A Crocodile Crossing

Jackie and I went for a drive in the forest this morning, while Elizabeth took it easy at home. Once again we were fortunate to have ventured out during the short spell of sunshine we were to experience today.

Even as noon approached shadows were long on the approach to Wilverley Plain.

The deciduous oaks still bear most of their golden foliage,

some of which, having floated down on the breeze. glowed among damp grasses rapidly

becoming waterlogged in parts, reflecting surrounding trees and skies.

The large pond beside the telephone box just outside Brockenhurst has been bone dry all summer. It has now filled up again, mirroring gnarled naked arboreal displays and nearby homes.

Three russet ponies kept down the grass near the local postbox propped up by a slightly slanting pedestal.

The two apparently sharing a patch of sward were not as close as it might appear. The darker haired individual, which momentarily lifted its head as I lifted my camera,

firmly nudged the other with its albeit velvety muzzle, indicating it should keep its distance. This was definitely not foreplay.

Having worked up a thirst they crossed the gravel drive to the houses, passed the telephone box, and fleetingly slaked their thirst.

Quite suddenly they turned away and wandered back into the forest.

At the entrance to the village we were held up by teaching staff shepherding a crocodile of children across the road.

We enjoyed an excellent lunch at Holmsley Old Station Tea Rooms. My meal consisted of a well-filled steak and ale pie containing slivers of rosemary, served with chips, fresh vegetables and tasty gravy; Jackie’s was a jacket potato with cheese and coleslaw accompanied by an excellent salad. She drank coffee and I drank sparkling water.

We thought it best to wait for an equestrienne struggling to contain a skittish trotting pony, mane flying, to emerge from Thatchers Lane before we entered that narrow track on our way home.

Later this afternoon Elizabeth returned to Pilley for further work on moving in. On her way back this evening she collected our dinner of cod and chips from Mr Pink’s. My sister and I ย finished the Cotes du Rhone and Jackie drank Hoegaarden.



  1. A lovely post filled with your wonderful photos and prose. The tree reflected in the water is wonderful, and of course, so are the horse photos.
    A crocodile of children? I hope they don’t meet a murder of crows. ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Ha! ๐Ÿ˜€
      I learned recently that a group butterflies is called a Flutter…I like that!
      I taught children for many years…I think a group of children might be called a Chaos of Children! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ๐Ÿ˜›

  2. seeing so much water reminds me of the (much hated) cross country runs through those acres around Brock. It wasn’t cross country per se but more that they only took place when the playing fields were waterlogged – which back in the early 70s seemed to be most years. Thanks for another wander through the memory banks

    1. Thanks very much, Cynthia. From Collins English dictionary: ‘A crocodile is a large reptile with a long body and strong jaws. Crocodiles live in rivers and eat meat. A crocodile of people, especially school children, or vehicles is a long line of them, moving together. The children walk in crocodiles from the schoolhouse to the dining-room for lunch.’

  3. For a moment there I thought one of our Florida alligators made its way to your forest…
    I still love your reflection photos the most, Derrick, but the rest of them are equally evocative.

  4. The reflected tree trunk with a foot that looks akin to an elephants is quite the most eye catching of today’s collection for me Derrick. It’s a fabulous picture!! I see not all the world refers to a line of single file hand holding children as a ‘crocodile’. But it’s the nearest thing we have so will have to do for us poor deprived croc and alligator-less folk ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. I think I’ve heard of a ‘crocodile’ before – probably from Derrick. I knew just what he meant. I do so love these little differences in our language. And – YES ! Pauline That elephant -foot tree got me, too.

      1. Yet many of your words are those we once used – where you haven’t had the historic ones, e.g. car parts, and have had to use your own are perhaps fascinating. Then there are pants and vests ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. Thanks very much, Lisa. A nice description of the pony. Because it was being so difficult I think it was recently ‘backed’ New Forest Pony. That is the term for breaking in a horse. The ponies don’t like it.

  5. Those are priceless images, of those the reflections are all keepers. The houses and gnarled trees reflected in the shallow pool took me down the swards of countryside that now exist only in memories.

  6. Cheeky title for a postโ€”I was almost a believer, but luckily realized that where there are ponies and children, there most likely are no crocodiles! Thank you for the gorgeous pics of the horsesโ€”always my favorite!

    1. Thanks very much, Yoshimi. I can see why you thought there were gravestones in the next picture, but actually they are wooden posts put in as markers for the path – no street lighting

  7. Lovely, peaceful nature photos! And fun horsey and crocodile photos!
    HA! From your title, I was expecting to see an actual croc crossin’ a road! And maybe a sign that showed the outline of a man with a croc chasing him! And maybe the sign saying, “Croc Crossing…all others will eaten”! ๐Ÿ˜ฎ
    I taught Kindergarten for eons and we had fun herding the kids on field trips and while crossing roads, etc. Of course it was easiest if they all had the same color shirt on and if they held hands in a line, like in your photos. ๐Ÿ™‚
    HUGS!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. I like the reflection picture best of all.
    Yesterday we had a very sharp frost so we wait to see what damage it did to the blooms that were clinging on to the memories of Summer.

  9. Hello Derrick, I’ve just been looking over so many of your post which I have missed lately, I have not been on WordPress due to the fact that I am giving most of my time to study…But I must congratulate you on your most beautiful photography (and of course writing too), Your pictures of trees are among my favourites, just loving them – the colours – the reflections in the water…all of them. I’ll be back to normal in the new year. Cheers!

  10. A beautiful forest drive day, Derrick and Jackie. I love that ghostly tree with the large base reflecting in the water. The ponies are photogenic as always.

  11. Derrick, You had me stumped for a moment. When I saw thw word crocodiles, I was asking myself does England have them?
    Loved the photos of the tree branches against the water.

  12. Well, you threw me off, as well, with the word crocodile. Some unfortunate gent in Florida just recently lost his shoe to either a croc or gator. He’s lucky to be alive. Love the photos of the ponies.

  13. Looking for crocodiles, I thought I saw one in your photo of the water by the glowing damp grasses. Two photos down, the reflection of that gnarly tree is magnificent! And of course, the ponies are always a joy to behold.

  14. Wonderful images here Derrick! Truly a special part of the world!
    “This royal throne of kings, this sceptred isle,
    This earth of majesty, this seat of Mars,
    This other Eden, demi-paradise,
    This fortress built by Nature for herself …
    … the envy of less happier lands,
    This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England.” Richard 11 Act 2 Sc 1.
    I particularly like your reflections.
    Hope everything goes well for your Mum. ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. Does that telephone box still operate? The English phone boxes are as synonymous as the double decker buses and the London Bobby’s helmet, as is the evening meal from Mr Pink’s

    1. Thanks a lot, Brian. That is one of the few local telephone boxes that still seems to work. Most are in disrepair now and sold off to local groups for pennies; then converted to such as book exchanges, ATMs, and defribrillators.

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