We enjoyed another bright, clear day, so, after a couple of days of rest I, very gingerly, traversed part of the woodland walk. Raindrops still clung to leaves and berries, occasionally, when they had become weighty enough, slipping to the next level down. The footpath was soggy in parts, and the branches helpfully laid on the track were not much help to an elderly gent preferring to risk losing his shoes to suction than twisting his knee on a precarious foothold. Shafts of sunlight set gentle mist rising and enlivened fallen leaves and cut logs.
In ‘The Story Of The Raincoat’, I described the adjustment my juvenile eyes needed to make when emerging from the cinema into bright sunlight. It was rather like that as I emerged from the woods unable to see the houses of Downton basking beyond the brassica field.
Apart from the pleasure of venturing out on such a splendid day, this probably was not a good idea. I will need to take it easy for a few days more.
Later, we watched a delightfully sensitive and touching film on Catch Up TV. First shown on 1st January and starring two cinema giants, ‘Esio Trot’ was made for television. I must be very circumspect in what I say about it, because I do not want to reveal the details of the beautiful story for anyone who does not already know the book and may wish to see the film. The tale is by Roald Dahl, and the film directed by Dearbhla Walsh. Dustin Hoffman and Dame Judi Dench are their usually brilliant selves, and the device chosen for James Corden’s engaging narration cleverly sets the scene in North London. Even if you do know the story, if you haven’t seen the film, Catch Up before it is removed. If you miss it watch one of the repeats there are bound to be.
This afternoon Jackie drove us to Ringwood where she shopped at Sainsbury’s and I at Wessex Photographic. Her shopping took longer than mine, so I waited in the car for her return. This gave me ample time to survey the activities of other, less nosey, parkers. One young woman, as I watched, performed an interesting manoeuvre involving a mobile phone, three bags of shopping, and a trolley. Keeping the red mobile phone, in her right hand, pressed to her ear, she employed her left hand to carry the bags, one at a time, to her car. The trolley was itself positioned alongside another vehicle. My entertainer’s car was two cars away, so she walked backwards and forwards, never releasing the phone. Three times. She then disappeared into her transport, leaving the supermarket’s carrier where it was. The usual bay for depositing trolleys was just a few yards away.
It is a reflection of our times that the stores employ people to gather up these discards of inconsiderate shoppers. Minutes later a gentleman collected this one and slotted it into the area allocated for the purpose. Similarly litter-pickers are both employed and volunteer to clean up after careless visitors to the New Forest.
On our way home we stopped off at Molly’s Den in search of a towel hanger. Within seconds Jackie found one probably from the 1930s. We searched for any potential competition. It was the only one in the emporium. We happily bought it.
This evening’s dinner was sublime. Jackie had coated pork chops in mustard and brown sugar, baked them in the oven, added a layer of toasted almonds, and served them with sage and apple stuffing, boiled potatoes, soft spinach and crisp carrots and broccoli. She drank Peroni and I finished the Bordeaux.