Why Did The Pheasant Cross The Road?

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Yesterday evening we enjoyed the usual excellent food and friendly efficient service in the perfect company of Elizabeth, Danni, and Andy, at Dynasty Indian restaurant in Brockenhurst. This family grouping is always full of stories, fun, and catching up with current events. So it was then.

When John Keats penned his immortal line ‘Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’ he was not thinking of Spring. This morning, one could have been forgiven for thinking so. Well, at least the ‘mists’ image. As I stood peering into the film covering Lymington River, a gull winged its way into view, alighted on a circular yellow buoy, and quickly sped off again.

Reed beds

I crossed the road and leant on a rail chatting to a little family who were on their way to the quay for a crabbing expedition. I was able to tell them about the reed beds, and thatching. One little girl told me that her Mummy had a coat like my jacket. “Well, it’s red. But longer”, she added.

Cyclists

On leaving Lymington we followed a pair of cyclists up the hill towards the east. These two had the good sense to stay in single file and on our side of the road. We are accustomed to and accepting of this. Whilst I can fully understand the joy of cycling for exercise, I cannot fathom why anyone would charge around bends on our narrow lanes two abreast. This happened twice today. On the second occasion a large group was involved. Fortunately our vehicle is a Modus, not a large lorry.

Donkeys were just about visible at Tanner’s Lane. Three grazed in the field against the backdrop of a burgeoning rape crop; another pair chomped on dry seaweed on the shingle.

An angler in a boat would not have been able to see the Isle of Wight behind him; a black-headed gull floated nearer the shore.

As we drove away from the beach, a decidedly grey pony, deviating at the last minute, headed straight for us.

Fat pheasants wandered quite leisurely around this area. Why, we wondered, would one decide to cross Sowley Lane?

Ah. There’s the answer.

Bright purple aubretia lit up the ancient stone wall alongside the ruins of St Leonard’s granary, beside which

drowsed representatives of the usual group of ponies. Before the rains set in, the chestnut against the rusting fence rails would not have been able to enjoy admiring its mirrored image. What, perhaps, these photographs cannot display is the absolutely still silence conveyed by these creatures.

Only the tiny Falabella raised an eyebrow as I approached.

This afternoon a smiling sun warmed the garden from a cloudless blue sky.

This evening we dined on smoked haddock fish cakes, piquant cauliflower cheese, mashed potato and swede, and carrots and broccoli, with which I finished the Comino Nuevo.

 

It Wouldn’t Go Away

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Sitting room shadows 1

A glance at the sitting room floor this morning

Sitting room shadows 2

set me chasing shadows, there;

Kitchen table shadows

across the kitchen table

Kitchen floor shadows

and floor;

Garden rocker shadow

on the patio;

Gazebo path shadow

along the Gazebo Path;

Cryptomeria Bed shadows

beside the Cryptomeria Bed;

Chimney pot shadow

across the grass;

Side entrance shadow and steam

beside the outlet for the heating system steam;

Head Gardener's Walk shadows

along the Head Gardener’s Walk,

Brick Path shadows

and the Brick Path.

Derrick's shadow

Normally I work hard to exclude my own shadow, but it wouldn’t go away.

Late this afternoon we drove out to Mudeford, where

Isle of Wight and The Needles

the Isle of Wight and The Needles benefited from the clear light,

Beach huts

as did holiday homes and beach huts.

Beaching boat

Two gentlemen wheeled their boat onto dry land.

Rain clouds

Distant rain clouds released their precipitation,

Clouds and gull

while those over the harbour displayed silver linings.

Sheep

We motored on into the forest. Sheep in a field alongside Snails Lane, Ringwood, basked in the last rays of the sun.

Clouds

By the time we reached Abbotswell

Trees and clouds

dusk had arrived

Trees and clouds

bringing a pink trim

Clouds

to soft mink clouds.

This evening we dined on succulent pork chops served with tasty Lincolnshire pork sausages on a bed of mushrooms, peppers, and mushrooms; cauliflower in cheese sauce; mashed potato and swede; and green beans. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the malbec.

 

 

 

 

An Electric Light Show

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Becky and Ian returned home at lunchtime. I spent the afternoon printing off a draft novel a friend has sent me, doing me the honour of seeking my opinion on the work.

