First Steps

Knowing that this would be our last fine day until next week we took an early drive into the forest before returning to Sears Barbers at Milford on Sea where Peter cut my hair.

Cotton clouds propelled by a chill east wind scudded across cerulean skies.

Bright yellow daffodils lined many of the verges like this one on Southampton Road.

 

Several ponies stood quietly contemplating the waterlogged moorland alongside Furzey Lane

over which a murder of crows swooped and frolicked.

The car park to Hatchet Pond

was now a lake swirling around warning signs;

denying any visitors taken short access to the public lavatories;

and providing accommodation for mallards and coots.

A grazing pony at East End

kept a discreet distance from a small group of donkeys.

A single sunbeam pierced a thicker cloud cover over Gosport Street as we returned via

the Milford on Sea coast road, within sight of the Isle of Wight,

The Needles, their lighthouse;

and Christchurch Bay

with its sweeping waves.

Walkers with and without dogs occupied the promenade

while crows scratched among the grass.

This afternoon Danni, Andy and Ella visited bringing joy and delightful company.

Our great niece had at home this morning managed a few unsteady footsteps but initially needed  little support early in the afternoon.

Her mother sat helping her play with some of the house toys.

Soon she was wandering freely around the ground floor able to right herself when losing her balance, without falling.

Jackie focussed on Ella’s fascination with the curtains to the French windows and the views into the garden.

Just like any other infant concentration requires an extended tongue.

Danni and Andy were led by their daughter on a tour of the garden.

We all dined on Forest Tandoori’s first rate takeaway food with which Danni and I finished the Tempranillo Barrica; Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and Andy drank sparkling water.

 

 

 

 

Look. No Hands

This afternoon we both collected our new specs from Boots, then drove into the dreary, drizzly forest.

Along Undershore there stood an example of the broken trees on soggy terrain that currently proliferate in the woodlands.

There wasn’t much sign of life until we came across cattle wandering along Sowley Lane.

Owner’s tags, as always, adorned their ears as they stared us out.

Several calves were left to their own devices, although by and large they stuck to the verges. One chewed its tail;

tried on a new necklace;

and indulged in a bit of grooming.

One seated adult turned her clarty back on the proceedings;

another had dried her hide after a mud bath.

Crowds of crows took to the air overhead.

Ponies on the corner of St Leonards Road were equally mud-caked;

one somnolent group dozed beside

a weedy winding winterbourne stream swiftly swirling,

sweeping loose leaves and flexing fixeded grasses while surging to a tunnel under the road.

As may be imagined from its name, such a watercourse flows only during the winter months.

The terrain at this junction between St Leonards Road and that to East Boldre becomes a similar pool during very wet weather. Today a passing cyclist was reflected in it.

He clearly had no use for his steering bars as his hands were otherwise engaged. I hoped he was the only one going round the bend.

This evening we dined on belly of pork, roasted long and slow in order to drain away the fat; firm roast potatoes and parsnips; crunchy carrots and tender cabbage, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Carenina El Zumbido Garnacha Syrah 2018.

Teddy

Albeit dry, today’s weather consisted of unrelenting Stygian gloom.

We set out sometime after 3.00 p.m. which might as well have been dusk, and drove around for a short time before visiting Mum at Woodpeckers.

Ponies are now sporting shaggy winter coats.

One of these, intent perhaps on leaving some of its hibernal (not hibernate, WP) hair on the barbed wire penning it in its South Sway Lane field, with a fearsome whinny gave me the evil eye.

Shetland ponies near Brockenhurst attracted a corvine entourage.

I disembarked at Longslade to photograph the landscape.

Jackie photographed me playing chicken with the traffic,

 

then walking along the verge

to make the second landscape shot.

This was her version of it.

Mum seemed over her chest infection, as she spoke about

the Teddy she had made for Adam when he was small. This had emerged during Francis’s assistance in Elizabeth’s clear out.

This evening we dined on the Culinary Queen’s chicken and vegetable soup thick enough to stand your spoon in followed by lean baked ham; creamy mashed potato; piquant cauliflower cheese, and al dente broccoli, Brussels sprouts and carrots with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Garnacha Syrah.

“The Only Fliers…..”

The sun smiled late and only fleetingly on us as we took a dull drive into the forest this morning.

On an unnamed path near South Baddesley Road we discovered

Two small crosses and a wreath adorn the autumnal acorn leaf carpet pattern beneath the board telling the story.

