The Horse Whisperer

Today, after our visitor had made some photographs in the garden, one of which, when published, will be a delightful surprise for many followers, Jackie drove John and me on a tour of the forest before lunching at the Fleur de Lys in Pilley and delivering him to New Milton trains station for his trip to Peterborough.

We had in fact begun with a journey to the station to enquire about the best route, but the queue was so long that we decided just to go back later.

John had also been asked to look up a house in the small hamlet of Brook. We couldn’t find it. He did, however, appreciate the trip on which he made links such as the landscape of Thomas Hardy of which our area reminded him.

At Holmsley Passage

with its ponies on the moorland,

our friend disembarked to commune with the equines. This was Jackie’s view of his approach.

The ponies tolerated having their noses rubbed.

The grey left the heath to stand beside the Modus

and admire itself in the driver’s wing mirror.

Jackie’s view, with the gorse protruding from the pony’s brow, was of a magical unicorn which didn’t take kindly to

John’s removing the thorny attachment.

While waiting on Blissford Hill, an extremely steep and narrow thoroughfare at Frogham, for an approaching vehicle to pass, we watched a determinedly patient blue tit struggling to extract nesting material from a barbed wire fence.

After the unsuccessful search for the Brook house we took a light lunch at the Fleur de Lys, the 11th century inn at Pilley. John wandered around the establishment with his camera. He has taken many photographs on his trip and is looking forward to featuring them on his blog. So are we.

Jackie photographed John and me at the bar,

and John on his investigative rounds.

We each lunched on small bowls of scampi with a larger one of fries to share. Jackie and John drank Blue Moon and I drank Ringwood’s Forty-niner.

At New Milton we sadly left our Australian friend to continue his journey by train.

This evening Jackie and I dined on her toothsome beef and mushroom pie; creamy mashed potatoes; and crunchy carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli.

 

 

One For GP

As was the case this morning, the seed feeder in the front garden is usually overcrowded by sparrows,

with the inevitable pecking consequence.

Great and blue tits share more harmonious meals.

This afternoon we drove into the forest and got no further than Holmsley Passage before we witnessed

a string of ponies crossing the moorland in our direction.

They were headed for pastures new,

and a visit to their swollen waterhole,

now freely flowing.

The Assistant Photographer produced an image she has entitled “two white manes”

while I leant on the bridge to photograph a grey drinking.

Others leaving the stream cast long shadows in the glow of the lowering sun.

Our blogging friend GP Cox really likes the ponies. So, here you are GP – a post for you.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s chic cottage pie; crunchy carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli; tender cabbage, and tasty gravy with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Barbera d’Asti 2016.

 

 

It Has To Go

As she toured the garden this morning Jackie was struck by the contrast between the number of survivors from spring and summer still blooming –

including clematis Niobe;

fuchsias Delta’s Sarah

and Mrs. Popple;

hebes;

hot lips;

bidens;

pelargoniums;

pansies;

campanulas;

and roses in the Rose Garden –

and the harbingers of spring to come, such as the budding rhododendrons;

the new shoots of Michaelmas daisies;

and the burgeoning mimuluses.

One of Aaron’s tasks was to clear dragons, hanging baskets, and other vulnerable artefacts from beneath the

rather brittle cypress that continually sheds dead branches and therefore has to go. It will be removed later in the week.

As we were planning to venture into the forest this afternoon the skies darkened, the previously still air produced gusts of more than fifty miles an hour, torrential rains fell, and the birds left the front garden feeders. Within half an hour tranquility returned.

Blue tits returned to the suet balls.This bird tried to masquerade as one;

and Ron, as we have named the front garden robin, was able to head for his seed feeder before the sparrows returned to dispossess him. It is almost impossible to distinguish between male and female robins. Should Ron turn out to be a female I guess she will be a Ronette. https://youtu.be/FXlsWB1UMcE

We then did drive into to forest.

Ponies at Norleywood had calmly weathered the storm that had added to

the pool at the corner of St. Leonards Road,

along which, like cannon-shot, clouds sped across the sky,

against which oak tree branches groped gnarled fingers.

It was not yet sunset when we passed St Leonards Grange and the ruins of its ancient grain barn.

Another winterbourne pool on which oak leaves floated reflected  the tree limbs and trunks;

a cheerful young girl running down the road was overtaken by a passing car;

and a pheasant was framed by a Star of David.

We drove on past Bucklers Hard, then retuned along St Leonards Road to catch

sunset both at the Grange

and a little further along the road.

This evening we dined on fish pie with Jackie’s succulent ratatouille; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; and tender cabbage, with which we both drank Barefoot Sauvignon Blanc 2016.

 

 

Wrestling With Catalina

The weather this morning was dull but warmer than yesterday –

even enough to keep the bees, like this one weighing down the little salvia, at work. Jackie continued with her autumnal preparations. Nugget and his rival continued their armistice. Our little robin even tolerates

other small birds like blue tits

and coal tits raiding his larder.

Is this a dunnock patiently waiting its turn?

