An Irresponsible Chase

This morning, with minimal help from me, Jackie assembled the solar powered water feature bought yesterday. This is not its intended resting place but it has been left on the patio for the sun to charge it up.

On this hazy afternoon we drove to Mudeford and back.

I wandered around the harbour with my camera.

First I focussed upon people taking in the main view, before making my way to the north-eastern side for what I thought would be the best almost monochrome shots.

Take particular note of the elegant swan.

Allowing a glimpse of yellow a sailboarder walked in the water to the shore, where, unbeknown to either of us,

Jackie completed the story as he carried the sail across the sward;

she also photographed the masts laid up for winter, the street lamp, and gulls in flight, one of which perched atop a post.

Now back to my swan and the irresponsible chase. Even when fleeing for their lives swans take a long time to achieve lift-off. Like a bouncing bomb, our Cygnus managed to escape, and the dog returned empty mouthed. The photographer in me saw this as an opportunity; the human being, as a totally irresponsible act by the owner/s who had loosed two such animals in what should be a safe haven.

This evening we reprised yesterday’s fusion dinner with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Cabernet Sauvignon.

Carefully Cutting To Shape


Compared with that experienced in other parts of the world, including the rest of the UK, the Christmas cake icing barely coating our garden when we awoke this morning could hardly be called snow. It was a little thicker later on,

and by late afternoon could even display avian footprints.

The Waterboy’s fountain was so frozen that its pump had to be turned off.

Despite a heavy cold, Connor turned up early this morning and completed the flooring. Some of the furniture had been placed in the far left corner to enable him to cover all the other areas. When he was ready to fill that space he rang for help to move the items off the previously prepared screed. Within ten minutes Andy arrived to help. A sheet of plywood was utilised to protect the new flooring. Andy, working at his usual rate of knots, didn’t even take time to remove the hooded jacket that had protected him from the sweeping snowflakes.

Once the final screed base had dried, Connor, carefully, cutting to shape where necessary, completed the job to an exemplary standard.

The fact that we ate at The Royal Oak for the third night running had more to do with the treacherous weather conditions than anything else. This was no hardship. I enjoyed my chicken ham hock, and cider pie in short crust pastry with red wine sauce, broccoli, manges touts,  peas, and mashed potato accompanied by Razor Back beer; Jackie was equally happy with her barbecue flavoured macaroni cheese and garlic bread. She drank Amstell.

Snow On The Eucalyptus


By the time Jackie and I returned from the forest yesterday evening, Richard had fitted


all the smooth-running drawers

Sink and draining board

and splash trims to the worktops. I had planned to photograph these before he arrived this morning, but I overslept, so I got in his way again.

Wadding under shelf

At top left of the above picture can be seen the new oak windowsill, under which wadding has been applied.

This had been the site of the old kitchen sink. Our friend decided to lower the power points now half way up the wall, and to fit new skirting board.

Other electrical work included the fitting of strip lighting. The first two of these pictures shows the wiring of the larder cupboard with Richard pressing the switch which will be operated by the opening and closing of the door. Beneath the materials in the cupboard can be seen the quartz base to the food store. The electrician holds a reel of LED lights from which he cuts a suitable length. The last of these pictures is the strip over the long worktop.

Yesterday, in describing the core cutting for the extractor fan ducting I did not give enough emphasis to the fact that both these holes were cut through solid concrete blocks en route to the new outside wall.

The first cut, through the wall above the hobs, takes us into what was the garage.

Extractor fan casing

Later, Richard made a casing for the extractor.

On the front drive, beyond Richard wielding the saw, can be seen the cold dry cotton balls that fell from the sky whilst he was thus engaged. Viewing the first picture above full size in the gallery will show that the ice in the Waterboy’s shell has only been disturbed by the running flow. I wonder how many eucalypts, like that in the third image, have gathered a coating of snow.

This evening, the management having changed, we dined at The Royal Oak, just two buildings away. The new team have only been in occupation 5 days, so it was quite quiet. A new, much more tasteful, ambience has been created. Service and food were very good. I enjoyed a rib eye steak, cooked exactly as I asked; Jackie was equally pleased with her gammon steak. She drank Amstel, and I drank Ringwood’s Forty-niner.


Bar the application of a few more bags of gravel, I finished the oval paths today. This involved first of all cleaning and weeding the brick section, then clearing and raking the gravelled line at the front. This last was the least problematic, having been in fairly regular use en route to the compost heap.

The attractive pattern of all the older brick paths we find contains a puzzle. Where rows of diagonally laid bricks abut those positioned in a straight line small triangular shapes are left. Ours always contain earth, grass, and weeds, on a bed of sand. What is meant to be there? Could it be that they were filled with pea gravel, in those days when gardeners were employed and given time allocated to maintain these labour intensive footways?
Four large bags of Chard flint were not sufficient for a reasonable cover of the non-brick sections, so we need to buy some more.

Jackie carried out her usual planting, but began the day by applying her mind and a section of plastic coated netting to producing a crow baffle. There is a squirrel deterrent beneath it, but as far as we can tell it is surplus to requirements here. Fortunately the smaller birds don’t seem to be discombobulated by the fortifications of our very own Sapper.
The female blackbird now interrupts her incubation with trips to the feeder. It seems her male consort has abandoned his family, so she has to forage for herself.

My lady then strimmed the grass and carried out more clearance around the kitchen garden, redefining the path from the decking area.

In the process she finally fully revealed a charming little water feature, the young boy of which is so much more sensitively modelled than most garden centre examples. I imagine he simply requires relocation and a pump.
We have reached the stage where there are only a few more linking paths of gravel to be renovated. This is rather welcome because there is not much of either of us that doesn’t ache.
When you have an excellent sausage casserole (recipe) a bit light on sausages, it is a good idea to add a quantity of mushrooms, which is what Jackie did this evening and served it with mashed potato and cabbage. I finished the Baturrica and Jackie drank a Hoegaarden.