Cyclists From Earlier Eras

The very dull, dark, morning gave way to at least a lighter afternoon on which Jackie drove me to Patrick’s Patch and back. While she trawled Fairweather’s Garden Centre across the road I wandered around this community garden.

An early autumn fall of crab apples were attracting insects like the fly at centre right;

small pumpkins looked past their best;

a figure of a little girl with pigtails and blue wellies

was glimpsed behind a couple who were pleased to have discovered this garden;

a flower pot man displayed aged globe artichokes;

while a stylish lady invited us to look out for ladybirds, of which I found a few

fashioned from painted pebbles;

Aunt Sally and Worzel Gummidge tentatively held loving hands;

nearby apples ripened;

someone had gone home without a teething ring;

their dahlias looked much healthier than ours which have suffered from the drought, and

sunflowers bloomed in several beds.

On leaving Beaulieu we passed a pair of cyclists from earlier eras. Jackie just had time to drive on ahead and point her camera before these faster than expected wheelers whizzed on by.

Ian returned this afternoon in time to join Becky, Jackie and me for dinner. The young family ate separately this evening.

The rest of us enjoyed chicken marinaded in Nando’s Mango and Chilli sauce with Jackie’s savoury rice cooked in my stock from yesterday’s roast meal. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden; Becky drank Diet Coke; Ian, Moretti; and I, The Swashbuckler Western Cape Pilotage 2021.

Bisterne Scarecrow Festival Trail 2018


This afternoon Jackie and I followed:

Pokestop carries a Pokemon.

I just squeezed The Bisterne Royals into one frame.

Worzel is in trouble with Aunt Sally required a couple of shots, one from across the road.

We surmised he had been on the tiles with his next door neighbour who was Half Cut.

Head over Heels about Scarecrows also required a vantage point on the opposite side of the road.

Intergalactic Beastie Boys were suitably attired.

Rusty Diesel Engine is a reincarnation of other trains in previous years.

As happy as a Pig was made from a hay bale.

The stretch of Oh Look, there’s a Dragon required two frames,

and its recently hatched baby warranted her own.

Scary Crows lurked beside each other in the trees.

Baked Beans on Coast has to win any pun competition,

and the tins in the trees should not be missed.

2050 AD’s message seems to me to apply already. Don’t miss the crow in the fork.

History of Scarecrows is

most informative.

The Bells features Quasimodo.

Opposite this one children are invited to play Giant Conkers.

Nearby we find Stickman and his Family Tree.

A rather ancient patriarch sits beside a painting of Noah’s Ark.

Tom & Jerry and Unicorn Maneia share a patch of grass.

Poldark and Handsome looks to me as if he has had a sex change or maybe too much of the scrumpy beside him.

It doesn’t look as if Peter Rabbit is welcome.

Would that be The Last Straw?

After this marathon posting, I think I have earned the Wallhampton Arms carvery that the three of us are off to enjoy. I’ll no doubt drink Razor Back.

PS Note the link provided in koolkosherkitchen’s reblog comment. It provides fascinating additional illustrated history.

Dupuytren’s Contracture

Darkening sky

imagesOn a bright, crisp, morning I set off for the woodland walk. No sooner had I entered the brassica field than the sky rapidly darkened and a biting hailstorm hit. In order to protect my face I turned my back on it and stood, like the scarecrow Worzel Gummidge, on the soggy footpath. I felt as if I had been transported to the Dragstrip Ear Piercing Studio in Bitterne, and fled for shelter in the defunct phone box. The missing window rendered this less than totally effective. My ears, incidentally, are not as pretty as the one in the picture before it became bejewelled.

Phone box window

When the storm abated I walked back home.Dupuytren's contracture

Jackie’s Modus was repaired by Downton Service Station today in time for her to drive me to Lymington Hospital to keep an appointment with a consultant about my Dupuytren’s contracture. The car’s problem was an ignition coil and spark plug that needed replacing. My repair will take a little longer. The hand needs surgery in the form of a fasciectomy which, according to the website of Mr. Simon Richards who examined it, is:

‘Fasciectomy – Correction is obtained by removal of the fascia to the affected finger. The wound is stitched up in a zig-zag manner, but occasionally an area is left open to heal by itself (open-palm technique). This is the most common surgical option.’

