Southsea Castle Lunch


Fine weather, and a luncheon date with our daughter, took us down to Southsea.

A short stroll across Southsea Common and we arrived at Southsea Castle.

This is where Henry VIII watched Mary Rose, the pride of his fleet, founder and sink.

The castle is now home to The Courtyard, a good quality restaurant. Due to ongoing Covid precautions we waited to be seated by a very pleasant member of staff.

We were served our drinks …

Pimms O’clock

….. followed shortly by our chosen meals …

…. mine was this very delicious Bhudda Bowl.

The girls had Scampi and a Southern style burger.

Appetites suitably satisfied we made a short tour of the castle walls …

Down from the ramparts and a short detour, by me, to take a quick look at one of Southsea’s newest attractions.

LCT 7074 is the last surviving landing craft tank in the UK. LCT 7074 is an amphibious assault ship for landing tanks, other vehicles and troops on beachheads. Built in 1944 by Hawthorn Leslie and Company, Hebburn, the Mark 3 LCT 7074 was part of the 17th LCT Flotilla during Operation Neptune in June 1944.

WIKIPEDIA

Not one for the girls, I have pencilled in a return visit, for when I am on my own.

Then it was a gentle stroll back to my daughters flat for a cuppa. Before venturing out to do battle with the evening traffic as we wended our way home.

Step One – Revisited


And here we have it, the results of about twenty hours work.

The view from my neighbours side.

This is the first time, that either my friend or I have done this type of fencing

Another view of neighbours side.

We are both really quite pleased with the results.

Top end of my side.

However, I hope I never have to bang in another nail for a long, long, time. Each featherboard has three nails and there are over a hundred of them.

View to the bottom end.

I now have aches and pains in my back, arms, elbows, knees, hands and fingers.

The half way post.

It was definitely worth the effort and, I think, by doing it ourselves we have saved around fifty percent of the commercial charges.

Dr Livingstone I Presume …


Well not exactly, nor did I run into Lord Lucan or any other missing individuals.

Of course not. After all, I’ve just spent the last few hours delving into the upper reaches of my garden, in sunny Hampshire.

To my knowledge, neither  Livingston or Lucan have ever ventured into my garden. Livingstone spent many years in Africa and Lucan could be anywhere having supposedly been seen everywhere.

After hacking back the brambles and Jasmine vines, and numerous other invasive plants I can state categorically that neither of the aforementioned gentlemen are to be found.

The Lost Gardens of ???

Unfortunately, this end of the garden has been neglected somewhat. Not helped by our seven month sojourn in Australia. The picture above was taken after I had made a valiant foray, boldly forging a path through the brambles and Jasmine with my electric hedge trimmer.

What’s triggered this sudden exertion ?

Well, the fence, that you can just catch glimpses of, is in a very dilapidated state. In fact I believe the plant life, that I have been cutting back, is all that is keeping it up.

The plan, much like a game of dominoes, is in several parts.

Step one, is to replace the fence. This I am going to do with the help of my daughters boyfriend. Actually, he is the expert, I will just be his bitch. So approximately twelve metres of featherboards mounted on arris rails.

Ancient Shed

Step two, is to replace this sorry broken shed. The plan is to replace it with a new one, approximately twice the size. This shed has performed admirably until late last year, when some guys I had hired to do some hedge work, chose to fall through the roof. Removing the shed will be a bit of a voyage of discovery as there are signs of subterranean habitation. That is to say there looks to be a tunnel going under the shed. You can just see the entrance to the right of the door. Potential inhabitants range from hedgehogs thru foxes to rats. Hopefully not the latter although, I believe, we would have seen more signs if there were any living that close to the house.

Greenhouse

Step three, replace the cheap n cheerful greenhouse with a more robust version. Over the last couple of years this structure has suffered damage due to strong winds. So it’s time to get rid.

The latest storm blew off the door, breaking the plastic glazing. Blew off the skylight (now placed back on the roof). And, I have since discovered, the wind also dislodged some glazing at the back. So, no longer weatherproof. The greenhouse was used last year, to grow a bumper crop of tomatoes. Not this year though.

And finally, step four, build a new deck area to provide a base for a swing chair. Our current swing chair has suffered under the same rough weather that has damaged the greenhouse, bending and snapping the canopy frame.

So in preparation for Step One I have been clearing out the jungle. This has been more like an archaeological dig, rediscovering long lost areas. Who knew that the space behind the shed was the hiding place for our first ever patio table and chairs. Originally white, but now turned green by nature.

What is that, a snake ? Nope just a long section of garden hose, bright yellow.

Birds Skull ?

Then there are the bones. I’m guessing, judging by the size of the skull, that they are the remains of a pigeon. Question is, who did it ? Did the luckless bird fall prey to one of several neighbourhood cats, or perhaps one the kites or kestrels often seen soaring overhead.

Dinosaurus Plasticus

And what was that I spied, hiding under the coniferous canopy ? A baby dinosaur ? No, just a toy abandoned by one of our grandchildren. One brave enough to venture into our mini jungle.

The bulk of my discoveries, from behind the shed, have now found their way to the municipal tip. I didn’t have room for the old wheelbarrow or the old fridge, so another trip has to be planned. Perhaps some of the junk in the garage will find it’s way into that next load too.

As I post this, I have received notification that the fencing materials will be delivered on the 15th April. So I’d better start limbering up and get ready for some hard physical labour.

Sad Times Indeed


In another time, my father, long passed now, was a police officer.

