Helen Eales’s Artwork

This morning I was engaged in several telephone conversations concerning my second knee replacement operation scheduled for two days time. Ten days or so ago I had been experiencing symptoms of what could have been a urinary tract infection soon after my satisfactory flexible cystoscopy. I understood that the operation could not be undertaken if I had an infection. I had therefore begun taking a series of antibiotics whilst awaiting the testing of a urine sample. Two days ago the result came informing that I had no infection. I stopped taking the tablets. Although the symptoms are still evident they have desisted somewhat. I have now been advised that it should be possible to go ahead with the surgery. Oh, joy.

Another session on ‘A Knight’s Tale’ involved extracting material from ‘Six Leg Byes’ and, including an illustration, from “I’ve Got To Go And Do It for Grandpa”.

In Milford on Sea this afternoon we visited our GP to order a repeat prescription; Sears Barbers for me to have a haircut; and the Community Centre to admire Helen’s pictures on display. The work has only been on the walls for few days, yet we were too late to see one which had already been sold.

Here are ‘Winter Willows Dreams of Warmer Days’ (Pen & Ink and Watercolor) and ‘Humming Bird’ (Watercolour);

‘Humming Bird’ alone;

‘Ferdinand The Frog’ (Watercolour);

‘Dragonfly on Willow’ (Watercolour);

and ‘Cottage Retreat’ (Pen & Ink).

This evening we dined at The Royal Oak where my choice of meal was a perfectly cooked, piled high, mixed grill; Jackie’s was a beef burger in a brioche bun with French fries, equally well cooked. I drank Merlot and Jackie drank Amstell. The pub is only four doors away, but we could have done with being carried home.

 

The Classic Country Yokel

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Today was sunny and crisp, with a chill wind and blue skies. This morning we took a drive up to the north of the forest.

Ditches and streams run alongside many lanes in the New Forest. People dwelling on Crow Lane, just beyond Ringwood, access their homes by means of bridges across clear running water.

Gabled rooftops

Further on, at Linwood, we were attracted by the rather splendid houses near the lake. This gabled rooftop presents a pleasing example.

Stream 1

The stream continues here, and

‘golden daffodils’, like Wordsworth’s ‘host’, ‘beside the lake, beneath the trees’ were ‘fluttering and dancing in the breeze’.

Rubbish

Even here, people dump rubbish. I didn’t investigate what I took to be a discarded dog poop bag.

Ponies 1

On the approach to North Gorley we stopped to admire three ponies backlit by the morning sun. I could not photograph the scene because, as so often, forcing themselves between a tree and barbed wire, the animals assailed me with curiosity.

They then tracked us along the lane. Or were we tracking them?.

Ponies 2

We stopped to take in the picture of ponies mowing the lawn outside a thatched cottage at Furze Hill.

Pony on road

Inevitably, one of the horses kept us stopped, as it crossed the road,

Pony 4

ambling through the trees,

to take a drink at a stream, and

Ponies 4

have a good scratch against a flexible young tree,

Ponies 3

where it was joined by its companions, who all took their turn.

One of these emulated Mark Williams’s Jesse from The Fast show,

a T.V. series in which the classic country yokel would emerge from his shed and announce what, that week, he had ‘been mostly eating’. The traditional yokel always chewed a straw.

From the top of Furze Hill we looked down on a herd of basking deer. Protected by a single stag and the antlered silhouettes of lopped trees behind them, they were simply curious until another passing car brought them to their cloven hooves. Large black birds always seem to surround basking ungulates.

This evening we dined on minced beef pie; mashed potato and swede; boiled cauliflower; and carrots, onions, and leeks with garlic. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the merlot.

The Prop

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On another recuperating day, I scanned a batch of colour negatives from a French holiday in the autumn of 1985.

Becky 1985 1

Here Becky is first amused,

Becky 1985 3

then contemplative, in the garden of the gite.

Louisa and Sam 2 1985

Once Sam had given her a push,

Louisa 1985

Louisa was proud to work the swing on her own. Most children wait until they are older to acquire the permanently scuffed knees. Not, game for anything, Louisa.

Sam and Louisa (wheel) 1985

Behind the wire netting beyond the children lay a pair of old cartwheels.

Jessica and Sam (wheel) 2 1985Jessica (wheel) 1985

What more could a photographer require in the way of props?

