A Memorable Day

On this morning of steady rain we splashed and sprayed our way along Christchurch Road transporting 10 spent compost bags of garden refuse to Efford Recycling Centre. Naturally we wore a few raindrops, but at least this went well.

Will of Tom Sutton Heating visited to fix our radiators problems. We have four we just haven’t been able to bleed since Christmas and two that don’t work. Will bled the four successfully, but established that the other two are on the wrong circuit which he will discuss with Ronan. At least the weather is comparatively mild.

I then tried to print some pictures for the first time since James Peacock had checked over the printer a week or so ago. This now seems to be operating on WiFi and I don’t understand how to enter the right numbers into a thingy I don’t know. Eventually I gave up and had a look at my e-mails. James had left me one asking if everything is working now. I couldn’t ring him back because the office was now closed, so I left him a voicemail for tomorrow.

Becky, having examined all I had done, then asked whether I had unplugged and replugged the router, which, of course I hadn’t. She did. Everything worked and I produced

this print with the correct colours.

Then, the best part of the day, we all dined on Jackie’s superb roast lamb, boiled potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, mange touts, and gravy with which Ian drank Hoegaarden, the Culinary Queen and Becky drank Cape Kyala Chenin Blanc 2023, and I drank Carménère Reserva Privada 2022.

Thus an eminently forgettable day became memorable.

Love From Gram Gram And Grandad

Every morning Ellie and Grannie read the 1st Birthday Card from Gram Gram and Grandad.

As will be apparent, our great granddaughter follows the handwriting as she does the print in a book being read to her. Although the card has been regularly bent and chewed this is the first time the two halves have been separated, requiring a Sellotape repair.

On this sun-bright yet cooler day Jackie and I transported ten more spent compost bags of green refuse to the Efford Recycling Centre,

coming away with four drinking vessels, including three of cut glass bought from the reuse shop.

Afterwards we received our Flu and Covid vaccinations at Ashley Pharmacy.

This evening we all enjoyed second sittings of Jackie’s curry meals of yesterday, with which she drank Dino Italian blush 2022 and I finished the Shiraz.

A Wet Day

Early this morning I watched recordings of the Women’s Rugby World Cup semi-final matches between Canada and England, and between New Zealand and France – both much closer than heretofore in the competition, setting up a promise of an excellent final next week.

One of the consequences of moving from more than one home over the last decade and more, has been a plethora of pictures we have no room for in our current abode with its limited wall space, resulting in far too many stacked up in the library because we hadn’t the heart to abandon them. Today we bit the bullet and transported several boxes of them to Efford Recycling Centre’s Shop.

Perhaps reflecting our sadness at these losses, rain sheeted down, bouncing off the windscreen and the surface of rapidly filling pools as we queued for access to the facility. Having brought her new camera, Jackie had time to photograph the scene and e-mail her image to me.

The rest of the day was spent

watching more precipitation coursing down our windows.

This evening we dined at The Red Lion with Elizabeth, Jacqueline, and Danni. In pleasant company we enjoyed excellent food with friendly and efficient service. My main meal consisted of a plentiful well cooked mixed grill. Most of us enjoyed generous portions of sticky toffee pudding with cream or ice cream, and a very good bottle of Rioja was shared.

The Reuse Shop

This morning Jackie worked on clearing the Lawn Bed in readiness for renewed planting. I, in the meantime, jammed as many bags of recyclable garden refuse into the Modus before we drove them to the Efford recycling centre. This is the first time we have visited since before Covid, but Jackie was keen to maintain traditional lore which states that one never visits the facility without making a purchase from the newly named Reuse Shop, from which you can only buy what someone has thrown away with a bank card. Moreover we can only discard our rubbish by appointment which must be made on line. Such is upmarket progress.

She chose a matching pair of what will now be garden plant stands.

