Gulls And Buoys

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The steady rain we have been experiencing for a few days made way for sunshine by mid-morning, so Jackie drove us to Keyhaven and back.

Many of the roads, like this one leading to the harbour carpark, were waterlogged. I tested my Driver’s patience as I dallied on my way walking round the pool in order to photograph her driving through it. She created quite a splash, but looked rather less happy with the process than did a later driver and passenger.

Gulls on moored boats 1

 

I had been distracted by this scene of silhouetted gulls perched on moored boats with a yacht reflected in the ice-like surface of the water, with a walker on the distant spit.

Jackie parked, and I began to photograph the still, reflected, scenes of boats, gulls, and buoys. Even the birds in flight left their images on the waters beneath them.

Wishing to draw my attention to one particular precariously perched gull,

Mrs Knight gave up waiting for me to reach it, left the comfort of her car, and scattered a group of gulls basking on the mossy wall, thus providing a perfect opportunity for a shot of gulls and buoys.

Against the backcloth of Hurst castle and its lighthouse bird watchers paddled along the sea wall path. The sensible dog in the third picture

climbed the wall. I spoke to her owner, then realised that she had been the driver of the car I had photographed earlier. While we conversed, the dog went on ahead, placed her forepaws on the brickwork, dashed further along, and repeated the pose, as if to call her mistress to play. The woman seemed pleased when I told her that, with the car and her dog, she really was the star of the show.

Dogs in silhouette and waterfowl

Further on, approaching Hurst spit, we spotted a dog walker up aloft, while various waterfowl sped over the surface of the water.

Swans fed eagerly on the shore by the bridge. Had someone scattered food? we wondered.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s perfect pork paprika (recipe) with creamy mashed potato and swede, and firm runner beans. I drank McGuigan Black Label shiraz 2016

 

 

“Look, He’s Posing”

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This morning Jackie drove us to Lymington for me to take photographs that might be suitable for the walls of Lal Quilla restaurant. Raj had asked me for some a couple of days ago.

I began with a few featuring the building itself.

Gosport Road

The surrounding area includes Gosport Street, and

Quay Hill,

Painter Quay Hill

where the painter working on Sophie’s stopped to pass the time of day with a passer-by.

Quay Hill 1

 The King’s Head stands on the corner diagonally opposite Lal Quilla, at the point at which the High Street turns at right angles into Gosport Street. The tavern’s website tells us that

‘Despite dating back at least 300 years, many of the original features of The Kings Head can still be seen today.

The pub is known to have originally also been a bakers back in the day and even now the old bakers oven is still standing, along with the old well which is featured at the centre of the pub.

When you visit The Kings Head you will see the long-lasting beams made from Napoleonic Ships that only add to the character of this old English pub.

The pretty courtyard that we see today was previously used for fish-drying, whilst the buildings adjacent to the yard were an abattoir and fishermans house.

Despite these drastic changes over time, the inside of the pub has remained somewhat the same and the great open fire that cannot be missed is at least 300 years old.

It is these characteristics that, when you visit, make it easy to imagine the pub back in the 18th Century as a regular haunt for the smugglers and sailors that would frequent this famous sailing town.

Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you may even see one of the old regulars who used to pick up pots in exchange for ‘grog’ as he has been said to return occasionally as the pubs very own friendly ghost…’

I doubt that Raj, the manager, would want all the pictures I have produced, such as those of two alleys that can be seen from inside the restaurant, but I did need to indulge myself.

Quay Street lies at the bottom of Quay Hill. The driver who left his van at bottom right of the second picture was to be disappointed when he attempted to deliver a package to a closed shop. Winter hours in these establishments are somewhat restricted. The Boat House Café featured in the first scene is where we brunched,

People on bench

after I had wandered along the quay photographing a row of people seated on a bench;

Young woman on wall

a young woman crouching cross-legged on a concrete wall;

Shadow of young woman

and another casting a long shadow as our paths crossed.

Train crossing harbour

The train aiming for the Isle of Wight ferry traversed the harbour.

Lymington Quay 1

A pair of oriental tourists walked towards The Ship Inn,

the windows of which rippled in the water.

We drove on through the forest and found ourselves at Pilley Bailey, where, knee deep in water or autumn leaves, a group of ponies enjoyed their alfresco lunch.

Pony crossing road

One of these animals decided to cross the road. As I turned to watch it, I noticed

a trio of alpaca and dog walkers.

Alpaca walkers 4

One of the ungulates stopped still, staring in my direction. “Look, he’s posing”, cried his guide, as she strained at the leash.

Clouds on horizon

We were a little late to catch the sunset at Barton on Sea, but the bank of clouds resting on the horizon gave a differently dramatic effect.

This evening Jackie, for our dinner, produced roast chicken, mashed potato, green and runner beans, cauliflower, carrots, and ratatouille. She drank sparkling water and I drank Chateau Bonhomme Minervois 2016.

