Husky Models

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Today, for the most part, was overcast and dull, although the sun did emerge on our way back from Calshot where Jackie drove us this afternoon. We were positively sweltering in temperatures of 10-12 Celsius.

I wandered among the parked boats and trailers beside the Tudor castle and the modern hangars. One man worked hard to pump up his trailer tyre. He was, like the vessels, reflected in the pools on the concrete.

On the shingle beside Southampton water driftwood and rubble created natural sculptures. Tyres had also been incorporated, sometimes filled with concrete and used as mooring rings. The last one featured here held

one of two memorial seats to Jon Hughes and Norman Ellis. The plaques suggest that these comparatively young gentlemen were both mourned windsurfers, leading to speculation about their deaths.

Three young girls walked along the wall to the castle moat, passing a gentleman seated with a pair of huskies. He was very happy to have his beautiful dogs model for me. Zara retained her interest for longer than Ashka.

A variety of decorative chickens are free to roam in their pen along the outside of the wall of Beaulieu Abbey. When I approached to photograph them,

two gulls that were tucking into the seed in the tray in the foreground of the first of these pictured, rapidly fled across the road past the grazing donkeys. Further over, a riverine garden is home to an intriguing cannon.

The Brockenhurst stretch of Highland Water flowed fast, although scarcely disturbing the reflections of ponies, skies, and trees. Even the banks were filled with reflective pools.

This evening we dined on barbecue sauce marinaded rack of pork spare ribs on a bed of Jackie’s sublime savoury rice radiant with the hues of sweet corn, red peppers, peas, onions, and mushrooms. I drank more of the Azinhaga.

 

 

 

Chickens And A Calf

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Last night Flo transferred several photographs from her mobile phone to my iMac.

On 28th December I had photographed our granddaughter photographing chickens at Hockey’s Farm. These were her images.

Fortune cookies

Yesterday evening we had enjoyed fortune cookies given to Jackie by Mr Chan at Hordle Chinese Take Away. Flo pictured the mottos, including the touch of curry on mine. For some reason the idea of me making a sudden rise caused a certain amount of hilarity.

Branch Line001

The Branch Line To Selsey from Chichester enjoyed barely four decades of life. This is the front cover of a fascinating book published in 1983, giving its detailed story. Barrie Haynes had given me the book a few months ago after Jackie, Ian, Becky, and I had visited a mortgage adviser in the locality. Today I finished reading it.

The authors have thoroughly researched their material and presented it in an entertaining form. Their close scrutiny of contemporary photographs alert the reader to details they may otherwise have missed. Useful maps, tickets, and timetables supplement the illustrations.

Branch Line002

I have chosen a few of the photographs in an attempt to demonstrate the flavour of the work. Edwardian days were just a century ago.

Branch Line003

The text beneath the upper of these two images shows how freight was more profitable than passengers. What is happening in the lower picture is described on the facing page. The Hesperus is ‘in trouble’.  A lifting of the train and a complicated adjustment of a ‘belligerent rail’ was required to help the 17 1/4 ton engine on its way.

Branch Line005

Ralph Selsby was one of several carriers operating from Selsey.

Branch Line006

Here are a couple of carriages from the early 1930s. The line was closed in 1935.

Branch Line004

This is what constituted a railway replacement bus in 1910.

Branch Line007

Just 16 years later, this bus was to herald the death knell of the historic little line.

This evening we all enjoyed more of Jackie’s excellent chicken and egg curries, samosas, and onion bahjis. Mrs Knight drank Hoegaarden, and I drank Wolf’s Leap merlot 2016, another very good wine from Ian’s case.

 

 

Sussing Possible Rentals

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For much of the day, Jackie drove me and Flo around the forest, focussing on the location of a few flats she has found that might be suitable for her to rent. First on the itinerary was one over the antiques centre where Elizabeth has a cabinet.

From there we drove on to Ashurst to survey the forested area surrounding the secluded building. The low sun sent sharp shadows across the sparkling frosted terrain; and brightened reflections in the developing pools. Lichen covered broken branches lay all around.

A pony ripped its way through the bracken in which it foraged.

Once in the north of the forest, we brunched at Hockey’s Farm Shop at South Gorley. There, Flo photographed the alpacas, the donkeys, and the chickens. She was making a video with some still photographs of the New Forest.

