CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENHANCE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED.
This morning Jackie drove me to Sears Barbers in Milford on Sea, where the affable Peter cut my hair as well as usual. We then continued into the forest.
Strong overhead sunlight dappled the autumn leaves carpet of the forest floor,
giving a spectral air to fallen trees
and their ripped out roots.
Even here, on the outskirts of Brockenhurst, cans can be casually discarded.
On the crossroads in the village itself two ponies and a foal deliberated which way to turn.
I walked around them to obtain better light, and the little one sought comfort and succour from its mother.
A young North American visitor stopped to ask me the way to The New Forest. I informed him that he was in it. He wondered where he could go for a day’s hike. I gave him some suggestions, one of which was that he should buy a map in the main street to which I directed him. He then asked “Are the ponies fat? Or perhaps pregnant?”. I suggested that the one he was looking at was probably pregnant, but also explained that because we had experienced such a mild winter they had found plenty of forage and were not as thin as they often were when the weather had been severe.
As we emerged from the village we saw a large group of ponies, foals,
and cattle grazing, flopping, and vying for shelter under the spreading branches of a mature oak.
Possibly in an effort to shake off the persistent flies
some of the horses shook themselves and strode frantically across the grass.
Other ponies disrupted the traffic as they sought shade by the roadside.
On Hordle Lane as we made our way home we had the pleasure of watching two concrete mixers negotiating a safe passage before we could continue on our own. I expect the drivers knew there was a ditch on the left-hand side.
Elizabeth came to lunch and Jackie plied us with a plentiful array of cold meats, cheeses, and salads, with which I drank more of the malbec and the ladies drank sparkling water.
After this, we visited Braxton Gardens and scoffed scone cream teas.
It should come as no surprise that further sustenance later on was surplus to requirements.
Whilst we were sitting in the garden we received a telephone call from Matthew to say that he, Tess, and Poppy would be arriving later tonight so that they can be with us on my 75th birthday tomorrow.