Puttles Bridge

Today was mostly bright, sunny, and dry, except for a shower or two this morning.

While Jackie filled the bird feeders she met and photographed Eric the Pheasant who has returned for his annual visit to announce he has once again evaded the seasonal guns. We know it is Eric because he amuses himself chucking the Head Gardener’s rows of ornamental shells in all directions.

Later we visited New Milton Post Office to send off a card, then Milford on Sea pharmacy for a repeat prescription, and into the forest for a drive.

En route to Milford strong sunlight set the Solent sparkling and

silhouetted walkers on the coastal promenade.

Similarly silhouetted were moored boats and

a gentleman encouraging his dog to take a bath at Keyhaven harbour

where the parking area now reflected pedestrians. Jackie waited patiently for these two to pass in order to avoid spray-showering them.

A pair of swans investigated the tidal shore-side waters. The second two photographs are Jackie’s.

A steady jogger ran down Lymore Lane.

We stopped at Puttles Bridge over Ober Water which was now bordered by reflective pools.

Jackie photographed me making my way to the bridge,

 

taking some of my own pictures,

and walking across for more.

The fast flowing stream reflected still skeletal oaks, cerulean skies, and scudding clouds.

Stirred by rocky bends, bubbling surface water sped upstream, clearly revealing the gravel bed.

Not so clear was the mud coloured liquid in the shallower pools lined by last year’s oak leaves, now nurturing bright green weed.

I wandered off piste to picture a grazing pony;

a shadow-strewn path;

roots exposed by the erosive action of the waters;

 

further reflections;

and a friendly family group.

Our first wedding was 52 years ago today. After a somewhat lengthy hiatus we enjoyed a second in 2017. This evening we are off to The Family House Chinese restaurant in Totton where will partake of our favourite set meal while drinking Tsing Tao beer.

Raindrops

It was a shame that we were only due sunshine and lack of rain this morning, because I needed to be at home for the Openreach engineer engaged by BT. I won’t dwell on this, but, although the man turned up on time the problem is not resolved. It didn’t help that he hadn’t been told what Friday’s engineer had done and that he had been sent for an installation rather than a repair. Another technician is to attend tomorrow.

I did manage to wander round the garden before heavy rain set in for the afternoon.

We have numerous hellebores;

a prolific variety of camellias;

iris reticulatas;

and snowdrops coming into bloom throughout.

One of the occupants of the Dragon Bed cradles her egg;

another has recovered well after Aaron’s spinal surgery.

After lunch, with raindrops splattering on the roof of the car and slaloming down the windscreen, we took a drive into the forest.

The watery Black Lane, in the murk, lived up to its name.

Many of our roads are now irrigated by overflowing ditches and waterlogged fields.

Braggers Lane, with its

rippling reflective bubbling pools stretching alongside, is a good example.

 

Despite the banked verges, the fields are very generous with their excess water.

Woodland is a little meaner.

A group of horses, some wearing waterproof rugs, simply tolerated the downfall.

Further along, on Thatchers Lane, fallen. lichen-coated branches, recently at home on dry land, are reflected in their own pools. Drinks cans now bob beside them.

Long haired goats foraged in the grass alongside Fish Street. One inquisitive creature raised its head briefly before getting on with its late lunch.

Sheep sheltering on London Lane wondered why I was standing there getting wet.

At Avon thatchers seemed to have called it a day. It seemed a good idea, so we set off for home.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s nicely matured sausage casserole; crisp roast potatoes; firm Brussels sprouts; and tricolour carrots with which I finished the Malbec.

 

 

 

“I’m Going To Get My Mum”

This morning Jackie ironed my last four shirts which is a double result: firstly I didn’t have to do it and secondly she does it better.

The wind eased through the morning and the afternoon was bright and sunny for us to take a drive into the forest.

Much water lay on the roads and their verges. The terrain on either side of Holmsley Road was waterlogged,

but did not deter dog walkers.

Bubbling pools,

where a month or so back the land was dry, now reflected trees and sky.

As we crossed the Burley Road into an unnamed lane approaching Bisterne Close I noticed a group of ponies foraging among fallen trees that were in various stages of decay. Jackie parked on the verge and I rustled my way down slopes

of fallen leaves,

past reflecting pools of various expanses,

and negotiating stumps and fallen trees,

to mingle with the ponies

who bore the dregsof the recent deluge.

Although one of last year’s late foals this dishevelled creature, larger than any adult Shetland,

after enjoying a scratch against a branch of convenient height, sounded heavy thuds as, with a shrill whinny roughly translated as “I’m going to get my Mum”, it sped past me

in full flight

and, sure enough, returned with its mother

who gave me the eye made all the more alarming by the bright white centre of the black marking encircling its left orb.

Despite appearances she allowed me to continue as she got on with the serious business of eating.

I bid this family farewell and we made our way towards

Burley where the verges were full of reflecting water,

and to Bisterne Close where ponies shared the road with dog walkers,

and the woodland with each other.

Lime green catkins now swing in the trees, contrasting with autumn’s red berries.

On our way home we diverted to Wootton Bridge where the fast flowing stream has burst its banks

and waterlogged the surrounding sward.

Nearby rocks have become rippling watercourses.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s piri-piri mango and lime chicken served with her splendidly savoury rice topped with omelette and with green beans on the side. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank El Zimbido Garnacha Syrah 2018 given to me for Christmas by Ian.

 

 

Water Under The Bridge

The morning’s sunshine was correctly predicted to succumb to clouds by mid-day. We therefore took an early drive to Wooden House Lane in Pilley.

The lane peters out into a pitted gravel path currently peppered with pools. Jackie parked the car and contemplated how she was going to turn round and return to comparatively dry land while I wandered about with my camera.

