi’s brother Chris, and Mark. Two more ushers are to Werner’s right. The comes Sam.

Unknown woman and boy

Finally, we have the mystery woman framed, with perhaps her son, by the minuscule transparency. I managed to scan it and e-mail it to Frances. Neither of us know who this is. Kodak had kindly embossed the date, 1976, on the plastic holder. Can anyone solve the puzzle?

I drank Doom Bar beer with Mr Pink’s fish and chips this evening. Jackie abstained. We added supermarket-bought pickled onions and gherkins.

Hues Of Blue

On this day, with temperatures around 30 degrees, according to the meteorologists, because of a shift in the jet stream, we are enjoying ‘Spanish weather’.

In case any of my commenters have missed Becky’s observation on yesterday’s post, this is what she added to it this morning: ‘Wow. What lovely followers you have, Dad. x’

Rose - red A small red rose standing in a tub by our front door, and requiring more space, will eventually be transplanted to the rose garden. Taking her first outing since her knee operation, Jackie drove me to the surgery at Milford on Sea, for me to hand in a repeat prescription request. We met Giles in the car park, and had a short conversation. Feeling confident enough to return home without an escort, my chauffeuse, dropped me near the Beach House hotel, and I walked back by the cliff top/Shorefield route. Whilst I was enjoying myself, Jackie continued to Tesco’s for a shop, and watered the hanging baskets on her return, thus saving me that latter task. ThistleConvolvulus

Thistles and convolvulus twinkled in the hedgerows.

Sunlight on The Solent

Sunlight glistened on The Solent’s various hues of blue,

Fence and Solent

its passing vessels, and their wake.

Footpath down cliff

You would need to wander down this cliff path to encounter the dog this woman was walking by the breakwater.


I am not really up to descending to the water’s edge, so was unable to warn the fairly numerous swimmers risking a skewering by the WW2 hazards.

Couple on beach with dogs

Elsewhere sun-tans were sought.

By late afternoon, many of the baskets needed a further soaking. I rendered minimal assistance with this.

Hoverfly on clematis Comtesse de Bouchardclematis Comtesse de Bouchard

A hoverfly, sheltered by a higher bloom in full sun, flanked by budding guards, investigated the flower of clematis Comtesse de Bouchard.

This evening we dined on fillet steak on a bed of onions, garlic, peppers, and mushrooms; chips; and runner beans; followed by mixed fruit crumble and custard. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, whilst I imbibed Louis de Camponac cabernet sauvignon 2014.

Off The Leash

The morning was spent in Lymington Hospital, to and from which Jackie drove me. First off was a physiotherapy appointment for my hand. This is apparently doing well. I need not see the therapist again, but will continue finger straightening exercises and massage myself for another six weeks. We then had a wait for an orthopedic appointment to discuss the knee x-ray results. I have no cartilage either behind the kneecap or on the left side, but there is some left on the right. The pain relief is working, and with careful management of that, I am encouraged to walk on the flat. On our return, the wind having desisted, we toured the garden replacing hanging baskets which, Jackie having taken them down before the gales, suffered minimal damage. Flies on peach rose

On the peach roses A fly was supervising its infant on its first outing into the world. Can you see the baby?


Another attractive variety of allium has flourished.

After lunch, Jackie drove me to the pharmacy at Milford on Sea to collect co-codomol which had been omitted from the medication collected yesterday. The fact that twice the normal amount of tablets had been left for me was rather ironic, since I had agreed with the physiotherapist that I would ween myself off them and turn to paracetamol. I now have a telephone appointment to discuss this with G.P. Dr. Moody-Jones. Footpath with walkers on horizon On the strength of all this, Jackie left me at the green at Milford and I walked up Park Lane, joining the cliff top path at The Beach House, turning into West Road and home through Shorefield. OK, it was a little more than the recommended half an hour, and not totally flat, but I managed it with just a few aching muscles that had not really been put to use for six months. Gardener tending roses

I had a long talk with a gentleman tending his roses in his small plot opposite the bus shelter in Milford.

Seascape with Isle of Wight

The wind coming off The Solent was still strong

Windsurfer and yachtYacht and Isle of Wight

enough for a windsurfer and a few small yachts to relish its power, and,

Bench and yachtDog walker and yacht

passing an empty bench, a woman, already being propelled along by the gusts, strained to contain one of her dogs.


A new set of warning signs has been posted along the cliff top since I was last here.

Honeysuckle and caterpillar

Attracted by honeysuckle in the hedgerow leading to West Road, I thus avoided missing


the rather splendid caterpillar lurking in the shadows. I rather like its red warning lights. Can you see it in hiding?

I definitely felt that Cheryl, the physiotherapist, had let me off the leash.

This evening we dined on smoked haddock fish cakes with cheese centres and topping; parsley sauce from our own crop; piquant cauliflower cheese; firm young peas and creamy mashed potato; followed by Lymington-grown tangy strawberries and vanilla ice-cream.

