Assiduous And Carnivorous Trees

It was the turn of a blue tit to investigate the crab apples on this very overcast morning. This one found the fruit a little large for its beak, and didn’t stay long.

This afternoon, Elizabeth collected the keys for her new home. Naturally we were there to see her over the threshold, clutching thoughtful presents from Caldwell’s Estate Agents.

Also left for her on the surface of the utility room was a personalised welcome card featuring the house.

Jackie here stands between the utility room and

the kitchen with its induction hob.

The bathroom downstairs contains a corner bath

and matching suite;

Elizabeth examined the walk-in larder cupboard.

Upstairs there is a well appointed shower room,

and three good sized bedrooms, some with wardrobe cupboards,

and views of the gardens

with their shrubberies,

and a nicely weathered The Three Graces bird bath.

There is a solid garden shed

and garage in the grounds which

are fronted by a bank of ‘assiduous and carnivorous trees’ – at least that is what the spell-checked brochure claimed.

The house and gardens were immaculately presented. It is well worth remembering that this solid, well designed, home is one of 2,400 presented in 1948 to the British by the Swedish government in recognition of our forebears’ support during the Second World War.

Elizabeth has been staying with Mum since she left hospital. She will return there this evening. Jacqueline will arrive tomorrow to take her place so our sister will be able to spend the next few days moving in while she stays with us.

Mr Chan at Hordle Chinese Take Away provided tonight’s dinner for Jackie and me. I drank Patrick Chodot Brouilly 2016, while Jackie chose Hoegaarden.

900 Years Of History

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Steady rain fell all morning. This, therefore, seemed to be the day to visit Lymington Hospital to subject myself to blood tests and x-rays at their walk-in facilities. Unfortunately everyone in the catchment area had the same idea. I was advised that the best process would be to take a ticket for the blood tests, running more than an hour behind, then pose for the x-rays and return to see if my number would come up. This turned out to be a sound wheeze. Fortunately my arms are strong enough to reach behind me on the bed and support myself while seated upright in order that impossibly straightened legs could be twisted, kept still, and photographed. Not something to be tried at home. There was still another 40 minutes or so before my blood test number came up. It seemed as if Tony Hancock’s “very nearly an armful” was required. This was done to the strains of Nancy Sinatra’s ‘These Boots are Made for Walking’, which a nurse informed me was being sung to me, personally, because I deserved it. The blood tests were intended to check my fitness to tolerate surgery on the knees should the x-rays reveal the necessity.

The sparrows have again taken up residence in the gabionage which forms part of the hospital walls.

Early this afternoon the rain desisted and the sun began to make sporadic appearances. We there therefore went for a drive in the forest.

The landscape opposite the Church of St John the Baptist, Boldre was somewhat waterlogged, although the sky had brightened.

Daffodils and primroses still sprawled down the bank and in the churchyard.

On our previous visits to this historic place of worship we have been unable to gain entrance. Today the door was open in welcome. Although the exact date is not certain, a charter of c1100 refers to Bolra Church with its chapel of Brokehurst, and it is accepted that a church was built at Boldre by William I in 1079. We can be sure that the list of incumbents posted on a wall almost opposite a displayed bible of 1613 is accurate.

Jackie studies a laminated information sheet in boxes pews furnished with embroidered runners. Norman arches are seen on the left. Behind her is the West End. The Barrel or Wagon roof with its carved bosses are typical of fourteenth century country craftsmen.

The stained glass West Window, depicting Faith, Hope, and Charity, was made by Ward and Hughes of London inserted in 1864 in memory of Charles Winston. Other windows, in order, are in memory of Rosemary Bradley, Louise Emily Bowes Read and her baby son, John Philip Burrard; and lastly, The Millennium Window, designed and engraved by Tracey Sheppard FGE, and installed in April 2000.

Much of the paved flooring consists of early gravestones.

On the north wall of the nave is the John Kempe Wall Tablet. The subject was MP for Lymington in 1640. This portrait is a rare survival of the attentions of the hammers of Oliver Cromwell’s Roundheads, or the New Model Army of the English Civil War of 1642 – 51.

Two more recent works of art are the lectern designed by Cresswell Hartley Desmond and carved by his sister Phoebe over a period of twenty years from two pieces of oak from Boldre Grange given to the church in 1952; and Richard Bent’s chandelier commemorating the 900th anniversary.

This treasure will require at least another visit to fill in the gaps Jackie and I have missed.

This evening we dined on the Culinary Queen’s superb cottage pie with perfectly cooked carrots and cabbage. I finished the Navarra.

 

Up To St Mary & St Nicholas

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We arrived at Leatherhead’s Travelodge in time to watch the Six Nations rugby match between Ireland and Wales. I must say this hotel is the best appointed and friendliest in the budget chain that I have experienced. I was happy to tell the manager this the next morning.

