Graveyard Goats

This morning I enjoyed a very helpful Team Viewer session with James Peacock. These events, when my screen is taken over and I watch the cursor whizzing around it are always rather magical. The upshot is I will continue with their own plug in for WordPress. Scheduling in and carrying out the work for this will take a few days, but James is appreciative of my need for urgency. As always, I have utmost faith in Peacock Computers.

This afternoon Jackie and I took a forest drive.

Alongside the graveyard of St Peter’s, Bramshaw

goats were milling about.

This evening we all dined on Red Chilli’s takeaway fare with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Bordeaux.

Lingering Scarecrows

This afternoon Flo, Dillon, and Ellie needed to return to the hospital for a final check. Becky and Ian drove them there.

Before they departed I photographed our grandson-in-law with his 25 hour old daughter Ellie. Despite having slept very little over the last 36 hours Dillon was setting off back to the Princess Anne’s Hospital.

Jackie and I went for a forest drive.

Log piles alongside the road just outside Ripley

were earmarked presumably for buyers.

As we approached Bisterne on the Ringwood Road we fell behind a steam traction engine. Eventually Jackie managed to pass it and drive further up the road

in order for me to disembark and lie in wait for the slow moving vehicle. A white jet plane’s trail crossed the steam clouds emanating from the chimney from an earlier age.

For reasons of various more pressing priorities we had missed the annual Bisterne Scarecrow tour this year, but further along the road we enjoyed two of the lingering competitors:

the Very Hungry Caterpillar,

and Ham Sweet Ham.

Tess visited with Poppy to meet Ellie and her parents, bringing a splendid bouquet of flowers and various other presents.

They were unable to stay for this evening’s Ashley’s fish and chips and Garner’s pickled onions, with which I drank more of the Bordeaux; Ian drank Morreti beer; Dillon, cider; and Flo Fruit cordial.


29th August 2022

Early yesterday evening I received a telephone call – mobile to mobile – from Becky.

“Are you in Mum’s car?” she asked. “No”, I replied. Then I explained why not.

“We are following it”, our daughter continued.

As I learned later she and Ian had been on their way to surprise Dillon with birthday presents when they found themselves passing our Modus on the opposite side of a traffic queue at Brockenhurst, and assumed we would be on our way to a celebratory meal. They quickly reversed and slotted in a few cars behind. All was revealed to them at Lyndhurst.

This was that Flo’s time had come and Jackie was driving her and Dillon to Princess Anne’s hospital in Southampton.

Jackie returned home soon after 9 p.m. when we dined on scrambled egg on toast.

Today involved waiting for news. I spent much of it reading ‘Moll Flanders’.

This afternoon I posted

Flo made us great-grandparents at 11 a.m. with the birth of her daughter, Elowen (Ellie).

Becky and Ian arrived here this evening and collected the shawl made by my sister, Jacqueline, and the car seat necessary to transport their granddaughter home.

Meanwhile Jackie and I dined on her sausages in red wine, boiled potatoes, cauliflower, carrots, and runner beans, with which I drank Calvet Prestige Bordeaux 2020.

The family arrived home with a healthy mother and baby at 00.10 hours. Naturally we passed the parcel over drinks.

As will be apparent there has been no time to discuss the many photographs taken by Dillon in his daughter’s first 24 hours, so a selection will need to follow.

A Knight’s Tale (Positive Postscript)

Having completed my story of my place in an era with the Sigoules disaster followed by: ‘Given that, since 9th May 2012, my WordPress blog has been a daily diary and we are now settled in comfortable twilight years in Hampshire’s New Forest, this seems an appropriate time to close the pages of “A Knight’s Tale”.’, following some readers’ responses I will expand a little on the advent of the ‘twilight years’.

For the years 2011/2012 when living in Morden Jackie and I spent weekends caring for Elizabeth’s garden at The Firs, West End, near Southampton.

Once we had decided to move to the New Forest, Danni found the ideal flat for us in Castle Malwood Lodge, Minstead.

There Jackie built her garden outside our apartment on the right hand ground floor corner of the building.


We have William Ewart Gladstone’s Chancellor of the Exchequer to thank for the beautiful place in which we lived while waiting for the proceeds of Jackie’s London home.  The lawyer and Liberal politician had the house built in 1880 and became Chancellor in 1886.  In this post Sir William Harcourt was responsible for the introduction of death duties as they are today.  At that time the Liberals, a different party than the one we recognise, were seeking measures to increase taxation in a more acceptable way than income tax.  The modern bereaved inheritors may have a view on that.

