Planes Of Boats And Trains

The morning was bright and sunny; the afternoon began with a deluge and ended in photogenic light.

Nugget can regularly be seen from the kitchen window. Jackie photographed him from there, where his own personal feeder hangs.

“Where’s Nugget?” (59)

At the dry end of the afternoon we drove to Lymington Harbour where the Assistant Photographer photographed the general scene;

a view of the monument;

and me making my own efforts.

I only saw one gull – or was it a cormorant?

and very view people on the wet quayside.

A solitary rower brought his boat into harbour past all the moored yachts.

The planes of boats and trains formed geometric artwork with the upright moored masts and surrounding buildings.

Barely a ripple disturbed steady reflections.

Before the street lamps ignited

wisps of grey smoke drifted against the pink sky presaging a sunset that disappeared behind lowering clouds.

The bandstand was nicely silhouetted with its mast guard.

In a vain attempt to catch the sundown we drove on to Lymington and Keyhaven Nature Reserve from where

Jackie photographed clouds over the wetlands;

pools along a gravel footpath;

and distant Hurst Castle with its lighthouse.

I focussed on a gaggle of Canada geese.

For dinner this evening Jackie produced Hunter’s Chicken; crisp duchesse potatoes; and tender runner beans, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Domaine de Sareval Valréas 2016.

 

 

Chickens And A Calf

CLICK ON ANY IMAGE IN THE GROUP TO ACCESS ENLARGED GALLERY

Last night Flo transferred several photographs from her mobile phone to my iMac.

On 28th December I had photographed our granddaughter photographing chickens at Hockey’s Farm. These were her images.

Fortune cookies

Yesterday evening we had enjoyed fortune cookies given to Jackie by Mr Chan at Hordle Chinese Take Away. Flo pictured the mottos, including the touch of curry on mine. For some reason the idea of me making a sudden rise caused a certain amount of hilarity.

Branch Line001

The Branch Line To Selsey from Chichester enjoyed barely four decades of life. This is the front cover of a fascinating book published in 1983, giving its detailed story. Barrie Haynes had given me the book a few months ago after Jackie, Ian, Becky, and I had visited a mortgage adviser in the locality. Today I finished reading it.

The authors have thoroughly researched their material and presented it in an entertaining form. Their close scrutiny of contemporary photographs alert the reader to details they may otherwise have missed. Useful maps, tickets, and timetables supplement the illustrations.

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I have chosen a few of the photographs in an attempt to demonstrate the flavour of the work. Edwardian days were just a century ago.

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The text beneath the upper of these two images shows how freight was more profitable than passengers. What is happening in the lower picture is described on the facing page. The Hesperus is ‘in trouble’.  A lifting of the train and a complicated adjustment of a ‘belligerent rail’ was required to help the 17 1/4 ton engine on its way.

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Ralph Selsby was one of several carriers operating from Selsey.

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Here are a couple of carriages from the early 1930s. The line was closed in 1935.

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This is what constituted a railway replacement bus in 1910.

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Just 16 years later, this bus was to herald the death knell of the historic little line.

This evening we all enjoyed more of Jackie’s excellent chicken and egg curries, samosas, and onion bahjis. Mrs Knight drank Hoegaarden, and I drank Wolf’s Leap merlot 2016, another very good wine from Ian’s case.

 

 

Lunch Time

 

Poppies by Jackie 3Poppies by Jackie 2Poppies by Jackie 1

Yesterday evening Jackie borrowed the camera to photograph poppy heads. This morning we worked on cropping the images.

Jackie then drove us to Kilmington, near Axminster in Devon, and back. Our friends Luci and Wolf are spending a week in a holiday cottage there. This is The Linhay off Whitford Road. It is a beautifully restored and tastefully presented former milking shed, and the owners, who live next door at Oxenlears, are most considerate.Valley

The house is perched on a hillside overlooking an idyllic, sheep-dotted, valley, the pastoral quiet of which is broken only, it seems, at certain regular times.

On 17th December 2012 I described how, as I retired person, I sometimes don’t know what day it is. The same thing applies to the time of day. Such is the freedom of release from work commitments. Our friends would probably find the same uncertainty in their Devon hillside cottage, were it not for these timely clarion calls.

Train running through valleyThe most frequent is the clatter of the train crossing the valley from Lyme Regis on the hour every hour, followed by another coming from the opposite direction five minutes later. We may not have known which hour it was, but at least we knew it was something o’clock or five minutes past.

