Bad Hair Day

This afternoon Jackie drove me to Eyeworth Pond and back to watch the birds.

Golden gorse glowed in the sunshine on Hinchelsea Moor and many others.

The deciduous trees, like this oak, are all filling with foliage.

Walkers along the Rhinefield Ornamental Drive

gave scale to the giant redwoods.

Mandarin ducks are not native to UK, but we now have a feral population which originates from escapees from collections. These two males brightened an otherwise dull Eyeworth Pond.

Birders tend to place nuts and other food on the posts of the gate to the woodland footpath. A moss-covered log has recently been added. The blue tits, a coal tit, a nuthatch, chaffinches and sparrows were extremely busy today swooping to pick up and dart off with nutriment for the babies in their nearby nests.

A pair of sparrows left a tardy chaffinch on the ground beneath the post upon which they filled their beaks, debating who should set off first. Although not up to his flying bird sequence the last of these pictures is a nod to Tootlepedal.

Alongside Cadnam Lane a couple of pigs have joined

the grazing ponies and recumbent cattle now fertilising the greens alongside Cadnam Lane

One pony demonstrated its ungainly rise from the ground;

a small Shetland was definitely having a bad hair day.

This evening we dined on succulent chicken Kiev; Lyonnaise potatoes with lashings of onions; red cabbage cooked with butter and red wine; and crunchy carrots and cauliflower. Jackie finished the Sauvignion Blanc, while I drank the last of the Carménere.

Was It Something In The Water?

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This morning was spent Christmas shopping in New Milton and in Brockenhurst

Stream

Jackie parked the car in Butts Lane, Brockenhurs and I walked alongside the stream beside it.

Water level guage

At the far end a ford leads to Park Close. The water level gauge shows

Water level gauge and reflections

it is quite shallow at this point.

Ripples on stream

Vehicles are able to cross easily, and send ripples along the waterway.

Reflection in streamReflections in streamReflections in stream

Trees,

Reflections in streamReflections in streamReflections in stream

buildings,

Reflections in stream

and fences rippled in the water.

Rose hips

Wild rose hips wound over the wooden bridge rails.

Chaffinch

A chaffinch took advantage of shrubbery camouflage,

Stream

spanning the stream.

Pigeon

This didn’t conceal a wood pigeon.

Feather on water

Perhaps this bird had lost a feather.

Jackdaws

Jumping jackdaws scratched around on the bank.

Pigeon

Although I saw no birds in the stream, the pigeon had a bath in,

Jackdaws

and the jackdaws drank from, a pool beside a house. Was it something in the water?

This evening we dined on barbecued pork spare ribs, prawn toasts, and Jackie’s exceedingly savoury rice. She drank more of the sauvignon blanc and I drank Mendoza Parra Alta malbec 2016.

 

 

 

It Ain’t Half Cold, Mum

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Today, as it rained incessantly, was one for delving into the photographic archives. I returned to the colour negatives of the August 1992 holiday at Towcett, where

Friesan cattle 8.92

Black and white Friesian cattle picked their way across their field.

On a trip to Borrowdale, first Sam,

Then Louisa jumped into an icy tarn.

Sam helping Louisa out of wet T shirt 8.92

Louisa’s brother helped her out of her damp T-shirt.

James timed Louisa’s run on a track, then took a turn himself.

At Wattendlath, the mermaid’s expression demonstrates that the water was just as cold.

Chaffinch 4Sam with chaffinch 8.92 1Sam with chaffinch 8.92 2Chaffinch 3

After the swim a cheeky chaffinch chirped its way to the crumbs from our refreshments.

Elizabeth came to lunch and dinner today. The latter consisted of roast lamb; roast potatoes, some sweet; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; and runner beans; followed by rice pudding. Elizabeth and I finished the Malbec, and Jackie drank Hoegaarden.

Synchronicity

Cherry blossom

Pausing to admire one of the freshly flowering cherries in the front garden, we took an early morning drive through forest to Eyeworth Pond and back.