Such landscapes as I could reach were inviting enough, although

this seat would be more accessible in dryer weather.

A bubbling stream

made its way

under a footbridge in one direction

and across the path in another.

Trees were reflected in the clear gravel pits

and in the swollen stream’s pools.

In an effort to reach the open moor beyond the bridge I risked sinking into

pony- and people-trampled muddy morass. Eventually I gave up and left the ground to the oak leaves.

The stream flowed fast enough to create bobbing bubbles bearing bursting reflections. (Biggify a few – you may spot me.)

A solitary twisted stump stands beside the bridge.

Back at home Nugget, somewhat perturbed, patiently paced as a group of long-tailed tits purloined part of his pendant provender outside the stable door. It is fascinating that robins are savage with their own species, yet most tolerant of other birds.

This evening we dined at The Wheel Inn where we both enjoyed tempura prawn starters which Jackie followed with scampi and chips and I chose Barnsley chop with creamy mashed potatoes and a selection of vegetables. I hadn’t eaten such a meal before. My choice was determined by James Braxton going on about it in The Antiques Road Trip earlier. Its as well cooked, but I wouldn’t repeat it. Jacke dranlk Kaltenberg and I drank Ringwood’s Best.

“I Buy Dat”

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED.

The weight of traffic through Lyndhurst and on the A27 meant that the journey to Upper Dicker on the way to Poppy’s birthday celebration took 4 hours in contrast to the normal two and a half that the return trip occupied. Fortunately we left home early enough to spend the afternoon there.

Poppy drawing on paving

When we arrived our granddaughter was occupied with coloured chalks drawing on the paving stones in the garden.

Poppy and pink dress

Jackie and I had brought her a couple of ballerina dresses. She liked them both,

Poppy and red dress

Poppy 2

but it was the deep red one that she proudly chose to wear on this occasion.

Tess and PoppyPoppy 1

She is very fond of her food, and now needs little assistance, here rendered by Tess, to unwrap a biscuit. She thought her hat complemented that of her mother.

Balloons

Plenty of balloons testified to the festive occasion.

Poppy with balloon 1Poppy with balloon 2Tess and Poppy

Becky and Ian gave her a helium filled one that was a great hit. Tess inconspicuously prepared a splendid spread of grilled steaks and various tasty salads. Mat was in charge of beverages, and thought it a good wheeze to offer me a local beer named Old Man brewed by the Long Man Brewery. I enjoyed it.

Poppy and mirror

Poppy’s aunt and uncle also gave her a suitably decorated mirror which she gave several nose prints.

Poppy, bubbles, Becky, Scooby 1

Poppy, bubbles, Becky, ScoobyPoppy, Tess, Becky, bubbles

Another of their presents was a battery-operated bubble machine.

Poppy operating bubble machinePoppy and bubbles

She soon got the hang of operating this.

Poppy asleep

 

Soon, a sleep was in order, until

Poppy and birthday cake 1

Tess’s delicious birthday cake was produced.

Poppy, Tess and birthday cake 1Poppy and birthday cake 2Poppy, Tess, and birthday cake 2

Although the birthday girl was persuaded to blow out one candle herself, she needed Ian’s assistance because she was far more interested in prising of the M & Ms and popping them into her mouth.

Matthew told us the story of the blue hat. He and Poppy had visited a charity shop in Emsworth with Becky a few days ago. Spotting the hat, Becky had placed it within Poppy’s line of sight. Her niece grabbed it and tottered off with it to the changing room, from which emanated “I like dat. I buy dat”. Out she came. Her Dad gave her the necessary dosh. Over to the counter she trotted, slapped the money on the wooden surface and said “I buy dat, lady”

Jackie and I needed no further food or drink, other than water, this evening.

 

 

Ermine Trimming

Cloudscape over garden By mid-morning overnight rain had cleared, making way for sunshine to give a fluffy ermine trim to the clouds over both our garden and the rest of the landscape which glistened with raindrops dripping into the pools and ditches. Cloudscape over treesCloudscape with treesLandscapeOak tree                                                                        I took the same walk as yesterday as far as Vicarage Lane, this time crossing it to continue along Sky End Lane, turn right into Everton Road, and eventually right into Farmers Walk to Everton Nurseries where Jackie, having bought three Bishop of Llandaff dahlia tubers and various items of bird food, was finishing her coffee whilst waiting to drive me home.

As I splashed my way along the lanes, knowing that toads like this weather, I kept an eye out for a smiling one, but I was disappointed. TwigsBubbles                                                                    The scudding clouds gradually dispersed overhead and buoyant bubbles eventually burst on the surface of the swollen ditches.

Mirror

The first section of Sky End Lane is narrow and winding and consequently contains a number of reflective mirrors, one of which was crossed with cracks, rain having tarnished the exposed silvering.

A cock crew along Everton Road where smaller birds chirruped in the trees. and from the woods on the other side of Christchurch Road I think I heard a pheasant shoot. Woman walking terrier                A white-haired woman wearing a bright red coat which reflected on the wet tarmac, with a small  black terrier in tow, could be seen in the distance as I entered Farmers Walk. Because her female pet held her up every time she needed a sniff, it didn’t take me long to catch them up. We laughed about the animal’s doubling the time it took to walk along the lane.

This evening we dined at our neighbours, The Royal Oak pub. They were very full, for the first time since we have known the establishment. In just a month Carl and Debbie, the new tenants, seem to have turned it round, bringing in a number of local residents. I ate beef madras and profiteroles, whilst Jackie enjoyed a half rack of ribs and sticky toffee pudding (which wasn’t actually sticky) and custard. I normally avoid curry in a pub, because it can never match the real thing, but this one was rather good. Jackie drank Becks. My choice of beverage was Ringwoods fortyniner.