In Conversation


On another bright, cold, morning Jackie drove us out into the forest.

Catkins, like these in Royden Lane, Boldre, dangle from their trees.

In one paddock the livestock was conveniently labelled.

On the outskirts of Brockenhurst the telephone box was reflected in the icy pool. Long shadows were cast across the surface, which glinted in the sun. Ponies’ hoofprints remained stiffened by the overnight freeze, as, fortunately, was a heap of their droppings onto which I backed in my efforts to obtain the right angle for one of these photographs.

In the High Street two women were deep in conversation on the bench opposite Tesco’s. This continued throughout the period during which I sat in the car whilst Jackie did some shopping.

What follows may chiefly be of interest to anyone who is suffering withdrawal symptoms from the recent lack of administrative problems.

At lunchtime the postman delivered a card stating that a letter could not be delivered because insufficient postage had been paid. Β£1.50 was due. We could pay that on line and the missive would be delivered the next day. Or we could drive to Lymington to pay for it there and collect it. The delivery staff are, of course, not allowed to take money. Jackie drove us to Lymington. We arrived ten minutes before the next opening time. Jackie went off to park the car. I waited outside. Then I realised I had left my wallet at home, so hadn’t the required I.D. When Mrs Knight joined me we discovered she didn’t have any I.D. in her married name. She offered her passport. This was not acceptable. I asked to look at the item. It was a large format letter. Post is now charged as large or small. This one needed a stamp marked L for large. It bore a small one. We could pay now for delivery tomorrow, but the man at the bullet-proof counter could not give it to us. We paid then, and now we wait.

There was a silver lining to this cloud. I had plenty of time to contemplate the muted tones of the tower of the Church of St Thomas the Apostle.

This evening, with our Hoegaarden and madiran, we dined on starters of spring rolls and prawn toasts, followed by Jackie’s succulent sautΓ©ed peppers, leeks, and onions supporting Thai fish cakes.


  1. Oh Lord deliver us from drones – oops no, I don’t want to die yet and yes Lord I know you created them to punish us for our sins and we will always sin so we must live with it.

  2. Oh dear, that I.D. Sigh. I opened my first bank account in the UK a few months ago. The bank could not accept my tax papers because of a missing initial in my address. Took a week and many miles to drive to get the new papers with the correct initials and spelling from the authorities.
    And now I have learned a new word; catkins, Thank you, Derrick. Have a wonderful evening. Xx

  3. Some days it’s just better to stay in bed… I have two distinction memories of St Thomas: a scout parade fro remembrance day one year and a memorial service for a very close friend of my parents who tragically died next to dad in the car as he drove him and his wife to the airport. Dad read a poem he’d written for him which spoke volumes for their friendship. Not a dry eye…

  4. Beautiful photos–the catkins and another magical road, the lovely water and shadows, and more. I’m glad the horse droppings were frozen. πŸ™‚
    Sorry about the administrative problems. I’m sure we will hear what the letter was–once you receive it.

    1. The letter is a spec from Kitchen Makers. I was permitted to peer at the logo through the glass. Anne could easily have delivered it herself! Many thanks, Merril

  5. Oh gosh…is anything ever easy these days…geesh! Don’t you wonder what those women were talking about? We need to hook you up with some sound for your camera. πŸ™‚

  6. That tower is pretty, but probably not worth the irritation of that letter with the insufficient postage.

    1. Oh, I don’t know….I wouldn’t have pondered it from that standpoint otherwise. Thanks very much, Laurie. (Of course, I don’t really expect delivery today)

  7. Oh Derrick, I’m a real Doctor Who fanatic, and I adored your photo of the telephone box on the outskirts of Brockenhurst, looks very surreal !!

  8. I was amazed that the loose ponies appear to be shod, which I would not have expected, given they’re free range, loose ponies. As for the bureaucratic nuttiness, doesn’t it sound like a Monty Python skit?

  9. Do your admin problems never cease?! We had to pay Β£1.50 to collect a Christmas card we had been sent.
    I love the shiny catkins and the reflections in the ice.

  10. Those are eye-grabbing images of woods and reflections. Is that a baobab tree I see? The photographs of ladies in deep conversation have been captured cleverly. I loved the tower of the church: it seems brooding over unseemly ways the humanity has strayed.

  11. Beautiful catkins. Lovely shadows and shapes on the icy pond. Your photos are a reminder that beauty can be found in every season.

      1. Oh then it’s important! (Our kitchen is very nearly finished. Not something I’d like to go through too often, but definitely worth it!)

  12. I join the ranks of the Dr. Who fans who love that photo of the red phone booth! πŸ™‚ And it is always good to see the ponies and the photos from the drive through the forest.

    I am sorry for the continual administrative problems. Your postal problems do seem like something from Monty Python. πŸ™‚ Perhaps a book of bureaucratic mishaps is in order? It might be a best seller! πŸ™‚

  13. Church of St Thomas appears to be of very old heritage, must be some beautiful photographs waiting to be recorded inside Derrick, these old Churches are great on the outside, but their historical secrets lie on the inside.

  14. Β£1.50 for insufficient postage?

    Is this a fine for not putting enough stamps on the letter/card whatever or the actual amount to send the thing? Costs me $0.70c to mail a letter; we poor old seniors/pensioners/no hoper’s get a discount which is probably equivalent to just 50p or some small amount.
    Things might be crook in Tallarook but they’re a damned sight worse in Lymington

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