Find The Pig

Toys were having fun on this morning’s forest drive.

Horses’ heads peered over a fence at Winsor; an elephant perched with blanket on a postbox alongside Deazle Wood,

where a solitary sow vacuumed acorns beneath an oak tree. Can you spot her in the first of these three pictures?

The ancient bank behind the postbox exposing raised roots separates the fields from the woodland,

which has its share of arboreal casualties, sometimes sporting bracket fungus.

Mossy roots abound.

A shallow pool manages to reflect the trees above.

On the road to Bramshaw ponies foraged down a dry ditch opposite a sow with her numerous offspring who eventually trotted off after her into the woodland.

Beside the church a grey pony squeezed herself between a fence and an oak tree.

This evening we all dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away’s excellent fare.

Moor And Woodland

After lunch we took two large bin bags of clothing and bric-a-brac to the Heart Foundation Charity Shop in New Milton; while we were at it we bought me a pair of shoes at Stephan Shoes; and while we were at it we bought two pairs for Jackie.

During the still lull between storms we took what will be our last forest drive for a few days.

The gorse on Hinchelsea Moor glowed bright gold.

Further along Brockenhurst Road I decamped and tried out my new shoes in

soggy, sucking, woodland terrain. The rippling stream running through reflected the trees overhead. The shoes stayed on my feet and I didn’t stray far.

Mostly I kept to the drier sections with their mosses, lichens, and bracket fungus on a giant oak.

On the left hand side as we approached the village a couple of bay ponies enjoyed their freedom to roam, while some of the field horses opposite, although fenced in, were comforted with rugs.

This evening we dined on tender roast duck breasts; crisp Yorkshire pudding, roast potatoes and parsnips; crunchy carrots; firm Brussels sprouts; mixed vegetables in piquant white sauce; and meaty gravy, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Signargues Côtes-du-Rhône Villages 2020.

An Arboreal Ossuary

This morning Jackie continued with her general maintenance work, including

autumn cleaning the greenhouse, and clearing and resetting paths such as the Head Gardener’s Walk.

My minimal intervention was the removal of brambles invading from No. 5 Downton Lane. This, and the amount of weeds piercing the gravel is somewhat reminiscent of our arrival here 1n 2014.

I then wandered around with my camera.

Each of these images bears a title in the gallery,

as do these in the front garden one. Please ignore the rose stems that need sorting out.

This afternoon we drove into the forest.

If these ponies had come for a drink beside Bisterne Close they would have been disappointed because the pool has virtually dried up.

I stopped along Burley Road to investigate the tree work on the fallen giant that has recently added its bulk to the

arboreal ossuary that this area has become.

Early this evening, having been encouraged by my very good blogging friend, Uma Shankar, One Grain Amongst the Storm, and endorsed by another, Laurie Graves, to break up the sequence of material on my three great aunts, I made headway in preparing the next episodes of A Knight’s Tale.

Later, we dined on a repeat of yesterday’s menu, with which Jackie drank the same white wine and I quaffed Colin-Bourisset Fleurie 2019.

Summer Holidays In The Woods

In an effort to avoid the holiday traffic and the intensely hot sapping humidity of the day we set off for a forest drive at 8 a.m.

Beside Ober Water which passes under Rhinefield Road ponies quietly grazed, cattle strode purposefully, cyclists and cars sped along;

sunshine dappled the woodland, reflecting trees and skies on the surface of shallow, bubbling, water

from which a splashing, excited, dog time and again retrieved a soggy tossed tennis ball.

Three different shoes and a rather useful looking pan had all been abandoned on the banks;

as they swooped from tree to tree and hunted among the roots I witnessed ample evidence that robins spend their summer holidays in the woods.

Cattle drank from the stream.

Early bracket fungus stepped up trunks further along Rhinefield Road;

bracken pierced the shadows along Mill Lane

where walkers and dogs were beginning to wander.

On Bisterne Close an inquisitive foal left its mother’s flanks in order to investigate the warm bonnet of our Modus. It took a loud application of a certain amount of vroom to shift the mohican-coiffed youngster.

Purple heather, such as this beside Holmsley Passage among which a lone walker tramps is brightening daily.

As usual, clicking on any image will access its gallery, individual members of which can be viewed full size and further enlarged if required.

Even when entering the garden for a watering session we were hit by a blast furnace, and the library dehumidifier required emptying twice today, when normally once every two days may suffice.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s luscious liver and bacon casserole; creamy mashed potatoes, crunchy carrots; and tender green beans with which I drank Carles Priorat 2016, and the Culinary Queen abstained.

