Look. No Hands

This afternoon we both collected our new specs from Boots, then drove into the dreary, drizzly forest.

Along Undershore there stood an example of the broken trees on soggy terrain that currently proliferate in the woodlands.

There wasn’t much sign of life until we came across cattle wandering along Sowley Lane.

Owner’s tags, as always, adorned their ears as they stared us out.

Several calves were left to their own devices, although by and large they stuck to the verges. One chewed its tail;

tried on a new necklace;

and indulged in a bit of grooming.

One seated adult turned her clarty back on the proceedings;

another had dried her hide after a mud bath.

Crowds of crows took to the air overhead.

Ponies on the corner of St Leonards Road were equally mud-caked;

one somnolent group dozed beside

a weedy winding winterbourne stream swiftly swirling,

sweeping loose leaves and flexing fixeded grasses while surging to a tunnel under the road.

As may be imagined from its name, such a watercourse flows only during the winter months.

The terrain at this junction between St Leonards Road and that to East Boldre becomes a similar pool during very wet weather. Today a passing cyclist was reflected in it.

He clearly had no use for his steering bars as his hands were otherwise engaged. I hoped he was the only one going round the bend.

This evening we dined on belly of pork, roasted long and slow in order to drain away the fat; firm roast potatoes and parsnips; crunchy carrots and tender cabbage, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Carenina El Zumbido Garnacha Syrah 2018.

Spilt Milk

Once again the sunniest part of the day was this morning. I am happy to say that the fault on our landline was successfully repaired while I stayed near the phone and Jackie continued weeding and planting.

Nugget and Lady were both in attendance, but his new partner tweeted that she was not ready for her close up.

Nugget, as always, was perfectly happy to pose.

Now, “Where’s Nugget?” (64)

Our blogging friend JoAnna was surprised to see yesterday’s dragons. Here is another, complete with appropriate legend, that The Assistant Photographer also photographed for her.

This afternoon we drove to Brockenhurst station to enquire about train times, then further into the forest. Much of our National Park is actually owned by the National Trust. In the interests of preservation, this charitable body bought up areas before the Park was declared free from further development.

Cadnam and Penn Commons are both in the Trust’s ownership. It is these that we explored today.

Although a dry day, the skies in mid-afternoon were draped in clouds, giving a gloomier appearance than we experienced in reality.

The undulating ground adds interest to the landscape with skeletal trees and perhaps a trig point.

A few cattle appeared to be waiting patiently outside a farm for their dinner.

One calf was less patient. Another waited patiently in vain. Look at the mother’s hoof –

so eager was her calf that

much milk was spilt in the process. This is not unusual.

Further along the road, grazed sheep, some like fluffy white balls

a couple of normal sized ponies

and a little Shetland.

We diverted onto the track leading to Shady Pool and more ponies.

Jackie photographed the landscape,

a determined donkey trying to take my place,

and me photographing the ponies.

This evening we dined on Mr Pink’s fish and chips with our own pickled onions and gherkins with which we both drank Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2018.

 

 

 

“All Over In A Flash”

This morning’s sun shone blindingly bright in clear skies; the temperature was finger- tingling chilly. Because the meteorologists had predicted rain this afternoon we drove out early to Mudeford Quay.

I had never seen the normally tranquil harbour water as choppy as it was today.

The high tide surged back and forth over the shore line leaving bubbles clinging to driftwood;

gulls bobbed among the undulating surface oscillations,

occasionally taking to the air

and settling on the grass

until scattered by hastening motors.

Leaving a pair of brisk joggers to their exertions I walked over to the quayside with its

rougher seas and bouncing buoys.

A solitary jogger trotted past two women progressing at a gentler pace, while

an eager dog towed its owner along the pool sprinkled promenade.

From a safe distance an animated baby seated in a buggy was being shown

waves battering the sea wall.

Jackie photographed me

 photographing her. How’s that Pauline?

As we prepared to move on the Assistant Photographer showed me an image she had produced of

yacht masts and a bench, and related the story of the day.

Before my Chauffeuse had moved over to the quayside a young woman had emptied a carrier bag full of food onto the grass in front of Jackie’s car. Within seconds

a squabble of seagulls swooped seeking sustenance and set about each other scavenging insatiably.

It was all over in a flash.

At Avon the eponymous river had spread itself across the neighbouring fields,

encroaching upon calves’ feeding area.

We continued on to Hockey’s Farm shop for brunch, where we were disappointed to discover that the café was closed because a new floor was being laid.

The straggly-damp alpacas in the pasture might have appreciated their own new floor.

A thatcher’s pig has flown up onto the roof of the cottage repaired last summer.

The hair of a group of ponies at South Gorley may have been dry, but now it needed a good shampoo.

Others a little further on seemed to have had one already.

We returned to the excellent Café Aroma in Ringwood for our plentiful brunch, then travelled home facing oncoming driving sleet.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s watercress soup and rolls with which I finished the Costiere de Nimes.

 

 

 

A Reluctant Follower

On another bright but chilly morning Jackie drove me to Norleywood Road for me to walk along it and St Leonard’s Road for half an hour before she picked me up.

Three different alpacas occupied the usual field;

one wearing a rug. One or two of these may be llamas, but I don’t know the difference.

Japanese maples in the garden of Gorse Cottage sparkled with the earlier rain

which had filled the gutter

and the pool now threatening to spill over onto the road junction.

