An English Country Churchyard

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After dinner yesterday evening we popped down to Barton on Sea to view the sunset.

This morning we drove around the forest.

The thatcher I spoke to at East End, where the albeit somnolent donkeys were having fun with the traffic,

replied that the project was “beginning to take shape”.

Jackie on tree seat

Our next stop was at St Mary’s Church at South Baddesley, outside which Jackie sat on a seat cut into a very large tree stump.

Ken Allen gateposts

Gateway and church

Alongside the church stretches a patch of uncultivated land accessed from an open gateway dedicated to Ken Allen 1918 – 2005.

Path from church to playground 1

From here a  path leads down

Playground

to a playground beyond a locked five-barred gate. I was unable to gain any information about Mr Allen or the leisure area that I speculated must be related to him.

It was quite refreshing to discover that the Victorian church itself was unlocked and welcoming. I found the stained glass windows particularly attractive.

Cap on pew

Hanging on the edge of a pew was a gentleman’s cloth cap. If it is yours it awaits your collection.

Primroses, English bluebells, and other wild flowers wandered, as did I, among the gravestones in this English country churchyard.

Angel gravestone sculpture

Most of the stones were quite simple, but there was one angel and child,

and the amazing resting place of Admiral of the Fleet George Rose Sartorius, GCB, Count de Penhafirme who died on 13th April 1885 in his 95th year. This was 70 years after he had served with Nelson at the battle of Trafalgar.

Admiral Sartorius's grave 2 – Version 2

What is particularly astonishing is the knowledge that the credible articulated linked anchor chain winding around the cross was carved from stone.

After lunch Jackie continued working her magic in the garden where I did a bit of clearing up and repelled some invading brambles along the back drive.

This evening we enjoyed our second serving of Mr Chatty Man Chan’s Chinese Take Away with which I finished the madiran. Jackie didn’t imbibe because she had drunk her Hoegaarden in the Rose Garden where we had a drink first.

P.S. Bruce Goodman, in his comment below, has provided a link to Ken Allen, which, incidentally explains that the playground I noticed is attached to a school. This is no doubt why the entrance would be locked during the Easter holidays.

Little Donkey

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We began this sunny day with a trip to the bank in New Milton, followed by one to Mole Country Stores just outside Lymington.

Tree shadows

The shadows of trees were cast on the woodland bank beside the store.

The woman serving us cautioned me to watch for the stampede of staff who, having heard Wendy’s horn, would be dashing out for cake from the popular mobile caterer. We hoped that the poison we were buying would prove as appetising to the rats still coming in from North Breeze, the empty house next door. Whatever is tearing a hole in the Rose Garden fence is of course rather larger than a rat. Either a badger or a fox. Later in the day we put down the bait in its specially designed containers.

Having made our purchase, we drove on to East End to see how the thatching by

New Forest Master Thatchers

was coming along.

I had a pleasant conversation whilst looking up at one of the men perched on his scaffolding. He remembered my having photographed the unloading of the reeds, and was more than happy to have their progress recorded on the blog.

The pair of donkeys across the road were today joined by a younger member of the family. They were liberally bedecked with petals of the blackthorn that lines the hedgerows and provides them with sustenance. The field of rape beyond the hedge failed to blind them to the task of trimming the hedges.

A little further up the road, near the chickens, a younger foal adhered to its mother

Donkey and foal on road 1

until she imparted its first instruction in the art of claiming the road

Donkey foal on road

and the game of disrupting the traffic.

It seemed as if the further we ventured the smaller became the little donkeys. At East Boldre mothers and babies clung together as somnolent fathers dozed along the winding road. One of the more venturesome foals was quick to trot to his mother at the sight of me and my camera.

Just like human babies these tiny tots can fall asleep anywhere in positions of which their parents may well be envious.

It is possible that this will remind anyone of a certain age of

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious lamb jalfrezi, savoury rice, vegetable samosas, and spicy paneer. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Bergerac.

On The Road To Brockenhurst

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Jackie and I began the day with a drive in the forest, in order to see how the thatching at East End was progressing.

Ford 1Ford 2Ford 3

A shallow stream ran over the ford at Norleywood, enhancing the beauty of the shadows on the road ahead.

Donkeys 1

A pair of donkeys breakfasted on the hedgerows opposite the house

Thatching 3

on which the skilled roofing work had commenced.

