Patient Access

Jackie and I each subscribe to Patient Access, being a site to test the patience of anyone, let alone patients considerably older than the designers of this facility.

The idea is to offer a secure method of ordering regular medication, presumably safe for anyone subject to excitable blood pressure, yet definitely to be avoided by valetudinarians.

Persistent, tenacious, and generally even-tempered am I, yet there is nothing more likely to blow my equanimity than a system presumably created for seniors with limited computer skills which constantly adds new hoops to leap through in order to gain admission. Today I had such a problem managing to “Set up two-factor authentication with a third-party app” from which I was timed out each time I attempted it.

What, may I ask in my ignorance, is one of those?

That was enough to spark my impatience. On this overcast afternoon following last night’s rainfall, we drove to our GP surgery where the very helpful and understanding receptionist, knowing exactly our position which was shared by themselves and so many others, took details of our requests that will provide information to be completed by the pharmacist on a prescription form. In other words we are back to the paper method.

After this, we took a short forest drive to test my eyes.

The theme of the new postbox decoration at Tiptoe escapes me. Perhaps my brain has been overtaxed.

A grazing grey pony was easy to pick out among the moorland gorse flanking Holmsley Passage

which was crossed by an ambling cow further up the hill.

We safely negotiated a pair of horse riders on Bisterne Close, where

the seasonal verge pool now carried buttercups, water buttercups, and budding irises.

This evening’s dinner consisted of further helpings of Jackie’s authentic chicken jalfrezi meal.

Riding Round Potholes

On a grey but dry morning of intermittent sunshine Jackie and I shopped at Ferndene Farm Shop, then brunched at Lakes View Café before taking a forest drive.

The verge fronting the shop’s chicken fields accommodating a ditch is decorated with daffodils bowed by raindrops.

A few ponies grazed the landscape alongside Holmsley Passage

on which an equestrienne group rode among the potholes pictured yesterday, where

Jackie photographed an elf’s lost hat draped on a post.

Later we saw them, all unscathed, gathering on the moorland.

Still shaggy ponies foraged alongside Wootton Road, where,

the post box still celebrates St Patrick’s Day.

This evening we all dined on meaty Ferndene Pork Sausages; creamy mashed potatoes of white and sweet variety; crunchy carrots; firm cauliflower; and tender broccoli stems with which Jackie, Ian , and Dillon drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of La P’tite Piérre.

Pannage Pigs And Ponies

We set off this morning on a forest drive meandering up to Hockey’s Farm Café for our usual choices of brunch. The day began overcast yet dry; by the time we had turned back for home fairly steady rain had set in.

Comfortable air conditioning in our car belied the warmth that was to greet me each time I disembarked with my camera.

The first subject for my lens was the decorated postbox along Wootton Road, now ready for Halloween.

Perhaps both species unaware of the service the Gloucester Old Spots snuffling around pasturing ponies at North Gorley, the pigs guzzling mast left clear grass to the equines, thus saving them from acorn poisoning.

The unseasonal warmth in the air ensures that the flies are not yet done with the patient, uncomplaining, ponies.

Cyclists swung round ponies on the road, while outside Hockey’s at Gorley Lynch, motor traffic negotiated troops of donkeys.

The above photographs are all mine.

Jackie was also applying her camera, recording me and the Gloucester Old Spots on which I was focussed.

She overlooked neither hide nor heels of the grey pony that hugged the side of the Hyundai for a while.

The pony hide presented one pattern; she saw another in a gnarled tree trunk.

This evening we all dined on second sittings of yesterday’s pasta meal with more of the same beverages.

Absent Friends

This morning I converted the following two posts from Classic to Block edits:

Wayback Machine helped me recover the missing portrait of Alan Titchmarsh in the first.

What is common to each is that they contain comments and images of old blogging friends who are no longer with us. Some just move on and stop posting or reading. As Pauline, The Contented Crafter, mentioned to me when we first found each other, that is OK. Often we never know the reason for disappearance. One of these stated he was no longer following after a mystifying strop.

