Clearly The Day For It


The meteorologists having informed us that the bright, albeit nippy, early morning sunshine would be covered by cumulus soon after mid-day sent us off into the forest, after a brief wander round the garden where

Pansies and climbing pink rosePansies in hanging baskets

hanging baskets are now mostly filled with plants, like these pansies at the front,

Front garden

which catches the dawn rays,

Prunus Amanogawa

particularly lighting blossom such as that of the prunus Amanogawa;


and a sparrow surveyed the terrain from the safety of a holly tree.

Back drive

The back drive,with its own share of hanging baskets, was also looking bright and sprightly.

Cattle 1

On the road out of Lymington towards Beaulieu, a collection of cattle lounged along the curving verge. Only after she had finished using this to have a good scratch under her outstretched jaw,

Cattle 2

did the first one find the energy to lift her head and satisfy her curiosity.

Cyclist and cattle

Further on down the road, a passing cyclist, when informed that she was in the shot, quipped that had she known she would have smiled.

Donkeys, bus stop, phone box

Donkeys, joining the queue for the bus at East Boldre, preferring to stay on their feet, made use of bus stop, phone box, and wooden bollard to shift their ticks. Note that the telephone box has been saved and dedicated to the memory of John Kitcher.

Pony scratching 1Pony scratching 2Pony scratching 3

Across the green behind the bus stop stands a hawthorn tree very handy for the ponies. This one, risking possible entanglement, vigorously rubbed its rear against a broken branch. This was clearly the day for relieving an itch.

Fawley Refinery and Power station 1

Fawley refinery and power station

Beyond Beaulieu, the approach to Fawley refinery and power station varied the vista.

Calshot beach 2Calshot beach 3

When we last visited Calshot beach the Hoegh Osaka was stranded on Bramble Bank. The strand that today we had to ourselves had then been packed with reporters, photographers, and sightseers; and the empty lanes choked with parked cars.

The Spinnaker

Today the Southampton Spinnaker was a focus of my attention. Someone appears to have set up cricket stumps for Jesus. I cannot think of anyone else who could play on this surface. (But see the Quercus Community comment below!!)

Yacht and speedboat

The paths of a yacht and a motor boat passed at speed.

Private beach sign

Calshot beach 1

Having recently watched the BBC’s magnificent adaptation of Bleak House, in which the long running Court of Chancery case of Jardyce v. Jardyce is pivotal, I was intrigued to read the basis for privacy of this section of beach (should you be equally intrigued you will need to enlarge the image of the notice.

We drove on to King Henry VIII’s Calshot Castle in time, once more, to watch a tanker passing.

OystercatcherOystercatcher and sandpiper?

Also passing each other, emulating the two boats above, were an oystercatcher and, I think, a sandpiper, each striding along ignoring the other.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s pork chops in redcurrant jelly; fried potatoes; crisp cabbage and carrots; and the peppers, onions, leeks and garlic melange. This was followed by Bread and Butter pudding, with cream for her, and custard for me. She drank Hoegaarden and I finished the madiran.

Bread & Butter Pud recipe

In response to popular request, the Culinary Queen has penned her method for making Bread and Butter Pudding.


89 responses to “Clearly The Day For It”

  1. Ah so many memory triggers! East Boldre is close to the hotel the basis of my novel! It’s still there and looks very grand. Dad worked at Fawley, for Union Carbide who took refined oil from the shell refinery; I had a summer job there too once. And my only attempt to sail was off Calshott. Terrifying. As for the notice I assume as in the rest of the country the land owners only claim title down to the mean high watermark – the tide line basically – as below that the land belongs to the Crown so anyone can walk on it unless restricted by the Crown. No doubt some smart Alec has tried! Thanks for so many memories

  2. I loved seeing the bread and butter pudding recipe; It’s classic, I think, and exactly how I learned to make it too. These days I fool around with variations…using brioche or whole wheat naan for the bread, a minimal amount of caster sugar and a variety of fruit from dried sour cherries to bits of dried apricot. I usually serve it with our local maple syrup drizzled on top…..great for breakfast, along with a cup (or more) of strong coffee! Thanks, Jackie!

