Beechwood Fauna

This being the second day of 50+ m.p.h. winds it seemed one to have a look at the waves on The Solent.

The sun lit the cliffs of the island and the waves on the skyline.

When I photographed the sea,

rocks, and spume on the sand

I was not alone;

one young woman, exhibiting enviable knee flexion, took a bird’s eye view.

When I grew tired of bracing myself against the gusts, we drove through Shirley Holms into the forest,

where, on Beachwood Lane, our new foal, still keeping close to her mother, and needing to suckle, looked more as if her legs belonged to her and could, to some extent, risk making our acquaintance.

Other ponies wandered about

and a group of cattle were accompanied by a young calf.

They soon wandered off down the lane in order to trim residents’ hedges.

Perhaps we were downwind of the deer which occasionally peered out from the distant undergrowth before gradually moving off under cover.

One of the fallen trees appeared to have been uprooted quite recently.

Our return journey took us along Bickley Common Road with its bluebells and cow parsley on the verges.

This evening we dined on roast chicken breasts; potatoes roasted with onions and mushrooms; and crisp carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli; followed by strawberries and cream. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Dragon Hills Pinot Noir 2017.

The First Foal

We took an early morning trip into the forest today.

A favourite route takes us through Holmesley Passage which links the A35 with the Burley Road.

Each time we drive along this slender, serpentine, disintegrating rat run we wonder if it will be our last – so rapidly is the tarmac crumbling.

Nevertheless, the landscapes it affords, with its resident ponies and cattle, makes the risk of winding up in a ditch worthwhile. The intrepid creature in the last of this set of photographs has sunk up to its knees in soggy turf.

On Bisterne Close, Burley, we encountered our first foal of the season. Already steady on its feet, just two or three days ago this infant would, having emerged unaided from its mother’s womb, have immediately, in ungainly fashion, tottered to its feet on the end of stick legs, and maybe wobbled a bit on its first visit to the milk bar.

The couple walking down the lane told me they had seen the new-born the day before and thought it could not have been much more than a day or so.

It had been the first of the year for this horse rider, too. She confirmed the newness.

At the junction of Bisterne Close and Bennets Lane a tree, probably precariously placed in the recent windy weather, had been felled.

It was in Bennets Lane that we came across Abbotsfield garden open today as part of the National Gardens Scheme in which approved gardens are open to the public for an entrance fee donated to charity.

For me, the highlights were a splendid display of tulips in most of the beds.

I was also impressed by the erythronium pagodas.

Jackie was disappointed that there was no scent to an unknown shrub, but she did enjoy the cherry blossom.

The garden views included magnolias and Japanese maples.

The honesty in Abbotsfield was of the white variety.

I probably didn’t need to be enjoined to be careful, but this was a helpful sign placed at ground level.

This evening we dined on zesty lemon and herb chicken, creamy mushroom risotto, spicy ratatouille, crunchy carrots, and tender mangoes touts and green beans. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I enjoyed Toro Loco Superior Organico 2017, given to me for Christmas by Shelly and Ron.

Ecology

Most of this overcast day was spent reading and relaxing. Late in the afternoon we took a drive to the North of the forest.

Donkeys and ponies shared the woodland forage on the outskirts of Brockenhurst.

Rhinefield Ornamental Drive has many fallen giants.

This is just one of many which, in the interests of ecology, is left to disintegrate over time; to provide nutriment for mosses and other flora; homes for insects; and eventually to return to the soil from whence it germinated many years before. The shallowness of the roots is often the cause of its demise during very wet and windy weather.

A small herd of cattle were penned in the woodland beside Newlands Farm, outside Ibsley.

One appeared to have escaped and joined the ponies roaming in the landscape across the road.

Served with Jackie’s delectable savoury rice we dined on Tesco’s chicken Madras (mine) and chicken korma (Jackie’s). We shared savoury vegetable snacks.

Woodpeckers

Elizabeth moved Mum into

Woodpeckers Residential Home early yesterday evening, so we paid our mother visit this afternoon. Notice the cattle grid at the entrance intended to deter hopeful ponies from obtaining treats from the residents.

Initial reactions are very good. The converted house is well appointed, and the staff caring and attentive, Mum appears relaxed and satisfied, although she does tear up the rather luxurious paper napkins into four smaller sections in the interests of economy. There were three this afternoon, for we were all given tea and cake. Jackie assisted with a pair of scissors.

As we left, Elizabeth was arriving to help sort some of Mum’s belongings.

A stream runs alongside the building and under the drive.

A fine display of crocuses glowed in the front garden.

The home is not far from open moorland where ponies roam

We returned home via Rhinefield Ornamental drive,

where the sun set the trees dancing.

This evening we dined on second helpings of yesterday’s excellent Forest Tandoori takeaway meal.

Elemental Effects

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This afternoon Jackie took me for a car ride in the forest.

 

So much rain has fallen in recent days that some of the roads are becoming waterlogged, making for bright reflections and spray from car wheels. A stream of traffic made its way to and from the East End Arms.