Pony behind burnt stalks

Sometimes the heathland, after the burning of the gorse, can appear like a Paul Nash landscape. So it was today. As we approached Burley, I spotted a pony appearing to be boxed in behind the stalk stubble.

The Driver obligingly turned round and drove into a carpark we had just passed, so I could  walk back and take the photograph.

Horse, Fynn in box

In the carpark stood a horse box. Peering through its barred window was a far more elegant relative of the pony. It was clearly his portrait on the side of the transport vehicle.

This was Fynn, representing the first piece of synchronicity afforded by this pit stop. He was also involved in the second, which follows:

An exchange between Bruce, Paul, and me, following my ‘Down The Lane’ post, concerning why a gentleman might have changed his trousers, reminded me of the story of the catch, another occurrence in a cricket match which I featured in ‘Six Leg Byes’. What happened was that Keith Boyce, a phenomenal West Indian Test player, hit a skier (a ball going straight up in the air) off my bowling. Everyone stood in anticipation, watching the poor man standing underneath it, as the ball began its rapid descent. The fielder safely took the catch, then turned in my direction and cried ‘can I change my trousers now?’. Neither of us could have imagined that I would recycle that joke fifty years later.

Now, what has this to do with Fynn?

Horse, Fynn amd mare 1

Well, this superbly turned out thoroughbred animal had a plaited tail of which Judy Garland would have been proud.

Mare

His companion mare’s appendage sported an attractive binding.

One of the two very friendly women about to ride out across the moor explained the plait. This was in order that her steed did not discolour his tail if he pooped in the van. I can only assume that the mare’s different precaution was either because she was more genteel, or because she possessed a less contrasting colour.

Horses and riders 1Horses and riders 2

Before taking their farewell of us, the ladies removed the constraints so the horses’ fly whisks could still be employed.

Landscape 1Landscape 2

The undulating slopes on the road up to Fritham present typically idyllic New Forest landscapes, seen at their best on such a spring morning.

Eyeworth Pond

Eyeworth Pond lies at the top of the hill, past The Royal Oak pub.

Never before had we had it to ourselves, but here, we were alone with the stillness and the birds, whose continuous sweet song and occasional less musical honks and quacks, filled the air.

Chaffinch

Small birds, such as chaffinches,

Nuthatch

and nuthatches flitted to and fro, occasionally perching long enough for me to photograph them.

Canada goose

No British stretch of water is now without its Canada geese;

Muscovy Duck

I have, however, never seen Muscovy duck before, yet here was one, gliding about in stately fashion.

Mallards on Eyeworth Pond

Mallards

Mallards, on the other hand, are ubiquitous. It was Jackie who noticed that only the drakes were abroad, and wondered where all the ladies were.

Mallards three

Suddenly a pair appeared, and, it seemed, every drake on the lake set off in pursuit, until the quarry escaped sharpish.

On our way home we called at Mole Country Supplies where we purchased three more bags of Landscape Bark, some rat bait and a tube in which to place it. We have always known there were rats in the abandoned garden, but it was not until last night that we watched a gang of them scampering in staccato mood past our kitchen window.

This afternoon we set the application.

Jackie’s super sausage casserole, new potatoes, runner beans, carrots and cauliflower, followed by lemon meringue pie constituted our dinner this evening. The Cook drank water, and I drank La Croix des Celestins fleurie 2014.

No Contest

Yesterday’s airborne avian shadow was a jackdaw perched on a TV aerial some distance away.

As the evening sun lowered in the West, Flo continued her bird photography.

Collared dove

The collared dove took its turn at the feeding tray,

Pair of collared doves, one landing, the other flying off

until its mate dislodged it.

Collared dove and pigeon

Settling in the weeping birch it pondered a pigeon,

Collared dove trapeze

practiced its trapeze act,

Collared dove on the wing

and eventually took to the air.

Rook on chimney pots

A crow was poised for launching from the chimney pots,

Male chaffinch

and a male chaffinch enjoyed the last of the sunshine.

