Woodland, Deer, And Thatching

This morning, before the rain set in later, we bought a replacement Dyson vacuum cleaner at New Milton Electrical Centre, then set off for a forest drive.

It seems hard to believe that the worst of the potholes in Beckley Common Road have been filled in, but many, like these have been left.

Fallen and damaged trees proliferate along Bolderwood Ornamental Drive.

A number of shaggy ponies adorned the landscape at Appleslade,

where Jackie photographed deer on a hillside.

On our way home we diverted to Hockey’s Farmyard Café for lunch,

and afterwards passed the Elm Tree pub with its completed thatching, which Jackie also photographed..

This evening we all dined on Ashley fish, chips, onion rings, mushy peas, and curry sauce augmented by Garner’s pickled onions and Freshona pickled gherkins, with which I finished the Malbec.

Rescued From The Rain

On this dreary but dry morning, developing on our way home into a dreary wet one, Jackie and I combined a successful search for open provision stores with a forest drive.

It was not until we reached South Gorley that a group of soggy ponies presented us with photo opportunities. The last two pictures, in front of the red house, are Jackie’s.

Two friendly equestriennes with an accompanying guide, smiled and passed on.

There wasn’t much more sign of life on this first day of 2024, until the Assistant Photographer spotted a group of deer through hedges in the vicinity of Gorley Common, and produced the first five pictured in this gallery, after which I managed the last three.

Jackie also photographed a lichen laden tree limb.

Ian had returned home to Southbourne shortly before lunch.

This afternoon Jacqueline visited with her son, our nephew James and his daughter, our great niece Illiari. Of all the stories of reminiscence the this visit promoted, the most amazing was told by Becky.

One day of driving rain late in 1997 or early ’98, covered head down as she struggled in a bus queue to gather tiny Flo and manage to enter the public transport vehicle, a young man with a child just a year older than hers left his place and helped her onto the bus. He, too, had his head down, so neither recognised the other. When they straightened up for Becky to thank him, her mouth fell open as she cried “James!”. Her cousin was equally stunned as he recognised his own similar relative. Illiaria was incubating chicken pox at the time. About ten days later Flo came out in spots.

The two young children had not seen each other again until today. The header picture is of James when he was just a little older than was Illiari on the day in question.

This evening we dined on succulent roast chicken thighs; crisp Yorkshire pudding; creamy mashed potato; crunchy carrots; firm cauliflower, broccoli, and Brussels sprouts, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Zinfandel USA 2021.

Muted Colour

Grey ponies beside Whitemoor Pond on our morning forest drive

blended perfectly with the colour of the day.

Even the autumn leaves and bracken looked washed out,

and the rippling reflections on the surface above the rust-coloured bed of Ober Water, were not exactly scintillating.

Ponies and a foal foraged alongside

Rhinefield Road.

A herd of deer could be seen in the distance from Lower Sandy Down.

We lunched at Fleur de Lys, photographed here on a much brighter day, after which I drafted a review for Secret Diners, of which this is a copy: https://derrickjknight.com/?p=205521&preview=true which may require some editorial editing.

This evening we all dined on further portions of yesterday’s pasta meal with the addition of plentiful spinach, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Malbec.

Wild Animals

Thousands of pictures of New Forest ponies feature in my posts. Although they are owned by commoners with pasturing rights they are all wild animals and roam free throughout the year.

Here is a random selection for Denzil’s Nature challenge. Each image bears a title in the gallery.

The same applies to donkeys.

Deer are just wild, but more elusive,

as are squirrels.

These cane toads were pictured from our hotel window in Barbados in 2004,

as were these green monkeys.


For brunch, Jackie drove me to Hockey’s Farm Shop café, where we enjoyed our usual favourites, well cooked as always, and efficiently served in friendly manner.

As we left Burley ponies caused a traffic tailback as, oblivious of the vehicles, they settled in for a day of seeking what shade they could beneath trees, and such protection from flies as could be afforded by their nose to tail technique.

A couple of walkers found the prospect of stepping over droppings somewhat unpleasant.

When we returned this afternoon the animals had not moved much.

Others, already beset by flies, hugged a fence that seemed to have been reserved for them.

We needed to make way for an oncoming tractor on a narrow, dappled, section of Gorley Road.

Two ponies sought shade beneath tree alongside the Ibsley ford, from the stream under which another slaked its thirst.

Calves competed for space on a drinking trough beside Hyde Lane.

Jackie parked the Modus at Gorley Lynch while I disembarked to

photograph a distant stag with his roe deer harem.

At Poulner we encountered a steam traction engine.

Heather coloured the moorland either side of Holmsley Passage,

where I commended a pair of cyclists who had made it all the way up.

An apple tree grew on the moor beside Holmsley Road.

Along Tiptoe Road a pair of ponies drooped on the tarmac, opposite

a foal learning the reality of life with flies.

This evening we all dined on meaty pork bangers and fried onions; creamy mashed potato; crunchy carrots; firm broccoli stems; and piquant cauliflower cheese, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Côtes du Rhône Villages Plan de Dieu 2021.

Deer In The Camp

On another dismal, dripping, day Jackie and I took the opportunity of a slight lull in the rainfall in the afternoon to drive into the forest.

A lone longhorn brindle cow bellowed on the moist moorland alongside Holmsley Passage, the verges of which bore water-filled hoof prints. We had passed more cattle as we descended the hill. Eventually the bovine creature turned to make its way up to the others.