We left the printer processing the last few pages and set off for Tanners Lane to witness the sunset.

Naturally we were obliged to take our time in the queue to the beach. Some of the ponies sported day-glo orange to make sure they were noticed.

Isle of Wight

While waiting for a clear path we observed the evening light on the Isle of Wight in the distance.

This glow lent lively colours to the beach and sea waters at high, lapping, tide; and, of course, the Island, The Needles, and the lighthouse.

One other photographer was abroad. Naturally we had a chat.

Eventually, the sun sank low enough for the Electric Light Show to begin.

Back home this evening, Jackie and I dined on her wonderful sausage casserole, mashed potato, and boiled carrots, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts. I drank Mendoza Bodega Toneles malbec 2012.

Indigo, Sepia, Lightning

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Isle of Wight and The Needles

The four of us brunched today at Beachcomber cafe on the cliff top at Barton on Sea, within sight of The Isle of Wight and The Needles.

The day’s ever-changing light laid a haze over the ponies on Barton Common. Although these animals roam freely like any other New Forest pony, for their own protection, they are fenced along the road through to the coast.

Various walkers cast their shadows across the beach.

I am not sure of the purpose of the stationary working boat that rested on the sun-slashed ocean surface beneath the indigo skies.

The Beachcomber was as well patronised as usual; the food was good, and the service efficient and friendly.

Skyscape

Shortly before sunset  I walked down Downton Lane and along the path through Roger’s fields. The sky bore a strangely sepia hue,

until the lowering sun set the cottages and fields alight,

and sent lightning flashes overhead.

This evening we dined on perfectly roasted lamb and potatoes; stuffing; crunchy cauliflower, carrots, and runner beans; gravy with lots of goodies, and mint sauce; followed by spicy pumpkin pie and cheesecake. Ian drank Peroni; the ladies, Australian white wine; and I finished the rioja.

Playing Disrupt The Traffic

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This afternoon Jackie drove us around the forest,

 

beginning with Tanners Lane where ponies, delaying our arrival at the beach, played at disrupting the traffic.

They crossed and recrossed the narrow lane in their eagerness to crop the grass

and prune the hedgerows.

Cyclist resting on shingle

When we actually arrived at the waterfront, a cyclist who had weaved his way through the horses ahead of us, was already sunning himself on the shingle;

Cyclist and walker resting on shingle

a young lady carrying an Ordnance Survey map soon sat on a lump of concrete to take her rest.

The now familiar boat floated on the tide which was the highest we have seen it.

Jackie reading RAF Needs Oar Point sign

On the approach to St Leonards lies an apparently insignificant field that performed an important role during World War 2. Across The Solent in the background the Isle of Wight can be seen. Here Jackie reads

RAF Needs Oar Point sign

this explanatory sign. (I haven’t managed to enlarge this image in WordPress’s improved editing facility), so

I offer this information from the D-Day Museum website:

“Needs Oar Point, like Bisterne and Lymington airfields, was a temporary two steel track runway built in 1943. The runway was built to support the D-Day operations. On D-Day and for the next four weeks, squadrons flew sorties in support of the troops in Normandy. Additionally the Hawker Typhoon ground-attack aircraft flew from here. This provided low-level close air support to the Normandy beachhead.

During the Second World War there were twelve airfields in the New Forest, nine of which were built in wartime. Flat areas of land in this region made it suitable for creating airfields. Being situated near the south coast of the UK also made the The New Forest a useful base for aircraft operating over continental Europe.”

This evening we dined at Lymington’s Lal Quilla, where we received a very warm welcome and delicious food. My choice was Purple Tiger, which is a dish of tiger prawns, tamarind, and various other spices.  We shared special fried rice, onion bahji, and a garlic naan. We both drank Kingfisher.

Bloggers United

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Geoff Le Pard 3

On a warm and sunny morning a long-awaited visit took place. My blogging friend, the talented writer, Geoff Le Pard, who had spent much of his childhood a mile away from our home, came, with The Textiliste, The Lawyer, and The Beautician, to visit us and our garden. We could not have wished either for better weather or better company.

