Canine Encounters

I wasted two hours attempting to recover missing pictures to one of my Streets of London series of posts, then gave up and resorted to

which required the comparatively easy Convert to Blocks approach.

The Pharmacy at Milford on Sea shares the forecourt with our GP surgery and the Memorial Hospital. When we arrived there this morning the area was deserted, because neither of these other services is open on a Sunday and heavy overnight rain, according the the staff had kept people away on this first day of British Springtime clocks being put forward.

The consequent acoustics were such that, when I exchanged greetings with a woman emerging from the dispensary as I was approaching, our voices echoed.

From there Jackie drove me to the coast alongside Hurst Road,

where figures were silhouetted atop the shingle bank over which I crunched and listened, against the backdrop of the roar of waves and the mewing of the gulls, to the pebbles responding to my weight by hissing against each other as they repositioned their formation.

Norwegian Boulders form part of the defences against the

sparkling waves constantly

crashing along the rocks and the stepped seafront.

Dog walkers were out in force both there and

at Barton on Sea where a number of canines enjoyed close encounters.

Elizabeth visited this afternoon, bringing more clothes for Ellie donated by Ella and Jack, and staying for pleasant conversation, cups of tea, and a Tunnock’s tea cake..

Later, the rest of us dined on Red Chilli takeaway fare. Jackie’s main choice was Butter Chicken; Flo and Ellie’s, Chicken `Korma; Dillon’s, Chicken Dhansak; and mine, Naga Chilli Chicken. We shared Tikka Panir, Peshwari Naan, Pilau Rice, and Special Fried Rice. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Malbec.

Flying Foam

Late this morning Sam, Holly, Malachi, and Orlaith visited after another overnight stay at Elizabeth’s, and spent an emotional farewell hour as they left for North Wales on the next stage of their tour catching up with family and friends.

I was quite choked as I watched their hired car turn out of our front drive, and right along Christchurch Road.

The overnight howling gales seemed to have increased, with winds now 60 m.p.h. and unrelenting fierce driving rain.

Jackie and I took a drive down to Milford on Sea to focus on the weather.

What the Japanese call sea flowers flew up as the waves beat on the shining rocks whisking creamy clusters into the air to settle like snow drifts where they would.

With sharp precipitation needles stinging my wet cheeks; sticky salt Supergluing my fingers; rain and spray clouding my specs; gusts ripping at my dripping coat, keeping upright was all I could manage with confidence as I aimed my camera more in hope than conviction.

This evening we dined on Red Chilli’s excellent takeaway meals. My choice was tiger prawn dhansak and egg fried rice, with which I drank Paarl Shiraz 2021

Tingling Toes

Especially during this year’s very hot summer months there really is no point in attempting to lunch at our favourite café at Friars Cliff. This is because the car park on the cliff top is usually packed, indicating that the eatery will be too.

Today, its seemed, would be rather different. No-one but hardened dog-walkers would venture down to the sand.

And so, apart from scavenging crows,

and one sole shivering individual,

it proved to be.

Uninviting waves crashed on rocks and shingle.

One little baby probably left for home with extra-tingling toes.

After our usual big breakfasts at the Beach Hut Café we returned home warm and comfortable and opened the door to a cold house.

The boiler had ceased functioning.

Fortunately I stuck my nose in a frightening manual and pressed a few buttons which got it going again. Unfortunately that didn’t last long, so I will have to call our heating engineer tomorrow. We had already booked the annual service about ten days ago. The earliest date he could manage is 19th January. So we will see.

Now we all have tingling toes.

Despite her efforts to prove the contrary Jackie is still not well enough to attend a social evening hosted by our neighbours Gordon and Chrissie. I therefore went on my own and spent part of an enjoyable gathering meeting many neighbours; listening to the piano playing of Ben Barr; drinking Merlot and eating plentiful snacks before returning early to check on my wife.

“He Is Taking Your Photograph”

It was fortunate that we chose this reasonably bright morning to transport the last garden parasol to its winter quarters in the orange shed, and to carry the wooden patio chairs to the comparative safety of the narrow area beside one side of the house, for no sooner had we finished than the clouds darkened necessitating lights being turned on in the sitting room, and once again we were treated to rivulets flowing down our windows.

