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

The High Flying Ball

Late this morning Jackie drove me to Hockey’s Farm Shop at Gorley Lynch for brunch.

The crocheted decoration on the pillar box on Wootton Road is now a tribute to the late Queen Elizabeth II;

next door, an owl keeps watch over the community notice board;

the gate of The Poplars on the corner of Middle Road opposite bears its own royal tribute.

Deer grazed in the field alongside the road to Gorley Common.

Several cricket matches were in progress.

Can you spot the high flying ball in this one at Hyde? Note the donkeys on the boundary.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy chicken Jalfrezi, with pilau rice, plain paratas, and vegetable samosas, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Fleurie. Flo and Dillon will eat later.

Pigs Can Fly

This morning was again sunless, but this time rainless, as Jackie and I once more filled our Modus with soggy garden refuse which we unloaded at Efford Recycling Centre (otherwise known as the dump) and continued on a forest drive.

We turned left off Camden Lane into

another, which soon ran alongside private woodland. Clearly we were lucky to have progressed along this route, for a large tree had recently fallen across it.

Some pig farmers, responding to the early fall of acorns, had already loosed their animals in order, snuffling and snorting, to root them up.

Seven gleeful piglets dashed across the green, snouts to the ground.

The Gloucester Old Spot intent on dogging my heels must have been their mother.

I am not sure what she did to one youngster when their nose-rings clashed on one apparently tasty morsel, but the youngster leapt with a squeal in the air and swiftly trotted to a safe distance.

Its face made clear its shocked innocence.

Further on a Saddleback sow scavenged for mast.

Nearby it seemed clear that pigs could fly – up a tree at least.

The lane narrowed as we left the farm section and tracked the woodland. Suddenly I exclaimed “There is something red in there. I don’t know what it is but it might have legs”. We had by now passed it. My long-suffering Chauffeuse reversed with some difficulty until we reached the small gap in the hedge.

The “something red” had moved behind branches but it did have legs. Was it a young red deer? It unexpectedly displayed the curiosity of

these two usually inquisitive sheep.

This afternoon I posted https://derrickjknight.com/2022/09/15/a-knights-tale-116-1-cumbrian-interludes/

This evening we dined on well cooked roast lamb, roast potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli, followed by moist bread and butter pudding. Jackie drank more of the Sauvignon Blanc, I finished the Burgundy, and Dillon and Flo drank fruit cordial.

One For Tootlepedal

Jackie and I drove through a succession of heavy showers on a trip to the north of the forest and back.

Manic windscreen wipers fought to keep pace with raindrops obscuring vision and sliding across the glass; roadside ditches were filling up and ever increasing circles spread around every drop striking the surfaces of pothole pools. All was gloomy darkness periodically pierced by episodes of sunshine highlighting the white trunks of birch trees and glistening foliage and field crops.

Unconcerned distant deer on Blissford Hill enjoyed their damp pasturage.

The pool at Abbotswell, dry for weeks, was beginning to fill while

rain misted the landscape below.

As we left the splashing pothole pitted site tail-twitching ponies pottered along ahead.

The stream at Ogdens North, now flowing once more, rippled across the gravel bed and foamed against a nippled fallen log.

A bejewelled oak leaf from last autumn

lay beside the wooden bridge photographed for Tootlepedal.

Becky returned home to Southbourne this afternoon, leaving good portions of her tagliatelle Bolognese for our dinner this evening, which we enjoyed with various pizzas and fresh salad. My pizza choice was salami and chillis. The young couple ate a little later than Jackie and I, who drank Peroni and more of the Bordeaux respectively.

Passport Photographs

At midday Jackie drove us to Hockey’s Farm shop for an excellent brunch and to reintroduce Flo to the north of the forest.

Ponies at Ibsley and mossy rooted trees were reflected in the pool that covers waterlogged terrain.

Before eating we introduced our granddaughter to Hockey’s humorous alpacas lining up for their passport photographs and to

their colourful penned chickens.

Afterwards the two women wandered over to the exotic aviary while I waited in the car.

The thatched fox opposite the farm shop has come no nearer to catching the ducks he has in his sights.

Ponies on the road towards Gorley Common ensured our slow progress,

giving us the opportunity to track a small herd of deer from different viewpoints. At least three young males were present, and one pure white one was occasionally glimpsed.

