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This morning Jackie drove us with our friends Jessie and Claire out into the forest. Unfortunately this took rather longer than anticipated because even the narrow lanes suffered under the burden of far more traffic than usual. Our environment was the venue for a major cycling event, and there was extensive parking in the vicinities of the hostelries.
No sooner had we escaped the first batch of cyclists than a string of ponies stretched across the road at Mockbeggar,
where cattle took some shelter from the heat beneath shady trees,
and almost every other donkey seemed burdened by pregnancy.
We waited for a quad car to pass in order to turn into Hockey’s Farm at South Gorley,
where I was not the only person with the idea of photographing
recently shorn alpacas;
extremely smelly little pigs;
sharing a pen with splendid chickens.
The geese enjoyed a bath in the far left-hand corner. They would duck and dive, then, shaking themselves dry, leave the pool and join their companions.
We then partook of traditional cream teas from the shop. While I had busied myself in the farmyard, Jessie had purchased various meat items which resulted in a certain amount of unwanted attention from a visiting dog.
Fortunately the animal’s head was turned by the offer of a very fresh bone.
Our next obstacle on the road came in the form of a foal, escorted by its pony mother, having a scratch on Roger Penny Way.
The route along the A337 into Lyndhurst was so packed with unmoving traffic that we took a diversion via Minstead through Emery Down. As you can see, this did not prove to be a good idea.
Having eventually threaded our way through this blockage we took the road through Bolderwood and immediately encountered a dappled pony with no inclination to move.
I had resolved not to feature the swarms of cyclists, but they and their marshals did impede our entrance onto the A35 and potential freedom of the road.
The next pony and foal did allow us passing space.
We were soon back home, where Jackie fed us all on superb roast lamb, mint sauce, sage and onion stuffing, roast potatoes, cauliflower cheese, carrots and runner beans. We finished up with Claire’s first class mints. Jackie drank an excellent Sainsbury’s Chablis 2015 provided by Jessie, and I finished the merlot. The others had a long journey back to London and left soon after 6 p.m.