Ponies On The Road

Causing us some speculation, a straight line of horse droppings ran in front of us along Christchurch Road this morning on our journey to the forest. Wild ponies would not breach the barrier fences even if they could approach near enough; it would be a rather stupid equestrian who would ride a horse along that tarmac – that left a horse and cart.

While we were wondering whether we would catch up with such a vehicle we fell in behind a slow moving line of traffic which suddenly caught up speed. Whatever had occasioned the ponderous pace must have turned off, we thought.

Then we spied a pony and trap conveniently tucked in beside the road. Both the driver and Jackie waited patiently for a lull in the traffic stream.

Soon we found ourselves following the transport from an earlier era, before eventually passing and exchanging waves with the leisurely travellers.

Pannage pigs of the Gloucester Old Spot breed burrowed among the acorn mast among the lower verges of Bull Hill, and along Jordans Lane, where Jackie parked the Modus and I stepped onto the still dry bed of the Pilley lake,

when a loud grunting behind me alerted me to the fact that this second group were clambering down the bank intent on joining

others seeking nourishment.

Gulls, geese, and swans, happily coexisted beside Beaulieu River.

Our return home along St Leonards Road was only briefly delayed by a bout of equine meandering.

This evening we dined on succulent roast chicken; crisp Yorkshire pudding; boiled new potatoes; firm broccoli and cauliflower; crunchy carrots; and meaty gravy, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden, I drank more of the Merlot, and Flo and Dillon abstained.

“Grandpa Can’t Get Off The Sofa”

This morning’s dull but dry day’s weather developed after lunch into steady rain and intermittent fierce gusts of wind.

The smack of one of the wooden patio chairs smashing onto the paving sent me out in order to lay down the others and two large pedestals formed of ecclesiastical candlesticks standing in the rose Garden.

Poor light on the sitting room floor did not prevent Ellie from demonstrating her alert vision and control of her neck as she followed Jackie’s twizzling ladybird stick backwards and forwards.

Her acute ears led her to turn towards the clicking camera.

While Jackie walked her around the room she remained focussed on the light source of wonder above her,

and battled to avoid sleep as her great-Grannie sat with her on the sofa,

until handing her to her mother to carry her upstairs. Here Flo demonstrates a foolproof holding technique that has been demonstrated to calm any crying baby – not that Ellie was crying.

I have not been able to turn my neck quite so much since a rugby injury 62 years ago – and now very little. Neither can I prise myself up from the sofa without the use of my hands which had been cradling my sleeping great-granddaughter for an hour yesterday evening.

When it was time for me to go to bed Jackie had to call upstairs to Flo, informing her that “Grandpa can’t get off the sofa”. My hands were soon freed.

This evening we dined on flavoursome pork and chives sausages; crisp Yorkshire pudding; creamy mashed potato; crunchy carrots; and tender cabbage and green beans, with tasty gravy. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, I drank Valle Central prima reserva 2019, and Flo and Dillon abstained.

Woolly Aphids

Whenever the phone lines and consequently the internet goes down in our neck of the woods the culprit is often an overgrown tree. This causes us to keep an eye on the proximity to the overhead cables of our two crab apples in the front garden.

This is why Martin began work on his fortnightly gardening session on this balmy early autumn morning with pruning the tops of these trees. The third of these pictures is “Where’s Martin? (2)”

It was not long before he reported on an infestation of woolly aphids which required much more surgery on one of the trees.

The next few paragraphs are extracts from https://www.rhs.org.uk/biodiversity/woolly-aphid

‘What is woolly aphid?

Woolly aphid is black aphid that sucks sap from woody stems of apple, cotoneaster and pyracantha and covers itself in a white waxy secretion.

Aphids are sap-sucking true bugs and are an important part of many food chains, supporting many predators. They range in size from 1 to 7mm (¼in or less) long. Some aphids are known as greenfly or blackfly, but there are species that are yellow, pink, white or mottled. There are more than 500 aphid species in Britain. Some feed on only one or two plant species, but others can be found on a wide range of plant hosts. Almost any plant can be a host to aphids, including ornamentals, vegetables, fruits, greenhouse plants and houseplants.

