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This morning we brunched in a very crowded Otter Nurseries restaurant before driving to Emery Down, Bolderwood, and back home.
As with many New Forest villages, the approach to Emery Down from Swan Green is quintessentially English.
We have a row of tiny thatched cottages in which I could not stand upright, and a larger thatched house, opposite the green
flanking the uphill stretch of an undulating road, one of the warning signs of which bears the image of a pony. Level with the gate in this picture is a cattle grid. Both gate and grid are designed to keep those ponies on the far side.
The garden of the house benefits from our Indian summer;
no self-respecting one in this area, except, that is, for ours, is without its bank of nerines,
not all accompanied by pink shrub roses.
Turning left in Emery Down the forest road goes through Bolderwood. On its verges Jackie parked with her puzzle book whilst I wandered among the trees,
the leaves of which were beginning to turn rich gold and deep red.
This is also the season for mushrooms to force their way through the forest floor.
Throughout the woods can be seen shattered trunks and hollowed sawn logs from fallen trees.
At Bolderwood silent spectral ponies emerged from the shadows to graze their way across to the greener grass on the other side.
Sunlight played on the road on our return.
This evening we dined on spicy pizza and salad, followed by profiterols. I drank Basson shiraz 2014.