Boldre Bridge

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At 16 degrees, our incredibly mild period continues. It was therefore strange today to begin the winter clearing whilst we continue to enjoy blooms from spring and summer. We did so in rather desultory fashion.

It is difficult to think of winter when you can admire

roses Margaret Merrill, Penny Lane, Mamma Mia, and especially Summer Time;

or fuchsias, geraniums, dahlias, gauras and poppies, one of which harbours a hoverfly; and many more.

With the sun shining, we set off for brunch at The Friars Cliff Cafe. Unfortunately this was in everyone else’s minds. The car park at Steamer Point was crammed full, and shoals of humanity floundered on the beach. There was no doubt the cafe would be full to bursting like me after the Olympics breakfast. We therefore turned back and aimed for Calshot. We hadn’t travelled very far before the sky clouded over. It didn’t look very conducive to photography, so we brunched at Otter Nurseries. Only when I had chosen a liver casserole did Jackie tell me that was what she had planned for this evening. She happily did a rethink.

The walls at Otter contain some rather well-executed paintings for sale. One of these was Boldre Bridge. We wondered why we hadn’t seen the bridge, and realised that would be because we had always driven over it. So we went to look for it. I passed through a five-barred gate and descended a bank to find something approximating the painter’s vantage point.

I was intrigued to notice that the architect had made it possible to feature the Christian fish symbol. The five-spanned bridge, which dates from at least the 18th century is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) 1990, as amended,  for its architectural or historic interest.

A tree had fallen across the river, on which autumn leaves floated over reflections of broken, reeds, and still grey sky.

Just before we drove on, the sun began to light up the foliage on Rodlease Lane.

En route to Sway, I wandered into the forest, taking advantage of the light streaming through the trees, and exchanging greetings with a family of riders.

Forest scene 3

As I ventured further in, attracted by pinpoints of light in the distance, I was rewarded by this dramatic view across the moorland featuring

House in moorland

  a single dwelling in an idyllic setting.

Driving through Hordle on our return, Jackie spotted a cautionary notice for any witches inclined to take to the skies tomorrow night, and a cry for help from an underground prison.

Jackie’s rethink for tonight’s meal involved lemon-flavoured chicken Kiev, French fries, and baked beans, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Reserve des Tuguets madiran 2012.

Heard On The Telegraph

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Many of the negatives from the French holiday of 1985 are in black and white Ilford film. This was my favourite in the dark ages of the early 1980s when I printed my own work in monochrome with chemicals in the blacked out kitchen makeshift darkroom. I scanned another batch today.

A useful prop in the garden of the gite, were the cartwheels.

Sam stirring water 1985

They worked on their own, or as a backdrop for Sam’s poking about in the water.

The nearby woodlands offered contrasting light,

and lengthening shadows across the roads.

blackbird

During the process of producing this post, I realised, on gazing out of the window, that a jackdaw had heard on the telegraph that I was working in black and white, and helpfully posed, perching on a pole, cocking its head to make sure that it had heard aright.

Anyone who has followed my technical problems ever since I uploaded Mac’s new operating system will be relieved to learn that this work was done on that machine. This morning, I received an update from Apple which seems to have ironed out a few problems. Don’t get too excited, but do watch this space.

This evening we dined at Lal Qilla in Lymington. We received the usual very warm welcome, excellent food, and friendly, attentive, service. My meal was king prawn Ceylon and Jackie’s chicken Haryali. We shared a naan, special fried rice, and a caulliflower bahji, and both drank Kingfisher.

Triangulation

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Rape field

As the golden dawn crept across the rape field on the other side of Christchurch Road that greets Jackie when she opens the bedroom curtains, she commandeered my camera to good effect.

Hat by Lucille

From one of the back bedrooms she looked down onto the lead planter fashioned by Lucille Scott in the form of a wide-brimmed hat.

Clouds at dawn

A little later, I photographed the clouds over the front of the house.

Drawn by the beautiful morning we took an early drive into the forest, where

Ponies

ponies enjoyed a crisp breakfast;

Reflected traffic

and commuter traffic was reflected in the roadside pools.

Woodland and Modus

Having dropped me off for me to take the above picture, Jackie drove on to a turning space, back-tracked, and parked on the edge of the woodland I was now investigating.

Woodland 1

Woodland 3Woodland 2Woodland 5

Slanting shadows slid across tumbling terrain and plunging pools, and

Gorse and trees

in haze on the other side of the road, gorse conversed with fresh arboreal plumage.

Donkeys 1

Further on, a pair of donkeys dozed on Norleywood village green

Donkeys 2

whilst another couple availed themselves of the street furniture to have a good scratch.

Bluebells English

As we approached Lymington we passed a bluebell wood. Given that there is a fear that the stronger, less delicate, yet lighter hued Spanish breed will subsume our native stock, an indigenous collection is a welcome sight.

On our recent trips to and from The First Gallery, we have several times passed a short man-made pillar in a stretch of moorland bearing a number of signs bearing the word Hilltop. Pooling our combined smatterings of knowledge we realised this was what would be marked ‘trig point’ on the Ordnance Survey maps and was something to do with measuring height, presumably above sea level.

