There Are No Pale Grey Foals

Preparation is an oft overlooked essential part of house decoration – especially if this has not been adequately carried out for decades. Such has been the case with our home which Nick Hayter has transformed over the years.

He spent several hours on this today.

This afternoon I made him some prints from today and yesterday, notably yesterday’s opening portrait.

Later, Jackie and I took a forest drive.

We had hoped the postbox on Pilley Hill would have been decorated by the anonymous yarn artist in honour of the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

We were not disappointed.

I crossed the moorland alongside Furzey Lane in order to photograph

ponies and their foals who rapidly showed me several clean quads of heels.

I was apparently less disturbing on the outskirts of Ran’s Wood

where an equine mother and baby group was clearly in progress. Realising that the young woman who was riding about among them was in conversation with some, I asked her if they were hers. Two of the mares and three of the foals were – she was happy to be a Commoner. We enjoyed a friendly discussion during which she confirmed our impression that grey mares never produced foals born with their colouring. The infants have much darker hides which may or may not lighten as they grow into adulthood, Even then it is not guaranteed.

This evening we dined on fusion leftovers: Jackie’s cottage pie; Angela’s chicken dish; vegetable samosas and sag aloo from Tesco; chicken sag and sag paneer from Red Chilli. This made for a truly tasty melange with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden, Flo drank raspberry and lemon Kombucha, and I drank more of the Malbec. Strawberries and ice cream finished us off.

Tracking Sunset

The day was still grimly dark by the time we left to deliver Elizabeth a tub of Jackie’s chicken and vegetable stewp. (Interested readers will note that I have changed my spelling from stoup, because stewp is what google recognises and who am I to argue?)

Whenever the vehicle in front of us seems especially slow for no apparent reason, it is quite probable that a cyclist will be pedalling along ahead.

So it was today on School Lane. Even when the towed trailer on the road reached a wide enough section of the narrow winding route to be able to pass safely, the rider pulled more into the centre.

A pleasant young lady riding her pony crossed Pilley Street to open the gate for equine access, closed it again while waving to a van driver, then, with a friendly greeting, entered Burnt House Lane ahead of us.

We found Elizabeth happily working in her garden, enjoyed a short conversation, and set off to track the now almost visible sun towards the setting hour.

Glimmers were seen from Burnt House Lane;

a little lower from Warborne Lane;

Walhampton was blessed with Jesus Beams;

sunset wasn’t far off beyond the silent coastal preservation machinery;

and all but retreated behind the clouds at Barton on Sea.

We had begun our trip following a bicyclist along School Road – on Grove Road, Barton, we tailed a unicyclist who kept well out of our way.

This evening we dined on oven fish and chips and baked beans with which we both drank Marlborough Cabernet Sauvignon 2019.

Silhouettes At Sunset

We set out for a drive in the forest an hour before sunset.

There were a number of people out riding, such as this young lady on Barrows Lane. They were usually in no particular hurry. Neither were we.

As I emerged from the Modus high on Holmsley Passage, a dog in a Land Rover fixed me with its baleful beady eye.

A number of dog walkers, like this woman with her pair, were also taking the air.

A couple of motor cyclists followed a fast moving car, the driver of which did his best to splash me as he sped past. Fortunately I had anticipated the shower and (with poetic licence) nipped over the bank in the foreground.

The late sun burnished both landscape and ponies. The second black and white subject stretched its neck whilst emitting an extended whinnying.

Alongside Bisterne Close a group of ponies seemed intent on stripping the holly branches until, with one accord, they trooped off into the woodland and out of sight.

We just had time to catch

sunset at Barton on Sea where groups of well distanced visitors provided me with a choice of silhouettes. A young family played cricket on the green. The ball was struck in my direction, my reflexes kicked in, and I bent at the knees in an attempt to scoop it up. I couldn’t get down far enough and had to plead dodgy pins. My pride hurt the most.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s savoury omelette-topped rice served with a quartet of prawn preparations, namely salt and pepper, hot and spicy, tempura, and skewered in a skein of shredded potato. The Culinary Queen and I both drank Greco di Tufo 2019, a most mellow Italian white from Lidl.

Emerging From The Gloom

This morning the temperature plummeted, as did rain until after lunch, when the overcast skies brightened and the wind speed escalated, for the rest of the day, to 40+ m.p.h.

We drove early to Ferndene Farm Shop to buy three bags of compost, a splendid, tall, lingularia; lettuce and other salad ingredients, before a short trip into the forest.

Beside Church Lane a pair of field horses sheltered under a tree.

