Breathing Pace

Donkey 1


No, there is no letter missing from the title. All will be revealed to those who have the perseverance to make it through the bumper morning’s photographic haul.

Although Jackie is far from well, she was determined on a lengthy forest drive on this clear, crisp, morning. Each time I tried to convince her that I had enough pictures, she refused to turn back for home.

Just around the corner in Hordle Lane, gaps in the hedge brought us into eye contact with sheep who have adopted the colouring of the stubble they have been sent to nibble, and the soil they are revealing.

Horse and rider 1

Our first stop was at Wootton, where the breath of a ridden horse wafted against the arboreal backdrop.

Ponies 1

From there we parked on a gravel path beside a group of ponies. While my eyes were fixed on these, Jackie became highly excited by a herd of deer bouncing through the bracken. They were about to cross the road.  I abandoned the horses and rushed to the tarmac where

Deer crossing road

I was fortunate enough to hit my cervine  target.

Ponies 2

My luck held when I returned to the ponies,

Ponies 3

where one, ignored by its drowsy companions, showed two clean pairs of heels in rolling over for a scratch,

Ponies 4

then clambered to its feet.

A little further along Wootton Road I spent some time exploring the stream,

partly iced over and penetrating still frosted landscape.


Negotiating networks of roots, and taking advantage of the apparent firmness of

Ice on grass

frozen terrain,

I was able to explore areas that had been too muddy to venture into in the past. Mind you, I did manage to fill my left shoe with freezing water, and make the rest of the trip in a more than adequate ice-pack.

Frozen hat

A frozen hat hanging over the stream had me wondering whether the owner had got a bit wet.

It hung beside one of the many tyre swings that I have spotted in the forest. Had there been a mishap?


Eventually, glancing back at the more open landscape,

Jackie's puzzle book

I joined Jackie, patiently waiting in the car with her puzzle book.

Landscape 2

We moved on to Helen’s favourite view, from the Picket Post car park near Ringwood.

Walker 1

I walked out along the ridge around a deep valley, where I noticed a gentleman looking down the hillside.

Walkers and dog

He was waiting for female and canine companions.

Frost on ridge 1

Frost still lay in the sunless sides of the slope,

Hillside 1

whereas it had melted on others.

A beribboned tree provided me with a mystery. My solution is that an enterprising wedding photographer led the bride and groom to this spot for some romantic images. That’s what I might have done, anyway.

Leaving this landscape behind us

Bird watchers

we progressed to Eyeworth Pond where twitchers were out in force.

Someone had hung a number of feeders on the trees, and placed seed on the barrier to the footpath. They attracted, among others, blue tits, nuthatches, robins, and blackbirds.


Was this a sparrow hiding in the holly?

Numerous ducks paddled on the lake,

Frosted landscape

and the area bore its own frosted landscape.

Here, I did manage to miss a tree root and take a tumble. Never mind, the camera was safe.

Before leaving Fritham I failed to interest a pair of dozing donkeys in conversation.

It was then I noticed a phenomenon that should not have surprised me. The breath of the slumbering equine creatures came at very slow intervals and was feeble in its ascent into the ether. One could not hold up its head. The exhalation was nothing like that emitted by the exercising horse at the beginning of this saga. Makes sense really.

This evening Jackie produced a dinner of tender roast lamb, perfect roast potatoes, and crisp carrots with green beans, followed by spicy rice pudding. She drank sparkling water and I began an excellent bottle of Barolo 2012, given to me for Christmas by Helen and Bill.

Published by derrickjknight

I am an octogenarian enjoying rambling physically and photographing what I see, and rambling in my head as memories are triggered. I also ramble through a lifetime's photographs. In these later years much rambling is done in a car.

70 thoughts on “Breathing Pace

  1. It would have made more sense had you iced your foot after taking the tumble – but maybe it worked as an anti injury preparation ……. There are so many lovely shots today – I do like the one of Jackie’s hand, ready for action, on her puzzle page. And the icy water. And the deer and the pony getting up – and the ponies resting at the end…… πŸ™‚

  2. Oh so sorry that you had a fall and may be still in pain, Derrick. This was a beautiful post all around. The animals, donkeys, ponies, birds and those deer (you called them cervine?) in the road or tarmac seemed quite frolicking!
    I enjoyed the atmospheric, hazy, misty, frosty scenery with such gorgeous ways you chose to feature them. It was an amazing “marathon,” as you called it. Jackie is quite content waiting and I admire this quality in her, as I do the gardening and cooking “hats” she wears! πŸ™‚

    1. Very many thanks, Robin. No after effects from the fall. I landed on my bum :). Cervine means of or relating to deer. You may have noticed I try to vary words a bit. Glad you enjoyed it.