 

The forest floor does not drain well. Rippling pools lie on the surface.

 

The high winds have also been punishing. Loggers on the road approaching Beaulieu had been out early this morning cutting up a very large fallen tree and removing its limbs from the path of vehicles.

 

As we left Beaulieu on the road to Lyndhurst we passed a group of somewhat soggy ponies grazing on the verge beside another pool.

Woman with St Bernard 1

I was just thinking of turning back to the car when a fluffy object I took to be a St Bernard puppy was led past me and across the road. His name was Charles. I know this because he was warned to keep off me. Which was merciful. (LordBeari’s comment below correctly identifies Charlie as a Newfoundland)

 

No-one warned this pony off when it took it upon itself to cross over and follow me, breathing down my neck, quickening its pace before I managed to open and close the Modus passenger door with me inside.

 

Soon after this, clouds darkened once more, Jesus beams shone onto the moors, and heavy rain ensued.

This evening we all dined on Jackie’s excellent chicken jalfrezi; boiled egg korma; savoury rice; onion bahji’s; and vegetable samosas.

 

Careless Mother

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A rare glimpse of the sun this morning reminded me that I had neglected to offer any photographs of the front garden in yesterday’s post.

Plants in front of garage door

These are the flowers fronting the garage doors. I am sure that the Head Gardener would wish to have it pointed out that she swept this area later.

Japanese anemones in front garden

Two general shots display Japanese anemones and a couple of clematises;

Front garden 2

and petunias, hydrangea, and erigeron. The tree is a winter flowering cherry.

Honeysuckle and solanum on trellis

On the trellis honeysuckle and solanum are prominent,

Trellis and hanging baskets

while petunias in hanging baskets and orange nasturtiums add vibrant colour.

Cloudscape

Although patches of blue sky would peek between occasional gaps in the threatening clouds, we didn’t see much more of the sun.

I spent much of the day on form-filling and other administrative tasks. This afternoon Jackie drove me to the soon to be closed down Hordle Post Office to avail myself of a box that would take larger envelopes. We then drove into the forest.

Donkey and foal

At East Boldre it seemed sensible to stop as a donkey foal wandered in front of the car.

Donkey eating thistles 1Donkey eating thistles 2

Not worried in the slightest, the mother lived up to the reputation of her kind, and tore at thistles

Donkey eating bramblesDonkey eating brambles 2

and brambles in contented oblivion,

Donkey foal 1Donkey foal 2Donkey foal 3

whilst her offspring, after a little thought, ventured back into the road,

Donkey foal in road having a scratch

causing an Openreach van to give the creature a wide berth when it stopped to enjoy a leisurely scratch. Either the adult was extremely negligent or she considered that the youngster had learned that it had the right of way on New Forest roads. This is almost certainly the same mother and child I photographed in April soon after the baby’s birth, when it was sprawled out across the verge.

Heather hillock

Further on, beneath a heather covered hillock at Crockers Clump,

Pool 1Pool 2

on the edge of a Stygian pool,

Fallen tree 1Tree trunk 2Tree trunk 1

a long tree had fallen across the sward, coming to rest against one still upright. In compliance with regulations in the interests of ecology this tree will remain where it lies until it rots away.

This evening we dined on succulent chicken Kiev served with new potatoes, crunchy carrots, and toothsome green sprouting broccoli. Jackie drank Hoegaarden annoying 1445, and I drank Parra Alta malbec 2016.

Footpaths

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Phonebox and postbox

This morning I walked around the perimeter of the field by the disused phonebox and in service postbox, through Honeylake Wood,

Footpath 3

and back across the slender ribbon footpath that will soon be obscured by the farmer’s crops.

Landscape

Oak trees are among the latest to bear leaves, but those beyond the field are beginning to burgeon.

The occasional light aircraft droned overhead; my feet rustled the driest surface that I have experienced through the wood; and harsh squawks of pheasants lent dissonance to the sweeter notes of smaller birds. Otherwise, all was quiet.

Moss-covered trunk

Water in the downward sloping ditch often reaches this moss-covered trunk.

CelandinesDitch

Celandines carpet its somewhat dehydrated banks,

Footpath 2

and the normally sodden undulating footpath leading up to the bridge over the stream had no inclination to inhale my shoes.

Fallen birch

Smaller trees, like this birch, have been left straddling the path

Footpath 1Private Keep Out

from which ramblers are not encouraged to stray.

Tree bent by wind

As readers will know, we are not far from the sea. Many unsheltered trees are bent into shape by the force of the prevailing winds.

This evening we dined at Lymington’s Lal Quilla where, although it was very busy, we received the usual warm welcome and excellent food. My choice was lamb Taba Shashlik Jalfrezi with pilau rice and a share of onion bhaji and egg paratha. We both drank Kingfisher.

High Street night sky

The sun was just thinking about setting as we emerged into the High Street.