Biggifying the map gives the location of the still extant Blister hangar. Wikipedia tells us that ‘a blister hangar is a novel arched, portable aircraft hangar designed by notable British airport architect Graham R Dawbarn patented by Miskins and Sons in 1939. Originally made of wooden ribs clad with profiled steel sheets, steel lattice ribs and corrugated steel sheet cladding later became the norm.’

Beyond the tree line across a nearby field the hump back of the Isle of Wight can be seen.

When photographing the windsock and a murder of crows, Jackie observed that these were the only fliers taking off from this location today.

Beside Hundred Lane

and its neighbouring fields

bustling pheasants scrabbled among stiff cut grain stalks.

A friendly equestrienne led us along

 

Church Lane.

Sway Tower now nestles among autumnal trees.

Back at home, Jackie, under the supervision of her resident robin, planted a euphorbia.

“Where’s Nugget?” (47)

Elizabeth came to lunch before taking me off on a secret trip. I would have loved to have made photographs in the venue but could not do so because I did not want Jackie to know anything about it. Yet. Hopefully the time will come.

After a cup of tea my sister returned home and Jackie and I dined on smooth white pepper-flecked mashed potato; old gold piquant cauliflower cheese; and pale lemon smoked haddock; lifted by bright green beans and vibrant orange carrots. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ice Cream Delivery

Jackie swept liberally scattered beech nuts from the Rose Garden this morning.

Scoobie kept her company. On the Back Drive he found a fossilised rat which I opted not to photograph.

We have a liberal supply of petunias,

begonias,

and Japanese anemones.

Bees busied themselves gathering pollen, ignoring the fact that some plants remained dog-eared;

and competing for occupation of others.

Some clematises,

fuchsias,

cosmoses, and sweet peas remain in bloom.

Rose Doris Tysteman thrives in the Back Drive border.

Rosa Glauca hips hang over the colourful patio beds.

The hibiscus beside the Brick Path is really flourishing this year.

This afternoon the four of us visited the Beachcomber Café at Barton on Sea.

Gulls hung on the thermals overhead;

crows on the clifftop blinked and pecked at tissues which were eventually shredded;

children wandered;

and a fisherman angled on a breakwater

in view of the Isle of Wight and Christchurch Bay.

This was a day for ice creams.

We had become a little concerned on noticing an elderly woman alone in a wheelchair. After some time a younger woman made her way across the garden with two ice creams. She presented one to the person we then assumed to be her mother, and they sat and enjoyed them together.

After we returned home Ian and I listened to the BBC sport broadcast of the Ashes Test match first day; and watched the second half of the highlights after dinner.

Our dinner consisted of thick pork chops with mustard, brown sugar, and toasted almonds; creamy mashed potato; crisp carrots and broccoli; tender runner beans; and roasted peppers, onions and mushrooms. I drank more of the Garnacha Syrah while the others drank Wairu Cove Sauvignon Blanc 2017.

Lunchtime

Part of Mum’s deal at Woodpeckers Care home is that she can entertain guests to lunch once a week.

Elizabeth, Jackie, and I were her visitors today. My meal was Cajun chicken with Lyonnaise potatoes, carrots, and curly kale; the others opted for gammon. Mum chose stewed apricots with ice cream for dessert; the rest of us enjoyed plum crumble. We were served in our own quiet room. Service was friendly and efficient. The food was very good.

Afterwards, Jackie and I took a trip around the forest.

It is not unusual to see requests for information about hit and run accidents involving ponies. This, featuring a Shetland on the road to Beaulieu, was one of two we passed today.

Although much of it has been cut back by now, blackthorn has proliferated in the hedgerows for several weeks now.

As we rounded a bend on approaching East End we were struck by this fortuitous juxtaposition of maple and photinia.

Nearby one of a group of basking cattle suckled her calf which was enjoying its own lunchtime.

Donkeys were hard at work trimming the village’s hedgerows.

More cattle were serving themselves to lunch from the verges of Tanners Lane.

Beside Sowley Lane a flamboyant cock pheasant flashed across the road and fled beneath barbed wire fencing.

Another merged into hay stalks among scavenging crows beside a field of rape, many of which

are beginning to slash the landscape with sunlight.

More of the more colourful birds foraged in

this historic field with its

views across The Solent to the Isle of Wight.

This evening we dined on spicy Diablo pizza with plentiful fresh salad. Jackie drank more of the Sauvignon Blanc and I enjoyed Maipo Valley Carménere 2016 from the Majestic Definition range.