On another bright morning I had intended a walk based on The Splash ford, however, directly opposite the end of Lower Drive, I was tempted into the forest by the sight of five ponies foraging in what is an unusual location for them. Having gone in to make their acquaintance, I continued and repeated the walk in what my follower Jane was kind enough to describe as ‘the magic of the forest’ I had made in the mist of 21st January.
The terrain was as soggy as expected, and I managed to become rather mud splashed, at one point having to wipe my camera’s viewing screen with my handkerchief. There were the usual new pools and helpful pony trails.
Just before Seamans Lane the open stretch of land is covered in the darkened patches described yesterday. Two of the deepest streams are spanned by wooden bridges which, judging by the hoof prints around them, are frequented by our equine friends.
Some way into the trees we come to the corner of fenced off land that is the side of gardens of the houses at the bottom of Running Hill, and the backs of those in Seamans Lane. There, carefully erected against a tree, was a child’s teepee-like den created by propping suitable fallen branches against one of the live limbs. This had me immediately transported back to a forest in Northern France in the summer of 1985 when Jessica and I had made a similar one for Sam.
In London Minstead the couple I had photographed on 8th December 2012 returning from a horse ride, were just setting off on one today. We stopped and chatted for a while.
Further on down Seamans Lane, the thudding of horses’ hooves on the turf of a field caused me to climb a low bank and peer over a prickly hedge. There, the horse wearing the bridle galloped friskily about whilst the other chomped away. It kept well out of range of my lens until it joined its companion for some nosh.
The negative of the black and white picture above was in my random files. You can imagine with what trepidation I set about searching for it immediately upon my return home, and my delight when I managed to identify it fairly early on. Undoubtedly assisted by the fact that I have far less black and white than colour negatives it was still a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack. Holding strips of 35mm. film up to the light from the window and looking for the reverse image of that little face among all those leaves was rather daunting.
Becky and Flo came this afternoon and we were introduced to Zäneta, a companion for Kota the Pleo.
This evening the four of us enjoyed a roast lamb dinner followed by lemon meringue pie and rice pudding. Jackie drank another glass of the Nobilo while Becky and I imbibed Casillero del Diablo reserva 2012. Scooby gnawed a bone under the table, skilfully managing to avoid my stockinged feet.
We reminisced about the apple tree in the garden of Amity Grove, which was the theme for a book I made for Becky’s seventh birthday. Maybe she’ll scan a picture or two from it and send them to me so I can add them to this post.
Later, having read this post, my daughter Louisa posted on Facebook this picture of Imogen taken on 25th October 2012:
and this of Jessica in the Peak District on 13th January 2013:
P.P.S. Scooby built his on 14th April 2013: