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.
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. 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. 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. I felt sympathetic to these patient creatures who have nothing with which to flap the flies from their eyes, mouths, and noses.
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. Indeed, I had forgotten that he always barked at us before.
I finished the La Piedra Leon with my meal.