On another cold day I put off my walk until after lunch. A day or two ago we had been talking on the subject of soups. Jackie had mentioned that her favourite was watercress. She made one today and it was very tasty.
As I left the flat, the first flurry of snow greeted me. It didn’t amount to much. I walked under the A31 again, this time by the Malwood Farm underpass.My intention was to then walk across the forest to the Stoney Cross underpass. I knew there was no footpath in the direction in which I wanted to go. Today I found out why. Eventually it was clear I was wire fenced in on all sides except the narrow space by a cattle grid that I had slithered through. So, back I tracked, coming out on to the other side of the A31. I walked along there for a while, until a crash barrier petered out, and I decided that to fight my way through the undergrowth was preferable to withstanding the drag of passing lorries. It turned out not to be. Clambering over fallen trees and battling through holly and rhododendron bushes, I persevered until a branch poked me in the eye. I then battled back to the roadside, to walk the comparatively short distance to the Rufus Stone road, and from there across the heath to yesterday’s cycle track, under the second underpass, and back home via Furzey Gardens.
I have mentioned before that people in the forest are expected to inform various authorites of sightings of sick or injured animals. Jackie read recently that an average of two ponies are killed on the roads in this large national park each week; usually by hit and run drivers at night. It is actually an offence not to report collisions with the livestock. On that final stretch of the A31 roadside lay a dead deer with a car number plate not far off. I normally carry the card with the emergency numbers on it, but I didn’t have it today. I rang Jackie and asked her to text me the phone number I required. She did so. It is the Forestry Commision who wish to be informed about dead deer. They were grateful for the call I made. I was informed that this was a ‘hot spot’ for deer emerging at that point. Even in death, this beautiful creature looked so elegant that I trust my readers will understand my publishing the photograph.
I followed muddy pony tracks over the heath. The rest of the walk was uneventful, possibly because I was thinking of the poor doe.
Jackie produced a leftovers fusion meal for dinner tonight; lamb jalfrezi, chicken in chilli and black bean sauce; with the addition of fresh samosa, spring rolls, and savoury rice. Delicious.
We watched a repeated episode of ‘New Tricks’.