This morning I made a start on reading ‘Madame Bovary’.
Later, in a successful bid to avoid the rain, I walked down to The Splash and back via the church footpath. The sunshine and showers nature of the day and the speed of the wind produced ever-changing skies, bright blue clouding over in white and grey, and vice versa, with the sun regularly emerging and lending everything still bearing raindrops a brilliant sparkle.
John was busy clearing the elder, that I had thought was a buddleia when I noticed it on 28th January.
Wherever you venture into the forest at the moment, you are likely to come across scatterings of what look to me like crab apples, like those on the bank of the stream flowing under Running Hill. Now I think about it, they are almost always near streams. I can only imagine someone is feeding the ponies in this manner when they pause their cropping to slake their thirst.
One stream the banks of which are not so bestrewn is that which runs beneath the concrete bridge of The Splash ford. There, the water flows fast enough for a build-up of spume that echoes the lichen on the surrounding trees.
Snowdrops have pierced the sward of All Saints Churchyard, and another riven yew rent in two has somehow spared the gravestones between which part of it has fallen.
In fact the rain held off for the rest of the day and Jackie drove us out to Hengistbury Head, making this a two walk day for me. I walked along the beach, up Warren Hill and back along the cliff top to the car park cafe where Jackie sat with her puzzles, cake, and coffee.
This was the roughest sea and fiercest wind I have yet experienced on the Dorset coast. Most exhilarating. Occasionally the incoming surges from the ocean clutched at my feet.
On the shingled edge of the beach I watched the frequent waves rolling towards the breakwaters and turning to cream as they careered up the sand and flung what my Japanese friend Rie Sug tells me her compatriots call sea flowers against the rocks, sending them furling and unfurling along the beach. Our word spume, for this foam, is rather less attractive than the oriental one. This version made the same phenomenon seen at The Splash this morning skimpy by comparison. Rather like comparing the power of a full symphonic orchestra with a piece of gentle chamber music.
Walking along the cliff top I was intrigued by a woman’s voice berating what I assumed to be a recalcitrant child. Peering down I saw that the miscreants were a pair of red dogs. They seemed to have got the message and were allowed to romp ahead.
After I joined Jackie she drove us along the coast road to Boscombe. We had a brief sojourn in a car park at Southbourne, where beach huts clung to the side of the cliff, as we watched the sun doing its best.
We turned round at Bournemouth and headed for home where we enjoyed another very tasty dinner. This consisted of roasted chicken thighs marinaded in lemon juice, coriander, parsley, and a chilli; accompanied by roasted red and orange peppers, onions and baby tomatoes; cauliflower cheese; mashed potato and swede; and broccoli. Jackie drank Hoegaarden whist I drank Lidl’s Bordeaux Superieur, so the drinks choice was back to normal.