Mushrooms sprang from the verge of St Leonard’s Road.

Jackie had driven on ahead and back-tracked to tell me of cattle and calves on the road ahead. She thought it might be a bit far to walk so offered to drive me to them. I preferred to see how I got on. Eventually I spied them in the distance. They were on the move, and vanished out of sight, which encouraged me to keep going.

Around one bend they once more came into view

and rounded another.

 

One of the calves

seemed reluctant to follow the others.

He looked back wistfully at

his oblivious mother engrossed in guzzling griselinia.

This sawn off tree trunk must, at some time past, have fallen across the road.

On our return we drove to Lymington to buy Christmas presents.

After lunch my Chauffeuse carried me to Sears Barbers at Milford on Sea where Peter cut my hair.

This evening we joined Elizabeth to dine at Albero Italian restaurant in Brockenhurst. My choice of meal was a well filled Calzone followed by Tiramisu; Jackie’s was creamy fettuccini; Elizabeth’s a special fish dish. Both ladies enjoyed cheesecakes. Elizabeth and I shared a carafe of the house red wine served at the perfect temperature; Jackie drank Moretti. The food was very well cooked, and the service friendly and efficient.

 

 

On The Road Again

Today dawned with sunny intervals. As the meteorologists had correctly forecast driving rain this afternoon, we drove to Setley Ridge to buy a birthday present, then into the forest,

I photographed two woodland scenes outside Brockenhurst, from where we drove across the moors towards Beaulieu.

A solitary horse and rider trotted across the fading heather;

a loan pony grazed beside Hatchet Pond;

while a small group found their fodder nearer the road.

It was not far outside the village that we were held up by a pair of ponies soon to be joined by others. For me there was nothing for it but to leave the car and

join in the fun.

The progress of the red Qashqai was indicative of the necessary negotiations. When we returned more than an hour later the languid equine road-lords and -ladies still held court.

By and large cattle have more road sense and remain on the verges, leaving the road to cyclists.

There were, of course, exceptions.

Stopping by a pine copse on the road between Beaulieu and Brockenhurst, I focussed on the landscape.

It was gentle donkeys that occupied the tarmac on the way to Saint Leonard’s,

beyond which another group of cows mostly kept to the verges with their calves.

This afternoon I received a request from WordPress to rate their recent attempts to help me with various problems. I was given two options: “I’m happy” or “I’m not happy”. Naturally I chose the latter. I was then asked to elaborate. This is what I wrote:

“I’m not very competent. I couldn’t get zoom going. The subsequent chat didn’t help – I was given three links – one to a book which I would have to buy. I work best talking to a human being. If that is not possible I will have to accept that you can’t help me. (I am intelligent enough to have written a daily post for 7 years and have only met problems with the introduction of Gutenberg editor. Having said all that I am 77 years old).”

This evening we dined on succulent lamb steak; crisp roast potatoes and parsnips; crunchy carrots and tender cabbage, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Saint-Chinian 2016.

Cockapoo, Cattle, And Equine Landscape

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This morning Jackie drove me to New Hall Hospital for a follow up visit to Mr Kask, my orthopaedic surgeon. At the same time Louisa and her daughters left to visit a cousin in Cambridge.

Mr Kask was happy with my progress and considered that the right knee replacement could wait until after an appointment in three months time.

As I opened up my camera on the way home, I found two photographs of Geri (Halliwell), sitting on my chair, therein. This, I believe, was my daughter’s reminder that I had not featured her young cockapoo in my weekend posts. I could imagine myself as a small boy  choosing such a dog for a pet, purely on account of the name of the breed.

I disembarked on the green at Mockbeggar to photograph a small, motley, herd of fly-bearing cattle in occupation. Mostly black and white adults, there were a few calves, a couple of brown and white ones having been adopted.

The landscape near Linwood was enhanced by ponies wandering around the vicinity of the aptly named Appleslade car park. Apples and hawthorn fruit mingled among the trees, and we encountered the common sight of patiently optimistic ponies planted before a cottage gate.

This evening we enjoyed a drink on the patio before dining on Jackie’s roast lamb; roast and boiled potatoes, including sweet ones; runner beans from the garden; and sautéed peppers, onions, and mushrooms. Elizabeth and I drank Saint-Chinian 2016 and the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden.

Marshmallows Anyone?

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This afternoon Jackie and I had a successful Birthday present trip to Lyndhurst, and an abortive one to Burley. The car park in the latter village was packed to bursting, with many queuing, and there is nowhere else to leave your car. So we returned home via Bashley, where

we encountered a breed of cattle we had not seen before. They are small, hairy, and horned. The two calves and a cow were quite close to the road until I disembarked to photograph them. Off they trotted at a fair old rate to the comparative safety of the rest of the small herd; whilst I tottered gingerly over the now churned up, pitted, terrain that they had trampled over. Imagining them to be a small variety of Highland cattle I Googled them and identified them as Marshmallows. Would anyone agree?

Later, two gentlemen from Jem Fabrics came to measure and photograph our threadbare Chesterfield in order to quote for reupholstery.

Elizabeth being at Mum’s, Jackie and I dined on spicy meat feast pizza and left-over takeaway curry. I drank more of the Australian Shiraz Cabernet. My lady had finished the Ciro on the patio beforehand.