Cherry blossom

Pausing to admire one of the freshly flowering cherries in the front garden, we took an early morning drive through forest to Eyeworth Pond and back.

Pony behind burnt stalks

Sometimes the heathland, after the burning of the gorse, can appear like a Paul Nash landscape. So it was today. As we approached Burley, I spotted a pony appearing to be boxed in behind the stalk stubble.

The Driver obligingly turned round and drove into a carpark we had just passed, so I could  walk back and take the photograph.

Horse, Fynn in box

In the carpark stood a horse box. Peering through its barred window was a far more elegant relative of the pony. It was clearly his portrait on the side of the transport vehicle.

This was Fynn, representing the first piece of synchronicity afforded by this pit stop. He was also involved in the second, which follows:

An exchange between Bruce, Paul, and me, following my ‘Down The Lane’ post, concerning why a gentleman might have changed his trousers, reminded me of the story of the catch, another occurrence in a cricket match which I featured in ‘Six Leg Byes’. What happened was that Keith Boyce, a phenomenal West Indian Test player, hit a skier (a ball going straight up in the air) off my bowling. Everyone stood in anticipation, watching the poor man standing underneath it, as the ball began its rapid descent. The fielder safely took the catch, then turned in my direction and cried ‘can I change my trousers now?’. Neither of us could have imagined that I would recycle that joke fifty years later.

Now, what has this to do with Fynn?

Horse, Fynn amd mare 1

Well, this superbly turned out thoroughbred animal had a plaited tail of which Judy Garland would have been proud.


His companion mare’s appendage sported an attractive binding.

One of the two very friendly women about to ride out across the moor explained the plait. This was in order that her steed did not discolour his tail if he pooped in the van. I can only assume that the mare’s different precaution was either because she was more genteel, or because she possessed a less contrasting colour.

Horses and riders 1Horses and riders 2

Before taking their farewell of us, the ladies removed the constraints so the horses’ fly whisks could still be employed.

Landscape 1Landscape 2

The undulating slopes on the road up to Fritham present typically idyllic New Forest landscapes, seen at their best on such a spring morning.

Eyeworth Pond

Eyeworth Pond lies at the top of the hill, past The Royal Oak pub.

Never before had we had it to ourselves, but here, we were alone with the stillness and the birds, whose continuous sweet song and occasional less musical honks and quacks, filled the air.


Small birds, such as chaffinches,


and nuthatches flitted to and fro, occasionally perching long enough for me to photograph them.

Canada goose

No British stretch of water is now without its Canada geese;

Muscovy Duck

I have, however, never seen Muscovy duck before, yet here was one, gliding about in stately fashion.

Mallards on Eyeworth Pond


Mallards, on the other hand, are ubiquitous. It was Jackie who noticed that only the drakes were abroad, and wondered where all the ladies were.

Mallards three

Suddenly a pair appeared, and, it seemed, every drake on the lake set off in pursuit, until the quarry escaped sharpish.

On our way home we called at Mole Country Supplies where we purchased three more bags of Landscape Bark, some rat bait and a tube in which to place it. We have always known there were rats in the abandoned garden, but it was not until last night that we watched a gang of them scampering in staccato mood past our kitchen window.

This afternoon we set the application.

Jackie’s super sausage casserole, new potatoes, runner beans, carrots and cauliflower, followed by lemon meringue pie constituted our dinner this evening. The Cook drank water, and I drank La Croix des Celestins fleurie 2014.


  1. I am so in awe of the horse photographs and how you had them pose with the lady riders upon them. The braids were beautiful but I like your dry witty comment, calling them “fly whisks.” You are also adept with capturing the little finch or wren. The horse photo behind the wall of weeds and vines was very interesting. The last photos of the water were beautiful. I love landscapes like the overall view with the “Y” in the road the best, Derrick. 🙂

  2. ok so I’m officially jealous that you not only played Keith Boyce but got him out. And the Royal Oak at Fritham is the only pub I’ve been in, circa 1977, when a pig wandered into the public bar looked around and wandered out. It was a very wet pannage that year and we suspected she just wanted a bit of shelter.

          1. I couldn’t bowl for toffee but I was a keen if rather unbalanced opener, a competent, if underused wicket keeper and I’d have given Graham Roope a run for his money at second slip… just saying (and showing my age and cricketing allegiances up to age 12).

    1. There’s got to be a joke in this, hasn’t there? “Pig walks into a bar… “

  3. Your photographs are even more wonderful than usual in this post, Derrick–the pony behind the branches, the pond, and the chaffinch–in particular. What a lovely area!
    Thanks, too, for explaining about the braided tale on the horse.
    I hope the rats vanish, but can other animals get the poison, too?

    1. Thanks, Merril. The poison is pretty secure, but I suppose other rodents could get in. Neighbours have cats who have probably kept the rats away, but the entrances are too small for a cat

  4. I enjoyed your cricket tale. I have been noticing outlines of things in your photos in the past two blogs, what with the shape of the oaks and now this burnt field shot, that do, in fact remind me of art–from children’s books and later Nash woodcuts. They are so familiar and so tied to a particular landscape. I hope you get rid of your rats.

  5. I laughed nearly all the way through!–Delight, of course, as well a humorous response to your interesting info re: the horses’ tail fashions. (The creatures were outstanding!) So glad you got your synchronicity. I would like to know: why are your town/city/river/park area names so interesting? Is it a British linguistic matter, etiology that’s archaic but strongly impactful? Ours somehow seem rather tame…Fine pictures.

    1. Many thanks, Cynthia. I think the names are usually based on historic connections; they are often quite obscure. I don’t know, for example, why our local wood is called Honeylake

    2. Well! Even without the splendid set of photos (the back lit white horse through the burnt gorse esp. memorable), there’s plenty to get one’s dentition into here: Is that YOU casting a shadow on the tree in the first landscape shot? (without enlargement, it looks so black I thought it was a crow in a rather odd posture!); Muscovy ducks are usually either ‘escapes’, or half-breeds with other ducks, so have some but not all of the characteristics of wild ones (with a name like that, I guess the wild stock stems from Russia; I can’t recall if I’ve ever seen one myself outside a collection); the mallard pursuit — there is an observed practice, though I’ve never seen an extreme instance myself, termed “duck rape”, where a flock of males violently pursue a female and may hold her head under water to subdue her. I imagine it’s pretty distressing to witness, having seen a noisy near-miss of this behaviour (the seriously outnumbered female escaped, but one of the males definitely looked as if it were attempting this manoeuvre). While unfair to assign human values to this natural phenomenon, it does appear that the female is in distress, and I’ve never heard a good scientific explanation for the evolutionary value of the habit.

      1. For some technological reason i can’t fathom, this got posted here, rather than as a general reply. Yet another entry in the “oops!” diary…

  6. You can take a white horse anywhere. What wonderful photos – that does look like a Paul Nash print doesn’t it? During my chemo days, I used to go regularly to Jane’s Pond in the New Forest. Many horse owners would bring their livestock there to be fed and watered – I found it very uplifting.

  7. What stories you tell! Always a treat to hear them. We also have mallards here – so many that if a temporary pond appears in a yard due to too much rain, a pair will often adopt it as their own. I often wonder about the marital discord which must ensue once the pond dries up.

  8. Beautiful shots Derrick. The horses are so well groomed and healthy, wonderful beings. Enjoyed your story today.

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