Early in the evening we dined at Piazza Firenze Italian restaurant in High St with Helen and Bill, Pat, Christine, and Olivia. Shelly and Ron joined us a bit later. The service was friendly and efficient and the food and wine excellent. I enjoyed a starter of meat balls, a calzone, and a crepe Vesuvio. Pat, Bill and I shared a bottle of Montepulciano. I rather lost track of what anyone else ate or drank.

We then watched the Godalming Operatic Society’s production of Gilbert and Sullivan’s The Sorcerer, directed by Jackie’s cousin, Pat O’Connell. Pat has now directed the whole of the G & S canon for this company, and has decided that this will be his last. I have no doubt, however, that the players will wish to keep very much in touch with him.

Supplemented for this production by the professional tenor David Menezes as Alexis, this is a very fine amateur group that has been performing regularly since 1925.

I am no connoisseur, but it seemed to me that it took a while to warm up, yet when it did it burst into delightful fun, for players and audience alike. There were many good voices, splendidly performed choreography, lively group scenes, and a number of amusing comic turns.

Afterwards we enjoyed drinks and conversation in the bar.

As usual, in the morning, being first up, I ventured into the quiet, sunlit Leatherhead streets. A gentleman I met walking his dog described the morning as “fresh”. I had to agree. The manager was manning the hotel reception desk. During our conversation he directed me to the church of St Mary and St Nicholas where he said there was an historic tree. I didn’t find the tree

but I did walk up Church Street

As one leaves the modern section pictured above, buildings of older eras still stand.

The Mansion garden wall bears a plaque detailing its history.

A variety of windows catch the eye. The first of the trio above, protected by an iron grill, reflects the rooftops opposite. The second bears the name of Vapepit, the twenty first century occupant of the premises of a nineteenth century coal merchant. Vape is what you do with an e-cigarette in an attempt to give up nicotine. There is quite an intense controversy about whether this is beneficial or more harmful to health. More information is contained in this article from The Guardian newspaper: https://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/dec/13/e-cigarettes-vaping-safe-old-fashioned-smoke.

The last of the three windows is on the wall of the church

alongside which is a public park.

After wandering among the gravestones for a while I gave up looking for the tree. Between two stones in the last of this group of pictures lies a brick formation in the shape of a human body.

Our group gathered in the foyer and repaired to Weatherspoons for an excellent, remarkably inexpensive, breakfast. When the party dispersed Jackie drove us home where I watched a recording of yesterday’s rugby match between England and Scotland.

I enjoyed a salt beef, mustard, and mayo sandwich this evening. Jackie’s choice was tuna mayo.

“Look. That Man’s Taking Photographs”

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Barry & Owen Van

Leaving their van in our front drive

Shoes

and their slip-on shoes outside the door,

Barry and Owen, who are New Forest Chimney Sweeping & Repairs, having first serviced Mistletoe Cottage next door, provided us with their trademark clean and efficient job.

Barry 1

A dust sheet is laid down;

Barry and Owen 1

face-masks making father, Barry, and son, Owen, sound like Star Wars stormtroopers are applied;

Barry and Owen 2Barry and Owen 3Barry 2Barry 3

a shield is fitted into place, and the soot vacuumed out, leaving the room spotless. As you can see, there was no need to cover furniture. The job was completed and the equipment cleared away in about an hour. If you need a chimney sweep look no further than http://www.findachimneysweep.co.uk/sweeps/new-forest-1-cg-7641-qualified/?area=&service=

This afternoon we met Elizabeth at Lavender Farm at Landford, where we wandered around, enjoyed refreshments, and purchased a few plants.

Trails on glass 3Trails on glass 1Trails on glass 2

Beside the car park lies a very long greenhouse on the inside of the glass windows of which tiny trail-blazing cartographers have etched uncharted territory.

Lavender Farm 1

Apart from the many plants laid out for sale, there are a number of more formal herbaceous borders;

Climbing rose

various climbing roses;

SalviasSalvias and Elizabeth 1

splendid displays such as these salvias placed in a bed in the midst of a brick path. Jackie, in red, investigates plants for sale in the background of the first view, while Elizabeth approaches in the second.

Gladiolus and metal sculpture

Glorious gladioli abound. This example is embraced by one of the many metal sculptures.

Banana leaf

Potted banana trees have been reduced in price.

Gaura

Unusually this elderly gaura stands guardsman erect.

Lavender Farm 4Lavender Farm 3Lavender Farm 5

There is a large freely planted area through which it is possible to wander,

Lavender Farm 6

take photographs,

Children at Lavender Farm 1Children at Lavender Farm 2

or run around among the lavender.

Lavender Farm 2

Many visitors come to spend a pleasant time seated at table with friends, tea, coffee, and cakes.

