Animals On Roads

This morning I watched a recording of last night’s rugby World Cup match between New Zealand and Italy.

Later, Jackie and I took a forest drive, stopping at Hockey’s Farm Café for brunch.

Ponies enjoyed ambling ahead of traffic at Bramshaw, or standing in its way at North Gorley.

Donkeys were everywhere: ahead of ponies at Bramshaw;

blocking the road at Nomansland;

engaged in mutual grooming at Piper’s Wait;

and wandering Fritham’s woodland,

along with what I think was an Old English Game chicken.

The usual grunting Gloucester Old Spots snuffled in haste competing for mast at North Gorley. The sign in the first picture in this gallery warns visitors that pigs are roaming free.

Later I watched the matches between Argentina and Chile and between Fiji and Georgia.

This evening we all dined on roast pork, sage and onion stuffing, Yorkshire pudding, boiled new potatoes, carrots, and broccoli, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Grenacha Old Vines.

The Body-Snatcher

This morning I watched last night’s recorded rugby World Cup match between Japan and Samoa.

William Burke and William Hare, (respectively, born 1792, Orrery, Ireland—died January 28, 1829, Edinburgh, Scotland; flourished 1820s,  Londonderry, Ireland), pair of infamous murderers for profit who killed their victims and sold the corpses to an anatomist for purposes of scientific dissection.

Hare immigrated to Scotland from Ireland and wandered through several occupations before becoming keeper of a lodging house in Edinburgh, where Burke, also Irish-born, arrived in 1827. On November 29 an old pensioner died in the house, and Hare, angry that the deceased still owed 4 pounds in rent, devised a plan to steal the corpse from its coffin and sell it to recover the money he was owed. With Burke’s aid, the pair sold the corpse to Robert Knox, a surgeon, for 7 pounds 10 shillings. The profit led the two men, assisted by their common-law wives, during the following months to entice at least 15 unknown wayfarers into the lodging house, where they got them intoxicated and then smothered them (in order to leave no trace of violence). Afterward, they sold the corpses to Knox’s school of anatomy. Burke and Hare were exposed when neighbours and police discovered their murder of a local woman on October 31, 1828.

Hare turned king’s evidence and, along with his wife, Margaret, testified against Burke and his wife, Helen. Hare eventually was released, never to be heard from again. Burke was tried for murder, found guilty, and hanged. In his confession, Burke exonerated Knox of all knowledge of the crimes, but some years passed before Knox lived down the condemnations of the public and the press. Helen was released after the jury found that the charges against her were “not proven.” She later moved but was haunted by vigilantes seeking her death.” (

Burke and Hare were undoubtedly the models for those who supplied Stevenson’s Mr K with subjects for dissection in the title and final story of the Folio Society’s collection which I read this afternoon.

Our author put his own stamp on the story. Using lanterns and candle light illuminating snatches of a pitch black shape-changing figures and soaking precipitation to set the scene in his customary way. The alcoholic wreck of an accomplice of an extremely successful surgeon who as students had dealt in the trade of victims many years before, upon meeting him by surprise, is the vehicle by which Stevenson tells the tale of their crimes, giving us his own spine-chilling conclusion.

Michael Foreman’s frontispiece to the book illustrates this tale.

This evening we all dined on tender roast pork; roast potatoes sweet and standard; firm broccoli and carrots; piquant cauliflower cheese; meaty gravy; apple and other sauces according to taste, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Grenacha Old Vines.

The Story Of A Lie

This morning I watched the recording of last night’s rugby World Cup match between Uruguay and Namibia.

On an overcast day of showers and humidity I read Robert Louis Stevenson’s tale of this post’s title.

The story demonstrates how ultimately cruel it can be to be misguidedly kind. We have two filial relationships – one, where the father has been present throughout a loved life; the other that of a prodigal parasite who turns up to sponge after a lifetime’s absence. One sire is confronted by truth; the other offspring protected from it. Truth condemns the relationship for a decade; the avoidance of it destroys an adult love.

Stevenson’s insight into humanity runs throughout the tale, as does his descriptive power brought into play with simple sentences telling of place and environment. In particular he really taps into the phenomenon of characters in deep despair being oblivious of normal life around them.

Michael Foreman’s illustration to my Folio Society edition depicts a pivotal meeting.

This evening we all dined on cheese centred haddock fishcakes; piquant cauliflower cheese; with cauliflower leaves; boiled new potatoes; fried tomatoes; a crunchy carrots, with which Jackie drank more of the Zesty and I drank Hacienda Uvanis Garnacha Old Vines 2020.

Polishing The Car

On a largely overcast, yet warm, morning Jackie and I took a forest drive during which we brunched at Hockey’s Farm Café.

We seldom see ponies in the woodland flanking Holmsley Passage,

but we spotted these largely buried in ferns today.

