Speech Bubbles Are Invited

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I trust my readers in the Philippines and the East Coast of America will forgive Jackie and me for choosing to visit the coast on a morning beset by winds of a mere 40 m.p.h.

Palms swayed in the wind at Milford on Sea; granite skies glowered over choppy waves; the Isle of Wight, The Needles, and the lighthouse were lent a translucent quality by the feeble, filtered, daylight and the misty sea-spray crashing on the rocks.

RunnerRunner approaching walkersRunnerRunner

An unperturbed young lady ran along the coastal paths at a respectable rate;

four hardy sailors clung to stays on one side of a red-sailed yacht in efforts to keep the mast upright as it skirted the Isle of Wight, The Needles, and the lighthouse.

I think this was an egret fishing at Keyhaven,

while a preening gull perched on a heap of seaweed.

Two gentlemen passed stacks of colourful boats in the sailing club yard.

Readers are invited to suggest speech bubbles for these two.

In the field opposite Solent Grange stands a large haystack that defied the wind.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s luscious beef pie; creamy mashed potato; and crunchy carrots, cauliflower and cabbage. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden; Elizabeth, Patrick Chodot’s Fleurie 2016, and I finished the same producer’s Brouilly.

 

 

Battle Of Britain Day

Today the wind has dropped to a mere 23 m.p.h. The good news is that there was minimal damage in the rose garden.

Today, Daphne and Ray Salinger share their 70th anniversary with Battle of Britain Day.

Yesterday the Isle of Wight County Press reported:

“BATTLE of Britain Day will be marked by a flypast that will include the Isle of Wight tomorrow (Tuesday).
September 15 is the 75th anniversary of the largest and fiercest attack by the German Luftwaffe over the skies of Southern England and London.
Around 1,500 aircraft took part in aerial battles, which raged throughout the day.
As evening arrived a group of German fast bombers were spotted off Cherbourg on their way to attack a Southampton Spitfire factory.
The Luftwaffe planes were later spotted over St Catherine’s and fighters from 607 and 609 Squadrons were sent to intercept.
The Germans made it to Southampton, but missed the Spitfire factory. However they dropped tonnes of bombs on the city, killing nine people and damaging the harbour and houses.
As they headed back past the Isle of Wight, close to the Needles, the British fighters engaged, shooting down four of the 20 bombers.
On Tuesday, World War Two fighters will again be in the skies over the Isle of Wight, thankfully in more peaceful circumstances.
A group of 40 Spitfire, Hurricanes and Blenheim light bombers are due to take part in flypasts, leaving from Goodwood Aerodrome in West Sussex.
They will be split into ten sections, before taking to the skies across Britain.
Two sections are due to fly over the south of the Island and their routes can be seen below.
The first section is due to leave at noon, with four minute gaps between subsequent sections.”
Screen shot 2015-09-13 at 12.41.43
In the event the weather caused some delay and there were route alterations.
Jackie drove us to Hordle Cliff West car park, where we arrived, shortly before noon,  to find it almost completely full. We sought no further confirmation that we had chosen the best vantage point from which to witness spitfires and hurricanes flying inland over The Needles. This car park usually belongs to the gulls at this time of the year.
Car Park
Car park and crowd
The people came in coaches, they came in cars, they came on bicycles, they came on foot, to witness the flypast, due at about 12.10.
News soon filtered through the crowds, informing us that take-off would be delayed by two hours because of the strong winds. There wasn’t much point in returning home for a while, because we would have lost our place.
Group preparing for spitfires
Possibly this gentleman is being advised that the gulls overhead are not planes.
Crowd waiting 1
Kiosk
We settled down for a wait during which I had a few chats with other would-be watchers and Jackie queued at the kiosk for an excellent choice of egg and bacon rolls, pasties and chips. We were fortunate to be so early, for a couple of hours later the queue stretched to the cliff edge. Clearly the woman in charge made a killing today, but she was managing alone because her husband was ill. Nevertheless she would acknowledge that it is an ill wind that blows nobody good.
Some people wandered off in search of other eating places. Others, like me, struck up conversations with strangers. One gentleman did a little dance on the clifftop, alarming everyone when he tripped over his own feet.
As the latest expected time of arrival drew near, we all fixed our eyes on The Needles, that row of rocks to the West of the Isle of Wight, over which the historic planes were to thread their way.
Had Jackie not been looking in the other direction, and alerted me, I would have been one of the disappointed multitude who missed the sight. The planes flew over the centre of the island, and aimed for Southampton. The itinerary had changed at the request of that city because of their association with Spitfires.
Spitfires 1
Spitfires 2Spitfires 3
 Spitfires 4Spitfires 5I managed to photograph eight specks gliding silently across the sky. I cropped and enlarged the first picture. The clouds behind the planes can be located again in the next shot, indicating the progression across the skies. Clicking on the images may make this easier to discern. One woman, returning to her car, exclaimed ‘Well, that was a damp squib’. ‘No imagination’, I thought.
Given that I was born in 1943, had there been a different outcome to the airborne battle, I may very well never have existed.
There was plenty of food left over from the Spice of India takeaway we enjoyed two days ago for tonight’s dinner. My accompaniment was the last of the Cuvée St Jainé; Jackie’s was Hoegaarden.

The Peacock Spring

A welcome visit from Shelly and Ron, to collect the platinum anniversary photographs, broke the monotony of a morning spent on too-long-deferred paperwork. We enjoyed the usual ensuing conversation, naturally involving a certain amount of reminiscing.

Afterwards, beset by the raging gale-force winds, I visited the postbox.

Hanging baskets grounded 1Hanging baskets grounded 2

Despite Jackie’s distressed efforts to bring the hanging baskets and raised pots to protective ground level

Begonia fallenGeraniums and lobelia fallen

some were repeatedly blown over and their contents broken.

We haven’t dared approach the rose garden.

the-peacock-spring-aka-wenn-der-pfau-erwacht-fernsehfilm-grobritannienindien-enpgnh

In 1975 I bought a first edition of Rumer Godden’s ‘The Peacock Spring’. In 1996 the novel was filmed for television. Directed by Christopher Morahan and starring Peter Egan, Nareen Andrews, Hattie Morahan, Ravi Kapoor, with Madhur Jaffrey, this production was well received. It still took me until this year to read the book. I finished it today.

Set in 1959, a slow fuse burns with ever-increasing tension, until the explosive finale of the tale of a tragic relationship. The author’s trademark poetic description and insightful characterisation enables her to build an enthralling story of a flawed family and the conflict of cultural mores. I will not give away details, but can say that the picture to the left here shows the father with his two English daughters who have been brought to India to provide a veneer of respect to his relationship with the woman portrayed.

The Peacock Spring jacket

MacMillan’s publications comes in a striking book jacket designed by David Baxter.

It is not unusual for me to take forty years to read a book in my possession. As with this one, I sometimes wonder why it took me so long.

Cottage pie

This evening we dined on Jackie’s sublime cottage pie, crisp orange carrots and green cabbage. I drank more of the Cuvée St Jainé and Jackie enjoyed Blanche de Namur, a different Belgian wheat beer. The filmy quality of the above photograph comes from the wisps of steam rising from the dish, possibly encouraged by the layer of smoked cheddar cheese over the mashed potato topping.