Nugget darted under my feet this morning as I swept the beech nuts from the Rose Garden paving and the gravel paths,
and around Jackie when she continued planting.
Sometimes he took a bird’s eye view of proceedings.
Here Jackie demonstrates that she has some thyme to plant;
and here converses with her little familiar. “Where’s Nugget?” (33).
Hoping to accustom him to a robin feeder for the winter she has installed one in the cryptomeria, bearing just small tokens. It seems to be working.
Bees, like this one homing in on bright red salvia
and this plundering a pink pelargonium;
as well as butterflies such as this Painted Lady, continue to bask in our sunshine on such a day.
This afternoon I watched a recording of the Rugby World Cup match between South Africa and Canada.
Later, we took a short trip into the forest where, at Holmsley, bracken has really browned;
some leaves take on an autumnal hue, while others remain green;
grasses bent to the breeze;
the stream spanned by the eponymous Passage is filling up and flowing briskly;
trees were silhouetted on the sky line;
and a gatepost sporting a boot without which a child had departed pleaded for a rescue dog which had left home.
This evening we dined on prime pork loin steaks roasted with tomatoes and mushrooms; plentiful mushroom stroganoff; firm peas, and tender runner beans. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Brouilly.
Nugget was singing outside the stable door this morning at 6 a.m.
I stepped out early to take advantage of the bright morning light. Jackie tells me that our little robin was perched on top of this kniphofia yesterday evening for quite some time, chirping away. Other images are entitled in the gallery.
Here are more of the red hot pokers and heucheras.
Somewhere among these Weeping Birch branches Nugget began a tuneful game of hide and seek with me. Please don’t search for him in this picture. I couldn’t find him, and if you do I will be upset.
However, today’s “Where’s Nugget” (23a-e) offers five opportunities for his fans to find him – as many or as few times as you wish. You may notice he is singing in one of them.
He dropped down later when I began raking the paths. I fear I disappointed him on the insect front.
Heidi, our much loved former daughter-in-law visited today and stayed the night. We lunched on Jackie’s usual spread of cold meats, pies, salads, and cheeses with which we drank Prosecco.
We spent our time reminiscing and exchanging thoughts and feelings about Michael’s death. During one period I took Heidi on a tour of the garden.
Verbena bonarensis continues to attract bees and butterflies, mostly Small Whites.
Mama Mia looked quite splendid in the Rose Garden.
Japanese anemones are as prolific as ever.
Heidi was impressed with the quantity of seating. We enjoyed views across the lawn and down the Phantom Path while we spent some time on the Westbrook Arbour bench.
Elizabeth joined us for a while and we all four sat on patio chairs enjoying pleasant conversation.
Jackie, Heidi, and I dined on The Culinary Queen’s delicious cottage pie; crunchy carrots and broccoli; and tender runner beans from our garden. I finished the Shiraz and the ladies drank Yellow Tail Pinot Grigio 2018.
The storm that raged through the night and most of the day had Jackie regretting the time she had spent watering the garden yesterday. By the afternoon the precipitation was beginning to be interrupted by periods of sunshine.
After lunch it seemed to be the weather to buy a new tyre to replace the one that was suffering a slow leak. Others must have had the same idea, because there was quite a queue at the fitters. In the event we needed two new tyres. I had begun to be quite nervous about whether I would arrive at the dentists in time to keep my hygienist’s appointment. Actually I was a little early. After a painless scraping and polishing we drove into the forest.
As we left New Milton we couldn’t miss a young lad in Station Road celebrating school holidays in party mood, albeit attempting to look quite normal.
Heather is turning purple on the moors alongside Holmsley Passage;
while rowan trees, like these beside
Bisterne Close, Burley, are a good six weeks early.
We have often remarked upon the varied colour ways found on the New Forest ponies, for example a grey body with chestnut forelegs, mane and tails; or a bay with black and white tail. FP even sported a matching brand. Their trichologists must have fun with the hair dye.
From Bisterne Close we turn into Mill Lane where sunlight pierced the spaces between the trees and sliced last autumn’s layers of leaves. Here a fly on an oak leaf must have preferred this to the ponies’ muzzles.
We noticed several groups of walkers carrying their temporary homes on their backs. It is little wonder that, give the soaking they had received, some of them seemed somewhat less than gruntled.
This evening we dined on chicken breasts, mushrooms, and peppers in a Chinese sauce marinade, creamy mashed potatoes; crunchy carrots; and tender runner and green beans, with which Jackie drank Blue Moon and I drank more of the Bergerac.
In order to enjoy what might be our last day of autumn sunshine Jackie drove us into the forest this afternoon. We took the Undershore route to Pilley and beyond. Fallen leaves glowed on the passing spaces necessary on this narrow lane, and on pools and the footpath alongside Lymington reed beds.
As we passed a field along Church Lane, Boldre, I glimpsed working horses within it. In order to create these images it was necessary to poke my camera lens through spiky hedges and spikier still barbed wire. Some of the animals wore their winter rugs. I assumed those without such protection were the hardier forest ponies. I’m not sure what they made of my protuberance. One stood and stared; others wandered away.
