Sweet Smell Of Success

On a dull, damp, afternoon we took the Angel Lane route to Milford on Sea to pick up a repeat prescription from the Pharmacy, then drove on to Keyhaven.

Low tide in the harbour revealed seaweed on which gulls preened and one cannibal crow scavenged. Boats tilted and buoys bobbed. Hazy distant views of Hurst Castle and its lighthouse could be discerned.

We left via Lymore Lane where we inhaled the sweet smell of success of oilseed rape farmers as we travelled alongside

their fields and the escapees brightening the verges.

Even greater success has been exhibited by The Wheel Inn at Bowling Green. When we first came to the area five years ago this old pub was so run down as to be totally uninviting. A couple of years ago the local community formed a committee which refurbished the building and created a thriving establishment where we stopped for a drink. An excellent review appears in The Lymington Times of 9th March: https://www.advertiserandtimes.co.uk/wheel-inn-review

Jackie photographed some of the covered salad plants grown by the volunteer gardener for use in the kitchen.

This evening we enjoyed our second sitting of Hordle Chinese Take Away’s excellent food, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank sparkling water.

The Sap Is Rising

A light frost fell on the fields last night and Jackie had to scrape ice off the windscreen before driving me to the G.P. surgery at Milford on Sea for the successful removal of the staples from my knee. Rather unfairly, it seems to me, some members of the medical fraternities and sororities refer to orthopaedics as ‘The Carpenters’. However, I have to say that the curving row of hurdles penetrating my flesh did look as if it has been applied by an upholsterer’s gun. The nurse’s staple remover was a little more delicate than those found in Staples stationary stores.

After this we travelled along the coast road, where I began my morning’s photoshoots through my passenger window.

The Needles convoy trailed after the Isle of Wight lighthouse;

Also silhouetted along the Milford coastline were walkers with dogs and a woman pushing a child in a buggy;

A few gulls wandered about the car parks, where a crow set itself up for a long vigil.

Turning away from the coast we set off along the Beaulieu Road out of Lymington, where ponies, the silvery greys blending with similar hued birches, enhanced the landscape.

On Bull Hill, the younger cattle squared up for head butts, competing for or waiting their turn for humping practice. The older beasts watched in silence. The sap was definitely rising.

Whilst in Pilley we briefly visited Elizabeth who had spent the morning with BT engineers attempting to discover why her landline had stopped working.

A trio of goats we passed in Warborne Lane on our way home were rather less frisky than their bovine neighbours.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s tasty chicken jalfrezi with savoury rice.

P. S. Jackie has researched the activities of the young heifers. This is what she learned from Wikipedia:

‘Bulling is a behaviour seen in cattle when one mounts another, usually when one or the other is a female in oestrus (on heat);[1] “bulling” is commonly used as a term for a female in oestrus. Female cattle in oestrus may mount any adult cattle, especially a bull (fertile male) if one is present, but they will also mount castrated males or other females. A bulling female will often also be mounted by other cattle, both male and female (only fertile males are usually capable of mating). A dominant bull will defend the bulling female from being mounted by other cattle.

Bulling is used by farmers to recognise oestrus, which is important to determine the fertile period when cows may be artificially inseminated.[1] Care is needed to identify whether the animal in oestrus is the one mounting or being mounted, and of course sometimes both animals may be in oestrus.

Mounting behaviour is also sometimes seen between adult cattle in the absence of a female in oestrus.’

Sway Tower Sunset

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Our BT Internet reception was so consistently poor that I closed the account a year or so ago and eventually transferred to EE mobile. This is far more expensive, but, by and large, reliable. We regularly need the maximum data allowance. Since Elizabeth joined us in July we have sometimes needed topping up. Suddenly, in the last couple of weeks, the allocation has been ingested through an insatiable, invisible, avaricious, maw. This morning, Nick, a technician from Peacock Computers, came to the house and checked all our devices, including the smart TV and my sister’s two computers. Culprits were identified, and advice given.

Having more confidence in logging on, I added a little more to ‘A Knight’s Tale’, adapting a small section of ‘Questions’.

