Durdle Door

Today continuous rain fell from a leaden sky.

ERRATUM ERRATUM ERRATUM ERRATUM ERRATUM ERRATUM ERRATUM ERRATUM

MRS KNIGHT INFORMS ME THAT MY DURDLE DOOR IS IN FACT PULPIT ROCK AT PORTLAND. DURDLE DOOR IS AT LULWORTH COVE.

DOH! DOH! DOH! DOH! DOH! DOH! DOH! DOH! DOH! DOH! DOH! DOH! DOH! DOH!

As I focussed on the spray-spattered cliffs beneath Portland Bill lighthouse, a small yacht crossed the ocean near the horizon.

Lovers had carved their names in the weathered rocks. How long ago, I wondered, and are they still together?

Boat sheds perched above these geological specimens.

Having begun at dawn our group returned to take advantage of the evening light.

Elizabeth is third from our right of those focussing on the iconic

Durdle Door and its intrepid climbers.

Packs of frozen peas are regularly applied to ease the swelling on my operated knee. One of the bags has split. This meant that a plentiful helping of said peas appeared on our dinner plates this evening. These were alongside cheese centred smoked haddock fishcakes, tangy ratatouille, and piquant cauliflower and broccoli cheese. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I didn’t.

Speech Bubbles Are Invited

CLICK ON ANY IMAGE IN A GROUP TO ACCESS ITS GALLERY, INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS OF WHICH MAY BE VIEWED FULLS IZ BY SCROLLING DOWN AND CHECKING BOX AT BOTTOM RIGHT. FURTHER ENLARGEMENT MAY BE OBTAINED WITH A CLICK OR TWO

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.

 

 

Bloggers United

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Geoff Le Pard 3

On a warm and sunny morning a long-awaited visit took place. My blogging friend, the talented writer, Geoff Le Pard, who had spent much of his childhood a mile away from our home, came, with The Textiliste, The Lawyer, and The Beautician, to visit us and our garden. We could not have wished either for better weather or better company.

A relaxed and happy conversation over coffee, tea, and cake, followed the tour of the garden, after which an examination of the before and after albums ensued.

The Textiliste 1

Here, The Textiliste surveys the Rose Garden.

Geoff Le Pard 2

Geoff, in the spirit of the bucket controversy, fished out a hidden one, pretending it had been left out to spoil a panorama.

Geoff Le Pard 4

He is, of course, capable of serious reflection.

The Lawyer and The Beuatician 1

The Lawyer and The Beautician strolled around with the rest of us;

The Lawyer, The Beautician, and The Textiliste

The Lawyer and The Beautician 3

here Geoff’s son contemplates the two ladies taking a break.

The Beautician and The Lawyer 1The Beautician 2

The Beautician 3

I did my best to keep the lens away from The Beautician, but the camera wouldn’t behave.

Derrick and Geoff 1Derrick and Geoff 2Derrick and Geoff 3Derrick and Geoff 4

She did, however, get her own back when Geoff and I were posed on a bench. You get a sense of who a person is by what they write on their blog posts. We knew we would get on well.

Salt marshesSalt marshes 2Salt marshes

Early this evening we took another trip to Tanner’s Lane salt marshes to take advantage of the clear light, lower in the sky than a couple of days ago. The tide was out.

Wind surfer

A wind surfer was in a bit of trouble;

Couple on beach

a couple walked hand in hand along the shingle;

Billy Tanners boat

Metal detecting

 a man wielding a metal detector passed Billy Tanner’s grounded boat;

Isle of Wight

and a yacht passed the Isle of Wight.

On our return home we enjoyed a plentiful salad meal with various cold meats and cheeses. Jackie drank her Hoegaarden and Bavaria mix, whilst I drank water.

‘You Don’t Know Me…..’

This morning Jackie and I joined Helen and Bill, Shelly and Ron on a visit to the exhibition at The First Gallery. We had an enjoyable time together with Paul and Margery.

On the road from Brockenhurst to Beaulieu, a herd of cattle, complete with a number of calves, streamed out of the forest to our right, crossed the road with their customary insouciance, and came bearing down upon our little Modus.

Cattle on road 1

The car ahead of us edged forward. But, having enlarged the image by clicking on it, keep an eye on the two white calves towards the rear of the file on our left.

Cattle on road 2

They brought the optimistic driver to a halt by, oblivious of the cumbersome gait they would soon grow into, frolicking across the front of his vehicle like a pair of spring lambs. As can be seen we were already at a standstill.

Cattle on road 3

The animals had free access to the road from our right, but the forest was fenced on our left so, wherever they were going, they travelled, at what seemed an increasing rate the nearer they approached, along the tarmac.

Cattle on road 4

As I have mentioned before, they are inquisitive beasts,

Cattle on road 5

and are convinced that they own the road.

