Select Six

Much of the morning was spent trawling through twelve months of photographs, seeking a selection from several thousand of the New Forest from which to enter six images into the Everton Festival: three prints, and three electronic efforts. This was a daunting effort. How do you portray this particular forest? A pony portrait of course could have been produced anywhere. I managed to pick about sixty possibles.

The Assistant Photographer reduced these to 19. Now it is your turn. I would be grateful for any suggestions as to which should definitely be included/excluded.

Because I am running out of printer inks with which to make the prints we set off to Wessex Photo at Ringwood to collect these. But we didn’t get very far. As Jackie began reversing the Modus in the front drive, Helen and Bill drove in. It would have been rude not to have offered them coffee. So we did. And enjoyed a catch up conversation.

Afterwards we did travel to Ringwood and I made my purchases.

We diverted to North Gorley on our way home. There,

the greens were occupied equally by equine and bovine residents. Flies were beginning to plague the animals – cattle ignored them, ponies switched their tails; one pony paddled, another nursed its new-born foal; a bovine necking session was in progress.

This unnamed lane led us towards Ringwood.

Jackie’s perfect pork paprika; new potatoes, firm broccoli, and breaded mushrooms were what we dined on this evening. I finished the Carmenere. My Lady abstained because she had drunk her Hoegaarden on the patio beforehand.

“There’s A Gate Up The Road”

Today we decided to sample the OAP lunches at The Wheel Inn. This community pub clearly doesn’t deal in euphemisms. ‘Old Age Pensioners’ stubbornly refuses to give way to ‘Senior Citizens’.

Jackie photographed the interior of the dining area and its bar;

I photographed the lunches. My choice of starter was whitebait with a very fresh salad; Jackie’s was a tasty paté with perfect toast and salad. Ham, egg and chips is what I chose for the next course; Jackie chose scampi, chips, and peas. We passed on a dessert. The meals are priced at £10 each for two courses, or £15 for three. I drank Ringwood’s Best (not now called Razor Back here), and Jackie drank Diet Coke.

Afterwards we continued further into the forest.

At East Boldre a foal could be seen among a group of ponies blending with the landscape.

Beside the steeply winding narrow road leading to East End, Jackie parked in a driveway while I attempted to

photograph ponies in a hillside field. This miniature mother and colt were the only two I could focus on clear of trees. After a quick snack the little chap followed his mother to pastures new, eventually turning away to seek his own spot.

A friendly gentleman informed me that “there’s a gate up the road” over which I could have a nearer view. With some trepidation I decided to give it a go. Following the rule of facing the oncoming traffic when on the road, I crossed over and wobbled up the edge of the tarmac.

I was rewarded by the sight of an alpaca tiptoeing through the buttercups. Tiny Tim would surely have made something of this: https://youtu.be/zcSlcNfThUA

My informant was correct. Leaning on a five-barred gate I was able to photograph a few more ponies and foals. I didn’t have to walk down the slope because Jackie brought the car up to the gate.

On our return home we thought we would nip down Tanners Lane to have a look at the coast. A couple of donkeys had other ideas.

This evening we dined on cold tandoori chicken with fresh salad.

Symbiotic Relationship

Such brief sunshine as we were to enjoy today came quite early. That is when we set off for a forest drive.

Two lanes we traversed en route to Beaulieu are named Boldre and Rodlease.

The Gravel Pit Lake at Pilley, almost bone dry last summer, has returned to its normal full state, nurturing white flowers and geese.

Beside Beaulieu Lake we witnessed the annual symbiotic relationship between birds and beasts – in this case jackdaws and cattle. The jackdaw flying away in the first picture has been seen off by a rival for soft nesting material. In spring the animals need to shed their summer coats and the birds need to build nests. The cows remain nonchalant as the birds pluck away.

A short distance away a group of donkeys were being similarly shorn, but by the time Jackie had managed to park the car for my disembarkation, beaks had been filled and birds had flown.

