This "vandalised" sign has been like this for months now, always makes me smile. For those who don't know the area or would like to visit Mount Doom, Mordor AKA Locks Heath is between Park Gate and Warsash, but beware of orcs, elves and hobbits.
Inevitably someone from the council will spot it and have it repaired - eventually.
After the usual over indulgence of Christmas day it's nice to get out and blow the cobwebs away on boxing day, so we headed out early into the New Forest and the river walk from Beaulieu to Buckler's Hard.
All was quiet and still in the marina which I always thought was fantastically called the Agamemnon boatyard but these days seems to be just called Buckler's Hard Boatyard.
A welcome surprise the Masterbuilder's Hotel was open early serving hot and cold drinks to thirsty walkers and cyclists alike. The weather was mild enough to sit outside and enjoy the view.
Heading back to Beaulieu the path was getting busy with walkers who perhaps hadn't made such an early start, but off the beaten track things were still scerene and still, like this little creek off the main river.
Roger, owner of the lovely Melonseed Skiff Three Cheers has been sending me his delightful Christmas cards for the past few years.
Above, this year 's card reads " These two good friends spent a glorious Autumn morning sailing the bay. Their skippers have nudged them in to the marsh grass of a little creek with their sails luffing in the afternoon breeze and have stepped ashore to enjoy a picnic in the warm sunshine."
Below Roger's card from 2017 which has been on the pin board by my desk all year, looks like a perfect day's sailing
Roger wrote how he enjoys reading Bursledon Blog and so thanks to him and the few other regular readers especially Alden, Barry, Steve (Arwen) , Steve (Sparrow) , Bonnie, Capt'n JP, Mark (hopefully not too skint a sailor), Joe, (always a great weekend) Lorenzo, Curt, Michael, Patrick, Paul, Francesco, My2fish and apologies to anyone I've missed - wishing you all the very best for Christmas and leave you with this picture of the lobster pot Christmas tree on Emsworth quay.
One of the Fowey gig crews nosed out of the estuary into what was quite a breezy south easterly.
The boat was coping very well with the lumpy seas but they turned around and headed back to the river where the conditions were much nicer.
I've done similar in Gato Negro our rowing boat, even once went out in a gale, admittedly the Solent is well protected, but it was good to see how the boat and more importantly I coped, which apart from being very hard work was pretty good, but it was nice to get back to the protected waters of the river.
Between reading Rupert Kirkwood's Lone Kayaker blog (which is a great read if you haven't seen it) and the strong winds we've had pretty much every weekend, I can't actually remember the last time I went rowing. So with chronic withdrawal symptoms, an all too brief window between daylight and the rain forecast for lunchtime, I was down at the slipway just after 8.00 on a flat calm Sunday morning.
I had the slipway to myself apart from this cormorant who hung around curiously while I prepped the boat and flew off at the last moment as I launched.
At first I thought there was mist rising from the saltings, but a little further down I realised it was smoke from the houseboats at Salterns.
Stopping off in Hamble to deliver a Christmas card, I headed back up river, the view was fantastic, does it get any better? Alas the view downriver was less inviting, the forecast clouds and rain making an unwelcome early appearance.
By the time I'd rowed up river from Hamble village the cloud had caught up. There followed a sprint back to Swanwick hard, with blisters to show how out of rowing condition I am. Fortunately the rain held off and I type this with the fire blazing and a hot cup of tea. Great start to the day.
Looks like a fun dinghy spotted in France recently, designed by Jean-Pierre Boutemy
Below the rather quaint translation of the Voile News 2006 summary.
The Booxy: fun and sensations safely ...
With a versatile, racy and powerful hull, the BOOXY 4.40 is a very stable dinghy, particularly fast and comfortable that will allow to discover the "new generation" dinghy and the pleasures of the asymmetrical spinnaker.
His cockpit auto bouncer is open on its entire length. The ergonomics have been particularly neat at the side boxes and the open transom.
The Booxy is equipped under the bridge with a large waterproof box that can store safety equipment, accessories, personal effects ...
The care given to the construction as well as the double bottom connected to the hull by a pre-molded and laminated polyester structure ensure a very strong solidity to this perfectly monobloc assembly. The mechanical stresses of the shrouds and the drifting well are taken up by specific reinforcements, while the "wing" struts supported by the shape of the hull guarantee a greater rigidity.
Construction: Polyester felt sandwich with omega reinforcements and plywood behind every piece of deck hardware.