Pannage Pigs And Ponies

We set off this morning on a forest drive meandering up to Hockey’s Farm Café for our usual choices of brunch. The day began overcast yet dry; by the time we had turned back for home fairly steady rain had set in.

Comfortable air conditioning in our car belied the warmth that was to greet me each time I disembarked with my camera.

The first subject for my lens was the decorated postbox along Wootton Road, now ready for Halloween.

Perhaps both species unaware of the service the Gloucester Old Spots snuffling around pasturing ponies at North Gorley, the pigs guzzling mast left clear grass to the equines, thus saving them from acorn poisoning.

The unseasonal warmth in the air ensures that the flies are not yet done with the patient, uncomplaining, ponies.

Cyclists swung round ponies on the road, while outside Hockey’s at Gorley Lynch, motor traffic negotiated troops of donkeys.

The above photographs are all mine.

Jackie was also applying her camera, recording me and the Gloucester Old Spots on which I was focussed.

She overlooked neither hide nor heels of the grey pony that hugged the side of the Hyundai for a while.

The pony hide presented one pattern; she saw another in a gnarled tree trunk.

This evening we all dined on second sittings of yesterday’s pasta meal with more of the same beverages.

Polishing The Car

On a largely overcast, yet warm, morning Jackie and I took a forest drive during which we brunched at Hockey’s Farm Café.

We seldom see ponies in the woodland flanking Holmsley Passage,

but we spotted these largely buried in ferns today.

It was golfers crossing from one side of the Burley course who stopped the traffic on this occasion.

A number of ponies, one very fetching in her natural necklace and tiara, browsed along Forest Road.

A number of assorted pigs, the last pair polishing our car, had no intention of making it easy to photograph them as they scampered snorting and snuffling in their eagerness to be first on the mast now falling freely. The last two, carefully avoiding the cattle grid entrance to Hockey’s gave our new Hyundai a good polish.

The pair in the first two pictures above kept well ahead of me until they disappeared out of sight, and were not reflected in the stream I was left with.

We didn’t get far down Newtown Lane where we would normally expect to spot porkers, because they had obviously avoided the resurfacing work which caused us to turn back.

A young pony sank into soggy ground at North Gorley, where a duck crossed the road, maybe aiming for the stream behind the horse.

Donkeys, as usual, tried their luck with customers of The Forester’s Arms at Frogham.

Cattle and ponies shared the Abbotswell landscape,

while, at the bottom of the hill a pair of ponies alongside the now very shallow stream feeding the ford, bore their share of flies.

Later this afternoon Ronan and Craig from Tom Sutton Heating replaced the new valve they had fitted last week which turned out to be faulty.

This evening we all dined on delicious sausages and creamy mashed potato, with crispy bacon and fried onions; crunchy carrots; tender broccoli stems, and meaty gravy with which Jackie drank Zesty and I finished the Montepulciano.

Back On The Road

A soft breeze gently ruffled the still air this morning as we set off for a short forest drive culminating in brunch at the Lakeview Café.

Steam rose from the warmed wet tarmac of Holmsley Passage dappled by sunlight licking the browning bracken.

The winterbourne pool along Bisterne Close, so recently devoid of water, now reflected cotton clouds, overhead lines, spent yellow iris leaves, and a nearby gate.

The weather was now once more sultry enough to summon flies to pester ponies

already seeking shade from trees stippling hide and branch.

Hidden behind New Lane near New Milton are the manmade Orchard Fishing Lakes, permit holders of which enjoy the proximity of Lakeview Café which serves freshly cooked excellent quality food at most reasonable prices.

On such a lovely day enjoying warm sunshine filtered by scudding clouds, it was hardly surprising that soon after midday this family run business was packed out inside with room for other diners to bask comfortably at tables outside while watching the fishers’ quiet repose.

All ingredients, especially the real meaty beef burger, homemade coleslaw, and plentiful fresh salad in my gourmet burger choice, even on such a busy day, were of excellent quality, and strong cutlery was up to the job of cutting the food..

Jackie’s tuna panini was equally perfectly prepared and presented.

Including Jackie’s coffee, this meal set me back £21 to which I added a £3 tip.

Naturally we were warned of a wait, which did not bother us, so Jackie investigated the reading matter; the cakes and crisps to which, should we need anything else after our main courses, we could serve ourselves; and the ever changing artwork on the walls.

In the meantime I observed today’s other customers which included obvious retirees, visiting families, and local people, all contributing to the cheerful ambience generated by the efficient, friendly, and helpful staff.

As I have been off my fodder this week, the brunch was more than enough to satisfy me for the day, so I didn’t join the rest of the family as they enjoyed another of Jackie’s chicken and vegetable soups this evening.

