The Reality

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This afternoon Jackie drove me out to Calshot and back.

Waiting in the queue at the Lymington level crossing gave me the opportunity to focus on one of the hanging baskets that adorn the lampposts of the town.

One of the cattle on the moor near Beaulieu Road Station suckled quite a large calf.

Ower Farm on Calshot Road is a splendid Georgian building.

 

On Calshot beach’s shingle, along which a gentleman led a colour coordinated little girl,

and beyond which yachts enhanced the seascape;

gulls basked, preened, and squawked and saw off a couple of crows. One of the sea birds homed in on an ice cream cone and hopped onto the wooded parapet.

The photograph above of Ower Farm is how an Estate Agent’s brochure may have presented it.

In reality it is hemmed in by Fawley Power station.

This evening the three of us dined on Jackie’s splendid lamb jalfrezi with savoury rice. Mrs Knight drank Hoegaarden, Elizabeth drank Becks Blue, and I finished the Saint-Chenian

 

 

Gulls And Buoys

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The steady rain we have been experiencing for a few days made way for sunshine by mid-morning, so Jackie drove us to Keyhaven and back.

Many of the roads, like this one leading to the harbour carpark, were waterlogged. I tested my Driver’s patience as I dallied on my way walking round the pool in order to photograph her driving through it. She created quite a splash, but looked rather less happy with the process than did a later driver and passenger.

Gulls on moored boats 1

 

I had been distracted by this scene of silhouetted gulls perched on moored boats with a yacht reflected in the ice-like surface of the water, with a walker on the distant spit.

Jackie parked, and I began to photograph the still, reflected, scenes of boats, gulls, and buoys. Even the birds in flight left their images on the waters beneath them.

Wishing to draw my attention to one particular precariously perched gull,

Mrs Knight gave up waiting for me to reach it, left the comfort of her car, and scattered a group of gulls basking on the mossy wall, thus providing a perfect opportunity for a shot of gulls and buoys.

Against the backcloth of Hurst castle and its lighthouse bird watchers paddled along the sea wall path. The sensible dog in the third picture

climbed the wall. I spoke to her owner, then realised that she had been the driver of the car I had photographed earlier. While we conversed, the dog went on ahead, placed her forepaws on the brickwork, dashed further along, and repeated the pose, as if to call her mistress to play. The woman seemed pleased when I told her that, with the car and her dog, she really was the star of the show.

Dogs in silhouette and waterfowl

Further on, approaching Hurst spit, we spotted a dog walker up aloft, while various waterfowl sped over the surface of the water.

Swans fed eagerly on the shore by the bridge. Had someone scattered food? we wondered.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s perfect pork paprika (recipe) with creamy mashed potato and swede, and firm runner beans. I drank McGuigan Black Label shiraz 2016

 

 

Not A Dog’s Dinner

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After a boring morning’s admin, I helped The Head Gardener plant tulip and allium bulbs and flowering chrysanthemums. We then enjoyed a salad lunch and drove to

Lymington harbour,

where the rippling water reflected the boats and the blue sky with its attendant clouds

that had been depicted on the canvas above by a skilled painter.

Rowing boats were moored beside the jetty on the seaward side of which yachts were being berthed.

Squawking gulls landed hoping for titbits.

Other craft were coming and going all the time.

Emerging from the forest of masts, a small ferry boat chugged into harbour,

its master steered it to its mooring,

and the passengers disembarked.

The mother of one family returning to land told me that, on this afternoon of sunshine and showers, they had sailed through heavy rain, so it was only now that the junior pirate had been able to wear his Puffin hat.

Once she had fixed the trophy in place, he trotted off clutching his mother’s hand, while his Dad carried his sibling and everything else.

Walking into the first shot of the ferry boat is another photographer, who, when I showed him my portrait of him, smiled and said: “That’s what photography is for”.

Soon a working boat came into view and came to rest at the fishermen’s corner.

I wasn’t sure what was going on here, but a small terrier’s nose gave her a pretty good idea.

She needed some restraint to keep her away from

 

the slowly jerking crabs piled on top of each other in strong boxes.

One of these living creatures climbed over the lip of its container and landed on its back on the quayside. In my childhood I had often righted stag beetles in the same predicament, but I didn’t fancy providing a helping hand on this occasion.

Instead, I alerted the young man who had brought in his boat, mentioning that I wasn’t going to pick it up. Describing the crab as an escapee, he demonstrated that it couldn’t pinch because their claws were nipped when they were caught. This certainly wasn’t a dog’s dinner.

Before leaving, I walked along Quay Street

to the bottom of Quay Hill, feeling quite pleased that the car was parked by the waterside, so I wouldn’t have to follow the others scaling the heights. The little dog somewhat impeding the older woman’s progress was happy to continue once the younger woman carrying an infant had torn herself away from the shop windows.

On we travelled to the east of the forest. These ponies on the land along Thorneywood Road were soon to be spooked by a vehicle that turned round the bend towards us. This sent the animals running around in rather frantic circles.

Many others were grazing among the gorse. As so often, one smaller variety incongruously tagged onto the big boys.

