Hauling Grandpa

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Leaving Elizabeth house and dog sitting, the rest of us spent the morning in Burley. It is amazing how much time can be occupied in scouring a few tourist shops in a village with a reputation built on mythical witches.

Even before reaching the fudge shop in the alley linking the car park with the high street, everything on offer had to be explored. Samples of their produce were handed out outside Burley Fudge, next door to which a vast number of different New Forest ice creams were on sale. Jackie disappeared into

Witchcraft

and returned with two witches who stood cackling on the alfresco table guarding our fudge and ice cream.

I had sat on a picnic bench seat while the first row of outlets had been explored. In order to transfer to the ice cream parlour I needed to be hauled to my feet by two strong young ladies.

While the rest of the enchantresses’ attractions were being carefully combed, Jackie and I sat on a bench near the war memorial.

A splendid chicken circling our seat craned its neck hoping to catch some of Jackie’s fudge, whilst its rooster crowed from a nearby fence. In his eagerness to photograph the cock, a foreign visitor, unfamiliar with cattle grids, put a foot through the bars, filling his shoe with muddy water and receiving an earful from his wife.

Across the road the Cycle Hire establishment was exceedingly busy. Traffic streamed down the street, making it extremely difficult for a couple with two small children carried with them on specially designed bikes to return their rented equipment.

Danni and Andy joined us later in the afternoon and joined in the general merriment. The eight of us dined on Jackie’s superb steak pie; crunchy carrots, cauliflower, cabbage; and creamy mashed potato. This was followed by apple, apricot and blackberry crumble with ice cream or cream. The girls had picked and washed the blackberries this afternoon. Red wine, Hoegaarden, coke, and water were variously consumed. I drank a Parra Alta Malbec 2016.

Baa

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Dawn

It wasn’t until early evening that the clarity of the dawn skies was to be repeated today.

Big Beast Barrier

Jackie discovered that the Big Beast had dug its way under her reinforced log last night, further trampled the cyclamen, and knocked over the obelisk. Undeterred, she put back the loose soil and buried more, lower, stakes around the wooden peg.

Bug on tulip

Elizabeth came for lunch which consisted of cold meats and salads. After this she and I photographed bugs on the diamond jubilee tulips. The first is mine with my Canon EOS 5D;

the next two with my Canon SX700;

Tulips Diamond Jubilee

and finally, Elizabeth’s with her i-Phone, by which time the bugs had fled.

Later, we took a drive to the north of the forest.

Horse, rider, cyclist, van

On Flexford Lane in Sway, we needed to wait on the verge for a horse and rider with a cycling escort, followed by a white van, to pass.

The gorse-covered hills below Abbot’s Well at Frogham glowed in the evening light.

Jackie and Elizabeth turned and spotted me photographing them as they stood in the car park.

The colourfully attired gentleman beside them obligingly took his own camera into the landscape, thus providing a foil to my photographs.

Pony in pool

As we left, a pony drank from a reflective pool.

As we approached the Cadnam roundabout near the end of Roger Penny Way, we noticed a flock of sheep blocking a turning to our left. As soon as she could Jackie turned around so we could see what was happening. The woolly animals were steadfastly making their way past our car to the aforementioned major road,

where they caused a total standstill.

Sheep on road 8

Looking back down the lane we saw what seemed like the final stragglers,

who picked up speed and galloped in panic after the main group.

In fact they were not the last. Two more had been left behind. We hoped they found their friends.

Further along this lane a very small sow snuffling against a wall, became excited by our presence, perhaps hoping for a chat.

Around the next bend a couple of ducks had taken possession of a watery verge.

Indian runner duck

One was an Indian runner. We didn’t recognise the other.

Chicken 1

Finally, a collection of chickens scampered from the verge when we stopped beside them.

This evening the three of us dined on Jackie’s splendid chilli con carne, savoury rice, and green beans. The ladies drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Malbec.

Walking To Bridgetown

On this drizzly day, Jackie did a great deal of planting and composting. We then carried off to the dump two more bags of the griselinia cuttings that Aaron and Robin had filled for us on Sunday. We only came back with a hoe.