A diminutive pony fed from a box on the side of a pen.

Sow with piglets

A contented sow shielded her three day old piglets from prying eyes. A notice warned that she might become grumpy if they were poked.

Donkeys

Donkeys always seem more in evidence to the north of the A31.

Godshill was our next port of call. We are unable to find the selected property, but we did tramp along muddy paths. The car’s access to the most likely location was barred by three farm horses, one of which was particularly large. As we made our way past them, the animals picked up speed and appeared to be racing us down the soggy slope on which mud mingled with equine droppings.

Farm horses waiting for tea

We thought it best to stand aside from these heavy-hoofed beasts. They swung round the bend at the bottom of the hill, coming to a halt at the farm gate. We were informed by the woman apparently in charge of their reception committee that they were assembling for their tea.

We failed to meet Becky and Ian here. After waiting in Godshill Cricket car park watching the moon rise and the sun set, we returned home to find the others there. Our problem was the lack of mobile phone signals depriving us of the ability to communicate on the move, on which we have all become so dependent.

This evening we all grazed on cold meats, cheeses, and salads Jackie laid out on the kitchen table.

 

 

Road Blocks

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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.

Ponies on road

No sooner had we escaped the first batch of cyclists than a string of ponies stretched across the road at Mockbeggar,

Cattle

where cattle took some shelter from the heat beneath shady trees,

Donkey

and almost every other donkey seemed burdened by pregnancy.

Quad car

We waited for a quad car to pass in order to turn into Hockey’s Farm at South Gorley,

Photographing an alpaca

where I was not the only person with the idea of photographing

Alpaca 1Alpaca 2Alpaca 3

recently shorn alpacas;

Pigs

extremely smelly little pigs;

Geese 1Goose 1Geese 2

and geese

Chickens 1Rooster

sharing a pen with splendid chickens.

Goose 2Geese 3

Geese 4

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.

Dog with bone

Fortunately the animal’s head was turned by the offer of a very fresh bone.

Pony mare and foal

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.

Traffic jam

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.

Pony on road

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.

Cyclist 1Cyclist and marshall

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.

Foal

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.

 

 

 

 

On The Road To Brockenhurst

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Jackie and I began the day with a drive in the forest, in order to see how the thatching at East End was progressing.

Ford 1Ford 2Ford 3

A shallow stream ran over the ford at Norleywood, enhancing the beauty of the shadows on the road ahead.

Donkeys 1

A pair of donkeys breakfasted on the hedgerows opposite the house

Thatching 3

on which the skilled roofing work had commenced.

Donkey 1

As is their wont, one of these creatures crept, silently, up behind me to see if I had any carrots. I am mean enough to disappoint them, however, feeding them is not advised by the verderers, unless you want to catch Weill’s disease.

Donkeys and ModusDonkey and ModusDonkey 2

Jackie had driven further up the road to turn round, by which time the donkeys really had claimed the road.

Donkeys 2The other two large lorries were still parked outside the neighbouring house. One was being loaded with soil dug out from the garden.

Shetland pony 1Chickens and Shetland pony 1Chickens and Shetland pony 2

High above the chicken range a solitary Thelwell child’s pony also enjoyed its morning meal.

Chickens and cockerel 1

Chickens 1Cockerel and chickens 1Chickens 2Chickens 3Chicken 1Chicken 2

The chickens cooed and clucked around their chook house,

Crow and chickens

sharing their repast with crows,

Ducks and chicken

ducks,

Ducks and hen pheasantPheasant henPheasant cock 1

and pheasants, which were freer to roam.

Llama 2

One of the llamas sat with a silly grin on its face

Llama 1

as another gurned at me.

Cyclists

A trio of cyclists paused at the road junction to take their bearings.

Cyclists 1Cyclists 2Cyclists 3Cyclists 5Cyclists 6

They were small fry compared with those who were to limit our progress on the road to Brockenhurst.

Cyclists 4

As we approached that village, Jackie expressed the wish that they would not be going our way. No such luck.

This afternoon we continued, focussing on the rose and front gardens, preparing for an alfresco summer.

This evening we dined on shepherd’s pie topped with layers of cheddar cheese and mushrooms; crisp carrots, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and runner beans. Jackie finished the Cotes de Gascoigne and I drank more of the shiraz.

