Just After Sunset

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The clear light of the last few days gave way today to a weaker sun seeking refuge behind shifting clouds. Jackie drove us to Ringwood where I bought some inks from Wessex Photo and she enjoyed a successful clothes shop at M & Co. We continued on into the North of the forest.

A splendid maple blended well with the tiles of a house in Ibsley.

From the bottom of Abbots Well Road I wondered how the cattle kept their footing on the  slopes of their hillside.

To the west over the moors on Roger Penny Way a feeble sun thought about sinking low; indigo clouds scudded across blue skies to the east.

We thought that would be the last of tonight’s sunset, until Jackie had the bright idea of aiming for Sway Tower. We just missed the hoped for phenomenon, but the pastel skies above the red-gold glimmer still had much to offer.

Elizabeth arrived home from her trip to Edinburgh and visiting Mum, just after us.

We dined on Jackie’s splendid steak and mushroom pie; creamy mashed potato; tasty gravy; and crisp carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli. Elizabeth and I drank Casillero del Diablo Malbec 2017. The Culinary Queen didn’t.

 

 

“National Block The Road Day”

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On another gloriously warm day on which soft cerulean skies swept the landscape, Jackie drove us to Nomansland and back via Hockey’s Farm shop where we happily brunched.

Accompanied by the odd sheep, dozy donkeys diced with death on Roger Penny Way, a major route through the forest on which annual animal deaths often reach three figures.

By the time we reached them two silhouetted equestriennes, moving onto the village green, left the road at Nomansland, where Jackie parked and

I wandered into the forest where sunlight streaked through the trees, backlighting bracken and splashing shadows across the leaf strewn floor through which thrust fungi, some nibbled by unknown fauna.

Grazing ponies desultorily lifted their heads to inspect me, then continued the important business of consuming the 1% of their body weights each day. It really is a wonder that they have time for anything else.

Accompanied by a cyclist, another young lady riding one horse and leading another was our next middle of the road encounter; round the next corner we waited for a couple in a horse-drawn cart to be finished with their lane.

The road to North Gorley, however, belonged to a group of cattle and their calves. Having watched, first an amused cyclist, then a motorist, engage in a slalom around the bovine impediment, Jackie announced that it was “National block the road day” and took her turn through the barrier.

Jacqueline has come to stay for the weekend so she can visit Mum. She brought  positive report on progress and joined us for dinner. For this, Jackie produced succulent roast chicken: sautéed potatoes and onions; crisp Yorkshire pudding; crunchy carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli; with tasty gravy. My wife drank Hoegaarden, my sister drank Awatere Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2017, and I drank more of the Minervois.

 

“Get Off My Drive”

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On the afternoon of this very dull day, Jackie drove me into the forest.

The stretch of Highland Water outside Brockenhurst is beginning to replenish itself, but there is a way to go before the banks are lapped again.

Unusually, more cattle than ponies cropped the surrounding sward. The neat cuts of the equine tails provide evidence that their owners have experience the annual Drift. As I wandered among the animals I thought how much pigs at pannage would enjoy the acorns that littered the ground.

On the outskirts of the village, where there was no mast, a pig with piglets, one of which looked like the porcine equivalent of a teenager, scrabbled about among roadside gravel, until the resident of Clava Cottage emerged with a hockey stick that he waved in their direction, exclaiming “come on you lot. Get off my drive”. The majority of the swine dashed into the stables next door, leaving one little piggie behind. It didn’t seem to notice.

This evening the three of us dined on the Walhampton Arms Carvery. Trying not to think of piglets our meat was gammon and turkey with all the trimmings. Elizabeth and I both drank Nueve  Vidas Merlot 2016 while Jackie drank Diet Coke.

SOLD

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Much of the day was spent moving furniture and belongings to facilitate access to radiators for tomorrow’s visit by the heating engineers.

