This morning, after visiting Ferndene Farm Shop, Jackie and I took a forest drive.
On the verges of Chapel Lane a group of ponies including a foal caught the attention of a couple of friendly cyclists.
Two little Shetlands shared the pasturage with their larger cousins, one of whom did her best to concentrate on taking in her share despite the attentions of
her young offspring, first suckling, then
before standing off for a scratch.
Further on, we followed an equestrienne trio towards
Barrack Lane with its adjacent landscape.
A small herd of crème caramel cattle containing calves basked in a field at Norley Wood.
This evening we dined on tender fillet steaks; crisp oven chips, succulent fried onions and peppers, and firm garden peas, with which Jackie drank, Hoegaarden, Flo drank water, and I drank Azinhaga de Ouro Reserva 2019.
The heavy rain that fell this morning was more welcome to us than to the influx of holidaymakers. Thinking that now was our chance to find Ferndene Farm Shop without a queue we set off in hope.
A four-way traffic control gave me ample time to photograph the lights through a wet windscreen.
After the wait our hopes were dashed. Even in pelting rain a line of bedraggled visitors stretched round the outside of the shop, so we set off for a forest drive instead.
The caravan site at Holmsley is one of a few that are closed because of Covid-19. Consequently would-be campers tend to park on the approach road when the adjacent car park is full. Ponies and cattle are no doubt appreciating the raindrops settling on their hitherto hot dry hides. One of the ponies sports a fern fascinator.
Dogs still had to be walked, some patently not very far because, despite
notices there was more dog shit than pony excreta around the edges of the parking area.
Car headlights glowed on Burley Road stretching down the hill towards the hazy landscape.
Many ambulant visitors, like these on Chapel Lane, were cheerful enough under their colourful umbrellas.
During the heatwave strings of ponies could be guaranteed to block Forest Road as they clustered together to shelter from clegs, heat, and humidity. Today they kept more Social Distance and even ignored the less prolific flies. Like the walls of concrete buildings today’s previously dry ponies all bore downward streaking water stains.
Alongside Holmsley Passage golden-browning bracken and purple heather glistened in the still driving proper rain as we made our way back home.
This evening we dined on tasty garlic and pepper coated roast chicken; herby sage and onion stuffing; crunchy carrots, firm cauliflower, tender kale; crisp Yorkshire pudding, and flavoursome gravy, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Montepuciano.
When I walked over the Braemore bridge a couple of days ago, I was aware that Jackie wanted to photograph Queen Anne’s Lace against the sky.
I hadn’t known that she had photographed me wielding my camera. When you understand that the screen of the Canon SX700 HS is badly cracked, reducing visibility to a few centimetres at the bottom, you will realise that we have a whole new perspective on ‘point and shoot’, and that my lady has done really well. I found these shots this morning.
Today’s clouds allowed the sun an occasional look-in, but mostly they kept bursting into tears. Nevertheless we took a drive into the forest.
The entrance to Old Chapel lies on The corner of Coombe Lane, Sway, and
Chapel Lane, along which the building,
and its graveyard stretches. Beneath the sward lie sleeping residents.
Originally constructed as a Baptist Chapel around 1836, the building is now a self-catering bed and breakfast facility. There is one large bedroom, and the wherewithal for the morning meal is provided. As so often on Trip Advisor, the majority of reviews are very positive and there is one disappointed customer. An Indian restaurateur once opined that the poor reviews were placed by rivals.
As early as mid-afternoon, the constantly changing light offered variable skies over the darkening moorland.
By 3 p.m. the lights of a transport van we followed through the narrow lanes were reflected in the gradually filling pools on the road surface from which were propelled billows of spray.
Yesterday’s dinner was so enjoyable that Jackie raided the larder and the freezer and repeated it this evening. This was followed by mixed fruit crumble and ginger ice cream. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Madiran.