What’s For Lunch?

On another dismal but drier day, Elizabeth left early to transport Mum to her respite care home in Netley.

A little later Jackie and I drove to Ringwood where I collected some printer inks while she did some Christmas shopping. We met in

Café Aroma where we lunched to our satisfaction.

I chose Italian ham turkey and mushroom pie; roast potatoes and veg,while Jackie’s meal was a jacket potato with tuna and salad.

Santa has learned that hobbits have moved into Ringwood where they have constructed a purpose built chimney. Here he is testing it for size. From the length of his legs he won’t be able to stand up in a hobbit’s house.

Some of the shops have entered into the spirit of the season.

Edinburgh Woollen Mill lies across the road from the café;

a couple of doors away is M & Co.

Ringwood Fabrics brightens The High Street,

as does Townhouse Hair Co.,

across the road from which Roberts Jewellers

rather appropriately rubs shoulders with Anna’s Bridal Gowns.

Arcade Flowers

warrants a second image.

On our way home we took a diversion through the forest.

We were led along the road between Ibsley and South Gorley by string of forlorn looking bedraggled ponies

wrapped in towels, apparently having just got out of the bath.

Even I, after stepping from the car, was able to keep up with them as, heads down, they trudged along the centre of the tarmac.

They wandered hopefully into the driveway of Mockbeggar Cottage, but came away unsatisfied. I imagine they are often provided with lunch there.

They were restricted to their usual trampled fare on the village green.

At Ogdens I was rash enough to open my passenger window to photograph a pair of donkeys on hedge cutting duties at the verge.

This is always a signal for these delightful, gentle, creatures to stick their heads through the window silently asking “what’s for lunch?”. I was quite grateful that they do not slobber.

Having seen what we had for lunch it is only to be expected that Jackie and I dined this evening on small portions of her delicious beef pie meal. Elizabeth will be home later.

 

 

Decorating A Dingy Day

Intermittent sunshine sparkled on the drizzle of an increasingly rainy day. This was just as well for Aaron of A.P. Maintenance, one of whose tasks this morning was tidying the shed interior.

This involved removing all contents in order to lay a clutch of doormats bought from the Efford Recycling Centre a couple of years ago;

then replacing them in good order.

The hardy pink rose that has weathered the recent storms has now reached her full maturity.

Elizabeth had driven off to Pilley this morning for the next stage of unpacking in her new house. After lunch Jackie and I delivered more of her equipment. Friends Paul and Cathy were also in attendance.

On reaching the village green at neighbouring Portmore we noticed a group of residents decorating the tree.

Naturally I ambled over and investigated. Very friendly community members were continuing a tradition begun about six years ago. The idea was the creation of a focal point for meeting and getting to know each other over mulled wine which was to follow.

The young woman under this splendid hat was my informant.

The fact that four of the people present, including this gentleman and his companion perched on the ladder entering into the spirit of things, were recent incomers who hadn’t met their neighbours rather made the point.

The usual donkeys wandered along the gloom of Norleywood Road,

pausing to try their luck with attentive visitors.

Others preferred the certainty of prickly gorse.

Jacqueline being with Mum, Elizabeth joined us again this evening. Pannage Pork, we are told, especially the crackling, tastes particularly good, so, trying not to imagine I might have photographed our particular meal snuffling among the acorns, we bought some, and Jackie cooked it this evening. It was, indeed, particularly good; served as it was with potatoes au gratin; roast butternut squash; Yorkshire pudding; crisp carrots; tender runner beans; and tasty gravy. My wife drank Hoegaarden while my sister and I both drank Western Cape Malbec 2018.

Topiary Training

It was shortly after dawn on this overcast morning when Jackie set out to drive me through the gloom to New Hall hospital for a follow-up appointment with Mr Kask, my knee surgeon. 

Apparently walking on the undulating forest terrain is not affording me enough flexibility in the operated knee. I either need to use an exercise bike or take up again painful bending exercises. I don’t have a bike, so this afternoon I resumed the latter.

Otherwise all is well and I am scheduled for replacement right knee towards the end of January. With any luck I will have two good pins by the end of next year.

On our return journey Jackie parked beside the River Avon near Braemore Bridge on the approach to Woodgreen village.

Admiring the brickwork and tiles of the elderly mill buildings, including a shed roof in need of repair, I watched the mill race rushing under the bridge,

its turbulence sending the water weeds wildly waving beneath the surface of the river

on which swam swans and their cygnets, with a few mallards for good measure.

 Having ascended a steep hill through the village we arrived

at Woodgreen Common where brisk dog walkers and 

leisurely breakfasting ponies enhanced the scene.

On the way to Hale, a fluffy donkey foal was being initiated into topiary training until the trio crossed the road to tuck into tastier brambles.

Jackie parked halfway down the next hill from where I photographed the lane and its woodland environs.

Having bought some potting sand from Otter Nurseries on our return, we drove on to Steamer Point, paid the parking fee, trekked down to the Beach Hut Café on Friars Cliff beach promenade, and read a notice announcing that because of building works only coffee and cakes were available this morning. As we wanted big breakfasts we were somewhat disappointed. 

Not to be daunted we drove back to the Walkford Diner, which was closed because Monday is the day they carry out the cleaning. 

So we filled up with petrol, returned home, and lunched on cold chicken salad from plates on our knees while watching Bargain Hunt which at least wasn’t a repeat.

I have been encouraged by readers’ comments to persevere with the new editor. I still cannot see a preview, so I have to trust that my images can be enlarged.

This evening we dined at Lal Quilla where my main course was king prawn vindaloo; Jackie’s was Lal Quilla Special (chicken and minced lamb – rather hot); we shared special fried rice and a paratha, and both drank Kingfisher. The service was as friendly as ever and the food superb.

They Do Not Read Newspapers

This article from the front page of the New Forest Post dated

This article, from the front page of the New Forest Post of two days ago describes an incident in Sway Road early in the morning. The foal, later euphemistically ‘put down’, was in collision with a Mercedes Sprinter. The driver was unhurt. A local resident is quoted as saying: “A foal was hit and dragged down the road under the van. All of us locals are getting pretty annoyed. There have been a few foal deaths – the road is being used as a bit of a rat-run.” My paragraph is for the benefit of those who cannot read the cutting. I still haven’t worked out how to facilitate enlargement in the new editing facility.

It is so infuriating that those precious animals will have no chance to live as long as these ponies enhancing the landscape at Bashley.

Despite having the right of way on forest roads 

Donkeys, like these at Ibsley and South Gorley;

and ponies at Ibsley, have no road sense and they do not read newspapers. Notice how much more difficult it is to see them in the half light of dusk or early morning.

It was at dusk that smoke from a recently stoked bonfire clouded autumnal treetops at the bottom of Frogham Hill.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s splendidly spicy pasta arrabbiata, served with very hot ratatouille, and tender runner beans with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Reserve des Tuguets Madiran 2015.

Unfortunately, whenever I try to see a preview of the post I receive an apologetic message telling me that something has gone wrong. I do hope readers will be able to access the galleries in the usual manner.

Now I’m going to settle down to a session of recorded international rugby.

A Penchant For Dried Leaves

This afternoon Jackie drove me to the GP’s in Milford on Sea to order a repeat prescription.

We travelled via the winding, sunlit, autumnal, Barnes Lane.

We then turned back to the north of the forest.

Had the new traffic calming been installed on the road through Bramshaw, we wondered, in order to protect

the wandering donkeys always in evidence?

I have often seen them chewing prickly shrubs,

but a penchant for dried leaves was a new one for me.

Perhaps the efforts to slow the traffic had also been for the benefit of the basking, scratching, cud-chewing, cattle on and around the green, some of whom regularly diced with death.

The pannage period was not past for this parcel of pigs snuffling alongside Roger Penny Way. I was quite pleased to have positioned myself for these two shots, because I needed to venture down a soggy slope stepping over fallen, lichen covered, branches. Regular readers will know what happened last time I descended a much drier slope in a bit of a hurry.

Elizabeth is staying with Mum for a few days. Jackie and I dined on her splendid beef, mushrooms, and onion pie; Yorkshire pudding; new potatoes; roasted parsnips and butternut squash; and crisp cauliflower and carrots, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Calvet special release Merlot 2017.

No Madame Eglentyne

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This morning Jackie and I took a short drive into the forest.

We stopped for a while at East Boldre, where a pair of hungry donkeys lunched on cropped grass as they waited for a bus.

Even close to midday, neighbouring ponies cast elongated shadows.

The two less energetic greys, eventually rose awkwardly to their feet

and made a beeline to the summer-long dry ditch that is now filling up with drinking water.

Ponies lack the impeccable table manners of Madame Eglentyne, Geoffrey Chaucer’s Prioress, of whom he says ‘Hire over-lippe wyped she so clene That in hir coppe ther was no ferthyng sene’. (Her upper lip was always wiped so clean That on her cup no speck or spot was seen).

This afternoon Helen and Bill dropped in with the sisters’ late father’s train set. Although blessed with three beautiful daughters, Don Rivett had no son. He therefore had to build up an electric train set for himself. Helen has safeguarded the smaller models, while Shelly has the larger ones. Helen and Bill are soon to move house. Jackie and I have now offered Helen’s set a temporary home for a few weeks.

Having taken Mum to Southampton Eye Hospital for treatment this afternoon, Elizabeth stayed with her while Jacqueline went out for a meal. She will therefore be back here later. Jackie and I dined on Mr Pink’s fish and chips and Garner’s pickled onions, with which I finished the Minervois.

“National Block The Road Day”

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On another gloriously warm day on which soft cerulean skies swept the landscape, Jackie drove us to Nomansland and back via Hockey’s Farm shop where we happily brunched.

Accompanied by the odd sheep, dozy donkeys diced with death on Roger Penny Way, a major route through the forest on which annual animal deaths often reach three figures.

By the time we reached them two silhouetted equestriennes, moving onto the village green, left the road at Nomansland, where Jackie parked and

I wandered into the forest where sunlight streaked through the trees, backlighting bracken and splashing shadows across the leaf strewn floor through which thrust fungi, some nibbled by unknown fauna.

Grazing ponies desultorily lifted their heads to inspect me, then continued the important business of consuming the 1% of their body weights each day. It really is a wonder that they have time for anything else.

Accompanied by a cyclist, another young lady riding one horse and leading another was our next middle of the road encounter; round the next corner we waited for a couple in a horse-drawn cart to be finished with their lane.

The road to North Gorley, however, belonged to a group of cattle and their calves. Having watched, first an amused cyclist, then a motorist, engage in a slalom around the bovine impediment, Jackie announced that it was “National block the road day” and took her turn through the barrier.

Jacqueline has come to stay for the weekend so she can visit Mum. She brought  positive report on progress and joined us for dinner. For this, Jackie produced succulent roast chicken: sautéed potatoes and onions; crisp Yorkshire pudding; crunchy carrots, cabbage, cauliflower, and broccoli; with tasty gravy. My wife drank Hoegaarden, my sister drank Awatere Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2017, and I drank more of the Minervois.