Pork Scratchings

On our visit to Mum at Woodpeckers Care Home this morning she may have had difficulty remembering what she was meant to be doing this week, but her reminiscing was pretty sharp. It was sometime in the 1980s that I ran The Paris Marathon and she hadn’t been there but she told us all about it. Even more detailed was her description of how her father earned his life-saving certificate in Manchester in the 1930s. He had been in the process of shaving when my uncle Ben rushed in to tell my Grandpa that three girls had fallen into the deep water in the disused marl pit. George Hunter, one cheek still lathered, dropped everything and ran up the hill to the pit. One girl was lost; one another man failed to resuscitate; the third was saved by my grandfather.

A transformer was being changed by the electricity company in our area and we knew we would have no supply until mid afternoon. We therefore drove to Friars Cliff to try lunch at The Beach Hut CafΓ©. The car park was full so we turned away and continued to Hockey’s Farm Shop for brunch.

On the way to Friars Cliff Jackie parked in Lake Grove Road so I could wander round the lake that lies beside the B3058 along which the man in the last picture in the gallery was walking into New Milton. Two different groups kept their distances beside the water and a young woman pushed a buggy in their direction. Mallards paddled; two-tone trees and silhouetted bridges reflected; pebbles glistened in the water; cyclamen clustered among the dappled woodland.

Pannage pigs crossed the road at Ibsley;

some enjoyed a reflective paddle;

two busied themselves scratching against low wooden posts.

Despite doubtful clouds the rain desisted.

At Hockey’s Jackie photographed samples of autumn produce being sold in aid of Teenage Cancer Trust.

As readers will know, ponies have the right of the way in New Forest roads like this on on the way up to Gorley Common.

Any vehicles approaching another on an uphill climb where passing is not possible without backing up or finding a place on the verges has the right of way anywhere.

This was ignored by a van driver who descended the hill at a rapid rate forcing Jackie to reverse a considerable distance. When we encountered him later swinging round a bend far too fast in our direction in another part of Gorley we expressed the vengeful wish that he was late and hopelessly lost.

An autumnal scene with horses and another silhouetted equine pair compensated for the actions of the bully.

‘Little Thatch’ at Hyde has some time recently been gutted by fire.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s scrumptious chicken stoup and toast, followed by rhubarb and ginger ice cream.


  1. I love listening to family history through the memories of our aging parents/grandparents. They always seem to be more accurate as they get older if that’s possible. πŸ™‚
    I’m pleased you had a great visit.

  2. Your grandpa was very brave! You and Jackie were most restrained when bullied on the road. My wish for drivers such as you encountered is that they are lost to the gene pool. I know. Not kind.

  3. My godmother’s mother was the same in her final years. She could remember everything from the distant past in great detail but nothing of yesterday. She was fascinating to talk to.

  4. I’m glad you had a chance to spend some time with your Mum. It pains me to see a building, particularly a home, gutted by fire. Is ‘Little Thatch’ salvagable at all?

  5. quite a busy day for you and Jackie! i’m amazed at how our elderly parents remember events way back with so much detail. glad you had a wonderful reminiscing visit. your photos are fabulous as always, each telling a story. thanks πŸ™‚

  6. There is nothing like a good scratch against a post. You have captured that blissful moment well. We enjoyed Mum’s story of the rescue. Glad that she and you both shared it.

  7. I have added 2 new words to my vocabulary, thanks to you: ‘mast’ and ‘pannage’. And, I found out that pannage goes back to William the Conqueror, who founded New Forest ‘way back in 1079!
    I am like your mom, I find myself reminiscing more and more about long ago events. I try not to repeat them too often!

  8. Oh, and I also discovered the reason the pigs are allowed in there, is because they eat up the mast, which could be poisonous to horses and cattle. Clever.

  9. That was a nice trip except for the unpleasant encounter with the bully driving the van. Unfortunately, these thick skinned kind tend to prosper in their own way. Perhaps it’s one of the Nature’s inscrutable methods of balancing the progress of the species!

  10. This is certainly a post that contains many elements: Two girls drowning, one girl saved. Pigs, ponies, power outage. Being bullied by a delivery van. Finally, fire. Phew!

  11. Your mum’s sharp reminiscing got me thinking about how my father and his sister could go on and on about their family history and sharing interesting stories. While Dad’s short term memory stayed intact, his sister forgot things like where she was or if she had had lunch. Maybe its more important for the elderly to pass along the family history and wisdom while younger folks take care of them and make sure they have lunch. I hope the bully in the van gives you no more trouble, but if he does, I’d get his license/identification to make a report. I enjoyed your nature photos as always.

  12. hear in NZ, you can text the number of the vehicles licence plate, simply state the offence, and someone will follow the matter up with the driver…

  13. Well done, George Hunter! It was very rare to have known how to swim in the 1930s. The High School had between 400-500 pupils at the time, and on one occasion, only around thirty received the certificate for swimming a width.

  14. so so SO glad you got to visit your Mum!!! πŸ™‚ I hope she is feeling well! πŸ™‚
    The produce looks lovely…and what a great cause to donate $.
    Like the piggies…sometimes we just GOTTA’ scratch the itches! πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜€
    Oh, I’ve never had rhubarb ice cream! I’d love to try that. Not sure if I could find that here. I shall google it! πŸ™‚
    Your story of your grandfather saving the girl brought tears to my eyes…so sad the other 2 didn’t make it. But what a kind, compassionate, and brave man…your grandfather!
    HUGS!!! πŸ™‚
    PS…sorry to hear about the van-man being a bully on the road. Often in all their hogging the road and going so fast and cutting people off, etc., they don’t get any farther ahead. I hope my saying “hogging the road” doesn’t offend the piggies!
    PPS…I stared at that amazing reflection photo for quite a while and smiled. πŸ™‚

  15. I’m getting like your mum now. I can remember many things from the past in great detail, then I struggle to remember someone’s name in something I watched on TV yesterday!

  16. What a wonderful story about your grandfather!
    So many beautiful photos–I love the reflections, of course, πŸ˜€ but also the pigs.
    I suspect there may have been a few more words expressing your feelings towards that van driver. That’s very sad about the fire.

  17. Your grandfather was a brave man, Derrick. It is good your mother is passing along all these family stories.
    I enjoyed all the photos from your day, and especially loved the pigs having a good scratch on the posts. πŸ™‚

          1. It was lost on me! I think they are just called pork rinds here. I know I have eaten them at some point in the distant cobweb covered past. πŸ™‚

  18. So wonderful you got to visit your Mum, Derrick. I dread the lockdown they are threatening us with again.
    The piggies are my favorites. You live in such a happy place.

  19. Gosh, I’ve been feeling very ‘smug’ about my pumpkin growing success this year, but your image of those being sold in the market has put me firmly in my place… aren’t they amazing things!!!
    Off to the veg patch to have a talk to my somewhat more humble harvest now πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you very much, Ribana. Yes – a bonus power outage πŸ™‚ Mum still gets a little confused over her history but she is still a good source. She remembered that at one of the Paris marathon drink stations we were given champaign – in fact it was yoghurt πŸ™‚

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