In Hatchet Pond

On a much hotter day of full sunshine I carried out a dead heading session in the garden before accompanying Jackie to Lidl for a shopping trip, after which we took a forest drive during which,

apart from a few ponies annoying already hot and bothered drivers outside Beaulieu, there was scarcely any sign of life until we reached Hatchet Pond.

A couple of dog owners allowed their barking midgets to harry the unperturbed ponies

before moving off to reflect on the pond.

One pony improvised with a tree as a parasol;

two others, plagued with flies, remained in the open, seeking sustenance from among the stones. Barely a second separated the shots of the grey systematically shaking the persistent diptera from its muzzle; its companion calmly tolerated the irritation.

A young boy, watched by two sunbathers, enjoyed a paddle. He had seen some fish and was attempting to catch one in his hands.

The hedgerows throughout our trip were dotted with clusters of berries, including rowan, hawthorn, and blackberries in various stages of development.

This evening we all dined on Jackie’s tasty fusilli arrabbiata with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Côtes du Rhône Villages.


For brunch, Jackie drove me to Hockey’s Farm Shop café, where we enjoyed our usual favourites, well cooked as always, and efficiently served in friendly manner.

As we left Burley ponies caused a traffic tailback as, oblivious of the vehicles, they settled in for a day of seeking what shade they could beneath trees, and such protection from flies as could be afforded by their nose to tail technique.

A couple of walkers found the prospect of stepping over droppings somewhat unpleasant.

When we returned this afternoon the animals had not moved much.

Others, already beset by flies, hugged a fence that seemed to have been reserved for them.

We needed to make way for an oncoming tractor on a narrow, dappled, section of Gorley Road.

Two ponies sought shade beneath tree alongside the Ibsley ford, from the stream under which another slaked its thirst.

Calves competed for space on a drinking trough beside Hyde Lane.

Jackie parked the Modus at Gorley Lynch while I disembarked to

photograph a distant stag with his roe deer harem.

At Poulner we encountered a steam traction engine.

Heather coloured the moorland either side of Holmsley Passage,

where I commended a pair of cyclists who had made it all the way up.

An apple tree grew on the moor beside Holmsley Road.

Along Tiptoe Road a pair of ponies drooped on the tarmac, opposite

a foal learning the reality of life with flies.

This evening we all dined on meaty pork bangers and fried onions; creamy mashed potato; crunchy carrots; firm broccoli stems; and piquant cauliflower cheese, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Côtes du Rhône Villages Plan de Dieu 2021.

A Fly In His Eye

With the day growing steadily warmer and sunnier, Jackie began seeking stems for plant cuttings, continuing this afternoon, when I raked clippings, leaves, and twigs from gravel paths and added two more empty compost bagfuls to the heap for the next dump trip.

I made a start on reading John Prebble’s history of Culloden, then wandered around the garden with my camera.

Each of these random photographs, some featuring the various flying insects flitting about, bears a title in the gallery.

This evening we dined on a variety of Subway’s excellent fresh and tasty sandwiches, followed by berry strudel and vanilla Cornish ice cream, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Bordeaux. Afterwards we sampled Lyme Bay Winery Traditional Mead.

Dappled Shade

This rather warmer day remained overcast for the morning when Jackie drove us to Hockey’s Farm Shop for lunch, while the sun laid claim to the skies for our return.

A group of ponies and their growing foals occupied Wootton Common and both sides of Tiptoe Road near to The Rising Sun.

The warmer weather has brought out the flies, seen on the last pony in this first gallery, with more irritating the foal and its mother on the verge of the road through Ibsley. The dam has developed the tolerance to ignore them whilst the little bay still hoped to shift them with constant shakes of its head.

Maybe the cattle huddled together for protection.

Further along the road this Toyota driver struggled to pass a pony blocking the way.

In the Farm Shop café we each brunched on our usual choices – mine the Hungry One, and Jackie’s, Laura’s Favourite. Jackie photographed one of the crisp yellow roses in a bottle arrangements that decorated each table.

Abbotswell Road, down which we ambled behind a young rider in training until she was led off the trail, was now as dappled as all the other roads.

Many streams were already drying up, but the one crossing the ford at the bottom of the hill continued rippling under the bridge.

The tour bus we followed along Roger Penny Way kept to a steady 30 mph, until delayed by cyclists, ponies, pigs, and one very successful donkey; when freed the bus picked up a little speed, which had us speculating that there was a schedule to be kept. Indeed there was – more passengers waited at the next pick up point.

Ponies on the verge at Cadnam were already adopting the nose to tail technique for keeping flies at bay,

while heavily panting sheep streamed down the hill seeking shade from the trees beside the shallowing ford. These are the Torddu or black bellied variety of Badger Faced Welsh Mountain sheep.

For this evening’s dinner, Jackie added hot and spicy, and tempura prawn preparations to last night’s Chinese Take Away leftovers, which we all enjoyed and with which Jackie and I both drank La Vieille Ferme rosé 2022.

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.”(

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.


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 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

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.