Fly Masks

I didn’t think I could face the tension of listening to ball by ball broadcasting of the last day of the first Ashes Test match of 2019, so I suggested a trip out this morning and deferring cricket gratification until this evening’s highlights.

Before leaving, Jackie photographed raindrops on spider’s webs and our porch planting. These will repay bigification.

Consequently we drove to Hockey’s Farm shop hunting for suitable teapots to offer Nugget for his habitation. As Jackie pointed out, we had forgotten to ask our robin “whether he preferred new-build or something with more character.” Hockey’s had a few characterful examples but they carried typical loading of prices for a New Forest residence. Since the lids would be discarded this seemed a bit steep.

Heather and bracken along Holmsley Passage had brightened after receipt of the recent rain. While I photographed the moorland Jackie was careful to point out the heather’s healthy range of hues.

On leaving Burley we were surprised to notice that a grey pony, waiting patiently on the verge seemed to have induced a low crawl in the traffic. It was not until we drew level that we spotted its companion standing bang in the middle of the road between the two streams of cars.

As we proceeded along Crow Hill the startling eyes of an extraterrestrial landing craft sent Jackie hugging the hedgerows on the left side of the road. It was with some relief that we realised this was a large tractor slowly towing a very long hay bale container.

In the vicinity of Linwood we took a diversion along our favourite unnamed lane. This is in effect a cul-de-sac,

along which there are some interesting houses and gardens;

and, as today, we are likely to encounter equestriennes.

Heavy field horses wear full fly masks, protecting eyes and ears. One, more inquisitive than the other which couldn’t really be bothered, gave us a sun-kissed smile as we paused to demonstrate interest.

Several thirsty ponies and a foal, paddling in the forded stream at Ibsley, left the water to a grey as they settled on the opposite bank.

Before we brunched at Hockey’s I photographed their adult and juvenile alpacas and an elegant pair of geese.

To no avail we tried charity shops in Milford on Sea for the teapots. Jackie then left me at home while she tried similar outlets with more success. Nugget will have a choice between one plain and simple new-build and another masquerading as a watering can. I will feature the finished articles after they have been hung.


I watched the cricket highlights as planned.

After this we dined on Jackie’s delicious chicken jalfrezi; toothsome mushroom rice topped with a tasty omelette; and a plain paratha. The Culinary Queen drank Blue Moon while I finished the Saint-Chinian and started another – this time Clostre Brunel, also 2016.

Making Pictures

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One of Aaron’s tasks this morning was to start clearing the falling leaves. He used his handy blower to stir the frisky foliage.

Jackie and I left Elizabeth behind when we left before our friend had finished this morning to meet Frances, Fiona, Paul, James, Danni, and Andy for lunch at the Luzborough House pub in Romsey. Elizabeth had a cold and was careful not to pass it on, either to my two pregnant nieces or to our mother. The venue had been chosen so that sister-in-law Frances, her daughter, son-in-law, and grandson could visit Mum in hospital.

The meals were OK. My choice was steak, prawns, calamari, and salad followed by ice cream sundae. I drank Old Speckled Hen.

On our return home, Jackie and I, having opted not to overcrowd Mum, took a diversion into the forest.

At Bramshaw, we took a lane we have not previously discovered. This led us to Bramble Hill where, sharing the sky with cotton wool clouds, the sun gilded the bright bracken. I was delighted when an obliging young lady brought her steed into shot. As I told her, she had just made a picture.

A string of stately alpacas stepping across the fields of ‘Faraway Alpacas’ in Godshill, passed a blissfully happy hembra suckling her contented cria.

Further along the road a lone chestnut pony took its turn at making its own couple of Autumnal pictures.

No further sustenance was needed this evening.

The Grass Is Greener

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“We must find a lamb,” announced Jackie this morning. “To prove it is Spring”.

So we did. Quite a few in fact. This wasn’t very difficult given that Christchurch Road is flanked by fields full of them. The farmer appeared to be conducting an inventory. The golden heap in the fourth picture is gravel from New Milton Sand And Gravel.

On such a morning it was a pleasure to continue up to Hockey’s Farm Shop at Gorley Lynch for brunch. Ponies were out in their multitudes today. This group on Holmsley Road couldn’t make up their minds on which side of the road they wanted to take up residence. We thought it best to stop until they had decided.

Many players were out on the Burley golf course, where, to complete a round, they must wheel their clubs across the main road.

Donkeys breakfasted from the middle of the thoroughfare at Rockford Green, while another, oblivious of a passing cyclist, took up her stance on a junction at South Gorley.

