The Blue Coat

Suitably equipped for the fray

Jackie joined the queue at Tesco five minutes before opening time. She really felt for the woman in the blue coat.

The orderly social distancing exhibited outside the supermarket was somewhat belied by the few customers who reached past others to claim items they were afraid might disappear. Although we didn’t need any, Mrs Knight reported that toilet rolls were in stock.

Perhaps the fact that the fresh meat, fish, and deli counters were off limits enabled her to

feel relaxed about photographing sheep and lambs along Christchurch Road on her way home.

After watering the pots in the front garden this afternoon – the Head Gardener was to hose those at the back later – I took a trip to Honeylake Wood and back.

This involved walking along Christchurch Road past the closed Royal Oak pub, Downton Garage, Woods used car establishment, and a row of cottages, to the currently fallow field featuring a footpath to the wood.

Sandbags line the pub’s front porch, suggesting the management had not anticipated our current dry spell when the coronavirus closures were required.

This gentleman walking a couple of dogs

back to the kissing gate

was clearly complying with the request to keep canines under control.

Choosing to eschew the gate which others will have touched, I entered via a gap in the hedge beside the disused telephone box and the still active letter box.

I then walked along the edge of the field to the footpath.

Like most local fields this one is fenced by wind-sculpted trees.

The winding path through the wood

slopes down to a bridge over a stream. The photographs above indicate the fleeting nature of the shadow-casting sun. The bridge has been repaired since my last trip down here, but I did not lean on it for the same reason that I avoided the gate.

The banks of the stream were embroidered with gentle yellow primroses.

This evening we dined on chicken thighs of considerable size crisply roasted with potatoes and parsnips; Yorkshire puddings, carrots and spring greens, with which I drank Carinena El Zumbido Garnacha Syrah 2018. Jackie had finished her Hoegaarden while cooking.

Then There Were Three

Yesterday evening we watched the last episode of series 2 of The Crown. This featured the Profumo affair which we both remember well. I will not comment on the presentation, given its speculation about the effect on the Royal marriage.

We visited Boots in New Milton again this morning; this time for Jackie’s eye test. Regular readers will be familiar with her multi-ocular devices. She has now accepted that she needs the first eye test she has had since she was at primary school. A more suitable pair for her numerous roles has accordingly been ordered.

Afterwards, on the last fine day we can expect for a while, we took a short drive into the forest.

We stopped on the road to Brockenhurst in order for me to photograph landscapes with ponies. The gabled house seen beyond the railway bridge looks very much part of the scene. In fact it is less than 5 years old.

Ponies were stocking up their larders in anticipation of storm Dennis, due to strike at the weekend.

A dog walker using her mobile phone paused as a somnolent young bay rose to its feet and stepped out to join

two companions.

Then there were three under a naked oak.

This evening we dined on baked gammon; Jackie’s extra-piquant cauliflower and broccoli cheese; creamy mashed potatoes; and firm mange-touts and carrots, with which I drank more of the Squinzano and Jackie didn’t.

 

Close Encounter Of The Canine Kind

Despite the bright sunny morning there was a distinct chill in the air as we set off for a drive into the forest.

Field horses at South Sway Lane, in view of Sway Tower, demonstrated contradictory protective needs now that flies are beginning to appear in the daytime, yet the nights remain cold. The bay wears a rug whereas the other two sport masks to protect eyes and ears from winged irritants.

Recumbent forest ponies sprawled over the moorland outside Brockenhurst; a mare stood guard over her recently born foal. I thought it politic not to come too close.

Long-horned cattle lounged on the other side of the road.

From the Boundway Car Park I walked down a gentle slope to photograph

the distant landscape.

As I returned to the car I stood aside for a young lady and her frisky dog to have free passage and to keep my knees out of their way. I was a little nonplussed when the owner cried “keep off, Derek”. Derek turned out to be the name of the six month old canine kick boxer who launched himself at me, muddy paws to the fore. You may be surprised at the impact such a creature can have.

I was. I was even more surprised that I stood firm and did not end up on the ground. That way it was only

the front of my trousers that would need washing.

Soon after this encounter we drove through Rhinefield Ornamental Drive where long shadows crisscrossed the forest floor with its carpet of fir cones; and this year’s ferns rose from the mulch of last year’s natural compost.

This evening we dined at Lal Quilla where we were treated as well as ever with friendly service and excellent food. Jackie’s choice of main meal was prawn sally; mine was king prawn vindaloo. We shared special fried rice and an egg paratha and both drank Kingfisher.

“Where’s It Gone?”

We took an early drive to the east of the forest this morning.

Having left Lymington we traversed Snooks Lane. The nature of this narrow, winding, road suggests that it is madness to reach the 40 m.p.h. limit marked on these lanes.

Despite the idyllic location and the recently completed cleaning of the Burrard Monument someone has tossed a coke can over the low wooden rail bordering the grounds.

The tide was out at Tanners Lane where a black headed gull foraged among the silt.

The Isle of Wight, The Needles, Hurst Castle, and the two lighthouses could be viewed through a certain amount of haze.

Our next stop was at Sowley Lane, where a pony grazed, a friendly gentleman trotted with his dog, a cyclist approached; and alongside which oilseed rape blazed through a field.

It was a sleeping baby on the opposite side of the road from his mother that had caused me to disembark. After a while he woke, awkwardly found his feet and wobbled across to the pony mare who, continuing to fuel herself, offered no assistance to her offspring who eventually, unaided, latched on to his source of nutriment.

Just as we were about to continue on our way, the Modus experienced a thudding sound and a gentle rocking. The foal was using it as a scratching post. While Jackie made these portraits our little friend even allowed her to stroke his nose.

We felt a bit stuck in place while the pony seemed stuck on us.

After a last lingering caress, he turned his head and bent it in the direction of his mother. This enabled us to take off, albeit slowly. Turning back in our direction he looked somewhat nonplussed as his image in my wing mirror gradually diminished. I swear he was thinking “where’s it gone?”.

For dinner this evening Jackie produced tandoori chicken; savoury and pilau rice; and fresh salad, with which I drank The Long Way Round reserve Carmenere 2018, another excellent selection from Ian’s Christmas case.

Wait For Us

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This morning Jackie and I kept our appointment with Neils Dagless of Dagless and Whitlock. He witnessed our signatures on the mortgage documents. There was no charge for his service, but we were asked for a donation to the Oakhaven Hospice. We were happy to do this.

Becky and Ian, who had stayed the night, returned home after lunch. Matthew, Tess, and Poppy will remain with us until tomorrow.

Later this afternoon we posted the papers to O’Neill Patient in Stockport, then drove into a dank and dismal forest.

Hinchelsea Moor 1Hinchelsea Moor 2

Drizzling rain mist lay over Hinchelsea Moor,

Ponies in mist 1Ponies in mist 2Ponies in mist 3

and Wilverley Plain where we could just discern a few ponies,

Cow crossing car park

a damp cow crossing the soggy carpark,

Calves following mother

and its calves, passing a browsing pony,

Calves following mother

and lowing “wait for us”, as they followed.

Pony at Wilverley Pit

At Wilverley Pit I photographed one pony standing silhouetted,

Woman photographing pony

remaining stationary whilst another photographer followed suit.

Man petting pony

A young man patted a pony showing considerable interest in the snack he was eating.

Pony encounter

Having been satisfied, the creature reported prospects to another,

Man feeding pony

which was then equally successful.

Cars and pony

Cars kept their headlights on;

Man, dog, pony

and a few intrepid dog walkers ventured across the vanishing moor.

This evening the five of us dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away fare. All except Matthew and Poppy drank Tsingtao beer.

 

The Three Graces

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. THOSE IN GROUPS ACCESS GALLERIES THAT CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE.

It is not often one can be grateful for a traffic diversion, especially those in The New Forest which tend to send you miles out of your way. So it was this morning as Jackie drove us out there.

New Milton in mist

Had we not been sent all the way back to New Milton we would not have seen the sun mooning through the mist over Station Road.

The drip, drip, dripping of the melting frost was all there was to be heard in misty Gorley,

where the glassine stream stood still;

Sheep in mist 1

shaggy sheep cropped the grass;

arboreal forms emerged from the gloom;

Dog walker

a woman walked her carefully blended dog,

Cyclist

and a lime-green clad cyclist took his chances on the road to Linwood. In the foreground of this shot stands one of the many posts measuring water levels; in this instance of the stream pictured above.

Trees bedecked with flowers usually mark a spot where someone has died in a road accident. Maybe that is why this oak at the crossroads by the ford has been decorated with fleeting frost, with flowers past their best, with diced mushrooms, and with a clump of once potted bulbs.

Ponies in a field at Mockbeggar were so obscured as to be impossible to tell whether or not they were domesticated. One definitely wore a rug, as their winter garments are termed. This would not be a wild forest creature. Can you spot it?

Misty Ibsley

It would have been equally difficult for the driver coming through Ibsley to have discerned the pony to the left of this picture, had it decided to turn and cross the  road.

It was as the mist was beginning to clear on the approach to Frogham that we encountered a living modern sculpture based on Antonio Canova’s “The Three Graces”.

A chestnut gatecrashed the hay party those finely marbled greys were enjoying.

Stag and family

At Frogham the appearance of a stately stag was somewhat marred by the tangled encumbrance attached to his antlers. Perhaps he was aiming to snaffle the magnificent sloughed set protruding from the field ahead of him.

He was leading his family towards the herd sharing the land with a solitary pony.

As the mist began to clear on either side of Roger Penny Way on our return home, the warming sun caused another to rise from the moors,

House in forest

and exposed a mid-distant group of houses.

This evening we dined on chicken Kiev; peppers stuffed with Jackie’s savoury rice; green beans, and spinach; followed by bread and Benecol pudding with evap. I finished the Madiran.

Making The Most Of Milford Seafront

This morning I accompanied Jackie to the GP surgery where she was prescribed antibiotics for what is now a chest infection. Afterwards, she drove us to the car park alongside the

Needles Eye Cafe

 Needles Eye cafe where she sat with a coffee whilst

Upper promenade 1

I ambled along the upper and lower promenades.

Hazy sea

The fog warning sounded as I took this hazy picture of the Isle of Wight and The Needles, after which the cafe has been wittily named.

Man and dog

This gentleman was perhaps searching for a sight of the island whilst his bored best friend was suggesting it was a waste of time.

Walkers

A group of energetic retirees strode out, past the barriers that border the lower promenade where concrete huts once stood.

Public Convenience

Dog walker

Should they be taken short, a state of the art Public Convenience ushers in the prospective

Making the most of Milford seafront

rebuilding of the, now removed, damaged beach huts.

Throughout the day, Paul and I continued exchanging material for the forthcoming The First Gallery exhibition and flyer.

This evening we dined on Mr Pink’s, fish, chips, and pea fritters. Nothing was imbibed.