Today was bright and sunny, if a little chilly.
Because this was the weekend, there was a little more humanity on the forest roads, mainly in the form of
family groups of walkers like these on St Leonards Road,
and cyclists in pairs or singly, like this one on Sowley Lane.
We had planned to visit the beach at the end of Tanners Lane, but thought better of it when we met a row of parked cars near the entrance. Clearly the shingle would be crowded. Jackie backed up a long way before reaching a turning space.
The narrow track leading solely to the beach beside the Solent is one of our ancient thoroughfares that is bordered by
high banks and deep ditches, centuries of erosion having exposed gnarled roots. This verge is on the side edged by fields;
the opposite side flanks gardens, like this one, the top of which is fenced against the road above, from which we can look down on the cottage below.
Blackthorn blossom blooms beneath the bank.
Donkeys dined in ditches,
along the verges,
and up the banks.
Sometimes, like the man with the red flag during the early years of motor traffic, they kept the speed down by leading from the front. The passenger in this car was doing what I do, and photographing the donkey.
Sowley Lane is flanked by fields, one of which bears the first coat of bright yellow pigment that will develop into oil seed rape.
A pheasant courtship was taking place in the next field.
I turned my attention to ponies on the verges, one of which animals bore uncomfortable looking red eyes.
A pair of mallards waddled past as I approached another along the dappled road.
A cyclist approached as the two ducks neared the original pony now being joined by another.
The drake and his mate crossed the road as I attempted to come a bit closer.
They slipped into the water-filled ditch. As I pointed my lens they took flight. I just about managed to catch one of them.
One pony crossed back across the road and left its companion to
have an energetic scratch.
We returned home via Lisle Court Road which featured a sun-spotted thatched cottage,
with a neighbouring iconic red telephone box having undergone a makeover.
This evening we dined on Jackie’s classic chicken jalfrezi; savoury rice, palak paneer, onion bahjis, and plain paratha, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the El Zumbido Garnacha, Syrah.