No More Than A Truce

This afternoon we drove Flo and Dillon to Burley where we left them to wander while we continued the drive and returned for them after 90 minutes.

We paused at Bashley where one foal lay flaked out while its mother cast her shadow while nibbling parched grass;

while another group took shelter beneath the oaks;

as did others along Forest Road. Note the bothersome flies,

more of which pestered cattle sharing shade with another pony and foal.

Two more greys stood beneath trees on Ringwood Road at the top of Crow

Hill, from which landscapes revealed an early brightness to the heather, and

ripening blackberries.

Hidden from below among the undergrowth is an historic milestone telling of a certain amount of optimism.

“Early in 1801 the British war against France under Napoleon as First Consul was not going well and the country was sick of it. When the Younger Pitt’s government fell in February, the new premier was Henry Addington, who was bent on peace and an end to entanglements on the Continent. As he wrote to Lord Malmesbury two years later, ‘his maxim from the moment he took office was first to make peace, and then to preserve it … if France chose, and as long as France chose; but to resist all clamour and invective at home, till such time as France (and he ever foresaw it must happen) had filled the measure of her folly, and had put herself completely in the wrong.’ 

Talks went on quietly in the summer of 1801 in London between the foreign secretary, Lord Hawkesbury, and a French diplomat, Monsieur Otto, and a preliminary agreement was signed at the beginning of October. The French had far the better of the deal. They agreed to restore the Two Sicilies and the Papal States to their former regimes, but they kept control of the Netherlands, the west bank of the Rhine, Piedmont and the Savoy, while Britain agreed to leave Egypt and let go of the Cape of Good Hope, Malta, and various islands in the Caribbean, while keeping Trinidad and Ceylon.

The agreement gained the approval of Pitt, however, and Lord Cornwallis, an eminent soldier and former governor-general of India, was appointed as ambassador-extraordinary to agree the final treaty. He was no diplomat and had largely forgotten his French, but he left for Paris and an interview with the First Consul in November, after which the two sides got down to detailed discussions in the Hôtel de Ville at Amiens. With Talleyrand hovering in the background, the French deputation was led by Joseph Bonaparte, Napoleon’s elder brother, who was well liked personally by the English representatives, though dismayingly prone to offering concessions in private one day and ruling them out in public the next. William Wilberforce urged Addington to include the abolition of slavery in the Amiens terms, but Addington, though sympathetic, wanted nothing to interfere with progress towards peace. After months of wrangling over details, Cornwallis  threatened to go home unless matters were settled in eight more days, and the treaty was finally concluded [on 27th May 1802].

Though widely welcomed on both sides of the Channel, the Peace of Amiens was no more than a truce. It lasted for not much longer than a year, giving both sides a breathing space in which to reorganise before the war was formally resumed in May 1803.”(https://www.historytoday.com/archive/months-past/treaty-amiens)

The treaty had ‘marked the end of the French Revolutionary Wars; after a short peace it set the stage for the Napoleonic Wars.’ (Wikipedia)

This evening we dined on different lefties – the others on Red Chilli Takeaway, and I on the roast lamb dinner. Jackie drank more of the Pino Grigio; Flo and Dillon, sparkling fruit flavoured water; and I Max’s Penfolds Shiraz Cabernet 2019.

Parched

Early this morning, after she had shopped and Tesco and we had unloaded her purchases, Jackie drove me to Wessex Photography in Lymington where I bought more printing paper; and further on into the forest.

Although grasses were well-watered beside Hatchet Pond

the surrounding moorland was drying up. It was hot enough for us two days ago, and therefore not surprising that areas 10 degrees C hotter elsewhere in the country suffered numerous grass fires that spread to destroy neighbouring homes. We considered ourselves fortunate that the New Forest remained unscathed.

Waterlily tapestries adorned the pond, and beneath the sheltering

lakeside silver birch

cygnets originally seen in May and posted in https://derrickjknight.com/2022/05/27/a-hanging-out-nest/ have now caught up with their mother.

While wandering around Hatchet Pond, I met and enjoyed wide-ranging conversation with friendly Australian Justin and Spaniard Natalia, on holiday from their home in Andorra, who were happy to be photographed with their boys and dog before Jackie called to tell me that the cygnets were back.

Already, soon after 10 a.m. ponies at East End were lining up in what shade they could find in order to escape the oppressive heat and the myriad of flies that could either be momentarily shooed off with twitching tails, rubbing noses against legs, or simply stoically tolerated. The last of the trio looks as if she may have found a mud bath at some point.

There are usually a few ponies cropping this parched patch which would now be like breakfasting on burnt toast. Perhaps it is the residents of No. 1 Sowley Lane, opposite who have filled these containers of water for the animals who have slaked their thirst and moved on to seek greener grass.

This afternoon I dozed over ‘The Moonstone’.

This evening we dined on roast duck, fried and boiled potatoes, fried onions, and firm carrots, cauliflower and broccoli, with meaty giblet generated gravy. Jackie drank Hoegaarden; Flo, Robinson’s mixed fruit cordial; and I, more of the Cabernet Sauvignon.

No Intention Of Budging

This morning I posted https://derrickjknight.com/2021/10/10/a-knights-tale-48-the-housing-market/

This afternoon we took Jessie on a forest drive.

I stepped out on Rhinefield Road and wandered among the autumnal woodland.

Ponies at Mockbeggar basked and dozed on the green, ignoring flies;

one, claiming its right of way on the road, forced traffic, including cyclists, to take a wide berth. It had no intention of budging.

As we drove down Roger Penny Way another equine string stampeded from one side of the moorland to the other. Motorists who had not anticipated the unusually active ponies dashing across the road sped past us and screamed to a halt in order to avoid denting their vehicles.

A young female scarecrow waited beside a telephone box just outside Lyndhurst.

This evening we dined at Lal Quilla where my main course was Chicken Jaljala; Jessie’s was Butter Chicken; and Jackie’s Hariali Chicken. We shared Bombay Aloo, pilau rice, and a plain Naan. The ladies each had ice creams. Jackie and I drank Kingfisher and Jessie drank Diet Coke.

The Next Generation

My sisters cleared Mum’s room in Woodpeckers today and will take her favourite clothes to the undertakers. I had removed the one object I would like yesterday. This, bearing my name on the back in our mother’s block capitals, was

a pastel portrait I produced for her on the first anniversary of Dad’s death, 34 years ago.

This is the original of an enlarged photocopy, the completion of which is described in “Would You Believe It?”

This afternoon Jackie roused me from somewhat of a stupor to drive me into the forest.

Ponies could be seen on the move on the moorland astride Burley Road; holding up traffic as they crossed the road; and continuing to slake their thirsts at Whitemoor Pond.

Two grey ponies planted themselves on the road at Ibsley. Each time they shook the flies from their faces the pests dropped back into place almost without changing formation.

Two other ponies hugged the walls of the Old School House at South Gorley.

Donkeys and their foals occupied the area around Hyde primary school, while, on the green opposite

the next generation of schoolchildren were engaged in a sporting activity.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy chicken jalfrezi and savoury rice. She drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Comté Tolosan Rouge.

When Elizabeth rang to say that she and Jacqueline were just leaving Woodpeckers and going straight home we invited them for more of the jalfrezi, which they accepted with alacrity. I opened another bottle of the same wine for them to have a little before they left for an early night.

Head To Tail

A dull morning gave way to sunshine as we left to visit Shelly and Ron with a birthday present. After coffee and convivial conversation Jackie and I set off for a forest drive.

Heather, bracken, brambles, and gorse tangled together festooned the verges and the moorland alongside Burley Road.

Jackie parked on the gravel lay-by opposite the now powdery pony tracks along which I added my footprints to theirs across to Whitemoor Pond,

where ponies and cattle, drawing numbers of walkers sought the benefits of cooling water.

Ponies occasionally drank; cattle stood in silence broken only by the occasional canine yelp.

The stationary, uncomplaining equines, plagued by pesky flies, clustered together in groups, head to tail, flicking at each other’s persistent pests.

This afternoon I posted https://derrickjknight.com/2021/08/26/a-knights-tale-22-but-a-little-boy/

This evening we dined on our second helpings of last night’s Red Chilli takeaway with which Jackie drank more of the Greco di Tufo and I finished the Dao.

Beside The Pond

This morning was the dry part of day beset with showers of varying ferocity. We shopped at Ferndene Farm Shop for three more bags of compost and a replenishment of our stock of fruit and vegetables, then continued into the forest.

Fly-decorated ponies planted in the road around the fully occupied Holmsley Campsite did their best to impede decanted campers, cyclists, and walkers setting out on their trips.

A nonchalant adolescent foal ambled across Burley Road, along which Jackie parked so that I could

follow the bone-dry powdery pony track to Whitemoor Pond. The third of these pictures is “Where’s Derrick” (5)

It was the sight of the distant clusters of ponies and foals that drew me to take the trek through the

moorland heather. Note the crow on the back of the reflected bay alongside the grey.

This afternoon I scanned four more of Charles Keeping’s skilled illustrations to “David Copperfield”.

‘Mr Dick leaned back in his chair, with his eyebrows lifted up as high as he could possibly lift them’

‘Mr Peggotty kept a lodging over the little chandler’s shop in Hungerford Market’ contains the artists ubiquitous little dog.

‘The girl we had followed strayed down to the river’s brink, and stood, lonely and still, looking at the water’

‘I began to carry her down-stairs every morning, and up-stairs every night’

Later, I did some more work on the next episode of The Knight’s Tale. Shortly before his death in 2017, my brother Chris asked me to help with the writing of his research on the family history. Now, for this section, I find myself wading through pages of material, including contemporary photographs and reminiscences. The problem is how to cull it to reasonable blog length.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s special savoury rice with tempura and hot and spicy prawns; tuna and egg mayonnaise with paprika; and plentiful fresh salad, with which she drank more of the Carricante and I drank more of the Barolo.

Starring Seed Pods

Today, by our standards, unseasonably hot for September, was definitely one for sprinkling the garden.

Even the wicker owl appreciated its shower.

By late morning we had become too heated to complete our work on pruning, cutting up, and composting the wisteria, seen here from above and below.

While taking the overhead wisteria pictures I added some more general aerial shots;

back at ground level the Brick Path and its arches; and the Gazebo Path, returning to my puzzle theme with “Where’s Jackie?” (5);

and the Triangular Bed beside the iron urn.

Today’s starring seed pods are on an ornamental allium.

The temperature rose as the day progressed; the sun became veiled by voluminous hazy clouds; the atmosphere increasingly oppressive. Late in the afternoon, in order to shake us from somnolent stupor we drove to Ferndene Farm Shop to buy some vegetables and eggs. There were no eggs.

For the last week or so, this outlet has been selling live chickens from its stock in the next door field. This has been because the older poultry do not lay in the quantity needed for a commercial enterprise. They are replaced by younger models and offered for reduced domestic production. Apparently the new birds haven’t yet got into the swing of things.

Afterwards we took a drive into the forest.

Along Holmsley Passage, tails constantly whisking, ponies dotted the landscape.

So it was for the rest of our journey, for example along Bisterne Close where we encountered

a mare and foal. Like all the youngsters, the stubby little tail didn’t seem adequate for seeing off the flies

and this infant had me backing off at a rate of knots in order to maintain focus as it attempted to brush off its flies with my beard.

On our return via Holmsley Passage ponies slaked their thirst in the rapidly diminishing wayside pool.

This evening we dined on Mr Chan’s Hordle Chinese Take Away’s excellent fare with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Bordeaux.

Torment

On this bright and sunny morning here was I working with WordPress innocently oblivious of just what the Head Gardener meant by tidying up Félicité Perpétue and the shrubs she had been swamping. I had picked a few tomatoes.