I rang the Verderers office later, when, by coincidence, Robert, the Agister was present. He spoke to me at some length, explaining that he knew the foal I had reported a couple of days ago, which was much happier than it had been at first. The large areas around his rump were the result of scouring – a form of diarrhoea brought on by the richness of the mother’s milk. This meant that the liquid excreta adhered to the hair and stripped it off. It is growing back. He wasn’t sure about the lesser blemishes but would see the animal regularly, and wasn’t concerned.

After lunch Jackie continued her weeding and planting while I gathered up compostable material which I transported to the bins, then carried out more dead-heading and weeding, and garnered

a few more photographs, each of which bears a title in the gallery.

This evening we dined on succulent pork chops and sausages; boiled new potatoes; crunchy carrots, cauliflower, and firm broccoli, with meaty gravy. Jackie drank Hoegaarden; Flo, mixed fruit juice cordial; and I, Chianti Rufino 2018.


Today the unrelenting gloom developed as the day progressed. The leaden sky became more so, although the temperature was reasonably warm when, this morning

I jammed more than 20 of our garden refuse bags into the Modus, leaving about 10 in our pile.

After lunch, Jackie having secured a half hour slot at the Efford dump, off we drove joyfully to abandon our rubbish, only to be denied entrance because the gatekeeper did not have us on his list. The man was as helpful as he could be, but despite my best negotiation skills, including pleading age and infirmity, all he was able to do was give us a direct telephone number which was perhaps more helpful than the on-line process previously used.

We returned home, had a cry, and I made the call. I did discover what had gone wrong but cannot be bothered to dwell on it. We have to start the process all over once more tomorrow.

The back drive is quite some length, so we unloaded the bags quite near the gate to make them more accessible to the car when we needed to fill it up again.

While I was there I produced a few photographs of the drive before taking a short trip into the now gloomier forest.

For the seven years we have lived here, and no doubt far longer, the scaffolding protecting passing vehicles from the possible collapse of this dilapidated building on a bend along Silver street has been gathering a rich rust patina. It seemed to fit our mood to stop and photograph it. Then we went home.

This evening we dined on spicy pepperoni pizza and plentiful fresh salad with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Fleurie.

Heroes From Across The Pond


This morning we carried bags of rubble from the fireplace work, neatly stacked by Barry and Owen, to the Efford Recycling Centre. In the car, of course. It is a sign of the times that what we could previously have placed in the dump’s large skip free of charge today cost us £12.50. One more public service commercialised by outsourcing to a private company. It seems that less and less is covered by our Council tax rates.

Afterwards we headed into the forest and investigated Horseshoe Bottom. This idyllic bowl is frequented by dog walkers and basking ponies.

Black dog and owner

As we prepared to leave the car, a large black dog, complete with owner, bounded up the ridge surrounding the vehicles. As soon as it reached the grass, the animal crouched for a crap. The owner, hands firmly in his jacket pockets, turned his back and set off across the lovely terrain. The dog, now relieved, joined him. It was only as I stepped over the ridge that I realised that there was a row of similar turds requiring negotiation. Clearly numerous eager hounds had sought similar immediate convenience.

Landscape with ponies, discarded bag and dog shit

In order to spare my readers’ sensitivities, I have not photographed the fresher excreta, but this shot shows a sun bleached deposit and a discarded snack packet.

One particular pair of ponies stayed together, moving to a safe distance at the sight of my camera lens.

A grey,

and a representative of a miniature breed kept their own individual company.

Ponies 5

I was some distance from the first couple when they lurched awkwardly to the ground to lie in the sun and scratch their backs.

Jackie on Horseshoe Bottom 1

It was then that I noticed Jackie had left the car and was setting off gingerly down the slope.

Jackie and crow

She kept her eyes on the crows,

Jackie and pony

but steadfastly ignored a pony’s request to have its tummy tickled.

I wondered where she was off to.

Jackie, pony and crow

She had decided to investigate what she thought was a stream at the bottom of the slope. It turned out contain fresh grass and a small pool. She thought the must be a winterbourne, which only fills after wet weather. Some areas are drying out now.

Bright sunshine set the gorse a-glowing.

