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.