Lunchtime

Part of Mum’s deal at Woodpeckers Care home is that she can entertain guests to lunch once a week.

Elizabeth, Jackie, and I were her visitors today. My meal was Cajun chicken with Lyonnaise potatoes, carrots, and curly kale; the others opted for gammon. Mum chose stewed apricots with ice cream for dessert; the rest of us enjoyed plum crumble. We were served in our own quiet room. Service was friendly and efficient. The food was very good.

Afterwards, Jackie and I took a trip around the forest.

It is not unusual to see requests for information about hit and run accidents involving ponies. This, featuring a Shetland on the road to Beaulieu, was one of two we passed today.

Although much of it has been cut back by now, blackthorn has proliferated in the hedgerows for several weeks now.

As we rounded a bend on approaching East End we were struck by this fortuitous juxtaposition of maple and photinia.

Nearby one of a group of basking cattle suckled her calf which was enjoying its own lunchtime.

Donkeys were hard at work trimming the village’s hedgerows.

More cattle were serving themselves to lunch from the verges of Tanners Lane.

Beside Sowley Lane a flamboyant cock pheasant flashed across the road and fled beneath barbed wire fencing.

Another merged into hay stalks among scavenging crows beside a field of rape, many of which

are beginning to slash the landscape with sunlight.

More of the more colourful birds foraged in

this historic field with its

views across The Solent to the Isle of Wight.

This evening we dined on spicy Diablo pizza with plentiful fresh salad. Jackie drank more of the Sauvignon Blanc and I enjoyed Maipo Valley Carménere 2016 from the Majestic Definition range.

He Lent His Hat

This morning Aaron, with his usual concentrated accuracy, assembled and installed

a new flat packed wooden arch across the Shady Path. This was to replace a cheap metal one that had collapsed.

As the morning warmed up he lent his hat to Florence sculpture who remained in the shade,

Camellias continue to splash colour across the eucalyptus framed garden canvas,

as do numerous narcissi,

primulas and bergenias.

Proud tulips begin to open.

Ladybirds were spotted, along with tiny hoverflies investigating ipheions.

On a gloriously sunny spring afternoon we went driveabout. We began at Mudeford Quay which was so crowded that we had nowhere to park. We then aimed for the forest.

A calf suckling at Holmesley spilled much of the milk on the ground, jumping back as we arrived, leaving a white strand swaying in the breeze;

Ponies practiced topiary by the roadside;

two more grazed among pine cones at Bisterne.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s scrumptious cottage pie; crunchy carrots; tender green beans and peas.

The Reality

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This afternoon Jackie drove me out to Calshot and back.

Waiting in the queue at the Lymington level crossing gave me the opportunity to focus on one of the hanging baskets that adorn the lampposts of the town.

One of the cattle on the moor near Beaulieu Road Station suckled quite a large calf.

Ower Farm on Calshot Road is a splendid Georgian building.

 

On Calshot beach’s shingle, along which a gentleman led a colour coordinated little girl,

and beyond which yachts enhanced the seascape;

gulls basked, preened, and squawked and saw off a couple of crows. One of the sea birds homed in on an ice cream cone and hopped onto the wooded parapet.

The photograph above of Ower Farm is how an Estate Agent’s brochure may have presented it.

In reality it is hemmed in by Fawley Power station.

This evening the three of us dined on Jackie’s splendid lamb jalfrezi with savoury rice. Mrs Knight drank Hoegaarden, Elizabeth drank Becks Blue, and I finished the Saint-Chenian

 

 

Seeking Shade

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This afternoon we drove to New Milton where Jackie ordered a pair of shoes and delivered my dry cleaning to Johnsons. Carefully avoiding the Hampshire Show traffic we continued into the forest.

Yesterday, while focussing on deer, I mentioned that ponies sought shade from our current extreme heat where they could.

Around Brockenhurst and along the Beaulieu road the New Forest ponies clustered under the shady oaks and other trees.

One of these taller animals was able to tear a meal of oak leaves from the boughs without standing on hind legs as yesterday’s deer had done.

