Rolling Over And Thinking About It

This morning I watched the Channel 4 broadcast from Ahmedabad of the last rites of the English Cricket tour of India.

Soon after lunch we visited the pharmacy at Milford on Sea, then drove into the forest.

At Norleywood Car Park we found I was not the only person interested in photographing the wild life. The gentleman in the last two images in this gallery adopted an enviable position from which to obtain his pictures. I was happy to explain to the woman in the first three photographs the story of

the Shetland ponies, which cropped the grass,

ignoring the fallen trees.

Along the road to Beaulieu, many of the trees stand in nature’s water buckets throughout the winter.

Perhaps the ponies gathered here today wished to be near their water source.

I really identified with the seated pony in the final image of the above gallery. All these equine adults when seeking to rise to their feet adopt the practice of first rolling over and thinking about it before stiffly staggering up. This, of course, is why I found the earlier photographer’s position enviable.

Driving along Saint Leonard’s Road past a waterlogged verge, Jackie noticed that the recent drop in the water level had left the surface algae drying on reflected bramble washing lines. These are her pictures;

these are mine.

At the corner of Saint Leonard’s and Norleywood Roads a pony drinking gazpacho soup took umbrage at my attention, shook her head, and sped off into the gorse.

It was a rather startled cockerel that I photographed along South Baddersley Road. Seconds earlier he had been canoodling with a group of guinea fowl. When I unsuccessfully attempted to focus on them they took off, loudly flapping and squawking. He must have wondered what he had done to upset them.

This evening we dined on oven fish and chips, pickled onions, and wallies, with which we finished the Sauvignon Blanc.

Sunny Intervals

Early in the day I watched Channel 4’s transmission of the enthralling second day’s play in the Test Match between India and England.

The forest was still overcast when, this afternoon, we set off for a drive.

Lanes like Bockhampton Road were quite clarty. Beside this one

a whiteness of swans occupying a field attracted my attention as, their serpentine necks sinuously swaying, they foraged in the grass and reflected in one small pool.

The next pale reflector paddled in weed soup in a seasonal pool during a sunny interval at Ibsley. When she became aware of my circling her spot, she emerged from the water and joined

her cousins on the green. I exchanged greetings with the dog walkers as they drew near.

Glowing golden gorse enlivened the landscape below Abbots Well. The second of these images containing another dog walker employing an extending lead shows the difference in light created by a sunny interval. Only the distant slopes are lit; those nearer are overshadowed by cloud.

This evening we dined on tasty smoked haddock; piquant cauliflower cheese; creamy mashed potatoes; crunchy carrots and broccoli, with which we both drank Western Cape Sauvignon Blanc 2020.

A Magnificent Sunset

Early today I watched the Channel 4 broadcast of the first day’s play at the fourth Test Match between India and England.

After lunch I scanned some more colour slides. This is the last of those from Kensal Green Cemetery, made in May 2008. A lengthy preview of Mark Olden’s ‘Murder in Notting Hill’ features the inscription of this grave of Eugene Henry Draggon, known as Jingles.

Late in December of 2008 I received a phone call from an excited John Turpin, who wrote the text of ‘The Magnificent Seven’ informing me that there was a splendid sunset at Kensal Green and urging me to visit and photograph it before it disappeared. I duly obliged.

The last picture in this gallery contains

the rather weather worn memorial to Thomas Taplin Cooke.

According to Wikipedia, he ‘was born in Warwick in 1782 the son of Thomas Cooke and his wife, Mary Ann.[3]

He took over his father’s circus around 1810. In the autumn of 1830, following a pleasurable visit from King William IV and Queen Adelaide, the company adopted the name “Royal Circus” and retained this name for the remainder of their existence.[1]

In 1835 the circus had a semi-permanent structure in Edinburgh (a circular timber structure) at the north end of Lothian Road but this had to be later moved when the Caledonian Railway was built. At this point (c.1850) the circus moved to Nicolson Street, where it was later surplanted by the Empire theatre (now known as the Festival Theatre).[4]

In 1836 he chartered “The Royal Stuart” from Greenock[5] and two smaller vessels to convey the whole circus to America. 40 of the 130 artists were members of the Cooke family. This extended trip included prolonged programmes in New YorkBoston and Walnut Street Philadelphia. At this stage their “pattern” was to erect a large circular building of a temporary nature (normally in wood). It is unclear how long this American tour was intended to last, but it met an abrupt end during their stay in  Baltimore on 3 February 1838, when the Front Street Theater burnt down (note- there is some confusion as two “Front Street Theaters burnt down within 5 weeks of each other: Baltimore on 5 Jan 1838, Buffalo on 3 February 1838).[6] The Cookes lost 50 horses and many items of wardrobe and props in this fire.

