Emptying The Dog

Jackie and I took a trip into the forest quite early this morning.

At first there were just us and the ponies enjoying the bright sunshine and the crisp air on the undulating serpentine Holmsley Passage. The grey in the gallery above offered a perfect example of a typical pony turning from tearing at the gorse to pose for its portrait.

Another group breakfasted on the bright gold shrubs beside Smugglers Road car park

Like me, the grazing horses had to pick their way around the loose dog shit littering the slopes at this attractive spot. Of the numerous dog walkers who parked their vehicles alongside our Modus, we noticed none carrying a poo bag to take home with them. Pony excreta dries in the sun and crumbles into the soil. The canine variety grows fur.

Before we moved on cyclists were beginning to appear.

We visited another popular car park at Abbots Well, where the landscape offers panoramic views across the moors which can be accessed down well-trodden paths through now naked trees and thick shrubbery. Walkers, with and without dogs, also enjoyed the morning, balmy for the time of year. Here, one poo bag hung from a bowed branch. These are pleasant locations for emptying the dog.

I returned to the car in time to catch Jackie photographing the photographer.

This evening Jackie and I dined on her thick, well filled, onion and mushroom omelette with a nice, firm, tomato; Ian preferred scrambled egg on toast prepared by Becky, who, herself, enjoyed a doggy bag prepared by the Lal Quilla kitchen.

A Rorschach Test

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Our trip to the forest was somewhat delayed this afternoon;

our passage from our front drive was blocked by the rear section of a container lorry.

Close inspection revealed that this vehicle’s path was blocked by what appeared to be an injured cyclist being supported on the road.

In each direction along Christchurch Road traffic was being turned away by police. I ensured my photographs were anonymous, and thought it would seem unseemly to ask what had happened. Given that the invalid was talking and it was an hour and a half before an ambulance arrived, I can only assume that this was not the direst of emergencies.

Jackie and I were eventually able to depart as  police officer, who informed us that the man  now being helped into the ambulance had “taken a tumble off his bike”, raised the barrier for Jackie to drive on in the direction of Lymington. On the outskirts of that town another screaming ambulance, blue lights flashing, heralded one more lengthy tailback necessitating us and many others turning back the way we had come. We took the road down to the harbour.  Eventually we reached Undershore and escaped to comparatively quiet Pilley.

Near Norley Wood the usual variety of miniature ponies grazed in the light of the late afternoon sun.

Against the backdrop of Beaulieu Abbey and its grounds, a solitary cygnet was surrounded by energetic mallards competing for food in the lake’s shallows. The deeper water was frequented by gliding gulls and sedately sailing swans.

Later we enjoyed a blazing sunset over Hatchet Pond. One gentleman photographing an expectant swan and her cygnet had first lured them with enticing comestibles. As he departed, his models floated off to present their own Rorschach tests.

On our return home we joined Elizabeth in the Royal Oak where we dined. After a pint of Razor Back, with the meal I drank a glass of Merlot. The ladies drank Amstell. My meal was a mixed grill; Elizabeth chose venison sausages, mashed potatoes and perfect vegetables; Jackie savoured gammon steak, chips and salad. The food was as good as ever under the current management.

In And Out Of The Water

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Late this afternoon, Jackie drove the three of us to Mudeford.

A cyclist ambled along the shore of the harbour where

kayakers, kite surfers, and sailboarders made good use of the choppy waters and the stiff breeze.

Leisurely kite flying took place on the grassy bank,

from which a mother and daughter dragged their inflated boat, pushed it into the water, scrambled in, and set off, passing a waterlogged rowing boat, paddles waving.

Wet suits and life jackets hung on and beside the van transporting a group of paddle boarders.

Back at home we dined on Jackie’s splendid spicy pasta arrabbiata, followed by bread and butter pudding and cream, with which Elizabeth and I drank DiMarco Primitivo Puglia 2015. The Culinary Queen had finished her Hoegaarden on the patio beforehand.

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.

 

Exercising Choices

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I undertook some minimal tidying in the garden this morning. Here are a few photographs of how it looks at the moment:

Daffodils

Many more daffodils are in bloom, including those in tubs and window boxes,

Weeping Birch Bed

and those in beds like the Weeping Birch one

Hellebore

which also has its share of hellebores.

Raindrops on primulas

Raindrops settled still on such as these primulas that survived the snow.

We have many blooming camellias. The shady path is bordered by them.

It could be considered mandatory that a tour of our area should include Big Breakfasts at The Beach Hut Café on

Friar’s Cliff Promenade.