Donkeys and a foal may have regretted crossing into Brookside from North Gorley, when

this dog, after studying the infiltrators, threw itself at the gate barking ferociously and scattering the animals it couldn’t reach. Reflected in a puddle the donkeys kept a safe distance and enjoyed a blackberrying session.

We imagined the campsite, alongside which a group of deer were unfazed, must have been unoccupied.

A woman and young girl watched ponies on our way home.

Elizabeth visited later, and became reacquainted with Ellie while chatting with us. She returned to Pilley before Jackie set out for fish, chips, mushy peas, and curry sauce from Mr Pink’s, to which we added Garner’s pickled onions and Mrs Elswood’s sandwich gherkins. Mrs Knight drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Bordeaux.

Boiler Repairs

On this overcast yet dry and humid morning, carrying out a modicum of dead heading on my way round to collect the Head Gardener’s recent clippings, I added another empty compost bagful to the two that Jackie and and Dillon had not been able to fit into the Modus on yesterday’s dump trip.

Although the sun managed a faint glimmer towards the end of the afternoon, there wasn’t much change in the weather while Jackie and I took a forest drive after stocking up on provisions at Ferndene Farm Shop.

The usual group of ponies chose their favourite bend at Burley Street to disrupt the traffic and fill tyre treads with good manure. The last two on the verge were a slumbering audience as their companions kept pace with slowly moving vehicles.

Noticing a rather splendid steam roller reversing alongside The Elm Pub on Hightown Road, I disembarked once more and followed the

ancient behemoth until it came to rest in the hostelry car park where

two enthusiasts were happy to have me photograph details and poke

my lens and them while they worked on tweaking the boiler and relighting the fire in order successfully to encourage

steam once more to emanate from the tall funnel.

Until something spooked them, a group of deer, one white, shared the green at Hyde with ponies. Then they scarpered sharpish.

This evening we all dined on a variety of tasty pizzas and fresh salad, with which Jackie drank more of the Sauvignon Blanc and I drank Cheval de Montenac Graves 2019.

A Bed Of Buttercups And Daisies

While attending to my morning start of responding to readers’ comments and reading others’ posts, I was alerted by a question on https://bvitelli2002.wordpress.com to the fact that

had not been updated from Classic to Block edit. I therefore rectified this so that Barbara will be able to view it properly.

After a trip to the Milford Pharmacy on this warm and sunny in a week in which we have been beamed from wet winter to a midsummer period Jackie drove me to Hockey’s Farm Shop for brunch where she

photographed our substantial meals, and, through the open door,

a busy blackbird on the ground and a thatched pig on a roof.

Many may trees, like these at Ogden’s North, are festooned with spreading blossom enlivening the landscape.

The rippling, reflecting, stream at the bottom of the hill seems very shallow during this dry spell.

Back at the top of the slope we looked down on a herd of deer who, even at this distance, got wind of me and scarpered sharpish.

One foal, its mother chomping unconcerned, sprawled on a bed of buttercups and daisies; another pony standing guard in the middle of the road at Ibsley, where, further on, a second infant stood by its Dam.

This evening we all enjoyed a meal of Ashleigh fish, chips, and onion rings; Garner’s pickled onions; and Mrs Elswood’s pickled gherkins.

A Damp Drive

On another day of gales, gloom, and bursts of weak sunshine our brief forest drive took us along

Bisterne Close,

with its glistening autumn leaves soaking on soggy verges;

its mossy rooted and speckled lichen coated trees;

other one-eyed specimens with fanged exposed roots rising from ancient hedgerows;

a Magnum mushroom;

and bedraggled ponies wandering across into the woodland.

On the outskirts of Burley I disturbed a herd of fearful deer who didn’t know which way to run.

A so often when we dine beneath heavy rain beating on our Velux window overhead with gale force winds gusting outside, we blessed Barry for sealing our kitchen extension roof after several others had failed. Tonight’s meal consisted of pork spare ribs in sweet barbecue sauce with Jackie’s flavoursome savoury rice and tender green beans, accompanied by more of the Cabernet Sauvignon for her, and of the Bordeaux for me.

‘A Muddy Golden Pond’

This morning I watched recordings of the Women’s rugby World Cup between Scotland and Australia, and between England and France.

Yesterday’s readers will know of my O2 saga. I did not receive the PAC code today, but I did receive two e-mails featuring a survey seeking to know about my satisfaction. Needless to say the scores were minimal, the questions bore no relevance to my leaving, they asked what the purpose of my conversation had been (when I had already detailed it a question or two before) etc., etc.

I made another attempt to transfer photos from my phone to my computer, and failed again so reverted to my tried and tested Canon EOS 5D for the forest drive we took this afternoon.

Our journey began in calm, encouraging, sunshine; gradually the clouds became dark and brooding, large soft raindrops caressed the windscreen, and acorn pistol shots ricocheted from the Modus body.

At the corner of Ringwood Road where overhead trees were reflected in pools along the verges,

another photographer, like me, had disembarked, leaving his Chauffeuse at the wheel, in order to photograph

a string of dripping donkeys

beyond which cows sheltering beneath other trees drew me across the road where

I disturbed a deer which took a good look at me before departing in haste.

As I negotiated the verge to reembark I photographed these acorns and oak leaves floating in ‘a muddy golden pond’ borrowed from https://ivors20.wordpress.com/2022/10/16/golden-pond/

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent cottage pie; fried potatoes and onions, crunchy carrots, and tender runner beans, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Terra Calda Puglia Primitivo 2019. Flo and Dillon ate later.

Now for the good news. This post has been published without any glitches just as I had almost forgotten was normal