Spot The Deer

On a dull afternoon which only brightened up on our way home, Jackie took us on a driveabout to the North of the forest and back.

Riders and cyclists

Riders and pedestrians

It being possibly the first weekend of the holiday season, pedestrians, cyclists and riders, like these on the outskirts of Brockenhurst, sometimes holding up proceedings, abounded.

Among the prizes © Norman Thelwell. National Trust hosts Norman Thelwell exhibition of original illustrations from private family archives. Mottisfont welcomes in the New Year with a major exhibition from the private family archives of one of Britainís most popular cartoonists, Norman Thelwell. Best known for his hilarious cartoons of plump little girls on equally spherical ponies, these familiar pictures are joined by other satires of twentieth-century life, alongside beautiful paintings of local landscapes. The exhibition, which features over 70 original artworks, includes many that have never been on show before. First created in the 1950s and published extensively since, Thelwellís pony cartoons are still easily recognisable today. The artist drew the endearing characters Penelope and her mischievous pony Kipper in hundreds of humorous scenarios, from ungainly jumps and gallops to the destruction of country fairs. Thelwell also produced numerous other satirical cartoons, with astute and amusing observations on country life, from gardening and fishing to the upkeep of heritage properties. While these images have given Thelwell a lasting reputation as a talented cartoonist, he is less well known for his beautiful landscape art. Thelwell lived close to Mottisfont ñ an idyllic country house in Hampshire, now owned by the National Trust ñ and captured the surrounding countryside in a series of stunning watercolours.Mottisfontís exhibition reveals many of these pictures, including images of Mottisfont itself, Romsey Abbey, and the landscape and villages of the Test Valley, brought to life by an extraordinary talent for naturalistic painting. Displayed alongside Thelwellís well-loved cartoons, the exhibition demonstrates how the artistís amusing observations on life in the country are rooted in a deep-seated love of the Hampshire landscape. Also on display are a series of never-before-seen sketches and a selection of models which the artist created as protot

It was the red coated little girl on the Thelwell pony, visible as the group turned left off the road, who caught our eye and had me leaping out of the car. Thanks to for the image.

Waterlogged drive

Beyond the 30 mph sign to the right of the first picture, can be seen the start of a waterlogged drive,

Waterlogged verge

whilst the verge on the left bears typical pools of recent rainwater.

Ponies 1

Pony and cyclistPonies 2Pony 1Ponies 2

Ponies, ignoring the passing traffic, continued their task of mowing the grass, which is more than I could do at home today, because it was too wet.

Gorse over pool

Apart from the cyclist’s outfit, the fresh yellow gorse was the brightest aspect of this particular soggy stretch.

Donkeys 1Donkeys 2Donkeys 3

At Ibsley, a string of sedate donkeys exercised their right of way among the traffic,

Cow and calf

whilst, further on at Hyde cows had the intelligence to teach their calves road sense by taking a detour around us. As you can see, there is one behind us.

Deer in forest

Readers may discern a camouflaged deer in this shot. It’s there, honest.

Unfortunately I pressed Publish before adding our meal and the tags. This should put that right. We enjoyed beef burgers, fried onions, chips, and baked beans for our dinner, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and I drank Reserve des Tuguets madiran 2012.


    1. I doubt that will be the last selection of Thelwell at Mottisfont. They’re an extremely good ‘draw’ for the National Trust (who won Mottisfont), at a season when the house and gardens don’t get many visitors, so I expect they’ll keep milking the cash cow. His son David (I’m a Facebook ‘friend’ of his: he’s also a nature artist), who manages the Norman Thelwell estate, still lives in the Test Valley (though not, I think, at Norman’s old home), so Mottisfont is his “local” art gallery. There was a previous N. Thelwell show there about 8 – 10 years ago, and – even longer ago – one at Southampton City Art Gallery, including his war sketches.

      1. “won Mottisfont” should read “own… ” (I wish WordPress would provide an author edit facility, like Facebook do!)

      2. All extremely interesting. It was my friend from Oxford who is the real Thelwell fan – loved him since she was a child. For me it was a chance to visit Mottisfont, which I still haven’t done all these years. The price originally put me off going with my family and now – getting someone else who wants to come with me. We will eventually go. She was too exhausted to make the journey down. I loved the war sketches!

          1. Thank you so much for the invite. I think my friend is going to try again in a few weeks though. We hope to see the Harold Hillier gardens as well. If not, then from your post, June looks like a wonderful time to visit.

  1. Deer me, it’s amazing how certain skills learned in childhood may abide in our dotage, even though we haven’t used them in ages. For a (former) deer-hunting Maine-iac like me, spotting that deer was pretty easy… 🙂

  2. I am always amazed by your meandering horses, donkeys, cows, and whatnot. Your version of country is so far removed from ours. . . A cow on the road wouldn’t stand a chance in these parts. : ( I THINK I see the deer. Don’t want to spoil the fun for the others – Perhaps you can post an update in the future & let me know if i am right.

  3. What a lovely day it seems to have been. I love the pictures where you can see the skies reflect in the water and the ponies’ shots. As for the deer I had to enlarge the image to make sure it really was there. Nicely camouflaging itself 😀

  4. So many large animals wandering around your roads! We get deer wandering about our streets, and even sometimes in our yard–but no ponies, donkeys, or cattle. 🙂
    You can see the deer more easily if you click on the photo to make it larger.

  5. What good use of a waterlogged drive and riders in red. I saw the deer; it reminded me of a Cantonese tongue twister; don’t ask. Your rules of the road are more civilised than ours – our country roads are covered in ‘road kills’ – if you set off early enough each day you would never need to buy meat. People fit bull bars on their 4WDs for just that purpose.

  6. I am pleased to report my deer spotting eye sight is in fine form as I didn’t even have to hunt about for it. Wish I could say the same for finding my dropped beads ………

    1. Reminds me of a radio skit from the 50s (not sure of the programme). ‘What’s that spot on the ceiling?’. ‘OK, Spot, you can come down now’. Thanks, Paul

    1. They are all owned, although free to roam. The cattle have tags, and the ponies also have tails cut according to ownership. That way they can be identified. Well done with the deer (which are not owned), and thanks, Lisa

  7. I like any time you have ponies I am smiling, Derrick. This time the Mama cow teaching her Baby calf to take another path instead of the road made me really happy.
    The insertion of the old fashioned cartoon really emphasized the scene with the real horseback riders!

  8. I like the tame donkeys and all the animals in the pictures. They all looked pretty sedate, don’t they? Even the deer hiding out in the grass. Thanks for sharing!

  9. I had to show this to my husband, Clif and his comment “A whole new meaning to share the road” is exactly right. Donkeys, horses, cows, bikers, cars. Holy guacamole!

  10. Beautiful driving while watching the horses, donkeys, cows, and whatnot. 🙂 Thank you for sharing with us, Derrick. 🙂

  11. Wow, I really had to hunt for the deer, as well as enlarge the image. IT was only my pride that kept me hunting ….everyone else seemed to have found it so easily.
    What a busy road!!

Leave a Reply