It was the sheep’s alarm that was the most insistent. Just as Luci announced that she was about to produce lunch, a clamorous bleating was set up. Sheep and cattle 7The black-faced creatures had, until then, spent the day huddled around a tree. Sheep and cattle 1Sheep and cattle 2Sheep and cattle 3Sheep and cattle 4Sheep and cattle 5Sheep and cattle 6They clambered or sprang to their feet and trooped eagerly, two by two, across to another field where they were being joined by cattle. Then we noticed the little white van and trailer that they were vying with their bovine companions to reach first. Whatever they were being fed was deposited on the ground without the driver having to leave his vehicle.

Presumably after the animals had had their fill, the sheep trotted back to their tree, and the cattle off to another field. Whatever they had been fed could not have matched the huge succulent chunks of juicy chicken that Luci had ‘thrown in a pot’ with mushrooms, new potatoes, carrots, and a tasty sauce for us. Jackie wondered whether she might be at risk of overdosing on carrots when we had carrot cake with strawberries to follow. Both were delicious so she took a chance. Luci and I drank a 2013 Wolf Blass red wine, and Jackie drank Hoegaarden. Wolf’s choice was fruit juice.

As usual, we all enjoyed each other’s company. Cheese and onion sandwiches were quite sufficient for Jackie and me when we returned home.

P.S. I am indebted to Barrie Haynes for pointing out that trains do not run from Lyme Regis any more

The Drain

Setting off in the steady rain that passes for summer 2012, for Wimbledon Station en route to Waterloo to meet my friend Tony, I realised I had left my camera behind.  Ever the optimist, I went back for it.  AgapanthusThe owners of the agapanthus in Maycross Avenue had no fear of a hosepipe ban, but I was slightly anxious for my Canon’s electronics.  This time I had no doubt; my persistence with sandals was definitely sheer stubbornness.  The soles are now worn quite flat and becoming somewhat slippery on the wet pavements.

EDF’s claim on the Waterloo concourse would so far seem to be in vain

Yesterday I mentioned my first annual salary.  This was earned in the old Lloyd’s (insurance) Building.  It had contained the original ‘Room’ where all the underwriters carried out their business.  By 1960, when I began, a second Lloyd’s building, which has itself been superceded, had been built, and my building was occupied by the back room boys, such as me.  I dealt with marine insurance claims under the management of Mr. Goodinge, who once gave me a collection of his excellent shirts; and alongside people like Ray Denier who took seven wickets on his first turn-out for my cricket club, and Ian Frederick Stevens, otherwise known as IFS, who was a soulmate for a while.  More importantly, my secretarial work was done by Vivien, who was to become my first wife.  When the time comes I will write a post about Vivien.  This building, known as ‘The Dome’, had no natural light.  You could never tell what time of the day or year it was, or what the weather was like.  It was here that I knuckled down to what I was assured was a secure pensionable job.  This, then, was more important than strange concepts like job satisfaction.  By correspondence course I set about qualifying for the Chartered Insurance Institute and thought that would be my job for life.  It wasn’t until I became a twenty three year old widower with a baby son that I knew I could do this no more.

The insurance world held me for the first six years of my working life.  I commuted daily on the very route, but on very different trains, that I used today; first from Raynes Park, then after marriage and the purchase of a first house, from Wimbledon itself.  The trains in those days had carriages with which viewers of period dramas will be familiar.  During the rush hour those carrying commuters from Waterloo into Surrey would become packed.  One evening two of my classmates who made such a journey were the first to occupy one of the compartments.  Each stationed at one of the windows, they pulled grotesque faces and leeringly beckoned to other would-be passengers to enter.  In that way they kept the seats to themselves.  One evening, travelling back to Raynes Park, the train became fogbound.  We remained stationary right outside my home for an hour and a half.

The first three of my years of employment were spent in Leadenhall Street.  From Waterloo mainline station it was necessary to travel on ‘The Drain’.  This was the name given to the Underground journey to Bank station.  I can’t quite remember how it worked, but, at one end or the other of this daily grind there was a long tunnel through which thousands just like me tramped to their destination.  You had to go at the pace of the slowest.  It felt like a scene from a film about zombies or prisoners of war.  Looking back this seems an awful mole-like existence.  But security was all, and we made our own fun, pulling each other’s legs and taking some amusement from misprints in memos and the joys of the German language.  The Westmonster Insurance Company caused some glee and we became hopelessly incontinent whenever we came across the shipping company whose name sounded like ‘dampsheepfarts’.  There were side streets off Leadenhall Street with provisions stores, probably long since demolished to make way for the huge temples now erected in further homage to Mammon.  I remember a butcher’s which, at Christmastime had turkeys hanging up like a film set for ‘A Christmas Carol’.

On the train today I began reading John Le Carre’s ‘Single & Single’.

This evening we drove down to The Firs.  Traffic was very slow on the A3 until we had passed Guidford, because of intermittent heavy rain.  Before arriving at Elizabeth’s we stopped off at Eastern Nights in Thornhill for an excellent curry meal