It was golfers crossing from one side of the Burley course who stopped the traffic on this occasion.

A number of ponies, one very fetching in her natural necklace and tiara, browsed along Forest Road.

A number of assorted pigs, the last pair polishing our car, had no intention of making it easy to photograph them as they scampered snorting and snuffling in their eagerness to be first on the mast now falling freely. The last two, carefully avoiding the cattle grid entrance to Hockey’s gave our new Hyundai a good polish.

The pair in the first two pictures above kept well ahead of me until they disappeared out of sight, and were not reflected in the stream I was left with.

We didn’t get far down Newtown Lane where we would normally expect to spot porkers, because they had obviously avoided the resurfacing work which caused us to turn back.

A young pony sank into soggy ground at North Gorley, where a duck crossed the road, maybe aiming for the stream behind the horse.

Donkeys, as usual, tried their luck with customers of The Forester’s Arms at Frogham.

Cattle and ponies shared the Abbotswell landscape,

while, at the bottom of the hill a pair of ponies alongside the now very shallow stream feeding the ford, bore their share of flies.

Later this afternoon Ronan and Craig from Tom Sutton Heating replaced the new valve they had fitted last week which turned out to be faulty.

This evening we all dined on delicious sausages and creamy mashed potato, with crispy bacon and fried onions; crunchy carrots; tender broccoli stems, and meaty gravy with which Jackie drank Zesty and I finished the Montepulciano.

The Beach Of Falesá

This morning Jackie and I transported ten used compost bags of green refuse to Efford Recycling Centre.

After lunch I read The Beach of Falesá, being the next tale in my Folio Society collection of Robert Louis Stevenson’s stories.

Five chapters progressing from largely well crafted dialogue with excellent descriptions of place and scenario, increasing apace to a thrilling crescendo of action provide romance, mystery, superstition, deception, blending of cultures, and sexual exploitation, from the pen of a master of narrative and suspense. There is a touch of the racial attitudes of the times, yet expressed with sensitivity.

Light, shade, and weather play their part in setting the scenes whilst engaging sight and sound, brilliantly portrayed by the use of a moving lantern’s effect on scale in a pitch dark eerie wood crackling underfoot at nighttime.

Here is Michael Foreman’s dramatic illustration.

Our young family arrived home in time for dinner, which included roast chicken thighs; creamy mashed potatoes; crunchy carrots, firm cauliflower, tender green beans and meaty gravy, with which I was the only imbiber – of more of the Montepulciano.

Anna Lane

Early this morning I watched the recording of last night’s rugby World Cup match between Wales and Australia.

Later, wishing to keep our new car cleaner than our Modus workhorse when transporting garden refuse to Efford recycling centre, we bought a polythene dust sheet from Milford Supplies, then took a forest drive.

Anna is one of those ageless Lanes that, on our wandering, seems to have a characterful identity of its own. So narrow that should any vehicles encounter another head-on, unless they were prepared to

leave tracks on a slightly wider section of verge, one would be required to reverse quite some distance.

As I walked I idly wondered what I would do if I met a moving car. Maybe I would be lucky like the pheasants above and do so on the one spot where I could tuck myself in.

There is just about room for a slender motor to span the central lawn running down the middle, which is why the grass is such that many gardeners would me proud to mow it.

It is hoped that no-one would be suicidal enough to reach the permitted speed limit, albeit obscured by healthy sward, emblazoned on the pock-marked tarmac.

Jackie parked at the Sopley end of the road enabling me to walk along to photograph samples of the contents of the narrow, banked, verges.

Does anyone ever use this public footpath, I wondered?

I refrained from showing any other example of the food and drink containers lobbed from car windows, but MacDonald’s gets everywhere, doesn’t it?

This evening we dined at Lal Quilla, with its usual excellent food, and friendly, efficient, service. My main choice was Lamb Taba Shaslick Jalfrezi; Jackie’s a tasty chicken dish; we shared pilau rice and peshwari naan, and both drank Kingfisher.

Pannage 2023 Has Begun

Early this morning I wished our young family well as they set off on their next house-hunting trip to Scotland, then settled down to watch the humdinger of a World Cup rugby match between Ireland and South Africa.

The day here remained overcast until the arrival of sunny spells this

afternoon which enlivened the views, like this one from Abbotswell hill, on our post prandial forest drive.

Still an inviting weekend many pedestrians, such as these

backpacked walkers on Holmsley Passage and descending a hill outside Burley;

or this jogger on Abbotswell Road, were in evidence.

We passed a couple of Tamworth pigs dicing with death on the main road near the entrance to Charles’s Lane where we stopped for me to walk back to them. Suddenly I heard their piercing squawking

approaching as they appeared atop the hilly verge dashing towards me and saving me the effort.

Some way down the lane they ventured into the undergrowth, emerged lower down the main road and demonstrated that they had not learned their lesson. Jackie screamed at the blue car to stop as it sped round the approaching bend.

