Head To Head


A patch of mostly dull and cold weather is giving me ample reasons for continuing with the scanning of the negatives of the long walk of the rather hot July of 2003. Today we are again back on the River Thames in South Oxfordshire.

Couples walking 7.03

This was still near enough to normal civilisation for elderly couples to be out walking along the banks.

If there were any footpaths on this stretch, they lay beneath the ripeness of Summer requiring negotiation, in the form of wild flowers attracting bees; grasses in seed; plantains trip over; broad backlit leaves bearing shadows of other floral forms; and convovulous carrying tiny beetles.

Convolvulus reflected 7.03

One of the latter plants trailed over the river, reflecting on the murky water.

Derelict hut 7.03

An avian trio perched on the coping stones of a derelict shed in need of replacement tiles;

a pair of peacocks entered into head to head negotiations;

Mallard and ducklings

a mallard paddled along ahead of her imprinted offspring;

Swans and cygnets

and a pair of swans introduced their cygnets to further reaches of the Thames.

Sheep and farm buildings 7.03

A flock of sheep grazed alongside what I took to be farm buildings of some sort.

The sun-baked natural world disregarded the two young men taking a leisurely row along the sleepy waters, passing a dangerous-looking weir, and negotiating a narrow lock.

Here, at home, dusk this evening lent a dramatic air to the looming skull of the virtually gutted North Breeze next door.

Shelly and Ron gave me a couple of very good Blason du Rhone Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2015 wines for Christmas. I drank a glass this evening with Jackie’s excellent chicken jalfrezi, and aromatic pilau rice, served with vegetable samosas. My lady finished the Coquimbo.

From High Noon To Sunset Strip


Just after midday, Jackie drove me to Sears Barbers at Milford on Sea for Peter to cut my hair.I am accustomed to barbers laying down their shears to answer the telephone, but today’s hiatus was brought about in a manner I not experienced before.

Peter’s next customer entered the salon with the announcement that “the parking police are out”. Peter dropped his scissors and rushed out of the door. Some time later, he returned, somewhat flushed. By the skin of his teeth he had moved his car just as it was about to receive a ticket. I had never seen a man with a bad back move so fast.

After the application of my barber’s artistry, I did my best to ruin it by taking on the best the high winds could throw at me on the cliff top. I have to say that I was so pummelled by the strongest gusts I have yet experienced, that neither I nor my camera could either remain stable or see what we were doing, as

I focussed on the sea below.

Sometimes the unsteadiness showed in the results.

Midday sun

Even this image of the midday sun and the shot of The Needles above were naturally virtually monochrome.

Walkers 1

Eventually I sought refuge in the car. One of three walkers along the path replied that he didn’t blame me when I announced that I had had enough.

Soon afterwards I was amused to see one of these adopting the same bracing stance that I had taken, as he, also, captured the moment.

We then took a turn round the forest. On a lane outside Bransgore, with the sun shining straight into my eyes, I had not seen the pony crossing immediately in front of us. Fortunately Jackie, whose view was shaded, had seen the animal and slowed down as it ambled on its way.

Dog walkers on lane

Round the next bend a couple walking their dog hastened to the verge.

We were a little too late to catch the sunset at Barton on Sea, however, we were rewarded by one


over Roger Cobb’s fields

Sunset in pools

which was reflected in the strip of potholes on the path between them.

This evening we dined on roast duck breasts and sweet potatoes; new potatoes and peas; with wonderful gravy, with which I drank more of the merlot.


On The Trail


At first light this morning Jackie drove us down to the clifftop at Milford on Sea to watch the sunrise.

Isle of Wight and The Needles before sunrise

The forest behind the Isle of Wight and The Needles was a bank of clouds. The lighthouse blinked.

Sunrise 1


Sunrise with gull

a pink lining

Sunrise with gulls

came into view

Sunrise 2


Sunrise 3


to the east.

Walker at sunrise 1

Just two lone walkers

Walker at sunrise 2

braved the two degrees centigrade temperature at 7 a.m.

This afternoon we visited the New Milton toy shop to investigate Christmas presents, and decided that we needed parental advice.

Afterwards we drove into the forest.


On the way down Holmsley Passage Jackie spotted


a string of ponies


crossing a ridge. Watch the wavy lines in the bracken to the right.


