No Deep End

Late this morning Jackie drove me to Birchfield Dental Practice in New Milton for a routine check. Mr Hefferen pronounced no treatment required. We continued on to brunch at Hockey’s Farm Shop. There is always a bit of a wait there, but everything is cooked from scratch and is of very good quality. And we are seldom in a hurry.

These donkeys dozing in the shade at South Gorley were not thinking of going anywhere fast.

The Fighting Cocks on Roger Penny Way at Godshill enjoyed its usual entourage of asinine attractions

for visitors with an array of cameras.

After a series of strokes one foal found a little grooming was in order.

This little chap had been performing the cartwheels that seem to be necessary for new babies, but steadfastly refused to repeat it for my camera.

Another was more interested in lunch, until becoming unplugged when sated.

Probably the youngest new arrival

flopped not far from its mother who was hungry herself.

This creature vainly sought shelter in a rather narrow gap.

Many forest pools, like this one across the road from the pub are drying up in this prolonged warm spell of weather.

Having stepped out of the car to photograph the area around the pub, I decided to walk along this rather uneven terrain for approximately half an hour. Despite the numerous warning signs along this road there is still hit and run appeal for witnesses involving a pony fatality further along.

Taking paths trampled by the animals,

I made a few diversions into the surrounding woodlands,

where a Red Bull can nestled among the buttercups.

When I’d just about had enough, the Modus in the car park of The Fighting Cocks still seemed far off. I became somewhat slower. Eventually I looked up and spotted Jackie in the car on the opposite side of the road. She revealed that she had had her binoculars on me and had liked the look of neither my gait nor my face. I was certainly pleased to see her.

Continuing the journey along Roger Penny Way by car, as usual we were wary of ponies stepping out. The group at the bottom of the hill would be bound to be followed by others. They were.

In order to avoid the bottleneck that is Lyndhurst, we took the Minstead route where sunlight illuminated these ferns.

Cattle and ponies, one suckling, shared pasturage at Boldrewood,

until the bovines decided the grass was greener on the other side.

This intrigued an approaching family of cyclists.

A solitary deer had no competition along Rhinefield Road.

The mother of this foal sporting a typical Mohican foraged behind the ferns, while her offspring was being photographed by a gentleman behind a tree, and another from a car window.

Ponies sharing the sheltered pool outside Brockenhurst with Highland cattle clearly see it as politic to allow the larger, hairy, beasts first paddle while they patiently wait their turn in the shade.

One poor unfortunate was not having a good day. Attempting to take a drink, it had been butted away by another equine, only to find itself nose to nose with a Volkswagen.

Normally reasonably full, this animal paddling pool currently has no deep end.

This evening we dined on Forest Tandoori Lamb jalfrezi, chicken shashlik, and pilau rice; Tesco’s vegetable wontons; and paratha fried in oil from a little shop in New Milton. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank an excellent Angelica Sur Malbec 2016 given to me for my birthday by Shelly and Ron.


  1. Great sightings.
    I see Jackie does sightings of her own, with your welfare at heart!
    Are they ever going to do something about that Lyndhurst snarl-up? It earned some choice words from me on quite a few occasions.

  2. It’s always a relief to get a good report from the dentist, isn’t it? It would take me forever to drive anywhere in your area, Derrick. I’d want to stop and visit will all of the animals, especially the baby donkeys. I’m really amazed by the volume. The sun on the fern is gorgeous!

  3. You take the most wonderful pictures, Derrick! I don’t think I ever realized just how cute donkeys are!
    I hope you picked up that Red Bull can. I don’t think your countryside wants to see pigs fly – it does give you wings!!

  4. I’m glad no treatment was required at the dentist and greatly enjoyed the diverse furry friends though there might be an urge to brush some of those shaggy donkeys.

  5. Jackie is a gem, watching you with binocs and coming to the rescue. I do love the donkeys and their neat little hooves. Another feast to end the day!!

  6. I love the way mummy pony keeps chomping away while bubs has a refill. That road sign 40 is that mph or kph? If mph, seems pretty high with all the ponies and cattle wandering all over the place, 40kph roughly 25 mph seems more reasonable

    1. It’s miles Brian, we don’t do kilometres over here. I thought the same as you it is pretty high!

    2. You are quite right, Brian. It is mph and at that speed an animal would die and a car be badly damaged. And, of course, some drivers do not keep within limits anyway. Thanks very much.

  7. I was lost in the deep end of the four-legged Lotus Eaters when your came to the part where you describe the food with relish. Those friends of ours appear to have attained Nirvana of sorts through the sheer weight of their meditative existence.

  8. What a wonderful set of pictures you took today. I couldn’t help noticing how little grass there was, it’s no wonder they are always on the move.

  9. All of those sweet faces brighten my day! πŸ™‚
    Hope all the creatures…great and small…are safe with the heat and less water. I worry about them all.
    Jackie’s got her eye on you! I’m so glad! πŸ™‚
    HUGS to you both! and HUGS for your Mum! πŸ™‚

  10. We seem to have swapped places in the last few weeks – your dry spell matched by my wet spell!

    After having less than 30% of our annual pro-rata rainfall to June 7 we are all caught up by July 7 – 278mm or 11 inches in a month! Hope for the bovine/equines sake some rain arrives soon. πŸ™‚

    You are to be commended for pushing through the pain barrier as an exercise regimen, as is Jackie for keeping an eye out and supplying some respite.

    As usual i love the foal and donkey photos – did you notice one of your foals only has 3 legs?? πŸ˜‰

  11. Those donkeys! They are so cute–I love the sleepy faces. And I laughed at your “asinine attractions” comment. This post is such a delight with so many wonderful photos–animals and scenery.
    I’m glad you were up to taking a ramble, but also glad that Jackie is so wise and thoughtful and came to the rescue.

  12. Jackie takes such good care of you πŸ™‚ I love the tiny unplugged foal. And the highland cattle must get very hot indeed inside their shaggy coats. No wonder they were at the head of the queue for a dip!

  13. I’ll echo some of the other comments by gushing about those donkeys. Utterly adorable! And how good of Jackie to look out for you. What seems doable one way is not always easy coming back.

  14. The Forest photos are beautiful, Derrick! It is the time of year for baby animals of all kinds. It is good Jackie was there to look out for you.

  15. I am sure that the number of domestic farm animals that wander so calmly in such a public place is unique. City dwellers who have access to the area are so very lucky to be able to see them. I know from long experience that a huge number of Australian city dwellers have never seen a cow or sheep or horse in the flesh. It is just wonderful.

    1. Thanks very much, Paol. Your sensitive comment reminds me of a poem written by a child in a special project for school refuser children in a very deprived area of London.. Her opening couplet was “the fields of green I’ve never seen”.

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