Chestnut ponies at Gorley Lynch, having slaked their thirsts in the full ditches, set off down the road to cross at a well-trodden path. One, skirting a welly atop a traffic cone, created a mighty thud as it leapt the ditch and set off in pursuit of its companions. I exchanged pleasantries with the walker being followed by three cyclists. Jackie informed me afterwards that she had waited patiently behind me whilst I wielded my camera. I hope the young woman hadn’t wondered why I hadn’t thanked her.

The paddocks at the farm were, as usual, shared by donkeys and alpacas. One of the latter animals knew very well that the grass is greener on the other side, and seemed determined to taste it.

Not every pony we saw was exercising its right to dominate different road users. Others, occasionally outlined on hillsides, occupied the moors. The one pictured here with its legs in the air is not dead. It is rolling on the grass in order to dislodge something irritating.

For our dinner this evening Jackie produced spicy piri-piri chicken, soft sautéed leek and peppers, and colourful vegetable rice. She drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Azinhaga Portuguese red wine.

Snowponies

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I was banned from the kitchen this morning in order to allow Richard to catch up on his largely snowbound day yesterday.

Rain and a slight rise in temperature had brought about the beginnings of a thaw, so Jackie drove us into the forest on roads that were no longer icy.

They were rather more slushy;

ditches, like this one with a birch perched on its bank, were still iced over;

and snow, still lying beneath trees, streaked the moors.

Rain falling from a leaden sky made heavier the coats of drooping ponies trudging across the roads.

Ponies, snow, bracken, gorsePonies, snow, bracken, gorsePony, snow, bracken, gorsePony, snow, bracken, gorse

A pair of grey snowponies, hoping for cosy scarves and carrots, had not yet begun to melt.

Steak and pizza

At Bransgore we lunched at The Crown Inn, of the Vintage Inn chain. We both enjoyed our meals. Jackie’s was pizza diablo with chips; mine, also with chips, was rib eye steak with peppercorn sauce, tomato, onion rings, and green salad. Jackie drank Amstel and I drank Razor Back, still known as Ringwood’s Best.

Outside Bransgore, on our way home, we noticed a sheep trying to supplement its wool with a straw shawl, whilst neighbouring alpacas grazed.

Richard had not been idle. He had fitted most of the cupboard doors,

continuing with them and adding the hob before leaving a little later. The dishwasher door display is projected onto the floor.

This evening’s meal consisted of instant minestrone, chicken tikka, and tomatoes.

“Look, He’s Posing”

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This morning Jackie drove us to Lymington for me to take photographs that might be suitable for the walls of Lal Quilla restaurant. Raj had asked me for some a couple of days ago.

I began with a few featuring the building itself.

Gosport Road

The surrounding area includes Gosport Street, and

Quay Hill,

Painter Quay Hill

where the painter working on Sophie’s stopped to pass the time of day with a passer-by.

Quay Hill 1

 The King’s Head stands on the corner diagonally opposite Lal Quilla, at the point at which the High Street turns at right angles into Gosport Street. The tavern’s website tells us that

‘Despite dating back at least 300 years, many of the original features of The Kings Head can still be seen today.

The pub is known to have originally also been a bakers back in the day and even now the old bakers oven is still standing, along with the old well which is featured at the centre of the pub.

When you visit The Kings Head you will see the long-lasting beams made from Napoleonic Ships that only add to the character of this old English pub.

The pretty courtyard that we see today was previously used for fish-drying, whilst the buildings adjacent to the yard were an abattoir and fishermans house.

Despite these drastic changes over time, the inside of the pub has remained somewhat the same and the great open fire that cannot be missed is at least 300 years old.

It is these characteristics that, when you visit, make it easy to imagine the pub back in the 18th Century as a regular haunt for the smugglers and sailors that would frequent this famous sailing town.

Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you may even see one of the old regulars who used to pick up pots in exchange for ‘grog’ as he has been said to return occasionally as the pubs very own friendly ghost…’

I doubt that Raj, the manager, would want all the pictures I have produced, such as those of two alleys that can be seen from inside the restaurant, but I did need to indulge myself.

Quay Street lies at the bottom of Quay Hill. The driver who left his van at bottom right of the second picture was to be disappointed when he attempted to deliver a package to a closed shop. Winter hours in these establishments are somewhat restricted. The Boat House Café featured in the first scene is where we brunched,

People on bench

after I had wandered along the quay photographing a row of people seated on a bench;

Young woman on wall

a young woman crouching cross-legged on a concrete wall;

Shadow of young woman

and another casting a long shadow as our paths crossed.

Train crossing harbour

The train aiming for the Isle of Wight ferry traversed the harbour.

Lymington Quay 1

A pair of oriental tourists walked towards The Ship Inn,

the windows of which rippled in the water.

We drove on through the forest and found ourselves at Pilley Bailey, where, knee deep in water or autumn leaves, a group of ponies enjoyed their alfresco lunch.