This evening we dined on roast pork, boiled and roast potatoes, broccoli, carrots, and runner beans. Jackie drank sparkling water and I drank Barbera D’Asti Superiore 2012.

A Day Trip To Mousehole

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It was another dull day today. Aaron and Sean worked in the garden, finishing the log shelter, clearing rubbish, doing dump trips, and beginning to cut down the grizelinia hedge – now substantial trees.

I scanned another batch of colour negatives from the Instow holiday of 1985.

Louisa sleeping 1985 7Louisa sleeping 1985 8Louisa sleeping 1985 3

Here, surrounded by her various companions, Louisa enjoys an alfresco siesta among the daisies beneath a willow tree.

Jessica and Louisa 1985 2

I have no idea where Jessica and Louisa were here. Does anyone recognise the sculptures? (Rusty Duck has obliged with a link in her comment below, for which I thank her)

Sam on donkey 1985 1Sam on donkey 1985 2Sam on donkey 1985 2

We took the car to Mousehole in Cornwall for the day. Sam loved donkey riding. A peculiarity of this ancient fishing village is the main road through to the harbour. Sam’s donkey stands on it, and is perhaps a more convenient way of manning the steep, cobbled, ascent. The granite strips among the setts provide steps between the houses. It is not suitable for vehicles, other than the shallow wooden sleds used by provisioners to deliver their produce.

Jessica, Sam and Louisa 1Jessica, Sam and Louisa 1985 2Jessica, Sam and Louisa 1985 3

The harbour has a stout protective stone wall that can be ascended by substantial steep steps, such as those Jessica, Sam and Louisa are scaling. Jessica seems a little perturbed by our intrepid daughter’s purposeful strides.

Sam 1985 1

Take a boy to a pebbled beach, and what does he do?

Sam 3

He chucks stones into the sea, having, it seems, first sat down.

This evening we dined on chicken Kiev and egg fried rice. I drank more of the excellent Lidl Spanish red wine.

 

To Brighten A Dull Day

On this dull, overcast, day, Aaron and Robin made considerable headway on weeding the gravel paths. Certain alliums that self seed everywhere, when wrenched from the paths, fill the air with the smell of onions, nowhere near as appetising as when they are being fried.

Jackie did some planting in the front garden.

This afternoon we drove out to Pilley Cottage Garden on Pilley Hill near Lymington.

Pilley Hill

Jackie parked the car in the School Car Park and we walked down the daffodil-lined hill to the cottage.

We were warmly welcomed by Stephanie who opens her garden, featuring its own swathes of narcissi, as part of the National Gardens Scheme.

Pilley Cottage Garden 1

In the left foreground of this picture stems of willow, pressed into the soil, have sprouted. Others, equally apparently rooted, provide arches such as that further back on the left, through which a visitor has walked.

Pilley Cottage Garden 2

Pilley Cottage Garden 4

We were pleased to note so many people viewing on what was quite a cold day.

Pilley Cottage Garden 3

The couple in the centre of this shot have just crossed a bridge conveniently laid over a potentially boggy area. The lines seen in the foreground are placed to deter visitors from venturing onto other muddy patches.

On the right of the next photograph can be seen a pergola made of live willow.

Pilley Cottage Garden 5Pilley Cottage Garden 6Pilley Cottage Garden 7Pilley Cottage Garden 8Pilley Cottage Garden 9

The hilly nature of the plot offered intriguing views on different, terraced, levels.

Logs

Strategically placed sawn logs weathered beautifully in the beds, providing homes for flora such as ferns, and no doubt fauna.

Shed

Even the shed was an attraction.

Mirror feature

A gate at the top of the slope opened onto a deceptive arch. Can you see the trick? This photograph contains one of the many examples of fascinating pottery,

Chess set

such as this abandoned game of chess,

Elephant succulents

or this ring of elephants bearing succulents,

Pilley Cottage Garden 10

bounded by little globed boxes,

Jackie in Pilley Cottage Garden

within the circumference of which Jackie contemplated the layout,

Pilley Cottage and garden

before we wandered up to the house for tea, and, of course, the purchase of two plants.

We considered this trip an excellent way to brighten a dull day.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s luscious liver and bacon casserole, crisp potato wedges, carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli. I finished the Costieres de Nimes.