After shopping at Ferndene Farm Shop this warm, overcast, afternoon we returned home via Burley Golf Course which, for a change, now that Covid restrictions have been relaxed, was occupied by more golfers than ponies, although the equine maintenance crew continued shaving the sward and spreading their hazardous heaps.
The golfers, apparently oblivious of the ponies carrying on with their tasks equally regardless, cross from one side of the road to the other in order to continue their rounds.
When I crossed to the Holmsley Passage side my activity was somewhat hampered by an escaped rooster resident in the gorse bushes which pecked at my ankles whenever my back was turned.
However, between attacks I managed to keep a lens on proceedings.
Dinner this evening consisted of flavoursome chicken Kiev; creamy mashed potatoes; succulent ratatouille; firm broccoli and tender runner beans, with which I drank Mendoza El Tesoro Red Blend 2019, and Jackie abstained.
Feeling rather dispirited by struggling in vain to carry out some tasks I have been happily managing before WP’s latest improvements, my mood was lifted by a drive into the forest.
Jackie drove us up Holmsley Passage
and across Burley Road where she parked the Modus so I could walk back and photograph
woodland with mossy roots, fallen trees, and reflecting, receding, winter pools;
and the gorse on the heath. As part of their general maintenance duties the forest ponies trim the golden shrubs and prepare paths through to
the grounds of Burley Golf Course where they carefully maintain the greens and suppress some of the rough.
From 29th of this month, when golf courses will be allowed to reopen, it would be wise for neither this pair of joggers nor me to venture onto this location.
I eventually rejoined Jackie in the car and she allowed me out along Bisterne Close where
I inspected the work of the equine forestry management crew.
This evening we dined on Jackie’s flavoursome chicken and leek (quippingly dubbed cockaleekie by the Culinary Queen) stewp and fresh crusty bread, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Mendoza Red Blend.
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This afternoon Jackie drove me to Boots opticians to collect a new pair of varifocal specs. I don’t really need glasses for reading or close work, but for TV or distance. This means I have to keep taking the myopic aids off for looking through the camera viewfinder, so varifocals seemed a good idea.
We continued on to the forest to try them out. I am reasonably comfortable with them.
Holmseley Passage, with increasing signs of Autumn, had the honour of breaking them in. We are due boisterous winds overnight, so some of the earliest foliage to fall will probably coat the ground tomorrow.
Burley golf course, never in need of non-equine mowing, lies on either side of Wilverley Road. Hard working ponies were , in the glow of the lowering sun, engrossed in their green duties. A couple who had reached the next hole on the other side of the road carried on regardless.
Sometimes we cannot resist exploring a ‘No Through Road’. Often, as in the case of this one in the vicinity of Linwood, they wend their undulating, serpentine, way for long enough to make us wonder if we will ever get out again. Often, as with this one, the adventure is rewarded with pleasant surprises. Playful sunlight enhanced the lovely lane and lit the somnolent farm horse and its companion pony in a small field, throwing their shadows across the sward. The grey roused from its slumbers and strode purposefully over to pass the time of day with me.
Before sunset we reached Abbots Well, where, from the deeply pockmarked car park we looked down over the layered landscape below and the moody, indigo, clouds above.
This evening we dined on Jackie’s excellent, spicy, pasta arrabbiata and green beans with which she finished the Sauvignon Blanc and Elizabeth and I drank Brancott Estate Merlot 2016