More Water For The Animals

Early yesterday evening Jackie drove us to Darbar Indian restaurant in Emsworth where we joined Becky and Ian in celebration of our daughter’s 50th birthday. Catching up after six months in lockdown was remarkably easy – we just dropped into delightful conversation over excellent food with attentive service. We shared poppadoms, onion bahjis, three different types of naan, and pilau rice. My main dish was Goan fish curry. Ian and I drank Cobra while the ladies drank Diet Coke.

The waiting staff all wore PPE masks and were as attentive and efficient as ever.

The warm, sunlit, weather today asserted that summer is not yet ready to yield to autumn. For this reason we took a mid-morning drive into the forest.

Robert Gill’s garden in Everton Road is always the showpiece of the annual Hordle Scarecrow Trail. We are not sure whether there will be one this year, but this professional gardener has given us an advance display with his NHS tribute while his alter ego sits comfortably with his name-mug.

So much tarmac is regularly nibbled from the edges of this lane winding through the undulating moorland carpeted with heather and bracken that we always wonder how much longer we will be able to use the route.

There is no passing space for any two vehicles without one diverting to the verge; whenever I want to leave our car in order to wander among the ponies Jackie has to find a spot where there is possibly enough leeway for such a manoeuvre.

Ponies in and around the stream are sometimes irresistible. After the recent rains there is more fresh water for the animals.

Cyclists and walkers tend to gather and consult maps before the modern house built on the footprint of the old signalman’s building beside the former railway track which is now a path for their convenience.

Penetrating the trees the bright sunlight dappled both woodland and ponies along Bisterne Close. This poor creature trying to ignore the flies coating its muzzle let out an almighty snort when the insects became too intrusive.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy pasta arrabbiata served with fritters of courgette that Giles had bought from some enterprising children on his way to his last visit to us. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank Axis 280 Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 – a smooth red wine from Western Australia’s Margaret River.


  1. I love the entry Robert Gills put together for the scarecrow trail. He showed imagination and common sense!!
    That one pony sure seemed to eye balling you – ever aware of your every move!

  2. Happy Birthday to your daughter, guys! I am guessing that the three photos with men are not so popular politicians.

    1. They are mostly harmless wild animals owned by commoners who have ancient pasturage rights. People are advised not to touch them, but that doesn’t stop some. Thanks very much, Stine.

  3. The ponies in the dappled forest and the crumbling, winding lane are such spots of beauty. I was pleased to see you could both gather with Becky and Ian to celebrate the birthday girl despite the current situation.

  4. Your dinner(s) sound delicious, and I’m glad you could get together to celebrate Becky’s birthday. We don’t have indoor dining yet, and I’m not certain I’d feel safe.

    I love the forest and pony photos in the dappled light.

  5. I happy you were able to get together to celebrate with Becky. Our restaurants are closed for indoor dining. Great photos today, Derrick! I love the scarecrows. πŸ™‚

  6. Our annual scarecrow hunt was cancelled this year.
    Love seeing the ponies out again on their daily verge and hedge trimming duties – they look to be doing a grand job!

  7. The scarecrows are always a delight! I am enjoying all these forest ponies. I had a horse many years ago, and a pony before that. Yes, they can let out a mighty snort!

    The heat has not really let up here as originally predicted. It is 91 out there at this time, and has not peaked yet. It is still better than the 102 we had earlier in the week.

  8. YAY on a wonderful celebration of Becky and her birthday! πŸ™‚

    The scarecrows and their messages are timely and creative! I hope there will be more scarecrows!
    I love scarecrows and have built a few myself…with help from my students. πŸ™‚

    Oh, I’m so glad the ponies are finding water! We don’t want them getting dry and hoarse! πŸ˜‰ HA! πŸ˜€

    Your photos of the ponies are so beautiful…especially captured in by the B&W photo, the photos of such beautiful light and shadows, and the reflection photos! πŸ™‚

    HUGS!!! πŸ™‚

  9. I am most miffed there won’t be a scarecrow trail this year! On the other hand, your Pony photographs never fail to please. How I admire your bravery in dining out. I haven’t been to a restaurant since 2019.

  10. You can’t possibly mention those delicacies to an Indian without inducing mouth-watering moments for the latter. We are a wildly various people and out here in the middle of this crazy land and upwards north from hither we call them pakoras rather than bhajis, and we are generally mad about them, if served in conjunction with ginger-chai!

    So out went I into the woods with you, having savoured wisdom of the scarecrows and appreciating the ingenious alter-ego of Robert with his name on the mug and his mirth represented by those balloons. The ponies look majestic both in flesh and reflection.

  11. That looks like a splendid area of heathland. I would think that it will have a good few reptiles although they are always difficult to see.

  12. Beautiful countryside around you Derrick, love the ponies too. Many happy returns to your daughter the big 50 πŸ™‚

  13. The scarecrows made me smile. I’m glad your celebrations were more than virtual. I saw lots of flies on one of my favourite small trees the other day. I’ve never noticed that before. They just seemed to be sitting on it. I waved them off, but imagined they’d be back. It’s a pity a tree does not have a tail or a way of snorting.

    1. Thanks very much, Laurie. I do appreciate your responding on both sites – but I only have a link there for people who don’t want to use WP – and I know how occupied you are….

  14. summer rain! great shots of ponies in the dappled forest! and the scarecrow is delightful! πŸ™‚ lovely family dinner! πŸ™‚

  15. You take one down interesting walks… especially for me today! It’s raining here, this afternoon and I doubt it will stop any time soon. So there goes my evening walk. You do like Indian food it seems. In different parts of India, at times, the same food item would have a different name. The “bhaji” are also called “bhajia” in some states, but up our side in the North, and in the western state of Rajasthan, they are called “pakora’ (singular) ‘pakoras’ (plural). I like how you pair your wines with Indian food.

      1. Thanks for the link. I just read it. Very interesting. I am surprised how In England and many here in Canada and Chile love chili hot food. As an Indian, I do not eat very spicy hot food. Most people back home and here are surprised that my food, although it has all the lovely flavours of spices, is low on heat. I use red chilies and green ones too. You’ll get the fresh taste of green chili sans the heat. The rich color and flavour of red chili but it’s kept at a level comfortable for me…that translates to “bland” for an Indian palate. ha, ha!

  16. Always fun to share your day, dear {{{Derrick}}}. I especially enjoyed your description of dinner. Makes me wish I could return to our Saffron Table in Bozeman. I hope they reopen soon. I also loved sharing β€œthe bright sunlight [that] dappled both woodland and ponies.” Lovely photos!

  17. The way you photographed that winding paved lane makes me want to visit it, and follow it over the hill, even though it’s narrow. The colours in the photo of the orangey fern in front of the purple flowers are gorgeous. Is that heather?

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