Smoked haddock fishcakes meal

Pretty as was the presentation of the meal,

Smoked haddock fishcakes meal on a plate

it tastes better off the plate.

‘…..Or Grandpa Photographing A Leaf’

Blue sea and beach hutsBlue sea and brambles

We enjoyed another gloriously sunny day. The sky and seas were both clear blue. It was nippy in the shade, but the sun was warming, as I took my usual walk to Hordle Cliff top, where the browns and ochres of the hillside brambles and the shining shingle contrasted well with the brilliant blues.

The Solent from Downton LanePools on footpath

The Solent had looked most inviting from Downton Lane, where a row of mirror glass had been laid along the pitted footpath through Roger Cobb’s maize fields.

RookRooksHouses through brambles

The Shorefield rooks are becoming more vociferous, and distant houses shimmered as I walked along the path to the beach.

Robins are territorial creatures, so the one I stalked from stalk to stalk among the brambles was probably the one I have photographed before on that same area of the clifftop.Robin

I exchanged greetings with a passing jogger and his dog I now see quite regularly on the coast road.JoggerWoman, boy and dogWoman and boy

Another customary acquaintance is a gentleman with a little dog which befriended a woman and a little boy who walked down the steps to play at the water’s edge.

Further lengthy conversations somewhat extended the timescale of my outing. The first was with a very gregarious woman who was checking the times posted at the bus stops in the jogger picture. With her pass it is worth her while to visit Waitrose where, if she spends £5 in the shop she can enjoy a free coffee and a copy of the Daily Mail newspaper.

After this, I met Roger outside Hordle Manor Farm, now occupied by his son Matthew and his family, who had indeed rescued Scooby on 17th August last year. He also told me that the lake I had photographed filling his field eleven days ago had now disappeared. This is apparently quite a regular occurrence.

Leaves backlitIn the car yesterday, Becky had described the 2012 film ‘The Sweeney’, in which a far more thuggish, twenty first century, Ray Winstone reprises John Thaw’s Jack Regan role. The eponymous TV series of the 1970s was iconic. ‘Sweeney!’ (1977) and ‘Sweeney 2’ (1978) were feature length cinema spin-offs. Our daughter, who had watched it with Flo, described an amazing car chase through a single lane winding ‘tree tunnel’. Becky had speculated about what could happen if various pedestrians, such as an old lady walking her dog, had been the other side of one of the bends. Flo had finished off the list with: ‘Or Grandpa photographing a leaf’. It just had to be done, didn’t it? The title, incidentally derives from ‘Sweeney Todd’ (the demon barber of Fleet Street),  cockney rhyming slang for the Flying Squad. The way this verbal device works is to take a two or three word phrase and just use the first one as the required term. Another example is Plates (of meat) for Feet.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s excellent fusilli and tagliatelle Bolognese followed by lemon tart, with which we both drank water and I finished the Cotes du Rhone Villages.

Exceeding The Speed Limit

Shelving fallen

Table overturnedSoffitOur home was hit by winds of forty one miles per hour throughout the night after the expected storm hit yesterday evening. Although lessening a little, they continued during the day.  Havoc was wreaked in the garden, many of Jackie’s structures being blown down, tables overturned, and two pieces of soffit from the back of the house were dislodged. I know this is not quite so unusual in other parts of the world, but for us in the UK it is a comparatively recent phenomenon.

One bonus has been the fact that I could, as usual, begin uploading photographs and posting for the day before 4.30 p.m. We were, you see, due to be without electricity from 9 a.m. this morning because of essential maintenance our supplier, Scottish and Southern Energy, intended to carry out in our area. This was cancelled because of the gale warning. As I completed this post this evening, the thumping gusts still beset the double-glazed window beside me.

Seascape 1Seascape 2WavesSeascape with crumbling footpathYoung woman crouchingFootpath crumbling

Undeterred, I determined on a clifftop walk. To this end, Jackie drove me to Milford on Sea and I took that route back. This involved battling into a headwind which definitely exceeded the speed limit in the town, and possibly on the coast road. A cord attached to my camera is meant, by being slipped around my wrist, to prevent me from dropping the device. The wind constantly blew it back over my hand to the camera and I had considerable difficulty holding on to it to take shots of The Solent as rain clouds gathered. The only other person on the spot was a young woman who crouched for her view. Even she decided she was a bit close to the edge, where the barrier to the crumbling footpath had itself been blown down. The netting can be seen in the foreground of the picture.

Realising that I would be struggling, Jackie laid in wait in a car park to offer me some respite. I gratefully entered the Modus and she drove me to West Road, from which I returned through Shorefield.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s luscious liver and bacon casserole, mashed potatoes, crisp carrots and cauliflower, followed by lemon sponge tart. She drank Peroni whilst I chose Cotes du Roussillon Villages 2013.