Symptoms

Woolly aphid is usually easy to spot;

  • Between spring and early autumn, affected parts of the trunk and branches are covered with a fluffy white waxy material. This is secreted by the blackish brown aphids
  • The thinner bark around old pruning cuts is a prime site for woolly aphid colonies in spring but by mid-summer the insect spreads to younger shoots
  • Affected shoots usually develop soft, lumpy growths in the bark as a result of woolly aphid feeding. Such shoots are easily spotted during winter pruning. The swellings can split in frosty weather and create entry wounds for the fungal disease known as apple canker
  • Woolly aphid is only found on apple, cotoneaster and pyracantha on other plants the white waxy deposits could be signs of other insects including scale insectswoolly beech aphid or in glasshouses mealybug

Control

Check susceptible plants frequently from spring onwards so action can be taken before a damaging population has developed. Little can be done to deal with aphids on tall trees as treatment is only likely to be successful if the entire plant can be reached. When choosing management options you can minimise harm to non-target animals by starting with the methods in the non-pesticide control section and avoiding pesticides. Within pesticides the shorter persistence products (that are usually certified for organic growing) are likely to be less damaging to non-target wildlife than those with longer persistence and/or systemic action. Pesticide treatments are likely to kill natural enemies and are only likely to be successful if the entire plant can be reached.

Non-pesticide control

  • On small trees with light populations, it is possible to control woolly aphid by scrubbing the aphid colonies with a stiff-bristled brush. This is best done in spring or early summer before an extensive population has built up
  • Where possible tolerate populations of aphids, they form an important part of many food chains and can be part of a healthy garden ecosystem
  • Encourage aphid predators in the garden. Woolly aphid has a number of natural enemies which help to keep it in check, although they are rarely effective enough to prevent damage occurring. They are eaten by some ladybirds, lacewings and hoverfly larvae, and they are also attacked by a parasitoid wasp called Aphelinus mali. The parasitoid wasp can sometimes be found in gardens, particularly those where little pesticide spraying is done. It is fairly easy to recognise the parasite’s presence, as parasitised aphids stop producing wax and become black. A circular hole can sometimes be seen in the aphid’s upper surface where the adult parasitoid wasp has emerged. If the parasitoid is found, it can be encouraged by limiting the use of pesticides
  • Research indicates that earwigs on fruit trees can reduce aphid numbers and on fruit trees they do not cause damage. Providing shelters such as flower pots loosely stuffed with hay in trees can help increase numbers

Biology

Woolly aphid overwinters on its host plants as nymphs that hide in cracks in the bark or in crevices around old feeding areas. During the winter months the aphids do not produce the waxy material that gives them the characteristic woolly coating in spring and summer.

In spring, the aphids become active again, mainly around old pruning cuts or other places on the trunk or larger branches where the bark is thinner. They begin sucking sap from beneath the bark, and start secreting the fluffy ‘wool’.

Populations reach a peak in mid- to late summer, when the aphids spread onto the younger shoots. Chemicals secreted into the plant as the aphids feed induce lumpy growths in the bark, especially on the younger shoots.

In mid-summer, winged forms of the aphid develop and these will fly off in search of new host plants.’ (https://www.rhs.org.uk/biodiversity/woolly-aphid)

One of Jackie’s earliest memories was of her grandfather standing under an apple tree in his garden with a matchbox. Her job was to point out the individual creatures which he untruthfully said he couldn’t see very well; he would then burn them off with a lighted match.

Martin needed to decimate the affected tree.

He cleared the refuse and transported it to the Back Drive at the far end of the garden, and still managed to mow the lawn.

This evening we are taking Dillon, Flo, and Ellie for a meal at the Fleur-de-Lys. Because I cannot publish any more new pictures on current posts until my WordPress site has been fully hosted by Peacock Computers I recommend viewing this earlier post https://derrickjknight.com/2018/08/03/fleur-de-lys/ of our first visit to this 11th Century Pub.

Cattle In The Woods

Early this morning Jackie drove me into the forest.

We aimed to take our normal route along Holmsley Passage which had been closed for four days from the 21st. The signs from the entrance beside the A35 had been lowered so we merrily sped down the winding, undulating, lane, only to find barriers at the halfway point. There were indications that some patching of the eroded edges of the tarmac had been begun, but nothing was happening today. This is not an unusual phenomenon but we had travelled hopefully. I photographed the woodland beside the carpark, beyond which we could not continue.

We backtracked and deviated over the newly repaired bridge on the A337.

Outside Burley we came across some curious cows

and their quizzical calves merging with woodland foliage and browning bracken.

The size of fallen oak leaves among the grass beneath the trees gives perspective to a string of very small, almost imperceptible, mushrooms

near larger fungi, some of which had provided breakfast on the hoof.

This afternoon I made further headway with Richardson’s “Clarissa”.

We dined this evening on a rack of pork spare ribs; hot and spicy and tempura prawn preparations; and Jackie’s flavoursome savoury rice, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden, I finished the Comté Tolosan Rouge, and Flo and Dillon drank fruit cordial.

On The Brink of October

This morning I trained my camera on the garden from various vantage points

beginning with our en suite bathroom window.

