Dinner Deferred

After a visit to the pharmacy in Milford on Sea, Jackie and I took a forest drive.

As we entered the narrow Shotts Lane at a point at which it has no passing space we approached a cyclist speaking with two pedestrians standing across the centre strip which doubles as a grass and weed bed because any vehicle’s wheels have perforce to span it. The bicycle and the three people hugged the hedgerow in order for is to wave as we passed by.

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Further along, Jackie sat in the car on someone’s drive while I walked back to take this shot. Twice I needed to follow the example of this trio as I squeezed myself against the shrubbery.

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Then the original cyclist, offering a second photo opportunity, whizzed smiling past me.

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Cud-chewing camouflaged cattle and calves blended with Bull Hill’s browning bracken.

As it is Dillon’s birthday today we wished to surprise him with a meal at Pilley’s

historic Fleur de Lys. I therefore entered the 11th century pub to make a booking. Unfortunately they do not offer food on Sunday night so this wasn’t possible. I also learned the very sad news that the comparatively new management who took over just as the first Covid lockdown was imposed, and are now faced with the current catastrophic cost of living crisis, will be leaving after about two months. Consequently we will have to postpone our grandson-in-law’s introduction.

Tonight’s dinner was deferred.

Two Out Of Three

This afternoon Jackie drove me into the forest.

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Ponies on the verge of Wootton Road were plagued by flies on this hot and humid day following 48 overcast hours of intermittent rain which encouraged some greening of the grass on the common,

where blackberries were looking plumper, as ponies gathered round the trough, the history of which is told in readers’ comments on https://derrickjknight.com/2013/02/27/why-did-the-chicken-cross-the-road/

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By the time I had walked across to the drinking water the adult equines had turned to grazing and left one foal slaking its thirst.

Bracken in the woodland along Bisterne Close had perked up, while ponies were clustered together in the shade. There was, however, no escape from the airborne flies.

Shallow puddles of water which drew thirsty drinkers beside Holmsley Passage.

In this oppressive weather ponies need water, shade, and relief from flies. Perhaps they will consider that two out of three is not bad.

Jackie also photographed acorns ready to fall, suggesting pannage – allowing pigs to vacuum them up – may start early.

I had a helpful e-mail from the Happiness Engineers explaining that I have used up my quota of space because of the number and size of my images. I was sent a link to how to optimise these, and tried it out on this post. This involved downloading ImagOptim and giving it a go. Now I don’t know how to check whether it has worked. I’ll sleep on it.

This evening we dined on build your own burgers, with fried onions and egg (as cooked by Jackie); crisp oven chips, and plentiful fresh salad, with which we repeated yesterday’s beverages.

Still Confined To The Passenger Seat

As we sat in a queue at the Brockenhurst level crossing this morning I photographed the dry grasses alongside.

We were on our way to Streets, the shop which has everything. Jackie took this location photograph, whilst I

focussed on the windows when we parked outside it.

My more able bodied Chauffeuse also photographed the fungus decorating the oak tree shown above because that required a disembarkation.

Jackie was able to buy wasp foam and wasp powder; and surgical spirit, which may flummox our American readers as it did most of the staff of Streets until one said “isn’t that what they call rubbing alcohol?” “Yes”, replied Jackie who had begun by Googling “rubbing alcohol”, which had been what Dillon had requested.

Our now sparse open tracts of land, normally occupied by grazing ponies, are left empty, except for this one on the edge of Beachern Wood which hosts

just one mare and foal perhaps taking a chance on being able later to

squeeze among the others already clustered for shelter among the trees.

Others, like these in The Coppice at Brockenhurst, find individual shade.

Beside Beachern Wood ancient banks of high hedgerows enjoy diffused light.

On our way towards Wilverley a determined troop of ponies advanced, perhaps in search of their own refuge.

This afternoon I read another couple of chapters of Naipaul.

We dined this evening on Jackie’s well-filled beef pie; crisp fried potatoes; firm carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli, with meaty gravy. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegarden; I drank more of the Bordeaux; Flo and Dillon drank water.

One For Jessie

Knowing that hosepipe bans were to be imposed on Hampshire and the Isle of White today, we were relieved to learn that bans were determined by the water companies. Our supplier is Bournemouth Water, which has not yet ordered a ban. I celebrated with

a gallery of garden views.