Later this afternoon, Jackie drove me, via Barton on Sea, to South Sway Lane in time to catch the sunset.

Clifftop visitors at Barton, like this seated, bespectacled, gentleman, created silhouettes against the skyline.

A crow catching the lowering sun at Wootton was more exposed now many of the leaves are falling;

 burnished bracken blazed among banks of trees;

Jackie’s handbrake application startled a browsing chestnut pony.

Lucy, a grey with kindly eyes,

chomped, first food from a trug provided by her owner, then from grass, alongside her tubby neighbouring bleating lambs.

These animals were tinged with the red-gold hues of the Sway Tower sunset.

This evening we dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away fare with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and Elizabeth drank Cahors Malbec 2016, while I abstained.

 

Russell Is Definitely Imprinted On Jackie

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I was first in the garden this morning. I wanted to check on our crow.

Hebe in Dragon Bed

This is a good year for hebes, as exemplified by this one in the Dragon Bed, where the crow was not.

Beside Shady Path

Our avian visitor was not along the Shady Path.

Brick Path

He was neither to be seen on the Brick Path;

nor in the Rose Garden, with its poppies and carpet roses, including the white, scented, Kent;

nor anywhere near the New Bed sporting clematises and erigerons.

Day lilies and geranium palmatums

The day lilies and geranium palmatums at the south end

Phlox Blue Paradise

and the phlox in the West Bed all reported his absence.

Crow

Silly me. I should have begun my search nearer the house. There he was, foraging among the paving stones. He was so keen to follow me about

that it took me a while before I could gain sufficient distance to focus on him with a long lens.

He remained firmly on the ground, so I didn’t feel he thought I was his Dad.

This all changed when his mother came out. He was on her in an instant.

No longer was it funny. Not wanting to be pecked again in the young bird’s effort to provoke her into regurgitating food for him, Jackie shoved him off and rushed inside. He followed her in and resumed his onslaught. The same thing happened when she went outside again.

The creature is definitely imprinted on Jackie. Perhaps fortuitously, Shelly, a little later, arrived to take her sister off to Somerset for the annual three day camping trip the three sisters share. We will see what effect the absence will have on Russell.

Russell? Well what else should we call him?

This afternoon I watched the momentous World Cup football match between Germany and S. Korea. After this, Becky arrived to take over administering to her Aged P while her mother is away. This will be the first time ever we have had a few days on our own.

We dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away fare.

 

How She Suffers For My Art

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Crow

Early this morning, while I was catching up with my WordPress reading, Jackie rushed in with the small camera, having photographed a young crow on the roof of the garden shed.

Crow with bread

I abandoned my computer, grabbed the DSLR, and limped into the garden. Jackie had  provided her new friend with a crust of bread lit by the dawn sun,

Crow with insect

which it soon eschewed for something more to its taste.

She coaxed the bird down from the roof, and was delighted when it made her “feel like Long John Silver” from R. L. Stevenson’s ‘Treasure Island’.

Her face was then to register a whole gamut of emotions, from pleasure, pain, apprehension, courage, and a touch of agony.

When she could tolerate no more my Lady transferred the tormentor to her outstretched hand.

Jackie tells me that the pecking is what the young birds do to the parents in order to encourage feeding. She was amazing in her tolerance of the attentions of such a savage beak closing on her ear and tugging at her hair.

Young avians do not instinctively know they are birds. They are known to ‘imprint’ onto an early carer. Crows, in particular, are such creatures. Imprinting onto a human may promote a human identity. The corvine variety are able to recognise faces. I wonder which of Jackie’s will be in the memory bank.

Some time later, our new family member trotted indoors and wandered about. I perched it onto the end of my crutch and led it outside. It kept returning. The consequences were the need for a hunt for bird poo to clean up, and an eventual decision to keep the doors closed.

Jackie continued her mammoth garden watering sessions and her infant kept landing on her head and shoulders until, in desperate self-defence, she turned the spray on young Crow.

