Anticipating The Shot

PetuniaA rather splendid, slightly ageing, Petunia has finally thrust itself through the massed flora concealing the pots in which Jackie planted them.  I had to stand on a chair to photograph it.

Today we took a trip to one of our favourite areas, around Sway.  We were to combine a visit to Ferndene Farm Shop in Bashley with a recce of two houses, one in Pennington, the other in Hordle.  Both had attracted us on the internet.

It was a spectacularly sunny day, the roads all bespeckled with light and shade wherever the sun’s rays penetrated the forest foliage.  Once we left the A35 the route consisted almost entirely of winding lanes.  Ponies were much in evidence, but the only actual hold-ups were caused by young women leading their mounts.

Bowling Green Cottages

The Pennington house is the one that grabbed our interest.  Wondering why such a large house with such extensive gardens would be within our price range, we thought an external viewing may provide the answer.  Indeed it did.  It consists of two originally adjoining cottages, their front doors onto the street, on a very busy crossroads.  None of this deters us, so it has gone onto our favourites list.  Mind you, this is probably due extensive autumn pruning.  Having photographed the front view, with the front doors no longer in use, I wanted to take a picture showing the situation at the crossroads.  Crossing over to the Wheel Inn opposite, I aimed the camera at a moment when there was no traffic in shot.  Then, the eyes I had wheeling in my head spotted, along the side of the building, an approaching farm vehicle; to my left a car towing a container for New Forest Classic Cars, which my fleeting glance took to be a caravan; and to my right, a woman leading a horse, with a man in tow.  This was an exciting opportunity to portray the flavour of a country crossroads. Bowling Green Cottages crossroads But these differently paced subjects were all required to arrive at a suitable moment.  I always used to skip those IQ questions that have trains or suchlike leaving stations at different times and different speeds and asking you to estimate how long it would be before they crashed, on the grounds that they would take too much time. I leave an assessment of the result, based on the eye and immense good fortune, to your judgement.

I didn’t photograph the Hordle abode.

On our way home, on Wootton Heath, passing the trough discovered on 27th February, we noticed ponies drinking from it.  Naturally Jackie had to park up and I had to wander across to photograph the animals.  Unfortunately, as I approached, they peeled off, one by one, whinnying.  The only decent picture I got was of a white pony lifting its head and preparing to disappear.  ‘Ah, well’, I thought, ‘never mind’.  As Jackie drove towards The Rising Sun in order to turn round, I noticed several more equine creatures crossing the road in the direction of the trough. Ponies at trough We drove on ahead; I got out and ambled across the heath; and my subjects, too thirsty to worry about me, got stuck in.

The ponies were all waving their fly whisks. Pony's flies I felt sympathetic to these patient creatures who have nothing with which to flap the flies from their eyes, mouths, and noses.

Jessica and ImogenJessica, moving into year 2 at school in Mapperley, guided her younger sister Imogen to her reception class.  The verdict this afternoon was ‘I looooove school’.

Jessica and Imogen framed

I amused myself making a small print from Louisa’s Facebook post, and fitting it into a circular 3″ diameter silver frame made in 1919, that Jackie had given me for my birthday.  The picture was perfect for the frame which had been just waiting for it.

While we sat in the garden before our delicious dinner of Jackie’s roast lamb with all the trimmings, including roast potatoes, we had a pleasant conversation, as always, with David, staying with his mother Jean.  He was out walking Nevis, their Coton de Tulear, who is considerably calmer now. Nevis Indeed, I had forgotten that he always barked at us before.

I finished the La Piedra Leon with my meal.

Platinum Shine

I had a bit of a lazy day today.  The morning was spent getting back into Henri Troyat’s ‘Grandeur Nature’, which translates as ‘life size’.

Mare and foalJackie then drove us to Totton to buy a second garden chair.  She hadn’t quite had enough money with her to buy two yesterday when she acquired the first.

As we emerged from the garden onto Upper Drive, we disturbed a mare and her foal.  The adult pony was keen to shield her infant from our gaze, whilst the baby metaphorically clung to its mother’s skirts, anxiously tripping over itself to keep pace. The mare led the way into the bracken in an attempt to steer clear of me.

56 Frys Lane

Then it was next stop Frys (no apostrophe) Lane in Everton for the first of two external observations of potential eventual purchases. Hare Lane house Number 56 looked to me the better option, although the semi-detatched house in Hare Lane, New Milton that was the second, was also acceptable.  The baying of a hound next door in Frys Lane was a little disconcerting.

Jackie's garden

Back at home we sat in the garden marvelling at how mature Jackie’s planting now looks. Hanging baskets It is as if she has transported the hanging baskets and pots from The Firs to Castle Malwood Lodge.

Petunias and others

As tenants we are allowed neither pets nor children in residence although either are welcome to visit.  That suits us fine.  However, many of the flats in the house are owned by their occupiers.  A number have dogs.  Some of these bark.  Some a lot.

As we sit in our corner of the garden, we see the owners walking their pets, and they often come and have a chat with us.  A frequent visitor is Jean who has until quite recently been subject to considerable embarrassment because her dog barked a great deal.  It was impossible for her to have a comfortable discourse because Nevis, her Coton du Tulear, would bark all the way through.  She has, however, been working very hard on this, and today we  enjoyed a lengthy conversation with Nevis looking his usual happy, friendly self, and not barking once.  Congratulations were in order, and we gave them.

Platinum shine car washOn 31st May I wrote about Eleanor and Henry, our resourceful young neighbours.  This evening they buzzed our entryphone to gain access to our side of the building in order to distribute leaflets for their ‘Platinum Shine Car Wash’.  I happily granted them admission.

Soon afterwards Jackie, resisting the temptation to produce roast pork, served up her smoked haddock dish with cauliflower cheese (recipe) and sautéed potatoes.  Delicious.  The cheese produces a lovely tangy flavour, which meant the last glass of the Berberana was not an inappropriate accompaniment.