A Splendid Oak

On this hot, humid, and overcast morning our friend Giles visited for a tour of the garden he had not been able to enter since before the lockdown.

We enjoyed a pleasant catching up, continued over coffee inside.

This afternoon, after filling up with petrol, Jackie drove me to the north of the forest.

The ponies again gathered on Ringwood Road outside Burley, but largely stuck to the verges where they nibbled hedges and left deposits in driveways.

I disembarked at the Smugglers Road car park and climbed a well-trodden pony trail

so dry that it had partially turned to sand.

Various similar tracks wound across the arid moorland hillsides among the banks of purpling heather.

We drove along the lanes around Linwood where woodsmoke filled the air;

and along the cup de sac to Highwood where I aroused the curiosity of a pair of heavy field horses.

Just outside Ibsley a splendid oak stretched wide its arms.

This evening we dined on lean, slow roasted, brisket of beef; roast garlic potatoes; crisp Yorkshire pudding; crunchy carrots; and tender sweetheart cabbage, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Carles.


  1. The moorland landscapes look desolate, but the black-and-whites of the oak are truly splendid, Derrick. I visualized Pushkin’s learned cat on a gold chain wound around the mighty trunk, the one who sings songs and tells stories.
    P.S. I had to ask Mr Google about sweetheart cabbage as I have never seen it here.

  2. So many things I wish to comment on! First, lucky Gilles (It is Gilles. right?). I would (a) slaughter the fatted calf to have a garden like Jackie’s and yours and (b) actually visit it in person. Perhaps I’ll use the $3500 Air Canada credit for a Covid cancelled vacation to wing your way when this madness subsides. Second, the culinary queen makes my heart go pitty-pat with the thought of a slow roasted brisket. OMG. Third, Did I recently read that you printed one of your photographs for a reader and sent it to her? Because, you know, I adore your pony photos and would happily scroll through images to pick one.

    1. Thanks very much, Sue. Actually the reader lived just a few miles away, so I delivered the print. You would be very welcome to any one of your choice – and to visit when it is all over. It is Giles.

      1. Ah. Giles not Gilles. British vs. French. We have many Gilles in Ottawa, just across the river from Quebec. Visiting post-pandemic – something to dream about and anticipate!

  3. The garden seems to be at its summer best — Giles had a lovely walk-through! I love the old oak — but what is the story about the trunk in the background (center right) that seems to be hanging by its branches?

  4. That is a very splendid oak and the black and white treatment shows off its structure. I read somewhere that a landscape that includes a tree with low branches is very comforting to us at some deep level because it embodies the idea of shelter.

  5. Derek and I read and viewed your post together. He said, “I guarantee, they have the most beautiful and extension garden in the neighborhood.” I have to agree. Jackie looks so pleased touring Giles around. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Hi Derrick, I’ve just been and bigified your photo of the old oak tree, and truly a magnificent structure that nature has created for us… and I’ve filed the photo into my picture-libary for future reference… again a photo that’s captured my imagination…

      1. Hi Derrick, I’ve been writing a poem over the last three days, and I’d like to use the old oak tree photo, if that’s ok by you… the is called “Standing Upright”…

  7. I enjoyed watching Giles enjoying the garden, especially that photo where he’s looking up. It is a splendid oak and a splendid photo of a splendid oak.

    1. Thank you very much, Introverted Thoughts. I am honoured that you have nominated me, but I am afraid I cannot do justice to the requirements of acceptance. I think you will appreciate that I already spend a great deal of time writing and posting my daily diary; responding to comments; and reading and responding to those posts I follow. Keep up your own good work

      1. It’s absolutely fine! And I am truly sorry if this came across as an inconvenience. I do appreciate the fact that you put so much effort into each of your posts. They make for a wonderful read! Thank you.

  8. If Giles pulls his mask down over his throat, he may transfer any Covid germs from his exposed skin towards his mouth. Or so said what seemed to me a reasonable article about mask wearing.

  9. I’m so glad Giles got to spend time in the garden…and time with his dear friends! I know you two enjoyed having him with you!

    These B&W photos today are stunning!

    And the shoe-prints, and other-prints, in the sand are wonderful! A glimpse that comings and goings are happening! πŸ™‚

    Ah, sweetheart cabbage! I love it’s shape! I enjoy it raw or roasted! πŸ™‚
    (((HUGS))) πŸ™‚

  10. I envy Giles his tour of the garden, I’m not surprised he was eager to visit.
    I love sweetheart cabbage I like it boiled buttered and seasoned. ?

  11. Dolly has me curious now about the cabbage. Great photos, Derrick – I hope you’re not getting tired of hearing that compliment.

  12. I see summer has surrounded you in your lovely garden. Very nice! I love the free range horses. I see why you all have a fence around your gardens!! :>)

  13. I enjoyed all the photos from your day, Derrick and Jackie, especially the forest drive, ponies and horses. That one fellow has it right – never nibble a hedge without leaving some Gardener’s Gold behind. πŸ™‚

  14. Lucky Giles to get an actual tour of your beautiful garden. The oak tree is so majestic. You really packed a lot into your day, rounded off with a most delicious-sounding dinner. ??

  15. I walked the garden with Giles and enjoyed it through his eyes and your lens. It is a true work of art… every where we feast our eyes! The horses are beautiful. I appreciate your photos of them… and the description of the way they “largely stuck to the verges where they nibbled hedges and left deposits in driveways.” I bet the owners loved that! Ah, the rice we pay for living among God’s beautiful creatures who roam free, huh?

  16. lucky Giles for a tour in your garden! i can see Jackie’s joy in answering (i’m guessing) to Giles queries. there is something special in old trees. and the oak tree is splendid indeed! πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

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