Meerut Road

On another mild, sunny, morning we visited Mum in Woodpeckers Colten Care Home.

Firstly, Jackie parked in Butts Lawn along which I wandered with a camera.

At one end the ford water left its mark on the measuring gauge.

I walked alongside the rippling, fast-flowing stream watching swaying underwater weeds, scum-forming bubbles, and leaves whizzing by putting me in mind of Hans Andersen’s “Little Tin Soldier” in his paper boat speeding along the gutter. Sunbeams revealed autumn leaves and pebbles carpeting the bed, and a red-brick house was reflected in a roadside puddle.

At the other end stands a Telephone Box Book Exchange decorated with children’s drawings and a notice of Lockdown Precautions advising that the library contents will not have been sanitised.

The stream continues under the road bridge beside a splendid oak. The wooden railings are reflected in the crystal clear water.

Attempting to claim the last resilient leaf clinging to a maple on Meerut Road the gentle breeze tugged and twisted in vain.

‘Morant Hall, also known as New Forest Hall, once stood on the Lyndhurst Road approximately opposite Greenways Road, Brockenhurst.

Soon after the establishment of the Lady Hardinge Hospital for Wounded Indian Soldiers in c.1914 at what is now Tile Barn the facilities quickly became overcrowded. The hospital had tented and galvanized roofed buildings as patient accommodation and had commandeered Balmer Lawn and Forest Park Hotels.

Morant Hall was set up to take some of these patients in an attempt to relieve some of the overcrowding treating the Indian troops of the Meerut and Lahore Divisions, who fought on the Western Front, and were patients at the Lady Hardinge Hospital. The hall became known as the Meerut Indian General Hospital and was managed by a committee of local citizens and could provide accommodation for up to 120. …..Meerut Road in Brockenhurst [is named] in their memory.’ (Gareth Owen in|39:1:1|40:1:1 )

Despite the current Covid-inspired lockdown Colten Care continue to provide visiting facilities. We can see my mother through a glass screen for half an hour once a fortnight.

Mum was wheeled in and provided with a rug which she didn’t need to use. Jackie, who sits socially distanced beside me, and the garden behind our open door are reflected in the screen. Mother was on good, talkative, form.

In Sway Road, not far from Woodpeckers, a family of donkeys enjoyed scratching and tearing at the shrubbery. One left its post in order to discover whether I bore any treats.

This evening we dined on a rack of pork ribs in barbecue sauce, salt and pepper prawns, and Jackie’s savoury egg rice, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Cotes du Rhone Villages.


  1. Ah, so good that you can get to see your mum. I don’t suppose it’s as nice as sitting down to a lovely meal like you used to do, but it’s better than nothing. I was wondering if you were able to talk through the glass, and it sounds like you can. But I bet you miss hugging her!

  2. I remember the most severe lock-down at Dad’s nursing home. Wearing masks we peering through glass windows 3 metres away behind a temporary fence. Dad wore a mask. It is a scary time but we know our loved ones were kept the safest as they could be.

  3. I’m so glad you’re still able to see your mom, and that she seems well. Fun photos of her, and lots of beautiful photos–I love the reflections and the donkeys.

    1. We are asked not to feed them, Tootlepedal, so, no. Colten Care are doing very well, but they charge three times what the local authorities will pay. Mum’s house is being sold to cover the excess.

  4. I enjoyed this post from the weeds in the stream to the maple leaf to visiting your sweet Mum with the reflections.. and of course the donkeys.

  5. wonderful landscape photos that I shall include the donkey within, as they are great part of the landscape…sad you can’t hug and chat up close to Mum, but I guess some of the care clients are getting used to the new system and at least you can visit at a distance…

  6. your header photo is simply beautiful! and more gorgeous autumnal scenes and reflections! your Mum looks wonderfully good; her smile so precious!

  7. The resilient leaf must symbolise our current times: hang in there, it says. My heart aches that you cannot touch your mother – my Mom often said that what she missed most in between visits was a ‘real human touch’ filled with love. Hang in there!

  8. I love that telephone booth library. It kind of restores my belief in humans.
    The name Meerut Road surely caught my attention. A sizeable slice of our recent history remains weld together for eternity.

  9. It make me so happy when you get to visit with your sweet Mum! It get joy-teary-eyed! I’m so glad she looks so healthy and happy! 🙂
    Those precious donkey faces always capture my heart! 🙂 Did you have any treats for them?! 😉
    The children’s art is wonderful! A day brightener, for sure!
    Your thoughts of Andersen’s Little Tin Soldier are lovely!
    And your water and reflection photos are filled with beauty, texture, colour, motion, light and shadows!
    The history of Morant Hall is interesting.
    (((HUGS))) 🙂

    1. Thank you very much, Carolyn – especially for appreciating the Little Tin Soldier. I don’t carry treats for donkeys because we are asked not to do so – one cause of accidents when they approach cars in hope – also they carry ticks and are given the wrong foods.

  10. Beautiful photos Derrick – I am so pleased that you can still see your lovely mum, even though you cannot yet hold her hand. The reflection in the glass screen is so poignant x

  11. Your Mum is absolutely beaming. I would have enjoyed getting to know her in past years; I suspect she is quite an interesting person. Even though I made a few paper boats as a child, I didn’t know about that tale by Hans Christian Andersen. I found myself wondering if the Hans Christian sailing boats might have a connection, but I couldn’t find anything about the line’s naming.
    Your single leaf reminded me of the lines from Coleridge’s “Christabel”:
    “The one red leaf, the last of its clan,
    That dances as often as dance it can,
    Hanging so light, and hanging so high,
    On the topmost twig that looks up at the sky.”

  12. Although it is not anywhere near the same as giving your mother a hug, I am glad you can still see each other through the glass, Derrick and Jackie. She looks good!
    The donkeys are adorable, and their coloration is unique. “Skewbald”, I think may be the term?

  13. I love the reflections on the water. And the name of the street, Meerut, and Lady Hardinge Hospital are such familiar names for me. Meerut, of course, because it is a city here. And Lady Hardinge Hospital, in New Delhi, is where my eldest sister did her nurse’s training.

  14. Meerut Road, you say? Unbelievable. Can you tell me where exactly it is. I saw this link in your comment on the Paol Soren blog and rushed over. Meerut is a town about 50 miles North East of Delhi. I was born in Meerut and spent my early years there. My mother still lives in Meerut. It had one of the largest garrisons during the British times and continues to be one of the largest stations for the Indian army. Thanks for sharing this piece of history.

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