Waiting time for the operation is 2/3 months.

We dined this evening on Jackie’s luscious lamb jafrezi (recipe); egg fried rice that any self-respecting restaurateur would be proud to place on the menu as special fried rice; onion bajis and samosas. We both drank Kingfisher.

Goose Fat

Derrick and Jon PertweeI awoke to a most unsympathetic witticism from my beloved daughter Becky.  She has, for some years now, inexplicably been obsessed with what she sees as a likeness between me and Jon Pertwee’s portrayal of Worzel Gummidge.  I can’t see it myself. Never missing an opportunity to offer this public humiliation, she appended a quartet of mug shots to the Facebook link of yesterday’s post.  And Danni just had to join in.  I must have erred in the respect and discipline department.

Undeterred, the inhalation treatment continued today.Vick's Vapour Rub  The source of the eucalyptus ingredient is Vick’s Vapour Rub.  Apart from melting this waxy substance in a bowl of hot water and holding the victim’s face firmly in place under a towel and over it, Vick’s can be rubbed on chests to relieve all manner of respiratory complaints.  Whilst undergoing the torture, to which I might add one could become addicted, this morning I allowed my mind to wander over this and other similar remedies.  Well, it gets boring otherwise.

A traditional preventive or curative application certainly still in use in the nineteenth century in England was goose fat.  In those days ailments like TB which are rare or largely eradicated today, were dreaded.  Even ordinary chest infections were likely to prove fatal.  Goose fat was the poor person’s vapour rub.  This product of the extremely oily farmyard fowl was in plentiful supply as there was always a huge amount drained off when one was roasted.

Generations of no doubt progressively rancid children lived, from November to May, sewn into cotton vests inside which were sheets of brown paper covering layers of the goose grease smeared onto scrawny pectorals.  Pondering this, under my towelling turban, I asked Jackie to remind me about her old friend Mrs. Hooper.  A nonagenarian when Jackie knew her, this woman would have been about 140 were she alive today.  As a little girl she had been subjected to the preventative casing, and loved to describe it and many other aspects of a bygone childhood.  Without this testimony one might imagine some exaggeration in the tale.Forest bracken

Forest road

Leaves and brackenIt had been 13th October last year, and therefore a little early for autumn colour, when I first walked the Rhinefield Ornamental Drive.  This afternoon Jackie drove us to Bolderwood from where we leapfrogged along the drive.  This took the form of Jackie driving us a bit; stopping and letting me out; me walking on a little more; her catching me up after an agreed time; IAutumn treesForestTree archBracken and treesAutumn leavesBeech treesSunlit tree trunksBeech leavesme riding until the next likely photoshoot possibility;Tall treesBeech leaves carpet then repeating the process.

After this we needed petrol.  There aren’t too many petrol stations in the vicinity, but travelling to Bashley for fuel seemed a little bit out of our way, until Jackie pointed out that Milford on Sea wasn’t far away.  So we just had to have a look at the coastline and The Needles opposite.  On the beach beneath the cliff stands a row of beach huts I hadn’t noticed before. Beach hutsBeach huts and The Needles Looking down on them I remembered photographing the hang gliding further along the coast at Barton when in July I had been so engrossed I almost walked off the edge.

This evening pumpkin pie followed chilli con carne with a mix of wild and perfectly calm savoury basmati rice.  Feeling the positive effects of my various treatments I was able to drink a couple of glasses of Marques de Montino rioja reserva 2008.

London Smog

Misty forest 1.13

Mist beset the forest today as I walked the ford loop.

On the gravelled area outside a bungalow in Minstead a car was parked and the boot opened.  A small black and white spaniel, tail flat on the ground into which she was trying to vanish as she looked backwards – for all the world like Fred Basset having swiped the sausages – scuttled out of the gloom.  She was closely followed by a shriek of panic, as a tall thin figure, arms and fingers outstretched, rushed around the car, urgently crossed the road, gesticulating wildly, and tried to grasp the dog’s collar.  This, I thought momentarily, must be Worzell Gummidge.

