The Halloween Template

The day began as gloomy as yesterday. The early rain was quite light – enough for us to put in a stint of clearing up clippings and dead heading before it increased in ferocity.

I watched recordings of the Rugby World Cup matches between USA and Tonga; between Wales and Uruguay; and between Ireland and Japan. As usual I will not reveal the outcome of any of these , save to say that the sight of several of the smaller Japanese simultaneously tackling some of the larger Scots put me in mind of a pride of lions bringing down an elephant.

By late afternoon the sun emerged as the clouds sped away.

We took a drive into the forest via Holmsley Passage where the lowering sun burnished the bracken beneath still laden clouds.

I rambled for a while along Bisterne Close where ponies ambled once they left the

woodland on one side.

This mare led her foal

across to the side occupied by farms, houses and field horses. The mother enjoyed a scratch as her offspring waited patiently.

The domesticated animals now sport their rugs. The free ranging ponies grow their own.

Readers may observe that leaf shadows on one of these tree trunks have provided a template for a Halloween pumpkin face.

Mushrooms and tree fungus are found here;

varieties of tree fungus emerge from logs lying alongside Beechwood Road.



The stream under Mill Lane flows again over the ford.

Cattle graze beside the waters, and pigs

snuffle along the lane vacuuming up the fallen acorns so that they do not poison the ponies.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s nicely matured pork paprika with rice and peas, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Pinot Noir.


  1. Ha, the proximity of the live animals and your dinner made me momentarily afraid I was about to read that you had eaten nicely matured pork stuffed with acorns……… The featured tree trunk is a wonderful old twisted affair and I found the happy face quite magical. Pleased to report the rain has finally stopped here for now – so enjoyed our early morning walk under blue skies and in need of sunglasses.

    1. I’m so pleased your weather has improved at last – you’ve had a bad run of it. I always miss the juxtaposition of wandering pigs and a pork dinner πŸ™‚ Thanks very much, Pauline. I’m also pleased you appreciated the face.

  2. I was just on my way to journal outside and it is raining here! And then I come here and you mention the gloomy start – but looks like a great day! Love those bumpy tree trunks and horse jacket rugs!

  3. Autumn in the forest looks lovely! The foals are growing up, and an interesting old tree who has seen much over the years. Wet leaves, newly sprouted fungus and warm angled afternoon sunlight are all things I enjoy. In spite of springs beautiful flowers, it is autumn I love the most.

  4. I am really impressed by the tree fungi. But that second shot! I can just imagine Diggory Venn With his reddle pack on his back . How far away did Hardy live?

  5. I love the patches of blue as the sky begins to clear. The bracken is quite striking. As many nineteenth century novels as I’ve read, I never knew that bracken is a type of fern until I saw your photos of it a while back.

  6. What a beautiful amble and ramble you undertook. I have a massive patch of identical mushrooms on my sodden grass. I’m very fond of mushrooms but suspect that these may not be edible. I wish I knew.

  7. Your second photograph….have you ever noticed how frequently you see that lone tree just below the top of a hill? It seems very common in the West Country, for example.

  8. Love the shots of the bracken and the ponies, particularly the mare and her foal.

    I did not pickup the Hallowe’en face until i saw your header photograph for a second time (my browser always starts off with yesterday’s header at first for some reason?) – I was focusing on a second face further down the trunk: ear, one eye, nose, mouth and long chin). πŸ™‚

    Thinking of your fly-frustrated ponies, i saw an article recently that tested the hypothesis that zebras evolved their stripes because they reduce the attraction of flies, by painting cows with black and white stripes!!

    The results showed an average of 50% fewer flies on the striped cows!

    I wonder if you or the farmers should carry a pot of striped paint for next time you see the ponies swishing their tails?? πŸ˜‰

    1. Fascinating about the zebras, Bob. Perhaps we could festoon ponies with fly paper. I thought I should have the face on the header. The other one was there, too. Thanks very much.

  9. ‘Tis the season for pumpkin-faces! Love the mushroom and fungi photos. (Bet those sail boarders and surfers on the earlier post were fun-guys! πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜€ )

    The pigs, cattle, and ponies look healthy and happy! πŸ™‚

    Your sky/cloud photos are so beautiful! I love cloud-watching! πŸ™‚
    HUGS!!! πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you very much, More. I was never professional, although I have sold a few photographs. I have been a keen amateur for more than 60 years. Now I just like sharing them.

  10. Your free ranging animals seem to enjoy the climate and habitat, with no fear shown
    Photographing pigs and then describing matured pork paprika was a gourmet chefs brilliant culinary advertisement.

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