Cervine Elegance

Occasional sunny spells on a clouded morning developed into bright sunshine by the time we drove into the forest this afternoon.

Jackie spent some time collecting cuttings with which to populate the

greenhouse pots.

The orange poppies that last just a day don’t normally emerge from the soil until spring. We have several clumps now. These, incongruously beside more seasonal asters, are in the Cryptomeria Bed

which also houses hot lips

still attracting bees.

The cryptomeria itself can be seen beyond the cordeline Australis lending its name to the Palm Bed;

it stands beside the laurel on the far right of the Phantom Path.

The deep red climbing rose soaring over its arch spanning the Shady Path also doesn’t know it is autumn,

although the Weeping Birch clearly has an inkling.

Elizabeth’s Bed

and the patio planting continue to flourish.

Pelargoniums still hang in baskets.

Nugget, this morning patrolled his fences. This fellow, I think, is a rival displaying discretion. I did see our own robin dive-bomb another which immediately scarpered, but he was too quick for me.

These autumn colours brighten Sway Road;

others burnished the landscape beside the A35,

and glowed beneath

an unnamed lane off Cadnam Lane,

along which clusters of mushrooms burst from the moss coating of a fallen log,

and bracket fungus clutched a living tree.

Pheasants, both cocks and hens, dared anyone actually to drive at the 40 m.p.h. limit.

On one side of Tiptoe Road a pair of ponies cropped the verge outside The Old Bakery;

several more slaked their thirst on a winterbourne pool on the opposite side.

A mare led her foal along the road

to add to the chaos caused by a broken down car.

Returning home along Roger Penny Way we were treated to a display of cervine elegance as a young stag stepped on pointe across the road in front of us.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s tasty and wholesome liver and bacon casserole (for recipe see Jackie’s comment below); roast potatoes and butternut squash; crunchy orange carrots, and bright green firm Brussels sprouts, with she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Saint-Chinian 2017.

Lunch On The Green


This morning was spent helping the garden recover from the battering winds. This involved gathering up broken branches; tying up plants, like the rose Summer Wine, that had come adrift; a certain amount of watering; and preparing ground for chrysanthemums and bulbs.

After lunch we deposited another orange bag of cuttings in the recycling centre, and drove along the coast road to Milton on Sea.

Isle of Wight and The Needles 2Isle of Wight and The Needles

When the sun emerged from the rapidly moving clouds The Isle of Wight and The Needles benefited from a bright clear light.


Waves still rolled thunderously onto the rocks at the water’s edge.

Crumbling cliff

The clifftop had experienced more erosion since my last venture up there a few months ago.

Crumbling cliffs 2

The bricks in the foreground of this image once formed part of a long-gone structure,


and the path shown here was set further away from the edge last year.

Men eating lunch

We may have finished our lunch, but a gentleman seated on a bench, mirrored by another eating a banana in his cab,

Man eating lunch

was still enjoying his.

Cyclists lunching 1Cyclists lunching 2Cyclists lunching 3

On the village green a group of elderly cyclists tucked into their own snacks.

Hit and Run Notice

I am occasionally asked about the safety of the free roaming animals. Continuing to the north of the forest we noticed this hit and run sign beside Roger Penny Way – not that unusual a phenomenon, particularly during the tourist season.

Bracket fungus

Were I ever to take it into my head to climb a tree again, I might choose this one bearing useful bracket fungus

Lane with pool

at the side of a somewhat waterlogged lane through farmland just to the north of Cadnam,

Sheep on road 1

where sheep wandered across the road.

Sheep on road 2

Initially inquisitive, these creatures, when I invaded too much of their space, turned tail and made for the field from which they had wandered.

Putting 1Puttng 2

We were soon aware of a golf course on our left. A putting session was in progress.

House building

On our return home, I photographed the Hordle Lane housing development from the rear.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s luscious liver casserole, mashed potato, green beans, and orange carrots. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden, and I finished the Fleurie.

