Don’t Frighten The Humans

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Today was largely overcast, but it brightened up a little in Brockenhurst.

We spent the morning mostly tidying and composting the Oval and Elizabeth’s Beds. Jackie continued with this work after we went for a drive this afternoon. I can report that there has been no evidence of Big Beast activity for 48 hours.

Many of the verges in Sandy Down seem to have been tended by the residents. Particularly attractive was that outside Cranford Cottage, where cultivated rhododendrons grow alongside gorse.

Cattle were out in force on the verges and in the woods of Brockenhurst. The mottled black group, perhaps jealous of the attention given to the Highland creatures, wandered into the road to claim their own share.

I became a bovine expert when I explained to a number of visitors that these were Highland Cattle rather a long way from their natural environment.

Stream

Venturing into the woodland in order to photograph one particular grazer, I discovered an inviting fern-bound stream, alongside which

my quarry chomped on grass and other undergrowth.

Further along the road a pair of ponies performed their own interpretation of Oscar Wilde’s aphorism. What they were doing was acceptable as long as they didn’t frighten the humans.

This evening we dined on chicken casserole, sage and onion stuffing, roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, carrots, Brussels sprouts, and runner beans. I drank more of the shiraz.

Raising The Roof

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Threatened with an early disappearance of the sun that shone through the mist at dawn this morning, we took a drive soon afterwards. I have to confess that Jackie was the only person out of bed early enough to produce these two photographs.

Our first stop was at Norleywood where the land alongside a stream was very waterlogged;

and primroses and celandines sprawled over the slopes and beside the stream.

Blackthorn 1

Prolific blackthorn also bloomed.

Llamas, two of which reconstructed Doctor Dolittle’s Pushmepullyou, grazed in a field further along the road;

Cattle and blackthorn

cattle opposite had freedom to roam;

Chickens

while neighbouring chickens certainly enjoyed free range.

At East End, an interesting problem for motorists was presented by the unloading of a lorryload of thatcher’s reeds at the same time as two huge vehicles were parked outside the house next door where heavy landscaping seemed to be in progress. We watched the reeds lifted by crane, carried over the hedge, and lowered into position for the imminent task of re-thatching an impressively proportioned house.

Mimosa

A rather splendid mimosa grew in a garden on the opposite side of the road.

Low tide on flats

It was so misty beyond Tanners Lane beach that neither the Isle of Wight

Shore in mist

nor Lymington harbour was visible.

Photographer

After I had taken this very pleasant woman’s photograph we had an enjoyable conversation, beginning with our lack of complete understanding of the cameras we were using.

Primroses, violets, ditch

More pale yellow primroses shared the banks of the ditch along the lane with little violets.

This evening we dined on Set Meal B at Imperial China in Lyndhurst, both drinking Tiger beer.

Controlled Burning

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Jackie and I spent the morning weeding and clearing the rose garden. The task is not yet finished.

A rather large creature has head-butted a hole in the fence, tossed the insect hotel logs aside, and broken off the legs of a couple of the plastic edge rails bordering the stepping brick path, across which it has trodden a trail. We rather hope it is not a rat. In an attempt at least to deter the beast I have plugged the square hole with a round peg.

Ladybirds 1

The ladybird bug in the weeping birch has taken a mate and led her further up the tree.

This afternoon we went on a drive through the forest.

A group of ponies on the road between Burley and Ringwood feasted on gorse, grass, and brambles on the verge and the bank above it.

One took itself along and across the road where it thought the grass was greener.

Attracted by the smoke of controlled burning, I stepped out onto the heathland where

Hikers

I met a group of hikers seeking directions. Naturally I led two of them to the driver who set them right.

‘Yearly burning of heather and gorse in the New Forest is helping to reinvigorate the area’s heathland habitats for wildlife, according to a scientific study.’ This quotation comes from http://www.hlsnewforest.org.uk/hls/news/article/11/research_shows_burning_benefits_precious_new_forest_habitats from the Forestry Commission website which has further information.