I think a herd of white horned cattle at Dibden must be http://afs.okstate.edu/breeds/cattle/whitepark/index.html/

More familiar black ones wandered at Bartley.

From there we made our way to Nomansland, where we lunched at The Lamb Inn. I enjoyed a massive mixed grill and two thirds of a pint of Doom Bar. Jackie’s choice was halloumi burger with sweet potato chips and salad. She drank a Diet Pepsi.

More foals were in evidence alongside Roger Penny Way. One mare led her offspring across the road to make an introduction to a potential playmate. The acquaintance appeared to be short-lived.

After our most substantial lunch, we needed no further sustenance this evening.

An Illusion Of Road Sense

In order to enjoy what might be our last day of autumn sunshine Jackie drove us into the forest this afternoon. We took the Undershore route to Pilley and beyond. Fallen leaves glowed on the passing spaces necessary on this narrow lane, and on pools and the footpath alongside Lymington reed beds.

As we passed a field along Church Lane, Boldre, I glimpsed working horses within it. In order to create these images it was necessary to poke my camera lens through spiky hedges and spikier still barbed wire. Some of the animals wore their winter rugs. I assumed those without such protection were the hardier forest ponies. I’m not sure what they made of my  protuberance. One stood and stared; others wandered away.

Burnished bracken spoke to golden oaks at Puttocks Bridge car park where

the lowering sun caused chestnut ponies’ pelts to metamorphose into rich velvet pile.

The mother of one foal crossed the road and ventured into the woodland on the other side. At first the youngster remained with its older companion;

then ambled across the road and nosed around among the fallen leaves.

The road here runs over the stream also spanned by the eponymous bridge, where a small family paddled in the shallows

while I admired the reflected trees, leaves, and skies.

Apples worthy of tempting Eve hung enticingly just out of reach of

the pony on the pavement initially fooling me into thinking it had developed road sense.

No such luck. Suddenly the creature stepped out in front of a car brought to an abrupt halt, and dawdled off along the tarmac. (The reason there are two sets here is revealed below)

Another adult led another youngster into the road. The skittish foal rushed along the pavement on the other side, 

chasing the chestnut before veering off to the left, presumably having spotted something more interesting.

Following elmediat’s helpful advice in his comments on yesterday’s post I have had one more try at enabling these images to be enlarged by readers. One amendment I noticed after drafting all this was that my images were cropped for alignment in the galleries, so, for example, the picture of the pony stepping in front of the car lost the all-important glimpse of the vehicle. Without cropping the shapes are also altered. I have left the very first set cropped, in order to check whether this is how they are presented, or whether the random selection we previously enjoyed is shown.

I still receive the ‘somewhat embarrassing’ message when I try to look at a preview, so I can’t check whether the enlarged viewing is possible before posting. If it is not, I will revert to the old system until the new is forced upon us. I am sure you will continue to let me know.

This evening we dined on roast chicken; sage and onion stuffing; Yorkshire pudding; roast potatoes and parsnips; tasty Brussels sprouts; and rainbow carrots; and gravy with meaty bits in it. This was followed by mixed fruit crumble and vanilla ice cream. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Madiran.

I Took A Tumble

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Ronan and Mark of Tom Sutton Heating are well on schedule with our new installation. We have hot water. After another couple of days all will be completed.

Jackie continued her work on garden maintenance this morning and I dead-headed a few token roses this afternoon.

Crown Princess Margareta

and Mamma Mia are two of those that keep on giving;

as is Compassion, kindly climbing over the Dead End Path.

Clematis Sieboldii, masquerading as a Passion flower, has surprised us by blooming in the last few days;

geraniums are keeping pace with nasturtiums;

and bees continue their dalliance with dahlias.