He served in the navy, became a policemen on his discharge and was initially stationed in towns such as Lewes. In those days, police officers and their families were moved around. And so, my father found himself as the “village bobby” just a few miles north of Hastings.

He was there to deal with the, seasonal, mods and rockers battles, along the south coast. He was also scooped up to provide security during JFKs visit to the UK. In between times he had to deal with gruesome fatalities, by road traffic accident, murder and suicide by shotgun. Of course there was the “bread and butter” work, dealing with thefts, burglary, drunkeness and so forth. In his latter years, until he retired, he became a highly skilled road traffic cop, where his patch was East Sussex and sometimes beyond.

Since then, the world has moved on and changed dramatically, become a more feral place.

I think, if he could see how the police are viewed and treated in our current times, he would be very sad. He would be confused by how we have come to this point. For sure, I certainly don’t understand it either

So I make no apologies for reproducing another Facebook post on the subject of the UKs police forces and the almost impossible tasks that confront them. Tasks that they carry out, despite the toxic press and the lack of support from the government and the flagrant use and abuse they receive at the hands of the opposition parties.

And so, here it is …..

Sad Times
Once we had a Police Force that was respected by all
Today they are abused swore at and spent most of their time dealing with ugly situations like drunken behavior, knife and gun crimes on the streets of the UK. A lot of their time is taken up with sorting out domestic violence and widespread shoplifting.
So called peaceful protests means the participants have the right to attack the police and when individuals are arrested there are shouts of Police brutality
Many young men and women joined the Police Force to make a difference and protect the streets from criminals and help their community’s by tracking down the thieves and villains that openly roam around causing distress and harm to the innocent.
The Police Force however have a bigger threat that causes them worry. Some will not make it to the end of a shift without injury or mental stress.
This threat is called the general public and they should be ashamed of themselves. Their behavior is splashed all over the media yet the blame for this disruption and violence is placed upon the Police Force
Did the Police Force gather in noisy swearing groups during lockdown?
Did the Police Force invite people to verbally and physically attack them?
Did young men and women join the Police Force to become human punchbags?
Once we were proud of our Police Force and their efforts to keep us safe.
Yet we see it splashed all over the newspapers condoning this kind of behavior by the General Public.
Stiffer sentences and larger fines should be issued out to these kinds of people or these situations and disruptions, they cause will become the acceptable norm
Would you want your son or daughter to Join the Police Force?
Welcome to Feral Britain!

As I said, my dad was a policeman. His time has passed but I have two grandsons, who are both serving police officers. One here in the UK, the other in Western Australia.

I fear for their well being as they carry out their service, protecting the general public.

If I had 5 minutes with Donald this is what I would say… #Resign — Margaret and Helen


Dear Donald, I’d call you Mr. President, but you never bothered to act like one. With no respect where none is due, I must insist that you sit down and shut the hell up. We are done with you. I know you find it hard to believe that you lost the election. It must amaze […]

If I had 5 minutes with Donald this is what I would say… #Resign — Margaret and Helen

Too good …. I just had to share.

Majestic Dinner Service


An unexpected purchase has taken me on something of a hidden history lesson.

Empire Porcelain Company Dinner Service – “Majestic” Pattern

The pictured “Majestic” dinner service was acquired as part of a larger lot at a local auction. Consequently I didn’t know anything about it. However, whilst preparing to try and sell it on eBay, I did a little research and managed to find a few references to the manufacturer, The Empire Porcelain Company. It’s amazing what you can discover on the interweb.

It transpires that the Empire Porcelain Company had been around since 1895 with works in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, England. There were actually three factories operating side by side.

The Empire Porcelain Co Ltd was an important producer of domestic and ornamental earthenware and china for the middle of the market. In the late-1920s and 1930s the company produced interesting art deco-style tablewares and notable art deco ornamental wares decorated using the drip glaze technique. Chinz-decorated wares were produced in the 1940 and 1950s.

From Pottery Histories

The pieces that I have are all dated in the 1950’s, as evidenced by the makers marks on the underside, so they are all around seventy years old.

Empire Porcelain Company marks with date stamp indicating April 1952

The letter B apparently indicates that the dishes were produced under the Wartime Concentration Scheme

The Second World War proved a particularly difficult period for the British pottery industry because severe restrictions were placed on the production of decorated pottery. Production was concentrated in a reduced number of factories in order to save materials, energy and labour as these were needed elsewhere for the war.

Pottery Histories

So there is no sentimental value to the dinner service, well not for me. But the history “behind the glaze” is interesting. Even down to the company being bought by a lawn mower manufacturer. Who would have thought they would have an interest in a pottery company.

Sadly, because the works were difficult to modernise, the Empire Porcelain Company was closed in 1967.

Well Said Bruce


“There’s no art in this White House. There’s no literature, no poetry, no music. There are no pets in this White House. No loyal man’s best friend, no Socks the family cat. There are no images of the first family enjoying themselves together in a moment of relaxation: no Obamas on the beach in Hawaii moments, or the Bushes fishing in Kennebunkport, no Reagans on horseback, no Kennedys playing touch football on the Cape.
Where’d that country go? Where did all the fun, the joy and the expression of love and happiness go? We used to have a president who calmed and soothed a nation, instead of dividing it. We are now rudderless and joyless.
We have lost the cultural aspects of society that have always made America great. We have lost our mojo, our fun, our happiness, our cheering on of others— the shared experience of humanity that makes it all worth it. We need to reclaim that country once again.”
-Bruce Springsteen
(10/30/2020, SiriusXM)