Blue Haze

Jackie managed to squeeze herself into a ball to sit on her kneeling stool underneath the red Japanese maple this morning in order to dig out clumps of allium triquentrums. Don’t be deceived by the visible sunlight. I was, and went to visit Mum without a jacket. It was cold.

My mother had quite some difficulty hearing us today from behind the screen. She finds my pitch more problematic than Jackie’s higher one. She was, however, in good spirits, and got my jokes, which my wife claims takes some doing.

After lunch we took a drive into the forest.

Jackie parked beside Royden Lane and decanted me so I could photograph

the surroundings, including the sawn stump of a tree that must have blocked the road when it keeled over; a stream flowing through the woodland; and a sun-dappled field horse beside a deep dry ditch spanned by another fallen tree.

The bluebell woods on either side of Church Lane are becoming dusted with their familiar haze.

The newly surfaced lanes of East End were no deterrent to donkeys trimming the hedges.

Two windsurfers could be seen against the backdrop of the Isle of Wight from the shingle beach at the end of Tanners Lane where

a young woman stood engrossed in her mobile phone while her charge attempted to scale a post.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s flavoursome sausage and mushroom casserole; creamy mashed potato; crunchy carrots; and firm cauliflower, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Western Cape Malbec 2020.


  1. I love the wood photos, it looks so peaceful there with the little stream slowly flowing. The newly-paved lane looks like a tar and gravel surface which is also used here. Have a lovely weekend, Derrick. ☺️??

    1. The donkeys and the forest ponies are all owned by commoners (long time residents) with pasturage rights. They stay outside, roam free, and have right of way on the roads.

  2. I hope that soon you will be able to visit your mum without the screen between you! Your drives through the forest always intrigue — I love the stump, and the stream, and the donkeys do a great job of keeping the hedges trimmed! Windsurfers and families on the beach are also always good photo subjects!

  3. That pony wants to know what you’re lookin’ at. And you certainly weren’t going to deter the donkeys from the afternoon meal!!
    Mum is still looking good. Give her my best on your next visit.

  4. Everything that one could want in your daily life, a wide range of encounters -both family, other random humans, nature and of course the familiar roadside munching animals. Followed by the culinary queen’s evening delight….

  5. You are right, the sunshine is deceiving, freak weather when hailstones fall simultaneously with the sunbeams.

    I’m glad your mother was in good health.

  6. It will be so lovely when the screen does not have to feature… though your mother does look in very good spirits.
    Jackie’s determined campaign against those pesky Alliums reminds me of the quote:
    ‘A strong woman looks a challenge dead in the eye and gives it a wink!’
    – My battle with the dandelions in the lawn also continues πŸ™‚

  7. At last, the flesh that shall go unnamed is finally done with. I no longer need avert my eyes from the description of your evening repast.

    By the way, what is your typical breakfast?

    1. None. We have brunch of salad and a sandwich at midday. In days gone by it would have been a fry-up. Thanks very much, Yvonne. (the rest of the jalfrezi – did you notice I spared you the offending word at the second and third sittings? – is in the freezer. Thanks very much, Yvonne

  8. Haha .. I enjoyed your photos of the Donkeys, on this lazy Saturday morning.. after a much needed 12 hour sleep.. the casual attitude of the donkeys seem to suit my mood … thank you Derrick ,..

  9. Jackie has presented an unannounced β€˜Where is Jackie?’ moment in the first picture. Your Mother appears constant like the Northern Star. The donkeys on the newly surfaced roads make for pretty pictures. The child is unaffected as yet by universal addiction to mobiles.

    1. So observant, Uma. I nearly called that photograph a Where’s Jackie? πŸ™‚ Lets hope that little boy continues adventuring in reality. Thanks very much.

  10. I loved seeing your Mum’s smile, the patch of blue bells among the trees and the sparkling light along the woodland stream. Jackie certainly is tenacious.

  11. Your mother looks like she’s having a good time. I’m surprised that she has more trouble understanding your low voice that Jackie’s higher voice. A low voice is easier for me to understand. But maybe I’m thinking of singing. A soprano can be hard to understand.

    1. Thanks a lot, Nicki. Jackie, who spent her working life as a carer, found the lower tones were more difficult for many of her clients to hear.

  12. Glad you got to see your beautiful Mum! πŸ™‚ I hope life will soon be where you can give her a hug!
    I imagine most men have had the experience of the women in their lives rolling their eyes at the jokes told! πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜€ πŸ˜›
    (((HUGS))) πŸ™‚

  13. I was much amused to see the lane full of donkeys.

    How long will you need to speak to your mother through the wall do you think?

  14. Your mother looks good, Derrick. Perhaps her hearing is selective. ?.
    I like the sun-dappled field where it looks like the pony just magically appeared. Those donkeys have such sweet faces. They must do a great job of hedge trimming.

    1. I think highway maintenance in the New Forest must be on a very low budget. Perhaps Mum does have selective hearing πŸ™‚ Thanks very much, Merril

  15. “Jackie parked beside Royden Lane and decanted me so I could photograph” What a delightful description! Loved the images of your Mum. Please share with her that a retired couple from the States are so glad that you can visit each other.

  16. Perhaps it’s a measure of how addicted to ‘devices’ we’ve become that only one other person even mentioned it. Personally, I wanted to hiss at that mother, “Put that [expletive deleted] thing away and pay attention to your child.”
    I’m not sure a cover like this would be published today.

  17. Lovely to see your mum smiling. It is hard when you can’t hear, for both sides, and the screen makes it harder. I loved the second to last picture of the child scaling the post.

  18. Your mother looks wonderful, Derrick, and very happy!

    I loved your forest photos, especially the donkey hedge trimmers. They are hard at work. πŸ™‚

  19. Being hard of hearing I find most men’s voices fall into a frequency range that’s hard for me to hear clearly.
    Love the ‘Where’s the Head Gardener’ header. πŸ˜€
    I find people’s obsession with their ‘devices’ rather sad when surrounded by such beauty as the seaside.

  20. Your Mom looks very happy to see you, Derrick. We got a notification from my MIL’s care home that the residents will now be allowed out to visit with family. I suppose now that everyone is vaccinated, they think it’s safe. Well done to Jackie for turning herself into a pretzel in order to do battle with the pesky allium triquentrums. Gorgeous outdoor photos as always.

  21. Wonderful photos as always, Derrick! My mother-in-law found my husband’s voice difficult to hear in the last years of her life so I suggested he raise the pitch of his voice when he spoke to her on the phone. This worked well and Joyce was unaware that he had changed his voice just for her. We called it his ‘Alan Ball’ voice and was quite amusing to listen to.

  22. The donkeys and the forest ponies are always a treat to see. Thank you for sharing your day with us, {{{Derrick}}}. I’m glad you were able to go and visit your mum. I bet she appreciates that!

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