Pauline was a generous and friendly crafter whose presents, like her bookmarks and light catchers, brightened the lives of many bloggers. Her death made her sorely missed. The same applies to Cynthia Jobin, a talented poet. Painkills2, an excellent photographer, struggled with permanent crippling pain and did eventually succumb to her ailment. Mary Tang, who grew large fruit trees in pots alongside her apartment in Sydney, has been forced to stop typing because of her condition. I do not know whether she is still alive, but she sent Jackie a mug which she treasures.

It is most helpful when people who are able, like Pauline’s daughter, Danella, let us know why such friends have suddenly become absent.

This hot afternoon, after shopping at Tesco, Jackie drove me into the forest.

Two donkeys sought shade against the side of a building in East Boldre, where

others must have rued their shaggy winter coats.

Further along the road a foal clung to his mother’s skirts when I closed the car door rather too loudly.

Shetland ponies cropped verges of Pilley Street and Jordan’s Lane

where the lake is now drying up, enough for

a pony and foal to graze where they would recently have paddled.

When the mother leading her foal thundered up from the lake bed her offspring became so frisky that I stood pointing them out to oncoming vehicles driving past.

The yarn decoration on the Pilley Hill letter box now advertises the produce that will be available at the fete on 8th of July.

Early this morning Jackie had driven Dillon and his family to Southampton airport to see him off on a trip to South Carolina for family business which will keep him away for two weeks. He was therefore unable to share our dinner of beef burgers in soft rolls layered with bacon, cheese, and Mrs Elswood’s pickled sandwich gherkins, with lashings of fried onions, and herby potato wedges prepared by Becky. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Fleurie.

Equine Siesta

This afternoon we took a drive out to Pilley, first to book a table at Fleur de Lys, then to have another look at the new foal. The pub was no longer serving meals and would close again in two weeks until new management took over; there was no pony in sight in the village. So we were doubly disappointed yet counted our blessings for having seen the new foal yesterday.

We turned to the Red Lion to make our evening booking.

We drove on to Holmsley, where we felt sure we would see some wild life. This was not to be, and confirmed our growing feeling that ponies at least enjoy a siesta on either side of our lunchtime.

Although some could be seen on distant moorland through the trees alongside Bisterne Close, trilling birdsong was the only sign of life in the woodland.

I wandered among shade-patterned and nibbled trunks with mossy roots;

fallen tree remnants with peeling bark;

decaying branches contributing to the ecology;

and a teepee erected as a shelter for small creatures of all kinds.

The seasonal pond now sports flowing kingcups and iris shoots.

By the time we returned home via Holmsley Passage the previously empty gorse landscapes were populated by grazing ponies, others of

which foraged among grasses on the lower slopes.

The postbox outside the cottage on Wootton Road is ready for the weekend’s Coronation of King Charles III and Queen Camilla.

This evening we all dined on excellent fare with friendly service at the aforementioned Red Lion at Pilley where Flo and I enjoyed battered haddock, chips, and peas; Jackie, Cajun chicken burger, chips, and salad; and Dillon steak and ale pie; we all shared onion rings. Jackie and Dillon drank Peroni; Flo, Apple juice; and I, Ringwoods forty-niner. We then returned home for Flo’s delicious banana cake and clotted cream.

One For Jessie

Knowing that hosepipe bans were to be imposed on Hampshire and the Isle of White today, we were relieved to learn that bans were determined by the water companies. Our supplier is Bournemouth Water, which has not yet ordered a ban. I celebrated with

a gallery of garden views.

Flo and Dillon continued clearing, planting, and watering this afternoon.

Jackie drove me to Lymington to buy more photographic printing paper, then to take a short forest drive.

The anonymous craftswoman who decorates the postbox on Pilley Hill has

produced a theme for our friend, Jessie.

Everywhere bracken is browning; heather is purpling; blackberries are ripening early, like these along Norley Wood Road.

