Setting The Pace

Today we drove to Hale for a hearty picnic.

Travelling via the lanes of Nomansland we lost our way for a while, although the route was a pretty one.

Sitting on a bench in silence save for the soughing of the chill breeze in the woodland behind us, we hugged our sides in efforts to keep warm until a woman shouted in vain to call her Labrador away from sniffing round our food. We were wondering whether the only signs of

life were to be lost walkers and their animals when the advancing

thudding of a troop of ponies revealed the animals to be on a training run. The last five of the pictures in this gallery are by Jackie, who also

photographed the diminutive creature which had clearly been setting the pace rolling in the grass and nuzzling its larger companion –

a pairing I had also witnessed.

Jackie also photographed the thatched cottages, the millennium memorial sculpture, and the cricket pitch rollers that don’t seem to have been in service yet this season.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s tasty liver and bacon casserole; boiled potatoes; crunchy carrots and firm broccoli with which I drank Chilean Malbec reserva privada 2022.

Stirring Sounds

After lunch today Jackie and I drove to Helen and Bill’s home in Fordingbridge to deliver my sister-in-law’s birthday present. They were not home so we emulated an on-line-shopping courier and left it wrapped up in the porch.

Such is the difference between country and city dwelling that the soldiers left guarding the premises opposite have stood unmolested for months now.

Jackie photographed me photographing them and a coloured one for herself.

I converted mine to black and white.

Periodically our journey was punctuated by cawing crescendos from a plethora of raucous rookeries, like this one around the corner, where canoodling couples indulged in nest-building frenzies.

Smaller songbirds’ sweeter symphonic trilling offered a pleasant alternative in the woodland of Hale Purlieu where still shaggy ponies in their winter wear cropped the grass.

I wandered past the ponies and looked down on the woodland hill slopes before retracing my steps.

Suddenly barking, a yelp, and cries of “leave”, shattered the peace as a pack of humans, let off the leash by their assorted canines, trailed from the trees to their waiting cars.

Foaming water roared from the mill race, entering the fast flowing, lapping, tinkling, rippling, varicoloured surface of the River Avon via the Woodgreen bridge.

Such was the variety of sounds stirring this early spring day.

This evening we dined on Red Chilli’s excellent Indian takeaway with which I finished the Syrah.