Donkey 1

As is their wont, one of these creatures crept, silently, up behind me to see if I had any carrots. I am mean enough to disappoint them, however, feeding them is not advised by the verderers, unless you want to catch Weill’s disease.

Donkeys and ModusDonkey and ModusDonkey 2

Jackie had driven further up the road to turn round, by which time the donkeys really had claimed the road.

Donkeys 2The other two large lorries were still parked outside the neighbouring house. One was being loaded with soil dug out from the garden.

Shetland pony 1Chickens and Shetland pony 1Chickens and Shetland pony 2

High above the chicken range a solitary Thelwell child’s pony also enjoyed its morning meal.

Chickens and cockerel 1

Chickens 1Cockerel and chickens 1Chickens 2Chickens 3Chicken 1Chicken 2

The chickens cooed and clucked around their chook house,

Crow and chickens

sharing their repast with crows,

Ducks and chicken

ducks,

Ducks and hen pheasantPheasant henPheasant cock 1

and pheasants, which were freer to roam.

Llama 2

One of the llamas sat with a silly grin on its face

Llama 1

as another gurned at me.

Cyclists

A trio of cyclists paused at the road junction to take their bearings.

Cyclists 1Cyclists 2Cyclists 3Cyclists 5Cyclists 6

They were small fry compared with those who were to limit our progress on the road to Brockenhurst.

Cyclists 4

As we approached that village, Jackie expressed the wish that they would not be going our way. No such luck.

This afternoon we continued, focussing on the rose and front gardens, preparing for an alfresco summer.

This evening we dined on shepherd’s pie topped with layers of cheddar cheese and mushrooms; crisp carrots, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and runner beans. Jackie finished the Cotes de Gascoigne and I drank more of the shiraz.

Controlled Burning

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Jackie and I spent the morning weeding and clearing the rose garden. The task is not yet finished.

A rather large creature has head-butted a hole in the fence, tossed the insect hotel logs aside, and broken off the legs of a couple of the plastic edge rails bordering the stepping brick path, across which it has trodden a trail. We rather hope it is not a rat. In an attempt at least to deter the beast I have plugged the square hole with a round peg.

Ladybirds 1

The ladybird bug in the weeping birch has taken a mate and led her further up the tree.

This afternoon we went on a drive through the forest.

A group of ponies on the road between Burley and Ringwood feasted on gorse, grass, and brambles on the verge and the bank above it.

One took itself along and across the road where it thought the grass was greener.

Attracted by the smoke of controlled burning, I stepped out onto the heathland where

Hikers

I met a group of hikers seeking directions. Naturally I led two of them to the driver who set them right.

‘Yearly burning of heather and gorse in the New Forest is helping to reinvigorate the area’s heathland habitats for wildlife, according to a scientific study.’ This quotation comes from http://www.hlsnewforest.org.uk/hls/news/article/11/research_shows_burning_benefits_precious_new_forest_habitats from the Forestry Commission website which has further information.

On the outskirts of Hyde we encountered a string of ponies taking a leisurely stroll along a road lined with

Blackthorn

blackthorn.

Ponies on road 3

One of the animals stopped, turned, and noisily expressed its desire that I should also stop, and retrace my steps,

Ponies on road 4

which I did, to find reinforcements alongside the Modus in which Jackie closed the window

Pony and Modus

in the face of one particularly hopeful individual which,

Pony on road 3

when I came between it and the passenger side, observed me with what seemed like malevolent intent.

Cattle occupied the higher ground at Gorley Common,

Donkeys eating gorse

while donkeys’ leathery mouths tore at the gorse below.

Beef cobbler meal

This evening we dined on Jackie’s beef cobbler served with boiled potatoes, crunchy carrots, cauliflower, and green beans; and purple sprouting broccoli which turned green the cooked. Jackie drank sparkling water and I finished the Bordeaux.

Blue Ice Cream

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Forget-me-nots

Forget-me-nots are now blooming throughout the garden, especially, like these, springing up through the paths.

Our resident robin began the day in the shrubbery before taking up his station and serenading us in the weeping birch.

We spent a sunny morning that began quite chilly, but managed to reach temperatures in double figures, driving around the forest.

The first stop was

Whitten Pond sign

Given the restrictions applied to activities there I can only assume that the numerous muddy, rutted, tracks leading to it had been made by thirsty ponies.

