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Early this afternoon Jackie drove us off to the north of The Forest. Refraining from the opportunity to indulge in her customary giggle on passing Sandy Balls, she settled for a late lunch at The Fighting Cocks in Godshill.
The one pony in sight sheltered under a tree, surrounded by grubbing rooks.
My choice for lunch was a large Yorkshire pudding filled with the pubs own tasty home made sausages, creamy mashed potato, fresh peas and onion gravy. This made me think of my maternal grandmother, a Yorkshirewoman whose eponymous puddings were made in a large baking tin. I drank Doom Bar. Jackie enjoyed a baked potato containing cheese and beans, accompanied by a coke. The publican was very friendly and accommodating of a couple who had turned up for a meal after 3 p.m.
Donkeys had taken over the gardens and car park.
This engaged some of the customers.
The crouching girl showed sensible discretion as she rapidly rose to her her feet which led her legs away faster than the rest of her as she clutched an adult hand when the donkey paid her some attention.
Two other asses availed themselves of wooden posts for a good scratch
then set off down the road in search of some traffic to disrupt.
The skilful mural decorating one of the inside walls of the hostelry obviated the need for me to photograph the building.
This is the time of year when, if you are quick, you will see sounders of swine as they speed through the forest, snuffling, foraging, grunting and squealing in search of mast, or acorns and other fruit of the trees.. The first group of these had vanished by the time I emerged from the car. This is an extract from the New Forest website:
“PIGS IN THE NEW FOREST (PANNAGE)
Pannage is the practice of releasing domestic pigs into a forest (also known as ‘Common of mast’), and goes all the way back to the time of William the Conqueror, who founded the New Forest. Pannage is no longer carried out in many areas but can still be observed every year here in the New Forest National Park. In the Autumn after the acorns, beechmast, chestnuts and other nuts have fallen, up to 600 pigs will work their way through the forest eating them from the forest floor.
You can usually find the pigs roaming the forest floors from around the third week in September or whenever the acorns begin to drop from the beautiful trees. The exact Pannage dates are decided by the New Forest Verderers and the Forestry Commission and is based on seasonal variations. The 2016 Pannage season start[ed] on 12th September.”
Near North Gorley I managed to catch a trio of these animals including a Gloucester Old Spot. Note the rings through the noses, which would be the envy of some of our young people.
The larger of the other two pink ones suddenly delivered a ferocious snout side-swipe to the other. The open mouth gives an indication of the decibels achieved by the resounding squeal emanating from the victim. Perhaps this was Mum administering a clip round the ear.
It is difficult to convey the pace at which these apparently cumbersome creatures hoover the forest floor.
After they had had their fill they flopped by the roadside.
Speaking of having had one’s fill, you have seen my late lunch, so will not be surprised that I did not join Jackie this evening in a second helping of our Chinese Takeaway.