Cowering trees swayed before the breath of the Big Bad Wolf raging overhead huffing and puffing in his attempts to blow down little pigs’ houses; pattering trotters tripped across the roof; bejewelled yet disconsolate blooms bent their weeping heads; precipitate rivulets raced down the window panes, as we awoke to a pleasantly cooler bedroom breeze succeeding last night’s heavy humidity.
Jackie braved an early supermarket shop in this weather, which did not desist throughout the day, so
apart from those photographs produced during a brief period while I was unloading the shopping and soaking my shower-proof coat anyway,
the rest of these rain-spattered images were gained through panes of glass. As usual, individual titles may be gleaned by clicking on any image to access either of the galleries.
Elizabeth joined us for tonight’s dinner which consisted of Jackie’s succulent cottage pie; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; tender cabbage, and meaty gravy, with which the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and my sister and I drank Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2020.
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.
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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.
THE FIRST PICTURE CAN BE ENLARGED BY CLICKING ON IT. CLICK ON ANY IMAGE IN A GROUP TO ACCESS GALLERIES, MEMBERS OF WHICH MAY BE VIEWED FULL SIZE BY SCROLLING DOWN THEIR PAGES AND CHECKING BOXES AT BOTTOM RIGHT.
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.
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.
A dust sheet is laid down;
face-masks making father, Barry, and son, Owen, sound like Star Wars stormtroopers are applied;
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.
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.
Apart from the many plants laid out for sale, there are a number of more formal herbaceous borders;
various climbing roses;
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.
Glorious gladioli abound. This example is embraced by one of the many metal sculptures.
Potted banana trees have been reduced in price.
Unusually this elderly gaura stands guardsman erect.
There is a large freely planted area through which it is possible to wander,
or run around among the lavender.
Many visitors come to spend a pleasant time seated at table with friends, tea, coffee, and cakes.
A spectacularly colourful coleus
sat in a shiny bright blue pot close to our table. A sparrow walked around it. The background blackboard already advertised Christmas lunch.
Elizabeth couldn’t eat all her scone, which was broken up and tossed on the decking for the little bird and its companions.
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.
Torrential rain and gale-force winds were again the order of the day. Soon after noon, the French windows onto the patio
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.
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 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. 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. 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.
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. 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.‘
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, lying alongside the platforms of Marylebone Station.
From St John’s Wood and Marylebone I walked on to Camden Town through Greenland Road
and Georgiana Street NW1.
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.
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.
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.
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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
Unfortunately Richard did not have one small enough for us, but we enjoyed browsing in the barn, which contained
mostly wooden artefacts
and one large wood burning stove standing beside a pair of brass scales.
Lampshades were conveniently placed throughout
this interior reeking history.
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.
Quirky objects like this mask, possibly an off-colour Green Man,
and a sculpted face perhaps inspired by Salvador Dali, are found in unexpected corners.
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.
The drinker above stopped to observe the photographer for a moment,
while another watched from the other side of the road.
Moving on, we discovered
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.
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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
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.
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.
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Prompted by questions from Geoff Le Pard, that great storyteller at TanGental, this morning Jackie drove us in search of what had once been a derelict cottage situated on Holmsley Passage, near Anthony’s Bee Bottom on the moors near Holmsley.
We found it close to
Unbeknown to us I had photographed this area and the house on 17th October.
It lies beyond a stream spanned by a small road bridge. As we arrived, an egret stood in the shallow, but fast-moving water. By the time I had it in focus, the bird flapped smoothly and elegantly away.
As I walked towards the modern building, a small car with three female occupants approached me at a speed slow enough for me to wave it to a halt. I thanked the group for stopping and asked if they belonged to the house. The driver was the owner. I explained my project and asked her if this building had replaced Geoff’s old derelict. It had indeed. She told me she had bought the modern one and added an extension and a small garden. The address is 11, Holmsley Gate house. This amenable woman was quite happy for me to photograph as I wished. She continued her journey and left me to it. I thought this was rather a generous response. I focussed on the house in its setting;
including the public track running alongside. Further study of an Ordnance Survey map (by Jackie) reveals that this way is the old railway line. The website geograph.org.uk confirms:
“Level crossing on disused Brockenhurst to Ringwood railway.
The wide yellow track is the former railway line. Crossing this at ground level is a tarmac minor road running from the A35 through Holmsley Inclosure towards Burley. The modern house, I speculate, was only permitted because there was a crossing keeper’s hut there before. For a better view of the house see SU2201 : Modern house near Holmsley Bog.”
one of the side walls with its log pile, and reflective windows revealing views of the landscape behind.