The thatcher of a house in North Gorley celebrated his last year’s refurbishment with champagne while donkeys lolled or scratched further along the road.

This evening we enjoyed dining on alcohol free Red Chilli takeaway fare.

Venison, Chicken, Swans, Ducks, Geese

Jackie cut my hair after lunch. Then we enjoyed a late afternoon forest drive.

Swans, casting long shadows, with a group of mallards, which took to flight upon my arrival, wandered across the sward at Beaulieu River.

At East End a donkey and foal clipped a hedge, while a burnished pony watched the traffic passing by.

The lowering sun was reflected along with trees in a pool beside Exbury Road.

The tide was out. at Lepe where I focussed on the Isle of Wight and a container vessel on the horizon between Southampton and the island; while

Jackie photographed a chicken in a field.

We turned down Lower Pennington Lane in order to catch the sunset on the way home.

Here the Assistant Photographer photographed a deer and three geese.

I photographed a skein of geese over head, and others enhancing the sunset.

These shots are Jackie’s.

This evening we dined on more of the Culinary Queen’s wholesome cottage pie with fresh carrots, cabbage, and runner beans. Mrs Knight drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Douro.

Crossing The Stream

This afternoon we drove to Pilley where we collected Elizabeth to take her on a photographic trip to the north of the forest and return to our home for dinner.

As I stepped out of the car to photograph ponies in a stream at Ibsley I noticed a gentleman with the same aim in mind. Back in the car I noticed a couple of very heavy horses.

Elizabeth and I both communed with ponies at North Gorley. Once more I got my own back on Jackie as she photographed

my sister and me.

On the way up the hill to the common we disturbed a stag and his harem.

Elizabeth and I photographed a bucolic smoky scene.

I gained a smile from an equestrienne crossing the stream.

Elizabeth will e-mail me her pictures tomorrow.

The aforementioned dinner consisted of Jackie’s savoury rice topped with a thick omelette; prawns of the tempura and the hot and spicy varieties; and vegetable spring rolls. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden while Elizabeth and I drank Hacienda Don Hernan Rioja 2019.

As I publish this post Jackie is driving Elizabeth home.

Woodland Sunset

At midday Ronan of Tom Sutton Heating visited to make further planned adjustments to our central heating system.

Having, in sharp contrast to yesterday’s constant mist, enjoyed a cloudless blue sky with bright sunshine throughout, after a shopping trip to Ferndene Farm Shop, we took a drive into the forest.

I was not the only photographer focussed on the deer alongside Burley Manor lawn.

Ponies grazed on the hillside along Forest Road, where

I snatched glimpses of a classic car as it sped past me.

Towards sunset, with the moon reluctant to depart, I photographed reflections in the waterlogged land alongside Burley Road.

It is my belief that clouds are needed to produce a good sunset, so at the appropriate time I wondered whether trees wood serve as a substitute, and ventured further into the woodland,

where I tried it out.

The Assistant photographer also put in a strong bid for promotion in photographing the scene, especially, as she pointed out, as my pictures did not feature me. She was particularly careful to show my efforts to prevent another fall. The first picture in her gallery gives a clue to “Where’s Derrick?” (6) which constitutes the second one.

The sun was sinking rapidly as we retuned along Burley Road.

This evening we enjoyed our final helpings of Jackie’s wholesome beef pie meal with the addition of baked beans. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Tempranillo.

More Normal Weather For January

This morning I posted https://derrickjknight.com/2022/01/04/a-knights-tale-88-the-firing-squad/

Either side of lunch we cleared most of the various items blocking the areas that Martin P is to start plastering tomorrow.

Afterwards we drove to Fordingbridge to deliver a backpack left behind by Stephanie on Boxing Day. We took a leisurely route through the forest.

Ponies grazed on the soggy green at Ibsley, where a swollen pool reflected the trees above.

Similar reflections were mirrored by the stream below Gorley Common;

trees etched their gnarled limbs into the skies;

the less hardy field horses rugs contrasted with the forest ponies’ winter hair on this much colder and brighter day than we have seen for some time;

and we encountered several sightings of deer.

We sped off the main road from Fordingbridge to Ringwood in order to catch the sunset at Bickton, where gold and pink hues transformed the sky and reflected in the mill stream.

Jackie photographed a viburnum bush, the wake of ducks on the river, and refections of the sunset.