Cattle were in no hurry as they ambled nonchalantly along Sowley Lane. Drivers had the choice of moseying in their wake, passing along the parched rock-hard verge, or simply waiting patiently. These were very big, thudding animals. I rather hoped they wouldn’t tread on my sandalled feet.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent cottage pie topped with fried potatoes; tender spring greens and green beans, and crunchy carrots, with which the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden, Dillon drank water, and I drank more of the Syrah.

Burning Garden Refuse

Today Nick applied first coats of paint to the Garden Room.

In the meantime, with minor assistance from me, Jackie burnt the garden refuse unsuitable for composting.

Later this afternoon Jackie and I took a short forest drive.

Along Forest Road a pair of ponies and foals set off into the shrubbery as I walked across to them with a camera round my neck.

Another foal clambered to its feet as I approached, and sought the comfort of its mother.

I spoke to the owner of a frisky spaniel and suggested that it might disturb the foals. He replied that she was a good girl and would not worry the ponies. I had to acknowledge that she was not doing so at the moment.

We stopped along Wilverley Road where I did not disturb another mother and baby.

A red postbox remains outside Postbox Cottage in Wootton Road. It has been decorated with a yarn crown to celebrate Queen Elizabeth II’s Platinum Jubilee.

This evening we all dined on Papa John’s pizzas, with which Jackie and Ian drank Hoegaarden, Becky drank Diet Coke, and I finished the Durif Shiraz, while Flo abstained.

There Are No Pale Grey Foals

Preparation is an oft overlooked essential part of house decoration – especially if this has not been adequately carried out for decades. Such has been the case with our home which Nick Hayter has transformed over the years.

He spent several hours on this today.

This afternoon I made him some prints from today and yesterday, notably yesterday’s opening portrait.

Later, Jackie and I took a forest drive.

We had hoped the postbox on Pilley Hill would have been decorated by the anonymous yarn artist in honour of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

We were not disappointed.

I crossed the moorland alongside Furzey Lane in order to photograph

ponies and their foals who rapidly showed me several clean quads of heels.

I was apparently less disturbing on the outskirts of Ran’s Wood

where an equine mother and baby group was clearly in progress. Realising that the young woman who was riding about among them was in conversation with some, I asked her if they were hers. Two of the mares and three of the foals were – she was happy to be a Commoner. We enjoyed a friendly discussion during which she confirmed our impression that grey mares never produced foals born with their colouring. The infants have much darker hides which may or may not lighten as they grow into adulthood, Even then it is not guaranteed.

This evening we dined on fusion leftovers: Jackie’s cottage pie; Angela’s chicken dish; vegetable samosas and sag aloo from Tesco; chicken sag and sag paneer from Red Chilli. This made for a truly tasty melange with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden, Flo drank raspberry and lemon Kombucha, and I drank more of the Malbec. Strawberries and ice cream finished us off.

Twilight Haze

On a dull and frosty morning Jackie photographed some aspects of the garden.

A perky dragon was garlanded in frosted ivy; the ‘Autumn’ sculpture vied with winter;

euphorbia, cordyline Australis, and rose leaves bore fringes of frost and lingering water drops;

some potted pansies were rather limp, while iris reticulata and tulips broke the soil in defiance.

By the time we drove over to Pilley to present Elizabeth (in our bubble) with a tub of Jackie’s substantial chicken and vegetable stoup, the skies had brightened.

In the woodland alongside Undershore a soft toy had successfully scaled the wall that is the undercarriage of a fallen tree.

The decorated postbox in Pilley Street now bears the year date 2021;

the icy old quarry lake bears branches and reflections.

At Walhampton I photographed a pheasant on the verge and Jackie focussed on a silhouetted wood pigeon;

on Monument Lane while I caught the lowering sun behind trees Jackie picked out its tipping the monument railings.

Finally the Assistant Photographer caught me

focussed on the dying sunset and twilight haze shrouding the Isle of Wight and The Needles at Milford on Sea.

This evening we dined on succulent fillet steaks; crisp oven chips; moist mushrooms; nicely charred onions; cherry vine tomatoes; and a colourful melange of peas and sweetcorn, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2019.