The great Victorian Prime Minister planted a sequoia in the garden during one of his visits there.  That tree now stands above the others which crowd the land beyond the rhododendron hedges, in an area that now merges with the forest.  It is so tall it has become a local landmark.

Eventually on the first of April 2014 we moved into Old Post House, where we began our “twilight years” which are chronicled on my Rambling blog started on 9th May 2012.

Dinner Deferred

After a visit to the pharmacy in Milford on Sea, Jackie and I took a forest drive.

As we entered the narrow Shotts Lane at a point at which it has no passing space we approached a cyclist speaking with two pedestrians standing across the centre strip which doubles as a grass and weed bed because any vehicle’s wheels have perforce to span it. The bicycle and the three people hugged the hedgerow in order for is to wave as we passed by.

Further along, Jackie sat in the car on someone’s drive while I walked back to take this shot. Twice I needed to follow the example of this trio as I squeezed myself against the shrubbery.

Then the original cyclist, offering a second photo opportunity, whizzed smiling past me.

Cud-chewing camouflaged cattle and calves blended with Bull Hill’s browning bracken.

As it is Dillon’s birthday today we wished to surprise him with a meal at Pilley’s

historic Fleur de Lys. I therefore entered the 11th century pub to make a booking. Unfortunately they do not offer food on Sunday night so this wasn’t possible. I also learned the very sad news that the comparatively new management who took over just as the first Covid lockdown was imposed, and are now faced with the current catastrophic cost of living crisis, will be leaving after about two months. Consequently we will have to postpone our grandson-in-law’s introduction.

Tonight’s dinner was deferred.

Early Signs Of Autumn

This morning Jackie and I visited Shelly and Ron with presents for my sister-in-law. Jane and Ivy were also present. The little girl was looking bonny and cheerful.

Afterwards we took a short forest drive before returning home for lunch.

The grey pony habitually risking its throat on barbed wire while checking whether the grass is greener on the other side was at it again today on the Holmsley Camp Site end of Forest Road;

and a good number were gathered on the banks of Whitemoor Pond.

Early signs of autumn abound in the turning leaves joining their predecessors on banks striated by long shadows during the sun’s brief appearances.

These mossy sawn trunks outside Burley, originally seen a year or so ago, are now carrying out their contribution to the forest ecology by supporting tree fungus and new growth of parasitic holly and other plants.

Still silhouetted are trees on the nearby ancient hedgerow banks.

I am very grateful to SueW for her help in enabling me to feature the last five pictures here from today, and to recover three rejected pictures from my post of 24th.

Elizabeth visited later with a beautiful dress for Flo and a most thoughtful crafted wood bowl for Dillon’s birthday tomorrow. She stayed for dinner, part of which consisted of her portion of the power cut interrupted meal; also on offer were some Chinese prawn toasts etc.; spicy pork spare ribs; and Jackie’s savoury rice. My wife and sister drank Kingfisher; Dillon and Flo, fruit juice cordial; and I, more of the Côtes du Rhône.

Materials Available To Us

Because of the upcoming bank holiday weekend it will be a few days before I am able to upload more pictures.

I am therefore unable to attach new ones to the text of our forest drive of 25th, so I am substituting similarish images from my archives.

After a night of what I call proper rain – that is, steady non-violent precipitation rather than weighty plops dropped at sudden intervals and bouncing off baked soil surfaces to sizzle in the scorching heat –

shallow pools were beginning to return to the moorland

and potholed gravel drives.

Shallow streams began to ripple once more,

and the landscape began to brighten.

Ponies could once again be reflected beside pools,

although this one at the western East Boldre corner of St Leonards Road, often, in wetter periods providing ponies with gazpacho soup, remained no more than a slight puddle before a bank of gorse and bracken.

A pair of donkeys seen regularly on Sowley Road

sporting patterns of hide as wet as those of these ponies a year ago,

noisily munched

apples dropped from a tree above. (OK, the donkeys pictured are eating carrots, but we have to use materials available to us).

Kayakers were observed on Lymington River as we waited for the level crossing into the town.

