Just Too Short

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I took a couple of strolls around the garden with a camera this morning. Sculpture Florence turned her back on the early light streaming from the Rose Garden.

Overnight rain had refreshed fuchsias, geraniums, hydrangeas, and dahlias, in one of which

a bedraggled bee risked drowning.

Our red hot pokers are over now, but other kniphofias of more autumnal hues stand erect in the Weeping Birch and other beds.

White solanum continues to drape itself over the dead tree beside the New Bed.

Spiders lurk everywhere. Look closely at the close-up of the hanging basket at the corner of the Phantom Path.

This afternoon Jackie drove me into the forest.

Along the Rhinefield Road a rather young foal foraged far from his parent who looked to be away in the distance.

A little further along a forest sprite impersonated the upper section of a dead tree escaping the clutches of its parent body.

Along the Rhinefield Ornamental Drive dry layers of fallen leaves and pine cones offered a spring to my step and to those of a lone walker. A carved cone marked a route.

Passing the trough on Wootton Common we noticed that it was surrounded by cattle vying for a drink. By the time we had turned round to park the car near the animals, they were all trooping off along the moor.

Ah, not quite all. Just one diminutive creature had been left behind. In vain did this Marshmallow cow, time and again, circle the trough attempting to slake her thirst. Even her neck was just too short. Eventually she hit on a super wheeze. She tried the human spout. I wonder if the next two-legged drinkers will have any idea about who had preceded them.

This evening the three of dined on Jackie’s roast beef; Yorkshire pudding; pigs in blankets; roast potatoes, sweet and normal; crunchy carrots, tender runner beans; and gravy solid with onions and mushrooms. Elizabeth and I drank La vieille ferme 2017, while the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden.

 

 

 

Parched

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Early this morning Jackie drove me to Lymington Hospital where I underwent a posterior capsulotomy. This was nowhere near as nasty as it sounds. Sixty four summers ago I suffered a cricketing injury to my left eye, the story of which is told in ‘Cottenham Park‘. This developed in the need for a cataract operation some forty years later. Now a laser adjustment in order to reduce subsequent cloudiness. I had been warned to expect this. It was all very painless.

So comfortable was I that we continued into the forest where we encountered ponies and a foal on the lake at Pilley. Today, this former gravel pit does not look like a body of water. As recently as February ponies and cattle drank freely from water that lapped the banks and reflected the buildings alongside. That is how it has always looked to us in the past.

Today, the terrain was so dry that the young foal among these ponies would have taken some convincing that once where, like the crows, he was foraging among dried up mud, he could have enjoyed a paddle and a drink of bathwater. Much of the forest is now as parched.

This afternoon we enjoyed a visit from Margery and Paul.

Later, Jackie and I dined on Southern fried chicken fillets, roasted potato wedges and five varieties of baked bean. Mrs. Knight drank her customary Hoegaarden and I drank an unaccustomed English wine  she had brought back from her Somerset trip. This was Barebones Vineyard Newboy 2016

 

 

 

 

Those Damn Flies

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The Head Gardener rarely spends much money on a plant. It was therefore an event when, three years ago, she splashed out on a very poorly, potted, plant at Redcliffe Garden Centre. She was very excited this morning to report that the Dierama Angel’s fishing rod, has bloomed for the first time under the Cryptomeria tree.

The Sunday Gardener’s website  has an excellent page on how to grow this garden gem.

This afternoon we drove around the forest.

Cyclists photographing ponies and foalPonies and foalPonies and foalPonies and foal

On Beechwood Lane near Burley we encountered a pair of cyclists photographing a group of ponies with a slumbering foal lying on the tarmac.

Spotting a bench beyond the trees under which the animals were sheltering, I walked across and perched on it to continue photographing the equine group. It was a while before I noticed that I, too, was being focussed upon.

While most of the horses were happy under their canopy,

one grey peered persistently, hungrily, at Jackie through the window of the Modus.

Quite suddenly, the whole troop, having sensed activity in the garden opposite, set off and stationed themselves, tails swishing, hopefully by the gate.

The twitching tails are the ponies’ fly whisks. I’m sure I heard this animal curse those damn flies as it violently shook its head and mane instead.

Derrick photographing from logsDerrick photographing from logsForest scene by Jackie

Once again, I hadn’t realised that Jackie was photographing me from my new vantage point on a row of logs.

Eventually, no food forthcoming, the horses set off down the lane. So did we, in the opposite direction.

Our dinner, however, was forthcoming this evening. We enjoyed breaded chicken fillets, potato wedges, baked beans and a Cimarosa New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc 2017

 

“Ursula Andress, Eat Your Heart Out”

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Late this gloriously hot and sunny afternoon Jackie drove us to Eyeworth Pond in search of ducklings.

Cattle

Cattle chewed the cud on the verges of Canterton Lane.

Ponies on road

We made good time to the pond, but an equine trio delayed us taking the last right turn.

A delightfully friendly couple enjoying a picnic in the shade pointed out several paddles of ducks and ducklings. Strong pigments splashed over the surface of the water and the shallow bed.

Jackie alerted me to the arrival of a couple of ponies and a foal. If only I could have made the constantly twitching youngster aware that the flies he was desperately trying to escape were taking off from the flanks of the mare to which he clung.

The young lady by this time had entered the water attempting to catch tadpoles. As I took a couple of these shots I exclaimed “Ursula Andress, eat your heart out”.

This evening we dined on a thick crust pizza to which the Culinary Queen added more cheese and salami, served with plentiful fresh salad.

A Matter Of Scale

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In ‘What’s In The Folds?’ I featured an introduction to Solent Grange. We returned to the site this morning to develop the theme in better light.

Cyclists

The cyclists ahead of us on the lane from Keyhaven give an indication of the narrowness of the Solent Way where the development is situated;

Van and pillars

the small van in this picture has just passed the totally over the top entrance,

which, although beautifully crafted with skilled brickwork and well moulded statuary, is far too large for its position.

Further scale is provided by this couple walking their dogs. We chatted for a while. Their view of the pretentiousness of these structures was similar to mine. The woman had had a knee replacement a year ago and was very well now. The further sets of pillars to the right are those that on the day of our last visit bore a pair of white lions equal in stature to the sculptures on either side of the entrance which, according to the developers, is to be gated.

https://www.royalelife.com/milford-view describes ‘Solent Grange by Royale [a]s a fabulously-located luxury bungalow development for the over 45’s.

Later this afternoon we took to the forest. On such a hot day, ponies, like these just outside Brockenhurst, cluster for shelter beneath trees. Foals tend to lie sprawled panting on the grass. It was Jackie who noticed that in this group it was the grey, happy to cast a shadow, that didn’t mind the sun.

In a garden across a green some distance from the road at East Boldre can be seen a rather spectacular verdigris coated sculptured fountain devoid of water. Given the surrounding space the proportions do not offend. It is, perhaps, all a matter of scale.

My choice of Tesco prepared meals this evening was beef lasagna. Jackie, who also provided good helpings of fresh salad, chose ham and mushroom tagliatelle

 

 

 

 

 

“If I’d Known How Long They Lived I’d Never Have Married You”

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This morning the warm sun shone from a cloudy sky; this evening, still warm, the sun shone from a clear blue sky; this afternoon the sky was overcast. There are no prizes for guessing when we took a drive into the forest.

The first troop of animals that occupy the road was of sheep at Bramshaw. All but one left the green pitted with their hoof prints, some of which were water-filled. I made the mistake of setting out across this poxy terrain. This, in my current wobbly condition, caused Jackie, waiting in the car,  some consternation.

I could really identify with one lame, bleating, creature, left alone to limp over to join its companions.

Further on, it was the turn of muddy cattle, cropping hedges, standing and staring on the winding, undulating, road, or wallowing in ditches, to disrupt the traffic.

Donkeys took up the baton at Frogham. Like yesterday’s pony a little white foal nudged its mother’s furry flanks,

took an inquisitive look at me, and had a good scratch. At this point I indulged in a pleasant conversation with a farmer who pointed out that the mother was in need of a good hoof trim. When the lady had married her husband she had owned six donkeys. Her husband had said that had he known how long they lived he would never have married her.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s splendid chicken jalfrezi and pilau rice. On the patio beforehand the Culinary Queen had drunk her Hoegaarden and I had finished the Paniza. I did, however, have a glass of Lellei 2015, a very quaffable Hungarian pinot noir from Lidl with my meal.

 

First Foal

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We enjoyed another beautifully sunny day today.

 

In the front garden the columnar prunus Amanogawa now reaches the top of the house and looks down onto the crab apple blossom, which is currently a magnet for bees;

 

the crimson red rhododendron brightens the corner beside the eucalyptus tree, and in the Palm Bed on the opposite side of the Gazebo Path a pastel pink variety is beginning to bloom.

 

Bluebells have now joined the honesty and the alliums beneath the red Japanese maple in the Kitchen Bed.

Garden view from above

The weeping birch now has its foliage.

Fern at dead trunk

We have been trying to save a dying yellow-leaved tree. The main trunk is hollow at the base, but another clings to its side. Jackie has filled the gaping hole with a fern planted yesterday.

Poppies

From now until well into the autumn a proliferation of yellow and orange self-seeded poppies will pop up all over the garden. Each bloom lasts a day but there are plenty of buds hanging around to replace them.

This afternoon Jackie drove me to Everton Post Office where I posted a small parcel to the new owner of my French house. We travelled on into the forest where

there was still much water on the moors, and enough moisture lay on the tarmac at the end of Jealous Lane to reflect the pillar box perched on a post.

Ignoring ponies of all shapes and sizes eating and drinking beside the road, a stately pheasant trotted across the moor.

Further along Shirley Holms, we met our first foal of the season. As is usual, the youngster, adhering to its mother’s flanks, found me worthy of interest, whilst the mare focussed on the grass.

A pair of mallards who appeared to have fallen out, and a colony of feeding rabbits occupied fields beneath the railway at the corner of Jealous Lane.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s tender chicken curry and pilau rice garnished with fresh coriander. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Paniza.