Lens Test

I received a telephone call a day or so ago to tell me that the blood taken in Wednesday’s test had clotted, so we would have to return to New Hall hospital for a repeat. There was only one possible slot for this – today at 11.30 a.m. Jackie duly drove me there to have another extraction. Apart from a miscommunication about the timing (the sample had to be taken immediately before a courier sped off to London with it) this was all very straightforward.

As usual we diverted through the forest on our way home.

The parasitic balls clinging to an avenue of trees in Hale

are clusters of mistletoe enticingly dangling out of reach of would-be Christmas decorators.

The first three of these photographs were taken with my Canon SX700 HS; the last two with my Canon EOS 5D Mark II with the SIGMA 105mm Macro.

The smaller camera is preferable for wider shots – better if you can see what you are doing. It must be twelve months ago that I managed to crack the screen, with the result that this,

taken with the larger camera, is what I see when focussing on the wall opposite. As Jackie says, it is not just a point and shoot, but rather a point, shoot, and hope. Even the chevron shape of the crack is somewhat flattened.

Ditches, rivulets, and pools are now filling up nicely throughout the forest.

I used the 105mm lens for these shots of a grazing foal reflecting on a ditch alongside Roger Penny Way. First, as I approached the subject, I used the full range of the lens;

then, as I neared the young pony, switched to .45m – infinity.

On the other side of Roger Penny Way, I noticed another, adult, pony reflected in a speeding pool in the distant landscape. This image was produced with the full range of the above camera.

Here is the same scene seen with the SIGMA 105-600 mm at full range.

To our right of this animal were two more visible beyond now naked trees, taken with the same equipment.

The larger lens, set at 105mm, caught the first furry coated creature having crossed the ditch, probably without lifting its muzzle from its meal.

This evening we dined on firm pork chops; creamy mashed potato and swede; crunchy carrots and Brussels sprouts with which I drank Saint-Chinian 2017

 

The Grass Is Greener

CLICK ON ANY IMAGE IN A GROUP TO ACCESS ITS GALLERY, MEMBERS OF WHICH CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE BY SCROLLING DOWN THE PAGE AND CHECKING BOX AT BOTTOM RIGHT.

“We must find a lamb,” announced Jackie this morning. “To prove it is Spring”.

So we did. Quite a few in fact. This wasn’t very difficult given that Christchurch Road is flanked by fields full of them. The farmer appeared to be conducting an inventory. The golden heap in the fourth picture is gravel from New Milton Sand And Gravel.

On such a morning it was a pleasure to continue up to Hockey’s Farm Shop at Gorley Lynch for brunch. Ponies were out in their multitudes today. This group on Holmsley Road couldn’t make up their minds on which side of the road they wanted to take up residence. We thought it best to stop until they had decided.

Many players were out on the Burley golf course, where, to complete a round, they must wheel their clubs across the main road.

Donkeys breakfasted from the middle of the thoroughfare at Rockford Green, while another, oblivious of a passing cyclist, took up her stance on a junction at South Gorley.

Chestnut ponies at Gorley Lynch, having slaked their thirsts in the full ditches, set off down the road to cross at a well-trodden path. One, skirting a welly atop a traffic cone, created a mighty thud as it leapt the ditch and set off in pursuit of its companions. I exchanged pleasantries with the walker being followed by three cyclists. Jackie informed me afterwards that she had waited patiently behind me whilst I wielded my camera. I hope the young woman hadn’t wondered why I hadn’t thanked her.

The paddocks at the farm were, as usual, shared by donkeys and alpacas. One of the latter animals knew very well that the grass is greener on the other side, and seemed determined to taste it.

Not every pony we saw was exercising its right to dominate different road users. Others, occasionally outlined on hillsides, occupied the moors. The one pictured here with its legs in the air is not dead. It is rolling on the grass in order to dislodge something irritating.

For our dinner this evening Jackie produced spicy piri-piri chicken, soft sautéed leek and peppers, and colourful vegetable rice. She drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Azinhaga Portuguese red wine.

Footpaths

SHOULD YOU WISH TO ENLARGE AN IMAGE, CLICK ON IT AND REPEAT IF NECESSARY

Phonebox and postbox

This morning I walked around the perimeter of the field by the disused phonebox and in service postbox, through Honeylake Wood,

Footpath 3

and back across the slender ribbon footpath that will soon be obscured by the farmer’s crops.

Landscape

Oak trees are among the latest to bear leaves, but those beyond the field are beginning to burgeon.

The occasional light aircraft droned overhead; my feet rustled the driest surface that I have experienced through the wood; and harsh squawks of pheasants lent dissonance to the sweeter notes of smaller birds. Otherwise, all was quiet.

Moss-covered trunk

Water in the downward sloping ditch often reaches this moss-covered trunk.

CelandinesDitch

Celandines carpet its somewhat dehydrated banks,

Footpath 2

and the normally sodden undulating footpath leading up to the bridge over the stream had no inclination to inhale my shoes.

Fallen birch

Smaller trees, like this birch, have been left straddling the path

Footpath 1Private Keep Out

from which ramblers are not encouraged to stray.

Tree bent by wind

As readers will know, we are not far from the sea. Many unsheltered trees are bent into shape by the force of the prevailing winds.

This evening we dined at Lymington’s Lal Quilla where, although it was very busy, we received the usual warm welcome and excellent food. My choice was lamb Taba Shashlik Jalfrezi with pilau rice and a share of onion bhaji and egg paratha. We both drank Kingfisher.

High Street night sky

The sun was just thinking about setting as we emerged into the High Street.

 

‘What Else Can you Do On A Rainy Day?’

CLICKING ON IMAGES, TWICE IF NECESSARY, WILL ENLARGE THEM.

It rained steadily all day, so we decided to take another large bag of garden waste to Efford Recycling Centre.

BT Roadblock 1BT Blockage 2

Almost immediately we were held in a long tailback trailing down Christchurch Road. Clearly there were roadworks ahead. Eventually the sight of a yellow cherry picker on the other side of the road, its operator vanishing into foliage on high, confirmed what we had begun to suspect. Yes, it was our old friends BT/Open Reach engineers fixing an outage. Even worse, there was another further along the thoroughfare. (As I typed this, we lost our connection. Sod’s law.)

I had suggested the trip because I thought there wouldn’t be many people patronising the dump on such a day. I was wrong.

Rain on windscreen in queue

Rain on side window

We sat in possibly the longest queue for a dump we have experienced. It offered no convenience.

I ventured to suggest this had not been such a good idea after all. My lady kindly replied with ‘What else can you do on a rainy day?’.

Eventually we unloaded our clippings. I attempted to get straight back into the car. But. Jackie didn’t. She was off to the Sales Area where she bought a stack of plain white plates and two white metal lanterns. Whilst she was in the undercover section,

Owls

I thought it would be a hoot to sneak off and buy the smaller of these, which I did. The Head Gardener then spotted the second, which it would have been unkind to have left on its own. Both were beautifully weathered. So it had been worth the trip after all.

Not wishing to join the traffic queue back home, we took a diversion around Sway and Tiptoe. As usual in such weather, ponies were largely absent, presumably sheltering deep within the forest.

Cattle

A string of cattle, however, stubbornly cropped the heathland. Presumably in an attempt to keep reasonably dry they walked along at an unusually steady pace as they chomped.

Cow in ditch

A few loners, not minding soggy hooves, paddled in the ditches.

Steak pie meal 1Steak pie meal 2

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent beef and onion pie, crunchy carrots, Brussels sprouts, runner beans, and new potatoes. She drank Hoegaarden and I partook of Bodega Toneles 22 malbec 2012.

 

A Nation Uncomfortable With Being Ahead

Head Gardener's work area

Today, just as humid, was slightly cooler and breezier, which was just as well, because we made a start on clearing the Head Gardener’s work area to make room for the shed to be delivered in two days time.

First, Jackie needed to plant the rest of her prolific purchases, so I took a walk along to the paddock in Hordle Lane and back.

Dry ditch

The deep ditches were now bone dry.

Horses in field

The horses in the paddock, protected by their fly masks, had, early in the morning, no need to shelter under the oak. Watch the one on the left,

Horses

now again summoning the customary energy to investigate my presence,

Horses at trough

then to be first in the queue for the water trough.

Clematis Mrs N Thompson

Clematis Mrs N Thompson (not to confused with my daughter, Mrs E Thompson), now mingles with pink roses on the front garden trellis.

Coreopsis

Jackie has added this strident perennial coreopsis to the rose garden.

Aruncus

A far more subdued aruncus bows respectfully

Weeping birch

alongside the weeping birch,

Crow

from where I was able to snap a crow on the far side of Christchurch Road.

View from Fiveways

Patio corner 1Patio corner 2

These views, one from Fiveways, and two of patio corners, display less recent planting.

This afternoon, on TV, I watched another Brit narrowly miss going through to the fourth round at Wimbledon. This time James Ward lost a five set match to Vasek Pospisil. You have to understand we are a nation not comfortable with being ahead in sport – unless it is cricket against the Australians.

