Heroes From Across The Pond


This morning we carried bags of rubble from the fireplace work, neatly stacked by Barry and Owen, to the Efford Recycling Centre. In the car, of course. It is a sign of the times that what we could previously have placed in the dump’s large skip free of charge today cost us £12.50. One more public service commercialised by outsourcing to a private company. It seems that less and less is covered by our Council tax rates.

Afterwards we headed into the forest and investigated Horseshoe Bottom. This idyllic bowl is frequented by dog walkers and basking ponies.

Black dog and owner

As we prepared to leave the car, a large black dog, complete with owner, bounded up the ridge surrounding the vehicles. As soon as it reached the grass, the animal crouched for a crap. The owner, hands firmly in his jacket pockets, turned his back and set off across the lovely terrain. The dog, now relieved, joined him. It was only as I stepped over the ridge that I realised that there was a row of similar turds requiring negotiation. Clearly numerous eager hounds had sought similar immediate convenience.

Landscape with ponies, discarded bag and dog shit

In order to spare my readers’ sensitivities, I have not photographed the fresher excreta, but this shot shows a sun bleached deposit and a discarded snack packet.

One particular pair of ponies stayed together, moving to a safe distance at the sight of my camera lens.

A grey,

and a representative of a miniature breed kept their own individual company.

Ponies 5

I was some distance from the first couple when they lurched awkwardly to the ground to lie in the sun and scratch their backs.

Jackie on Horseshoe Bottom 1

It was then that I noticed Jackie had left the car and was setting off gingerly down the slope.

Jackie and crow

She kept her eyes on the crows,

Jackie and pony

but steadfastly ignored a pony’s request to have its tummy tickled.

I wondered where she was off to.

Jackie, pony and crow

She had decided to investigate what she thought was a stream at the bottom of the slope. It turned out contain fresh grass and a small pool. She thought the must be a winterbourne, which only fills after wet weather. Some areas are drying out now.

Bright sunshine set the gorse a-glowing.

Pony 8

Towards midday a number of ponies sat down and dozed.

On the outskirts of Burley, a pair of chestnuts bringing up the tail, a string of others queued patiently outside a house from which, they no doubt knew, a householder would soon emerge with lunch.

At Holmsley we diverted to:

New Forest Airfields Memorial sign

New Forest Airfields map

An engraved map shows the location of the commemorated institutions.

The sensitively designed memorial contains a number of dedicated benches where visitors can reflect in peace,

Memorial plaques

and affixed to the railings are individual and group plaques of remembrance. That of Captain Darrell R. Lindsey stands alongside one for other members of the USAAF.

For anyone who does not quite understand today’s title, ‘the pond’ is an affectionate name for the Atlantic Ocean which lies between USA and UK.


It was perhaps appropriate that Jackie noticed a bird of prey circling overhead.

The gorse pictured above is one reminder that Susan Hill’s “yellow season” has arrived. Daffodils decorating the verges such as those along Beckley Common Road is another.

This evening we dined on roast lamb, Yorkshire pudding, tasty gravy, new potatoes, carrots, broccoli, and green beans, followed by apricot lattice flan. I finished the shiraz while Jackie drank sparkling water. Milford on sea still has a greengrocers. The quality of today’s vegetables shows the freshness of the shop’s produce.


  1. How lucky you are to be separated from America by a pond. Here in New Zealand we are separated from Australia by a ditch!
    I’m always fascinated by the British use of the word “bottom” for a geographical feature. It does however account for, in the nicest possible way, my g-grandmother’s name of Ramsbottom…

  2. Such great photos, Derrick. It really does look like the pony wants Jackie to scratch his belly. 🙂
    I’m fond of yellow flowers–the gorse is lovely.
    The memorial does seem sensitive–a reminder of brave people on both sides of the pond.

  3. Great photos, Derrick! “It was only as I stepped over the ridge that I realised that there was a row of similar turds requiring negotiation.” LOL! Portions of this post had Derek and I laughing out loud. Cheers!

  4. Looks like a lovely day, turds excepted. I still don’t understand all the loose livestock. And these ponies: does no one care for them? I guess they aren’t ridden regularly. And they’re all mixed with livestock belonging to different people? Maybe I should see if there isn’t something written on this. It’s kind of free range, I guess.