The lane, like many others, had recently been resurfaced; hence the skid warning and speed limit. Often such signs stay in situ for months. Jackie had found a section of verge on which to park, otherwise no-one would have been able to pass while I photographed.

Further along the road we spotted a herd of deer which, as soon as they got wind of us, turned tail and huddled together further away. This did not put some of the young stags off their stroke.

As usual, galleries can be accessed by clicking on any image each of which can be viewed full size by clicking the boxes beneath them, and further enlarged if required.

Church Lane is steeply undulating. As this equestrienne reached the top of one slope and emerged from the gloom, even though Jackie was driving very slowly, her horse fell into a panic. My chauffeuse stopped the car and turned the engine off, thus enabling the young woman to settle her steed and sidle past the Modus while preventing the driver’s side from being kicked in.

The far end of the lane emerges in Pilley where further coronavirus messages include the bus shelter with its Union flag and Stay Home messages; and the HOPE bench.

Back at home raindrops glistened on hemerocallis, nasturtium, honeysuckle, fuchsia Delta’s Sarah, and rose Hot Chocolate, to name a few.

I spent the rest of the day reading a book I will feature tomorrow.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy lamb jalfrezi, flavoursome mushroom rice, and plain parathas, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the delicious Douro

“The Only Fliers…..”

The sun smiled late and only fleetingly on us as we took a dull drive into the forest this morning.

On an unnamed path near South Baddesley Road we discovered

Two small crosses and a wreath adorn the autumnal acorn leaf carpet pattern beneath the board telling the story.

Biggifying the map gives the location of the still extant Blister hangar. Wikipedia tells us that ‘a¬†blister hangar is a novel arched, portable aircraft hangar designed by notable British airport architect Graham R Dawbarn patented by Miskins and Sons in 1939. Originally made of wooden ribs clad with profiled steel sheets, steel lattice ribs and corrugated steel sheet cladding later became the norm.’

Beyond the tree line across a nearby field the hump back of the Isle of Wight can be seen.

When photographing the windsock and a murder of crows, Jackie observed that these were the only fliers taking off from this location today.

Beside Hundred Lane

and its neighbouring fields

bustling pheasants scrabbled among stiff cut grain stalks.

A friendly equestrienne led us along

 

Church Lane.

Sway Tower now nestles among autumnal trees.

Back at home, Jackie, under the supervision of her resident robin, planted a euphorbia.

“Where’s Nugget?” (47)

Elizabeth came to lunch before taking me off on a secret trip. I would have loved to have made photographs in the venue but could not do so because I did not want Jackie to know anything about it. Yet. Hopefully the time will come.

After a cup of tea my sister returned home and Jackie and I dined on smooth white pepper-flecked mashed potato; old gold piquant cauliflower cheese; and pale lemon smoked haddock; lifted by bright green beans and vibrant orange carrots. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Decidedly Not Smart

A number of terra cotta and yellow kniphofias have self-seeded at various places in the garden and have recently chosen to bloom rather late. These are in the Kitchen Bed, accompanied by hibiscus, petunias, Japanese anemones and fennel.

This begonia and the pelargonium are recovering from near death with the benefit of Jackie’s tender care.

Like the white Marie Boisselot glimpsed in the bottom of the Kitchen Bed picture, this pink and blue clematis and the wisteria are producing their third flushes of the year.

I paused, this morning, to photograph this happy planting of pelargoniums, fuchsias, and Japanese anemones in the front garden before embarking into the car for a trip to Woodpeckers to visit

Mum, now well enough settled into her room to have hung her favourite pictures, one of which is a drawing I made in about 1958 when my sister would have been four and I would have been sixteen years of age.

It portrays Elizabeth watching the family’s first decidedly not smart dodgy black and white TV set.

Leaving Mum to her lunch we took a diversion around Burley on our way home for ours. On Bisterne Close we trailed a young woman riding a white horse.

Although dull, it was another warm day, which brought out flies again prompting ponies to cluster under the trees.

Jackie spent the afternoon in the company of her avian under-gardener who continually converses in the sweetest, almost imperceptible gentle whisper. We can just watch his throat pulsating. He spent some time in the cryptomeria above her head, dropping down to a terra cotta lantern beside her.

Now, “Where’s Nugget?” (21)

This evening we dined at The Wheel in Bowling Green. The food and service were as good as ever. We both chose tempura prawns as starters, with salad so fresh as to have possibly been immediately picked from the garden. Jackie’s main course was thick meaty burger with chunky chips, salad, and onion rings; mine was an excellently cooked rib eye steak with chips, mushroom, tomato, peas, and onion rings. Jackie drank a guest lager which we can’t remember and I drank a good Malbec.