She parked


beside the stream on the lowest part of the lane, while I watched


as the ponies


dropped onto


what was a trail


they had regularly trodden.


It was fortunate


for me that there were a couple of greys to help me pick them out against the bracken


 or, as they reached level ground, among the trees.


The black leader came into view and investigated the road;


when it was pronounced clear, the others followed


and were led




a delighted Jackie


in the car.


Having crossed to the other side


they reappeared on higher ground.

Reflections in pool

Further on, up the road to Clay Hill reflections in the calm pool

Reflections in pool

were clear and bright.


On our return the sun was setting over Holmsley;


blazing clouds shrouded Wootton Common,

Moon and clouds

where the moon was in the ascendancy.

Trees and sunset

Trellises of tree branches

Trees and sunset

screened the pink and indigo backcloth.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s wonderful savoury rice forming a bed for tempura prawns. We both drank Maison Castel Touraine sauvignon blanc 2015.


Shades Are Recommended



Having spent much of the day composing and e-mailing a draft complaints letter to the dilatory and devious conveyancing solicitors firm that handled our recent remortgage to our mortgage broker, I was in need of a trip to Mudeford to watch the sun go down. The administrative exercise had involved trawling through documents, letters, e-mails, and such notes as I had made of phone calls or the absence of them; then collating them in a logical order in intelligible prose. Our mortgage adviser couldn’t access my attachment, so I had to cut and paste it and send it as the text of another e-mail.

The elements did not disappoint.

Sunset 1

Shortly before sunset, the orb was bright, but the clouds still retained their slate colours intermingled with streaks of blue.

Sunset 2

A rather large anchor is embedded in concrete on the foreshore. This provided a frame for the scene,

Sunset 4

as did trees

Sunset 3

and grasses.

Sunset 5

Gulls perched

Sunset 6

on moored boats


flew low over the water,

Mudeford Harbour

and gathered by the quayside.

Sunset 7

Smoky hues spiralled around blue skies, and gold-tinged clouds,

Sunset 8

gradually darkening as the sun descended.

Sunset 9

All at once

Sunset 12

an orange wash was

Sunset 13

brushed over the skyscape.

Sunset 14


As the sun sank the orange pigment

Sunset 15

drizzled down the horizon,

Sunset 16

its remnants

Sunset 17


streaking above

Sunset 19

silhouetted walkers

Sunset 18

Sunset 20

and their dogs.

For our dinner this evening, with which I drank Mendoza Argentina malbec 2016, Jackie produce Thai fishcakes on a bed of ratatouille served with breaded prawns, perfect roast potatoes, and crisp cauliflower.






Maybe There’ll Be Frost


Although the meteorologists keep changing their minds about it, we have a frost warning for tonight. We therefore began the task of bringing some of the more tender potted plants into

Cold frame 1Cold frame 2

a makeshift cold frame

Greenhouse 1Greenhouse 2

and the greenhouse.

Gazebo Path

Sun still streaked across the Gazebo Path;

Shady/Oval Bed paths

across the Shady Path;

Dead End Path 1

Begonias etc

across the Dead End Path;

Brick PathBrick Path 2

and down the Brick Path.

Cryptomeria Bed 1Cryptomeria Bed 2

Some geraniums and other similarly vulnerable plants like these in the Cryptomeria Bed,


or these petunias, had to be left to the elements,

Pelargonium Quercifolium

but this pot of pelargonium Quercifolia that has taken two years to reach splendid maturity, just had to be placed in the greenhouse.

Meanwhile roses such as Compassion, seen rising above the Dead End Path in one of the earlier pictures;

Lady Emma Hamilton

Lady Emma Hamilton;

Absolutely Fabulous

and Absolutely Fabulous, will fight their own corners.

Sky an hour before sunset

An hour before sunset, the skies over Downton presaged splendid views later,

Sunset 1

when off we sped to Barton on Sea where

Sunset 2

we were not disappointed.

Sunset 3

Others had the same idea;

Photographing sunset 1

especially those

Photographing sunset 2


Photographing sunset 3

the ever-changing

Sunset 4


Sunset 5

Frozen vapour in the cross-hatched clouds suggests that maybe we will have frost.