Having girded my loins enough to face wrestling with Catalina, I initiated a help chat on the Epson website. I’m sure I have enough readers who will be able to identify with the terror that that invokes. Apart from the fact that there were two changes of adviser during the process, and that one of them sent me the same download link as the previous person, this was all very helpful, and within half an hour or so, feeling rather pleased with myself, I scanned a document.

I still don’t like how they have rearranged my photographs, and it doesn’t seem possible to load them into WP without typing out again all the titles I have attached to them. These were transferred automatically before. Probably not worth losing any sleep over.

This afternoon Jackie drove me to a routine dental hygienist appointment.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy pasta arrabbiata and tender runner beans with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Shiraz.

Assiduous And Carnivorous Trees

It was the turn of a blue tit to investigate the crab apples on this very overcast morning. This one found the fruit a little large for its beak, and didn’t stay long.

This afternoon, Elizabeth collected the keys for her new home. Naturally we were there to see her over the threshold, clutching thoughtful presents from Caldwell’s Estate Agents.

Also left for her on the surface of the utility room was a personalised welcome card featuring the house.

Jackie here stands between the utility room and

the kitchen with its induction hob.

The bathroom downstairs contains a corner bath

and matching suite;

Elizabeth examined the walk-in larder cupboard.

Upstairs there is a well appointed shower room,

and three good sized bedrooms, some with wardrobe cupboards,

and views of the gardens

with their shrubberies,

and a nicely weathered The Three Graces bird bath.

There is a solid garden shed

and garage in the grounds which

are fronted by a bank of ‘assiduous and carnivorous trees’ – at least that is what the spell-checked brochure claimed.

The house and gardens were immaculately presented. It is well worth remembering that this solid, well designed, home is one of 2,400 presented in 1948 to the British by the Swedish government in recognition of our forebears’ support during the Second World War.

Elizabeth has been staying with Mum since she left hospital. She will return there this evening. Jacqueline will arrive tomorrow to take her place so our sister will be able to spend the next few days moving in while she stays with us.

Mr Chan at Hordle Chinese Take Away provided tonight’s dinner for Jackie and me. I drank Patrick Chodot Brouilly 2016, while Jackie chose Hoegaarden.

Strange Courtship

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. THOSE IN GROPUS ACCESS GALLERIES THAT CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE.

This morning we drove out to Eyeworth Pond and back.

Yesterday evening I described the heavy rain that pummelled the pavement. It continued throughout the night. This is what it did to

Brockenhurst’s landscaped lawns,

and to its ford.

Some vehicles travelled through the water with caution;

others ripped through them; still more turned around and chose another route.

Cyclists used the bridge. I did point out to a couple of these that last year, not only had a pair of them whizzed through the flood, but they had responded to my request to do it again. These two did not accept my challenge. Perhaps I wasn’t direct enough.

On Eyeworth Pond a pair of Canada geese floated around, and occasionally went fishing.

The Mallards were in full courting mode. Sometimes the ladies were encircled by the males, sometimes chased around. At times I wasn’t sure the females were not making the paddling.

One couple did appear to be engaged in a strange courtship involving rear displays and synchronised diving.

Spray formed on a clear pool now covering terrain that normally provided forage for ponies.

A somewhat quizzical blackbird investigated the seeds left on the gatepost to the woodland walk.

A blue tit eyed me from a holly bush,

Robin

as did a solitary robin.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s splendid sausage casserole served with slightly orange tinged creamy mashed potato and swede, bright orange carrots, off white cauliflower, pale green sautéed leeks, and deep red cabbage. Jackie drank sparkling water and I drank San Andres Chilean merlot.

A Time Check

We all like a camomile lawn. In the right place. What is not so attractive is an onion lawn in the wrong place. Jackie has been working her way along our paths eradicating smelly alliums self-seeded and creating such a carpet. With their heady aroma permeating my nostrils, I took a hoe to a section this morning, without the aid of my stick. The bulbs didn’t all emerge, but I wasn’t about to get down on my knees to dig them out.Allium rakingEucalyptus bark I took a short break to photograph the delicate pastel shades of the peeling eucalyptus bark. The wheels were generously left behind by the previous owners.Camellias and clock

Peering through the shrubbery, I admired Becky and Ian’s Christmas clock on the wall of the house.Robin, blue tit and clockRobin and clock

Unaware that a blue tit behind it was making a beeline for the feeder, a robin popped down to check the time.Hat with pansies

On the side wall outside the kitchen the leaden Lucille Scott hat bought at The First Gallery now sprouts pansies.

Prunes

Slight constipation is one of the side effects of Co-codamol. When she returned from shopping Jackie brought back something she thought might relieve it. My friend John should approve of the brand.

Answering an advertisement in Streetlife, Jackie drove us to the donor of 725 small paving blocks which should be just the job for our rose garden. Most of the concrete and bricks dug out of the former kitchen garden have been used elsewhere. I then confirmed with Aaron that he could transport them in his van tomorrow.

This evening Jackie fed us on roast gammon, piquant cauliflower cheese (recipe), and crisp carrots and green beans followed by Aunt Bessie’s rhubarb crumble and custard. She (Jackie, not Aunt Bessie) drank sparkling water, and I finished the Chateauneuf-du-Pape.