Pony 8

Towards midday a number of ponies sat down and dozed.

On the outskirts of Burley, a pair of chestnuts bringing up the tail, a string of others queued patiently outside a house from which, they no doubt knew, a householder would soon emerge with lunch.

At Holmsley we diverted to:

New Forest Airfields Memorial sign

New Forest Airfields map

An engraved map shows the location of the commemorated institutions.

The sensitively designed memorial contains a number of dedicated benches where visitors can reflect in peace,

Memorial plaques

and affixed to the railings are individual and group plaques of remembrance. That of Captain Darrell R. Lindsey stands alongside one for other members of the USAAF.

For anyone who does not quite understand today’s title, ‘the pond’ is an affectionate name for the Atlantic Ocean which lies between USA and UK.


It was perhaps appropriate that Jackie noticed a bird of prey circling overhead.

The gorse pictured above is one reminder that Susan Hill’s “yellow season” has arrived. Daffodils decorating the verges such as those along Beckley Common Road is another.

This evening we dined on roast lamb, Yorkshire pudding, tasty gravy, new potatoes, carrots, broccoli, and green beans, followed by apricot lattice flan. I finished the shiraz while Jackie drank sparkling water. Milford on sea still has a greengrocers. The quality of today’s vegetables shows the freshness of the shop’s produce.

The Ugly Ducklings


Bees on poppy 1Bees on poppy 2

There was much competitive activity from honeybees, particularly partial to poppies

as we loaded two bags of hedge clippings and other green waste into the trusty little Modus for transporting to Efford Recycling Centre.

Recycling queue 1

This was to take some time, much of which was spent in a queue of traffic,

Hedgerow 1Hedgerow 2

admiring the hedgerows.

Recycling queue with yacht

On the horizon, through a gap in the trees, can be seen an intriguing land mass.

Isle of Wight from Efford Recycling Centre

We had enough time to watch several yachts floating by. This confirmed that the land is that of the Isle of Wight. The yachts were skimming over The Solent.

After this, Jackie drove us to Hatchet Pond and back to see if the swans had hatched their cygnets. They had.

Swans and cygnets

Here are the proud parents with, according to Hans Christian Andersen, their three Ugly Ducklings,

Swan and cygnets 1Swan and cygnet

Cygnet 1

one of which wasn’t quite sure what to do with its legs.


The Pond was so swollen that the birds chewed grass under water.

Swan and cygnets 2

One of the parents proudly stepped onto the land,

Couple with labrador

and when they both began hissing I thought that perhaps I had alarmed them into protective mode. Not so. They had seen the couple with the black labrador as they walked behind me.

Black-headed gull

Black-headed gulls also frequent this pond.

On our return home, I posted the sixth of my seven photographs in the Filling Facebook with Nature project.

Ponies and photographer

Here it is, first featured on my post of 23rd November 2013.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s piri-piri and lemon chicken; a melange of leeks, onions, and mushrooms; mashed potatoes; and carrots and green beans. This was followed by sticky toffee pudding and cream. I finished the Bordeaux.

‘What Else Can you Do On A Rainy Day?’


It rained steadily all day, so we decided to take another large bag of garden waste to Efford Recycling Centre.

BT Roadblock 1BT Blockage 2

Almost immediately we were held in a long tailback trailing down Christchurch Road. Clearly there were roadworks ahead. Eventually the sight of a yellow cherry picker on the other side of the road, its operator vanishing into foliage on high, confirmed what we had begun to suspect. Yes, it was our old friends BT/Open Reach engineers fixing an outage. Even worse, there was another further along the thoroughfare. (As I typed this, we lost our connection. Sod’s law.)

I had suggested the trip because I thought there wouldn’t be many people patronising the dump on such a day. I was wrong.

Rain on windscreen in queue

Rain on side window

We sat in possibly the longest queue for a dump we have experienced. It offered no convenience.

I ventured to suggest this had not been such a good idea after all. My lady kindly replied with ‘What else can you do on a rainy day?’.