Lying off Pound Lane on the way to Ringwood, this pond, with its choppy wavelets slapping and bubbling against the banks, looked attractive enough,

although the surrounding moorland was pretty wet.

Cyclists were out in their numbers speeding across the moorland roads and the winding lanes. Some, in large groups, switched from single file to two and three abreast in what seemed a rather aggressive attempt to hold drivers back. At one point the third in a trio headed straight for Jackie who, not speeding anyway, had already slowed down.

I wondered whether the man in the red jacket had noticed the ponies to his left.

This spot is not far from Burley at which we arrived before most shops had opened. The village’s pair of geese patrolled the rather empty car park.

Magpie Antiques

10 a.m. is the usual opening time. Magpie Antiques already welcomed visitors,

Jackie buying fudge

as had Burley Fudge which, after sampling the wares, Jackie patronised.

Ice cream tubs

In the forecourt of the antiques shop stands an ice cream stall. This photograph is for Maximus Octavian who likes blue ice cream.

Honey Lane

Honey Lane in Burley Street is as enticing as ever.

Horses in the corner field to the right of the entrance still wear their winter rugs.

At Bramshaw donkeys shared the task of cropping the grass verges with ponies of differing sizes.

Magnolia

Magnolias are blooming throughout the villages. This one near these animals is rather splendid.

We took a diversion around the bottleneck that is Lyndhurst during the holiday seasons.

Along Bolderwood Road I debarked and wandered among the trees, crunching on the dry leaves underfoot, admiring the long shadows, and examining the fallen trees and crumbling stumps.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious lamb jalfrezi, special fried rice and vegetable samosas; followed by apple pie and custard. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Beaujolais.

Pruning Service

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The landscape around Brockenhurst remained pretty waterlogged when we visited it this morning.

Even though the day was dull, trees were reflected in the pools.

Walking with ponies

A small group walked along a pitted track leading to a made-up road, enabling a couple of youngsters to ride ponies.

Most home owners in the New Forest, in order to stem equine invasion, keep their gates closed, and have cattle grids fitted. Not so one house for the sale at the end of this road.

A pair of donkeys had wandered in and set about an uninvited pruning service. Not, of course, until I had taken a few photographs, and after the animals stretched over the fence to set about next door’s shrubs, I knocked at both doors. Neither produced a response. I left the animals to it. The male, who appears in most of these images, wandered out and stood in the middle of the road. A woman from Hornchurch, who was down for the weekend was quite concerned for the creature’s safety. We had a very pleasant conversation in which I explained that the asses were not in danger as they had the right of way.

This afternoon I watched ITV’s coverage of the Six Nations rugby match between Italy and France in Rome; and of England’s game against Scotland at Twickenham.

This evening we dined on a rack of pork ribs with Jackie’s superb egg fried rice, green beans and sugar snaps with which I drank more of the bordeaux.

Our friend, Ginene Angel of https://foxandfinchantiques.com, has asked for the publication of our new fire at night.

Fire

Here it is Ginene.

The Water Bed

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This morning we drove to New Milton to register with the Birchfield Dental Practice, then do business at the bank and the post office. Afterwards we visited Streets Ironmongers in Brockenhurst where we exchanged our Swan’s Basket for a more suitable grate for the new fireplace, and a bag of coal. As we left the shop, the car thermometer registered 19 degrees. we’ll hardly need a fire. Someone up there is having a laugh.

The land around the Balmer Lawn section of Highland Water has dried out enough for the flooded area, bearing strong shadows from the overhead sun, to contain discrete pools reflecting the trees and the skies.

Shadows and roots 1

Some of the shadows criss-crossed the roots exposed by receding waters.

Clear water flowed over the glowing Highland Water bed.

The river itself sparkled in the sunlight.

As I wandered along the banks a pony seemed to move across the landscape. Actually it remained stationary. It was I who changed my position.

Cyclists were reflected beneath the bridge, over which a walker proceeded in the direction of Brockenhurst,

Water under bridge

and under which the river streamed.

Other ponies had reclaimed their pasturage. This one set off past the car park towards the river, thought better of it, and, eyes open, went to sleep.

Perhaps it had decided to leave the watering hole to the donkeys,

who, thirst slaked, went off for a scratch

followed by a necking session.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s sublime chicken jalfrezi and mushroom rice, with onion bahji and samosa starters and a side dish of dal makhani and paneer. Jackie finished the Vernaccia di San Gimignano and I finished the carmenère.