Flo and Dillon continued clearing, planting, and watering this afternoon.

Jackie drove me to Lymington to buy more photographic printing paper, then to take a short forest drive.

The anonymous craftswoman who decorates the postbox on Pilley Hill has

produced a theme for our friend, Jessie.

Everywhere bracken is browning; heather is purpling; blackberries are ripening early, like these along Norley Wood Road.

Cattle were in no hurry as they ambled nonchalantly along Sowley Lane. Drivers had the choice of moseying in their wake, passing along the parched rock-hard verge, or simply waiting patiently. These were very big, thudding animals. I rather hoped they wouldn’t tread on my sandalled feet.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent cottage pie topped with fried potatoes; tender spring greens and green beans, and crunchy carrots, with which the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden, Dillon drank water, and I drank more of the Syrah.

Late Afternoon In Ran’s Wood

Many hours of my life have been spent tramping the streets of London. These consequently appear on many of my blog posts, although one series has been particularly dedicated to them From 2004 to 2008 inclusive I made hundreds of photographs with the constraint that the road name must be included in the picture. They featured from Streets Of London posted 21st May 2015 to Tyburnia And Other Parts Of West London on 30th January 2021.

Having recently been alerted to the reader-friendly possibility of creating new categories, such as that of “A Knight’s Tale” I spent much of today converting the above-mentioned series from “Uncategorised” to “Streets of London”.

Towards the later part of this afternoon we took a forest drive.

Driving down Furzey Lane to Ran’s Wood Jackie was able to stop the car and photograph a plethora of pheasants through her window.

She parked up and I wandered the woodland, with its soggy terrain; its browsing ponies; its lichen covered trees; its burnished bracken; and just one pair of walkers.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy pork paprika and savoury vegetable rice. She drank Carlsberg and I drank Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2019.

Struggling With The Media

This afternoon we drove to Screwfix in Lymington’s Ampress Industrial Estate to collect our new macerator, then explored the possibility of viewing the coast near the town. Quay Hill was crowded with visitors; there seemed no chance of finding a spot in the carpark which was in any case swarming with people.

We then drove on to Ferndene Farm Shop and abandoned entering that normally safe environment. Despite request notices on the shop door there was scarcely a mask in sight and the establishment was heaving with visitors, many of whom were children milling about inside. Ferndene has so far had an exemplary record for shoppers taking precautions.

All this despite government scientists warning today that unless the rising infection and casualty numbers reduce soon there is the possibility of another Christmas lockdown.

We fled to safer areas of the forest.

A string of mushrooms risks its life on the verge of Hordle Lane.

A number of vehicles occupied The Smugglers Road carpark near Burley. Their drivers and passengers were probably walking in the hilly moorland. Jackie parked the Modus and began tackling her puzzle book while I wandered off into the landscape

where more fungi were to be found among the green grasses and the

browning bracken.

I appreciated the fleeting appearances of the sun during this period brightening the otherwise generally overcast yet warmer day.

Some of the ground was decidedly soggy. A winterbourne pool contained reflections and a car numberplate.

As we drove away I noticed the glinting dishes on a telephone mast towering from the hillside. Perhaps the grey pony to the right of the landscape had wandered down the trail seen beneath the mast.

I am really struggling to enter photographs into the WordPress media files at the moment. The process is very slow and a good 25% of images “cannot be uploaded because an error occurred during uploading”. This means I have to try again individually. Each one takes 2+ more attempts. This time I abandoned one which had taken 5 goes. I did the same with one yesterday. Today’s header picture is not one on which I was prepared to give up.

This evening we dined on tender and succulent baked gammon; moist yet firm cauliflower cheese; firm boiled potatoes firm carrots; with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Fleurie, which involved opening another bottle.

Hotter Than Expected

This morning I worked on the next “A Knight’s Tale” post.

On this unseasonably balmy afternoon Jackie drove us up to the north of the forest, where

donkeys on the road outside Faraway Cottage caused a certain amount of traffic chaos.

My chauffeuse parked at Godshill Pit while I wandered among

dappled woodland with variously hued bracken and tree foliage.

