Today I walked the ford ampersand, with a slight diversion to the village shop on the way home. I was alerted by a clinking coming from beside Minstead Hall. This emanated from the local bottle bank which hitherto we had been unable to find. I spoke to a man emptying his bottles into it. He pointed out that the area wasn’t very tidy. He wouldn’t tidy that up but he did tidy the forest. He only goes into the forest because of his dog, but always brings litter back with him. If every dog-walker brought back one item he thought the forest would be clear. I said I had been amazed that people who loved the area enough to visit it would be so casual as to drop drink cans and food wrappers in it. I have not mentioned it before, but the verges do have these articles thrown onto them. I told the man I would follow his example. We were joined by a woman called Carol, introduced as the Mayoress. She thought I must be the man her daughter had seen walking around.
There were a number of dog-walkers out today. I also met a young couple by their car trying to transfer their feet from muddy boots to everyday shoes without either falling over or touching the road with their stockinged feet. I well know it is an awkward procedure, almost as difficult as trying to get a foot back into a sodden shoe without slipping it directly into the mud. That is of course quite impossible. We exchanged pleasantries about having footwear sucked off by the mud.
As I passed the still extant twig circle I had seen since 4th December I reflected on Becky’s observation on my post of 26th. She had Googled the two circles mentioned and come up with the sensible suggestion that these circles were the work of a Druid Grove. The Sylvan Grove of the Order of Bards, Ovates, and Druids was formed at Samhain in 2004. Its Home Page speaks of pagan pub moots around the New Forest. Jim Champion, a forest photographer has posted a picture of a ‘Stone Circle in Wick Wood, New Forest’ taken in 2007. This is identical to my shot of 26th and is situated near Acres Down, as is mine.
This afternoon Helen and Bill, and Shelley and Ron came to visit and stay for the evening meal. Jackie produced a succulent gammon joint with a vast range of vegetables, followed by apple crumble which was much enjoyed and based on the sisters’ Uncle Max’s recipe. Red and white wines were drunk. We had enjoyable conversation throughout, distributed presents after the meal, and played Scrabble.