Fred Basset is an eponymous cartoon character, created by Alex Graham, which first appeared in the Daily Mail in 1963 and has since been syndicated around the world.  Fred’s emotions are portrayed in both facial and bodily expressions.  Worzel Gummidge is a walking, talking, scarecrow popularised in  television series of the 1980s and 2021, based on the books by Barbara Euphan Todd. Jessica's spiderman, 12.11 For some reason Becky thinks that, after having been subjected to Jessica’s face-painting a couple of years ago, I looked like Jon Pertwee in the role.

‘She’s in season’, cried the scarecrow.  ‘Oh, I see’, said I, as Worzell’s fingers tried to grasp the wriggling spaniel’s scruff.  With one last grab the dog was collared.  ‘I’m looking after her for someone’, the foster parent continued.  ‘So, I’d hate to lose her’.  I silently reflected that I hadn’t imagined that was the worst that could have befallen the bitch.

Sheep's wool 1.13I imagine the dirty-grey sheep were on their hillside as I passed, but the only sign of them I saw was shreds of fleece clinging to thorns and barbed wire. Misty field 1.13 Their static tumbleweed bodies would have been shrouded in the mist.

Near visibility for pedestrians was, today, unproblematic.  Quite different from London in the 1950s, the worst decade of smog.  This is a term coined by compacting elided versions of ‘smoke’ and ‘fog’.  One nickname for London is ‘The Smoke.  The capital in those days was frequently visited by fog exacerbated by smoke from the burning of coal.  It had been a problem in industrial towns since the previous century.  The return home from school in December 1952 was expected to be in the dark.  Normally, when we got off the trolleybus (see post of 17th May) at Arterberry Road, even at night time, we could see the pillarbox at the corner of Stanton Road in which we lived, and the street lamps rendered the crossing as bright as daylight.  Not so, soon after 4 p.m., when the great smog hit ‘The Great Wen’, another name for London.  Imagine a gas lamp in a Victorian alleyway, glowing a dull, weak, egg-yolk hue, its halo vanishing into the darkness, and offering no practical illumination.  This is what the street lamps of Wimbledon, and the headlights of passing cars looked like for a week of winter evenings.  They had no impact on the pea souper that penetrated our lungs and our living rooms.  Alighting from our bus, Dad having come to meet us, we felt our way along fences to the corner of Arterberry, peered into the depths of Worple Road, and hoped the lack of feeble car lights would persist until we tripped over the kerb and into Stanton Road on the other side.  We then had to progress down to the dog-leg around which, over the road, lay our home.  Readers will know from my post of 16th October that there were very few cars on these roads at that time.  Those that did emerge, crawled along, their drivers blinking into the gloom.  I really don’t know how the bus drivers managed.

I do not exaggerate these conditions.  I see the all-enveloping obscurity blanket still.  In 1956 the Clean Air Act, which introduced smokeless zones, came into effect.  It was a direct result of the virtual blackout of December 1952.

This evening, accompanying my Roc des Chevaliers 2010 Bordeaux Superieur and Jackie’s common or garden Hoegaarden, we dined on her Spaghetti Con Carne Arrabbiata With Mushrooms.  We do not believe the TV chefs are onto this yet, so, for those of you who wish to impress your friends with your culinary expertise, I have permission to reveal the secrets of this marvellous meal.  As a basis you take left-over chilli con carne from the freezer.  This should originally have been produced from a Coleman’s mix with the necessary additions of supplementary chillis, onions, cumin and coriander.  Cook this up with Sainsbury’s extra lean minced beef and a further  two chopped chillis; two very large onions; two cloves of garlic; sun-dried tomatoes; and mushrooms, in beef stock.  Lay it all on a bed of Waitrose, or, in truth, anyone else’s, spaghetti, and I guarantee you will be the talk of the neighbourhood, especially if it is followed by Aldi’s Christmas pudding.