Close Encounter Of The Covid Kind

On an unseasonably mild morning of sunshine and showers we drove into the deserted forest where Jackie decanted me at a few unpopulated points where I wandered with my camera.

Had we been in a hurry down Beckley Road we might have had a closer than comfortable encounter with an approaching van.

Fortunately Jackie had parked on a verge while I photographed autumnal woodland with its yellowing leaves fallen on soggy ground and clinging to dripping trees.

Our next stop was along Rhinefield Road where I rustled leaves underfoot while seeking further fall images.

Passing under the A31 and pausing on Linwood Road I walked back to photograph

reflections in a recently replenished pool, whilst taking in

pleasantly hazy landscapes,

one of which camouflaged a pair of grazing ponies.

Cattle hunkered down among the gorse.

We continued through Appleslade where

the glowing hillsides whispered to the sunlit trees opposite a naked windswept silhouette.

From our high vantage point I watched a close encounter as a pair of horse riders approached and, hopefully keeping social distance, crossed paths with a pedestrian couple. Perhaps they passed the time of day.

On the road above Ibsley ford as I photographed

sunlit woodland we could hear cries of children playing in the grounds of Moyles Court School, like others, currently being kept open. This is not so for pubs, which must be disappointing for the staff of

Elm Tree on Hightown Road who have installed a magnificent poppy display in the now closed garden.

Nick has continued painting woodwork in the sitting room

and wrestling with preparation in the kitchen.

This evening we dined on a second sitting of Hordle Chinese Take Away’s fine fare, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Malbec.

The Toughest Test Yet

Yesterday’s rain had desisted and sun was permitted the occasional appearance when we took a drive into the forest this afternoon.

A pony and foal had peeled off a group on Wootton Common alongside Holmsley Road. They held up the traffic on the opposite verge, until the mare abandoned the youngster who took some time to realise it had been left alone. Meanwhile the others were making their way through the shrubbery. Junior then trotted delicately back across the road and trailed after the others.

More ponies grazed among the forest trees along Rhinefield Road;

others set up barriers along the Linwood Road which is so narrow that it has designated passing places cut into the moorland.

We passed through Appleslade where walkers could be seen atop a hillside.

It was four and a half years ago, as featured in https://derrickjknight.com/2016/01/14/rockford-common/ that Becky had led me up the side of Rockford Sandpit.

The dead tree I had photographed on that occasion was still standing.

Today a group of children were engaged in what one is expected to do in a sandpit.

A small family were making the descent.

I determined to take the more sensible route up a winding, more gently sloping, solid path. It was easy enough to steer clear of the other climbers.

I photographed just one of the ponies at the top of Rockford Common, the distant landscape, the purple heather, and the browning bracken, before returning by the same route. This had been the toughest test of my new knees yet.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent sausage casserole; creamy mashed potato; crunchy carrots and broccoli; and tender runner and green beans. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Pinot Noir.

Cockapoo, Cattle, And Equine Landscape

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This morning Jackie drove me to New Hall Hospital for a follow up visit to Mr Kask, my orthopaedic surgeon. At the same time Louisa and her daughters left to visit a cousin in Cambridge.

Mr Kask was happy with my progress and considered that the right knee replacement could wait until after an appointment in three months time.

As I opened up my camera on the way home, I found two photographs of Geri (Halliwell), sitting on my chair, therein. This, I believe, was my daughter’s reminder that I had not featured her young cockapoo in my weekend posts. I could imagine myself as a small boy ¬†choosing such a dog for a pet, purely on account of the name of the breed.

I disembarked on the green at Mockbeggar to photograph a small, motley, herd of fly-bearing cattle in occupation. Mostly black and white adults, there were a few calves, a couple of brown and white ones having been adopted.

The landscape near Linwood was enhanced by ponies wandering around the vicinity of the aptly named Appleslade car park. Apples and hawthorn fruit mingled among the trees, and we encountered the common sight of patiently optimistic ponies planted before a cottage gate.

This evening we enjoyed a drink on the patio before dining on Jackie’s roast lamb; roast and boiled potatoes, including sweet ones; runner beans from the garden; and saut√©ed peppers, onions, and mushrooms. Elizabeth and I drank Saint-Chinian 2016 and the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden.