Avian Antipodeans

Ian joined us after lunch when Jackie and I bought provisions from Ferndene Farm Shop, where I

photographed their displays of bedding plants and cut flowers.

We then took a drive into the forest where daffodils enhance many verges.

Jackie caught me in her wing mirror returning from photographing a bank of them off Ringwood Road.

She also photographed a pheasant inspecting a log, while I focussed upon a group of fidgety rheas.

Flo has spent some time during the last two days raking up branches felled by recent storms and

piling them up at the end of the back drive.

This evening we dined on Becky’s succulent roast chicken; technicolour carrots; firm broccoli and tasty gravy; with Jackie’s crisp roast potatoes. Mrs Knight and Mr Steele both drank Côtes de Provence Rosé 2020; Becky and I both drank La Orphic Monastrell 2020.

Cheered Up By Sunset

Today began unpromisingly dull and wet. I scanned the last few colour slides from

Abney Park Cemetery in May 2008. The second image and

the two which follow have been converted to black and white. The first of these shows a typically decorated capital. The second is the Pesman family grave. According to jacobstree.co.uk Frederic Adolphus senior, originally an artificial flower maker, lived for 81 years. His wives, Agnes Susan née Peak, daughter of a builder; Mary Ann, née Bulford; and some of his children were not so fortunate. The last name on the stone, obscured by ivy is probably the son of Frederick and Agnes who, along with two sisters, did not survive early infancy. Two of their daughters did survive, one to be 90.

Before lunch we drove to Ferndene Farm Shop and bought a Christmas tree, the needles of which

attempted to spear me on the way home.

The weather gradually improved this afternoon when we drove into the forest.

Barrows Lane is becoming soggy. Jackie parked on the verge while I photographed the landscape including two field horses in bright red and blue rugs.

By sunset over Hatchet Pond the skies had really cheered up.

When I came to draft this post I was hard put to distinguish between Jackie’s and my shots. The second gallery images are, I believe, those of the able Assistant Photographer, who,

driving home, metamorphosed into my Chauffeuse, and parked at East Boldre while I photographed

the remnants of the sunset reflected in a Winterbourne pool

and providing a backcloth for skeletal trees.

For dinner this evening Jackie provided lamb jalfrezi, mushroom rice topped with slices of boiled egg, and vegetable samosas. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Coonawarra.

“Go Round Us”

This morning we righted the fallen pots in the garden before visiting Ferndene Farm Shop where

Jackie joined the masked queue. I have her word that she was smiling in the last picture.

The shopping went quite smoothly. Afterwards we took a drive into the forest by way of

Holmsley Passage which was already becoming quite busy.

Heather enhanced the moorland landscape and the vibrant verges.

Other vehicles, walkers, and cycling groups needed to be negotiated.

As we reached the end of this narrow, winding, lane this family group who we had allowed to go ahead hadn’t yet decided which way to go. Left would have taken them to Burley; right was the road to Brockenhurst; straight on was the route to Bisterne Close. Jackie decided she would go one of the ways they didn’t. They went straight on; we turned right and stopped at

the pool on the way up Clay Hill. Jackie parked by the roadside while I wandered around photographing the water, the reflections, the woodland, and its shadows. I found a metal dog tag with a local phone number stamped on it. I phoned the owner and left a message explaining where I would lodge it.

After this we thought that Bisterne Close might have been clear of the cyclists and wended our way back there where ponies, their foals, and cattle happily shared the road.

Another group of ponies were not about to cede ground to the motor vehicle. One driver left his car and attempted to clap them out of the way. They must have thought they were being applauded, for they didn’t budge. Cajoling had no better effect; the car horn was tried next. Eventually the unspoken message “go round us” was heeded.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s classic cottage pie; pleasantly chewy curly kale; and crunchy carrots with which she drank Beck’s and I drank Carles Priorat 2016.

Continuing To Cater

This was another fine, but cool, day.

As usual when Jackie stepped out of the stable door to fill the robin family’s breakfast tray

Nugget appeared in the wisteria before she had opened the cereal jar.

Soon after the Head Gardener had attended to her ever-multiplying avian infants we set out on what was planned as a garden centre crawl. In fact there was such a dearth of bedding plants which were all we could possibly make room for, that we stopped at two.

Ferndene Farm Shop presented its usual, smoothly moving, orderly queues, masked  members maintaining mandatory distance. I loaded bags of compost while Jackie paid for it and added a considerable quantity of bird food.

The next stop was Redcliffe, where there was no queue

and Jackie acquired a few flowers. Needless to say, like all other eating places, the Tea Room was closed.

This afternoon I dead-headed a number of roses.

The climber on the front trellis isn’t quite ready for the treatment, neither is

Perennial Blush along the back drive.

