We took a morning drive into the forest,

through Holmsley Passage where low gravel strips border the crumbling tarmac, a woman follows her dog , and unconcerned ponies continue with the important business of the day,

In order for me to photograph Ringwood Road, Burley, Jackie parked the car at the junction with

Honey Lane.

A number of lanes in the New Forest. This one is an example. It leads to Highwood and comes to a dead end.

A brook runs roughly alongside the wandering, undulating, track. As I stood watching the sun’s rays casting shadows on the reflecting waters I noticed floating, swooping, midges flashing in the beams.

Just a minute. Midges? Surely not in 12 degrees centigrade?

Well, no.

Closer inspection revealed Lilliputian parachutists seeking a safe landing after being prised from their perforated perch –

or seeds from a dandelion clock.

The dwellings along this lane are beautiful houses with a quantity of land generally accommodating a horse or two.

On our return journey, at South Gorley, we had the opportunity for a staring match with ponies laying claim to the road.

Back at home I noticed that a pink climbing rose is mingling with potted pansies in the porch.

Elizabeth joined us for dinner. Jackie produced beef roasted long and low; roast potatoes, including sweet ones, and parsnips; crisp carrots, cauliflower and broccoli; and tender runner beans with tasty gravy, followed by apple crumble and custard. My sister and I finished the Merlot Bonarda and Jackie drank Hoegaarden.

‘I Wouldn’t Dare’

My friend Geoff Le Pard, this time, gave me the correct location of the former Gosling home. It is actually on the corner of Woodcock Lane and Silver Street. Jackie drove me out there this morning.

Silver Thatch 1

I would imagine the gates are rather different than those Geoff would have known.

Agars Lane

Although very convenient for photographing Agars Lane, opposite, the strong sun immediately above the central gable militated against a head-on shot, so

Silver Thatch 2Silver Thatch 3

I walked down the Woodcock Lane side hoping for less glare. The very high fence is protected by the deep water-filled ditch alongside it.

Silver Thatch 4

Finally, a helpful cloud dimmed the haze at the front and I was able to take a reasonable view.

Having sight of such a splendid abode made it easy to forgive our friend for sending us on a Wild Goose Chase a couple of days ago.

This afternoon I dipped into the selection of rediscovered negatives once more. A reinforced envelope addressed to Elizabeth, containing a letter and a strip of four colour negs would have been impossible for me to identify had not the letter been dated November 2003. My sister had obviously asked, as is her wont, to borrow these treasures to ‘work on the images’. I must have ‘filed’ the package in a drawer when she returned it to me.

One of these photos, from July 2003, was hopelessly out of focus, and another was of no great interest. I scanned and worked on

Deadly nightshade fruit

the fruit of deadly nightshade pictured alongside London’s Regents Canal,

Dandelion seeds on canal water

and dandelion seeds floating on the water.

Someday I must compare with Elizabeth what we each did with them.

When, later this afternoon, I came to begin drafting this post, we lost our Broadband connection. Not only that, but all BT’s telephone lines, even including the sales number, were engaged. I may have uttered the odd expletive. And possibly some not at all odd.

There was nothing for it but to lose myself in Josephine Tey’s elegant novel, ‘Brat Farrer’. After a couple of hours or so were back on line. Having calmed down somewhat I asked Jackie to remind me that there was no point in doing anything other than sitting and waiting when this happened again. ‘I wouldn’t dare’, she said.

Jackie fetched, and we ate, a meal from Hordle Chinese Take Away this evening. We drank water.

Whilst Jackie was out, I checked the line again. All was well, except that I could not access WordPress because ‘the server was not replying’. I really was comparatively calm when I rang Apple Support after dinner. The server replied whilst I was in the Apple queue. It seems my patience had borne fruit. I left the queue and posted this.

Our First Christmas In Downton

This Christmas morning began with a phone call from Sam, Holly, Malachi, and Orlaith in Australia. Despite the fact that they were in their car en route to their third party of the day, we had a reasonable enough reception for me to learn what presents the children had received. Such is the miracle of today’s technology.

IMG_1210IMG_1213Scooby then took Ian and me for a walk alongside the waterlogged track through Roger’s fields, alongside the wood with its naked, wind-bent, gnarled trees, across the muddy field and eventually back up Downton Lane, with its own arboreal arbour.Downton Lane

Dandelion seedsRoseDandelions were still seeding, and another, peach coloured, rose has bloomed in the garden. We didn’t quite have enough of that particular flower for me to repeat the 1974 Christmas Day bouquet, but it was a close run thing.Father Christmas socks

Before lunch we opened our stocking presents. One of mine was socks. The said lunch, laid on by Jackie, was such a plentiful array that, knowing what was coming later, I forced myself to be as abstemious as possible.

The next stage in the proceedings was the main present opening, which was effected with the aid of a shared bottle of Asti. Whilst filling up the herk bag, I thought of Helen’s observation that she had been unsuccessful in  having this coinage of her father’s accepted as a neologism. As I understand it, the scouts for the Oxford English Dictionary will submit new words once they have been published. Scouts please take note that I have now published this word twice on WordPress.Scooby and hedgehog

Scooby’s favourite gift was his hedgehog, which he rapidly eviscerated.

Later this evening we dined on baked beans on toast. Here is a photograph of it:Christmas dinner

Mine and Becky’s was accompanied by Les Galets de Saint Louis Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2012; Jackie’s drink was Dino pinot grigio 2013, and Ian’s Peroni.