The Bearded Pony

With very few raindrops adding to yesterday’s deluge contribution on the roads, on the moors, and on the woodlands, despite the welcome sunshine, the gale force winds picking up made the temperature feel far more than the alleged seven degrees centigrade as we splashed out on an early forest drive.

It was round the corner into Hordle Lane that we first encountered tarmac awash with pools.

Having negotiated the Woodcock Lane junction, turning right into Silver Street,

Jackie deviated across the road into Agars Lane with its ancient high banked verges, where she was able to park giving me a good vantage

point for photographing vehicles spraying precipitation into the air.

After Barrows Lane reflecting the Parcel Force delivery van’s splash of colour I decided to focus on other scenes.

This meant a visit to Boundway Hill where we parked beside broken

limbs from an ancient oak tree that must have suffered the damage not too long ago.

Knowing that a fine woodland landscape would reward the effort, with some trepidation I ventured

down the soggy footpath towards

the welcome sight.

The surrounding woodland and its verges bore their share of reflecting pools.

On the way down to Brockenhurst, beside a gravelled road linking with the adjacent tarmac forming deep potholes,

foraged three ponies,

one sporting an erstwhile fashionable beard.

We hadn’t brunched at The Potting Shed in Redcliffe Garden Centre since before Covid and knee replacements, and thought it time to try it again. It is as good as ever, having had a tasteful makeover without changing its essential country garden character.

This popular venue was as packed as we always remembered it, which means that, in order to respect privacy I had to focus on one corner only when its occupants had left and before replacements had arrived.

In the top left hand corner of these two images appears an invitation to book a vintage tea party, no doubt served on the crockery displayed in the dresser.

The wood burning stove is protected by a fire guard with clear warnings.

Beautifully drawn decorations and artefacts decorate all the walls, and

very apt quotations are painted on the ceilings.

Many of my readers will agree with this one by Cicero.

Service was amazingly fast, efficient, and friendly. I was particularly impressed with how quickly, cleanly, and tidily vacated tables were cleared ready for the next customers, although no-one was rushed.

Jackie’s egg mayonnaise sandwich, served with fresh salad and crisps was well filled and moist;

My ham, double egg, and chips, was equally perfect, with eggs served sunny side up and soft enough to dip well browned chips.

This evening we all dined on haddock cheese-centred fish cakes; Jackie’s piquant cauliflower cheese; crunchy carrots; green peas, and white and sweet potato mash, with which The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I finished the fitou.


  1. Love this post, particularly that quote. Many of my favorite two and four legged males sport chin whiskers from Buddy to you and my husband and now the pony.

  2. Wow, your meals look so delicious, guys! That’s my kind of restaurant. I hope that things get a chance to dry out for you, this flooding has been going on for a few weeks now it seems. Happy new week! ????

  3. I don’t think you’ve been out and about to feature such an assortment of photos in a while. The sawed oak branches are so visceral–they look like a creature in pain. The woodland landscape is beautiful. I love the bearded pony, and the restaurant is delightful. I’d love to have lunch there!

  4. I love driving in the aftermath of rain storms. Not so the pot holes. I read somewhere that many roads and buildings built by our ancestors remain in tact… then we started using engineers. 🙂 Totally agree by with Cicero.

  5. The wet pavements and the puddles certainly add another element to all your photographs Derrick. And I see my old friend the white pony is still there.

  6. You have had quite a bit of rain! I hope you do not get the opposite, a sever drought, this summer. I feel sorry for that old oak, having seen and suffered so much over its life.

    That white pony is sporting a fine beard. Gives him a slight goaty appearance. 🙂

  7. I’m delighted it stayed dry, perhaps my forecast was for a little further east.
    You captured fabulous images of the rain-soaked roads, and equally so with the ponies.
    I’m glad you had a good lunch, it looks like a lovely place, some great images, thank you very much for the heads up. 🙂

  8. I daresay that Cicero probably had a few slaves who took care of those tedious day to day tasks that he never noticed being done while he sat in his library and garden.

  9. The Potting Shed does look very welcoming and bright and the food looks extremely appetising! I am glad you managed to get through all the flooded roads safely.

    1. Hello, Lakshmi. I haven’t heard, but I have sent him a message saying we are thinking about him and hope he is OK. Thanks very much

    2. Further info, Lakshmi, is that John, still very tired, is home from hospital awaiting an operation in mid-March. I will let you know anything further I learn.

  10. So many interesting photos! The Potting Shed looks like a fun place. I like the silver sun mirror. The woodland is always a welcome sight, and it’s not every day you see a white bearded pony.

  11. I have a library and a garden – and a home that needs looking after – which makes me feel happy indeed. You are getting more than a fair share of rain, so I hope you will be able to enjoy some longer periods of sunshine soon.

  12. I agree with Cicero. The restaurant is charming and the food looks delicious. Your photos are all so interesting especially of the bearded pony.

  13. So much water! I wonder what kind of spring and summer you will have. That is a sweet little beard on that pony. I certainly do agree with Cicero. 😉 The food looks really good.

  14. This was a lovely and much-varied post! Love the potting shed images as well as well, everything! That view was definitely worth the muddy trek!

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