“The Royal Stump”

This morning I e-mailed two more entries to the Wessex Photo Spring competition. These are entitled ‘A Paddle’ and ‘The Hind Leg’. (A paddle is the collective noun for ducks in the water; a garrulous person could be said to talk the hind leg off a donkey – with Jackie’s assistance I couldn’t help myself).

Later I photographed the roses on the front garden trellis.

After lunch Jackie drove me to that photographic outlet in Ringwood to collect some paper I had ordered. We then travelled on into the forest and stopped at the recently opened bird hide at Blashford Lakes.

When I entered the building a man inside mouthed “lapwing” and pointed to the window. As I approached it flew away. I observed that I had that effect on birds. He replied that he had had that effect since he was eighteen. Quick to pick up the innuendo I gesticulated in the direction of the two attractive women in his company and offered the opinion that something must have improved. This was met with hilarity. The said waterfowl was decent enough to return for a forage.

I was informed that two somnolent birds bobbing on the water were great crested grebes.

A pair of ducks sharing a spit with a black headed gull soon took to the water. I trust one of my birding blogging friends will help me with identification. (The consensus seems to be Tufted Ducks – see arlingwoman and John Knifton’s comments)

We stopped for a drink at The Royal Oak, North Gorley where the avian propensity for taking flight at the sight of my lens did rather pay off. Two jackdaws perched on the chimney pot were possibly protecting a nest. One decided to decant to the TV aerial when I was in mid-click.

Since we last visited the eponymous Quercus has had to be felled. The pub landlord quipped that they should now be called “The Royal Stump”. Jackie suggested that the slice might attract the attention of a dendrochronologist.

This evening we enjoyed our second sitting of Hordle Chinese Take Away fare with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Garnacha Syrah.

A Drum Roll

This morning I rediscovered an album of elderly colour slides I had thought lost. I scanned a selection from May 1989.

Sam managed to set this drum rolling across the lawn at Lindum House;

Louisa preferred the inside drum roll

Kate, our popular child-sitter, was an excellent birthday party emcee. This was Louisa’s seventh.

Jessica took a rest in the hammock.

Late this afternoon we collected the Modus from the excellent Downton Service Station and Jackie drove the newly service vehicle into the forest.

Beside the undulating, winding, road to Burley

we encountered another bay pony pulling up its clear vegetable soup from the bed of a forest pool in which it was reflected among the surrounding golden gorse bushes.

We ventured a short distance along the very pock=marked Honey lane, at the corner of which a grey pony was on sentry duty. A small variegated rhododendron sheltered in the shade along a verge.

At the far end of the lengthy Charles’s Lane

we diverted to Neacroft, where an unusual pair of ducks crossed the road. The female burrowed in the undergrowth while her splendidly top-knotted drake stood guard.

This evening we dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away’s excellent fare with which Jacke drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Pinot Noir.

Shared Pasturage

Although it was to brighten a little before we finished our trip into the forest this afternoon, it began very dull and overcast.

At Braggers Lane I disembarked from the Modus to focus on distant landscapes. The last two images include All Saints Church, featured in an earlier post.

Nascent bracken now towered above bluebells on the verge.

Horses grazed in the field opposite. One already wore an eye mask as protection against flies.

Generous assorted sheep and their little black lambs shared their pasturage with emus, ducks, and chickens in a field beside Fish Street. (Note Lwbut’s comment below. The large birds are Rheas)

While I focussed on the field, Jackie photographed the field behind me. at the far end of her vision two cows left their watering hole. One showed no interest, but its companion appeared to display some curiosity. The Assistant Photographer also created an image of the occupants of the field through a gap in trees beside the stream. The thatched cottage stands opposite the gate to the sheep field.

The road bridge provides a link between Fish Street and London Lane, alongside which whiter lambs were penned. This lane, along with many others, was permeated with the heavy, sweet, scent of oil seed rape seen in the distance in the first of the above pictures.

This evening we dined on Mr Pink’s fish and chips, pea fritters, and pickled onions. Jackie drank Peroni and I finished the Merlot Bonarda.

Conversation

On another overcast afternoon we meandered in the Modus.

On the Beaulieu Abbey lake teal ( see John Knifton’s comment below) paddled among the reed beds;

black headed gulls quietly reflected;

stately swans sailed sedately, sometimes safely splash landing.

One conversed with a little boy in a buggy.

In a field across the road cock pheasants competed with crows for forage.

Cattle claimed the road at East Boldre.

This evening we dined on our second helpings of Hordle Chinese Take Away’s excellent fare.

Gone Fishing

The final fatal body blow to my hopes for a daily post during my hospital stay was dealt by EE mobile on the late afternoon of the day before my surgery. Today I began to fill in the gaps with the entry planned for

8th January 2019

On this bright, sunny, morning we set out to enjoy a drive in the forest and to gather a few photographs for my final pre-op publication.

We began by joining a number of bird watchers at Eyeworth Pond near Fritham. Three gentlemen sat on rails, at their lunches, and watched the waterfowl.