It appears that the circus had been used to operating from large theatres up to this point. Either during the American tour or following the fire disaster, Taplin Cooke, had a very large circular tent constructed. After a few more months in Philadelphia, he returned to Britain in the summer of 1838 with this large tent, which freed up the possible locations for the circus.[1]

One very dramatic equestrian show was “Mazeppa” based on a poem by Byron, first performed in Philadelphia in 1838 and still playing until at least 1843 when it was showing at Birmingham in England. This concept was borrowed from Andrew Ducrow‘s show Mazeppa of 1831.[7] In 1846 a similar style of show was based on the life of Dick Turpin.’

Cooke died in 1866. His memorial contains a mourning horse and a child reading.

There is further information on details depicted here in the post ‘Where Is The Body?’ The sphinx is from the grave of the above mentioned Andrew Ducrow, and the Raj Guard from that of Gen. Sir William Casement.

A black and white image of William Mulready containing an explanatory plaque appears in ‘Ninon Michaelis’

I know neither whose hat and gloves have fallen with their broken plinth, nor what is being celebrated in this intriguing bas relief.

This evening we repeated yesterday’s excellent Jalfrezi dinner, complete with beverages, which meant I opened another bottle of the Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon, and toasted Yvonne.

Leaping The Ditch

By 9.30 a.m. this morning an early haze was beginning to lift. In an attempt to catch it we set off at that time on a forest drive.

When we reached Holmsley Passage

the weak sun was soon swimming in swirling watercolour washes of ochre and indigo. It remained beneath them for the rest of the day.

I disembarked to photograph the fresh gorse and aged bracken tinged landscape, taking the opportunity to greet a passing pedestrian.

Our next stop was at Bisterne Close where a glimpse of distant cattle in the woodland tempted me to venture after them.

This involved following their tracks through the trees. I considered myself fortunate that the mud had dried, yet was still friable enough to be safe to walk on without twisting an ankle.

The lowing of the cattle; the sweet music of birdsong; the thudding of a squirrel, were soon joined by

the shrill neighing of a few ponies making their way along a wide footpath.

I spent some time standing beneath these trees wondering what was engaged in spring cleaning above me before I discerned a grey squirrel cleaning out its larder. It didn’t pose for a picture. Neither had the robin whose sweet melody had kept me similarly searching a thorn bush on Holmsley Passage. I was eventually able to identify the singer which remained camouflaged by twiggy branches.

Many trees bore knobbly excrescences suggestive of further forest fauna.

As always there were ample examples of sylvan ecological process as fallen moss-covered branches decomposed providing breeding ground for fungi and numerous insects.

Ponies had the woodland alongside Mill Lane to themselves.

Again, there were plenty of arboreal contributions to the future life of the forest.

The rich chestnut ditchwater alongside Mill Lane may have been the reason the grey pony chose to leap across it to reach the other side of the road.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s hot and spicy chicken jalfrezi, aromatic savoury rice, and vegetable samosas, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Cabernet Sauvignon.

An Irresponsible Chase

This morning, with minimal help from me, Jackie assembled the solar powered water feature bought yesterday. This is not its intended resting place but it has been left on the patio for the sun to charge it up.

On this hazy afternoon we drove to Mudeford and back.

I wandered around the harbour with my camera.

First I focussed upon people taking in the main view, before making my way to the north-eastern side for what I thought would be the best almost monochrome shots.

Take particular note of the elegant swan.

Allowing a glimpse of yellow a sailboarder walked in the water to the shore, where, unbeknown to either of us,

Jackie completed the story as he carried the sail across the sward;

she also photographed the masts laid up for winter, the street lamp, and gulls in flight, one of which perched atop a post.

Now back to my swan and the irresponsible chase. Even when fleeing for their lives swans take a long time to achieve lift-off. Like a bouncing bomb, our Cygnus managed to escape, and the dog returned empty mouthed. The photographer in me saw this as an opportunity; the human being, as a totally irresponsible act by the owner/s who had loosed two such animals in what should be a safe haven.

This evening we reprised yesterday’s fusion dinner with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Cabernet Sauvignon.

A Tryst

Today I scanned Charles Keeping’s next seven illustrations to ‘The Old Curiosity Shop’ by Charles Dickens.

‘ ‘Go, sir,’ returned Dick, leaning against a post and waving his hand’. He is quite clearly drunk.

‘The boy threw his wasted arms around the schoolmaster’s neck’ is a typically tender scene.

‘They drew up there for the night, near to another caravan’

‘The game commenced’ leaves us in no doubt that these are three rogues and the un-pictured gentleman facing them will lose his money.

‘One young lady sprung forward and put the handkerchief in her hand’ pictures a rare act of kindness.

‘Miss Brass went scratching on, working like a steam engine’

‘ ‘Hallo there! Hallo, hallo!’ ‘ faithfully depicts the author’s description of a scene in which two characters are now clearly recognisable.