Coleus

A spectacularly colourful coleus

Coleus and sparrow

sat in a shiny bright blue pot close to our table. A sparrow walked around it. The background blackboard already advertised Christmas lunch.

Sparrow

Elizabeth couldn’t eat all her scone, which was broken up and tossed on the decking for the little bird and its companions.

Mother and child

Some of the dining areas were under cover, such as one sheltered by a thick transparent plastic material. As I passed this, a mother, exclaiming “Look. That man’s taking photographs”, brought her daughter to peer through it. She was amused at the result.

Before Elizabeth returned home, the three of us dined on Jackie’s superb spicy lamb jalfrezi with fried onion rice, followed by chocolate eclairs and vanilla ice cream. Jackie drank Hoegaarden; Elizabeth, alcohol free Becks; and I finished the Fleurie.

Streets Of London With Diversions

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Rain on French windows 1Rain on French windows 2

Torrential rain and gale-force winds were again the order of the day. Soon after noon, the French windows onto the patio

Rain on kitchen window

and the view from the kitchen were like this.

Naturally I took a trip back to my photographic archives from October 2004. The colour slides were primarily the next batch of the Streets of London series.

Culworth Street NW8 10.04

The 2011 census informs us that there are 175 purpose built flats in Culworth Street NW8 which runs into Prince Albert Road and is therefore a stone’s throw from Regent’s Park. A fair number of them must be in this block.

Lodge Road NW8 10.04

Lodge Road NW8 lies parallel to St John’s Wood Road which houses Lord’s Cricket ground, the world famous test venue and headquarters of Middlesex County Cricket Club. Across the Lord’s roundabout, stands St John’s Wood Church, of which Wikipedia tells us

‘St John’s Wood Church started life as a chapel of ease to St Marylebone Parish Church, and was constructed in 1814 by Thomas Hardwick, who was simultaneously constructing the current St Marylebone Church.[2] Although the church originally had extensive burial grounds, these were closed in 1855 and opened as a public garden, St. John’s Wood Church Grounds, in 1886.[3] In 1898 the building became a chapel of ease to Christ Church on Cosway Street, and increasingly became the centre of administration for the parish.[4]

After bomb damage during the Second World War rendered St Stephen’s, Avenue Road unusable, St John’s Wood Church became a parish church in its own right in 1952.[5] As well as holding regular services for the community, the church has hosted the wedding of Peggy Cripps to Joe Appiah in June 1953,[6] the blessing of the marriage of Paul and Linda McCartney in 1969,[7] and the funeral of Ursula Vaughan Williams in 2007.[8]

A Church Hall complex was constructed in the 1970s, the completion of which was marked with the erection of a statue of the church’s patron, John the Baptist, by Hans Feibusch.[9] Restoration of the church interior took place in 1991 under the supervision of Michael Reardon, when the chancel pavement was relaid in limestone and the present central altar replaced the high altar at the east end of the church.

Ivor Place NW8 10.04

Canon Reverend Francis Holland, an Anglican clergyman, who was keen to advance and extend the provision of single-sex education for girls established his eponymous Trust in 1881. The Francis Holland school in Ivor Place NW1 is one of two managed by the trust. Ivor Place runs from Park Road to

Boston Place NW1 10.04

Boston Place NW1, lying alongside the platforms of Marylebone Station.

Greenland Road NW1 10.04

From St John’s Wood and Marylebone I walked on to Camden Town through Greenland Road

Georgiana Street NW1 10.04

and Georgiana Street NW1.

Rembrandt Gardens 10.04 1

These family groups were, on this day, the first of my diversions from the theme of including street names in the images. The bench offers a view of the Little Venice canal basin, on the other side of which stand the erstwhile Council blocks of Warwick Crescent which were largely sold off to tenants in the ’80s and ’90s, and on further to others during the next decades.

Woman and child on bench 10.04 1Woman and child on bench 10.04 2

Narrow boats travelling along the canal surface at a maximum speed of four miles an hour glide past the park. I forget the name of the man who lovingly tended these gardens for 25 years. Upon his retirement he was replaced by sessional, irregular, maintenance staff seconded from other Council gardens.

Rainbow over Paddington Basin 10.04 1Rainbow over Paddington basin 10.04 2

The other diversion that attracted my camera lens was a double rainbow over the Paddington Basin development. The wrapping on the buildings in progress reflected the colours of the meteorological phenomenon.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s sumptuous sausage casserole, crunchy carrots, crisp cauliflower, and boiled potatoes. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden, and I drank Parra Alta malbec 2016.

 

 

From Antiques To Ancestors

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Recently, Barry and Owen Chislett-Bruce, of New Forest Chimney Sweeping & Repairs, cleaned out our chimney and removed the wood-burning stove in order for us to enjoy an open fire next time we run out of oil. Barry recommended Richard at Gordleton Barn to supply the iron basket to hold logs in the grate.

