Lest We Forget

Alice wallpaperIt is Alice’s birthday today, so I will begin by displaying my iMac wallpaper on which she walks across the shingle on a very blustery day in view of the Isle of Wight and The Needles.

Telephone boxThis morning I walked to the bank at New Milton. I turned right up Lower Ashley Road and left along Ashley Road. This route is rather less picturesque and more protracted than the winding racetrack that is Christchurch/Lymington Road, but considerably safer. The man who insisted on giving me a lift soon after I had passed Angel Lane on my return thought so too.

Downton’s public Telephone box has probably seen better days.

A grasshopper camouflaged in the long grasses through which I trampled on the verge took me back to A Close Encounter I experienced in Sigoules on 9th August 2012.Grasshopper

36th Ulster Division memorial flagA memorial flag flapping on the top floor balcony of a block of flats in Ashley Road encouraged us to remember the 36th Ulster Division’s contribution to the First World War, which we joined 100 years ago today. This was just one group of the generation of young men and boys on both sides sent to their slaughter in order to satisfy the whim of a power-crazed Kaiser and the hopeless ineptitude of our own war leaders. Grandpa Knight 1917A century later we still fight our battles on foreign soil, to demonstrate that not much has been learned by mankind in the intervening century.

It is almost incredible to recollect that Kaiser Wilhelm was a grandson of Queen Victoria, and therefore that the major protagonists were a family at war.

My own paternal grandfather was one of those who came back, otherwise, since my father was born in 1917, when we think this photograph was taken, I probably wouldn’t be here to write this post. Neither would Alice, come to that.

When our lights are extinguished at 10 p.m. this evening, it will not be a power cut that brings this about. We will be joining the rest of the UK in an hour’s darkness of remembrance.

Back home this afternoon, while Jackie laboured with her watering cans, View from dump benchI wandered around the garden, at one point taking a rest on the dump bench and admiring one of its views. I did a little dead heading on my rounds. Petunias are very sticky.

Cricket on clematisThe nocturnal relative of this morning’s grasshopper, probably sleeping, aboard one of our many blue clematises was a cricket. Close scrutiny of the photograph reveals the incredibly long antennae that distinguish this insect from the other.Clematis Niobe

We think the purple clematis climbing the new arch on the opposite side of the garden is a Niobe.Hibiscus

Near this is a very prolific hibiscus.Crocosmia solfoterre

Because we are likely to forget their names, Jackie is labelling all those plants, like the unusual crocosmia Solfoterre, that she can, sometimes after considerable research.

Jersey Tiger MothJust as extensive research was required for me to identify a black and white striped butterfly that flashes it bright orange underside when on the wing. After a thorough study of the thoroughly informative ‘The Butterflies of Britain & Ireland’ by Jeremy Thomas and Richard Lewington, I surfed the web, to no avail. Then I had one of my strokes of genius. Maybe, I thought,’ it is a moth?’. One had, after all, the other day, settled on Jackie’s woolly bosom. It is a Jersey Tiger Moth. She was, incidentally wearing a cardigan at the time.

For our dinner this evening, Jackie produced a professional egg fried rice to accompany our succulent pork chops and the remnants of our recent Chinese takeaway. I finished the Bordeaux and she sampled some Hoegaarden.

The Swinging Sixties

This morning I began reading Jacques Suffel’s preface to Gustave Flaubert’s timeless novel ‘Madame Bovary’. This introduction seems to be doing a good job of putting the work into historical and social context. Hopefully, having read an English translation should help me with this original version.

This was another day of steady rain, so I decided to scan some ‘posterity’ pictures. Just one colour slide took approximately three hours. When I turned on my iMac a big grey box with a large X in the middle of it on the screen prompted me to download what I soon realised – or at least hoped – was a new operating system called, of all things ‘Mavericks’. Being an American organisation I suspect Apple were thinking of unbranded calves rather than independent-minded persons. They must have run out of wildcats which is what all the previous systems’ names were.

I was informed that the download would take 51 minutes. Fortunately much of this time was taken up by a welcome phone call from Sam in Perth. I will leave him to update friends and family with his own news.