Our National Trust has adopted the practice of placing a thistle on the seat of antique chairs in order to deter people from sitting on them. One of our metal chairs in the rose garden has come apart. Naturally it will be used as a planter rather than despatched to the dump. In the meantime, following the National Trust, Jackie has plonked a pot of chrysanthemums thereon.

Later, we drove along Cowpits Lane, Ringwood, turning into Linford Road, which we had not previously traversed. This proved to be a winding tree-lined lane of which the ponies claimed ownership.

The large foal that appears in the first picture of the long gallery attracted my attention as it began licking the tarmac in the middle of the road. The creature was oblivious of the car waiting behind it. I waved my arms about a bit attempting to draw it out of the way. This was to no avail. The driver emerged from his vehicle and adopted a hands on approach. I turned my back on the approaching animal, as it came towards me. This was in order to remove myself from its path. I was going to have to descend a steeper incline than I would have liked. As to be expected my pace increased to an involuntary run. The terrain levelled out, and so did I.

The concerned driver’s female companion yelled to alert him to what had happened. Slaloming around the grazing ponies, Jackie dashed out of the Modus. She and the driver soon stood on either side of me. I lay on my back, quite comfortably working out how I was going to get up. I rolled over and reached for helping hands. Jackie picked up the camera which had dented my forehead and raised my left cheekbone.

This looked much worse than it was. I only had a small cut and a little bruise. More importantly, I now know I can fall over and get up – quite a fear when you’ve just had a new knee fitted. No cameras were harmed in this production.

Elizabeth stayed at Mum’s tonight. Jackie and I dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away’s excellent  fare. Mrs Knight finished the Sauvignon Blanc and I finished the Cabernet Sauvignon.

Three Young Stags

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On this very grey morning Jackie and I took another trip to Burley for the second birthday present. This time we were successful. As for yesterday’s gift, I cannot be more specific, or publish a photograph. After all, I never know who’s reading this.

As we returned along Mill Lane I was struck by how well a pony and foal blended with the wall of the farm building behind them. There were, in fact, two mares and two foals. The youngsters have reached the stage when their tails are growing and they are able to sport splendid Mohican haircuts.

On the far side of a field further down the lane, three young stags seemed not too perturbed by my distant lens.

Elizabeth is spending another night with Mum, who has a chest infection. Jackie and I dined on her flavoursome beef in red wine with onions, peppers, and mushrooms; served with creamy mashed potato, crunchy carrots, and our own runner beans. I drank Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2016. The Culinary Queen had consumed her Becks Blue on the patio beforehand.

The Modus Rocks

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This afternoon Jackie drove me to New Hall Hospital for a physiotherapy session. This was another positive outcome. I am now just 5 degrees short of the knee flexion target of 120. There remains tightness in the tendons and muscles used to straighten the leg. Claire, my physiotherapist, thinks that this dates from the hip replacement nine years ago. She has given me exercises for this and another session has been booked to work on it further.

We took a leisurely drive back home.

At Nomansland we witnessed a comic drama. The waste bins in the New Forest are designed to be pony proof. The effectiveness of this was demonstrated by a pony that didn’t know this. While the animal struggled to gain access, some members of a visiting family paid attention to the mare’s nearby foal. Suddenly they began pointing past me. Having given up with the bin, the mother pony had homed in on the family lunch bags. The human mother was alerted and came to the rescue. Others joined in.

Clouds of flies were, of necessity, ignored by the pestered animals at this site;

and by this family group on the verge of Roger Penny Way.

We parked the car by the side of Manor Farm in Cadnam Lane, which was overrun by three sows and a sounder of piglets. You can’t get much rasher than that. These snorting, grunting, trotting, creatures dashed hither and thither scratching their flanks on anything in sight, including the Modus, which they sent rocking. I needed to guide Jackie when she wanted to drive off, to ensure that she didn’t have a pig in front of her car.

This evening the three of us dined on Mr Chan’s excellent Hordle Chinese Take Away fare. Jackie drank Hoegaarden while Elizabeth and I finished the Merlot