Burnished bracken spoke to golden oaks at Puttocks Bridge car park where
the lowering sun caused chestnut ponies’ pelts to metamorphose into rich velvet pile.
The mother of one foal crossed the road and ventured into the woodland on the other side. At first the youngster remained with its older companion;
then ambled across the road and nosed around among the fallen leaves.
The road here runs over the stream also spanned by the eponymous bridge, where a small family paddled in the shallows
while I admired the reflected trees, leaves, and skies.
Apples worthy of tempting Eve hung enticingly just out of reach of
the pony on the pavement initially fooling me into thinking it had developed road sense.
No such luck. Suddenly the creature stepped out in front of a car brought to an abrupt halt, and dawdled off along the tarmac. (The reason there are two sets here is revealed below)
Another adult led another youngster into the road. The skittish foal rushed along the pavement on the other side,
chasing the chestnut before veering off to the left, presumably having spotted something more interesting.
Following elmediat’s helpful advice in his comments on yesterday’s post I have had one more try at enabling these images to be enlarged by readers. One amendment I noticed after drafting all this was that my images were cropped for alignment in the galleries, so, for example, the picture of the pony stepping in front of the car lost the all-important glimpse of the vehicle. Without cropping the shapes are also altered. I have left the very first set cropped, in order to check whether this is how they are presented, or whether the random selection we previously enjoyed is shown.
I still receive the ‘somewhat embarrassing’ message when I try to look at a preview, so I can’t check whether the enlarged viewing is possible before posting. If it is not, I will revert to the old system until the new is forced upon us. I am sure you will continue to let me know.
This evening we dined on roast chicken; sage and onion stuffing; Yorkshire pudding; roast potatoes and parsnips; tasty Brussels sprouts; and rainbow carrots; and gravy with meaty bits in it. This was followed by mixed fruit crumble and vanilla ice cream. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Madiran.
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This afternoon Jackie drove me to Boots opticians to collect a new pair of varifocal specs. I don’t really need glasses for reading or close work, but for TV or distance. This means I have to keep taking the myopic aids off for looking through the camera viewfinder, so varifocals seemed a good idea.
We continued on to the forest to try them out. I am reasonably comfortable with them.
Holmseley Passage, with increasing signs of Autumn, had the honour of breaking them in. We are due boisterous winds overnight, so some of the earliest foliage to fall will probably coat the ground tomorrow.
Burley golf course, never in need of non-equine mowing, lies on either side of Wilverley Road. Hard working ponies were , in the glow of the lowering sun, engrossed in their green duties. A couple who had reached the next hole on the other side of the road carried on regardless.
Sometimes we cannot resist exploring a ‘No Through Road’. Often, as in the case of this one in the vicinity of Linwood, they wend their undulating, serpentine, way for long enough to make us wonder if we will ever get out again. Often, as with this one, the adventure is rewarded with pleasant surprises. Playful sunlight enhanced the lovely lane and lit the somnolent farm horse and its companion pony in a small field, throwing their shadows across the sward. The grey roused from its slumbers and strode purposefully over to pass the time of day with me.
Before sunset we reached Abbots Well, where, from the deeply pockmarked car park we looked down over the layered landscape below and the moody, indigo, clouds above.
This evening we dined on Jackie’s excellent, spicy, pasta arrabbiata and green beans with which she finished the Sauvignon Blanc and Elizabeth and I drank Brancott Estate Merlot 2016
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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.
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The day was as radiant as yesterday had been dismal. At lunchtime we brunched at the Walkford Diner which now has sautéed potatoes and onions to be added to any of the standard meals. Naturally we added some to our All Day Breakfasts. We continued on into the forest, where
Thatchers Lane’s hedgerows bore many holly berries and a curved tree stem that Jackie termed “nature’s bench”.
High on Thorney Hill, two horses grazed in a sun-kissed field. As so often happens, first the white one, then its companion made a beeline for me as I stood observing them.
Somewhere about this point the name changes to Braggers. Here heavier workhorses, one sleeping under a tree, occupied another field. Sun streaked across grass and tarmac.
A staggered crossroads soon takes us into Fish Street where a young equestrienne ambling along in front of us was considerate enough to pull over to facilitate our passage. The early Christmas decorations suspended overhead were red painted pine cones.
On the approach to Bashley a solitary Gloucester Old Spot sow sped into the trees. She was far too fast for me, so I focussed on Autumn colour instead.
Tree work at the roundabout on the corner of Bashley Common Road and Sway Road, requiring 4 – Way Traffic Control, provided plenty of opportunity for me to poke my lens out of my stationary window and photograph roadside rose hips. Needless to say, fans of Hampshire’s roads will not be surprised that, of the four affected ways, only ours was subjected to the long tailback.
Elizabeth is spending a week with friends in Edinburgh. Jackie and I dined on the Culinary Queen’s excellent chilli con carne and savoury rice with which I drank Chateau Pinenc Minervois 2017.