Raising The Roof

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Threatened with an early disappearance of the sun that shone through the mist at dawn this morning, we took a drive soon afterwards. I have to confess that Jackie was the only person out of bed early enough to produce these two photographs.

Our first stop was at Norleywood where the land alongside a stream was very waterlogged;

and primroses and celandines sprawled over the slopes and beside the stream.

Blackthorn 1

Prolific blackthorn also bloomed.

Llamas, two of which reconstructed Doctor Dolittle’s Pushmepullyou, grazed in a field further along the road;

Cattle and blackthorn

cattle opposite had freedom to roam;

Chickens

while neighbouring chickens certainly enjoyed free range.

At East End, an interesting problem for motorists was presented by the unloading of a lorryload of thatcher’s reeds at the same time as two huge vehicles were parked outside the house next door where heavy landscaping seemed to be in progress. We watched the reeds lifted by crane, carried over the hedge, and lowered into position for the imminent task of re-thatching an impressively proportioned house.

Mimosa

A rather splendid mimosa grew in a garden on the opposite side of the road.

Low tide on flats

It was so misty beyond Tanners Lane beach that neither the Isle of Wight

Shore in mist

nor Lymington harbour was visible.

Photographer

After I had taken this very pleasant woman’s photograph we had an enjoyable conversation, beginning with our lack of complete understanding of the cameras we were using.

Primroses, violets, ditch

More pale yellow primroses shared the banks of the ditch along the lane with little violets.

This evening we dined on Set Meal B at Imperial China in Lyndhurst, both drinking Tiger beer.

A Cock-Fight

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On another hot day with a glorious cloudless blue sky, Jackie and I spent the morning shopping for birthday presents for Shelly and for Poppy.

First stop was Otter Nurseries where we bought a couple of skimmias for Jackie’s sister,

Rudbeckia 1Rudbeckia 2

and two interesting new bronzed rudbeckias for ourselves. There are plenty of buds on these latter plants for the Head Gardener to bring to perfection in a very short time.

Otter Nurseries 1Otter Nurseries 2

We felt rather sad at the emptiness of such a large, splendidly stocked, outlet on such a day. This was a clear indication that the seasons are changing.

Sammy Miller’s Motorcycle Museum in Bashley Common Road was the next venue. This, we thought, was a suitable establishment at which to find girlie items for Shelly and for our granddaughter.

You may well be surprised at this, if you don’t know that the outbuildings of the museum contain a number of shops attractive to tourists. Whilst I wandered around outside, Jackie bought a pastel blue quartz necklace for her sister, and another item suitable for a one-year old.

Motorcycle Park and petrol pump

There were many motorcycles parked in their dedicated area. This one is alongside one of the antique petrol pumps that line the walls.

Milk cart and urn

Snacks and drinks were being enjoyed in the shopping precinct which was generously supplied with garden ornaments including this milk cart;

Farm cart

a farm cart;

Farm machinery 2

and various items of farm machinery;

Farm machinery 1

more of which was distributed among the animals on the borders of the site.

Duck

A paddle of ducks welcomes cool shade and a running stream

Goat

Goats

There are basking goats, two of which really stink like their cheese.

Goats and chicken

Chickens seem oblivious to this.

Rooster

A vociferous rooster crows continuously.

Turkey 1

Leaving his lady-love in the shade of his shed,

Turkey 2

a plumage plumped turkey

Turkey 3

made his sedate and purposeful way along the front of the pen.

Turkeys 1

Coming to a halt at a wire window he silently confronted the occupant.

Rooster, chicken and turkey

‘Fight. Fight. Fight’, cried the rooster, summoning the chicken audience

Turkeys 2Turkeys 3

as the confrontation continued.

A farmhand explained the situation. Earlier this morning, there had, indeed, been a cock-fight over the hen. That is why the unfortunate challenger was penned up. These creatures are capable of inflicting serious damage in their duels.

This evening we dined at The Raj in Old Milton. My main course was Chingri Bullet with giant prawns that must surely have been indulged with Jackie’s plant food. Jackie’s was chicken sag. We shared special fried rice, a paratha, and an onion bahji; and both drank Kingfisher.