From the patio can be seen, against the kitchen wall, some of the glorious zinnias that Jackie grew from seed and spread abundantly around the beds;

and this corner of the Pond Bed sporting Delta’s Sarah fuchsia, geraniums, petunias, and the ubiquitous erigeron;

this side of the Chilean lantern Bed, with its begonias, Japanese anemones, and dahlias lies alongside

the Gazebo Path, dappled by a sunny interval, as was

the owl and Mrs Popple fuchsia in the Cryptomeria Bed,

and the Weeping Birch bed with its well out of season kniphofias, and further fuchsias.

Shadows were cast across the Brick Path and its flanking flowers.

Finally I focussed on the prolific varieties of bloom around the Wisteria Arbour. These are our colours on the brink of October.

The Header Picture shows the Brick Path when we were recovering from heavy storms one day nearer October last year.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s wholesome cottage pie, firm broccoli and cauliflower, crunchy carrots, tender cabbage, and meaty gravy with which the Culinary Queen drank Hogaarden, I drank Comté Tolosan Rouge, and Flo and Dillon abstained.

Back For A Fry-Up

My post of 10th September tells, with photographs, of the help given to us in adversity by Gary Of Romsey Burger Bar.

We set out this morning to return to the scene of our breakdown and to

sample the promising fry-ups on offer. The larger plateful consists of my 13 items builder’s breakfast; the smaller Jackie’s 6 items version. The container between our meals bears our portions of fried bread. Hot drinks were to follow. We both chose mugs of excellent tea. We knew that this would be worth the trip, but we could not have expected the top quality ingredients cooked to perfection. Beneath the sunny smile of the two lushly laden, firm fried eggs on my plate lurked a large halved grilled tomato similar to that on Jackie’s, two slices of meaty black pudding, more mushrooms than can be seen peeking out, and a heap of chips, added at my request as an alternative to two hash browns, which Marie, on duty today, had started so she finished cooking for me; our sausages, sliced lengthways, were well flavoured with herbs; the bacon slices were large and lean, and the baked beans a glistening golden brown. It was an impressive balancing act to stack all this on one standard plate.

We were well compensated for Gary’s absence today by the presence of his lovely wife, Marie, who would only accept payment for the smaller, less expensive, spread.

Tonight’s dinner was leftovers from yesterday’s curry with added samosas, sag paneer and buttered chicken. It should not surprise readers that a small portion of naga chilli chicken and vegetable rice sufficed for me. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Chevalier De Fauvert Comté Tolosan Rouge 2019.Flo and Dillon abstained.

“I’m Going To Tell Him Off”

At lunchtime we drove to William Gilpin school at Pilley where, for the establishment’s Food Festival, we joined Elizabeth, Danni, Ella, Jack, Adam, Thea, and Jasper – my sister, niece, great niece, great nephew, nephew, niece-in-law, and great nephew respectively – although, as will be seen, respect didn’t really come into it for Ella.

This was a well-attended happy event in perfect sunny, yet temperate weather.

It was suggested that I might like to sit on a hay bale if I needed to rest my knees. I explained that, were I to do so, I would be unable to get up. Mind you, I would not have needed protection from the tiger from one of these seats.

Apart from the odd tree root this terrain was flat enough for me to wander around reasonably comfortably.

Because we had eaten toast at home before we left we felt no need to join the

lengthy queues for food, the most popular of which seemed to be for pizzas

and tacos.

Having arrived earlier, the younger families were happily fed.

Thea clutched a cardboard container

while Jasper and Ella climbed in and out of building bricks of large solid tyres.

Jack took everything in although he didn’t say much.

Did I mention the tiger?

Well, when I did decide I would like to sit down for a bit, I joined a group resting on a seat built around a large oak tree. I chose the highest section and chatted happily with the woman next to me, until I was approached by an artistically painted tiger who, stern-faced stated “I was sitting there”.

My neighbour explained to the fierce feline that “this gentleman needs to sit here”. This cut no ice so I shifted sideways. The tiger, having made her point, leaving the open space sat on the other side of me.

I then owned up to knowing that when this particular little big cat told you to do something you’d best comply, thus revealing my relationship to my great niece.

Sharing the amusement later I learned from Thea that Ella had pointed out that I was sitting in her place and, marching across from the tyre, stated “I’m going to tell him off”.

We all decamped to Elizabeth’s for a short while before Jackie and I returned home, where Becky and Ian brought back Dillon, Flo, and Ellie, quickly turning around to their own home.

The four of us dined on Red Chilli’s excellent takeaway fare. My main choice was Naga Chilli Chicken and vegetable rice with which I finished the Malbec. We shared peshwari naans. Jackie didn’t imbibe and Flo and Dillon drank fruit cordial

Older Than We Had Thought

Our brother-in-law Ron Salinger sent me an e-mail yesterday alerting me to a mention of our house in the New Milton Advertiser. We therefore bought a copy from Ferndene Farm Shop, and continued into the forest on a much brighter, more sun-sparkly morning than the miserable looking afternoon featured more recently along Christchurch Road below.

