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Jackie and I began the day with a drive in the forest, in order to see how the thatching at East End was progressing.
A shallow stream ran over the ford at Norleywood, enhancing the beauty of the shadows on the road ahead.
A pair of donkeys breakfasted on the hedgerows opposite the house
on which the skilled roofing work had commenced.
As is their wont, one of these creatures crept, silently, up behind me to see if I had any carrots. I am mean enough to disappoint them, however, feeding them is not advised by the verderers, unless you want to catch Weill’s disease.
Jackie had driven further up the road to turn round, by which time the donkeys really had claimed the road.
High above the chicken range a solitary Thelwell child’s pony also enjoyed its morning meal.
The chickens cooed and clucked around their chook house,
sharing their repast with crows,
and pheasants, which were freer to roam.
One of the llamas sat with a silly grin on its face
as another gurned at me.
A trio of cyclists paused at the road junction to take their bearings.
They were small fry compared with those who were to limit our progress on the road to Brockenhurst.
As we approached that village, Jackie expressed the wish that they would not be going our way. No such luck.
This afternoon we continued, focussing on the rose and front gardens, preparing for an alfresco summer.
This evening we dined on shepherd’s pie topped with layers of cheddar cheese and mushrooms; crisp carrots, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and runner beans. Jackie finished the Cotes de Gascoigne and I drank more of the shiraz.