Eventually we unloaded our clippings. I attempted to get straight back into the car. But. Jackie didn’t. She was off to the Sales Area where she bought a stack of plain white plates and two white metal lanterns. Whilst she was in the undercover section,


I thought it would be a hoot to sneak off and buy the smaller of these, which I did. The Head Gardener then spotted the second, which it would have been unkind to have left on its own. Both were beautifully weathered. So it had been worth the trip after all.

Not wishing to join the traffic queue back home, we took a diversion around Sway and Tiptoe. As usual in such weather, ponies were largely absent, presumably sheltering deep within the forest.


A string of cattle, however, stubbornly cropped the heathland. Presumably in an attempt to keep reasonably dry they walked along at an unusually steady pace as they chomped.

Cow in ditch

A few loners, not minding soggy hooves, paddled in the ditches.

Steak pie meal 1Steak pie meal 2

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent beef and onion pie, crunchy carrots, Brussels sprouts, runner beans, and new potatoes. She drank Hoegaarden and I partook of Bodega Toneles 22 malbec 2012.


Container Delivery

Today we transported four more bags of cuttings to Efford Recycling Centre.

Cuttings bags

The first two,

Back drive

giving us the sense of a light at the end of the tunnel,

we disposed of before lunch. For most of the winter the heaps have lain the length of the left hand side of the drive. Most are from the griselinia hedge that Aaron trimmed in the autumn.

daffodils, pansies, primroses

The left hand corner of the entrance, beyond our five-barred gate, was continually being driven over by vehicles entering and leaving the care home alongside. We have finally constructed a suitable deterrent. The chain is actually plastic, but it works, and these daffodils, pansies, and primroses remain unscathed.

Shady path

Here is a current view centred on The Shady Path,

Gazebo Path

and another on the Gazebo Path.


Birds, like these crows, often stand sentinel on the scrawny oak across Christchurch Road.

My replacement inks were delivered this afternoon, so I was able to complete the best part of my allocation of the flyer printing after we drove the last two bags of cuttings to the dump.

Container delivery 1Container delivery 2

At the moment the two huge containers dedicated to garden greenery are constantly being filled and emptied again. When we arrived for our third trip, the huge structure to the filling of which we had contributed this morning was being replaced by another. Watching the driver reversing his lorry into the very narrow space available, I was full of admiration for his skill.

Terra Cotta pipes

This morning’s recycling haul was six terra cotta pipes which we bagged in order to test The Head Gardener’s ingenuity. She’s bound to find some use for them.

Chairs - aluminium

This afternoon we returned with  pair of aluminium garden chairs in need of a nattier coat of blue. They went straight into the front gardener’s rest.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s super sausage casserole; mashed potato; and crisp cauliflower and broccoli. I finished the El Sotillo. Jackie abstained.

Three For Them, And Three For Us

Having made more progress on printing the flyers last night, I have run out of several inks and therefore ordered more on line today, in addition to paper for the photographic prints. That is not a major problem.

Daffodils, primulas and owl

The daffodils and primulas in Jackie’s tiered front garden pots are now in full bloom,

Daffodils and owl

offering an interesting conundrum to those driving by. To the right is the autumn flowering cherry that has bloomed throughout the winter.


Different varieties of daffodil bloom in the main garden,


and on the back drive,


where we also have primroses.

From that drive we transported three more canvas bags of cuttings to Efford Recycling Centre; one Aaron had filled on Sunday, and two more we filled today. That meant three trips. On the first we returned with a mirror and a quartz clock which did not work when we inserted a battery; on the second

Cane chair

a rather splendid cane chair in need of a cozy corner.

Jackie in cane chair

This, of course had to go straight onto the decking.

On the third trip the Head Gardener garnered a well weathered, and therefore probably frost proof, terra cotta pot. If we discount the clock that didn’t work, that makes three for them and three for us.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s excellent chilli con carne, vegetable rice, and green beans. I drank more of the El Sotillo and Jacki abstained.