Decidedly Bedraggled

Albeit lightly at first, yet with increasing heaviness, steady rain fell throughout the day.

Jackie has woken developing a cold, so late this morning we drove to Hordle Pharmacy to buy some Day and Night Nurses and pain relief.

Another tree has been destroyed in Sway Road.

Afterwards we took a short forest drive. Our section of the A35,

up to the land of the Oak Craft company, has been partially closed for a couple of years, and partially so for a good six months.

This is to permit the widening and strengthening of the road bridge over the disused railway near Holmsley. The anticipated completion date is now early in April, which, if effective, will be a relief to us and to many more who have received far more traffic of all shapes and sizes trying to find alternatives to this major route through the forest. We have at least three times the vehicles passing our front door on the A337 than usual, and regularly come face to face with mechanical monsters on our small winding lanes. Everywhere signs crop up pleading for care and reduced speed because of animals on the road. Confusing diversions proliferate, and affect even our short journeys.

On our way to Bisterne Close there was hardly a pony in sight – they sought shelter where they could.

The woodland off the Close was the best that some could find. Nevertheless those I wandered amongst were decidedly bedraggled.

This evening we dined on second helpings of Jackie’s wholesome cottage pie with fresh vegetables. I drank more of the Douro.

Flight Path


Today, Jackie Jackie drove us to Louisa and Errol’s at Mapperley Top, a suburb of Nottingham. When I say today, I mean all day – all eight hours. Rather more than anticipated.

As we travelled along the A35 we imagined the autumn leaves may have all fallen by the time we returned three days ahead.

As we progressed along the M25 we were reminded that we were on the Heathrow flight path, as several planes passed overhead. In another sense the motorway itself was a flight path, being the thoroughfare through which so many people flee from London for the Cotswolds on a Friday

M1 hold-up

when the first of what were to be several queues began. The speeds shown above the traffic are those that will keep the traffic moving. The huge container vehicle shown on the left, having crossed over chevrons, was about to fill the gap between us and the car in front. The reason for the queues is that most drivers ignore the posted limits and continue until they have to stop. This is termed a standing wave.


Soon we came to a standstill.

M1 jam

This was the first of many. They at least gave us the opportunity to look at the scenery.


Periodically raptors hovered above.

Burger King

We stopped at Newport Pagnel Welcome Break Services for lunch at Burger King.

Davis Haulage van

Half an hour later we continued the journey which was to take another four hours. This is because we faced 17 miles of road works necessitating a lane closure. We spent more time studying the back of Davis Haulage van than we usually do studying ponies’ rear ends in The New Forest.

Traffic Officer van

It took a long time to reach a Traffic Officer


warning traffic that a small van had broken down.

The further north we travelled the more wind turbines we saw.

Clouds over M1

Shortly before sunset the clouds darkened over the motorway.

Eventually we turned off at junction 26 and headed for Mapperley, as shown on the map. Then, like rats in a maze, we drove all over the place seeking something we recognised. We sought local guidance. Only then did we learn that there were two Mapperleys, and that our goal was on the other side of Nottingham. Errol phoned and advised us to go straight through the City Centre. We did that and I found familiar ground. It was dark by then.

We enjoyed a splendid evening with the family. Louisa cooked us a wonderful paella with garlic bread and salad. She and I drank Chateau de Grezels cahors, 2013. Jackie’s beverage was Fosters, and Errols, Stella.

To follow was watching Jessica and Imogen performing with Nottingham City Gymnastics Club for Children in Need TV.