This evening we dined at Lal Quilla. My choice of meal was chicken Jaljala with a plain naan; Jackie’s was prawn Sally with the perfect accompaniment of a delicate lemon rice. We shared an onion bhaji, and both drank Kingfisher. Everything was as good as usual.

A Footpath, A Carpet, And An Oak

Landscape

DitchThis morning I encased my right knee in a crepe bandage and hobbled along Hordle Lane to the footpath alongside Apple Court Garden and back.

Now the leg has toothache. That’s it. My rambling will be  done in my head until further notice.

The ditches are now pretty full, and pools still lie on the fields, although the tarmac no longer carries water.

As you walk along almost any lane in this area between the sea and the New Forest, each step provides a different view of the landscape. I have shown before how the wind sweeping across it tends to shape the direction of trees, particularly those in open spaces. The bent oak in the next three photographs demonstrates this point.Landscape with bent oak 1Landscape with bent oak 2Landscape with bent oak 3Snowdrops 1Snowdrops 2Snowdrops 3Snowdrops 4

Footpath 2Footpath 3A thick pile white and green carpet lines the roadside alongside Apple Court Garden. Upon closer examination you discover that the woven woollen strands that form this covering are aptly named snowdrops threaded through the mulch of the undergrowth.

The footpath between the nursery and the neighbouring garden, with its greenhouse and birches, was rather waterlogged.Footpath 1Greenhouse and trees

Jackie produced two different rice dishes, each of which was a meal in itself, for our dinner this evening. These were special fried, and mushroom versions. They were, however, accompanied by a rack of pork ribs marinaded in barbecue sauce, and followed by syrup sponge and custard. My lady drank Hoegaarden and i continued with the Bordeaux.

A Statuesque Beauty

Jackie dropped me at Silver Street again this morning. This time I walked along this road, which, like many local ones has no pavement. I the turned right into Woodcock Lane and crossed Everton Road into Hordle Lane and, eventually, home.

Peterson’s Folly is visible from our front bedroom windows, but there was a much clearer Peterson's Folly 1Peterson's Folly 2view from Silver Street, where moon daises were still blooming.Moon daisy

The ditch in Woodcock Lane, that is liable to flooding, is beginning to fill up.DitchRoad liable to flooding

A creature appears to have taken up residence in a dead tree stump.Stump

Ponies, some wearing jackets, could be seen through a hedge. Their owner, a young Pony 2woman, noticing me poking my lens through the shrubbery, politely enquired as to whether I might be recceing the joint with the intention of returning to steal the ‘rugs’, which I took to mean the jackets. Apparently this is a common occurrence. We had a long, enjoyable conversation in which she told me that the horses were all foresters, and became very Pony 1inquisitive and advanced on watchers, thus alerting her to their presence. She pointed out the unclad grey, which she thought the most beautiful.Sheep

Further along, sheep in a field were colourfully stained, perhaps decorated for Christmas.

Footpath blockedStilePony 3A public footpath on Hordle Lane, where I met another inquisitive pony, has been blocked with barbed wire. Perhaps the doggie poo bag had been tossed beside it to indicate what a rambler thought of this.

This afternoon we visited New Milton for some banking and postage stamps. After this we went on to Milford on Sea to make an appointment at the GP’s. On my left hand I have a Dupuytren’s contracture which has been progressing nicely for about five years, and is now becoming a little awkward, so I need a referral to a surgeon. Patient.co.uk has this to say about it:

‘Dupuytren’s contracture causes thickening of tissues in the palm. If it progresses, one or more fingers bend (contract) into the palm and you cannot straighten the finger. The cause is not known. In many cases it remains mild and does not require treatment. If the condition becomes more severe or the function of the hand becomes affected then a specialist may recommend treatment.’

Jackie’s sister Helen has discovered an early postcard photograph of their mother and her friend, Sheila. My lady volunteered my services for producing a set of prints for Sheila’s daughter Margaret and various family members. I scanned the original and, after a considerable

Mum Rivett & Margaret c 1940amount of retouching, made six copies. This photograph was probably taken around 1939/40 when Veronica Rivett, my delightful late mother-in-law, the statuesque beauty to the viewer’s left, would have been about eighteen.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s scrumptious cottage pie; roast parsnips; crisp carrots, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts; followed by bread and butter pudding and custard for me, evap for her. She imbibed Black Tower B rose, whilst I did the same with Longhorn Valley cabernet sauvignin 2012.