      1. I do like to expand my vocabulary, Derrick. You know also how to “turn a phrase” well. I didn’t have time to look it up but I did assume correctly which makes me pleased. πŸ™‚

  3. hopefully Jackie is better by now – please thank her on your readers’ behalf for these gorgeous photos. hope you didn’t bruise anything. btw – what are ‘twitchers’? perhaps a non-US term for birds or people?

    1. Thanks, Daal. A twitcher is a word for a person who ‘collects’ sightings of birds – there is some controversy about the term, frowned on by many bird watchers. I suspect it comes from the fact that they respond immediately to rare sightings, no matter how far away. The gentlemen I saw may or may not have accepted the term applying to them. Landed on my bum with no after effects thanks.

  4. Sorry to hear you took a tumble, Derrick. I hope you didn’t injure yourself. Phew…that was some walk. So many fantastic shots. I loved the open and frozen landscape photos. And of course, all of the critters who appear to be posing just for you.

  5. Very nice photographs. The one of the deer crossing the road reminded me that I plan on doing a series on feral animals in Australia and the damage they do.

  6. Derrick – I just love that black and white photo of the horse and rider between the trees – so cool! So glad you are fine – Give Jackie my best wishes that she soon feels much better.

  7. You, courtesy of Saint Jackie, have dished up quite a feast for us today. Thank you both!

    You said “then clambered to its feet”. Don’t you just love that word, clambered? It doesn’t get used as often as it deserves. Let’s look for opportunities to work it into our conversations.

  8. I don’t need to tell you what a wonderful woman you have there, Derrick. I do hope she is feeling better and I thank you both for these wonderful pictures – I thoroughly enjoyed the sojourn.

  9. Splendid post, Derrick. It’s really beautiful. I felt like I went on a hike with you. I needed to see this bit of nature today. Thank you! I hope Jackie is feeling better and your shoes are dry.

  10. I think I will have roast lamb for dinner today πŸ™‚ Glad Jackie was well enough to cook.

    I like the rider in silhouette and the reflection of the trees with the sun best of all. I have tried to capture deers with my camera in vain. Glad to see you succeeded.

    1. Remembering that Derrick was a crossword-setter in another life (a vocation needing neatness of thinking combined with a love of a satisfying conclusion), perhaps we should all pay more attention to the circularity the picture with which he begins each post and the report on what he has for dinner. Check this one out again: see any connection? πŸ™‚

  11. I refused to read the comments before mine to solve the mystery of breathing pace. Naturally, your opening words made me race through the photos first … I later went back to admire them.

    I take it that your breathing pace also slowed after your exertion? πŸ™‚

  12. To raise the matter of “twitchers” again: I reckon some of you aren’t quite picking up the distinction. “Birders”/”birdwatchers” are those who watch birds, for whatever pleasure that provides. I suspect Jodie is one of those (btw, madam, where’s your smiley pic gone recently?)
    “Twitchers” are a) obsessive, even to the point of causing harm to the specimen they’re observing; b) concerned with completing sightings of lists of species (and, often, as a form of competition with other folks of the same stripe); c) generally looked down on by those who are happy merely watching any species; d) usually confused with casual birdwatchers by those who have no avian/natural-history interest at all. There’s a wider perception that their social and sartorial skills are somewhat lacking, a la the negative reputation trainspotters have (at least, in the UK).
    See it as the difference between a football fan and someone interested in football solely to gamble on it.
    Controversy arises because twitchers are prone to travelling immense (environmentally-damaging) distances to catch up with rare species, simply to tick another one off their lists, and because what they’re in pursuit of is often disoriented, exhausted and distressed (most rarities arrive in the UK following severe storms, where birds may have been carried by unfavourably directed weather, and possibly have been flying for days without chance to eat or sleep). It’s seen as at the very least discourteous (and incongruous in someone who professes an interest in wildlife) to be doggedly pursuing such individuals, when the latter really need to recharge and have some peace. (There have been instances of them causing the death – from starvation, over-exhaustion, etc. – by over-zealous pursuit, of the very rarity they’d come to see). So there is a particular bone of contention between birdwatchers and twitchers. It’s also galling to birdwatchers to be equated by undiscerning others with the discreditable activities of twitchers.
    You might be able to gauge which camp I’m in πŸ˜‰

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: