As If There Were Not Enough Foals

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This afternoon Jackie drove me to New Hall Hospital for a session with Claire, the physiotherapist who was very pleased with my progress. The flexion in my left knee has been increased by 20 degrees in the last two weeks. She adjusted the height ofd my crutch handle because she noticed that I lurch sideways on it because it was a bit too low.

As usual we took a cross-country route back home.

Thatched cottage, pony

We passed a picturesque thatched cottage with roses round the door. It faced a green with strangely uneven terrain that was carpeted with

ponies and cattle

Black Baldy cattle

including Black Baldies.

Cow investigating garden

Further along the lane a cow investigated someone’s garden while the next door neighbour had difficulty driving into hers because another blocked her access.

The Fighting Cocks at Godshill was surrounded by even more donkeys and foals than usual. Some of the youngsters clung to their mothers’ flanks, others flopped on the grass. As if there were not enough foals littering the verges, one eager asinine gentleman attempted to participate in the creation of another. He was rebuffed, and brayed his displeasure.

Donkey and foal

When these two set off to cross back over Roger Penny Way, we were a little disconcerted. We needn’t have worried. Having slalomed around numerous equine cousins, all vehicles at this point progressed at a snail’s pace.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s splendid chicken jalfrezi served with boiled basmati rice.

 

 

Playing Cat And Mouse

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Until late afternoon I rather dozed the time away today. Jackie then drove me to the north of the forest and back. I was able to swing my left leg into the car without falling foul of the bottom of the passenger door.

As we approached Ibsley we were held up by ponies blocking the road. The first of these photographs was taken through the windscreen. Jackie wasn’t really able to manoeuvre the car into a position for me to use my passenger seat window, so I nipped onto the verge to take the second shot.

Knowing that these animals were likely to cross the now dry ford, we decided to position ourselves ahead for them and wait for their arrival. The first of these images was made while standing beside the car; the second, after I had settled back inside, through the driver’s window.

We crossed the ford ahead of the ponies, and waited. And waited. And waited some more. The creatures remained beside the bank of the stream. Once more I disembarked and advanced on the horses with the aid of my crutch. Giving me just time enough to reach the other bank, the beasts, en masse, rounded the corner, crossed the ford, and  surrounded the car. By the time I reached it they were wandering into the shade. They may not have known that we were playing cat and mouse, but they won anyway.

A little further along the road a pale ochre cow, as if in a rugby ruck, picked its way over a heap of prone players before settling down to chew the cud. Jackie had positioned the car suitable for me to take these through my own window.

Donkeys on the road at Hyde were unusually frisky. I took the first of these pictures  through the windscreen, the other two through Jackie’s open window.

The pond at Abbots Well is looking quite dry, but it still attracted cattle for a drink. Two calves, like any other pair of playful infants, bounded round to the far side of the water before slaking their thirst on their own.

We dined this evening on beef burgers, fried onions, creamy mashed potato, crunchy carrots, and cabbage, with tasty gravy.

 

Our First Cygnets

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Félicité Perpétue

Squeezing my left leg into the car, for a drive into the forest on this very dull day, was less painful again today. As I did so I admired the Félicité Perpétue rose facing me. This, and all the rest of today’s photographs were taken through the passenger seat window.

Garden opposite All Saints Church

The planting in the lane opposite All Saints Church Milford on Sea was at its best.

 

Thinking that we might be rewarded with a sight of our first cygnets of the season, Jackie headed for Hatchet Pond, where this proved to be the case.

Black-headed gull

A rather high and mighty black-headed gull took exception to our presence.

Motley cattle roamed the woodland along Brockenhurst Road,

where foxglove flowers flourished.

This evening we dined on second helpings of the Forest Tandoori takeaway meal from two days ago.

 

Birthday Celebrations

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There can’t be many lovely ladies who begin their 70th Birthday celebrations by cleaning up their husband and deliver his ‘shiny morning face creeping like snail’ to a Practice Nurse for removal of metal clips from his knee. That, I am pleased to say, was what Jackie did this morning. She managed to manoeuvre me into the car and drive me to Wistaria GP practice in Lymigton, where I was seen on time. Nurse Libby carefully removed the alien items, pronounced the wound healed, and stated that I was doing very well. This was something of a surprise, given that I don’t actually feel very far progressed. I have to remember that it is only two weeks since the surgery.

Since we were already out in the wide world, we decided to defer prising me from the Modus and take a short diversionary trip home.

 On the misty, muggy, moors, families of ponies and a few cattle were kind enough to adopt posing positions at Shirley Holms and Sway, enabling me to record their presence photographically by poking my lens through the open window.

It was, as always, enjoyable to have Richard pay a passing visit at lunchtime. We may have to postpone the planned curry evening next week with him and Marianne.

This afternoon Shelly and Ron visited with a birthday present. Jackie opened both this and one Helen had left on Tuesday. Two very welcome items for the garden.

Andrew Petcher having posted that today is official fish and chip day provided us with the ideal completion of Jackie’s idiosyncratic birthday celebrations. We dined on Mr Pink’s fish and chips with Garner’s pickled onions

Forest Fauna

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This morning we transported two huge bags of garden refuse to the Efford Recycling Centre, then drove on to Peacock Computers at Lymington to collect my MacBook and the dongle which enables me to load pictures from my camera.

On this beautifully sunny day we then drove on through the forest.

Of the many groups of somnolent ponies foraging among the gorse and May blossom, the first to catch my eye were those moseying around the moors beside East Boldre. Some simply chomped; one appeared to be resting its neck by standing in a dry ditch; others rested their legs, rising awkwardly to their feet; waited for a bus at a request stop, or occasionally wandered across the road.

Further along towards the Norleywood crossroads a pair of similarly spindly-legged foals were learning to get to grips with the uneven terrain. When they considered I had come a little too close each darted to its own respective mother.

Some of the forest pools still contain enough water in which cattle can slake their thirst. Calves and their parents drank at this one before crossing the road to comparative shade. One protective parent persuaded me to step aside before leaving its offspring to follow.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious beef stew, new potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, and curly kale. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Apothic.

“If I’d Known How Long They Lived I’d Never Have Married You”

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This morning the warm sun shone from a cloudy sky; this evening, still warm, the sun shone from a clear blue sky; this afternoon the sky was overcast. There are no prizes for guessing when we took a drive into the forest.

The first troop of animals that occupy the road was of sheep at Bramshaw. All but one left the green pitted with their hoof prints, some of which were water-filled. I made the mistake of setting out across this poxy terrain. This, in my current wobbly condition, caused Jackie, waiting in the car,  some consternation.

I could really identify with one lame, bleating, creature, left alone to limp over to join its companions.

Further on, it was the turn of muddy cattle, cropping hedges, standing and staring on the winding, undulating, road, or wallowing in ditches, to disrupt the traffic.

Donkeys took up the baton at Frogham. Like yesterday’s pony a little white foal nudged its mother’s furry flanks,

took an inquisitive look at me, and had a good scratch. At this point I indulged in a pleasant conversation with a farmer who pointed out that the mother was in need of a good hoof trim. When the lady had married her husband she had owned six donkeys. Her husband had said that had he known how long they lived he would never have married her.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s splendid chicken jalfrezi and pilau rice. On the patio beforehand the Culinary Queen had drunk her Hoegaarden and I had finished the Paniza. I did, however, have a glass of Lellei 2015, a very quaffable Hungarian pinot noir from Lidl with my meal.

 

Where Was Little Boy Blue?

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Today was another very dull one, but at least the heavily overcast clouds only dropped a little rain, and we managed a dry run into the forest.

 

Alongside Sowley Lane a rape field, determined to outclass MacDonald’s Golden Arches, curved round a sheep field newly fenced off with planted saplings against the backdrop of the Isle of Wight.

 

A troop of cyclists weaved their way around cattle grazing on the verges of the lane, its pools of rainwater reflecting the surrounding trees and bovine browsers.

I know it is the wrong season, and the cows are on the verges, but I did wonder where was Little Boy Blue.

Garden view from kitchen

By the time we sat down to our evening meal, the sun shone across our garden view. We dined on Tesco’s finest fish pie accompanying Jackie’s finestest colourful ratatouille, runner beans, and cauliflower. I drank Casillero del Diablo Reserva Merlot 2017 and the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden