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.
Chilled and relaxed on holiday I had time to notice a few nice machines, not least because Luc Loisirs Motors near where we were staying specialise in classic machines.
A brace of Honda 750/4's including an especially nice cafe racer version.This was the machine that redefined the motorcycle industry in the 1970's, I can remember excitedly reading about them in Motor Cycle News with my friend on the way to school in anticipation of turning 16 and being able to get on 2 wheels - even if that meant a more modest 50cc moped.
Maybe this is an anti theft deterrent, whichever it's certainly a lean, green and mean machine.
Royal Enfield was my first bike, not entirely dissimilar to the current model I had a 250 Crusader Sport with the little sidelights either side of the speedo and a cafe racer seat. I imagine they are a bit more reliable these days.
Norton's finest and final model before they went bust in the 70's the Commando, great pedigree and performance but people voted with their chequebooks for the Honda and Kawasaki OHC in line 4's.
I quite fancy one of these for nipping down the shops etc.
We took off to Fowey for a long weekend to celebrate Mrs BB's birthday, the drive down was a bit hectic with sea fog drifting onto the Dorset hills near West Bay, but once we got there the weather was fine for what was a pretty much a perfect, winter, weekend away.
Readymoney Cove, apparently the name originates from the Cornish language meaning a shallow ford of stones.
Looking back to the town from St Catherine's Castle
A lone ketch out on the moorings over towards Polruan.
Shortly before the day when we remember 100 years since the end of WW1, we passed through the valley of the Somme on our way to Normandy. In the news there was controversy over President Macron who is apparently keen to downplay any triumphalism tone and instead be respectful of the millions who died in the conflict. My grandfather was one of the fortunate ones, he served in France during WW1 in the cavalry and returned safely home.
Juno beach, where we were staying, peaceful and beautiful now, but it is impossible to walk along those sands without reflecting on the events of June 1944.
Northern France has been witness to the ravages of both world wars during the 20th century, the appreciation and respect for those who fought and died is very present in the grave yards, memorials, towns and villages.
To all those who have fought to defend us, in whatever field, we remember you and we thank you.
With spring tides and settled weather the conditions must have been good for local prawn and shrimp fishermen. Every afternoon at low water there would be maybe 20 or so fishermen out in the shallows with their push nets.
It didn't seem to be an especially commercial activity, more people going out to fish for supper. At high water the shrimpers were gone but there were more than a few casting rods from the beach.
We've been away for a few days to Normandy and enjoyed some mixed but unseasonably good weather which allowed us to enjoy the fabulous beaches at their best.
With the car loaded up with top box, luggage, bikes and even a sewing machine (Mrs BB likes to take her hobbies on holiday) there was no room for the kayaks which would have been perfect, I think that an inflatable one of these is in prospect, easy to transport and get out on the water.
It was a perfect settled day for sea kayaking - note to self, I want to do much more of this next year.
Who needs a spa treatment? Early morning run along the beach at first light, it doesn't get any better. We did loads of cycling, walking and running and felt thoroughly relaxed and rejuvenated after what has been a manic few months. It it weren't for a few too many cakes we might even have lost some weight, but it was a holiday not a punishment :O)
There's been a Kestrel 22 in the harbour at Hill Head for several years so this may or may not be the same one, but it's certainly a nice and well kept example.
The Kestrel One Design Class dates from 1955 to a design by J Francis Jones, a former pupil of the famous naval architect Kim Holman. Jones, from Woodbridge, Suffolk was inspired by shoal-draught sailing on the East Coast and incorporated strong clinker (lap-strake) construction with a lifting keel.