Yesterday’s Bread

Weak sunThis morning I took my usual walk to Milford on Sea and back. Above The Solent, a weak sun peeked through gaps in the clouds, while on the cliff top the ever-present hooded Hooded crowcrows trotted about.
In the nature reserve squirrels avoided the muddy footpaths by leaping across them from Bracket fungusOrange fungustree to tree. Bracket fungus on a tree by the stream supplied a convenient stepladder for wild life, while orange mushrooms brightened the leafy carpet beneath.
Bread and butterAs, at lunchtime, I tucked into lovely fresh bread, crusty on the outside, and soft on the inside, I marvelled at Jackie’s technique for keeping it in the condition in which it came off the supermarket shelf several days ago. She freezes it after each meal and defrosts it in readiness for the next. This is a method she learned as a carer of elderly women living alone in the 1970s. Most of her clients did have fridges and freezers, but they preferred their bread bins. The contents of these were invariably green with mould which was transferred to any new loaves that were added. Gradually, she managed to persuade some to use their modern technology.
Yesterday I wrote of the 1940s without washing machines. Life was hard for everyone in those post war days. Please do not imagine you can hear violins playing, that’s just how it was. Other white goods unavailable to the ordinary family at that time were fridges and freezers. My mother, however, had no need to preserve loaves that, with her growing family, stood no chance of surviving a day. In fact, she would send us to the baker’s to buy yesterday’s bread which was cheaper and, being less scrumptious, lasted longer. I seem to remember a figure of 4d. that we handed over for each purchase. That is four old Echo margarinepence, roughly equivalent, if my arithmetic is correct, to 2p. today.
The hot summer of 1947 was particularly problematic in keeping milk and butter from going off. Bottles of milk were kept in cold water in the kitchen sink. Butter simply became runny. I couldn’t bear that, so I would only eat Echo margarine, the single oily spread that was at all impervious to the heat. This, of course, is really only fit for cooking, and no way would I consider it today.
This evening Jackie drove us to The Red Lion at Milford on Sea where we dined with Giles and Jean. My meal was steak and ale pie followed by plum tart and custard. Jackie chose hunter’s chicken followed by treacle sponge and custard. She drank Peroni and I drank Spitfire. The food was good and the company easy and enjoyable.
It is still hit and miss whether or not we have internet access. Fortunately WordPress backs up and saves my work when the connection drops, otherwise I would be tearing my hair out when trying to produce and send my posts.


This afternoon Jackie and I went on a house recce.  Aiming for Sway Road, Bashley, we became diverted at Wootton, on the heath of which lies the horse trough previously mentioned.

Down a roughly made up road we discovered Trefusis.

For me, in particular, this timber-framed house in its tree-bound spot knocked the larger, more substantial, house in Bashley out of contention.  However, having had a quick look at the wooden building and its location, we drove on to Bashley.  

This was a possibly 1950s house with a great deal of room, but it did have close neighbours either side.  From the agent’s pictures, we could live with the internal decor.  We gave it a cursory glance and returned to Wootton Road.  I had fallen for this stretch of the New Forest when I had walked along it on 27th February.

Then bright sunshine had enhanced beauty of the forest.  On our outward visit today there had been no more that a feeble glimmer of sun glinting off the apples on the trees in the garden.  

As we passed the numerous ponies surrounding the trough the sky cleared and the sun shone as strongly as it had on that brief interlude from a rain-filled winter and spring.  As they had been then, the animals were strung out on the road near the house, and clustered on the forest verges.  They looked fat and sleek and were clearly stoking themselves up for winter.

The garden of this empty house had recently received the attention of a lawn mower, but it occurred to me that one only had to open the gate in the picket fence for croppers to come and sate themselves to the owners’ advantage.

The right hand front corner post of the fence, being a tall oak complete with parasites including bracket fungus, is far older than the rest of it.  The plot’s own spinney occupies the section between this tree and the house. There is, nevertheless, plenty of light around the dwelling.

Continuing past the house, we bumped and jolted down a pitted road, reflecting, as we had when visiting Ossemsley Manor, that we would need a 4X4 if we lived there.  There were a number of houses, all with a great deal of land, of different periods.  Some had their own, occupied, paddocks.

Colt have been building timber-framed houses with cedar shingle for almost 90 years. This find is billed as one of theirs.  The oak frames are built on foundations complying with normal building standards and regulations.  The firm offers advice, conversions, and refurbishment of existing buildings.  There are a number of comments on the web from people who have been satisfied buyers of models from as far back as the ’60s.

Wherever we end up, especially once we have actually entered potential purchases, we will have learned a great deal, and had a lot of fun from the research.

This evening Jackie served chicken breasts slow roasted with a honey and mustard marinade and accompanied by mushroom risotto.  Bread and butter pudding was to follow.  She drank a 2012 Liebfraumilch; I prefered the more savoury Berberana Rioja produced the same year in a different part of Europe.

