“That’s What Having A Horrible Daughter is Like”


We spent the morning on garden maintenance tasks.

Jackie tidying Wedding Day roseDerrick tidying Wedding Day rose

Jackie, with minimal assistance from me, retrained the Wedding Day rose

Wedding Day rose on Agriframes Arch

on the Agriframes arch.

Japanese maple 1Japanese maple 2

We then reversed the process in that The Head Gardener weeded a route through to the red Japanese maple that was looking very poorly, if not somewhat wizened. She then stood ready for me to pass bits lopped or sawn off.

Japanese maple 3Japanese maple 4Japanese maple 5Japanese maple 6

The final result didn’t look too bad.

Urn on brick pillar

We then finished rebuilding the pillar for the urn in the Rose Garden.

View across grass from red tulips

Here is a view across the grass patch between tulips and the eucalyptus.

This afternoon we went for a drive in the forest.


A stream kept one of the Brockenhurst fords under water. That is probably one SLOW notice that is unlikely to be ignored.

Father, daughter, dog at ford 1Father, daughter, dog at ford 2

As I stood on the footbridge to take this shot, a family descended into view. Mother and son joined me on the bridge while father and daughter, dog in tow, entered into a coercive conversation. The dog appeared to want to go in the opposite direction.

Father, daughter, dog running through ford

It was not long before the reason for this became clear. These three dashed across the water filled ford. When I quipped “I didn’t get that. Could you do it again?”, Dad declined. However he did add “That’s what having a horrible daughter is like”. In the ensuing conversation I was given permission to post both the photographs and this statement.

Car driven through ford

An obliging motorist, without being asked, then drove his car through the water.

Child's shoe and socks

Further on, at Boundway, we spotted evidence that a child had left the woods sans socks and at least one shoe.

Woodland Shadows 1Tree shadows 2Tree shadows 3

The high sun cast shadows of the trees onto the undulating leafy terrain.

Brimstone butterfly in flight

A brimstone butterfly fluttered about. Can you spot it here?

Logs, gorse, trees 1LogsGorse

Loggers had been at work above the gorse laden hills overlooking Wilverly.

Cattle among gorse

I think the white figure here was one of a couple of cattle. They were a bit far away for me to be certain.

Wasps' nest 1Wasps' nest 2

Soon after we left this area, Jackie alerted me to a wasps’ nest on an outbuilding.

This evening we dined on Mr Chatty Man’s Chinese Take Away fare with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden while I drank more of the madiran.

On The Road To Brockenhurst


Jackie and I began the day with a drive in the forest, in order to see how the thatching at East End was progressing.

Ford 1Ford 2Ford 3

A shallow stream ran over the ford at Norleywood, enhancing the beauty of the shadows on the road ahead.

Donkeys 1

A pair of donkeys breakfasted on the hedgerows opposite the house

Thatching 3

on which the skilled roofing work had commenced.

Donkey 1

As is their wont, one of these creatures crept, silently, up behind me to see if I had any carrots. I am mean enough to disappoint them, however, feeding them is not advised by the verderers, unless you want to catch Weill’s disease.

Donkeys and ModusDonkey and ModusDonkey 2

Jackie had driven further up the road to turn round, by which time the donkeys really had claimed the road.

Donkeys 2The other two large lorries were still parked outside the neighbouring house. One was being loaded with soil dug out from the garden.

Shetland pony 1Chickens and Shetland pony 1Chickens and Shetland pony 2

High above the chicken range a solitary Thelwell child’s pony also enjoyed its morning meal.

Chickens and cockerel 1

Chickens 1Cockerel and chickens 1Chickens 2Chickens 3Chicken 1Chicken 2

The chickens cooed and clucked around their chook house,

Crow and chickens

sharing their repast with crows,

Ducks and chicken


Ducks and hen pheasantPheasant henPheasant cock 1

and pheasants, which were freer to roam.

Llama 2

One of the llamas sat with a silly grin on its face

Llama 1

as another gurned at me.


A trio of cyclists paused at the road junction to take their bearings.

Cyclists 1Cyclists 2Cyclists 3Cyclists 5Cyclists 6

They were small fry compared with those who were to limit our progress on the road to Brockenhurst.

Cyclists 4

As we approached that village, Jackie expressed the wish that they would not be going our way. No such luck.

This afternoon we continued, focussing on the rose and front gardens, preparing for an alfresco summer.

This evening we dined on shepherd’s pie topped with layers of cheddar cheese and mushrooms; crisp carrots, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and runner beans. Jackie finished the Cotes de Gascoigne and I drank more of the shiraz.

Strange Courtship


This morning we drove out to Eyeworth Pond and back.

Yesterday evening I described the heavy rain that pummelled the pavement. It continued throughout the night. This is what it did to

Brockenhurst’s landscaped lawns,

and to its ford.

Some vehicles travelled through the water with caution;

others ripped through them; still more turned around and chose another route.

