Out Of Its Element

I began the day with a dead-heading session in the garden.

The mystery of yesterday’s lost clematis was solved on this less sunny morning. Today there was no bright backlighting fooling us with the strong red hues, and even giving a green hue to the Gothic arch. The plant is in fact Star of India. And yesterday we had been both perfectly sober.

This afternoon we drove to Ferndene Farm Shop to buy three more bags of compost and, naturally a few plants. We continued on into the forest.

The Highland cattle were back alongside Rhinefield Road outside Brockenhurst.

Jackie parked in Blackwater car park at the Rhinefield Ornamental Drive and left me to walk along a footpath through the

Douglas firs which have their own explanatory carved wooden plaque and sculpted pine cone.

Apart from a couple at the picnic table; the occasional cyclist or car on Rhinefield Road; and the couple for whom I stepped aside as I returned to the car,

it was just me with the thrushes for company,

as I walked along the sanded footpath with its ferns, felled and fallen trees, and pine cones carpeting the floor.

I did imagine I had seen a deep sea fish somewhat out of it element, but it turned out to be the shallow roots of a once upright young forest giant.

I had managed 27 minutes unchaperoned walk, my speed rapidly decreasing towards the end.

We could easily forgive the pony fondly watching over her sleeping foal for blocking our path at Bashley.

This evening we dined on succulent chicken Kiev; Jackie’s savoury rice; crisp cauliflower and baby sweetcorn; and tender green beans. The Culinary Queen drank Blue Moon while I finished the Shiraz.


  1. The greenery in the woodland photos is beautiful, Derrick. Love the animal pics … I’m particularly fond of cattle. πŸ™‚

  2. Laughing at the sober line
    – smiles at this beautiful sentence: ferns, felled and fallen trees
    And the momma looking over baby – ahhhh

  3. #1 perfectly sobe is very nearly an oxymoron. #2I really love the forest. #3 Those Highland cattle looked very much in their element.

  4. I love the ferns and all this texture in your photos. The deep sea fish reminds me of an alien life form. How exciting! πŸ™‚

  5. The mystery unfolds itself as the Star of India! Mr Cow (or is he Mr Buffalo?) needs a haircut badly. The walk through Rhinefield Park is mesmeric.

  6. Everyday seems quite fantastic there. Gardens and ponies, plant mysteries and gorgeous forests too. All washed down with a Shiraz. You must sleep well πŸ˜€ I sure would. Cheers xK

  7. I liked the way you qualified your state of sobriety in the second paragraph – ‘yesterday’ πŸ˜‰

    I suspected the backlighting of the Star of India was part of the identification problem!

    Wonderful imagination with the deep-sea fish. πŸ™‚

    My favourite photos of a wonderful bunch were the Highland cattle, the thrush amongst the pinecones, and of course, the mother and her sleeping foal. πŸ™‚

  8. Lovely photos–and commentary! The highland cattle are certainly different–I thought of yaks. I love the photo of the mother horse watching over her sleeping foal.
    It looks like you had a wonderful walk. It is hot and steamy here.

  9. Great pictures today, Derrick. Doesn’t the Highland cattle look as though they are a combination of breeds or have genes from some ancient animal?
    I’m glad you told us the foal was sleeping!!

  10. More fabulous photos. I do like the Highland Cattle. And how did those firs get there? Did someone plant them many moons ago? Are they Asian or Western North American? Or are they distributed in northern Europe as well? It’s fascinating to learn how trade in plants began–pretty much with explorers bringing them home. I imagine this started with a pine cone…

  11. Derrick – good for you with that big walk! That’s how you get it all back. Thank you for taking us along.

    LOVE that momma looking over her sleeping babe. I have learned from your similar photos that those babies sprawl out as though dead anywhere they please. I’ll admit the first few times I saw such a scene I was concerned.

  12. Thanks for the wonderful tour. I must ask, is the Blue Moon a beer? I’m familiar with it as a beer in the States. Familiar but not fond…😊

      1. Some folks love it. I bought a 6 pack once, opened a bottle, took a swig and tossed the rest down the sink. Probably could have used it on the garden but I didn’t know. Just wanted to get rid of it. πŸ™€

  13. Glad the mystery was solved! πŸ™‚
    Love that impressive horn-y-Highland-er!
    That photo of the protective mom and sleeping baby brought tears to my eyes.
    Way to go on your walk! Good job, Derrick! πŸ™‚
    (((HUGS))) πŸ™‚

  14. Ah, another clematis. <3 The Star of India is a star, indeed! Look at those richly indulgent colours on the arch. Douglas Fir!! You walked through Doug Fir and Redwoods, as though you were right here with me in the Pacific Northwest. I believe you have written about this walk before, but I had forgotten.

    1. Thanks very much, Crystal. You are entitled to forget a few. πŸ™‚ I have featured this Ornamental Drive several times, but only walking through it once, about 5 years a go

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