After lunch we braved the rain and drove to Milford on Sea, by which time it had desisted somewhat in order for us to watch

flocks of gulls and crows sharing drinks in the plentiful puddles on the car park littered with pebbles dashed onto it from the adjacent stretch of shingle

by the turbulent sea’s tossed up spray-bearing waves.

In the distance on the promenade along which two young boys cycled could be seen a little dog in a red coat.

By the time he and his owner reached our vantage point I was ready for them, and encouraged by the windswept woman who advised her pet that a suitable pose would be in order.

Further into the forest we noticed the brightness the rain had lent to the now sun kissed sage lichen

and red-brown bracken

in the Wootton woodland.

A pair of cormorants conversed on their customary perches in Hatchet Pond.

We arrived home just in time for the next deluge.

This evening we dined on tempura and hot and spicy prawn preparations with Jackie’s colourful savoury rice topped with a thick omelette. We both drank Wairau Cove Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2021.

Down To The Sea

Yesterday evening I watched a recording of the Six Nations rugby match between England and Scotland; this morning one of the match between Ireland and Wales.

After lunch I posted

Elizabeth e-mailed a selection of her photographs from yesterday.

Two ponies;

the cattle by the stream;

and me.

Heavy winds having howled throughout the night, we drove to Highcliffe this afternoon to have a look at the sea, which proved to be very brisk. Intermittent gusts of rain rivalled the flying salt water.

I left Jackie in the Modus and others on the clifftop as I made my way down to the waters below.

This involved negotiating sections of steep, deeply waterlogged steps alternating with slippery slopes. I leaned on the wooden rails to let these surfboarders pass.

Various couples and other groups ventured onto the rocky breakwaters. Some were somewhat sprayed.

A nonchalant crow on the rocks ignored the waters.

While intrepid human surfers frolicked on

the wild waves

A determined little dog thought about joining them, until he lost interest and trotted back to his family group.

This evening, dining on Jackie’s savoury rice with a rack of spare ribs, vegetable spring rolls, and tempura prawns from plates on trays, while seated on the sofa in front of the telly, we watched a recording of the Six Nations match between France and Italy. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Rioja.

“Would You Like To Look At Some Waves?”

While The Big Bad Wolf huffed and puffed at 60 m.p.h. overhead, battering our windows with driving spittle, and blowing open our front door in attempts to gain entrance; and I had just sat down to write an A Knight’s Tale post, my Chauffeuse asked me if I would like to look at some waves.

So off we went.

Once I had struggled in Paddy’s Gap carpark to prevent my passenger door from being wrenched from its hinges as I prised myself out of the Modus I managed just a few minutes facing the wolf’s huffing, puffing, and spitting

over the sea wall as it lashed the waves and strove to uproot breakwaters

Safe behind her windscreen Jackie’s only problem in photographing the scene was the sweep of her wipers, without which she would have been focussing solely on raindrops.

When I could stand the onslaught no more I turned just in time for a wave of water to slap my back rather than my front,

and to retreat into the car with the same difficulty as that which I had experienced on disembarking.

I spent the afternoon preparing which I posted later.

This evening we dined on an excellent Red Chilli Takeaway meal. Jackie’s main course was Saag Chicken; mine was Tandoori King Prawn Naga; we shared Paneer Tikka, special fried rice, garlic Naan, and Saag bhaji. Mrs Knight drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Rioja.

We Needed The Horse Whisperer

On an only slightly cooler morning with the sun coming in and out, after a trip to the pharmacy at Milford on Sea we took drive along the coast before continuing inland.

A slight haze lay across the Isle of Wight while choppy waves slid back and forth on the wet shingle; sunlight stars glinted from rocks;

and columnar spray rose from breakwaters.

Gulls basking in the carpark occasionally took off on the wing;

couples passed rows of benches that were casting long shadows.

A thatched lych gate has been blown down in Hordle. Because vehicles cannot enter the grounds of the house beyond, the owners have placed a POST bin for deliveries.

Along Barrows Lane a robin perched on a gate through which a field containing horses could be seen beneath a sloping arboreal landscape.