On the outskirts of Hyde we encountered a string of ponies taking a leisurely stroll along a road lined with

Blackthorn

blackthorn.

Ponies on road 3

One of the animals stopped, turned, and noisily expressed its desire that I should also stop, and retrace my steps,

Ponies on road 4

which I did, to find reinforcements alongside the Modus in which Jackie closed the window

Pony and Modus

in the face of one particularly hopeful individual which,

Pony on road 3

when I came between it and the passenger side, observed me with what seemed like malevolent intent.

Cattle occupied the higher ground at Gorley Common,

Donkeys eating gorse

while donkeys’ leathery mouths tore at the gorse below.

Beef cobbler meal

This evening we dined on Jackie’s beef cobbler served with boiled potatoes, crunchy carrots, cauliflower, and green beans; and purple sprouting broccoli which turned green the cooked. Jackie drank sparkling water and I finished the Bordeaux.

Definitely The Business

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This morning we went on a drive about the forest in order to try out the lens bag featured yesterday.

Does are normally so timid that they bound, bouncing, away before we have even seen them. The curiosity of this little harem among the trees got the better of them. Some turned their pretty rears, others presented a staring face. Others, with elegant flexibility, did both. When they all looked in the same direction they seemed to emulate meerkats.

The forest terrain is becoming decidedly waterlogged. Trees and sky are reflected in clear pools lying among last autumn’s fallen foliage. When the land is very wet the shallower-rooted trees tend to tip over and lie across land and water. We wonder how anyone can visit such a beautiful spot and lob a Lucosade bottle into it.

A herd of cattle have claimed the crossroads at East Boldre as their own. Wandering into the road at will, or, chewing the cud, resting their mud-caked legs, their knees are decorated with hay and grass.

The green frontage to this group of houses in East End has become a mirror to them and to ponies who still attempt to keep the grass down.

I am happy to be able to report that Jackie’s creation has made it possible for me to switch lenses and cameras with unaccustomed ease. It is definitely the business.

I spent several hours this afternoon completing a detailed timeline on the issue of my mother’s bathroom. This is the attachment that will go with the letter Elizabeth and I worked on yesterday. I then e-mailed it to my sister. I find it easier to write a blog.

After this I thoroughly enjoyed Jackie’s superb chicken jalfrezi, savoury rice, sag paneer, and paratha, with which I finished the bordeaux.

“They Aren’t Going To Fly Away”

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This morning we took a trip back to Gordleton Barn to measure a door I had photographed on our last trip in the hope that it might be suitable to replace our inner front door I don’t like. It was too thick.

The amount of rain that has fallen in the last 48 hours let up only briefly this morning, but we went for a forest drive anyway.

Ponies in mist

Damp ponies, such as these at Wootton, continued to feed on the misty moors,

Pool and reflection

Whilst I was engrossed in photographing the soggy terrain,

Pony in bushes

I glimpsed something among the trees that looked a different brown than the bracken.

It turned out to be a pony brunching on holly.

Lunches

This gave us the idea of lunching at Holmsley Old Station Tea Rooms. My choice was steak and ale pie, chips, Savoy cabbage, carrots and peas. Just look at that gravy; and the wedges supplied with Jackie’s macaroni cheese, bacon, and salad.

Gents

I visited the gents which was, of course, situated at the end of the platform.

Lion sculpture

The harmless looking lions atop the entrance pillars wore lichen masks.

It was in Braggers Lane at Thorney Hill that I became rather mean to a string of be-rugged horses. Stopping to photograph pools leading to a five-barred gate, I noticed these animals far away beside distance trees. Seeing me lean on the gate they scrambled over to me, no doubt expecting to be fed.

Horse in rug

There was no such luck, and they looked somewhat forlorn as they watched me return to the car.