Sunset with walkers 1Sunset with walkers 2Sunset with walkers 3Sunset with walkers 4

While walkers aimed for the sunset,

Isle of Wight at sunset

the Isle of Wight and The Needles were satisfied with the lighthouse beacon (enlargement will be necessary to see this).

This evening we dined on Jackie’s excellent sausage casserole, roast potatoes, and cauliflower. We did not imbibe.





Your Choice


This morning, including material from ‘Oiling The Lion’, and from ‘The Hornby Train Set’, I continued writing ‘A Knight’s Tale’.

This afternoon, Jackie drove me to Lymington to visit the bank. This is now the nearest NatWest branch remaining open. My chauffeur parked outside and I joined a small queue. We spent quite some time listening to the lone cashier negotiating with a woman about whether or not she should withdraw £10 before Saturday. The problem was compounded by another woman having difficulty in operating the rapid deposit machine. Eventually it was my turn to be attended to. I needed to order some Australian dollars to send to Orlaith for her fifth birthday. This involved putting my bank card into a machine. It was then that I was informed that I was in Lloyd’s Bank and that NatWest was next door. I turned and entered the next building. All went smoothly after that.

We continued on to a forest drive.

Pony on heathPony 1Pony and shadow

At Brockenhurst, grazing ponies,

Ponies and cyclist on heath

leisurely cyclists,

Trees, walkers, pony

and eager walkers,

Walkers, dogs, pony

some with dogs, enjoyed the late afternoon sun

Autumn leaves

that lit the autumn leaves,

Sun streaks

and was a little lower by the time we reached Rhinefield Ornamental Drive, and stretched even longer shadows.

Ponies 2Ponies 3Pony 2

A group of ponies hovered on one verge, contemplating crossing to the other side.

Trees over stream

trees stretched over

Reflections in stream

streams that flowed under the road, and, like Narcissus, admired their reflections.

Forest scene 4Forest scene 5Forest scene 6Forest scene 7Forest scene 8

In photographing the forest scenes I occupied myself deciding whether to offer images in colour

TreesForest scene 2Forest scene

or to convert them to black and white.

Forest scene 3

For this image, colour,

Forest scene 3 Version 2

or black and white?  It is your choice.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious chilli con carne with peas and rice. I drank Arboresque Fronton 2016.

Slinking Into The Trees


Today’s weather pattern was similar to yesterday’s, that is mostly overcast with the sun emerging late in the afternoon. The emergence was rather later this time, and

Sun through clouds 1

the orb lacked complete confidence as it vied with the smoky clouds.


Once again we ventured into the forest where, on the moors near Holmsley, I disembarked to mingle with a group of ponies.

Foal adolescent

One of this year’s earliest foals was growing into a fine young chap.

Foal adolescent 2Foal adolescent 3

He seemed rather brighter when the sun burst through;

Pony 1

as did his blonde companion.

Pony - woman in background

A woman in the background hurried through this shot in order not to spoil it. I told her that, on the contrary, she had made it.

Pony and bracken

I followed the animals as they forced their way through their bracken camouflage,

Pony crossing roadPony crossing road 2

and crossed Holmsley Passage

Ponies 2Ponies 3

to try the fodder on the other side.

Ponies 4Pony 2Ponies 5Pony 4Pony 6Pony 3Pony 7Oak leaf and ponyPony 8

I spent some time with them here.

Walkers with dogs

A group of walkers with a couple of small dogs passed by

and I turned to rejoin Jackie in the Modus. She was not where I had left her. I set off down the hill in search. Soon I saw her driving back up. Not having seen me slinking into the trees, she had gone in search of me. As she said, at least she had not been trying to preserve a table in a crowded café, which has sometimes been her lot as I have gone a-wandering.

Sun through treeSun disc and landscape 1Sun disc bordered by treesSun disc over horizonSun disc over landscape 2

On our return to Lymington we took a diversion to Goatspen car park to watch the skies taking on a smoky pink hue as the solar frisbee skimmed across them.

Jackie and toadstoolsToadstools 1

Jackie was delighted to spot a group of large toadstools.

We dined at Lal Quilla. My main meal was lamb Ceylon; Jackie’s, chicken sag; we shared special fried rice, an egg paratha, and an onion bhaji. We both drank Kingfisher. The food and friendly service was as good as ever.