 

On The Beach

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Darting pin points of fleeting snow given added impetus by biting winds crossing Christchurch Bay failed to deter family out to enjoy fun on the sand, despite this morning’s gloom necessitating the use of car headlights.

For the first time this year my fingers tingled painfully as I plied my camera while Jackie snuggled up in the car with her puzzle book. The precipitation did not settle.

Scooters

Children brought their own transport into play, in the form of smart scooters

Cycling child

and a wobbly bicycle.

Woman on mobile phone

Judging by the gesticulation displayed in the twist of her free hand, one young woman was engaged in an animated mobile conversation.

Child walking on wall

A little girl put the sea wall to the use for which it was intended.

Dogs frolicked with or without their owners,

Dogs meeting on beach

and made welcome new acquaintances.

A photographer operated on the roaring waves with the use of a tripod and an extension cable.

He wasn’t so concerned with the two ferry boats coming into harbour, bearing a few intrepid passengers.

Crow on beach

A crow on the sand watched the incoming waves,

Bobbin on beach

and a stranded cotton reel had once been bobbin’ on the tide.

On this second weekend of the Six Nations rugby tournament, I watched first ITV’s coverage of the game between Italy and Ireland in Rome, followed by Wales v. England on BBC in Cardiff. The first game was far too one-side to enthrall; the second one of the most thrilling I have ever seen.

Our dinner this evening (look away, Yvonne) consisted of Jackie’s hearty liver and bacon casserole, served with boiled potatoes, carrots, and curly kale. This was followed by Sicilian lemon tart and cream. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, my choice was Cimerosa Reserva Privada cabernet sauvignon 2015.

A Nature Lesson

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On another overcast morning Jackie and I tidied up the garden with secateurs and broom while Aaron and Sean completed the building of the log shelter. Later, Jackie did some more planting and pruning as I carted clippings and branches to the compost and dump bags.

This afternoon I returned to the scanning of the negatives of the 1985 holiday in Instow.

Stump and barbed wire 1985

A fine fossilised scarecrow in a field was revealed as a gnarled stump crossed by barbed wire.

Bees on kniphofia 1985

Bees congregated on kniphofia.

Roof repairs 1985

A roofer was hard at work in the August heat. This seemed to me to be some traditional method merging slate with other materials. Were they being refurbished or replaced altogether, like those next door? I would be happy to learn from anyone with knowledge of this.

Jessica and Louisa 1985 1Jessica and Louisa 2Jessica and Louisa 1985 3Jessiac and Louisa 4

Our holiday home was a short walk from these houses. Here, Jessica sits with Louisa on the wall featured yesterday, introducing her to the wonders of nature. Tall irises stand proud while yellow roses ramble along the stones.

Jessica and Sam 1985

Sam took his turn, too.

For dinner this evening, Jackie produced lemon chicken with chilli and garlic; swede and potato mash; broccoli; and sautéed leeks, peppers, mushrooms and courgettes. This was followed by rhubarb pastries and ice cream. The Culinary Queen drank a blend of Bavaria and Hoegaarden, and I drank Foremost Hawke’s Bay syrah 2015.

It Has To Be Seen To Be Believed

Here are some of the fruits of Jackie’s recent and past creative labours in the garden: The Old Post House box

Helen and Bill gave us this box for Christmas. It has now been filled with plants and placed  on the wall surrounding the recently converted compost heap, providing a signal to visitors that they have come up the correct back drive. These concrete blocks are some of those I dug out of the kitchen garden last year.

Planting barrier

Where there was a ramshackle, fairly useless, cobbled, fence today’s Birthday Girl has produced a natural barrier. All that remains is for Aaron to finish paving the projected rose garden, and consequently removing the bag of sand and stack of bricks. I did help bag up the rubble, and moved remaining rocks and concrete blocks to other parts of the garden, where Jackie reinforced border edges and laid stepping stones across the beds with them.

Clematis

Somewhat flattened and spattered by the battering of yesterday’s gales, this large blue clematis was such a weedy little thing last year that we incorrectly identified it. It has been lovingly fed and nurtured through the winter. Still not sure of its identity, we know that its splendid sepals must belong to a different variety.

Marigolds

We have hanging baskets wherever a hook can be hitched. These marigolds swing from the eucalyptus tree. At least, they do today. Features tend to be moved around, and sometimes I only spot this when I bang my head on them.

Fly on rose

This afternoon a fly engaged in mountaineering atop a new deep pink climber heavily pruned and retrained last autumn;

Bee on erigeron Sea Breeze

and a gargantuan humble bee, the pollen dusting adding the last straw to prevent a standing take-off, tumbled to the ground as Jackie carefully flicked the slug bait off the recently planted erigeron Sea Breeze, on which the creature was becoming intoxicated. The insect lumbered off, rather like Eric the pheasant. The bait, by the way, is of the type unharmful to birds.

This afternoon we dumped several bags of rubble into the Efford Recycling Centre.