This set of pictures, gathered on a gleaming Braggers Lane, exemplifies the glittering foliage we enjoyed throughout the lanes we traversed, and demonstrates that summer has no intention of yielding to autumn just yet.

The seasonal conflict is most apparent in ferns and bracken, some of which remain stubbornly verdant and others curl in submission.

Grasses show signs of age and of youth.

Trees are not yet prepared to shed their leaves, although

pannage pigs would enjoy rooting among the varied mast dropped beneath them.

After lunch I applied myself to the newspaper article.

Forming part of Reflections: The A337 – story of a road well-travelled (part two) by Nick Saunders on https://www.advertiserandtimes.co.uk, the article suggests that the core of our much periodically updated house is older than we had thought.

Of the A337 from Christchurch Mr Saunders writes: ‘When the road crossed over the Danestream it also crossed the boundary into Hordle Parish. Here, too, the road has been realigned. The 1841 map shows a dog-leg junction at the crossroads with the Royal Oak Inn. The hostelry, recorded on the tithe map, was an important staging post for the horse-drawn transport of the 1800s. It was here that the mail could be collected along with goods and supplies brought to the area by wagon, and horses could be changed or given a rest and water.

The cottages on the entrance to Downton beside the car sales premises have an 1897 date stone and, therefore, would not have been something the traveller from 1841 would recognise. Opposite the inn was the blacksmith’s forge and house. In 1958 the junction was straightened out by demolishing a cottage and taking a large slice of the blacksmith’s garden.

Just a little to the east is the old post office, possibly built in the 1850s or later. (my italics). The tithe map shows the post office of 1841 on the road to Hordle village.’

We have https://derrickjknight.com/2015/07/23/an-historic-view/ of the house from probably earlier than the 1930s.

The changes undergone since the 1960s are detailed in https://derrickjknight.com/2014/07/30/friths-postcards/ which does not currently contain photographs that have been, hopefully temporarily, removed during the transfer of my WP site to the care of Peacock Computers.

This evening we dined on moist roast lamb, boiled new potatoes, crunchy carrots, firm cauliflower, tender green beans and meaty gravy, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Malbec.

The Celebratory Birthday Song

Last night’s meal at Spice Cottage in Westbourne was a celebration of Ian’s birthday.

As is her wont, Ellie decided she wanted feeding as soon as we were all

seated around the table.

Fortunately Flo had come prepared and Becky was only too keen to dispense the substitute nourishment. The restaurant manager had recognised us when we drove past seeking a parking spot, and informed our daughter and son-in-law that we were on our way. He volunteered to take the group photograph as soon as he had provided a bowl of warm water for Becky to bring the milk to the correct, comfortable, temperature. Once satisfied, our great-granddaughter remained quietly contented for the rest of the evening.

The meal was as good and the service as friendly as ever, and Ian was treated to the customary exuberantly joyful celebratory song in their own tongue from the staff, followed by his special dessert sporting one candle, which we all sampled in turn.

This afternoon I made further headway on reading Richardson’s lengthy 18th century novel, Clarissa. Having passed page 390, I am one quarter into the book. The Folio Society have managed to publish their edition in two volumes, whereas the original required eight.

This evening we dined on cheese and salami pizza with fresh salad. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Catena Mendoza Malbec 2020.

Late Summer Blooms

On a balmy late-summer morning I took my camera around the garden seeking auguries of the true autumn as opposed to the false one we experienced as a consequence of the heatwave of a month ago.

We have two crab apple trees in the front garden, the fruit of which have, until last winter, nourished our blackbirds throughout the colder months. During the last such season they eschewed these offerings. It remains to be seen whether these members of the Malus genus will this year fall untasted to the ground.

This blue lace cap hydrangea is borne by a regenerated stem on a plant apparently finished for the year.

Varieties of wilting phlox have also rejuvenated,

as have drought-dried dahlias, while

blooming begonias burgeon once more.

Dwarf sunflowers grown from seed have emerged from the soil.

Pale lilac colchicums, or autumn crocuses, nod to their season,

as do Rosa Glauca hips

and the barren seed heads of some clematises.

Virginia creeper’s mantle draping the south wall of the back drive is turning to its warm autumnal hues.

Crown Princess Margareta continues climbing over the rose garden covered bench,

and Special Anniversary has come round again.

White solanum and purple clematis clamber over the dead elm trunk.

This evening Jackie drove us all over to Spice Cottage in Westbourne where we dined with Becky and Ian. Flo, Dillon, and Ellie remained to stay with our daughter and son-in-law for a couple of nights.

I will feature this event with a couple of photographs tomorrow.