Cattle

Cattle in a field alongside Thatchers Lane at Sopley melded rather well with the subdued landscape.

Heron

There is a deep ditch along this road. It is now well topped up, and clearly held much attraction for the heron that burst from it every time we approached, flew a bit further, and disappeared down below. Despite keen tracking, I was unable to get a decent shot in. eventually it took off across a field and dropped from sight. We then passed a stream flowing at right angles to the ditch. Sure enough, some distance ahead, was our happy quarry. Alongside the stream ran a footpath. I took it. At last the bird sprang out from the undergrowth and presented me with my final opportunity. This was it. Jackie’s message to my readers is: “That took a lot of effort.”

We crossed from Thatchers Lane into Fish Street at Avon. After a while, Jackie stopped suddenly, backed up a bit, then came to a halt. “They aren’t going to fly away”, she exclaimed. “What is that?”, I asked, peering at a grey mass behind a thorn hedge. “An emu” she replied. These birds, of course, cannot fly. Never having seen one before, I was intrigued by the motion of their necks, as they mimicked the movement of a snake charmer’s cobra, curling low in an arc then stretching upright and repeating the dance.

It will come no surprise to anyone who has seen our lunch that all we required this evening was a small slice of pizza with which I drank a little more Shiraz.

Blackberrying

 

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Today, I scanned another batch of black and white negatives from 1985.

Garden of gite 1985

Here is a view of the garden of the gite,

Jessica 1985

where Jessica basked in the evening sun.

Matthew, Sam, Louisa, farmyard fowl 1985

Here Matthew introduces Sam and Louisa to farmyard fowl,

Matthew, Sam, Louisa, cattle and farmyard fowl

soon attracting the usually inquisitive cattle.

Back home in London we paid one of our regular visits to Covent Garden, where Jessica, Sam, and Louisa enjoyed the Punch and Judy show. Sam entered gleefully into the spirit of the occasion, whereas Louisa found it all a little tiring.

On another occasion we walked around the corner from our Gracedale Road home for a blackberrying expedition on Tooting Bec Common. Sam, as evidenced by the purple smear across his cheeks, adhered to the normal custom of eating as much of the fruit as found its way into his container.

This evening we dined at Lymington’s Royal China, where we enjoyed our usual warm welcome and excellent meal. We both drank Tsingtao beer.

Pig On The Road

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Hoping for the cloud to clear we drove out to the north of the forest late this afternoon.

pony and rider

Between Sway and Brockenhurst a woman rode a New Forest pony. This can only be managed after skillful ‘backing’ or breaking in.

Her steed carried her past a gathering of diminutive  Shetland or ‘Thelwell’ ponies, ignoring both me and the hair in their eyes as they foraged away.

Along Roger Penny Way we learned that pannage continues, as pigs scampered speedily along the verges

and across the road, snouts searching out mast.

Pony

Further along, a group of normal sized ponies grazed on a golf green, as a player prepared his putt. By the time Jackie had parked and I had walked back, a pair of brandished clubs had shooed off the interlopers who satisfied themselves with the roadside where they blended with the golden brown bracken.

Skyscape

We enjoyed dramatic skies across the moors. Blue skies peeped out from lighter clouds, and beams of sunlight pierced the darker ones.

Cattle led by farmer

At Godshill a farmer, carrying a bucket, led his little herd of cattle along the roadside;

Cow running

a deep bellowing emanated from one straggler who broke into a surprisingly spritely sprint, lest it might miss out on whatever was in the container;

Cow and calf

and a cow and calf had managed to find themselves on the wrong side of the road.

By the time we reached Abbots Well the landscape, and the cattle therein, basked in warm late sunlight;

Sunset

the skies on our return home added gold and magenta hues to the darkening slate.

This evening we dined on salmon and smoked haddock fish pie studded with prawns; crunchy carrots and broccoli; and fried leeks and spinach. We both drank Louis de Camponac sauvignon blanc 2015.