First Foals of 2021

Jackie made considerable headway with garden maintenance this morning.

After lunch she decided she had earned us a forest drive, and headed for Beechern Woods, where

we each operated our cameras from opposite sides of Ober Water.

I focussed on the rippling and reflecting stream; passing walkers; band the woodlands with their long shadows, fallen trees, and gnarled roots nurturing new ferns and grasses.

When I first crossed the bridge to reach the other side of Ober Water I noticed two of the very heavy timbers forming the structure were broken. As I approached it to recross after my ramble I noticed a man

bending over one of the beams.

This was Bob, the site manager of Aldridge Hill Campsite. He had just effected a temporary repair necessitated by a very heavy vehicle traversing the bridge. Until a permanent repair could be effected the only vehicles able to cross would be cars – thus normal delivery transport and the refuse collectors would be banned.

Bob is a very friendly character who anticipated with some trepidation the 150 bookings this facility had taken from the first day of Covid restrictions relaxation next Monday.

Jackie and I continued along the lane to Black Knowle at the other end, where,

among ponies grazing on the nearby moorland,

we distantly descried our first foals of 2021. The close-up was produced by Jackie, who had earlier also photographed

a solitary deer; gnarled oak branches coming into leaf; a fallen tree; and a mossy trunk.

Alongside Burley Road at Wilverly another group of ponies enjoyed a return to soggy ground engendered by our recent rainfall.

Before drafting this post I weeded another section of the Shady Path.

This evening we dined on a second sitting of Hordle Chinese Take Away’s excellent fare, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Malbec.


  1. Your Bob certainly looks a friendly sort. I noticed what he was holding. There’s nothing like a cordless drill or driver to make a person smile!

  2. You were both amply rewarded for your hard work in the garden and we, your readers, have gained a variety of views!

  3. I liked that you and Jackie were taking photos of each other from across the water. ?. The photos of the trees and water are lovely with the shadows and reflections, including the first sighting of Bob. Hopefully, all will go well with all those new bookings.
    The little foals are so cute!

  4. I agree – the photos of you and Jackie doubling up on the water are such fun – and the resulting images just lovely.
    Gosh, I hope the bridge gets mended before the 150 camping bookings arrive, and their resulting waste builds up too much!
    Lucky that Bob is such a cheery chap πŸ™‚
    Wonderful weather for camping, though – and so much to see, judging by today’s full and varied post!

    1. Thank you very much, Emma. There must be very mixed feelings among the hospitality members – the income is needed, but they may well be overrun. Then, I’m sure you know about that. The build-up of waste was my thought, too.

      1. Fingers crossed for a quick and permanent bridge repair, for the sake of Bob and all at Aldridge Hill Campsite. It sounds as though they are preparing well for the pent up demand that there must be for getting away.
        Yes, so many hurdles for so many to navigate; with trepidation, excitement and hope, I’m sure. We are lucky in that we offer self contained accommodation. This year we are also trying a new offering, as a small certified camping / caravan site – again, not on the scale of others but an opportunity for an away from it all, easy get away for some, surrounded by nature – and the sheep!

  5. The ponies are doing splendidly!! Thank you, Jackie, for the close-ups! And you know I love those mysterious looking forest shots!

  6. Scrolling through your site was very relaxing. I spent 7 happy years in the UK, over 2 episodes, and these are the sorts of images I remember loving. Thanks!

  7. Some great reflections there, and some great shots from Jackie. Good to see you did some gardening, I was beginning to worry that Jackie would be too tired to cook after her active day. Does she ever stop?

  8. Such dreamy forest shots & I love that you both focused on each other, too. I am beginning to think UK people as a whole are more friendly than most of us New Jersyeans. It seems like anyone you approach is charming and adorable. I have not had such consistent luck.

    Loved the foals – especially that first one with his white knee socks. I saw the crowd of people looking at the second one on the ground. Were they wondering if he was OK? (As I am.)

    1. I think most people not in cities will respond favourably – especially around here. We were concerned when we first saw foals, and even adults, flaked out like that. But, like human children, the foals can sleep in extraordinary positions πŸ™‚ Thanks very much, Jodie.

  9. I like when you and Jackie take photos of each other…so sweet! Gorgeous shots today, Derrick. I had my annual colonoscopy today, so I haven’t eaten since Saturday night. I had my Derek pick up Chinese for our dinner. πŸ™‚

  10. I love the peaceful woodsy photos, especially the ferns growing in tree root and Jackie’s photo of the mossy trunk with the hollow. And how exciting to see the new foals!

  11. You and Jackie keep capturing the forests in their many hues and moments. It is amazing how Bob has managed to identify and temporarily repair the bridge in what is apparently a less frequented place. Ponies, of course, are your abiding subjects, and Jackie has taken after you like a true disciple.

  12. I must saw those Ober water pictures triggered a lot of memories. Sounds like the hoardes will be descending on Monday. Enjoy the crowds!!

  13. The photos of the woods are absolutely gorgeous, Jackie and Derrick!!!
    I love the photos of the trees, their reflections, you, Jackie, and Jackie’s reflection! πŸ™‚
    Always a joy to see the foals, their Mums, and the dear deer!
    Bob looks like a friendly fellow and sounds like a good worker! YAY for Bob!
    Good on you, Derrick, for doing more weeding! We did some weeding at our place today, too.
    (((HUGS))) πŸ™‚

  14. The forest captures lend a primal air to the scene, Derrick. Wonderful capture of the feeling. The foals certainly emphasize the spring season of rebirth. Is Bob’s campground for tent campers, RV campers? Sounds like a large facility with 150 bookings.

  15. β€˜Knarly’ is an understatement. But β€˜knarly’ is what gives them character. In a few more years, I’ll be described as β€˜knarly’, having character, instead of being one. Once again, I love the animals walking freely. By the way, if that lighter wood is the repair on the bridge, he did a great job.

  16. I thoroughly enjoyed the forest photos from both of you, especially the new foals. That one horse, the last one, has an unusual coat pattern I have never seen. It almost looks like some kind of pale palomino with lighter colored spots.

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