Jackie decided to research this today, and discovered that, according to BBC News, on this very date ‘Ordnance Survey (OS) is celebrating the 80th anniversary of the triangulation pillar, most often known as a “trig pillar” or “trig point” and a welcome sight to many a walker as they reach the peak of their walk.’

Trig pillar

That, in fact, was the real reason we dashed out to catch our little pillar in the morning sunshine. The pillar wasn’t going anywhere, but the light, we knew, would change. As will be seen on the link below, OS no longer use these markers for their original purpose, but they remain helpful landmarks. Many also now bear decoration from the general public. What this particular set of graffiti signifies I do not know.

Trig point number

Each pillar bears an identification number.

Trig pillar top

Most cameras have a tripod mount into which the steadying instrument is screwed. The theodolite, the measuring device used by these early surveyors was clipped to a fitting on the top of the  pillar,

Trig pillar setting

here seen in its setting.

For anyone wishing to explore this subject further, I can heartily recommend

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/in-pictures-36036561

which is lavishly illustrated by photographs, both historic and modern.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent and spicy sausage casserole; creamy mashed potato; and crunchy carrots and Brussels sprouts.  It is worthy of note that the sausages were Ferndene Farm Shop pork with chilli, which afforded a delicious piquancy. The Cook drank Blanche de Namur and I drank Reserve des Tuguets madiran 2012.

A WRAF Beauty

Early this morning Jackie discovered an ailing bird which may be a baby pigeon. She made it a little hospital bed, complete with water and a suet ball.Baby pigeon ailingPigeon

By the end of the afternoon our little friend was struggling around the garden, unable to fly, because its tail-feathers were shredded.Aaron working

Compost area

Aaron continued his work on the back drive. Acute observers will notice that the IKEA wardrobe sections have been once again recycled. A comparison between these two photographs, from the beginning and the end of his day, demonstrate what Aaron Parris  can do as A.P. Maintenance.Crows above field

Woodland pathWoodland 3Feeling reasonably recovered from the virus, on this bright, crisp, day, as crows filled the skies above the brassica field, I took a very gentle amble along the woodland walk. My right knee didn’t like it much.

StreamFootbridgeThe path remained pretty muddy, especially down by the fast-flowing stream, where, to reach the footbridge, I still needed to teeter on the fallen logs.

Beyond the bridge the footpath inclines quite steeply and is consequently much drier. Sunlight picked its way through the bracken, the trees, and the fallen leaves. Bright green lichen and and mosses glowed in the clear light.Woodland 2Woodland 4Woodland 5Woodland 1My post ‘A Statuesque Beauty’ featured an image of Jackie’s mother standing with her lifelong friend Sheila. Upon Sheila’s death in a nursing home, her daughter Margaret retrieved a small framed photograph from her bedside table. This is a signed photo of my late mother-in-law, Veronica Rivett. Margaret sent the picture to Helen. This copy is destined for Jackie’s other sister Shelly. I was, of course, engaged to make two more prints, one for each of the other sisters. Jackie brought it back from yesterday’s sororal meeting, and I worked on it today.Mum Rivett 7.42

Apart from a small tear, the effect of which I was able to remove, this picture, which could have been of a film star of the day, is in pristine condition. It is inscribed July 1942, which, by coincidence, was the month of my birth. There is no prize for discovering the location of the tear.

Lamb jalfrezi meal

This evening we dined on Jackie’s luscious lamb jalfrezi (recipe) and savoury rice (recipe) accompanied by supermarket samosas and onion bajis left over from Christmas. Her choice of beverage was Hoegaarden, whilst I finished the bordeaux.

Leith Hill

It has been rather a sleepy, sluggish, day today. The effect of the virus is diminishing, but departing with some reluctance.

Again I concentrated on scanning colour slides. These were the last 22 from my honeymoon with Jackie in March 1968. They were taken on a short trip across to Leith Hill, the highest point in Southeast England, set within the beautiful Surrey Hills. Its gothic tower, built in 1765, and now owned by the National Trust, rises majestically above the surrounding hills and from the top you can see sweeping views towards London in the north and the English Channel in the south.Jackie 3.68 028

With its ancient woods and views across open heathland, the area has been popular with visitors since Victorian times.Trees 3.68 001

Within an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB) the hill is home to an abundant wildlife. It’s also designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI).Tree 3.68 001Tree 3.68 002

Jackie 3.68 033Jackie 3.68 030Jackie 3.68 032Jackie 3.68 037Jackie 3.68 038 - Version 2Fire 3.68 002Trunk sawn  3.68                                                                                                                                                  On the higher land in this beautifully crisp early spring day we brought one source of warmth with us, and found another. The car blanket was our contribution, and we came across yet another fire, this time a bonfire consuming the work of the woodmen.

Jackie’s delicious sausage casserole, its sauce enhanced by three quarters of a bottle of Albai that I had opened three weeks earlier and not been able to drink, served with mashed potato and swede, and a melange of fried leaks and carrots, was what we dined on this evening. Jackie drank Kingfisher and I consumed more of the chianti.