This evening we dined on succulent chicken marinaded in mango and chilli sauce and Jackie’s superb savoury rice, with which she drank Hoegaarden, I drank Calvet Prestige Côtes du Rhône Villages 2021, and Flo and Dillon drank fruit cordial. This was what had been in the process of being cooked when yesterday’s outage hit. This had been caused by a skein of geese flying into power cable which exploded in protest.

When I Drove A Car

25th August 2022

After taking three bags of shoes, unused frying pans, clothes, and other stuff to the British Heart Foundation Charity shop in New Milton this morning, Jackie and I took a forest drive.

Given that I have exceeded my limit of WordPress space, some of the images on yesterday’s post have been removed, I have failed to solve my optimisation problem, and there is no way I can extend my space, I have thrown in the towel and sought help from Peacock Computers. More chats with their Engineers brought me a dearth of Happiness from WordPress.

Today’s pictures and text will have to follow when all is sorted.

When I drove a car I was fine until something went wrong, then I called in an expert instead of trying to fix it.

Elizabeth took Flo and Dylan on a Hampshire Open Studios tour this afternoon, and stayed on for dinner.

At about 6 p.m. with Jackie halfway through cooking dinner we experienced a total power cut which lasted into the night.

There was nothing for it but to dine at Lal Quilla, which is what we did. My main meal was Davedush; Jackie’s, Butter Chicken; Elizabeth’s, Chicken Shaslick; Flo’s lamb Makhani; Dillon’s Rogan Josh. Jackie drank Diet Coke, Elizabeth low alcohol Cobra, Flo water, Dillon Magner’s Cider, and I Kingfisher.

Two Out Of Three

This afternoon Jackie drove me into the forest.

Ponies on the verge of Wootton Road were plagued by flies on this hot and humid day following 48 overcast hours of intermittent rain which encouraged some greening of the grass on the common,

where blackberries were looking plumper, as ponies gathered round the trough, the history of which is told in readers’ comments on

By the time I had walked across to the drinking water the adult equines had turned to grazing and left one foal slaking its thirst.

Bracken in the woodland along Bisterne Close had perked up, while ponies were clustered together in the shade. There was, however, no escape from the airborne flies.

Shallow puddles of water which drew thirsty drinkers beside Holmsley Passage.

In this oppressive weather ponies need water, shade, and relief from flies. Perhaps they will consider that two out of three is not bad.

Jackie also photographed acorns ready to fall, suggesting pannage – allowing pigs to vacuum them up – may start early.

I had a helpful e-mail from the Happiness Engineers explaining that I have used up my quota of space because of the number and size of my images. I was sent a link to how to optimise these, and tried it out on this post. This involved downloading ImagOptim and giving it a go. Now I don’t know how to check whether it has worked. I’ll sleep on it.

This evening we dined on build your own burgers, with fried onions and egg (as cooked by Jackie); crisp oven chips, and plentiful fresh salad, with which we repeated yesterday’s beverages.

She Hadn’t Forgotten The Toy Box

It is just over six months since everyone has been well enough for Danni, Ella, and Jack, and Elizabeth to visit us for lunch. We have seen them at Elizabeth’s over that period so we have stayed in our great-niece’s mind.

Neither has she forgotten the Fortnum & Mason hamper (a present from our late friends, Wolf and Luci) which is the toy box. Brother Jack, in this image, clutches a toy mobile as he does his best to hamper progress on

the puzzle his mother is working with his sister.

Jack was tired when they arrived and had adopted the ear-twiddling technique which caused a scratch which he remembered after Danni had cleaned him up. The bag of knitted toys is Danni’s set of Snow White and the Seven Dwarves knitted by my mother when her granddaughter was little. Louisa was also given a group.

Danni read to each of her children.

Jack, of course, can read himself.

Ella can spell her own name, as she demonstrated

over Jackie’s usual excellent salad and cold meats lunch.

Afterwards Ella fashioned a birthday cake from Play-Doh, while

Elizabeth protected it from Jack, who

went off for a crawl about

until his mother lent a pair of hands.

I held him for a second time after this, when his teething drool went some way to rinsing the tomato he had dribbled on my clean shirt donned for the occasion.

Flo and Dillon were treated to a display of practical parenting.

In case anyone is holding their breath I have not received the promised e-mail from WordPress.

This evening we reprised yesterday’s roast pork dinner with the same beverages.