Official Status

This morning Jackie drove me for a short trip into the forest.

Bovines basked among the browning bracken of Bull Hill.

One couple sat talking on the gravel of Tanners Lane beach;

another walked their dogs across it.

With the Isle of Wight and The Needles on the horizon, gentle waters gathered in the regular rock pools;

rippled the twinkling surface of the Solent, lapped the reflecting breakwaters, and darkened their closest pebbles, while

at a higher level charcoal encircled by larger stones remained as evidence of an attempt at a fire, perhaps laid for alfresco cooking the night before.

This white butterfly flitted along the lane until conveniently coming to rest among stones and autumn leaves. Is it a Green Veined White?

This afternoon Jackie drove Flo and Dillon to Lymington Registry Office to give Ellie’s birth its official status.

We dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away’s excellent fare with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Monte Plogar.


After lunch I posted

Then Jackie and I visited Jools, Sean, and Pumpkin at

where we engaged in enjoyable conversation, Jackie bought a plant, and I

wandered freely with my camera.

Afterwards we went on a foal hunt.

Donkeys on Bull Hill were the first to oblige.

It was only two days ago that we mentioned that we had never seen any

Shetland foals. Today we spied a few through trees at Norley Wood.

A satisfied crow had more success in catching the thatched hare at East End than the chasing fox ever would.

Before dinner I watched the highlights of the fourth day’s play in the Test match between England and New Zealand.

Afterwards the three of us dined on second helpings of yesterday’s Red Chilli takeaway with the addition of Jackie’ s paneer dish with which she drank Hoegaarden, I finished the Fleurie, and Flo abstained.

More Equine Infants

A dull day brightened after lunch, when we visited Otter Nurseries to buy three more – the last – hanging baskets similar to the three Jackie had purchased this morning. We continued our drive into the forest, where

adult asses trimmed the verges and, scratching when necessary, blocked the road at the bottom of Bull Hill,

further up which we found a flurry of fresh foal births since our visit a few days ago.

Leaving one suckling we progressed to East End where an infant pony nuzzled for similar nourishment

among others in a field of swaying golden buttercups.

Later, with a background of glorious birdsong, I dug out a bramble; dead-headed masses of Welsh poppies; and photographed

the Chilean lantern tree lighting the way along the Shady Path.

This evening we dined on more of Jackie’s spicy pasta arrabbiata with the addition of firm broccoli. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Fleurie.

“Where’s Elizabeth?” (2)

Although the day became somewhat brighter and warmer as it progressed, it was really quite dull and cold until mid-afternoon. This morning we took a brief trip to Ferndene Farm Shop where the Head Gardener bought three more bags of compost and trays of bedding plants.

This afternoon we carried out a Tesco shop in the usual manner. Jackie was very pleased to try out the face screen Helen had given her for her birthday. It was a great improvement on the masks which make the task very difficult.

Afterwards we drove to Pilley where I made

this week’s selection of record pictures of the lake. Those from the two usual vantage points do not show the full difference in the water level from our last trip.

Maybe these three shots give a better idea, especially the last one which ten days ago contained a smaller pool apparently harbouring a shark.

I was able to walk across the dry stretch and round the row of cottages opposite the green on which small ponies grazed within sight of the thatched terrace. There I enjoyed a pleasant conversation with a mother and daughter whose home looked out onto the scene. We found we had marathon running in common, both having run the London.

There were more donkeys, with foals, on Bull Hill than there were ponies.

These managed to disrupt the traffic on a grand scale. It was particularly amusing when I white Toyota slalomed round the asses and came to a halt nose-to-nose with my Chauffeuse’s Modus, and out stepped Elizabeth, (“Where’s Elizabeth?” (2)), with her friend Barbara who is staying with her.

For dinner this evening, the Culinary Queen produced chicken marinaded in mango and chilli on a bed of vegetable rice with tender green beans. Her accompanying beverage was Hoegaarden and mine, more of the Shiraz.


Our afternoon drive into the forest took us through Bull Hill.

Although certainly not tortoises, groups of serious walkers we watched from

Furzey Lane leading to Furzey Lodge, carried their temporary homes on their backs. Some of these were passed by cyclists,

more groups of whom wheeled along Cripple Gate Lane, where,

bluebells, ferns, ivy, and other wild plants cluster around the roots of oaks now spreading parasols overhead.

It is best to try to ignore cans lobbed from passing cars and fly-tipped larger containers possibly decanted from small vans.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s superb savoury rice with a rack of pork ribs in barbecue sauce and small spring rolls. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden, while I drank Moravista Merlot Bonarda 2018.

The Sap Is Rising

A light frost fell on the fields last night and Jackie had to scrape ice off the windscreen before driving me to the G.P. surgery at Milford on Sea for the successful removal of the staples from my knee. Rather unfairly, it seems to me, some members of the medical fraternities and sororities refer to orthopaedics as ‘The Carpenters’. However, I have to say that the curving row of hurdles penetrating my flesh did look as if it has been applied by an upholsterer’s gun. The nurse’s staple remover was a little more delicate than those found in Staples stationary stores.

After this we travelled along the coast road, where I began my morning’s photoshoots through my passenger window.

The Needles convoy trailed after the Isle of Wight lighthouse;

Also silhouetted along the Milford coastline were walkers with dogs and a woman pushing a child in a buggy;

A few gulls wandered about the car parks, where a crow set itself up for a long vigil.

Turning away from the coast we set off along the Beaulieu Road out of Lymington, where ponies, the silvery greys blending with similar hued birches, enhanced the landscape.

On Bull Hill, the younger cattle squared up for head butts, competing for or waiting their turn for humping practice. The older beasts watched in silence. The sap was definitely rising.

Whilst in Pilley we briefly visited Elizabeth who had spent the morning with BT engineers attempting to discover why her landline had stopped working.

A trio of goats we passed in Warborne Lane on our way home were rather less frisky than their bovine neighbours.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s tasty chicken jalfrezi with savoury rice.

P. S. Jackie has researched the activities of the young heifers. This is what she learned from Wikipedia:

‘Bulling¬†is a behaviour seen in¬†cattle¬†when one mounts another, usually when one or the other is a female in¬†oestrus¬†(on heat);[1]¬†”bulling” is commonly used as a term for a female in oestrus. Female cattle in oestrus may mount any adult cattle, especially a bull (fertile male) if one is present, but they will also mount castrated males or other females. A bulling female will often also be mounted by other cattle, both male and female (only fertile males are usually capable of mating). A dominant bull will defend the bulling female from being mounted by other cattle.

Bulling is used by farmers to recognise oestrus, which is important to determine the fertile period when cows may be artificially inseminated.[1] Care is needed to identify whether the animal in oestrus is the one mounting or being mounted, and of course sometimes both animals may be in oestrus.

Mounting behaviour is also sometimes seen between adult cattle in the absence of a female in oestrus.’