Pannage has begun. Gloucester Old Spots in particular have taken to the road in search of acorns and other mast, probably unaware that, while feasting themselves with autumn’s treats for themselves, they are saving ponies from poisoning themselves.

This first group were scampering along Newtown Road, Gorley;

and these, along the road through Ibsley,

where cattle stoically ignore flies.

Mossy roots were exposed on the shady Newtown Road verges, sunlight pierced the foliage to dapple those at Frogham,

where donkey foals basked and scratched beside Abbotswell Road..

Later, I watched the rugby World Cup match between Scotland and Tonga; the second half while we both sat on the sofa enjoying left-overs from last night’s Red Chilli takeaway.

The Last Rays Of Summer

After their meal last night everyone came back here and we enjoyed a pleasant continuation of the birthday celebration, including Flo’s firm and moist mango flavoured cake.

While the others slept in this morning Jackie and I took a trip into the forest. As it was another warm and sunny day beneath a clear cerulean sky featuring clustered cotton cloud we experienced an influx of visitors enjoying the last rays of summer.

This meant a gentler pace gained along our lanes and thoroughfares:

we followed cyclists along Undershore, so sinuous as to make passing dangerous;

horse riders ambling oblivious along Furzey Lane;

and slow moving traffic, their progress halted by ponies on various roads – all part of New Forest retirement life.

The clipped tails of some of the ponies betrayed their recent attendance at Drift annual roundups and health checks.

Dozing donkeys basked in shade on the verges of Pilley Street

alongside the former telephone box book exchange attached to the village shop that has now moved to the new Community Hall.

The aforementioned horse riders on Furzey Lane travelled beneath

horse chestnuts soon to bounce on the tarmac

and maple seeds preparing to execute rocking helicopter descents.

This afternoon I watched the rugby World Cup matches between Portugal and Georgia, and between England and Chile.

Becky and Ian returned home before dinner this evening, which consisted of Red Chilli takeaway fare. My choice was prawn pathia, enjoyed with Becky’s doggy bag prawns and coconut rice from yesterday’s Thai meal. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Montepulciano D’Abruzzo 2020.

A Little Optimistic

Early this morning I watched the recording of last night’s rugby World Cup match between France and Namibia.

Later I took advantage of a sunny morning to take a brief walk round the garden before the rain set in for a few hours, and another when the sunlight returned this afternoon.

The air, when dry, was warm and fresh, and attracted bustling bees, as well as my camera lens.

Liquid light played across my garden views

and enhanced individual blooms. As usual the selections in each gallery bear their own titles.

Later I watched the live broadcast of the rugby match between Argentina and Samoa while tucking into the plate of cold meats and salad Jackie had left for me while this branch of the family joined Becky and Ian for the latter’s Birthday celebration at Milford on Sea’s Britannia Thai restaurant. My intention to lead the party had been proved a little optimistic after yesterday’s outing demonstrated that I was not yet fit for another.

Back On The Road

A soft breeze gently ruffled the still air this morning as we set off for a short forest drive culminating in brunch at the Lakeview Café.

Steam rose from the warmed wet tarmac of Holmsley Passage dappled by sunlight licking the browning bracken.

The winterbourne pool along Bisterne Close, so recently devoid of water, now reflected cotton clouds, overhead lines, spent yellow iris leaves, and a nearby gate.

The weather was now once more sultry enough to summon flies to pester ponies

already seeking shade from trees stippling hide and branch.

Hidden behind New Lane near New Milton are the manmade Orchard Fishing Lakes, permit holders of which enjoy the proximity of Lakeview Café which serves freshly cooked excellent quality food at most reasonable prices.

On such a lovely day enjoying warm sunshine filtered by scudding clouds, it was hardly surprising that soon after midday this family run business was packed out inside with room for other diners to bask comfortably at tables outside while watching the fishers’ quiet repose.

All ingredients, especially the real meaty beef burger, homemade coleslaw, and plentiful fresh salad in my gourmet burger choice, even on such a busy day, were of excellent quality, and strong cutlery was up to the job of cutting the food..

Jackie’s tuna panini was equally perfectly prepared and presented.

Including Jackie’s coffee, this meal set me back £21 to which I added a £3 tip.

Naturally we were warned of a wait, which did not bother us, so Jackie investigated the reading matter; the cakes and crisps to which, should we need anything else after our main courses, we could serve ourselves; and the ever changing artwork on the walls.

In the meantime I observed today’s other customers which included obvious retirees, visiting families, and local people, all contributing to the cheerful ambience generated by the efficient, friendly, and helpful staff.

As I have been off my fodder this week, the brunch was more than enough to satisfy me for the day, so I didn’t join the rest of the family as they enjoyed another of Jackie’s chicken and vegetable soups this evening.