Emma Would Have Been Under Water

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When I was awaiting my hip replacement in 2009, my GP offered the opinion that I would never have a blood pressure problem. I wonder what she would have thought about my performance on the telephone today, much of which was again spent in frustrating negotiations about the mortgage. We were just about to set off with two full orange bags of clippings for the dump, when I learned that I had to make yet another call before we could be under way. I made the call. We then arrived at the dump just after it had closed.

A trip to the forest was in order.

Tree turning to autumn 1Tree turning to autumn 2Tree turning to autumn 3Tree turning to autumn 4

Only a few specimen trees were beginning to change into their autumn robes. The others still retained their summer garb.

Cloudscape 1Cloudscape 2Cloudscape 3Cloudscape 4Cloudscape 5Cloudscape 6

Smoky indigo clouds swirled over the moors,

Cloudscape 7

the sun only periodically piercing their cover,

Ponies 1Pony

and lighting up the ponies,

CowCattle

cattle,

Donkey and cattle

Donkeys on road

and donkeys wandering about East Boldre,

Donkeys with apples

where a woman had stopped her car and unloaded boxes of apples for their delectation.

High tide with boatHigh tideMan watching sunset

Tanner’s Lane beach was awash with the highest tide we had ever seen there. As we contemplated this we reflected that, had this been today, Emma might have been under water.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s superb beef and mushroom pie; sautéed potatoes, carrots, and Brussels sprouts; and broccoli al dente. She drank Hoegaarden, and I drank an excellent Finca Flichman reserve malbec 2015, given to me by Helen and Bill for my birthday.

 

 

Donkeys and Ice Cream

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When we arrived home from Elizabeth’s late yesterday afternoon, the house was very smoky, and the garden full of ash, all emanating from a bonfire in the North Breeze garden, which had been almost razed to the ground. The jungle is no more.

Much rain in the night freshened up our garden,

Bonfire in North Breeze garden 2Bonfire in North Breeze garden 1Bonfire in North Breeze garden 4Smoky garden 1

but had not put out the fire which was added to today.

Dahlias

Some parts of our plot and its contents, like these dahlias, still saw the sun,

Smoky garden 2Smoky garden 3Smoky garden 4Smoky garden 5Smoky garden 6Smoky garden 7

but mostly it remained befogged.

By Hatchet Pond

Elizabeth, Danni, and my great nephew Jasper, came to lunch, after which we drove in convoy to Hatchet Pond.

Jasper and Elizabeth 1Jasper and Elizabeth 2Elizabeth and Jasper 1Jasper 1

Jasper and his Gee-ma investigated the lapping wavelets at the edge of the water.

A woman handed the little lad a bag of prawn crackers with which to feed the water birds. As I said, you always receive too many of this freebies with a Chinese takeaway meal. Jasper wasn’t all that interested, so Danni decided to feed them to

Donkeys 1Donkey foalDonkey shadow

the hastily arriving donkeys, one of which was really very young.

Danni feeding donkey 1

She began with a medium-sized one,

Danni feeding donkey 2

which was head-butted away by the largest creature.

Donkey 1

This animal was so aggressive that the crackers were soon chucked on the ground.

Water liliesBall and water lily

Leaving Jackie on a bench, the rest of us walked to the far end of the pond, past the water lilies,

Women on bench

and others seated in the sun,

Jackie, Jasper, Danni, Elizabeth, ice creams, and donkey

in search of ice cream.

Jasper and Elizabeth 3

Elizabeth clutched wipes for protection against her grandson’s drips,

Jasper and Elizabeth 4

occasionally licking her lips in anticipation.

Ice cream melting

Eventually she was handed the melting cone.

Donkey close-up 1Donkey close-up 2Donkey close-up 3

After this, the aggressive donkey rested its muzzle on my lap.

We dined on Mr Pinks’s fish and chips, gherkins, and pickled onions. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, while Elizabeth and I finished the Douro.

Jasper, Elizabeth and Danni

Danni has just e-mailed me our selfie on the bench.

 

Her First Baby Donkey

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Although the rain has stopped, we are still enduring gale force winds. This involved us picking up branches and various other bits of debris.

Elizabeth came for the afternoon. After lunch Jackie drove us all to Hockey’s Farm at Ibsley, where the ladies enjoyed cream teas and I drank sparkling water.

Donkey and Alpaca

At the farm, larger than average donkeys shared a field with the alpacas.

Hockey's Farm house 1Hockey's Farm house 2

Part of the complex is an attractive thatched house,

Ploughshare 1Window and ploughshare

by the side of which lie a pair of antique ploughshares.

Woman and dog conversing in front of thatched house

Seated at one of the tables whilst her companion visited the café, a woman engaged in conversation with her dog.

Ploughshare and window from café doorway

The back door of the café looked out onto the scene.

Derrick by Elizabeth 3.8.17

Elizabeth photographed me at our table. Later we cropped it to produce an up-to-date WP profile picture.

Mushrooms

A Milky Way of mushrooms outside Hyde

Puffball by Elizabeth

prompted Elizabeth later to photograph a puffball growing in the gravel of our Shady Path.

Donkey and foal 1

At Frogham, my sister was delighted to encounter her ‘first baby donkey’,

Donkey and foal blackberrying

seen blackberrying with its mother.

