After lunch on a glorious summer’s day, we took Sheila on a drive through the forest via Brockenhurst, Lymington, and Milford on Sea.
It is the season for foals in the forest. Traffic calming structures include short wooden bollards and widened kerbs on either side of the roads, forcing traffic into single files. The necessity for this was evident as one little filly, closely chaperoned by her mother, perched precariously on the kerb, in an effort to relieve herself of irritation she probably didn’t yet know was caused by the flies that would plague her for the rest of her life. Eyes closed, she vainly rubbed her head against the bollard. She had trouble arranging her hoofs.
Other adult ponies wandered across the road, holding up the vehicles as usual.
Further along, a toddler in the arms of his carer, was being introduced to more ponies and cattle sheltering in the shade of a tree on the green.
I had met Percy on 29th January in Polly’s Pantry, when I produced ‘Portrait Of A Village’. Because I had enjoyed this teashop, I took Jackie and Sheila there today. Over our beverages, I told them about Percy. Just before we left, in struggled Percy, with the usual amount of courteous assistance and service from the staff. Usually, when you speak to someone you have only met once, and that six months before, you are inclined to think that the observation ‘Nice to see you again’, which is usually accompanied by a quizzical expression, is just a matter of politeness. Not so with Percy. This very bent, disabled, gentleman, definitely did recognise me. His comment was genuine.
Back home, Jackie continued weeding and tidying the garden.
Helicopters can make a vertical descent and land with precision. So it is with those carried by sycamore trees. Stretching across our back drive from North Breeze next door is such a tree that has self-seeded against what is left of the ancient fence. Its seeds, nicknamed helicopters, hang threatening to drop onto our newly gravelled drive. Despite the fact that they are coloured so as to suggest that they may be support vehicles for the Red Arrows, they cannot be allowed to land among our stones. They had to go. I cut off a few of the branches.
Elizabeth called soon after this and joined us for the usual splendid repast served up by the lady of the house. We all dined on roast chicken thighs, roasted mushrooms and peppers, Yorkshire pudding, creamy mashed swede and potato, boiled potatoes, carrots, mange-touts and green beans; followed by Sheila’s lemon cake and evap. Jackie drank Hoegaarden; Sheila lemonade; and Elizabeth and I, Louis de Camponac merlot 2014.