We took an early morning trip into the forest today.
A favourite route takes us through Holmesley Passage which links the A35 with the Burley Road.
Each time we drive along this slender, serpentine, disintegrating rat run we wonder if it will be our last – so rapidly is the tarmac crumbling.
Nevertheless, the landscapes it affords, with its resident ponies and cattle, makes the risk of winding up in a ditch worthwhile. The intrepid creature in the last of this set of photographs has sunk up to its knees in soggy turf.
On Bisterne Close, Burley, we encountered our first foal of the season. Already steady on its feet, just two or three days ago this infant would, having emerged unaided from its mother’s womb, have immediately, in ungainly fashion, tottered to its feet on the end of stick legs, and maybe wobbled a bit on its first visit to the milk bar.
The couple walking down the lane told me they had seen the new-born the day before and thought it could not have been much more than a day or so.
It had been the first of the year for this horse rider, too. She confirmed the newness.
At the junction of Bisterne Close and Bennets Lane a tree, probably precariously placed in the recent windy weather, had been felled.
It was in Bennets Lane that we came across Abbotsfield garden open today as part of the National Gardens Scheme in which approved gardens are open to the public for an entrance fee donated to charity.
For me, the highlights were a splendid display of tulips in most of the beds.
I was also impressed by the erythronium pagodas.
Jackie was disappointed that there was no scent to an unknown shrub, but she did enjoy the cherry blossom.
The garden views included magnolias and Japanese maples.
The honesty in Abbotsfield was of the white variety.
I probably didn’t need to be enjoined to be careful, but this was a helpful sign placed at ground level.
This evening we dined on zesty lemon and herb chicken, creamy mushroom risotto, spicy ratatouille, crunchy carrots, and tender mangoes touts and green beans. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I enjoyed Toro Loco Superior Organico 2017, given to me for Christmas by Shelly and Ron.