Through The Window

Another day of steady rain

washing windswept windows;

greasing patio paving;

puddling paths;

pearling maple branches;

glazing garden views;

dowsing patient sparrows;

refreshing colourful camellias,


and pink prunus Autumnalis,

ensured a day of Hardy reading and through-the-window photography.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy chicken curry and savoury rice followed by baklavas with which I drank more of the Cabernet Sauvignon.



Righting The Beetle

Impersonating a man with a great deal of local knowledge as I walked through Minstead this morning to pick up my route through the two underpasses turning at the Sir Walter Tyrrell pub, there was only one visitor I was unable to direct.  One of two, that is.  Just a 50% success rate.  Not very impressive really.


The bracken on the other side of the A31 has almost obscured some of the tracks I took last time I trod a diagonal to Rufus Stone (see post of 19th November last year).  However, my friends will be relieved to learn that I was unerring in my direction.  Maybe they won’t.  Had I erred they may have had a laugh.

Degrading tree trunk

Some of the fallen trees have degraded enough to be flaking and blending well with last year’s autumn leaves.

The forest was very quiet today. Pony making for Rufus Stone car park Just two sounds interrupted my silence.  The first was a sudden neighing.  This is very unusual.  Ponies don’t usually waste that much energy.  I turned to see four of them making their way to the Rufus Stone car park, where they no doubt hoped to perform some scam on eager tourists.  I could have told them that the visitors hadn’t arrived yet.  A little later, a scuttling in the crispness underfoot, had me turning to spy a scut scooting through the undergrowth.  It was the tail of either a small deer or a very large rabbit.

Forest scape 2

Fallen forest giants blocked the pathways and lent their own prehistoric ambience to the wooded landscape.Forest scape 3Fallen tree 3Fallen tree 2Fallen tree

Moss-covered stumpA primeval swamp creature metamorphosed into a moss-covered stump and its roots.

Bracket fungiI’m sure there is a name for the step-thingies that climbers inset into sheer rock faces so that they may scale them.  Bracket fungi on a dead tree looked to me to be the prehistoric climber’s version of these.

It is sometimes amazing what one finds in the forest. Shoes Today’s gem was a pair of inappropriate footwear.  I speculated about who may have left them.  Had it been an eighteenth century beau?  Had it been Sybil Leek, whose story was told on 22nd of this month?  If so, where was her pointed hat?  Or was it one of the young women who had participated in the orgy mentioned on 22nd May?  And why were they placed so neatly?

Soon after finding these, I heard siren song, and was tempted by glimpses of diaphanous material wafting across a comparatively open space, to investigate.  Bog cottonThis led me into very boggy terrain in which I expected to be stranded.  Never having been daft enough to venture into a quagmire before moving to Minstead, I had not seen this white fabric before, and looked it up on Google when I got home.  It was, of course, bog cotton.


Back on dry ground, I found a pair of sloughed wings.

Stag beetleAs I clambered up the gravel path from the Malwood Farm underpass, I encountered a small stag beetle struggling across the stones.  This took me back to the long hot summers of my childhood in the dry and dusty suburbs of Raynes Park and Wimbledon.  There may, of course, have only been one such summer, but, as we know, anything that happens once in a child’s life is magnified in later life into a regular occurrence.

However often it was, a regular sight was a, usually much larger, (but then it would be to a child, wouldn’t it?) beetle lying on its back, its legs twitching away.  Chris and I, like all other boys, kind and generous to all living creatures, always put these insects out of their misery and back onto their feet.  This required a certain amount of nerve, and a lever.  After all, we were not going to put our fingers near those grasping claws.  If we were eating an ice lolly at the time there was no problem.  We just had to watch the squirming animal while we finished our refreshment, and we then had a ready-made implement or two.  If not, we had to search out a twig.  These were not in plentiful supply in our streets.  Or a used match.  There were loads of them, but they were a bit short, which meant fingers near the grabbers.  It was okay if we shifted the beetle through 180 degrees first time.  It would then stagger to its feet and make off sharpish.  If, however, we applied to much force, the poor creature went through 360 degrees and the procedure had to be repeated.  Probably we should have carried forceps around with us.  I do hope the beetles were eternally grateful.

Tonight we dined on a superb mixed grill casserole with twice cooked swede and potato mash and virgin cauliflower.  Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and I began Terres de Galets bottle number 010165.