On The Road Again

Today dawned with sunny intervals. As the meteorologists had correctly forecast driving rain this afternoon, we drove to Setley Ridge to buy a birthday present, then into the forest,

I photographed two woodland scenes outside Brockenhurst, from where we drove across the moors towards Beaulieu.

A solitary horse and rider trotted across the fading heather;

a loan pony grazed beside Hatchet Pond;

while a small group found their fodder nearer the road.

It was not far outside the village that we were held up by a pair of ponies soon to be joined by others. For me there was nothing for it but to leave the car and

join in the fun.

The progress of the red Qashqai was indicative of the necessary negotiations. When we returned more than an hour later the languid equine road-lords and -ladies still held court.

By and large cattle have more road sense and remain on the verges, leaving the road to cyclists.

There were, of course, exceptions.

Stopping by a pine copse on the road between Beaulieu and Brockenhurst, I focussed on the landscape.

It was gentle donkeys that occupied the tarmac on the way to Saint Leonard’s,

beyond which another group of cows mostly kept to the verges with their calves.

This afternoon I received a request from WordPress to rate their recent attempts to help me with various problems. I was given two options: “I’m happy” or “I’m not happy”. Naturally I chose the latter. I was then asked to elaborate. This is what I wrote:

“I’m not very competent. I couldn’t get zoom going. The subsequent chat didn’t help – I was given three links – one to a book which I would have to buy. I work best talking to a human being. If that is not possible I will have to accept that you can’t help me. (I am intelligent enough to have written a daily post for 7 years and have only met problems with the introduction of Gutenberg editor. Having said all that I am 77 years old).”

This evening we dined on succulent lamb steak; crisp roast potatoes and parsnips; crunchy carrots and tender cabbage, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Saint-Chinian 2016.


  1. Surveys invariably offer forced choice, but the choice of “yes” or “no” is more forced than others, to rephrase Orwell. I fully sympathize with you, Derrick, being a techo-idiot myself.
    That said, your first two photos prompted me to expect some Tolkien characters to step out of the woods – elves, perhaps… And those white ponies are as gorgeous, as ever.

      1. My pleasure, Derrick. I had not been much more of a techie 25 years ago, when I was working on my dissertation. Luckily, I was teaching at the same university and had friends in high places, i.e. the computer lab.

  2. I recently wrote in one of those feedback forms that allowed me a choice between being very happy and very unhappy that ‘as a person with 70 years of life experience and a fully working brain I found the overuse of ‘very’ exasperating and wished to report that I found the response to my question adequate and as a result was able to resolve my issue.’ I doubt the twelve year old at the other end understood a word. Love the pic of the soft and friendly looking donkey – makes me want one πŸ™‚

  3. Great response to WP. You’re probably their best customer. I’m always amazed by the amount of wild life that roams freely. That last photo is definitely puzzle material, Derrick!

  4. Thank you sharing another beautiful series.
    I have stubbornly refused to use the “new” editor. I also think your response was very honest and fair. I hope Nugget continues to do well too πŸ™‚
    Best wishes to you and Jackie,

      1. Thank you for your reply. Even among the β€˜younger’ users, there is a strong opinion that decent customer service with real human staff is very important. The lack of genuine support seems to be a global phenomenon…

  5. Thank you for the lovely photos and also for the comment to WP. They need to understand that there are a lot of us mature writers on WP who deserve some real support.

  6. Those are majestic shots, each and every one of them, although I am partial to the one in which a bunch of ponies have posted themselves on the curve of the road. I wish you good luck with chatting with WordPress bots. One of them recently sent me an anniversary message informing me I have been on WordPress for the last 12 years.

    My nondescript existence on the Net goes back to the year 1999 though, when I used to have a static page which I would edit, append and illustrate sporadically, and for a while I was on Blogger too, circa 2005.

    I wish I had spent my time doing gardening and photography instead.

  7. You’re beautiful photos captured a beautiful day, Derrick! I love how the ponies, cows, and donkeys are a part of the fun/action! Or maybe they started the fun/action! ? πŸ˜‰ Ha! πŸ˜€ Your forest, tree, and landscape shots are sigh-worthy! So stunning to look at!

    I had some WP problems a few years ago and WordPress-ians (WP users) were more helpful to me than WP was on figuring things out. One of my readers/friend is VERY computer, photography, and WP savvy, so these days I ask him before I even think about asking WP.
    You are an amazing blogger, so if you are having trouble then I’m doomed!
    I’m glad you gave them feedback…they need to hear what us well-seasoned human-beans have to say!
    HUGS to you and Jackie! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚
    TWEETS to Nugget! πŸ™‚

  8. I enjoyed another lovely drive out with you both.

    You do have the option to return to the Classic editor if you’re not happy with Gutenberg. I returned to the Classic, but may return to the block editor when the bugs have been ironed out.

  9. Lovely shots of the animals again today Derrick. πŸ™‚ Glad the sun was out, at least for the morning.

    Some of the ponies appear to be grazing on the tarmac – do you know what they eat from the road surface?

    I don’t know if your survey response will be understood or acted upon in anything like a productive manner but at least it would have released a little of the understandable frustration.

    I’ve had quite reasonable help via email for an Outlook (Microsoft) mail problem – i felt like i was communicating with an actual human being, but it was probably a decent Artificial Intelligence computer based response ?

  10. First off – you KNOW I love the animals. I get such a kick out of them holding people and cars up to suit their needs!!
    Then, I’m glad you complained about the new editor, I refuse to go to it. It took me long enough to get used to the one we had!! πŸ™‚ (and i am still using.) I haven’t as yet heard anyone say anything good about the Gutenberg!!

  11. I’ve followed your blog at least since Poppy was born—I remember that darling baby—and yet I am still amazed by all the wandering horses, cows, and donkeys. I don’t suppose I will ever get over being amazed.

  12. Derrick, is it me or is there a distinctly autumnal feel in these photos? Since it’s mostly solid rain here this week, it feels as if summer left weeks ago! I hope you get a response from WordPress. I shall perhaps make my own efforts if the present glitches don’t resolve themselves.

  13. You have a beautiful rural environment, so placid and serene, the animals live in harmony with human interaction and vice versa, an environment like that to live in on a daily basis, must give the body and soul much contentment.

  14. There always seem to be glitches and gremlins with WP–it doesn’t surprise me that even the surveys are flawed. I wonder if anyone will actually read your comment.
    You live in a beautiful and marvelous part of the world. The forest shots at the top look like they are scenes from a primordial time.

  15. Your first photograph of the forest looked like a painting ?

    Anyway, sorry to hear about your WP troubles. They never got back to me about the trouble I had with comments. I guess overall though it is good to have the WP service at our fingertips.

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