Today we visited

Gordleton Barn entrance 2

Gordleton Barn entrance 1

Unfortunately Richard did not have one small enough for us, but we enjoyed browsing in the barn, which contained

mostly wooden artefacts

Log burning stove and scales

and one large wood burning stove standing beside a pair of brass scales.

Lampshades were conveniently placed throughout

Interior

this interior reeking history.

Door and window

Fascinating doors, like this one that would no doubt interest Robin Cochran who makes excellent contributions to Norm Frampton’s project, are propped up around the place.

Mask

Quirky objects like this mask, possibly an off-colour Green Man,

Sculpted face

and a sculpted face perhaps inspired by Salvador Dali, are found in unexpected corners.

Scrap yard

Outside in the yard stand various items that may be considered enhanced by a patina of rust.

As it was a fine, warm, day, we continued on a drive through the forest.

Such was the overnight rain that it has added to the ponies’ drinking supply, being particularly helpful in lying in roadside gullies so that, like a human drinking wine with a meal, they can slurp up the water which then drips from their mouths and trails back into the ditches to provide another sup.

Ponies

The drinker above stopped to observe the photographer for a moment,

Pony

while another watched from the other side of the road.

Moving on, we discovered

The Parish Church of St John the Baptist noticeboard

This church was built in the early 11th century, but there is some speculation that it is much older because three Sarsen stones have been discovered in the foundations. Neither, situated as it is on the top of a hill, is it very near Boldre. The parking referred to is nearer than the parishioners’ one further along the road.

The building itself, entered through a kissing gate,

 is surrounded by an extensive graveyard,

most of the older stones of which are so weathered as to be barely legible.

The William Gilpin Tomb

An exception is this memorial to an 18th century vicar and his wife, who, like everyone else, needed to be pardoned for their repented transgressions.

Jackie was particularly intrigued by the name Jules Joseph Hyacinth Duplessis and the less exotic, to modern ears, of his wife Louise Fanny. They warranted a marble column which bears a legible inscription. The other two sides name their one year old daughter; and a woman whom we assumed to be Jules’s first wife.

Mary's casket

Most graves were marked with stones, but Mary was graced with a stone casket.

Some of the windows were particularly interesting. Through one could be seen the light pattern on an inside wall from a smaller light.

On enlarging the photograph, it should be simple enough for those comfortable with mirror writing to decipher the inscription on this beautifully etched glass. The second picture shows an older window on the other side of the church. I longed to enter the place of worship to gaze at this work of art from inside. Unfortunately, like so many of our churches today, it was firmly locked, denying entrance to nice people like us as well as nefarious thieves and vandals.

A wild garden has been planted around one area. We could see snowdrops just beginning to break the soil, and vowed to return to see this a little later.

Donkey on road

No trip through the forest would be complete without at least one animal blocking the road. This duty was taken on by a drowsy donkey at East Boldre.

This evening we dined on smoked haddock, fishcakes, sautéed potatoes, leeks, and peppers, and Jackie’s trademark piquant cauliflower cheese. She drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Bordeaux.

Pret

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Jackie drove me to and from New Milton today for me to catch the London train and lunch with Norman at La Barca in Lower Marsh.

On this very cold morning the waiting room was full. Three young women were engaged in an animated conversation available for all to hear. Suddenly they quietened, their eyes span backwards and forwards in their sockets, looking around the room, their voices barely a whisper. The whole room hushed. Silence reigned. I leaned across and, hand over mouth, sotto voce, breathed: “We’re all trying to hear”. Great hilarity all round ensued.

Sleeping bag and belongings

Underneath the arches by the bus stops beside Waterloo Station, someone’s home was piled up. It is not unusual to see sleeping bags and carriers containing sorry belongings in our capital city. I don’t normally photograph them because they are usually occupied and it seems an invasion of what privacy the unfortunate street dwellers have. I can only imagine that the person who left these had gone off somewhere to warm up. Perhaps behind the air vents of an eating establishment such as

Pret window 4

New building

Less than a year ago foundations were being laid for the building of which this establishment occupies the ground floor. To our left of this photograph can be seen Lower Marsh where Norman and I lunched.

Part of the popular Pret a Manger chain, this branch has caught on quickly.

Cubana Street Food Bar

Also visible in the panoramic shot, behind the buses, is the Cuban restaurant outside which stands their Cubana Street Food Bar. Steam rising from the dishes on display looked very welcoming.

In the warmth inside La Barca Norman and I enjoyed a well-filled chickpea soup followed by Fegato alla Veneziana and Polenta served with perfect sugar snaps, broccoli, green beans and roast potatoes. We shared a bottle of a 2015 Montepulciano.