After completing the scanning of the March 2004 colour slides of Barbados, i discovered some negative film I used when walking around the island before Sam arrived. The first dozen of these are of a ten mile walk from our first hotel at the southern tip to the capital, Bridgetown. It was a bit hot, and this was when I earned the epithet ‘the white man who walks’.

Street 3.04

This street scene shows the sign for a roadside bar; a well cared-for church, and typical chattel houses,

Corrugated iron wall

one with some kind of lean-to constructed of weathered corrugated iron, which was a common roofing material.

Chattel House and car bits 1Chattel House and Car Bits 2

The gardens of some of these houses contained car wrecks.

Gardens

Other owners preferred shrubs,

Bougainvillea around doorway

such as this bougainvillea trained around a porch behind a little picket fence.

Chicken

Chickens, some having been instructed in the art of deportment, strutted around with the apparent freedom of a New Forest pony.

Coconuts

Coconuts

Breadfruit

and breadfruit hung over the road which lacked a footpath,

Bus stop

and along which rampant buses tore. There were not many stops, but local people kept telling me I should use one.

Schoolchildren

The children who emerged from these simply constructed homes were clad in crisp, clean, uniforms and certainly were not ‘creeping like snail, unwillingly to school’ (William Shakespeare).

This evening we dined on Tesco’s fluffy fish pie; cauliflower, mushrooms, tomatoes,  and peas. Jackie drank lemon squash, and I drank merlot. Jackie is still carrying a cough from the virus, although I am not.

Carry On Regardless

886304_344214319032199_40218913_oDavid has sent me an e-mail giving the information that Jamie and the Crazy Hearts will be performing a barbecue concert at Le Code Bar this coming Saturday evening.  So, come on, all my French readers, turn up.  I am assured by Fred that Johnny Cash will be there in person.  Possibly in spirit, anyway.

I missed my assinine friend as I set off on this chilly, cloudy, morning granted the occasional shaft of sunlight, to walk the Pomport loop. Mauve flowers The field he shares with goats was empty of fauna but full of flora, including long grass and nettles.

Wild flowersDaisy chainWild flowers proliferated.Buttercups  Buttercups had more chance to brighten the landscape than those of last week in Minstead. Dog roses Large daisies had formed their own, natural, chain, and dog roses mingled with others I cannot name. Cow parsley

The road was lined with cow parsley, Vine shootsand April’s knobbly-kneed vine stems were sprouting lime-green shoots.

As I neared Pomport the throb of the engine of a tractor working a field below, and the racket of ducks on the pond beneath the slope disturbed the general silence.

The sweet aroma of freshly mown grass led me to an elderly gentleman, his glistening face bespattered with cuttings.  We had a satisfyingly lengthy conversation during which we discussed my route.  He asked me if I was going via Cuneges.  I wasn’t.  He then suggested Saint Andre, a sign for which I knew appeared just before the usual road I take.  I said I would.

Memorial bouquetSomeone had placed a bouquet at the foot of the war memorial.

I had never taken the Saint Andre route before because it bears a no through road sign. View from Saint Andre But, relying on my local informant, I took a chance.  The tarmac did in fact peter out at this hamlet containing a few smallholdings, that offered a different perspective to my downward journey. Chicken

A marmalade cat loped off at my arrival, but a chicken, apparently mottled with terra cotta shards,Chicken's beady eye remained to fix me with its beady eye.  Spray can

Following the colour scheme, a spray can on a rubbish heap appeared to have released its contents.  I was able to pick my way through a very muddy track between vineyards that led to the road.

Approaching me as I reached the houses was a post van I had seen in Pomport.  This somewhat disconcerted me because I did not want to end up back there.  However, as the delightful song from Sam’s favourite album of the early 1990s from the aptly named The Beautiful South, came to me, I decided to ‘carry on regardless’.  My son played this record over and over again and I never tired of it.

Reaching the D17 and not recognising it for what it was, I dutifully turned left.  It was then that my experiences in The New Forest came in handy.  I spotted a fallen fruit tree I had noticed on my way up, promptly turned round, and walked back down to Sigoules, feeling that I had learned some woodcraft after all.

Today’s lunch in the bar began with a tasty vegetable soup followed by a crisp slice of piquant pizza.  The main course was a skewer of tiny tender hearts served with a spicy sausage and green and haricot beans.  Sweet strawberries was the finale.