With 50 m.p.h. winds forecast overnight, Jackie toured the garden taking down and sheltering her hanging baskets. Goodness knows where the above marigolds will be found tomorrow.

This evening we dined at The Plough in Tiptoe, where we found the usual efficient, friendly service, and superb, plentiful food. Jackie’s choice was the half rack of ribs. I once had the whole rack and had as much trouble managing to eat it all as I had with today’s mixed grill.Mixed grill

I have featured this feast before, and make no apology for photographing it again, because it has to be seen to be believed. However, because this huge plate is piled high, I bet you can’t list everything on it. Don’t be deceived by the steak knife. It is itself of proportions that would have suited Jim Bowie.  Jackie enjoyed the pub’s legendary creme brûlée. I was so full I could not manage a sweet. Jackie drank Becks. My choice of beverage was Doom Bar.

A Swing, A Wall, And A Seat

Today, the virus is loosening its hold a little.

Jackie’s sister Shelly, glowing fresh from Florida, brought a bit of sunshine to us this morning.

This afternoon I scanned another batch of colour slides, this time from July 1972.Matthew 7.72 03Becky 7.72 02

I don’t remember where I obtained the swing I set up in the garden of our home in Amity Grove, Raynes Park. It was pretty old then, and was to remain in situ for more than thirty more years. Matthew, Becky, and many other children had much fun on it.Matthew 7.72 02

My one attempt at bricklaying was a very low, and very uneven, wall providing a divider between the small back garden and the alley between us and next door. Matthew and his friends used it as a roadway for their model cars.Beccy 7,72 (3) copy

The fully illustrated text of the only children’s book I have ever produced is featured in ‘Becky’s Book’. The wall on which Matthew is playing appears on the frontispiece of this home made work, unpublished until the aforementioned post. The seat I had placed in the apple tree on which Becky is perched, is the focus for the tale, using the seasons as an essentially optimistic device to demonstrate the ups and downs of life.

This evening we dined on pork ribs in barbecue sauce accompanied by savoury rice, and followed by syrup sponge and custard.

Walls

Back drive 10 a.m.Spider and preyAt 10 a.m. this morning we began work on clearing Bev and John’s wall that abuts our back drive. Knowing that I would not have the energy to tackle it after all the other shrubs and trees that threatened our neighbours’ foundations, I began with the fairly mature beech tree which was the worst offender. I need both an axe and a saw to cut it down to a stump that will be left for Jackie’s lethal application. Flora and fauna alike, except for the unfortunate prey of the spider becoming more engorged as I watched it at its feast, basked in the morning sunshine.

Japanese anemonesPansiesPansies on chimney potWe have stunning clumps of Japanese anemones of various colours, and the Fly in gladiolusrecently planted winter pansies, some in the chimney pots, perk up cheeky faces.

GladioliGladioli, one of which provided the canvas for a portrait of a fly that would have done justice to Whistler in his white period, looked almost translucent against the light.Bee on dahlia

Bees seem to enjoy the orange dahlias.Woodlouse and spider

A woodlouse, climbing up our neighbours’ wall in an effort to escape my attentions, was soon overhauled by a baby spider.

Hart's tongue fernHidden beneath a hebe, which we have reduced in size and will retain, was a hart’s tongue fern that seems to be the only one we have. Jackie rapidly transplanted it.

‘Where there’s smoke there’s hope’, was a mantra we, as children in Raynes Park, invoked when trying to breathe life into illicit bonfires we enjoyed on the then much wider patch of railway land at the back of 29a Stanton Road where we grew up. I thought of this as I watched weak wisps of smoke struggling through the fire this morning. It was almost Back drive 1.30 p.p.three hours before the first welcome crackle of flame was heard, but, by 1.30 our neighbours had a wall that Banksy would no doubt find enticing.

For those of you who are unfamiliar with his work, Banksy is a pseudonymous U.K. based graffiti artist who stencils his work on vacant walls. Whatever you think of the idea of defacing other people’s property, you would have to agree that this man is an artist who, overnight, can enhance its value. Collectors like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie will spend thousands of dollars or pounds on a piece. In October 2007 they acquired a number of works at auction for a total outlay of £1,000,000.

An earlier project of mine, which, so far has not seen any kind of publication, was called ‘Streets of London’, consisted of (more than 1,000) photographs of London streets with the constraint that the name should appear in the frame. In May 2008, because it in itself seemed an interesting scene, I photographed a corner of Acklam Road, W10, just off Portobello Road. Banksy wall 5.08Three days later, I passed the same corner, to find a white wall embellished by a Banksy. Interestingly, this artwork already bore a protective perspex covering. Now, at least one of my street pictures has been published.

We dined this evening on slow roasted, tangy smoked gammon, cauliflower cheese in a mustard sauce, new potatoes and carrots, followed by egg custard dessert. I finished the rioja and Jackie drank the last of the weissbier.