When we arrived a robin greeted us from a hedge in the car park. For a moment we wondered whether Nugget had arrived before us.

Back at home I watched the recorded highlights of the first day of the final Ashes Test match.

“The Smell Of Autumn”

Today was pleasantly temperate. We took an early drive into the forest where the wider roads are often crossed by hoofed animals who make the own tracks into the woodland.

We stopped at the junction between Crow Hill and Charles’s Lane for me to photograph examples.

The track forks with one tine running alongside Charles’s Lane

and the other crossing it to

continue beside Crow Hill.

Serendipitously, as I was making this record, a young equestrienne left the hill, crossed the lane,

and continued on down the slope. The horseshoe in this picture will be leaving its own print in the dusty soil;

the cloven , heart-shaped, depression in this will have been left by one of the string of cattle who are the real sappers of this terrain.

A couple of keen, fit, cyclists who stopped at this junction struggled to find a cycle track with the aid of their modern device. I offered them an example of old technology in the the form of an Ordnance Survey map. The woman said she preferred old technology, perused and returned it once they had established that they would probably need to continue on the road for a while. The gentleman recently cycled from Land’s End to John O’ Groats with a companion who had received two knee replacements three years ago. I suppose this should have been somewhat encouraging.

The first of these samples of verge detritus was photographed on the edge of Crow Hill, the second at Ibsley,

perhaps stamped on by an angry cow.

Outside Burley a group gathered beside a pony being fed by a young girl. At one point the animal turned away from the hand that the young lady extended, but later thought better of it.

“The smell of autumn”, fondly uttered Jackie as the scent of oak smoke from burning branches drifted into our nostrils.

We followed a splendid veteran car through Ibsley. The driver indicated that we should pass him. We waited on ahead so I could photograph him from the front. He turned off into a side road. Perhaps there cannot be too many happy accidents in one day.

We enjoyed a late breakfast at Hockey’s Farm shop in South Gorley.

A pair of young donkeys, showing signs of moulting, stopped for a snack in the middle of the road outside.

This afternoon Ronan of Tom Sutton Heating visited to check on our central heating problem. He diagnosed a drop in pressure resulting from a hidden leak in the system. He applied two cans of stuff designed to seek out and seal it.

This afternoon, Jackie gave the lavender in the Rose Garden a good haircut. She was not alone. “Where’s Nugget?” (10)

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent beef in red wine; creamy mashed potato; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; and tender runner beans I picked earlier. The Culinary Queen drank Blue Moon and I drank Tesco’s finest Western Cape Malbec 2017.

A Crocodile Crossing

Jackie and I went for a drive in the forest this morning, while Elizabeth took it easy at home. Once again we were fortunate to have ventured out during the short spell of sunshine we were to experience today.

Even as noon approached shadows were long on the approach to Wilverley Plain.

The deciduous oaks still bear most of their golden foliage,

some of which, having floated down on the breeze. glowed among damp grasses rapidly

becoming waterlogged in parts, reflecting surrounding trees and skies.

The large pond beside the telephone box just outside Brockenhurst has been bone dry all summer. It has now filled up again, mirroring gnarled naked arboreal displays and nearby homes.

Three russet ponies kept down the grass near the local postbox propped up by a slightly slanting pedestal.

The two apparently sharing a patch of sward were not as close as it might appear. The darker haired individual, which momentarily lifted its head as I lifted my camera,

firmly nudged the other with its albeit velvety muzzle, indicating it should keep its distance. This was definitely not foreplay.

Having worked up a thirst they crossed the gravel drive to the houses, passed the telephone box, and fleetingly slaked their thirst.

Quite suddenly they turned away and wandered back into the forest.

At the entrance to the village we were held up by teaching staff shepherding a crocodile of children across the road.

We enjoyed an excellent lunch at Holmsley Old Station Tea Rooms. My meal consisted of a well-filled steak and ale pie containing slivers of rosemary, served with chips, fresh vegetables and tasty gravy; Jackie’s was a jacket potato with cheese and coleslaw accompanied by an excellent salad. She drank coffee and I drank sparkling water.

We thought it best to wait for an equestrienne struggling to contain a skittish trotting pony, mane flying, to emerge from Thatchers Lane before we entered that narrow track on our way home.

Later this afternoon Elizabeth returned to Pilley for further work on moving in. On her way back this evening she collected our dinner of cod and chips from Mr Pink’s. My sister and I ¬†finished the Cotes du Rhone and Jackie drank Hoegaarden.