On another wet and gloomy morning we drove to Setley Ridge Garden Centre to buy a present for Helen, whose birthday it is today.
Is there anything more dismal than a popular garden centre, normally thriving at weekends, to have hidden this sign beneath an empty display unit? Having done their best to beat Covid-19 and continuous rain the staff have succumbed
to closure, although they are hoping to reopen on 1st March.
Keeping to the safe side of the alarmed rope barrier, I recorded the bedraggled outlet while Jackie bought some replacement provisions in the farm shop. She then dropped me at home and toured other garden centres with a little more success.
This drier, warmer, still gloomy, afternoon we drove to Helen and Bill’s intending to leave presents and a card and run away. Happily, we were spotted and enjoyed a pleasant conversation with them and Rachel from over the front garden wall.
On our return journey, Jackie parked the Modus beside Roger Penny Way in order for me to commune with
sustenance-seeking donkeys and ponies.
At one point we were all distracted by thudding hooves as an equestrienne galloped across the somewhat sodden sward.
The pannage season which starts in the autumn and was this year extended to December is the period when ring-nosed pigs are freed to wallow in the mud in search of acorns and other mast which are poisonous to ponies. This little porker was seen and heard sploshing and snorting with glee, prompting Jackie to pronounce: “He’s escaped pannage”.
This evening we dined on Mr Chan’s excellent Hordle Chinese Take Away with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Dao.