A relaxed and happy conversation over coffee, tea, and cake, followed the tour of the garden, after which an examination of the before and after albums ensued.

The Textiliste 1

Here, The Textiliste surveys the Rose Garden.

Geoff Le Pard 2

Geoff, in the spirit of the bucket controversy, fished out a hidden one, pretending it had been left out to spoil a panorama.

Geoff Le Pard 4

He is, of course, capable of serious reflection.

The Lawyer and The Beuatician 1

The Lawyer and The Beautician strolled around with the rest of us;

The Lawyer, The Beautician, and The Textiliste

The Lawyer and The Beautician 3

here Geoff’s son contemplates the two ladies taking a break.

The Beautician and The Lawyer 1The Beautician 2

The Beautician 3

I did my best to keep the lens away from The Beautician, but the camera wouldn’t behave.

Derrick and Geoff 1Derrick and Geoff 2Derrick and Geoff 3Derrick and Geoff 4

She did, however, get her own back when Geoff and I were posed on a bench. You get a sense of who a person is by what they write on their blog posts. We knew we would get on well.

Salt marshesSalt marshes 2Salt marshes

Early this evening we took another trip to Tanner’s Lane salt marshes to take advantage of the clear light, lower in the sky than a couple of days ago. The tide was out.

Wind surfer

A wind surfer was in a bit of trouble;

Couple on beach

a couple walked hand in hand along the shingle;

Billy Tanners boat

Metal detecting

 a man wielding a metal detector passed Billy Tanner’s grounded boat;

Isle of Wight

and a yacht passed the Isle of Wight.

On our return home we enjoyed a plentiful salad meal with various cold meats and cheeses. Jackie drank her Hoegaarden and Bavaria mix, whilst I drank water.

Salt Marshes

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Early this morning I walked around the garden to survey the elemental damage. The review of the situation was actually encouraging.

Nicotiana and agapanthusAgapanthus

The nicotiana and agapanthus staked up a couple of days ago have perked up;

Gladioli

as have the white gladioli,

Gladiolus Priscilla

and the surviving Priscillas

New Bed

in the New Bed.

Clematis Campaniflora 1Clematis Campaniflora 2

When we arrived, the clematis Campaniflora in the front garden rambled over all the other plants, including numerous brambles. We cut it down drastically. It has set off again and is now, the tiniest such bloom we have, dancing with abandon.

Hot lips

The Hot lips salvias are similarly enticing.

Gauras, heucheras, and geranium

The gauras, and heucheras have just bent gracefully with the wind.

Clematis

This clematis at the top of the Agriframes arch, an unnamed bargain from Lidl, has proved sturdy enough.

On the strength of that pleasant surprise, we enjoyed a drive around the forest. We didn’t visit Buckler’s Hard, which featured on 12th January 2013,

Buckler's Hard

but peeped through the fence at others who were doing so as we drove past.

St Leonard's Grange

St Leonard’s Grange is one of the fifteen barns that once served Beaulieu Abbey. There is not much of it left at Beaulieu St Leonard’s. Just one and a half gable ends and one and a half walls. At 300 ft long and more than 50 ft wide it was one of the largest in Europe.

St Leonard's Grange

Here are part of the roofs of a newer building.

Farm buildings 1Farm buildings 2

I found some nearby farm buildings equally photogenic.

Further on past Sowley, we ventured down a dead end road called Tanner’s Lane. This led straight to a shingle beach we couldn’t drive onto because this is what it was:

Tanners Lane sign

Saltmarsh 1

These were the salt marshes we had seen from the cruise boat out of Lymington Marina,

Lymington Marina

which was, in turn, even in the hazy sunlight, visible from here;

Hurst Castle

as was Hurst Castle,

Hurst Castle and The Needles

and The Needles, demonstrating that the castle is on the nearest mainland point to the island.

Boat and buoysBoat, buoy, and saltmarsh

An empty boat bobbed among the buoys.

Saltmarsh and Isle of Wight

Here is yet another view of the Isle of Wight and The Needles, for the delight of Mary Tang.

We will shortly leave for Barry and Vicki’s home in Poole. We are to try out the Isan Thai restaurant in Parkstone Road. Anyone who wishes to be informed about our gastronomical investigation must defer their gratification until tomorrow.