So it was today. Jackie brunched on the marginally more moderate Friar’s Breakfast while Flo, Dillon, and I all went for the Big one.

A number of people were out exercising their dogs;

 others walked, jogged, or cycled.

Efforts at promoting fitness in Mudeford, for these two jet-skiers at least, were rather more strenuous.

Others basked in the sunshine or floated on the wing.

The usual fishing paraphernalia lay in tidy heaps on the quay.

Flags flapped in fortuitously reflective surfaces.

Our last visit was to Highcliffe Castle around which the young people wandered while I peered down the steps to the beach. This set has replaced the zig-zag sloping route used on 6th January 2016, now considered unsafe.

For our dinner the evening, Jackie produced her piquant cauliflower cheese with smoked haddock fish cakes and runner beans. Small portions were in order after our brunch. Flo’s favourite pudding, that gets her all of a quiver, is Grannie’s rice pudding with squirty cream. Naturally, this was served today. I finished the Navarra, and the young couple drank different soft drinks.

 

Going For A Drink

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Late in the morning, Shelly and Ron paid us a visit. After our usual enjoyable conversation we all drove to Otter Garden Centre where we brunched. As we each went our separate ways, Jackie drove me in what developed into a circular route around East Boldre. Although we experienced no more rain until it set in again after dusk, enough has fallen in recent days for the ponies not to have to go in search of water.

The seasonal pool at the junction between St Leonard’s Road and the East Boldre road is even fuller than it was a couple of days ago. As so often, shooting into the sun produced a monochrome photograph.

While its companions grazed on the bank, a chestnut drank before joining them.

A damp dappled grey caught my eye. Although on the higher level, it was tantalisingly close enough to the rippling water for me to go into contortions in an attempt to catch its reflection. I was about to abandon the project when the obliging creature

set off along the turf,

Pony drinking

and, at a lower level, dipped its neck to slake its thirst.

Cyclist

A cyclist, rounding the bend, bore the unfortunate stains on his back which indicated nothing more unsavoury than that he had pedalled along soggy mud-laden roads.

On the outskirts of Beaulieu we passed Beaulieu Cemetery, beside the entrance of which stands a bronzed crucifix.

Alongside this burial ground, the waterlogged verges encourage the generation of weed and reflect the trees some of which now seem to be rising from their depths.

Whilst I was photographing further such scenes outside East Boldre, a gentleman, mistaking me for a birder, informed me that there were a lot of hawfinches about. I said I hadn’t seen any. He said neither had he, because of his eyesight, but he assumed I would know what I was looking at. When the conversation turned to the quality of the sunsets we were on more secure ground.

This evening we dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away fare, with which I finished the merlot

 

 

 

 

 

Your Choice

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This morning, including material from ‘Oiling The Lion’, and from ‘The Hornby Train Set’, I continued writing ‘A Knight’s Tale’.

This afternoon, Jackie drove me to Lymington to visit the bank. This is now the nearest NatWest branch remaining open. My chauffeur parked outside and I joined a small queue. We spent quite some time listening to the lone cashier negotiating with a woman about whether or not she should withdraw £10 before Saturday. The problem was compounded by another woman having difficulty in operating the rapid deposit machine. Eventually it was my turn to be attended to. I needed to order some Australian dollars to send to Orlaith for her fifth birthday. This involved putting my bank card into a machine. It was then that I was informed that I was in Lloyd’s Bank and that NatWest was next door. I turned and entered the next building. All went smoothly after that.

We continued on to a forest drive.

Pony on heathPony 1Pony and shadow

At Brockenhurst, grazing ponies,

Ponies and cyclist on heath

leisurely cyclists,

Trees, walkers, pony

and eager walkers,

Walkers, dogs, pony

some with dogs, enjoyed the late afternoon sun

Autumn leaves

that lit the autumn leaves,

Sun streaks

and was a little lower by the time we reached Rhinefield Ornamental Drive, and stretched even longer shadows.

Ponies 2Ponies 3Pony 2

A group of ponies hovered on one verge, contemplating crossing to the other side.

Trees over stream

trees stretched over

Reflections in stream

streams that flowed under the road, and, like Narcissus, admired their reflections.

Forest scene 4Forest scene 5Forest scene 6Forest scene 7Forest scene 8

In photographing the forest scenes I occupied myself deciding whether to offer images in colour

TreesForest scene 2Forest scene

or to convert them to black and white.

Forest scene 3

For this image, colour,

Forest scene 3 Version 2

or black and white?  It is your choice.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious chilli con carne with peas and rice. I drank Arboresque Fronton 2016.