Also in the front garden we have calendula Orange Flush and deep red sweet William. The Euphorbia Mellifera in the background is just one of those we have whose honeyed scent lives up to its name.

The large blousy orange poppy, now past her bloom of youth nurtures a bud to take her place, while

the fully mature rose Margaret Merrill shares her bed with crisp offspring, with younger buds, and with an older relative whose time is done.

This was past siskin siesta time, so greenfinches were up and about drawing upon verdant leaves for camouflage. The clamour of a host of birds and their young filled the air around me.

The owls in this view of the Weeping Birch Bed looking northwards remain silent.

The peach rose beside the patio is pretty prolific.

If this is a bee on an erigeron

what is this?

Nugget Junior now fends for himself

while his Dad continues

to cater for his younger brothers and sisters.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s wholesome chicken, bacon, and vegetable soup with crusty bread from the freezer, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the El Zumbido.

 

A Mating Ritual

I accompanied Jackie on her Ferndene Farm shop trip this morning.

There was no queue for the food shopping, so Jackie did that first before joining

the line of  plant lovers, Masks were more in evidence today.

Jackie’s floral purchases were limited because there was only one empty plant tray and the trollies were all in use.

Afterwards we drove on to Tesco to fill up with petrol. There was no queue there either.

Ballards Lake lies alongside Fernhill Road on the outskirts of New Milton. Jackie parked first in Brook Avenue, then in Lake Grove Road while I wandered with my camera.

Residents of Brook Avenue enjoy

blooming bluebells  enhancing a splendid woodland view from the fronts of their houses.

 

One woman seemed to be returning home from a walk with her dog.

Perhaps she had availed herself of the dog poop bin alongside the dappled footpath leading to a bridge over

a shallow stream which

in parts is quite rock dry.

The shadow in this picture is that of another bridge, the crossing of which leads into the

 

woodland path along which I stood aside for a couple of dog walkers who thanked me for doing so.

The stream featured here is meant to flow under Fernhill Road to link with Ballards Lake.

In fact it is so dry that a scummy surface scarcely swirls after dribbling from drying rocks beneath

the lakeside bridge, one of which posts sports

a child’s sun hat.

I watched a young woman photographing a young child on the far bank.

Later her group seemed to have spotted something – perhaps the infant had gone wandering.

The lake’s surface bore a number of reflections.

On my circumperambulation (yes, I have coined this word) I spoke to several people at a safe distance. The couple above welcomed my attention because the gentleman enjoys the same enthusiasm.

The old gold bands seen curling round the limbs of these oak boughs above the dog walkers were gently rippling reflections from the wake of mallards and their

ducklings.

I think this was a friendly thrush that greeted me. I would be grateful for any birder letting me know otherwise. (I am reliably informed by John Knifton that this is a dunnock – thanks a lot, John)

The screeching black headed gulls that dominated the orchestra around the lake seemed not so friendly.

In fact the name of this avian species is quite misleading. Their heads are chocolate brown rather than black, and even then only during the summer when their white pates develop this pigmentation.

A considerable about of squawking came from their open beaks.

Some adopted the apparently subservient prone shuffle we had seen in our pigeon  day or so ago. Here was another mating ritual.

This evening we dined on a spicy pizza with fresh salad included very flavoursome Ferndene Farm Shop Isle of Wight tomatoes. Jackie drank more of the Sauvignon Blanc while I drank Dornfelder Rheinhessen dry red wine 2018.

Pannage Has Begun

We began this hot and sunny late summer’s day with a trip to Ferndene Farm Shop. Normally, when we visit this splendidly stocked and very reasonably priced outlet we do so in order to buy compost and manage to come away with plants as well. Today the process was reversed.

We came for pansies and salad, to which we added

three bags of Violet Farm compost.

Afterwards we continued into the forest by way of Bickley Common Road.

We lunched at The Old Station Tea Rooms at Holmsley. The building is swathed in scaffolding at the moment, so we were served from the station kiosk and ate outside where wearing a jacket was being overdressed.

While waiting for our meals I focussed on some of the old advertising signs.

Jackie enjoyed the Station Master’s Rarebit, namely cheese on mustard toast, topped with bacon and a fried egg, garnished with liberal salad. My equally satisfying meal consisted of beef and mushroom pie, chips, carrots, peas, and leeks with a small jug of gravy. My Chauffeuse drank coffee while I drank sparkling water.

A not unusual, but rather incongruous, trio of ponies did their best to block Chapel Lane at the junction with Burley Lawn.

As so often, a visiting driver left her car and photographed the animals.

Further along the road, like me, she clicked on Tamworth pigs trotting along.

The other woman watching was a German visitor whose brother-in- law had brought her to see the spectacle that signalled that pannage had begun. As she petted a particularly muddied pig she seemed unperturbed by her increasingly clarty clothing.

Back home an only slightly tattered Painted Lady swayed with the verbena bonarensis,

and a bluebottle settled on an Erigeron.

The Yorkist Penny Lane shares its ascendancy with the Lancastrian Super Elfin.

Jackie wandered around, trowel in hand, wondering where to plant this new clematis.

Nugget was on hand with helpful suggestions. He becomes most excited at the sight of plant and trowel. In fact he can’t wait to beat the plant into the hole.

Now “Where’s Nugget?” (22)

This evening we dined on small portions of pepperoni pizza and salad with which Jackie drank Blue Moon and I drank Doom Bar.

Afterwards I watched the recorded highlights of the second day of the fifth Ashes Test match.

Godwits Galore

This morning we drove to Ferndene Farm Shop for three bags of all Purpose compost.

Jackie explored the rows of plants on sale as she also bought some trailing lobelias, and

found time to encourage one of the resident pigs, which was labouring somewhat, to step up to the trough for a drink.

On our way home we took a short diversion through the forest. Like the New Forest itself it has been some time since the title ‘new’ was applicable to the first of these lanes; the second avoids the problem of nomenclature by not having any.

Ponies dotted around the moors en route to Burley.

As in the lanes above the foliage of Holmsley Passage bore an almost luminescent glow.

Late this afternoon Giles picked me up at home and drove me to the bird hide at Milford on Sea where we spent a pleasant hour in a very crowded cabin watching the birds.

One black headed gull was fascinated by his reflection in the shallow water;

others shared Hurst Pond with shelducks and swans.

For serious birders the highlight was 31 black tailed godwits, their long legs beneath the surface.

We think this might be a snipe, but it had its back to us so we could not discern the length of its beak.

A pied wagtail trotted along much nearer the hide.

Giles stayed on for dinner which consisted of roast lamb; mashed potato and swede; Yorkshire pudding; crunchy carrots; firm cauliflower; and tender runner beans, with rich gravy. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and our friend and I chose Mora Vista Merlot Bonarda 2018.

Angel Lane

CLICK ON ANY IMAGE IN A GROUP TO ACCESS ITS GALLERY, INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS OF WHICH CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE BY SCROLLING DOWN AND CHECKING BOX AT BOTTOM RIGHT. SHOULD YOU WISH TO ENLARGE THE CAR LOAD OF BEDDING PLANTS, JUST CLICK ON IT AND REPEAT IF REQUIRED

This morning Jackie drove me to the GP surgery at Milford on Sea to collect a blood test result which, along with a questionnaire I then posted, in the pillar box featured yesterday, to UCH Hospital in London. The material is part of a follow-up survey after my metal-on-metal hip replacement nine years ago. Problems have surfaced from this method. I have none. The blood test is normal and requires no action.

Because of the number of comments I have received complimenting the work of the Milford WI, and in order to show the ladies yesterday’s post, I visited the Community Centre in search of a member to whom I could give a blog card. The volunteer running the café this morning was ‘Tricia, who had helped set up the exhibition at 7 a.m. on Saturday morning. Naturally we had an enjoyable conversation and she asked for four cards which I was happy to hand over.

We chose the somewhat circuitous Angel Lane route to Milford. The sunlight streamed across the narrow, steeply undulating lane, which made for several interesting head-on encounters, mostly with commercial vehicles in a hurry.

Bluebells, cow parsley, and other wild flowers lined the verges; to the left lay private fields, some carpeted with buttercups, one warning us to keep out; to the right a public footpath had been barred off – not an unusual sight in this area.

Bedding plants

We then drove to Hockey’s Farm Café for brunch and returned via Ferndene Farm Shop where Jackie filled the boot of the car with bedding plants mostly destined for her hanging baskets.

Billy

This afternoon I paid the car tax fee over the phone and made an A4 print of this photograph taken 3 days ago for Helen.

This evening we dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away fare with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Médoc.

 

No-one Will Buy Any Ice Cream Today

CLICKING ON ANY IMAGE IN A GROUP WILL ACCESS ITS GALLERY, INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS OF WHICH CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE BY SCROLLING DOWN AND CLICKING THE BOX AT BOTTOM RIGHT. SINGLE IMAGES CAN BE ENLARGED WITH A CLICK

Today the Met Office threatened us with continuous steady rain. It didn’t come. We were also promised a stiff breeze. We received that. It was to be cold. It was. 6 degrees centigrade to be precise.

Mrs Knight drove us to Ferndene Farm Shop. While I loaded the Modus with three bags of compost she entered the hut to pay for them and emerged with a tray of geraniums. And I had thought we were only going for compost.

There was much on display in the outside garden centre. Rows and rows of plants like pansies, pierises; heucheras, hottuynias, heathers; and cellophane swathed bouquets.

Numbers of people who had time in the day to shop wandered around making plant selections.

Jackie was one. She sought and found a suitable climbing rose.

Dead-heading Marguerites

The young woman from the sales department, who had been in shorts a couple of weeks ago, offered me the opinion that it was too cold for sandals (sans socks, you understand), upon which I stabbed the air with my right index finger and exclaimed vociferously “I always go into sandals at the first sign of summer and I am not going back to more suitable shoes just because we’re having a little blip. Brrr”. She suggested that the blog-bound photograph I would publish of her tidying up marguerites would make her famous.

New Forest Ice Cream sign

As it was a bit nippy I nipped back into the car while Jackie visited the shop for some carrots. Noticing the advertising sign beside the door I speculated internally that no-one would be buying ice cream today. As my lady returned to the driving seat she announced “I have bought some New Forest ginger ice cream”.

Just to be perverse, the sun crept out this evening, enough to brighten the garden.

We dined on Jackie’s succulent roast pork with perfect crisp crackling, Yorkshire pudding, mashed potato, ratatouille, runner beans, and carrots bought this morning. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I finished the merlot.

 

Fire Up Above And Fire Down Below

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED.

1ST DECEMBER 2017

This is being posted two days late because we went away for the weekend and I forgot to take my laptop charger with me.

Christmas trees

You have to be quick to secure a Ferndene Farm Shop Christmas tree. Before setting off for Bicester, we bought one and

Christmas tree

stood it in a bucket of water in the garden. The man operating the tubular apparatus that wraps the trees was a plant supplier who had popped into the shop for coffee and a cake. He found himself standing in for about ten minutes during which time he sold 7/8 trees.

Immediately afterwards we drove to Bicester in Oxfordshire where we stayed overnight at Watts Lodge, a Bed and Breakfast establishment operated by octogenarian Mr Watts, with help from his wife.

Having checked in we enjoyed a late lunch at Jacob’s Plough. My club sandwich and Jackie’s Caesar salad were very good and we were encouraged by the friendly staff to try Sainsbury’s Superstore for a charger I wasn’t optimistic, but we thought we would give it a try.

Jackie’s late former father-in-law grew up in a small thatched cottage which, as far as she can remember, stood on a site close to Sainsbury’s, now alongside a huge Travel Lodge. I am never very good at negotiating huge stores. This one was no exception. We parked on the top level of the car park. This was entitled Level 2. Even now I can’t remember the logic which was to take us down to the ground floor from which we had to ascend by travelator to the first floor of the store. Feeling like a rat in a maze, I wandered up and down several times without finding my way back into the shopping area, until a helpful customer explained the system. Among the various items of leads, cables, and suchlike, there was no such thing as a laptop charger.

Sunset

Having returned to the rooftop car park I found the best aspect of the trip. The sun

Sunset 1

was sinking

Sunset 2

over the town

Sunset 3

and I happened

Sunset

to be standing at the best viewing vantage point, outside the door to Level 2.

I did my best not to notice the trampoline effect of the surface as I walked across the store roof. As she sat in the car, Jackie found the reverberations difficult to ignore.

I understand that Bicester was once a prosperous town which lost much of its prosperity after the Americans who had been based their during the second world war pulled out some years later.

Bicester Village is a fabrication  It is a vast shopping development concentrating on the luxury market. Because of the boasted price reductions hopeful customers drive many miles to buy the designer goods. Many travel by train from London’s Marlebone station to the renamed Bicester Village (originally Town) railway station. They have no need to visit the old town. Once they have done their shopping they go home.

Opened in 1995 https://www.bicestervillage.com/en/shopping/  invites us to ‘Discover a world of luxury at Bicester Village, the region’s ultimate shopping destination. Home to more than 160 fashion and lifestyle boutiques, each offers savings of up to 60%, all year round.’

Needless to say, we didn’t visit this phenomenon, owned by Value Retail plc.

In the evening I walked into Pioneer Square and booked a table at Shakil’s restaurant.

Christmas lights

On my return I was diverted into New Road, at the end of which stands a house which is reminiscent of our Byron Road. In this case just one man assembles this display in order to raise a considerable amount of money for charity.

The meal at Shakil’s was excellent. It had been wise to book, for the place was packed out. We were advised that the nearest parking spot was Sainsbury’s car park.We therefore returned to the superstore. The public toilets underneath the building were surrounded by firefighters and a couple of engines. All seemed under control, so up we went.once more. A deafening fire alarm reverberated throughout the car park. but no-one was leaving and we knew the fire had been extinguished. Of course the lift wasn’t working, so we walked downstairs and through an alley to the restaurant.

Jackie enjoyed her chicken something, as I did my lamb naga. We both drank Kingfisher.