When I left the car to photograph ponies in front of a house on the outskirts of Brockenhurst we noticed that one of a pair had a stick stuck in its collar.

This was clearly very difficult to dislodge. Because of the difference in size between the animals, I discerned that the one with the unwanted appendage was probably the foal of the other who was already becoming a bit twitchy at my interest. I felt I didn’t know enough to make a calm extraction, and decided to leave the task for someone who would have more knowledge.

What we needed was a Horse Whisperer in the form of John Corden.

This evening we reprised Jackie’s flavoursome sausages in red wine with fresh vegetables, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Cahors Malbec 2019

Devastation And Dessert

Winds of up to 60 m.p.h. howled and heavy rain lashed throughout the night.

Regular readers will know that Jackie’s favourite view is straight down the garden from the stable door.

This is what it looks like this morning through the window in that door.

The wisteria arbour has been destroyed.

We did not investigate further in the garden. Instead we drove to Milford on Sea to look at it.

A bent branch hung down over Downton Lane. The Modus was just able to clear it.

The rain had desisted by 10 a.m. when fierce winds whisked curdling waves sent spray smashing into rocks, breakwaters, and the sea wall over which rapidly liquified spume droplets swelled a saturated shingle lake.

Gulls enjoyed floating on the thermals in the warm air currents.

When I last visited this spot a week or so ago a cleft in this cliff had not been quite so rent.

Later this afternoon Elizabeth visited to help me with the on-line Probate application. My sister is very tech-savvy, but even she came to an insurmountable block, so we gave up and had dinner which consisted of succulent roast lamb; crisp roast potatoes and Yorkshire pudding; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; tender green beans; mint sauce, and thick, meaty, gravy, with which Elizabeth finished the Comté Tolosan Rouge; Jackie drank Hoegaarden; and I drank Montaria red wine 2020.

Dessert was Jackie’s spicy pumpkin pie which she photographed after we had eaten half of it.

A Dog Cart

Late this morning I published

We then drove to Steamer Point and

brunched at the Beach Hut Café at Friars Cliff. This has been our first visit since before Covid. I needed no further sustenance this evening.

Many customers dined alfresco. We were the only couple inside, because

we couldn’t find a place to ourselves.

One gentleman made short work of his ice cream.

Some visitors kayaked or swam in the albeit brisk water, turbulent waves of which

tossed spray against breakwater rocks.

A lone fisherman stood optimistically watching his line.

Small groups thronged the promenade.

Dog walkers wandered along the shingle. There is a surprise at the end of this gentleman’s lead.

An ingenious dog cart. Enlargement may help to view it.

Passing a gentleman painting his beach hut,

we bade farewell to the beach, and turned into the forest.

Ponies cropped the verges of Warnes Lane just outside Burley.

Others were to be seen alongside Forest Road,

and, further on, we listened to the squeaking of satisfied pink piglets,

and the scampering snorts of small saddlebacks in search of mast.

Photographing Forest Fauna

From late morning Jackie drove our visitors and me around the forest. De had walked down to the coast at Milford where we joined her.

Jan photographed De seated beneath an umbrella, where their daughter was joined first by her father and then by her mother.

Choppy waves threw up creamy spray before sliding up and slipping back down the crunching shingle beach.

The trio walked along the clifftop promenade and down the steps toe the sea level.

Pannage pigs at Pilley snuffled and snorted their way around the verges.

We stopped for a drink at the Fleur de Lys, to find that it had been under new management for just a week. This prompted us to book a table for this evening.

Jan photographed and conversed with donkeys beside Beaulieu Lake, the banks of which

a preening swan and cygnets shared with gulls,

while one of the young swans reflected on the surface over which a crow took to the air.

At East Boldre we stepped out to photograph ponies casting shadows as the sun emerged.

This evening’s meal at the Fleur de Lys was excellent. We shared starters of Thai Fish Cakes and Belly of Pork; Jackie and I enjoyed Burger mains; I am not sure what the others chose; we all finished with sticky toffee pudding. We shared a bottle of Pinot Grigio and a Mendoza Argentine Malbec. I completed the meal with a Bailey’s, Jackie abstained and the others drank varieties of gin.