At East Boldre a couple of cows and a single calf used  hedge for food and shelter. Both the adults frequently snared their tails in brambles;

and a pair of rather more inventive ponies availed themselves of the bus shelter.

Walker with dogs

This dog walker was clearly more comfortable on shady lanes.

This evening the three of us dined on Jackie’s thighs – roasted chicken in Chinese spices, that is; special fried rice; and multicoloured runner beans from the garden. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden; Elizabeth and I finished the Malbec, and started another, Parra Alta 2017.

 

Chickens And A Calf

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Last night Flo transferred several photographs from her mobile phone to my iMac.

On 28th December I had photographed our granddaughter photographing chickens at Hockey’s Farm. These were her images.

Fortune cookies

Yesterday evening we had enjoyed fortune cookies given to Jackie by Mr Chan at Hordle Chinese Take Away. Flo pictured the mottos, including the touch of curry on mine. For some reason the idea of me making a sudden rise caused a certain amount of hilarity.

Branch Line001

The Branch Line To Selsey from Chichester enjoyed barely four decades of life. This is the front cover of a fascinating book published in 1983, giving its detailed story. Barrie Haynes had given me the book a few months ago after Jackie, Ian, Becky, and I had visited a mortgage adviser in the locality. Today I finished reading it.

The authors have thoroughly researched their material and presented it in an entertaining form. Their close scrutiny of contemporary photographs alert the reader to details they may otherwise have missed. Useful maps, tickets, and timetables supplement the illustrations.

Branch Line002

I have chosen a few of the photographs in an attempt to demonstrate the flavour of the work. Edwardian days were just a century ago.

Branch Line003

The text beneath the upper of these two images shows how freight was more profitable than passengers. What is happening in the lower picture is described on the facing page. The Hesperus is ‘in trouble’.  A lifting of the train and a complicated adjustment of a ‘belligerent rail’ was required to help the 17 1/4 ton engine on its way.

Branch Line005

Ralph Selsby was one of several carriers operating from Selsey.

Branch Line006

Here are a couple of carriages from the early 1930s. The line was closed in 1935.

Branch Line004

This is what constituted a railway replacement bus in 1910.

Branch Line007

Just 16 years later, this bus was to herald the death knell of the historic little line.

This evening we all enjoyed more of Jackie’s excellent chicken and egg curries, samosas, and onion bahjis. Mrs Knight drank Hoegaarden, and I drank Wolf’s Leap merlot 2016, another very good wine from Ian’s case.

 

 

The Sledge Run

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I am beginning to find myself reminded by readers, of earlier posts that may have something to contribute to ‘A Knight’s Tale’. One of these was ‘Early Entertainment’, which provided quite rich material that I used in today’s update. Please keep the ideas flowing – I really can’t remember everything I’ve written.

Our general garden maintenance continued today on both sides of a trip to Efford Recycling Centre where we dumped more rotting IKEA wardrobe sections that have served a useful purpose up to now. we went on for a drive.

Stag-headed sculptures 2

Stag-headed sculptures 3

Standing beside a roundabout on the A337 out of Lymington we have often noticed three stag-headed figures standing either side of a five-barred gate. We knew that these heralded the entrance to

Buckland Rings welcome sign

the site of an Iron Age Hill Fort.

Parking on a roundabout on a main road is not a good idea, so we had never stopped before. This time Jackie drove on a little way and parked in a side street from whence we walked back to investigate.

Stag-headed sculptures and dog walker

A gentleman with a dog was passing the sculptures

Dog walker on mound

and walked on around a gentle incline.

Having read how far the walk to the top would be, Jackie opted to return to the car and let me check the lie of the land.

Rabbits on hillside

Or maybe the reason was the sight of a colony of descendants of Iron Age rabbits romping on the hillside.

Buckland Hill Fort pathBuckland Hill Fort path 2

In the event, the steeply undulating nature of the paths riddled with tree roots suggested that this had been a good idea.

Sledge run 1Sledge run 3

Sledge run 4

On the way up, a sign informed us that young people had transformed a disused sand quarry into a sledge run. The area is apparently packed with tobogganists whenever there is sufficient snow.