Jackie also pictured spiky gorse, brown and green bracken; and, as I ambled along she produced an image for “Where’s Derrick?” (5)

As we passed a pair of Joggers on the road outside Hale, one, like me in my jacket, had found the day hotter than expected, prompting her to complete the peeling of her sweater.

This evening we dined on succulent pork chops served on a moist melange of leaks, peppers, and onions; boiled and roasted potatoes; flavoursome roast parsnips; crisp Yorkshire pudding, and tasty gravy with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the zinfandel.

Woodland Ecology

After lunch today I posted https://derrickjknight.com/2021/09/23/a-knights-tale-38-girls/

The day remained largely overcast, but reasonably warm, so, after a trip to Ferndene Farm Shop we took a drive among the forest lanes.

I am not sure what these tractors were doing alongside Preston Lane, but they were sending up clouds of dust.

We can never normally stop on the A35 to Lyndhurst, but, as a consequence of extensive bridge widening works near Holmsley, there are long tailbacks enabling me to photograph the adjacent woodlands from my window.

We turned left into the road to Burley where

Jackie parked the Modus in order for me to wander into the woodland

with its green and golden bracken, its live, dead, fallen, and decaying trees, and its magical views.

Later, I scanned three more of Charles Keeping’s illustrations to ‘Our Mutual Friend’, each one bearing recognisable portraits of characters previously depicted.

‘Wegg held the will tight, while Venus searchingly and attentively read it’

‘The darkness gone, and a face bending down’

‘Bella kissed her on the cheek’

This evening we dined on second helpings of our Red Chilli takeaway, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Fleurie.

Stamping Ground

We began the day by shopping at Ferndene Farm Shop for three more bags of compost, vegetables, and begonias. This was quite a quick operation, after which we drove into the forest.

At the top of Holmsley Passage another wrecked vehicle blocked the side-lane to a house. This was upside down and looked as if it had been overturned in an accident.

Many cyclists, singly or in various groupings, were about this morning. The trio and the two singletons wheeled up Holmsley Passage and the pairs sped along Bisterne Close.

Purple heather brightened the moors around the passage.

Much of the bracken in the woodland beside the close was still fresh enough to appeal to the ponies,

who were there in abundance today.

I was drawn further into the forest by a thudding beat which transpired as the stamping of a cluster of ponies with one bushy tailed foal retreating from heat or flies or both.

The higher rhythmic clopping of their iron-shod cousins pulling an historic carriage along the close chimed a different note.

A red haired walker blended with rowan berries above.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s flavoursome cottage pie; crunchy carrots, cauliflower and broccoli, served with meaty gravy and accompanied by Hoegaarden in her glass and more of the Rioja in mine.

Behind The Scenes

I began another gloomy-looking day by printing a batch of photographs for my sister, Jacqueline, including

this one of her son, my nephew James and his son Shay at Michael and Heidi’s wedding on 5th October 1991.

Our blogging friend Carolyn began a comment on “Her Autumn Garden” with

a poem which I printed for Jackie to stick on her fridge. She photographed both it and a series of behind the scenes locations.

From the east front gate we see the Head Gardener’s Shed, greenhouse, and

potting up station where, perched on her kneeler she fills containers in the wheelbarrow from the fresh compost bags.

Behind the shed various implements are stored, and beside it potted items await their permanent homes.

Plants in need of more nurturing begin their lives in the greenhouse, also seen

beside the wisteria arbour.

Accessed from the west gates beside the house

the front garden contains a strengthened arch.

Later, we shopped at Otter Nurseries for Sharp Sand, pansies, and a hose attachment; posted Jacqueline’s photographs from Everton Post Office; and continued for a short forest drive.

Attracted by a fallen giant at Lucy Hill, I disembarked and scrambled into the

woodland where earlier casualties were in the process of being absorbed into last autumns leaves on the forest floor or draped in undergrowth to aid their decomposition and provide winter quarters for various insects and other small creatures;

and bracken was beginning to shrivel and turn golden brown.

Ever perverse, the sun waited for me to return to the Modus before sending weak streaks across the fallen leaves and silhouetting trees opposite.

Finally Jackie pointed out a door in a tree trunk behind which a Hobbit may have set up home.

This evening we enjoyed our second helpings of yesterday’s Chinese takeaway with which Jackie drank more of the Pinot Grigio and I drank Chevalier de Fauvert Comte Tolosan Rouge 2019.