Late this afternoon the three of us went for a drive in the forest. We were offered turbulent cloudscapes as a skein of geese skimmed across the sky, and cattle grazed on the moors. Jesus beams burst through billowing clouds.

SOLD sign

A SOLD sign has been erected in front of Elizabeth’s prospective new house in Pilley.

This evening Jackie drove us to the Walhampton Arms where we met Nicki, Andrew, and Paul N and enjoyed their very good company with the splendid carvery meal. we all ate gammon and turkey with Yorkshire pudding and the usual plentiful vegetables. Raspberry frangipani and  ice cream followed. I drank Razor Back.  Cheesecakes and other drinks were consumed by the others.

 

Garden, Ponies, Cattle, Ornamental Drive

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Late this morning I amused myself by poking my camera through the guest bedroom windows.

This afternoon Jackie and I shopped at Streets in Brockenhurst for a bag of coal, a spark guard, firelighters, gardening gloves, and a wheelbarrow. We continued on a drive into the forest.

 

On the moors along Rhinefield Road we spotted a mare suckling a foal. By the time I left the car and waited for a couple of cyclists to walk up the hill, the late lunch had been completed. The mother wandered off on her own, joining a few relatives. Her offspring gave chase. He then lay down for a rest. Off she went again. Up he rose and continued his pursuit.

 

When the ponies vacated this spot a longhorn cow advanced into it. She was joined by a black companion. These two drew closer together as the next member of the herd approached to commandeer its own pasturage.

Dappled sunlight slipped through the trees along Rhinefield Ornamental Drive reflected in streams running under the road.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s splendid pasta arrabbiata with which she drank Hoegaarden and Elizabeth and I consumed more of the Pinot Noir.

 

Height Restrictions Apply

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Heavy rain this morning ricocheted from the roofs, and bounced from the basin catching a leak landing on the kitchen table. Even Aaron was unable to work.

As if by magic the skies cleared to accommodate skimming clouds and warm sunshine. Jackie therefore took me for a drive in the forest. She first parked in the Boundary parking area, where I walked past

the woods

to look down on the tree-lined valley below. I noticed two figures with a couple of dogs. They disappeared into the trees and I waited for them to appear in the next clearing, when I focussed on them once more. Readers may care to enlarge these to spot the subjects.

Our next stop was along Rhinefield Road where I photographed more forest scenes.

Cattle roamed the moors around Fritham.

For ponies foraging a little further along, height restrictions applied. Only those tall enough could feed on leaves. The little ones hand to keep their noses to the ground. I found myself thinking pigs at pannage were needed to mop up the fallen acorns which are poisonous to equines.

Meanwhile, a solitary cow wandered past another small pony across the road, currently occupied by donkeys playing havoc with traffic.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s fishy potato pie (remnants of fish pie topped with sautéed potatoes; piquant cauliflower cheese; crunchy carrots; tender green beans; and succulent ratatouille. My wife drank Hoegaarden; my sister and I drank Western Cape Malbec 2017.

 

 

This Later Season

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This morning I learned that my PSA result was clear – no action required. It is an interesting phenomenon that this is one situation in which no news is good news. The GP only contacts the patient if there is a problem. Otherwise the patient has to make the call.

This afternoon Jackie drove me to Sears Barbers for Peter to cut my hair. Afterwards we visited Tanners Lane,

where a few others were having fun. Two women, children, and a Labrador collected shells; a young man walked his dog; two people rowed a canoe.

A gull atop a post ignored the swirling eddies where currents clashed in the otherwise calm waters.

En route to this site we had noticed a glimpse of the view across to the Isle of Wight from Shotts Lane. The second picture reveals the Isle of Wight ferry and smoke from a fire on the island. The cattle in the third image conveniently wandered into shot.

In order to remove the five barred gate from the scene I needed to scale it a bit, then climb down again.

Pheasants in Sowley Lane, no longer dressed in their mating finery, reflected this later season by picking at stubble in a ploughed field. Others sought the shelter of the Becks Farm drive.