Cattle on road 6

I really think they imagined

Cattle on road 7

that, if they kept on coming,

Cattle on road 8

the obstruction that was our little car

Cattle on road 9

would simply move aside.

On our way home, having a hankering for an awesome Needles Eye Cafe breakfast, we took a diversion to Milford on Sea where

Isle of Wight and The Needles

the waves were becoming choppy,

Yacht passing The Needles

a yacht skimmed past The Needles lighthouse,

Gulls

gulls glided on the wing,

Families on Promenade

and family groups promenaded.

In the cafe, as we sat with our drinks awaiting our fry-ups, I was approached by an attractive woman who opened with ‘You don’t know me, but I know you. You’re Derrick, aren’t you?’ Naturally I was keen to learn more. ‘I own this place, and I read your blog’. This was Simone. Not only had she remembered the photograph I had put on a post practically two years ago, but she recollected that on that day my toast had been forgotten. I did remind her that I would not have been able to eat it anyway.

Needle Eye Cafe

At least one couple were hardy enough to use the tables outside, and families enjoyed the children’s playground that was provided for customers.

This evening Jackie dined on her excellent lamb jafrezi and savoury rice, with a paratha. Well she had not had the maxed up breakfast and chips for lunch.

Exhuming Queen Victoria

On a bright, sunny, morning I rambled around the garden, down the lane, along Roger’s footpath and back.

Garden from patio

From our patio can be seen a rhododendron, geranium palmatums, petunias, foxgloves, and fennel.

Garden from Phantom path

The centre of the Phantom Path gives a view towards that shown above. We can also see that the clematis Star of India and an unnamed white rose frolic together on the Gothic Arch.

Rose, red climber

This red rose, aptly named Altissimo, climbs between Elizabeth’s bed and the rose garden.

Garden back path

 a sentinel to the Back Path.

Ladybird

The morning sun burns out detail on the right hand side of Downton Lane, glinting on the back of a shade-seeking orange ladybird,

Backlit leaves

just filtering through shrubbery on the left.

Gate

This gate must have once led into a garden beyond it.

Barley

Roger is growing barley this year.

Christchurch bay, yacht, ship, barley

Across the left hand field a large vessel sedately traversed the horizon as yachts skimmed along a deep blue Christchurch Bay.

Clouds over DowntonClouds over Downton, rusting artefact

To my right clouds slid silently over Downton.

All I could hear were the strings of countless insects’ wings.

Slurry

The pong of fermenting slurry filled my nostrils.

Sausage casserole cooking

Back home, a far more appetising aroma greeted me. Jackie was preparing a sausage casserole for Sam’s visit tomorrow. I suppose I can defer my gratification until then.

This afternoon we planted other flowers, such as heucheras and penstemons into the rose garden, offering some variation.

Rose Deep Secret

The rose Deep Secret has now revealed all.

During my childhood, we used to brighten our copper pennies by rubbing them on the bricks of the school wall. Old bricks, not modern paving ones that don’t crumble into dust on the application of friction. So, when Jackie unearthed a tiny coin encrusted with thick verdigris, I was off in search of an old brick. They are not hard to find in the garden of Old Post House. I cleaned enough to know what a treasure we had found, but, since we were now afraid of scrubbing off any more detail, Jackie finished the job with Hob Brite, a rather gentler abrasive.

We had exhumed a small coin, bearing, on the obverse, the somewhat pockmarked head of Queen Victoria; on the reverse, Britannia, the date 1893, and its denomination. So soon after the previous post, we had found a farthing. Serendipity or what? How long had that lain in the soil? Who had dropped it? We will never know. Farthing Victoria obverse

Farthing 1893 reverse

The previous posting featured a wren, which did not appear on the reverse until the pattern coin of Edward VIII (so called because it had not yet been approved by the time of his abdication in 1936). The little bird first replaced Britannia in 1937, during the reign of the father of Queen Elizabeth II, King George VI, who succeeded his older brother.

For tonight’s dinner, barbecue sauce flavoured the spare ribs; Jackie’s rice and green beans came with it. She drank Hoegaarden and I slurped Dao. This last verb was Jackie’s suggestion, when she pointed out that I had quaffed more than once recently. Not exactly couth, but there you have it.

P.S. Further research suggests that our coin is in fact bronze.

The White Feathers

Tree growing around chain link fenceChain link inside treeI don’t think the fact that it was a dull overcast morning today when we made continuing slow progress on the work of clearing the edges of the back drive, was really the reason I am beginning to find it very boring. Perhaps you are too. I brought bolt cutters into play to assist in disentangling the chain link fence from the trees. The task took a further two hours, and I still left parts of links protruding from the trunks of trees that had grown round them. The metal was so deeply embedded in the example shown here that, some way into its cut, my saw struck it and I needed to employ an axe.

