All My Ducks In A Row

On a bright, fresh, and crisp morning we took a drive into the forest. Slanting sunshine set the thawing frost glistening and lengthened shadows.

We tried a visit to Tanner’s Lane. This meant driving between rows of parked vehicles with no turning space. I walked while Jackie turned back.

We had imagined this little hidden beach would be safe enough. No such luck.

This was the only group keeping some distance from others on the sand and shingle.

There were other dogs, one in the water with three hardy humans.

I was not inclined to linger.

We continued to Sowley Lane where I was next decanted.

Some oak leaves dallied on gnarled limbs; others, grounded, glistened with dew drops; holly prickles had broken one’s fall.

Two men in a boat discussed their best fishing spot.

We stopped for a look at Buckler’s Hard,

where a robin drew our attention to the parking restrictions.

As we passed Beaulieu Mill Pond I spotted a pair of long necked log peacocks on the far bank.

Jackie parked and I walked back past the border of reeds to photograph them.

On the way there I managed to get all my ducks in a row.

Down a bank along Lymington Road a solitary donkey enjoyed a breakfast of spiky thistles.

Ponies preferred grass

or languorous cogitation of the thawing frost in the hazy sunshine.

In her Modus Jackie aroused the attention of an inquisitive field horse which she photographed along with

golden silver birches and glistening white terrain.

This evening we dined on Mr Chan’s Hordle Chinese Take Away’s fine fare with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Coonawarra which involved opening another bottle.


  1. Freshwater swimming seems to be the thing to do just now – I wish I could say I understood…
    The hazy sunshine is giving those beautiful ponies a much warmer glow!

  2. I truly appreciate the array of black and whites, especially the opening ones, with the silhouettes of man with his dog between parked vehicles. The golden oak leaves certainly benefit from being captured in color, though, and so do the moored boats. And aren’t you lucky the ducks posed for you, Derrick?

  3. My first taste of this post was a laugh. I knew the title and then saw the header photo. So fun! I also laughed at the “long necked log peacocks”. I’ve never seen them here in the US, although I suspect I could find some if I looked hard enough.
    I loved your animal photos, as always – and Jackie’s picture of the white horse framed by the colorful bushes and foliage was just stunning.

  4. So many beautiful photos and your usual wry prose (I am imagining you being poured like wine from the car now). ?
    The black and white images are striking. I also like the oak leaves on the tree and Jackie’s white horse.

  5. I do enjoy the black & white photos amid the ones in color, too. The sea bathers and their dog are a hardy lot, for sure! I love these forest drives you and Jackie take your readers on.

  6. Wonderful photos! I especially liked the gold leaf with light shining through, the sturdiness of your ponies, and Jackie’s lovely photo of the inquisitive field horse so beautifully framed by foliage.

  7. A lovely sense of calm is portrayed in your photographs. I empathise with your need to find uncrowded spots in which to enjoy the open air. Sadly, where I live has become a ‘hot spot’ for the pandemic that continues to ebb and flow its way around the country. I attended a well socially distanced historical function yesterday out in the bright sunshine – seeing people I haven’t set eyes on for nearly a year, all masked, and many wearing hats and dark glasses. It made me realise how our social contacts have shrunk since March. Your photographs provide a much needed sense of space and an appreciation of the timelessness of nature. Thank you for that.

    1. Thanks very much, Catherine. We had one called Nugget who was very friendly. He hasn’t come back from his summer in the woods this year. He features in many earlier posts.

  8. I could neither swim not stand and wait patiently for the fish in the cold water, I would probably die of shock!
    Beautiful images all around.

  9. Hardy humans in a row AND ducks in a row! But brr, indeed, indeed! 😮 ? Bet the ducks are more suited for it! 😉 ?
    Love the doggie swimming!
    Aw, a robin! Makes me think about Nugget and his family!
    Love that lone little donkey dining!
    All beautiful photos…and, oh, your silhouettes are gorgeous!

  10. I almost had to look up “long necked log peacocks.” Then my eyes adjusted and I got it. ? I don’t think I would’ve been inclined to swim in November, or even wade. Those folks sure were hardy! Looks like a lovely afternoon.

  11. I was a bit concerned to see those two men standing up in the boat. I hope they didn’t make any sudden moves, otherwise their decided route would likely be a wet one. Love the log peacocks. 😀

  12. You have a typo. You said hardy, but I think you meant crazy!!!!! Oh my, that looks so cold. How can animals stand it all day long?

  13. The panoramic expanse of the post is equivalent to a feast. The array of beautiful photographs is accompanied by a lyrical sweep of narration. The symmetry of the ducks in a row is cute. Jackie’s picture towards the end will pop up with a slight tweak of the curve in ‘S’ like pattern in an image editor.

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