  5. I believe there may be nothing that annoys me more than ignorant dog owners who refuse to acknowledge they have a responsibility to clean up after their animal. What is wrong with these people? I usually offer them a plastic bag and invite them to clean up their dog’s droppings. I haven’t yet been refused. 🙂

  6. Oh you cruel man, flaunting your horses and the gorse – especially the gorse. In Canada’s capital we had a big snowstorm, high winds, dangerous driving conditions and a massive pile-up of cars on the highway. When, oh when will it stop? Lovely to see the gorse, of course. It cheers a body across the pond.

  7. Perhaps you should photograph the owners of the pooping dogs,during and after the event and post them, greatly enlarged!
    Did Jackie have permission to go a wandering? The first shot seems to have a sneaking out feel about it!

    And as for not giving the pony a tummy tickle!
    Well I am amazed and dazed;
    and can only exclaim
    “For shame”

    It was an hero from across the pond that first gave me my interest in Naval History, his name was Alex H Cherry, a Wall Street banker who risked a $200,00.00 fine loss of nationality and jail for slipping out of the US and joining the Royal Navy at the beginning of WWII.
    He was commissioned as a Leftenant (that’s the English renunciation for your Yankee chums) RNVR and rose to the rank of Commander.OBE. He was one of the first 7 to arrive, given passage aboard the HMS Malaya.
    There is a plaque in the Painted Room at Greenwich to commemorate these men, put there by Winston Churchill the second! XD ( was going to add a picture, but as you see I didn’t!)

  8. I like the picture of Jackie walking past the back-scratching pony. The horse seems to be an illustration of the saying, “Comfortable in my own skin.”

  9. Best example of an oxymoron that I know is “responsible dog owner”, One of my brothers friends lost his sight in one eye thanks to dog crap. It happens to about 300 kids a year apparently.

  10. I have to agree with you regarding the Council Tax we pay. What on earth does it cover now? Thank you for not posting a picture of the turds… I don’t think I would have been able to keep my green tea down! Great photos – I particularly like the one where the pony wanted his tummy tickled! Also, thank you for the bit of history on the New Forest Airfield Memorial. I am always grateful for those who have made sacrifices.

    1. Very many thanks, Persia. As former Social Workers we are so sad as we watch friends, and my mother, struggling with today’s dreadful services – all of which are privatised

      1. I understand, Derrick. It truly is sad. I can only hope the services get better… but I’m not holding my breath. Maybe I should become the next Prime Minister so I can sort things out once and for all.

  11. Nice to know you’re just across the pond from us, Derrick! My goodness, when Jackie has set her sights on something, she doesn’t get easily distracted at all. Beautiful memorial, as well.

    P.S. I enjoyed the ponies; turds and all 😀

  12. Enjoyed my walk with you and Jackie today, the horses are amazing creatures – just love how Jackie was able to sneak right past (great shots!). Love seeing Spring through your lens Derrick!

  13. I was concerned about Jackie’s bid for freedom but as she has posted above I see order has been restored. 🙂

    Great photos, as ever, and a good review of dog problems. You’d think that, considering what dog breeders have done over the years they could breed a dog without a bottom. 🙂

  14. Peaceful photos; I love the grey pony. Are they called ponies rather than horses because of the breed? The groupings and antics are fascinating to see. (And as far as the dog excrement–do not people carry some plastic baggies to pick it up and deposit in trash later? It seems to work well here, especially in public areas where it is required.).

    1. Thanks a lot, Cynthia. This seems to be the general view on ponies and horses: ‘The main distinction between ponies and horses is height. A horse is usually considered to be an equine that’s at least 14.2 hands (or about four feet ten inches) tall. A pony, on the other hand (pun totally intended!), is an equine less than 14.2 hands.’ Plastic bags are required here, too, but in the countryside this is ignored by some who just visit these lovely spots to empty their dogs. John Knifton’s comment tells of the reason this has to be stopped. The excrement carries a parasite that destroys children’s eyes.

      1. Thanks for all that! I knew ponies were smaller..just thought it might be a particularly UK thing re: so many wild ones roaming about in certain areas. Sorry to be so inquisitive–not something we see here, to my knowledge!
        Yes, hopefully people will become more considerate and public-health-minded.

  15. Such a beautiful post, Derrick. Great pictures of the ponies. We have the same problem with the dog owners here, just on a bigger scale, I might add.

  16. I liked the ponies waiting patiently in line outside a house. Your sense of humor about dog poop and Jackie passing up tickling a horse’s belly while wallowing on his back was funny! 😀

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