  3. Such a wide range of photos in this post! The donkeys with the phone booth made me smile, the black and white photos were so stark, and the first ocean view was like an Impressionist painting.

    The bread and butter pudding is like a baked French Toast. Like Cynthia says, I would have it for breakfast or brunch.

  4. It is magic I say! Magic that stops them! And the photos are as always, my clever friend, a picture in of themselves, you really are the photographic storyteller but I think this you know!

      • Your posts often remind me of my favorite books – the ones where you find magic at the end of your garden. I should think if anyone could it would be you or Jackie. Yes I confess, with her culinary skills and beautiful blooming garden, I long to live in a place like that again. I particularly used to like Rye when I visited and also Windchelsea, Hastings and lastly, Windspit and Dartmouth. England still holds for me, some of the most beautiful places on earth to be sure.

  5. Bread and Butter Pudding like my aunt used to make and I haven’t tasted in a hundred years – I wonder if it’s time to try it again ……….. and I wonder if gluten free bread works the same, does anybody know?

    I loved the latest rendition of Bleak House – one of my favourite Dickens novels – the beach judgement is fascinating. What is the ‘Save Me’ thing with the telephone boxes Derrick? [Perhaps you have already said and I’ve forgotten….]

  6. I must say the cattle and donkeys did a good job on the lawn 🙂 Now that I have my big screen I don’t need to zoom so much 🙂 This post has everything; I am impressed by the transformation of the drive.

  7. Derrick your garden is looking lovely. I loved the photos of the cows sitting at the edge of the road and the pony scratching it’s rear end on the branch. If you wanted animals to pose for photos like this it would never happen. The recipe for bread pudding made my mouth water. Some day when I can enjoy a slice of bread again I’ll have to try your recipe.

  8. Derrick, I am making my belated rounds tonight (I worked from 7 am until 6:30 pm). Not complaining, just explaining. . . 🙂
    I liked the donkeys at the bus stop, the horse with tangled tail while scratching and your lovely early morning gardens!!
    The “piece de resistance” was Jackie’s excellent bread and butter pudding recipe! <3 Thank you so very much, Jackie. 🙂

  9. The other bird is, I think, a Ringed Plover. Years ago, I seem to remember cricketers having a game on both Dogger Bank and Goodwin Sands when it was a particularly low tide.

      • Plover definitely (and don’t know what the difference is between them and sandpipers*, though sandpipers might be a larger group which includes plover: not sure), but might be a Little Ringed Plover. As you’d expect, they’re smaller than the ‘standard’ version. Probably depends on geographic location (I think LRPs are more localized), possibly the season, and more knowledge than mine on their exact proportion compared to RP’s or oytsercatcher’s, I’ve seen RPs around Calshot and Lymington coasts, but don’t know if LRPs are native, too.
        Well done, city boy, for identifying the sparrow (after last time 🙂   )

  10. I’m not sure if you’re trying to get flamed by the Portsmouth blog community. The, er…… “Southampton”… Spinnaker Tower is most definitely on the seafront of Portsea Island, and your identifying it thus will do nothing for the long-standing friendly relations between the two great cities (or, at least, between ONE great city and Portsmouth).
    Yours, etc. “The Trouble-Stirrer”

  11. Orkney’s oystercatchers and ringed plovers (or little ones) have obviously been reading your blog, since they re-created their joint appearance on a beach in front of us, while we were watching seals.

  12. I can see that my new 150-500mm lens would have been very helpful in photographing that sparrow and the beach birds, Derrick. Our iconic bathing boxes at Brighton beach (down the coast from Melbourne) are very similar to your colourful bathing boxes.

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