This evening we dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away fare. Drinks on the patio had included Jackie’s customary Hoegaarden and a miniature bottle of Argentinian Malbec for me. I had saved some to accompany the meal. Jackie hadn’t. I couldn’t resist checking on our little bird who was finishing his second slice of bread on the shed roof.

While Mrs. Knight was collecting our food we were hit by a power cut which continued until 10.30 p.m. This meant my post was late into the ether, but I consider myself lucky to have managed it at all.

 

 

 

 

The Skate Park

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Today was another featuring sunny intervals in cloudy skies. I began with a stroll round the garden where the latest opening rhododendron is progressing well.

Becky and Ian having stayed over, we all lunched at the Beachcomber in Barton on Sea.

The Solent’s waves were choppy; the Isle of Wight and The Needles were swathed in haze;

crows struggled against the blustery wind on the clifftop, and airborne alongside gulls.

This afternoon we took a trip to New Milton where Ian and I visited a solicitor for an executorship matter, while the ladies went shopping. Afterwards I sat on a bench in the Skate Park while Ian hunted for the shoppers.

Skate Park

Black- headed gulls scavenged on the grass against the backdrop of the distant mural;

a couple of young lads experimented with skateboards, until school was out when others joined them on bicycles.

This evening, before Becky and Ian returned home, we all dined on Jackie’s splendid beef pie, crunchy carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli, and creamy mashed potato. Becky and I drank more of the Malbec, Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and Ian, Peroni.

 

The Sledge Run

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I am beginning to find myself reminded by readers, of earlier posts that may have something to contribute to ‘A Knight’s Tale’. One of these was ‘Early Entertainment’, which provided quite rich material that I used in today’s update. Please keep the ideas flowing – I really can’t remember everything I’ve written.

Our general garden maintenance continued today on both sides of a trip to Efford Recycling Centre where we dumped more rotting IKEA wardrobe sections that have served a useful purpose up to now. we went on for a drive.

Stag-headed sculptures 2

Stag-headed sculptures 3

Standing beside a roundabout on the A337 out of Lymington we have often noticed three stag-headed figures standing either side of a five-barred gate. We knew that these heralded the entrance to

Buckland Rings welcome sign

the site of an Iron Age Hill Fort.

Parking on a roundabout on a main road is not a good idea, so we had never stopped before. This time Jackie drove on a little way and parked in a side street from whence we walked back to investigate.

Stag-headed sculptures and dog walker

A gentleman with a dog was passing the sculptures

Dog walker on mound

and walked on around a gentle incline.

Having read how far the walk to the top would be, Jackie opted to return to the car and let me check the lie of the land.

Rabbits on hillside

Or maybe the reason was the sight of a colony of descendants of Iron Age rabbits romping on the hillside.

Buckland Hill Fort pathBuckland Hill Fort path 2

In the event, the steeply undulating nature of the paths riddled with tree roots suggested that this had been a good idea.

Sledge run 1Sledge run 3

Sledge run 4

On the way up, a sign informed us that young people had transformed a disused sand quarry into a sledge run. The area is apparently packed with tobogganists whenever there is sufficient snow.

Buckland Wood roof

What was once farmland around the fort is now densely wooded. Through the trees I glimpsed the roof of what I later discovered to be

Buckland WoodSteps to Buckland Hill Fort central plateau

Not far from there lay a shallow set of steps leading to 
Buckland Hill Fort central plateau

a broad open plateau that had been the centre of the fort.

Cow and calfCow and calf 2

This was grazed by a cow and her calf.

The logs just visible in the steps picture are designed to prevent people parking on the hallowed ground. There is a car park alongside.

Man, dog, cow, calf

I was informed how to reach that from the road by another gentleman walking his dog.

Crow

 Taking an easy route down the hill I watched a crow sweep across the grass tops,

Branch hanging low

and banged my head on a low branch.

Quite sensibly, Jackie declined to investigate the car park, and we went home.

Wikipedia has an informative entry on this historic site: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Buckland_Rings

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy penne pasta arrabbiata with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Parra Alta Malbec 2016.