A Bigger Splash

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The garden was looking very refreshed as I wandered around this morning. Most blooms bore baubles of raindrops.

Bees were making up for being confined in hives by the recent precipitation.

By lunchtime, I had finished reading 

Hibbert’s well researched history is founded on the subject’s personal correspondence and contemporary observations. Like many great men, our national hero comes across has a man of two halves. Undoubtedly kind and generous to his men and to many others Nelson’s relationship with Lady Emma Hamilton was seen as folly by many, and, even as demonstrated by his own letters he must have treated his wife very badly. This Viking paperback of 1994 contains no identification of the painter of the cover portrait.

After lunch, Jackie and I visited the sites of the two scarecrows missing from our last visit. Prince Eric, now wearing a rain hood, perched on a hedge at Ramblers in Woodcock Lane. I am very pleased to be able to report that a rebuilt Frog Prince again sits outside 49 Ashley Lane. His creator informed me that his battered body had lain on the ground and his decapitated head had hung from a branch.

We continued on a drive through the forest. Near Ogdens, a herd of deer got wind of my approach, and, turning tail, slowly picking up speed, elegantly trotted across the undulating terrain to safety over the brow of a hill.

Ponies and fliesPoniesPonies and fliesPonies

Clusters of pesky flies surrounded somnolent ponies gathered together at North Gorley.

Other ponies mingled with visitors to Ibsley ford, some of whom competed to establish who could create a bigger splash.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s splendid spicy pork paprika with savoury rice. The Culinary Queen drank Coonwarra Chardonay 2016; Elizabeth and I chose Villanyi Merlot 2015 and drank some of it.

Parasitic Birds

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This afternoon Jackie and I drove into the forest.

Deep in the shade of trees bordering the parched yellow ochre grounds of Burley Manor rippled the wavelets of what must surely be a mirage on one of the hottest days of the year. Upon closer inspection they metamorphosed into the constantly flickering ears of a family of deer. The animals themselves were not as active as their aural appendages attempting to deter the pestilential flies. I could not clearly identify the parasitic birds picking off morsels from the heads and backs of their cervine hosts, one of which appeared to swing from the branch it was bent on stripping of foliage.

Ponies

Ponies also sought shade where they could,

Cattle in landscape

although cattle seemed content in the direct sunshine at Frogham.

This evening the three of us dined on Jackie’s sublime sausage casserole, mashed and new potatoes, crisp carrots, cauliflower and broccoli. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden while Elizabeth and I drank Le Malbec de Balthazar 2017, given to me by Shelly and Ron for my birthday.

 

Forgotten And Neglected

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Aaron

Aaron worked as hard as ever in the garden this morning. Lest it be imagined that he never takes a break, here is photographic evidence that we do allow him the statutory minimum.

It was not that long ago that I last photographed the garden from our bathroom window. This Wisteria was not then in bloom.

Our ubiquitous heucheras have now all sent up their flower stems.

Some of those are in the Rose Garden where the bushes are burgeoning, Roseraie de L’Hay bearing the first buds to open.

Numerous aquilegias are also standing proud;

one clump stands beside the shady path, still bestrewn with fallen camellia flowers.

The Viburnum Plicatum in the West Bed has also sprung to life in the last few days.

Sparrow on roof

Our resident sparrow still guards his family from the rooftop.

In order to prevent the risk of infection when, this coming Friday, my left knee joint is to be replaced by a man made model, I will have to wear new slippers. In search of a pair, we drove to Sainsbury’s at Christchurch this afternoon. Their sizes stop at 10, so we will need to try again when more shops are open tomorrow. We didn’t waste our trip out. Jackie set us off to the North of the Forest.

Leaving the A338 at Mockbeggar Lane, Ibsley, we were intrigued by a notice suggesting that what Jackie discovered to have been St Martin’s Church was having a Closing Down Sale. In fact, as Wikipedia tells us, the church itself has been deconsecrated. Following the listing the church became the art gallery which is having the sale. Jackie entered the shop and pronounced it a purveyor of artificial flowers, anything of good quality being over-priced.

