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.
Shortly before sunset, the orb was bright, but the clouds still retained their slate colours intermingled with streaks of blue.
A rather large anchor is embedded in concrete on the foreshore. This provided a frame for the scene,
as did trees
on moored boats
flew low over the water,
and gathered by the quayside.
Smoky hues spiralled around blue skies, and gold-tinged clouds,
gradually darkening as the sun descended.
All at once
an orange wash was
brushed over the skyscape.
As the sun sank the orange pigment
drizzled down the horizon,
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.
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.
At Brockenhurst, grazing ponies,
and eager walkers,
some with dogs, enjoyed the late afternoon sun
that lit the autumn leaves,
and was a little lower by the time we reached Rhinefield Ornamental Drive, and stretched even longer shadows.
A group of ponies hovered on one verge, contemplating crossing to the other side.
trees stretched over
streams that flowed under the road, and, like Narcissus, admired their reflections.
In photographing the forest scenes I occupied myself deciding whether to offer images in colour
or to convert them to black and white.
For this image, colour,
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.
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
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.
One of this year’s earliest foals was growing into a fine young chap.
He seemed rather brighter when the sun burst through;
as did his blonde companion.
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.
I followed the animals as they forced their way through their bracken camouflage,
and crossed Holmsley Passage
to try the fodder on the other side.
I spent some time with them here.
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.
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 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.
I spent most of the day grappling with long-distance legal professionals over a small remortgage. I cannot summon the energy to detail this, but it has been going on for weeks and has only been necessary because I am too old to secure a mortgage from my bank. I have grown heartily sick of prevaricating, incompetent, and mendacious professionals who are happy to take your money while providing a useless service.
It is thirty years since I last negotiated such a loan. In those days you could walk to an office, speak to a person, and trust that what you were promised would be done. I don’t think I need tell anyone how it is now, in our progressive, unprincipled, digital age.
Jackie spent much of the day in the garden where she reshaped and added plants to the Dragon Bed section beside the greenhouse.
By 4.30 p.m., for the sake of my sanity, I was desperately in need of a ride in a motor car. Jackie happily obliged.
We began with a look at the sea at Barton. One member of a group on the beach seemed to have brought along a tent;
another man played with his dog;
a couple sat together on a bench;
one with a golden retriever, kept to the path along the clifftop.
Whenever a group of dog walkers meet, they swap engaging stories about their pets. Sometimes the animals are not so friendly. Lily was in trouble. She was admonished as being very naughty for nipping one of the others.
Cliffs are still crumbling.
Only the crows (if they are rooks forgive me – I don’t know the difference)
can truly feel safe on them.
As if to prove this statement, one of these took off, and clung precariously to the loose pebbles.
Down below a jogger on the beach path
checked her watch without breaking her stride.
As we travelled inland, ponies periodically exercised their right to ownership of the roads.
Sunset smiled over Roger Penny Way on our return.
Later, The Raj in Old Milton provided our takeaway meal with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the malbec.
The wind kept up this morning, but the rain did not return until this afternoon. The light changed by the minute.
As the sunshine came and went, I had to be patient to take this photograph of the front garden trellis which held solanum, roses, rose hips, petunias, lobelia, nasturtiums, and cotoneaster. Only the clematis and honeysuckle have faded from sight.
We took a trip to Highcliffe beach. A pair of dogs romped along the clifftop,
where the sign warning of crumbling cliffs will probably need to be moved further inland.
When checking on the parking fees, Jackie was greeted by a fairly faint rainbow.
A building worker shared his breakfast with the grateful gulls, and
the rainbow shifted in his direction.
Pools rippled in the car park, against which
the Isle of Wight and The Needles were virtually misted from sight.
One young man stood and watched the
and cloudy skies.
I only needed to turn my head inland to look down on walkers bathed in woodland sunshine;
and twist again for a view of the light on the coastline to my left
and the sight of a dog that probably didn’t belong to the surfboard carrier.
Leaving the scrub behind me,
and slopes I descended
to the shore.
On the way down I watched a jogger and dog-walker pass each other.
The woman with the dog went on to cross paths with a couple on a lower level,
and a young lady gradually overhauled another pair, as they passed the Lifeguards’ hut.
Waves sprayed the breakwaters, and, unhindered,
rolled onto the shingle, now at my feet.
Across to my right was a clear view of Mudeford Spit and Sandbank leading to Hengistbury Head. The beach huts visible in this photograph cost as much as £275,000. That’s right. £275,000.
According to metro.co.uk this one went on the market in July this year for £280,000. The article informs us that:
‘For £280,000 you could buy a four-bedroom detached house in Huddersfield or two three-bed cottages with an acre of land in the village of Maerdy, South Wales.
The sandbank can only be accessed by a 20 minute walk, a ride on a novelty land train or by ferry but its isolated position is what gives it its exclusivity and value.
Beach hut owners have to share communal bathroom facilities and can only sleep in the huts between March and October, but can visit any time of year.
Hut 78 is in a handy location close to the ferry jetty and the communal facilities.
It looks out Christchurch Harbour where the new owners will be able to enjoy stunning sunsets.
The timber home measures 16ft 7in by 10ft 2in and comfortably sleeps four, with a double bed in a mezzanine level.
Solar panels on the roof power the fridge and lights, the cooker runs on bottled gas and there is a water tank that feeds into the kitchen sink.’
As I climbed back up to the car park, another couple of walkers greeted me and continued along their path.
I rejoined Jackie who drove us on to Barton on Sea. From there we were called back home in a hurry. We had been told by our mortgage lender to expect a call this morning from a surveyor coming to value the house. His call would be to arrange a viewing. He did call me. He was outside our house. He had been given a time to be there. We hadn’t.
I guided the gentleman round the house and garden. We then returned to New Milton for some shopping and banking, and brunched at Wendy’s excellent café. Then the rain came.
For dinner this evening Jackie produced a tasty fish pie, mashed potato, carrot and swede mash, and sautéed leeks, peppers, and green beans. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Fleurie.
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We spent the morning of another dull, overcast, day continuing the general tidying of the garden.
Many new aquilegias are fully or partially blooming.
Over the last few days Jackie has been fine-tuning my weeding of the back drive. In addition to digging up a few more invading brambles, most of my work this morning was transferring the Head Gardener’s piles of weeds to the compost heap. We just need to apply an herbicidal spray to the gravel and the job will be done.
geraniums like these Johnson’s Blue from Gloucestershire’s Hidcote Gardens;
and hostas, heucheras, alliums and bluebells are some of the plants that line these borders. We thin out the profuse alliums every year.
This afternoon we voted at the local County Council elections where we were informed that the turnout was looking like 20-30%, which was about average. I ask you.
This took place at Milford on Sea church hall. Jackie then drove us to the clifftop where
we thought the pink thrift, despite the gloom of the day, was looking quite colourful against the grey water reflecting the slate sky.
A small pigeon had come to contemplate the calm sea,
and a few walkers wandered along the beach below.
The caged structure to our left of the pigeon is intended to keep the public away from the crumbling cliff edge.
This evening we dined at Lal Quilla in Lymington. The welcome, the service, and the food, were as good as ever. My choice was lamb dansak with special fried rice; Jackie’s was prawn and mushroom biriani; we shared a plain naan, and both drank Kingfisher.