Beechwood Fauna

This being the second day of 50+ m.p.h. winds it seemed one to have a look at the waves on The Solent.

The sun lit the cliffs of the island and the waves on the skyline.

When I photographed the sea,

rocks, and spume on the sand

I was not alone;

one young woman, exhibiting enviable knee flexion, took a bird’s eye view.

When I grew tired of bracing myself against the gusts, we drove through Shirley Holms into the forest,

where, on Beachwood Lane, our new foal, still keeping close to her mother, and needing to suckle, looked more as if her legs belonged to her and could, to some extent, risk making our acquaintance.

Other ponies wandered about

and a group of cattle were accompanied by a young calf.

They soon wandered off down the lane in order to trim residents’ hedges.

Perhaps we were downwind of the deer which occasionally peered out from the distant undergrowth before gradually moving off under cover.

One of the fallen trees appeared to have been uprooted quite recently.

Our return journey took us along Bickley Common Road with its bluebells and cow parsley on the verges.

This evening we dined on roast chicken breasts; potatoes roasted with onions and mushrooms; and crisp carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli; followed by strawberries and cream. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Dragon Hills Pinot Noir 2017.

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.