This morning Jackie drove me to the bank at Lymington to order more Antipodean currency. Since it was such a bright, crisp, day we continued on to the forest.
The moors on the approach to Brockenhurst were alive with strings of ponies basking, snoozing, ambling, grazing among the browned bracken and the now naked trees.
We have an expression, ‘stir your stumps’, indicating ‘get your feet moving’. If you have ever seen one of these cumbersome creatures, forelegs first, dragging hind-quarters, heaving itself to its feet, you may understand what this involves.
Maybe a cigarette smoker had stood watching this bucolic scene; maybe just lobbed the detritus from his or her car.
Whilst the occasional equine ambled towards me, most continued their silent dining, casting shadows, and collecting bracken clinging to their mud-caked hides.
Although one turned its sleepy head in my direction, donkeys dozing by the roadside on the outskirts of the village itself, seemed oblivious of the passing traffic.
From Brockenhurst we travelled to the Rhinefield Ornamental Drive.
Most of the trees there are giant redwoods or Sequoias planted many years ago.
Impressive as are these mighty evergreens,
at this time of the year their beauty lies far below their lofty summits, among the curling bracken, the fallen leaves, and their stark shadows.
All of a sudden, the peaceful silence of the forest was shattered by a distant raucous bark. I peered through the trees, seeking an uncouth canine. I then realised that the bark spelled out “C’m’ere”. I glimpsed a woman giving chase, but no dog. I do believe a profanity was uttered. Eventually a little white pooch was clutched, harnessed, and led off without a protest.
This evening we dined on Jackie’s praiseworthy lamb jalfrezi and perfect onion rice. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank Chonch y Toro Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon 2016.