Buckland Wood roof

What was once farmland around the fort is now densely wooded. Through the trees I glimpsed the roof of what I later discovered to be

Buckland WoodSteps to Buckland Hill Fort central plateau

Not far from there lay a shallow set of steps leading to 
Buckland Hill Fort central plateau

a broad open plateau that had been the centre of the fort.

Cow and calfCow and calf 2

This was grazed by a cow and her calf.

The logs just visible in the steps picture are designed to prevent people parking on the hallowed ground. There is a car park alongside.

Man, dog, cow, calf

I was informed how to reach that from the road by another gentleman walking his dog.

Crow

 Taking an easy route down the hill I watched a crow sweep across the grass tops,

Branch hanging low

and banged my head on a low branch.

Quite sensibly, Jackie declined to investigate the car park, and we went home.

Wikipedia has an informative entry on this historic site: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buckland_Rings

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy penne pasta arrabbiata with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Parra Alta Malbec 2016.

Five If You Hit A Donkey

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As I struggled with ensuring I was digging up allium bulbs around the patio without damaging surrounding plants, I reflected on the tiny thyme twigs that, three years ago, I rescued from the butler sinks lost among the undergrowth covering the Dead End Path.

They are doing very well in their stony, sunny, new home, and don’t at all mind the dry weather we are experiencing.

This afternoon we went for a drive in the forest.

Cricket match 7Cricket match 1Cricket match 6Cricket match 2Cricket match 3Cricket match 4Cricket match 5

At Burley a cricket match was in progress.

Cricket match 8

The scoreboard, stationed in front of the pavilion and changing rooms, demonstrated what was obvious to spectators, namely that the bowling side was in receipt of a drubbing. There are eleven players per side in this game. Ten wickets may fall before the innings ends. Sometimes the captain may declare the innings closed before that happens. The top line of figures on the board shows the total, in this case 175. The next is the number of wickets fallen – 4. Then follows the score made by the last batsman out – 33. This was a good score for only four wickets down. The young man wearing pads in the picture was the next man to bat. He was having a long wait.

There is always a drinks interval during each innings at cricket. It was only fitting, therefore, that we should stop for one at The Foresters’ Arms at Frogham, before taking a leisurely route home.

Ponies and foalPony and foal 1Pony 1Pony 2Foal

Alongside Roger Penny Way the parents of a pony family cropped the grass while their offspring sprawled beside them.

Pony mare and foal

Further on, another mother led her foal across the road in front of us.

Man in mobility scooter, woman with terriers, cattle, calf 2Man in mobility scooter, woman with terriers, cattle, calf

In the lane around the back of Cadham we encountered a fascinating grouping consisting of a gentleman in a mobility scooter, a woman, a terrier, and cattle with a calf. Naturally we waited for them to sort themselves out. The man, woman, and dog took themselves to the side of the road;

Cattle

one of the cows cleaned its hoof; and the calf stayed firmly planted.

Woman and calf

The woman kindly shooed it off.

Outside Lyndhurst a less successful attempt was made to persuade another animal to move along.

Thatched cricket pavilionCricket match 9

Cricket match 10This time a cricket match was set on a rather undulating piece of ground against a backdrop blessed with a rather splendid thatched pavilion.

Cricket and donkey

Cricket and donkeys 2

Cricket and donkeys 1A pair of donkeys in the outfield ignored the flanneled sportsmen, and gradually made their way towards the pitch.

Cricket and donkeys 3

After a while one of the players clapped vigorously. This caused one to shift a few yards. It is possible that the cricketer was mindful of the rule about striking an obstruction with the ball. If a ball is hit to the boundary of the field without bouncing, six runs (as the points are called) are awarded. If the ball does hit the ground before crossing the line, the score is advanced by four runs. Whether or not the ball bounces first, a strike which hits an obstruction on the field of play is awarded 5 runs. Consequently hitting a donkey is worth 5.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s superb chilli con carne with vegetable rice and runner beans. I finished the cabernet sauvignon and Jackie drank Peroni.