Cyclists used the bridge. I did point out to a couple of these that last year, not only had a pair of them whizzed through the flood, but they had responded to my request to do it again. These two did not accept my challenge. Perhaps I wasn’t direct enough.

On Eyeworth Pond a pair of Canada geese floated around, and occasionally went fishing.

The Mallards were in full courting mode. Sometimes the ladies were encircled by the males, sometimes chased around. At times I wasn’t sure the females were not making the paddling.

One couple did appear to be engaged in a strange courtship involving rear displays and synchronised diving.

Spray formed on a clear pool now covering terrain that normally provided forage for ponies.

A somewhat quizzical blackbird investigated the seeds left on the gatepost to the woodland walk.

A blue tit eyed me from a holly bush,


as did a solitary robin.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s splendid sausage casserole served with slightly orange tinged creamy mashed potato and swede, bright orange carrots, off white cauliflower, pale green sautéed leeks, and deep red cabbage. Jackie drank sparkling water and I drank San Andres Chilean merlot.

The Patience Of A Dog


I needed a trip to the bank in New Milton today. As it was a fine frosty morning we took a drive in the forest first and moved on to Friar’s Cliff for big breakfast brunches in the eponymous café.

On the way through Tiptoe we fell in behind a splendid horse and cart. After I had photographed hooves through the car windscreen, Jackie overtook the antique vehicle and stopped further down the road so that I could lay in wait for a full frontal shot.

Holmesley Passage, was bathed in both sunshine

and frost;

as was the still autumnal woodland and the bracken covered moor.

The stream that runs under the road flowed fast over the concrete ford.

Wrapped up and back-packed walkers strode across the moor.

Diners 1

The Friar’s Cliff café was so full that many diners sat outside (remember the dog)


watching the sea, a canoeist kayaking by,

Woman and dog on beach

and dogs frolicking on the beach.

Water and crisps

We are given a slip of paper containing our order number, and wait for the superb, freshly cooked, food. One couple didn’t touch their bottled water and crisps. They, too, were to receive a café meal.

A young mother clutched both her small son and his scooter as she made for the café. She didn’t drop either before she reached her destination.

We admired the patience of a golden haired dog ogling its owners’ bacon sandwiches without moving a muscle.

This evening we dined on fish fingers, chips, onion rings, and baked beans, with which I finished the cabernet sauvignon.

A Rogue Encounter


This afternoon we drove to Homebase in Christchurch and purchased a lavatory seat, a handle for the cistern, and a tin of touch up paint to cover a repair to the guest bathroom wall where a visitor had pulled the towel rail off.

After this we toured the forest until after dark.

Some way north of Ibsley our path was blocked for a good fifteen minutes by an obdurate bovine that, head down and white tail swishing, made its deliberate, stubborn, way down the centre of the road. Even the approach of another car did not deter this red cow. Eventually we were able to draw level, by driving onto the grass verge. The idea was to take a close-up photograph with the window open. An upturned head, and a warning bellow gave me second thoughts. The creature then turned left and continued down to a ford which it crossed by means of the footbridge. Giving a couple of ponies a wide birth the animal carried on up the opposite slope and vanished from sight.

4X4 crossing ford

A 4X4 then crossed the ford and stopped alongside me. The driver asked me if I had been photographing the deer. When I explained our interest in the cow, she explained that this was a ‘rogue’. It was quite aggressive and possibly dangerous. Efforts were being made to trace the owner, because it needed ‘to be taken out of the forest’.

Jackie had seen the deer and pointed them out. I walked back to the ford to photograph them. Despite the distance, at each click of the camera, more of the creatures raced across the field, as if they were posing for the Lascaux caves.


Further on along the road, we passed two more families behind the trees, with others on the far side of a fence. They were more inquisitive.

Up on the moor at Abbots Well, we watched a sunset rather more muted than of late.

Reflections in pool

The pool in which these trees were reflected had been dryer a couple of weeks ago.

On our way back, at two different points along an unlit Roger Penny Way, three deer and a pig risked their lives by running across in front of the car. The pig was intent on joining its snuffling, snorting, grunting, family hoovering up a fine crop of beech nuts.

We stopped for a drink at The White Hart in Pennington on our way home. We then dined on Jackie’s lovely lamb curry, onion rice, and naans. I drank a glass of Axis 251 Coonawarra cabernet sauvignon 2015.

‘You Wouldn’t Like To Do That Again, Would You?’

On another warm and sunny day that, once we had got going in the garden, felt like the height of summer, we continued soil preparation. In addition to all her other maintenance tasks

Palm Bed

Jackie dug in the compost she had laid on the Palm Bed yesterday,

Rose Garden

and I completed the mulching of the rose garden with three more 100 litre bags of Landscape Bark. I swear they are becoming heavier by the day.

View from Back Drive to Roase Garden

Looking from the Back Drive towards this section,

View across Heligan Path

or across the Helicon Path towards the house,

one can see the burgeoning new growth popping up everywhere.

Bluebells Spanish

We now have profusions of Spanish bluebells,

Forget me nots

and of forget-me-nots.