Gwen and Yvonne may prefer to skip what follows.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s excellent liver and bacon casserole, mashed potato, carrots and green beans. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Reserve des Tuguets Madiran 2014.

The Action Came To Me

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Moat

Jackie and I left Hurst Castle yesterday as we entered, crossing the bridge over the moat. What was once a deep defensive dug-out water-filled trench, now just collects a little precipitation when it rains.

Waiting for the ferry 1

We joined the crowds waiting for the ferry.

Waiting for the ferry 2

The small fleet of pleasure boats plied their way between Keyhaven and the castle. Even as one hove into view there was little movement among the visitors. Each boat only catered for twelve people, so those who were able might as well lounge around on the grass

Ferry arriving

until this arrival

Embarkation

had decanted its load and taken on fresh supplies.

Yachts on land 1 Yachts on land 2 Yachts on land 3

We gained a place on the next one and were soon back at Keyhaven.

Boats in harbour

On board the ferry Jackie had learned the story of the wrecked boat that I have featured in several previous posts. It is seen here with a severe list. The owner of the vessel has apparently died. Before his demise he had sold the mooring to someone at Mudeford. The purchaser has done nothing with it.

This afternoon we drove to Lepe to meet Elizabeth, Danni, and Andy. My sister is embarking on a documentary photographic series on ‘coast’ for her camera club. I had suggested Lepe.

Foal on road

On a wide junction with the Exbury Road outside Beaulieu, a young pony seemed confused. It stood in the centre, not knowing which way to turn, until Jackie stopped for it.

Gull

It had been agreed that we would make our ways to the car park and find each other. A friendly gull guided us to what seemed to be the only available space. Jackie waited in the car.

Beach scene with yachts 1

As I walked along the shingle there was much activity down by the shore at this low tide. Groups gathered in the shallows and yachts were much in evidence.

Beach scene with louring clouds

A louring sky did, however, send some off to the café.

Kite surfing 1

Kite surfers were undeterred.

Andy, Danni and Elizabeth

My extended family members, Andy, Danni, and Elizabeth, were to be found on the shingle at the far end of the car park.

Gull against louring sky

I had decided that, in walking back to inform Jackie, I would amble down to the shore, where the action was. A gull’s presence against the cloud curtain suggested rain was not far away.

People returning from shore 1People returning from shore 2

Indeed, it wasn’t, so, swathed in towels, the action came to me;

Searching the shallows

some pausing to inspect the shallows.

Along with the entire population of the beach, we entered the café, fought for chairs, and drank our choice of hot or cold liquids.

Digging for bait and walking on spit 1

When the sun returned we walked down to the crumbling cliffs for Elizabeth to conduct her recce. There a couple of groups dug for lug worms to use as fishing bait,

Walking on spit and digging for bait 1Walking on spit and digging for bait 2

while others walked along the exposed sand spit.

Kite surfing 2Kite surfing 3

Kite surfers has continued undisturbed.

Geese 1Geese 2Geese 3Geese 4Geese and surf kite

A skein of geese flapped silently by above the scene.

Yachts in sunshine against dark clouds

The darkening sky had shifted enough for a pair of passing yachts to catch the sunlight.

Packing up the kite 1Packing up the kite 2

Soon it was time to pack up the surf kites

Packing up the kite 3

and carry them to the transport.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s splendid sausage casserole, boiled potatoes, carrots, and cauliflower with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Bardalino.

Every Night Something Atrocious

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This morning we set off to spend the best part of the day on a trip to Hurst Castle.

We began with a drive to Keyhaven to park the car and take a ferry to the castle, perched as it is on a spit in the middle of The Solent.

Yachts being prepared 1Yachts being prepared 2

A youthful group were preparing for a sailing trip in the harbour.

Children on ferry boat

Our small boat could take twelve people with weight evenly distributed on each side. I caused some amusement when I asked one small boy how much he weighed. There was keen competition to sit in the front.

Yacht

A yacht sped past us on our way over.

Disembarking

We disembarked after our short trip,

Hurst Castle walls 1

Castle Walls 2

and were soon confronting the castle walls

Children running

along which a couple of children ran freely.

Calor gas consignment

A delivery of Calor Gas was in progress.

Hurst Lighthouse 2

Maybe it was destined for the lighthouse.

People on shingle bankJackie viewing Isle of Wight 1

We walked past this to the shingle bank

Breakwater, Isle of Wight, The Needles 1

that is the nearest viewpoint to the Isle of Wight and The Needles.

Wing battery, breakwater, Isle of Wight, The Needles, gull

Here a Wing battery forming coastal defence from late Victorian times flanks the Solent, and a gull takes a rest.

38 ton gunGun barrel

The 38 ton guns that fired from here are capable of firing a 12 1/2 inch shell, weighing 820 lbs, nearly 3 1/2 miles.They became part of the castle’s secondary armament and were kept permanently loaded.

Hurst Castle was built between 1541 and 1544 as one of a chain of artillery defences protecting key ports and landing places round southern England from Continental attack. It was sited to guard the Needles Passage, the narrow western entrance to the Solent, and gateway to the trading port of Southampton and the new naval base at Portsmouth.