Donkey by Elizabeth

Something was making the foal itch. Elizabeth created this image.

Back home we dined on Jackie’s perfect pasta arrabbiata with sugar snaps. Elizabeth and I finished the malbec, whilst Jackie drank Hoegaarden.

Afterwards, Elizabeth and I examined our photographs.

P.S. See Paol’s comment below for correct information on the old ploughs

Five If You Hit A Donkey

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As I struggled with ensuring I was digging up allium bulbs around the patio without damaging surrounding plants, I reflected on the tiny thyme twigs that, three years ago, I rescued from the butler sinks lost among the undergrowth covering the Dead End Path.

They are doing very well in their stony, sunny, new home, and don’t at all mind the dry weather we are experiencing.

This afternoon we went for a drive in the forest.

Cricket match 7Cricket match 1Cricket match 6Cricket match 2Cricket match 3Cricket match 4Cricket match 5

At Burley a cricket match was in progress.

Cricket match 8

The scoreboard, stationed in front of the pavilion and changing rooms, demonstrated what was obvious to spectators, namely that the bowling side was in receipt of a drubbing. There are eleven players per side in this game. Ten wickets may fall before the innings ends. Sometimes the captain may declare the innings closed before that happens. The top line of figures on the board shows the total, in this case 175. The next is the number of wickets fallen – 4. Then follows the score made by the last batsman out – 33. This was a good score for only four wickets down. The young man wearing pads in the picture was the next man to bat. He was having a long wait.

There is always a drinks interval during each innings at cricket. It was only fitting, therefore, that we should stop for one at The Foresters’ Arms at Frogham, before taking a leisurely route home.

Ponies and foalPony and foal 1Pony 1Pony 2Foal

Alongside Roger Penny Way the parents of a pony family cropped the grass while their offspring sprawled beside them.

Pony mare and foal

Further on, another mother led her foal across the road in front of us.

Man in mobility scooter, woman with terriers, cattle, calf 2Man in mobility scooter, woman with terriers, cattle, calf

In the lane around the back of Cadham we encountered a fascinating grouping consisting of a gentleman in a mobility scooter, a woman, a terrier, and cattle with a calf. Naturally we waited for them to sort themselves out. The man, woman, and dog took themselves to the side of the road;

Cattle

one of the cows cleaned its hoof; and the calf stayed firmly planted.

Woman and calf

The woman kindly shooed it off.

Outside Lyndhurst a less successful attempt was made to persuade another animal to move along.

Thatched cricket pavilionCricket match 9

Cricket match 10This time a cricket match was set on a rather undulating piece of ground against a backdrop blessed with a rather splendid thatched pavilion.

Cricket and donkey

Cricket and donkeys 2

Cricket and donkeys 1A pair of donkeys in the outfield ignored the flanneled sportsmen, and gradually made their way towards the pitch.

Cricket and donkeys 3

After a while one of the players clapped vigorously. This caused one to shift a few yards. It is possible that the cricketer was mindful of the rule about striking an obstruction with the ball. If a ball is hit to the boundary of the field without bouncing, six runs (as the points are called) are awarded. If the ball does hit the ground before crossing the line, the score is advanced by four runs. Whether or not the ball bounces first, a strike which hits an obstruction on the field of play is awarded 5 runs. Consequently hitting a donkey is worth 5.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s superb chilli con carne with vegetable rice and runner beans. I finished the cabernet sauvignon and Jackie drank Peroni.

Get Up And Have A Look At This

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Today Jackie made much progress on weeding, planting, and watering. I did some tidying up and composting.

Later this afternoon we drove over to East End to see how the thatching was coming along.

Thatching 1Thatching 4Thatching 7Thatching 3Thatching 8

The craftsmen have started the ridging. Readers will have noticed reeds left sticking up on top of the roofs. These have now been strapped in place in readiness for the sculptured topping.

Garden and summer houseThatching 6

In a far corner of the back garden a summer house is also receiving a new roof.

Scaffolding and leaded window

The scaffolding shadows converse with the leaded diamonds of the traditional windows.

Pony mare and foal suckling

We moved on to Beaulieu where a gentle white pony mare suckled her little black foal.

Pony mare and foal crossing road

The mother decided I was paying too much attention and took her offspring across the newly surfaced road to join a group of grazing cattle.

Cattle crossing road

The cattle weren’t too keen on the idea and repaired to the other side. All this movement, of course, gave the car drivers something to think about.

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Further on, lining Lodge Lane and the roadside at Sowley, lay fenced off bluebell woods.

Motorboat 1Motorboat 2Motorboat and yachts

Our next stop was Tanners Lane where a motor boat buffeted along the Solent against the backdrop of the Isle of Wight.

Donkeys 1

In the field alongside the shingle beach, a pair of donkeys basked.

Donkeys 2

One nudged his partner as if to say “Get up and come and look at this”. Throwing back her head and propping up her pregnant bulk with her forelegs, the mare awkwardly found her feet,

Donkey's eye

and staggered across to have a look.

This evening we dined on succulent chicken thighs marinaded in barbecue sauce, served with Jackie’s very special egg fried rice. She drank Peroni and I drank Louis de Camponac Cabernet Sauvignon 2015.

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.