Pigeon 1

Permanently perched on the telephone cable over Christchurch Road is a male collared dove,

Pigeon 2

pretending he is nothing to do with the nest in our holly tree upon which his lady is incubating.

Even when paying a visit, he first lands on the flowering cherry photographed yesterday. Since he is quite a ponderous creature he shakes the boughs freeing many cherry petals,

Hannah, Ben and Sam 5.83 1

just as Matthew did to the delight of Hannah, Ben, and Sam in May 1983.

This evening we dined at Dynasty in Brockenhurst with Elizabeth, Danni and Andy. My choice was lamb shatkora, special fried rice an onion bhaji. Along with Jackie I drank Kingfisher. The others drank red wine, cobra, or coke. Service and food were excellent.

The restaurant is close to the ford which we could see was waterlogged. As we were ten minutes early, I sniffed a photo opportunity and wandered down the road.

Ford and car

This was the scene as I approached, directly into the sun.

I was a bit slow to catch two cyclists wheeling through their spray. As they passed me I cried: ‘You wouldn’t like to do that again, would you’. ‘Do it again?’ was the reply. ‘Yes’, I answered.

Cyclists at ford 1

They immediately turned tail, sped through the water,

Cyclists at ford 2

Cyclists at ford 3

and, returning quite happily, enjoyed another shower.

An Historic High Street

Brookley Road 2

When thinking of High Street shops today, one imagines the chain store outlets that can be found in major cities across the globe. Not so in Brockenhurst. It is possible to drive through this village for years without coming across Brookley Road, which is the high street. Jackie, Ian, Becky lead this group of pedestrians on the way to the rows of small, local, shops.

Somehow the buildings in this thoroughfare, some dating from the nineteenth century, have escaped succumbing to corporate facades.


Reynolds entrance

The ladies and gentlemen’s outfitters, Reynolds, for example still sports its original entrance complete with adjustable front railings.

Day Lewis Pharmacy

Day Lewis Pharmacy still has its original windows.

Jackie and Becky outside Brock Ante 2Jackie and Becky outside Brock Ante 3

Jackie parked opposite Brock Ante and led our daughter inside the antiques shop where we had bought one of Becky’s Christmas presents. In view of what I was about to see, the name of the barber was rather fortuitous.

Knots Knits & Crafty Bits

A short while later, Knots, Knits & Crafty Bits opened their door to display enticing yarns.

Village VegVillage Butcher

Alongside Splish Splash stand Village Veg and Village Butcher.

Brookley Road (Ian)

As I reached this point, I encountered Ian, who had wandered further down the street. He alerted me to the ford.

Heavy overnight rain had converted much of the forest into a mini Lake District. Some roads we had driven through were awash, and ditches lining the route into this end of Brockenhurst had run into the stream that was forded at the end of the street.

Village Centre via Ford

This made the signpost ‘High Street via Ford’ even more descriptive.

Car travelling through ford 1Car travelling through ford 3Car travelling through ford 4Car travelling through ford 5Car travelling through ford 7

Although some vehicles made an about turn and did not venture into the rushing water, others, at varying speeds, carried on through. The faster the car, the more the spray.

Ian came back to join me and we walked together back to the shops.

Queue outside Bakehouse

A queue had now formed outside Bakehouse. The youth of those present suggests that the bakers are feeding the students of Brockenhurst College, which must contribute to the village’s prosperity.

Bakehouse and Best Sellers

My earlier photograph also shows Best Sellers which is being decorated. I do hope that does not mean that this bookshop has closed down. I will keep an eye on it.

Pharmacy etc

The Post Office, a survivor of an ever-reducing band, stands next to Reynolds and the delicatessen. Jackie’s Modus is parked outside the pharmacy. In how many high streets could this happen?

After our rendezvous we all drank cappuccinos in The Buttery.

Dynasty entrance

Possibly the most modern building in the street is the Dynasty Indian Restaurant, to which we returned this evening.


Dimly visible on the pavement, a couple of ponies lurked outside.

Becky, Ian, Jackie, Derrick

The food was excellent and the service friendly and efficient. The staff offered to photograph the group. A notice proclaimed that reading glasses were available for customers who had forgotten to bring theirs.

We shared onion bhajis, and an egg paratha. My main meal was ayre jalfrezi with special fried rice. Becky drank zinfandel rose and the rest of us drank Kingfisher.


In order to highlight Gordon Le Pard’s important comment I append it here:

‘I, Like my brother, know Brock and its watersplash well. But on another note, here is a game you can try to see how historic a high street is. You will soon notice that, however modern the shop fronts are, they are all about the same width. If you pace it out you will find that they are about five paces wide, or ten or fifteen. This is because when the street was laid out the Saxon or medieval surveyors used the measurement of a rod, 5½ yards to lay them out.
The measurements remain as one of the most difficult things to move is a boundary, unless you own the lands on both sides, which is the origin of the two and three rod (pole or perch) width shops.’