Highland Games

Late this morning we visited Mum in Woodpeckers where she continues to thrive. This time she availed herself of the blanket provided.

Afterwards we drove into the forest for a picnic in the car.

The day was cooler and overcast. From the bridge on Rhinefield Road I obtained enough light to photograph reflections in the stream.

Still host to a small holly tree, the toppled ancient oak at Bramshaw has now been completely cleared away,

with the exception of fallen leaves now camouflaging foraging wagtails.

A pair of donkeys leaning beside a brick wall watched

a couple of Highland cattle pondering their next move. I have often photographed them before, but not until today have I been formally introduced to Splash and Blackie. They stood aloof while a young lady did the honours.

As I returned to the car they heaved their lumbering bulks onto the tarmac and with swaying gait set off in the direction of Furzley Common which was our destination. Fortunately Jackie was able to negotiate our way round them.

We parked beside a stream and settled into our lunch when

a regular clop of horses’ hooves alerted me to the approach of a carriage and four passing a herd of cattle who were themselves soon to feature in our story.

Having journeyed a lumbering mile from Bramshaw the two Highland cattle approached and set up a regular lowing. “I wonder if they are going to join those cattle over there?”, I mused.

They were, indeed. In Splash’s case somewhat vigorously. It is not just the local flora that are confused about the season.

As I was about to return to the car a quartet of portly porkers approached. I was forced to attempt to evade the attentions of the Gloucester Old Spot. Jackie’s cackles from within almost drowned the snorting slobbering of my new admirer as she raised her dripping snout for a kiss. I was scared of this, but even more scared of her feet as she rounded me beside the car door. Being trodden on by a creature weighing up to 280kg was no joke. In the circumstances I thought my Chauffeuse was a little harsh.

This evening we dined on crisply roasted chicken thighs, sage and onion stuffing, parsnips, and Yorkshire pudding; piquant cauliflower cheese; creamy mashed potatoes; firm carrots, peas, and Brussels sprouts, and tasty gravy, with which we shared the last of the Rioja.


  1. I am glad to see your mother in fine spirit, Derrick. Very expressive close-up of her hands.
    Thank you for the black and white’ I have enjoyed it, as well as your fabulous reflection photos.
    Those two shaggy bulls look anything but friendly, but I guess the lady cattle found them amorous.

  2. I had to do a second and third look to find the wagtail. At least I know what it is now. A year ago, that wouldn’t have been true — another bit of education gained through your blog!

  3. glad to know your Mum continues to do well. delightful images and the Highland Cattle Blackie has this ‘don’t mess up with me’ look! 🙂

  4. I am glad to hear your mother continues to thrive, Derrick. It is good that you can visit through the glass.
    I love these forest drive photos. The adventures of Splash, Blackie and the Gloucester Old Spot brought smiles, although I can sympathize with your concerns about pig and her drippy snout. They are not tiny creatures, and can give a good bite. I can hear Jackie’s cackling. 🙂

  5. It’s great to see your Mom beaming like a full moon. That stream with fallen trees across their lengths could have been from an era thousands of years ago. Portraits of the bulls are excellent.

  6. There’s always an earthy adventure of one kind or another where you live. Thank you for sharing them with us! I’m happy to see your Mum is thriving.

  7. Excellent photos, the Highland Cattle are magnificent. I absolutely love the shot of the 2 walking to the Common. The pigs seem to be attracted to you Ha!!

  8. I’m so glad you got to visit with your beautiful Mum!!! I’m so glad she looks so healthy and happy! 🙂
    What a wonderful day…beautiful nature, wonderful creatures, an OH MY! show!, a picnic, an almost-kiss from a spotted beauty (I think she wanted to thank you for not having pork for dinner), and laughter for your Chauffeuse! 🙂
    There are a few photos there that I think I’m too young to see 😮 , so I adverted my eyes! 😀 😛 😉 HA! 😉

  9. Glad you escaped being crushed. Thinking of the tree that was cleared away. It could have provided nourishment by being left to return to the soil. Enjoyed all the lovely photos.

  10. What a fun day you two had. That bull wanted to be certain you’d have a nice calf to photograph one day!
    I’m lovin’ the animals roaming freely, yet here during the virus, poor mum is locked up.

  11. I did not expect to see such action when I went to your post. Quite the header. ?.
    I’m glad you got to see your mother, and then went on to have quite the day. What sights you see in your area. I wish there was a video of Jackie laughing at your close encounter of the porcine kind.

  12. Seasonal confusion indeed.
    I remember once driving around in the Highlands to be confronted by a pair of coos that had set themselves up as a roundabout. The locals dutifully just drove around them. Apparently it happens quite often.

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