Pony crossing road

One of these animals decided to cross the road. As I turned to watch it, I noticed

a trio of alpaca and dog walkers.

Alpaca walkers 4

One of the ungulates stopped still, staring in my direction. “Look, he’s posing”, cried his guide, as she strained at the leash.

Clouds on horizon

We were a little late to catch the sunset at Barton on Sea, but the bank of clouds resting on the horizon gave a differently dramatic effect.

This evening Jackie, for our dinner, produced roast chicken, mashed potato, green and runner beans, cauliflower, carrots, and ratatouille. She drank sparkling water and I drank Chateau Bonhomme Minervois 2016.

 

Reflecting Autumn

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This morning Paul and Margery delivered the nicely mounted signed painting that John created on 21st September.

We brunched at Hockey’s Farm Shop.

Donkey close-up

In the lane outside a donkey rushed to our open car window in search of treats. No-one had told it that Halloween was over.

Donkey and ponies

Its cousins in the farm field, having no need to cadge, could afford to ignore me.

Donkeys and horse

They also took no notice of horses in the neighbouring paddock.

Donkey and poniesPony

They shared their own grass with very small ponies

Pony and alpacaAlpacas

and with alpacas.

Autumn leaves

Autumn leaves

Tree reflections

adorned trees over the Ibsley forded stream

Autumn leaves and reflectionAutumn reflected in stream

in which their reflections swayed in dance.

Woodland scene 3Woodland scene 1Woodland scene 5Woodland scene 2Shadows on leaves by streamWoodland scene 6

Sunlight dappled the woodland alongside. If you do enlarge this last one, please ignore the litter.

Fallen tree

As with all safely fallen forest trees, this one will remain where it lies, in the interests of ecology.

Coach and horses

An antique coach with rather younger hitched trace-horses was parked outside the Alice Lisle pub near Ringwood.

Horses heads in harness

The horses were in harness,

Horse without part of harness 1

although one looked rather smug,

Horse with dangling harness

as part of its equipage dangled free.

Coach wheels 1

The smaller wheels stood at rest below the cab, while the the coachmen presumably enjoyed a glass of porter in the pub.

Coach rear 1

Hopefully neither the learner nor his or her instructor will have imbibed too much.

This evening we dined on a pepperoni pizza and salad, with which Jackie drank sparkling water and I finished the Fronton.

 

 

 

Road Blocks

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This morning Jackie drove us with our friends Jessie and Claire out into the forest. Unfortunately this took rather longer than anticipated because even the narrow lanes suffered under the burden of far more traffic than usual. Our environment was the venue for a major cycling event, and there was extensive parking in the vicinities of the hostelries.

Ponies on road

No sooner had we escaped the first batch of cyclists than a string of ponies stretched across the road at Mockbeggar,

Cattle

where cattle took some shelter from the heat beneath shady trees,

Donkey

and almost every other donkey seemed burdened by pregnancy.

Quad car

We waited for a quad car to pass in order to turn into Hockey’s Farm at South Gorley,

Photographing an alpaca

where I was not the only person with the idea of photographing

Alpaca 1Alpaca 2Alpaca 3

recently shorn alpacas;

Pigs

extremely smelly little pigs;

Geese 1Goose 1Geese 2

and geese

Chickens 1Rooster

sharing a pen with splendid chickens.

Goose 2Geese 3

Geese 4

The geese enjoyed a bath in the far left-hand corner. They would duck and dive, then, shaking themselves dry, leave the pool and join their companions.

We then partook of traditional cream teas from the shop. While I had busied myself in the farmyard, Jessie had purchased various meat items which resulted in a certain amount of unwanted attention from a visiting dog.

Dog with bone

Fortunately the animal’s head was turned by the offer of a very fresh bone.

Pony mare and foal

Our next obstacle on the road came in the form of a foal, escorted by its pony mother, having a scratch on Roger Penny Way.

Traffic jam

The route along the A337 into Lyndhurst was so packed with unmoving traffic that we took a diversion via Minstead through Emery Down. As you can see, this did not prove to be a good idea.

Pony on road

Having eventually threaded our way through this blockage we took the road through Bolderwood and immediately encountered a dappled pony with no inclination to move.

Cyclist 1Cyclist and marshall

I had resolved not to feature the swarms of cyclists, but they and their marshals did impede our entrance onto the A35 and potential freedom of the road.

Foal

The next pony and foal did allow us passing space.

We were soon back home, where Jackie fed us all on superb roast lamb, mint sauce, sage and onion stuffing, roast potatoes, cauliflower cheese, carrots and runner beans. We finished up with Claire’s first class mints. Jackie drank an excellent Sainsbury’s Chablis 2015 provided by Jessie, and I finished the merlot. The others had a long journey back to London and left soon after 6 p.m.