I, therefore, contented myself with a study of the surrounding graveyard. It seemed to me that the preponderance of dandelion clocks calling time on the neglected tombs of forgotten eighteenth and nineteenth century residents of the parish, was somewhat appropriate.

 https://www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/101350890-church-of-st-martins-ellingham-harbridge-and-ibsley#.Wvhu0i-ZNBw give us this information concerning its Grade 2 listing: ‘Parish church. 1832 by John Peniston surveyor, on site of old church. Brick with
some blue headers, east wall partly reused dressed stone, plain tile roof. Plan
of single cell chancel and nave with north and south porches and small west tower.
To east end Y-tracery window in chamfered opening; corner buttresses. To each side
of 6 bays, pointed lancet in chamfered opening,except to west,buttresses between
bays and at each end except between west of centre bays which have gabled porch
with pointed, chamfered opening. West end has small cross-section tower in centre
with similar window, and offset belfry stage with west and east bell opening and
gabled roof. Inside brass of 1599 on floor by altar, tablet to Mary Ann Gray 1757
in brick paviour central aisle. On south wall monument 1627 to John Constable of
2 large kneeling figures between 2 columns to wide open pediment, both hold vine
with busts of their children. C18 Perpendicular style font. On north wall tablet
1757 to Cray. At east end prayer boards, above west door Royal arms board.
Gallery at west end of timber with later screen under to form vestry.’

Jackie informs me that all the mentioned features are still there inside, covered by the gallery’s wares. What now, I wonder?

A small herd of deer grazed in their usual field at Ogdens. When I poked my lens in their direction, one doe pricked up her ears and gave me a stare, decided I was harmless, and returned to her dinner.

On our way home down Roger Penny Way we noticed an interesting vehicle pulling into the car park of The Green Dragon. This was a Morris Cowley bullnose, first produce in 1915. Before entering the pub the driver placed a chock beneath the near side front wheel. I surmised that the vehicle was possibly not fitted with a handbrake.

Cadnam Lane was littered with sheep and the occasional punk pig. One of the pigs masqueraded as an outsize sheep; others, occasionally raising a sleepy snout, snoozed by the wayside.

This evening we dined on roast pork with superb crackling, new potatoes, carrots, and broccoli, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Concha y Toro Malbec

 

 

 

 

Daffodils and Galloways; Deer and Gulls

Today I spent much time on post-French-house sale administration. The only detail you can probably be bothered with is that I had to pay all the costs resulting from the electricity failure and its consequences. The insurance company was not interested. I am advised that the suppliers should be responsible but the process of recovering this would be so lengthy as to risk losing the sale. Not a chance worth taking.

Today’s weather was heavy but dry. New Milton’s Molly’s Den had moved to Christchurch. Today we drove out there. It was closed, seemingly permanently. We drove on into the forest.

We took a diversion across Avon Causeway to Hurn village. At the entrance to a muddy field brambles danced a duet with barbed wire beside a sump of daffodils such as now line all the forest hedgerows. On slightly higher ground a herd of cattle, mostly Belted Galloways, slosh about in the mud. Lower down the River Avon spilled over onto the fields.

A variety of deer grazed in an enclosure at Ibsley. Gulls seemed to be benefiting from their cast offs. For an explanation of the white deer see my comments exchange with Jodie Richelle below

This evening we dined on Jackie’s splendid roast pork, sage and onion stuffing, crunchy crackling, cabbage, cauliflower, new potatoes, and sautéed peppers, mushrooms, and onions. I drank Concha y Toro Cassilero del Diablo 2016.

 

Petrified By Ponies

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This afternoon we visited Otter Nurseries in order to buy rambling roses to supplement the planting Jackie carried out this morning.

Jackie in discussion ablout companulas

The Head Gardener was soon into a discussion about campanulas with a another customer seeking information.

I wandered around the plentiful displays while Jackie selected Perennial Blush and Super Elfin ramblers. A bee flitted from lavender to lavender.

Walkers on road

As we parked for me to investigate the Heywood Mill stream, a family group wandered, chatting, down the road.

Stream

The stream itself was unhindered one side of the road bridge,

and bore the reflections of a fallen tree on the other.

Deer

As we drove away, I spotted a deer. This necessitated by driver screeching to a halt and , heart in mouth, reversing back along the narrow, winding, lane until I could poke my lens into the hedgerow. The creature did not hang around.

English bluebells lined the verges and

Bluebells in wood 1

carpeted woodlands.