The system was downloaded successfully. This involved a change of the previous galaxy photograph as wallpaper to what could loosely be described as sweeping waves. I suppose I’ll become accustomed to it.

I was now able to start on my scanning. Not. A box told me my Epson Perfection V750 PRO had quit unexpectedly and prompted me to try again. And again. And again. Probably ad infinitum if I hadn’t decided to call a halt and ring Apple Care

Naturally I was answered by a machine operated by my voice. She and I had some difficulty. Maybe it was the questions delivered in a broad Scots accent. Yes, an American system with the diction of those living north of the English border.  Perhaps my London speech was the problem. We got there in the end and I was at last in a very short queue to speak to a real live person. Whilst waiting I had the pleasure of listening to Johnny Cash singing ‘Ring of Fire’ – by far my favourite ever bit of holding music. After Johnny came something weird. But, as I said, it wasn’t a long wait.

Carolyn, another Celt, was a very helpful adviser. We established, as I thought, that Mavericks was the problem. It didn’t know I had a scanner that its predecessor had been quite happy with. In fact it stated that I didn’t have one, which I thought rather presumptuous of it. My helper sent me an e-mail with details of a link via Apple to Epson’s web pages. I tried it. Epson didn’t seem to know about my new Mavericks. I fiddled around in their system for a while then returned to Apple Care.

Carolyn had left clear information and James was able to pick up the story. I think he knew a bit more about Epson and sent me another link direct to that company. I needed, apparently, to download new software – the type that can recognise independent minded people. It was done successfully, although it took some time.

James clarified a puzzle for me. The problem with the first link had been that it provided a (very long) list of software that would be automatically downloaded by Apple if we used ‘Software Update’. I had done so and nothing happened. James said that was because the list was for hard drives and I needed software. Aaaaaarrrgh.

Anyway, before we set off to New Milton and Bashley I scanned my slide and put it into iPhoto.

Not so fast.

I had to update iPhoto first. But I managed that.

I have written so often about driving through deluges over the last couple of years, that I will not risk repetition. I will just say that the clatter of rain on the car’s external surfaces, and the whoosh of spray sent up by our wheels every time we went in for water-skiing drowned out all the other normal motoring sounds, such as the sweep and grind of the windscreen wipers.

Setting off in mid afternoon for a trip to a bank and a farm shop is not usually to be recommended. The bonus of the weather was that both establishments were virtually deserted. I was in and out of the bank before Jackie, having dropped me off, had returned from parking the car;Cheese and piesFerndene vegetable racksJackie studying meat shelvesSausagesand I was able to photograph the shelves of the Ferndene Farm shop. Previously I have been inhibited from producing a camera and potentially photographing crowds who wouldn’t like it. That was not a problem today.

Jackie Carnaby St 6.67Once we were home again I was able to return to ‘posterity’. Carnaby Street in July 1967, where I took a photograph of Jackie in the entrance to a closed clothes shop, was at the centre of the universe. It was Hwhere all the world came to buy their garments so they could be part of the London scene in that swinging decade. We didn’t have the money for such extravagance so we had a look one evening just to say we’d been there.

John Stephen had a shop in the street, where this tie, dating from 1966, was bought in the year Jackie leant against the wrought iron. I wonder whether Mick O’Neill has one like it in his superb collection.

manfredDM2711_468x350

In July 1967, ‘Ha Ha Said The Clown’, an earlier hit in the UK, was number one in Germany for Manfred Mann, in which band Tom McGuinness played from 1964 – 1969.  Did he, I wonder – top right in the picture – buy his outfit in Carnaby Street?

This evening, ‘once more unto the’ storm did Jackie drive. This time to Ringwood for dinner at the Curry Garden, which was very full. I enjoyed lamb hatkora with a plain nan; Jackie chose prawn korma with pilau rice. We shared a sag paneer and both drank Kingfisher. Afterwards Jackie ate Walls ice cream with chocolate sauce and I had a pistachio kulfi. It was still raining as we drove back along the A31.