This morning a hobbled around the garden and the back drive before Jackie drove me to the GP surgery to order a repeat prescription, which, later, we collected.

Purple plastic bucket

I emptied the purple plastic bucket used for collecting weeds.

Bee on ivy

Along the back drive a bee took a break on an ivy leaf.

Magnolia

The staff of the children’s home have cleared some of their side of the North Breeze jungle, so the magnolia is more visible,

Camellia

and the camellia has now bloomed above that garden’s shed.

It will not escape my readers’ attention that our granddaughter’s bird photographs are considerably better than mine. In a vain attempt to match up, I attempted to take some this afternoon. The best I could manage was this rather scathing greenfinch:

Greenfich

Just after lunch, Becky accompanied Jackie to Nuffield Hospital at Chandler’s Ford, where she is to have her knee surgery. She was seen exactly on time by a very courteous consultant who described exactly what he was to do. This private hospital is very well appointed, and offers good quality, free, coffee while you wait. It is contracted to the NHS. Interestingly the free newspapers provided were The Daily Mail, The Daily Telegraph, and The Times. Becky sought in vain for The Mirror, The Sun, and The Guardian.

Soon after their return, Flo dashed into the sitting room seeking the camera. ‘Eric’, she cried, as she eagerly grasped the instrument.

Now, my regular followers will be aware that I have spent weeks aiming my lens through the kitchen window unsuccessfully trying to photograph our visiting pheasant both in focus and clear of the undergrowth. Whenever I have emerged into the garden, off Eric has lumbered, squawking.

What does Flo do?

She creeps outside, and tracks her prey all round the garden. Not only does he not disappear, but he looks her in the eye. She returns after what seems an age, her facial expression being a mix of smugness and mischief.

Seemingly reluctant to show me what she has achieved, she disappears into the kitchen and, after an expectant interval, hands me my camera.

The memory card contained some thirty-odd photographs of Eric. Here are half a dozen:Eric 1Eric 2Eric 3Eric 4Eric 5Eric 6

Finally, for good measure, there were included images of an ostrich, a parakeet, and a penguin:OstrichParakeetPenguin

Our granddaughter had downloaded them from the internet into her iPad, then photographed her screen.

I think you’d agree, it was no contest.

This evening more of yesterday’s superb dinner, well matured, was served by our mistress chef who, along with Becky, drank Mateus rose. Ian and I imbibed San Miguel, while Flo savoured J2O.

In The Verges

Today was sunny and warmer. I made my way this morning down to Roger’s footpath and back. This was more of a hobble than a ramble, but the swelling on the knee has subsided and I have left off the Ibuprofen.

To be found in the verges of Downton Lane are:Crocuses

CrocusesButtercupsButtercupCelandines

Primroses

PrimrosesPrimulas

PrimulasCelandinesCelandine

More celandinesDaffodil

DaffodilsGrape hyacinth

Grape HyacinthsBudweiser can

and drink cans, like this one from Budweiser which will soon be nestling in ladies’ bedstraw.Celandine blue

We have blue celandines in the garden, whereNew bed

Jackie has continued work on the new bed,Chain

and we have erected a plastic chain to enhance the barrier at the end of the drive. This seems at least to have deterred a plumber’s van.

Chaffinch

When the tits give them a chance, chaffinches are now visiting the bird feeders.

This afternoon Jackie drove us to Lymington Hospital for my pre-assessment to see whether I am fit for surgery for the fasciectomy. After completion of a questionnaire, checking of blood pressure and pulse rate; measuring height and weight and calculating BMI; taking swabs from nostrils and groin to check for MRSA; applying an ECG; taking blood tests; and anything else I might have forgotten, it seems that I am. The operation should take place some time in April.

Elizabeth came for a visit and, later, we drove off to Lymington’s Lal Quilla in our separate cars, and enjoyed the usual excellent meal and friendly service, including a chat with the chef who really loves his work. My meal was king prawn naga and special fried rice. We all had onion bhajis for starters and drank Kingfisher.