This afternoon we drove to Everton Garden Centre the where we purchased a garden water feature which we hope to set up tomorrow, and continued with a short trip to the east of Lymington.

We stopped at Saint John the Baptist Boldre Parish Church, in order to photograph

the clusters of daffodils on the bank and around the grounds. The first two of these images are mine; the rest Jackie’s.

While I was wandering around the side my Assistant Photographer featured in her third picture,

a horse, protected against our currently cold nights by a rug, trotted over to the fence between the field and the church. I thought perhaps it was interested in me.

No such luck. I had noticed a gentleman take up a seat in the churchyard. His equine friend had found a way to get to the church fence where her gentleman friend was waiting to continue the conversation that ensued. It was clearly a regular occurrence.

I comforted myself over the rejection by communing with a bay pony on the verge further along the road.

My next conversation was with a family of donkeys;

then alpacas at East End where stands

one of the three mimosa trees was saw blooming today, and numerous gnarled oaks awaiting their own plumage;

a lone thatcher exercised his craft.

Variously coloured crocuses are bursting through the soil before the war memorial on South Baddersley Road.

Jackie’s final offering is a rook she photographed from Hightown Lane yesterday.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s savoury egg fried rice; tempura prawns; and a rack of pork ribs in barbecue sauce with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2020. This was followed by Bakewell tart and New Forest Rhubarb and Ginger ice cream.

Sunlight Playing The Forest

Despite the forecast of sunny spells today we were treated to clear cerulean skies and full sunshine throughout the day.

As we set off early to Ferndene Farm shop I paused to admire Jackie’s planting of primulas and violas in front of the garage door trellis.

This was the view from the car as I waited for just a short time for the Shopping Lady to rejoin me.

Long shadows stretched across Beckley Road and the driveway to The Glen;

and knitted knotted skeins across the woodland verges beside the road to Burley, on which

Jackie parked the Modus enabling me to photograph the moorland landscape.

Joggers, cars, walkers, and cyclists competed for space. We had imagined that the rather slow driver of the red car was keeping her distance from the cyclists ahead. She was, however, no faster after those on bikes turned off.

Hightown Lane was my next point of embarkation. Again walkers, cyclists, and other vehicles vied for space on the narrow road. Voices carried some distance.

I began drinking in the delights of the clear, sparkling, stream, revealing glimpses of its bed among rippling reflections; clumps of golden daffodils; bright backlit leaves; and pendant overhanging catkins.

One of the field horses wearing a red rug revealed the need for warmth during the still very cold nights. It wasn’t that warm at 11 a.m. either.

Gnarled trees and sinuous wooden fences cast their own images beneath and beside them;

while those following the contours of mossy banks created concave and convex curves as penetrating light illuminated the soft green cushions and picked out russet autumn leaves.

During her vigil on the verge Jackie spent some time pondering who might live in a cave on the bank.

This evening we dined on further helpings of yesterday’s, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Merlot Tannat.

Sunny Rooms

Today the sun shone its light into our rooms. As yesterday, accessing the gallery by clicking on any image will reveal individual titles.

This afternoon I watched the televised Six Nations rugby matches between Italy and Ireland, and between Wales and England.

Dinner this evening consisted of tasty baked gammon; creamy mashed potatoes; piquant cauliflower cheese; crunchy carrots; and tender runner beans, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Merlot Tannat.

Today The Sun Came Out To Play

Individual picture titles will be found on the gallery, otherwise I will leave the title and the sun in charge.

This evening we dined on roast chicken thighs; chipolata sausages; crisp roast potatoes, parsnips and Yorkshire pudding; sage and onion stuffing; flavoursome Brussels sprouts and carrots, with tasty gravy. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Cotes de Gascogne Merlot Tannat 2019.

Along The Lanes

The third Test Match between India and England finished very early on this, the second, day, giving me the opportunity to stop watching Channel 4 and for Jackie to take me on a forest drive after purchasing primulas and violas from Ferndene Farm Shop.

She parked on an un-waterlogged section of the verges while I walked olong photographing

still naked oak branches against the sky;

swathes of snowdrops in the woodland, wet enough to harbour

reflective pools; as did the

soggy verges.

Fallen trees among the snowdrops bore moss, holly, and ivy leaves.

I returned to the car and we continued to Anna Lane,

on one side of which two New Forest ponies were penned in a field, perhaps for someone to train for riding;

and on the other side sprawled a lengthy pig farm.

Finally, a splendidly sculptural oak stump stands at a bend on Bennet’s Lane.

This evening we dined on well roasted chicken thighs, crisp roast potatoes, parsnips, Yorkshire puddings, and sage and onion stuffing; flavoursome Brussels sprouts and carrots, with which the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Shiraz. Bakewell tart and vanilla ice cream was to follow,