“Have You Seen My Dog?”

The weather today alternated between brief bursts of bright sunshine and darkly hammering heavy hail and rain. We probably picked the best time for a drive into the forest, where,

on Sway Road it was the turn of cattle and donkeys to create traffic mayhem.

I took advantage of the sunshine to photograph autumn at my feet before moving on.

We turned into Black Knowl where Jackie parked and I wandered on down. I had said I would walk back to the car when I was ready, but, because of the showers, she ignored that and followed me at a safe distance. The gentleman walking his dog in this shot exchanged friendly greetings with me as our paths crossed.

Fenced fields flanked my right side,

while open woodland graced my left. The orange mark on one trunk indicates the need for minor foresters’ attention; acorns and holly berries decorate some of the trees, although the acorns constantly clattered the tarmac; fallen boughs and trunks, making their decaying contribution to the ecology, gradually return to the soil from whence they came. The comparatively sheltered ferns cling to their youthful green hue.

Suddenly the sweeping sough of the wind was muffled by rapidly advancing thudding hooves of ponies on the run.

I just about managed to picture a few as they sped, seemingly panic-stricken through the trees.

Soon, a second wave surged ahead, passing a couple of walkers and tearing into the trees. Note the spaniel getting involved. The second of these pictures is Jackie’s.

The clacking and thumping of hooves of the next wave of rather more and larger equines had me taking immediate evasive action by leaping (figuratively speaking of course) into a dry ditch. Fortunately they turned off before they reached me. The idea of photographing them disappeared from my mind.

I then decided it was time for me to return to the car. A small group of humans had gathered at this point. There was some speculation that the animals may have been escaping from a Drift https://derrickjknight.com/2016/08/30/the-drift/ because they are happening about now.

“Have you seen my dog?” asked one woman. We had, of course; it was a spaniel. I pointed her in the right direction and her pet came scampering to her side.

From the comparative safety of the Modus, I photographed the fourth wild wave as it rushed on by.

We had reached Ober Corner, beside a stretch of Ober Water, as usual reflecting the surrounding landscape.

Jackie poked her camera in my direction.

This evening we dined on a second sitting of last night’s spicy delights with an additional tasty omelette and tender green beans with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank The Second Fleet, Shiraz 2018, a smooth full bodied red wine from Australia’s Limestone Coast.

“Let’s Go Play With The Traffic”

Yesterday evening we watched the first episode of The Crown Series 2.

The morning began with suggestions of blue sky when Jackie popped out to photograph our new OLD POST HOUSE sign given to us for Christmas by Shelly and Ron, and

fixed to the back gate by Aaron on Sunday.

While she was down that end of the Back Drive she photographed daffodil spears pushing up early.

From far off in the Rose Garden she heard Nugget singing his heart out, so he became her next subject,

“Where’s Nugget?” (58)

Knowing that the rest of the day would be shrouded in drizzle we drove to

Mudeford harbour by mid-morning.

The waves were choppy and the currents contorted.

Walkers and joggers tracked the waves

or sped around the more sheltered harbour.

No-one was seated on the benches –

not even the mobile phone user.

Gulls gathered on the grass.

Dogs and children so love to scatter them,

sending them flashing against the dark indigo skies.

From Mudeford we headed inland, where, at Burley Manor the deer were busy grazing or resting by the shepherd’s hut.

Beside the fence stands an ancient hollow trunk, probably of an oak. I will spare my readers sight of the various unsavoury items tossed inside by visitors mistaking it for a refuse bin.

Outside Burley grazing New Forest ponies were reflected in rapidly filling ditches.

Nearby a pair of muddy-hoofed Shetland ponies did their bit for verge maintenance.

When a larger cousin joined them, one rather cheery creature proposed: “Let’s go play with the traffic.”

So off they went, intent

on causing mayhem.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s wholesome beef and mushroom pie; boiled potatoes; roast parsnips, onions, and peppers; crisp cauliflower, and tender cabbage, with which the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank Patrick Chodot Brouilly 2017.

In My Own Back Yard

On another beautiful day, I attempted to stay indoors to rest my leg. By late afternoon I had succumbed to temptation and took a gentle amble around the garden and the Royal Oak car park.


Our camellias have continued to thrive.

Rust on wheelbarrow

Through the winter we have covered material for starting our next bonfire with the wheelbarrow we use as an incinerator. Oxidisation, assisted by the camera’s vivid setting, has produced a glowing work of art.


The pub car park offers views of Roger’s fields and the backs of the hamlet’s buildings.

Ashley Clinton Manor towerRoyal Oak car park

A turning on our left of Christchurch Road is Angel Lane. Situated some distance along this lane another road leads to Ashley Clinton Manor which is now divided into flats. The tower, the tallest part of the buildings, cannot be seen from the A337, but is visible in the distance from almost every angle around, one of which is the car park. It stands on the left of the first picture immediately above. (Clicking twice to zoom may help) The eggshell blue wash coating our home can be seen on the right of the second.

Today’s title is inspired by Chris Weston‘s tutorial recommendation.

Tonight we dined on fish, chips, mushy peas, and pickled onions accompanied by Cimarosa Pedro Jimenez 2014.


An Historic House

Roast Pork dinnerTess and cakesThis morning Jackie drove us to Emsworth to collect Becky, then on to Mat and Tess’s home in East Sussex, reversing the journey soon after sunset.

Tess produced her usual marvellous roast dinner. Today’s was succulent pork; with super-crisp crackling, roast potatoes, sweet potatoes and parsnips; and a flavoursome stir-fry melange of different cabbages and onions. Dessert was a selection of her delicious home-made cakes. Tess and I drank a sublime Malbec.

Matthew can be seen behind Tess in the photograph above. Also evident is his work on the kitchen, almost three hundred years after the original section of their home, one of Elm Cottages, was built.

Elm Cottages backs 1Elm Cottages backs 2

In the 1750s, from which the house dates, it was a two up/two down cottage with a brick built privy at the bottom of the garden. A chamber pot would no doubt have been provided for cold winter nights. As was not unusual in the eighteenth century, entrance to other back gardens and the terraced houses themselves was by means of a right of way though neighbouring plots, any fences having openings or unlocked gates for the convenience of others in the row. I believe the kitchens are all rear extensions. It is evident from the photographs that some current residents have dispensed altogether with boundary fences. This makes for a little community of unusual friendliness in our modern world.

The frontages of these houses are rather more aspirational than the humble origins of the backs. These were extended apparently as an enterprise of the subsequently disgraced Edwardian MP Horatio Bottomley, whose own house, ‘The Dicker’, now forms part of St Bede’s School, a little further along Coldharbour Road.

Elm Cottages c1910Becky and Tess outside Elm Cottages

The black and white image of the group on the street outside what were presumably their homes, dates from about 1910, soon after the building was completed. The outfits of the women can be compared with those of Tess and Becky who helped me reprise the photograph this afternoon. Apart from the bicycles leaning against the wall, those Edwardian means of transport and their drivers must have been a rare sight in the road at that time, whereas today’s row of parked vehicles is customary. There were no telephone wires, and no dropped kerbs, in 1910, and in 2015 horse dung would be unlikely to be found on Coldharbour Road.