Assuring me that the rose would be glorious in a couple of years, she proudly showed me how far she had got, ensuring that my tomatoes featured in the photograph to cheer me up.

By the time we visited Everton Post Office and continued for a forest drive the temperature had become quite hot.

I have already featured Robert Gill’s scarecrow in http://derrickjknight.com/2020/08/20/more-water-for-the-animals/ The notice attached to this home in Everton Road advises that this witty and well-made offering is one of six entrants, the list of which is available on line. We drove round for a while looking for the other four, but didn’t find any. The annual trail is clearly a Covid casualty.

Cyclamen, like these on Barrows Lane, are now lining the verges. Ours, incidentally, are already over.

Longslade View, where I stopped for these photographs, is just outside Brockenhurst. It is such a shame that it should be necessary to display notices throughout the forest forbidding overnight parking, barbecues, and fires.

Outside Pilley Community Shop constantly twitching tails demonstrated what torment these clustered, patient, animals were undergoing as flies encircled their heads, backs, nether regions, and eyes. No sound did they make as they absorbed the airborne assault.

This evening we dined on Mr Pink’s excellent fish and chips, Garner’s choice pickled onions and Tesco’s tangy gherkins with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Rioja.

Owl Envy

On another hot and humid sunny day we took an early drive into the forest.

Ponies and their foals clustered together in the lowest dip of Holmsley Passage, perhaps in hopes of evading the gathering flies.

I disembarked along Bisterne Close and wandered into the dappled woodland, now devoid of ponies which could normally be expected to enhance these views; it then occurred to me that the animals on these Sultry Days are mostly seen to be gathering near possible sources of water.

This was confirmed at the corner of Forest Road where these fly-pestered ponies sheltered from the heat beside

the shallow dregs of a normally fast flowing stream.

We turned off Beechwood Lane into Church Road,

where Jackie experienced the acute pangs of owl envy when she had to bear the sight of a large carved example on someone else’s dead tree. Briefly she speculated about whether Aaron could be asked to wield his chainsaw to emulate this artwork on our recently lopped cypress.

A rowan tree here was just one of many producing very early berries.

Further verification of my horses to water theory was provided on our way back through Holmsley Passage. The first group of ponies had been within whinnying distance of the stream in which another, apparently knackered, string were slaking their thirst. This shot had to be taken through the windscreen because we had a car behind us.

With or without bigification readers will see no pony pictures lacking flies today.

This evening we dined on a second sitting of Mr Chan’s excellent Chinese Take Away dishes, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Fleurie.

Our First Meal Out Post Lockdown

This morning’s early light presented us with

glorious garden views from our upstairs windows.

At midday I accompanied Jackie on the big Tesco fortnightly shop; sat reading in the car while she did the business; unloaded the trolley into the car; emptied the purchases into the kitchen, then washed my hands.

This afternoon Jackie took the sprinkler on a whistle-stop tour of the garden, while I took my camera on another.

I pictured begonias, petunias, allium, hemerocallis, phantom hydrangea and phlox, all images of which are named in the galleries that can by accessed by clicking on any one. Each photograph can be viewed full size by clicking on the box beneath it, then further enlarged if necessary by repeated clicks.

Bees have shown themselves to be partial to these alliums.

Outside Bramshaw, on a drive to the north of the forest, we encountered ponies ignoring flies; sheep steering clear of the equine droppings; and donkeys keen to approach us in the hope of treats.

It was the Lamb Inn at Nomansland that had the honour of providing us with our first meal out since the recently partially relaxed coronavirus lockdown began.

My main meal was a tender rib eye steak with a bucket of chips and French fried onions; Jackie’s chips in a bucket were of sweet potatoes served with her haloumi burger. Mrs Knight drank Diet Coke and Carlsberg while I drank Timothy Taylor’s Landlord beer.

Naturally Jackie photographed the hanging baskets and

the sign in the outside dining area which had me wondering whether I was meant to use the letter box.