The roof of the extension had weathered attractively, its windows offering similar effects.
Although the garden enjoyed the protection of high wire netting, three fresh oranges and an avocado had been tastefully placed on the stones outside, no doubt for the delectation of hungry ponies. Mostly they are only given carrots and apples. This was clearly an up-market establishment.
Intending to lunch at Holmsley Old Station Tea Rooms, we continued along Holmsley Passage. Today the weather was as dull and overcast as on our last visit, but the lane was attractive enough for us to determine to return on a better lit day.
Holmsley Station no longer serves a railway line. I have referred to Dr Beeching’s axe on several occasions in this blog. It is perhaps time to explain this, so I quote thus from Wikipedia: “The Beeching cuts (also Beeching Axe) were a reduction of route network and restructuring of the railways in Great Britain, according to a plan outlined in two reports, The Reshaping of British Railways (1963) and The Development of the Major Railway Trunk Routes (1965), written by Dr Richard Beeching and published by the British Railways Board.
The first report identified 2,363 stations and 5,000 miles (8,000 km) of railway line for closure, 55% of stations and 30% of route miles, with an objective of stemming the large losses being incurred during a period of increasing competition from road transport and reducing the rail subsidies necessary to keep the network running; the second identified a small number of major routes for significant investment. The 1963 report also recommended some less well publicised changes, including a switch to containerisation for rail freight.
Protests resulted in the saving of some stations and lines, but the majority were closed as planned and Beeching’s name remains associated with the mass closure of railways and the loss of many local services in the period that followed. A few of these routes have since reopened, some short sections have been preserved as Heritage Railways, while others been incorporated into the National Cycle Network or used for road schemes; others now are lost to construction, simply reverted to farm land, or remain derelict.”
That is perhaps an early example of how the profit motive has overridden the concept of service in our modern world.
The Tea Rooms have put to good use a sad reminder of a wonderfully meandering transport system that, in less frenetic days, we once enjoyed. The buildings have been preserved and refurbished; familiar signs are featured; and, both inside and out, railway paraphernalia are displayed.
The food and service are excellent, too.
We carried away this evening’s dessert, in the form of delicious meringue confections that we couldn’t manage to consume with our lunch. Only when we laid these on the table did we realise that the green fruit were Kiwis. Now there is only one item of food with which I experience discomfort. Yes. It’s Kiwi fruit. It burns the roof of my mouth, which is more than any chili can achieve. Jackie fished them out of my helping, and stuffed them into hers. She blew me a compensatory raspberry.
Before pud we enjoyed Jackie’s pasta arabbiata with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the pinot noir.
Progress on the computer front has ground to a halt. Yesterday’s senior advisor had undertaken to telephone me to enquire about my reloading of Sierra.
He phoned just before lunch. When I told him I had managed to load one picture, very slowly, he decided I should insert an external hard drive onto which the entire contents of my iMac should be downloaded; and I didn’t take in what else; I told him I didn’t own an external gadget and lived too far away from a source to buy one today. ‘Don’t phone me, I’ll phone you’ was the essence of my additional phrasing. No way was I going to spend more hours on the phone on something that was likely to be beyond me.
What I didn’t know when I spoke to him was that I would be unable to load any more pictures, even at the rate of Aesop’s tortoise. When I discovered this I called a Peacock. Peacock Computers of Lymington, that is. Their James is to visit in an ambulance tomorrow, and take Mac off to hospital.
It seems it needs a heart transplant, in that the hard drive is likely to be on the blink. This was confirmed when I could send no more than five pictures by e-mail to my Windows laptop, and, later not even turn it off. Sometimes you need a good surgeon.
Not to worry. I could, after all, put the photos directly into the laptop from the cameras. Couldn’t I?
Well, no. You see, when you upload photos onto your computer, you have an option to delete them from the camera. That is what I always do. So they, like maggots, are trapped inside the Apple. Stymied.
At least I could add the e-mailed pictures. Ah, but. Hopefully coincidentally, the ‘attachment display settings’ on the sidebar in WordPress has disappeared. This means I can only put small or ‘standard’ pictures on, and they can’t be enlarged. I have sent a query to WordPress Happiness Engineers. It is a bit worrying that there is an unresolved forum thread about this problem.
Here’s one I made earlier, in which Louisa holds Emily in one of the pictures I sent to my granddaughter two days ago. That will have to suffice for today, and act as a further taster for the earlier post.
This evening we dined on lamb and mint sausages, mashed potato, and crunchy carrots and runner beans; followed by Normandy apple tart and evap. I drank Collin-Bourriset Fleurie 2015.