We drove back to Highcliffe early this afternoon, for Jackie to shop and for me to walk.
The contrast between this moist Monday and yesterday’s sunny Sunday was marked. Highcliffe beach was deserted except for me and a jogger. I walked along the cliff top first, before descending to the shore by muddy steps beside which the Council had placed a notice claiming that the provision of this facility did not constitute a right of way. I wondered whether this was some disclaimer of responsibility should someone have an accident. Near the bottom of this path, a correctly labelled ‘New Bin’ had been installed. It is definitely not an old one. On the shingle, where yesterday Sam and Malachi had watched the receding tide, were wading birds, presumably waiting for their supper to be presented by the sands.
When I met Jackie at the car park, she had not had time for a full tour of the town’s many charity shops. I therefore joined her to finish the task. Among other objects, we discovered more contributions to the toy and dressing-up boxes, and a lampshade to replace a weekend casualty. As mentioned before, Highcliffe has more than its share of charity shops. I have probably visited them all by now. What is extremely noticeable is that none of these establishments has the familiar smell of stale clothes which is so prevalent in their London equivalents.
On the way to our destination Jackie slowed for a female pheasant in the road in front of us. The bird started, veered sideways, flew straight into the windscreen, bounced off, and continued its journey. This reminded me of one of my earliest memories, from the summer of my third birthday. I think it was Uncle Bill who was driving us to Brighton. These are details which emerged in the later telling among the family, so I’m not quite clear about them. What has remained vivid in my memory, is the image of my younger brother, with me in the back, deciding he wanted to get out of the motoring car, opening the door and doing just that. Mum screamed; I dashed to the other side to look out and watched Chris, fortunately in a nappy, bouncing across the centre of the road into the path of oncoming traffic. Bill brought the car to a standstill. Somebody rushed out and gathered up the happily unharmed little soul. Fortunately there were fewer, and slower, cars around in 1945, and the M23 hadn’t been invented. Mind you, we do now have childproof locks. The problem with them is that it takes a child to work out how to open them.
This evening Jackie produced an excellent lamb jalrezi with pilau rice. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank Roc des Chevaliers Bordeaux superieur 2010.