StreamHaving, for the second month running, missed the home bottle collection, this afternoon Jackie drove us down to the bottle bank at Milford on Sea, where we unloaded our bottles and jars, and I walked back home via the footpath alongside the stream and through the Nature Reserve. This time, instead of arriving at Shorefield, I diverted into the Woodland Walk and across a paddock which brought me out, via Westminster Road, to the cliff top.

At regular intervals on the shrubbery along the footpath, White feathersmall white feathers were neatly laid on leaves. It was as if the birds who had eaten Hansel’s breadcrumbs, taking pity on the lad, had replaced them with scraps of plumage.

MolehillsMolehills also appeared at regular intervals along the way. The solitary creatures who make these, beset at this time of the year by the urge to mate, blindly shuffle along their dark tunnels until they find their object of desire, do the necessary, and return to their lonely existence. Every so often, the head gardener informs me, rather similarly to the activity of escapees from a prisoner of war camp, the earth has to be cleared from the tunnel, and is consequently pushed up to the surface.

Poo huntAs I approached one of the bridges I watched an excited family playing Pooh Sticks. By the time I reached them they had moved on, and were now, as they said, engaged in a hunt for the poo possibly left in the undergrowth by their dog. It was the grandfather who told me about the route across the paddock.

Once on the cliff top, hoping to find a path emerging near the bottom of Downton Lane, I walked further along in the direction of Barton on Sea. I was disappointed in this, since all the stiles bore a Private notice, so I backtracked at took my usual route back through Shorefield via West Road.Crows

Windborne crows chased each other across the skies.

SeascapeYacht

Clouds loomed over Hengistbury Head, as a weak sun glinted on the sea, and a yacht sailed against the backdrop of The Needles.Honeysuckle and rose hips

The hedge to the garden of The Wilderness on the approach to Shorefield glowed brightly with vibrant honeysuckle and rose hips.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious chicken jalfrezi (recipe) and pilau rice, followed by profiteroles. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank El Pinsapo rioja 2011.

Tony and Anne, Trevor and Jan

Clearance of the future rose garden continues apace. Yesterday Jackie uprooted several unproductive fruit bushes, and this morning I removed the last of the box hedges and a photinia that had been well rooted for a few years. This latter plant required the use of a grubber axe. It had to come out because it has the potential to grow into a huge tree. There is one in the jungle garden next door which is so high that we get the benefit of it.

After this, I took my now customary route on foot to Milford on Sea, taking a diversion through a nature reserve on the way back. Having passed through Shorefield, I met Mike, the postman, who confirmed that he was indeed more comfortable in the front garden next door, photographed yesterday. He was also very helpful about the problem I have been having with misdirected mail being delivered to The Old House, Lymington Road. This is yet another difficulty  with MyBarclays, who hold my French bank account. They will only accept proof of address from my New Forest Council Tax bill. This gives our address as Lymington Road, rather than Christchurch Road. I am engaged in a frustrating exchange of e-mails with the bank. Until this is resolved, Mike suggested I might explain the problem to the residents of The Old House, which is not on his round, so they may readdress my statements.Yacht on Solent

The Solent is now calm enough for leisure yachting. Dog walkersTony and AnnePeople were walking babies in buggies, and sometimes frisky dogs on foot. From the cliff top Tony pointed out the Isle of Wight to his wife Anne. We conversed about my photograph and the general state of the cliffs.Isle of Wight and The Needles through firs I have mentioned before, the superb view The Beach House has of the island and its lighthouse. Today I shot it through their mature conifers.

On the way back out of Milford on Sea there is a footpath on the right. I have speculated about where it might lead, but had not had the confidence to try it before. TrevorToday, however, Jan on footpathFootpath and streamI noticed Trevor enjoying a cigarette as he basked on a bench in the sunshine. Crossing a footbridge over a stream, I asked him where the path led. He directed me along it, telling me how I could pick up the coast road. As I walked back over the bridge, an attractive woman came into view. This was Jan, who looks after the administration of the Community Centre cafe. She is a blues fan and particularly likes The Blues Band, especially Paul Jones and Tom McGuiness. This discovery enlivened our conversation somewhat.

Crossing a road along the footpath I entered the Nature Reserve through which it ran, leaving it on a slope up to Woodland Way on the left. This led to Delaware Road, and thence the cliff top. CyclamenThe path, beside which cyclamen blooms among dandelions, does extend further, and one day I may explore it more.

Tonight we dined at our old haunt, The Family House Chinese restaurant in Totton. We ate our favourite set meal, and both drank T’Sing Tao beer.The Family House proprietor Like many Asian restaurants they juggle, very successfully, with serving diners and taking down takeaway orders.