Cow Parsley

We began the day with a trip to Ferndene Farm Shop in order to buy compost, cake for this afternoon’s visitors – oh, and trays of trailing lobelia and petunias.

This led to a drive in the forest.

From Forest Road

we crossed into Braggers Lane

alongside which cotton clouds scudded over the landscape.

Thatchers Lane was next. There I noticed several saddles mounted on paddock rails. Aiming to photograph the scene I quickly changed my mind. It did not seem appropriate to advance with a camera when a woman, receiving ministrations from a pair of companions, one utilising a mobile phone, lay on the ground. Instead, I asked if we could be of any assistance. We couldn’t. Help was at hand. The lady had just been “bumped by a horse”.

I settled for images of calmer creatures cropping the field behind.

The Head Gardener is rather partial to cow parsley flavouring sections of our garden. This is not a taste I share, because I fear the kind of takeover our hedgerows are currently experiencing. They do, however, attract bees. I am no doubt influenced by the fact that Jessica, years ago in Newark, scattered seed from local fields around our orchard. It took several years to eradicate the thug.

Margery, Paul, and Jutta visited this afternoon when we spent a very pleasant time in convivial conversation, with our guests suitably admiring the garden.

This evening we enjoyed a second sitting of Mr Chan’s Chinese Take Away, consisting of splendid spring rolls; special rice; special noodles; chicken in black bean sauce; crispy beef; and king prawns and ginger. I finished the Fleurie and Jackie drank Hoegaarden.

Far Too Fast For Me

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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.

 

“I Was Trying To Get Out Of Your Picture”

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Late this afternoon Jackie and I took a car ride into the forest.

Braggers Lane

Whilst we were making our leisurely way along Braggers Lane,

we passed a friendly young woman riding a horse. I exchanged waves with the rider.

Ferns

Further on, I disembarked to photograph fresh ferns in the hedgerow

Landscape with poniesLandscape with ponyLandscape with ponies

and the sloping landscape with ponies.

Horse and rider

I was pleased to hear the gentle, rhythmic, clopping that told me the rider was approaching. I waited for her to arrive and she effected a skilled manoeuvre taking her steed across the road taking backward steps.

She was happy to be photographed, but said “I was trying to get out of your picture”.

“I wanted you in it”. I replied, “It’s all part of the scene”.

“I guess so”, was her smiling response.

“Definitely”, said I,

Horse and rider

and she continued on her way.

Further waves were exchanged a little later on.

New Forest tour bus

As we neared Burley, a New Forest tour bus approached us. We keep promising ourselves a ride on one. We must look into it. The photographic perspective should be interesting.

This evening the three of us dined on mango and chili chicken fillets; juicy ratatouille; roasted sweet potatoes; and tender runner beans. Jackie drank a local wheat beer, and Elizabeth and I drank more of the Merlot.

The North/South Divide

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Today was another dull one with little sun after 10 a.m. This morning we took a motorised stroll through the forest

Breakfast

and brunched at Hyde-Out Café where I enjoyed a tastefully presented full English.

Cyclists on road 1

Just outside Bashley the first bunch of cyclists began disrupting the traffic.

Rubbish in stream

Someone had recently lobbed food packaging into the stream crossing Holmsley Passage, along which we passed the resident of

Modern House

the modern house that was once the site of the crossing keeper’s cottage.

Ponies on outfield 1Ponies on outfield 4

At Burley ponies had been engaged to mow the outfield of the cricket green.

Ponies on outfield 3

Some took a break,

Ponies on outfield 2

and, for one, the task had become all too exhausting.

Braggers Lane

It being the grockle season, only the narrower lanes like Braggers were free of cyclists and other cars designed to send drivers onto the verges.

Cyclists on road 2Cyclists on road 3Cyclists on road 4

More common were crocodiles like these escorted children wobbling along

Irises 3

opposite the irises blooming in Whitemoor Pond.

Foxgloves 1Foxgloves 2Foxgloves 3

Mauve foxgloves stood proudly erect all over the forest.

Orchids and ferns 1Orchids and ferns 2Orchids and ferns 3

On the slopes on other side of the road leading into Bolderwood, where the first two of these pictures were taken, wild orchids clustered among the curling ferns.

Orchids, ferns, and bottleBottle in ferns

Someone had lobbed a bottle into this lovely landscape.

Tree stump

Logging had been carried out in the vicinity of this stump with its moss-covered exposed roots.

Foal and ponies

The A31, that bisected the forest into North and South, spans the road through Bolderwood, bringing the modern world into stark contrast with the historic home of this equine family whose ancestors grazed the forest floors for centuries.

Horse riders

One of two riders crossing the heath on the other side of the main thoroughfare gave me a pleasant smile, after which we exchanged waves.

For our dinner this evening Jackie produced tasty chicken thighs marinaded in lemon and herbs and roasted with peppers; boiled potatoes, carrots, and green beans.

 

 

 

“They Aren’t Going To Fly Away”

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This morning we took a trip back to Gordleton Barn to measure a door I had photographed on our last trip in the hope that it might be suitable to replace our inner front door I don’t like. It was too thick.

The amount of rain that has fallen in the last 48 hours let up only briefly this morning, but we went for a forest drive anyway.

Ponies in mist

Damp ponies, such as these at Wootton, continued to feed on the misty moors,

Pool and reflection

Whilst I was engrossed in photographing the soggy terrain,

Pony in bushes

I glimpsed something among the trees that looked a different brown than the bracken.

It turned out to be a pony brunching on holly.

Lunches

This gave us the idea of lunching at Holmsley Old Station Tea Rooms. My choice was steak and ale pie, chips, Savoy cabbage, carrots and peas. Just look at that gravy; and the wedges supplied with Jackie’s macaroni cheese, bacon, and salad.

Gents

I visited the gents which was, of course, situated at the end of the platform.

Lion sculpture

The harmless looking lions atop the entrance pillars wore lichen masks.

It was in Braggers Lane at Thorney Hill that I became rather mean to a string of be-rugged horses. Stopping to photograph pools leading to a five-barred gate, I noticed these animals far away beside distance trees. Seeing me lean on the gate they scrambled over to me, no doubt expecting to be fed.

Horse in rug

There was no such luck, and they looked somewhat forlorn as they watched me return to the car.

Cattle

Cattle in a field alongside Thatchers Lane at Sopley melded rather well with the subdued landscape.

Heron

There is a deep ditch along this road. It is now well topped up, and clearly held much attraction for the heron that burst from it every time we approached, flew a bit further, and disappeared down below. Despite keen tracking, I was unable to get a decent shot in. eventually it took off across a field and dropped from sight. We then passed a stream flowing at right angles to the ditch. Sure enough, some distance ahead, was our happy quarry. Alongside the stream ran a footpath. I took it. At last the bird sprang out from the undergrowth and presented me with my final opportunity. This was it. Jackie’s message to my readers is: “That took a lot of effort.”

We crossed from Thatchers Lane into Fish Street at Avon. After a while, Jackie stopped suddenly, backed up a bit, then came to a halt. “They aren’t going to fly away”, she exclaimed. “What is that?”, I asked, peering at a grey mass behind a thorn hedge. “An emu” she replied. These birds, of course, cannot fly. Never having seen one before, I was intrigued by the motion of their necks, as they mimicked the movement of a snake charmer’s cobra, curling low in an arc then stretching upright and repeating the dance.

It will come no surprise to anyone who has seen our lunch that all we required this evening was a small slice of pizza with which I drank a little more Shiraz.