Others, like me, photographed

the various tits, including those of blue, marsh, and long tailed examples; thrushes; and a robin, tempted by feeders suspended from branches, and by nuts left on posts, flitting about among the surrounding trees and shrubs, pecking up scraps among the gravel beneath.

Ducks, geese, and a moorhen, occasionally diving for their prey, and surfacing dripping and glistening with pond-water, could certainly be said to have gone fishing.

Ponies basked in the midday sun at Fritham,

where donkeys also grazed

We brunched at Hockey’s Farm Shop before continuing

via Roger Penny Way where pools were filling up for drinking and paddling.

As we drove along the Poulner stretch of Southampton Road, we wondered why there was a seemingly equal body of water being sprayed by vehicles on its surface.

The answer lay in a Christmas tree that still had its lights cascading.

I had, this morning received a message from Alex at Peacock Computers informing me that my laptop was ready for collection. This, of course, meant that I could be on line in hospital.

It was therefore with a certain amount of glee that I sat down to draft this post.

Then came the blow. We had no internet connection and the router was dead. I took this equipment with me to Peacock Computers where James confirmed my diagnosis. Even though it was close to his own closing time, James sped off to the EE shop, attempting to obtain a replacement. After more than an hour of negotiation he returned with a loaned device and an undertaking to repair the faulty article. At least I came home with my MacBook Pro.

I was unable to make the loaned router work. The reason will be revealed in a subsequent post. Eventually I conceded defeat.

We dined on pizza and salad. I drank water.

I Taut I Taw A Puddy Tat

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Early this morning, Ross visited briefly to help Richard move the furniture back to the far end of the kitchen. Richard then set about building the bespoke cabinets and work surfaces. These had all been designed and cut to size in the craftman’s workshop. Clamps were applied to the sections; screws selected from the relevant boxes; the drill and spirit level employed;

 

and further refining cuts made with the chop saw, equipped with its own laser beam.

Ham, egg, and chips; macaroni cheese, salad, and garlic bread.

At lunchtime we left Richard to his work and visited Otter Nurseries caf√© for lunch. My choice was ham, egg, and chips; Jackie’s was macaroni cheese, salad, and garlic bread.

Staplewood Lane

We then took a trip through the forest. At Staplewood Lane

 

we experienced what must have been rerun of a 1950s cartoon. A paddle of ducks swam in a full ditch.

 

 

A scout, leading them across the road to Little Staplewood Farm, spotted a black and white cat advancing from a distance, and alerted its discombobulated followers

 

to turn back to the safety of the water, and cross the road when the coast was clear.

 

Sylvester, however, had sneaked into the farmyard and hidden under a Range Rover. He was not unnoticed by the guinea fowl, the geese, and other ducks who set up a vociferous alarm. One of the geese, in particular, was bent on saving Rome.

 

Towards the end of the day, before Richard carried out his customary spotless clean and tidying, he paused with a coffee and discussed with Jackie this week’s progress and plans for the next. She looks quite pleased.

This evening we dined on tasty fresh chicken and egg salad. I also enjoyed an excellent ham and cheese sandwich.

 

Snaffled By A Swan

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Playing Bookworm with Malachi commenced at 6.30 a.m. today. Thus the morning was whiled away.

This afternoon Jackie drove me and the children to Hatchet Pond to feed the birds on prawn crackers.

Rain on windscreen

We just had time to disembark from the car before the sky darkened, severe winds blew, and rain pelted down. This was the view we had of the lake through the windscreen.

Gulls

The rain eased up a bit and the black-headed gulls fought against the gusts.

Malachi and Orlaith feeding birds 1Malachi and Orlaith feeding birds 2

Malachi and Orlaith feeding birds 3Malachi and Orlaith feeding birds 4Malachi and Orlaith feeding birds 6

Soon the children could attempt to feed the gulls and the ducks. This was made somewhat difficult by the wind tossing their offerings this way and that.

Gull grabbing prawn cracker

Only the sharpest birds managed to catch a cracker.

Swan and cygnets

Eventually the sun returned and a stately swan steered her cygnets sailing across the now smoother surface of the water.

Swans, cygnets, gulls, ducks 1

She was set on joining her cob who had gone ahead at the sight of a gentleman who now felt it safe enough to brave the elements and feed them.

Swans, cygnets, gulls, ducks 3

Father swan had his eye on a large slice of bread bobbing in the water.

Swans, cygnets, gulls, ducks 4Swans, cygnets, gulls, ducks 5

Thrusting all competition aside he snaffled the bread, ready to distribute it among his offspring.

Thatched roof 1Thatched roof 3Thatched roof 2

Returning via East End, we admired the completed work of New Forest Master Thatchers.

This evening we all dined on Mr Pink’s fish and chips, followed by vanilla ice cream. Holly and I drank Ring Bolt Margaret River cabernet sauvignon 2014, and Sam drank Guinness.