Ponies - one pregnant

Tempted by the sight of two white ponies, one of which was very pregnant, we drove down an even narrower lane.

Horse and rider

Further on we encountered a horse and rider, requiring us to stop for them to edge on by.

Next came the penned-in horned sheep. One of these woolly animals was particularly inquisitive.

Ponies on road

There were so many ponies on the road near Pilley, that a young driver was unable to move on. Jackie had to drive round her. She apologies, saying that she was petrified by the ponies. It was only when the horses thinned out a bit that she was able to get back into gear.

One of this group was a foal, still very wobbly on its legs.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s sublime cottage pie, served with carrots and Brussels sprouts. I finished the Vacqueyras. Jackie didn’t imbibe further as she had drunk her Hoegaarden on the patio beforehand.

The Classic Country Yokel

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Today was sunny and crisp, with a chill wind and blue skies. This morning we took a drive up to the north of the forest.

Ditches and streams run alongside many lanes in the New Forest. People dwelling on Crow Lane, just beyond Ringwood, access their homes by means of bridges across clear running water.

Gabled rooftops

Further on, at Linwood, we were attracted by the rather splendid houses near the lake. This gabled rooftop presents a pleasing example.

Stream 1

The stream continues here, and

‘golden daffodils’, like Wordsworth’s ‘host’, ‘beside the lake, beneath the trees’ were ‘fluttering and dancing in the breeze’.

Rubbish

Even here, people dump rubbish. I didn’t investigate what I took to be a discarded dog poop bag.

Ponies 1

On the approach to North Gorley we stopped to admire three ponies backlit by the morning sun. I could not photograph the scene because, as so often, forcing themselves between a tree and barbed wire, the animals assailed me with curiosity.

They then tracked us along the lane. Or were we tracking them?.

Ponies 2

We stopped to take in the picture of ponies mowing the lawn outside a thatched cottage at Furze Hill.

Pony on road

Inevitably, one of the horses kept us stopped, as it crossed the road,

Pony 4

ambling through the trees,

to take a drink at a stream, and

Ponies 4

have a good scratch against a flexible young tree,

Ponies 3

where it was joined by its companions, who all took their turn.

One of these emulated Mark Williams’s Jesse from The Fast show,

a T.V. series in which the classic country yokel would emerge from his shed and announce what, that week, he had ‘been mostly eating’. The traditional yokel always chewed a straw.

From the top of Furze Hill we looked down on a herd of basking deer. Protected by a single stag and the antlered silhouettes of lopped trees behind them, they were simply curious until another passing car brought them to their cloven hooves. Large black birds always seem to surround basking ungulates.

This evening we dined on minced beef pie; mashed potato and swede; boiled cauliflower; and carrots, onions, and leeks with garlic. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the merlot.

Definitely The Business

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This morning we went on a drive about the forest in order to try out the lens bag featured yesterday.

Does are normally so timid that they bound, bouncing, away before we have even seen them. The curiosity of this little harem among the trees got the better of them. Some turned their pretty rears, others presented a staring face. Others, with elegant flexibility, did both. When they all looked in the same direction they seemed to emulate meerkats.

The forest terrain is becoming decidedly waterlogged. Trees and sky are reflected in clear pools lying among last autumn’s fallen foliage. When the land is very wet the shallower-rooted trees tend to tip over and lie across land and water. We wonder how anyone can visit such a beautiful spot and lob a Lucosade bottle into it.

A herd of cattle have claimed the crossroads at East Boldre as their own. Wandering into the road at will, or, chewing the cud, resting their mud-caked legs, their knees are decorated with hay and grass.

The green frontage to this group of houses in East End has become a mirror to them and to ponies who still attempt to keep the grass down.

I am happy to be able to report that Jackie’s creation has made it possible for me to switch lenses and cameras with unaccustomed ease. It is definitely the business.

I spent several hours this afternoon completing a detailed timeline on the issue of my mother’s bathroom. This is the attachment that will go with the letter Elizabeth and I worked on yesterday. I then e-mailed it to my sister. I find it easier to write a blog.

After this I thoroughly enjoyed Jackie’s superb chicken jalfrezi, savoury rice, sag paneer, and paratha, with which I finished the bordeaux.