The castle soon developed into powerful fortress. On occasion it was also used as a prison. King Charles 1 was briefly held captive there during the Civil War.

Jackie walking through arch

Having begun our tour in the Victorian section, we turned back and walked through the gateway to the Tudor original building.

Stone steps 1

The stone steps leading up to the first floor were reasonably manageable.

First floor walls and window 2First floor walls and window 1

We wandered around the large circular room with its stone floors, mixed material walls,

Window

and reinforced windows.

Sailor figure

A young sailor had been left behind by his ship.

Stone steps 2

Ascending the outside wall was a further set of steps that were much more daunting;

Spiral staircase

through a door at the top of this flight, a spiral staircase became ever steeper.

Toby in doorway

Having reached the highest level a notice advised us to lower our heads. This involved almost crawling through the doorway. Young Toby, probably the only person up there who could stand upright, was delighted to provide my photograph with a sense of scale. He was rather chuffed to learn that his photograph would go round the world this evening.

The Solent currents

 

From this viewpoint Jackie notice a peculiar meeting of currents in The Solent;

West Wing

and we were able to look down on the West Wing, where we then enjoyed a wholesome lunch in the café.

Lighthouse parts

Of the many other exhibitions and displays of information, were a number on the lighthouse;

Bofors gun

a Bofors 40mm gun, designed in the 1930s, which was still in service in 2013, making it one of the longest serving artillery pieces of all time.

Garrison theatre

We were fascinated by the Garrison Theatre which is possibly the last such establishment to survive from the Second World War.

ENSA notice

ENSA, or the Entertainments National Service Association, was known to the squaddies as Every Night Something Atrocious.

Apart from signing off in my usual manner, I have to leave the trip there, and report on the return home tomorrow.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s splendid penne pasta arrabbiata with which she drank Hoegaarden Anno 1445, and I drank Giulio Pasotti Bardolino Classico 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Birds And The Bees

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I spent some time in the garden today observing avian activity.

Although some wood pigeons waited hopefully in the beech and in the weeping birch,

where one pair thought about it,

a loving pair petted each other in the as yet naked beech.

Fly on hellebore

Flies were attracted to the hellebores;

Flies on pottery doves

two of them joined a dove threesome on the decking.

Bees plundered the pulmonaria,

and another insect I cannot name sunk its lengthy proboscis into a daffodil.

A cheerful robin trilled encouragement high up in the birch.

This evening we dined at Lal Quilla in Lymington. Before the meal we made a brief list to the quayside where

Motorboat and dinghy

a young man manoeuvred a motor boat and dinghy around

Yachts

the moored yachts, avoiding disturbing

Reflections of boats

reflections on the water.

Mallard and black headed gulls

Mallards mingled with black headed gulls,

both of which engaged in preening activities.

My choice of meal was Goan lamb with special fried rice. Jackie chose chicken biriani, and we shared onion bahjis. We both drank Kingfisher.

Today’s title was inspired by a recent comment from Mary Tang.

A Windy Day

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This morning I sat in the dentist’s waiting room whilst Jackie kept an appointment.

During this time I finished reading Bruce Goodman’s ‘Bits of a Boy’. Given the amazing number of spurious dental appointments young Bruce wangled, this was probably quite appropriate. This autobiographical work must have been hidden away for at least half a century. No-one could possibly take us right into the mind of a boy at various stages of life unless he was that boy – then. Read it. On line. Or downloaded. It is a must for entertainment, for history, and for atmosphere. Oh, the memories it stirred in me.

After lunch Jackie drove us to Lepe and back.

Attracted by a group of tiny ponies we stopped at Norley Wood where Jackie waited in the car for me to photograph the creatures.

Other cameras and mobile phones came into play. One woman took her photos through an open car window;

another group walked up to, and petted the animals.

They fully understood why I named this windswept pony Donald.

I have mentioned before that gorse in the forest is regularly thinned out by controlled burning. For this reason an unusually great number of larger ponies grazed on the left hand side of the road outside Beaulieu.

A few, more reluctant, after the land had cooled, to leave their  familiar territory had returned to the other side, sometimes, ghostlike, reaching up into the remaining charred bushes, sometimes foraging on the grass.

There are still a large number of waterlogged trees in pools around the forest, offering, like these near Exbury, many arboreal reflections.

How did these tyres come to be in the water?

Mallards on pool

As usual, mallards, had occupied another recent pool.

So windy was it at Lepe that the waves were extremely choppy.

Yacht without sail

One yacht made its way without sail;

others, against the backdrop of the Isle of Wight, leaned at an impressive angle;

and a sailboarder skimmed across from the island and back in the blink of an eye.

Clifftop landscape

Gorse bushes and rugged trees on the clifftop bent with the wind;

Daffodils and Watch House 1

and daffodils lit the bank above the Watch House.

This evening we dined at Daniel’s Fish and Chips restaurant in Highcliffe. Jackie added onion rings to her cod and chips. My supplements were mushy peas and a roll and butter. I drank tea, and Jackie didn’t.