‘My Way’s Cloudy’

This was a much milder day – the consequence of a wet, overcast morning. In anticipation of a possible break in the weather, we drove to Cadnam in ever-increasing rain. By the time we reached

Wittensford Lane the rain had ceased, clouds were on the move, and the sun took an occasional peek onto the landscape.

The stream flowed across the ford.

I watched Jackie sending spray either side of the Modus as she crossed the water,

and followed by way of the footbridge.

Reflections and oak leaves lay on and under the pools in the gutter

and the forded overflow.

We turned left into Kewlake Lane,

where, in order to focus on the landscape I stepped gingerly over fallen oak leaves covering lichen coated branches and barbed wire broken from a fence guarding

this scene.

Another roadside pool reflected overhead

naked oak branches set against the variable sky

which gave the landscape a light that belied the time of mid-afternoon.

Occasional flocks like these gulls speckled the skies.

While still on Kewlake Lane we approached silhouettes of sheep on a darkened ridge.

Nearer home, Sway Tower was just visible.

It must have been London’s Piccadilly Theatre in which I saw the musical show Black Nativity and bought the vinyl recording in 1962. Wikipedia tells us about the exhilarating   production which had come to London the year after its opening on Broadway. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Nativity

This memorable song ran through my head as I gazed up at these clouds.

Here is a “Where’s Nugget?” (51) Jackie made earlier. Biggifying the image is recommended as our resident robin attempts to hide behind an honesty seedpod.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious cottage pie; crunchy carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli; and tender cabbage with tasty gravy. The Culinary Queen drank Blue Moon and I drank Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2018.

 

 

The Halloween Template

The day began as gloomy as yesterday. The early rain was quite light – enough for us to put in a stint of clearing up clippings and dead heading before it increased in ferocity.

I watched recordings of the Rugby World Cup matches between USA and Tonga; between Wales and Uruguay; and between Ireland and Japan. As usual I will not reveal the outcome of any of these , save to say that the sight of several of the smaller Japanese simultaneously tackling some of the larger Scots put me in mind of a pride of lions bringing down an elephant.

By late afternoon the sun emerged as the clouds sped away.

We took a drive into the forest via Holmsley Passage where the lowering sun burnished the bracken beneath still laden clouds.

I rambled for a while along Bisterne Close where ponies ambled once they left the

woodland on one side.

This mare led her foal

across to the side occupied by farms, houses and field horses. The mother enjoyed a scratch as her offspring waited patiently.

The domesticated animals now sport their rugs. The free ranging ponies grow their own.

Readers may observe that leaf shadows on one of these tree trunks have provided a template for a Halloween pumpkin face.

Mushrooms and tree fungus are found here;

varieties of tree fungus emerge from logs lying alongside Beechwood Road.

 

 

The stream under Mill Lane flows again over the ford.

Cattle graze beside the waters, and pigs

snuffle along the lane vacuuming up the fallen acorns so that they do not poison the ponies.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s nicely matured pork paprika with rice and peas, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Pinot Noir.

Rockford End

This morning I made my final cut of the Everton Festival Photographic Competition with the subject of The New Forest.

I am grateful to all those of you who contributed to the debate about my submissions. The ‘Happy Thatchers’ was a clear favourite. Although they were very popular I have reluctantly excluded those of sunbeams through the trees. This is because, in reality, they could have been photographed anywhere. For the same reason, the deer with the crow on its nose had to go. People may be surprised at the rank outsider which made it to the finish. I had removed ‘A Vantage Point’, namely the photographers on the hill, on the same grounds, and ultimately persuaded myself to reinstate this image because, after all, they were photographers, and there was a lot of gorse in the foreground.

I have made A4 prints of ‘Happy Thatchers’; ‘Drinking In The Gorse’; and ‘The Watersplash’.

‘A Huddle’; ‘Hedge Trimming’; and ‘A Vantage Point’, required in digital form, have been despatched in an e-mail.

Later this afternoon Jackie drove me to Everton Post Office where I delivered the prints, and on into the forest.

I disembarked at Wilverley in order to photograph the landscape. Jackie made the first photograph, then focussed on me after I had crossed the road for a closer vantage point.

She even captured me aiming at the

Ryanair plane flying overhead.

From this very narrow, winding, unnamed lane at Rockford End, I could look down on

a horse in a field surrounded by his entourage of crows and geese;

and a bevy of doves pinpointing a thatched roof.

Back at home this evening we dined on fillet steak – mine perfectly medium/rare and Jackie’s well done; creamy mashed potato; succulent ratatouille; and crunchy carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden while I, sadly, finished the Garnacha Syrah.

He Doffed His Cap

This cloudless, sunny, day remained quite cool (13c tops). We took a drive into the forest this afternoon.

Holmesley Passage benefited from the sunlight streaming through the trees. The two vehicles in these pictures demonstrate how narrow is this lane.

Each of the above motors is approaching one of the two fords that cross the passage.

The woodland scenes that border the lane include a number of fallen tress making their contribution to the local ecology.

As we reached the lowest point of this passage across the moors, a pair of hopeful ponies thudded across the turf.

The splendid oak tree on the descent into Burley towards the Queen’s Head is coming into leaf

Today, hungry donkeys seemed to outnumber the ponies at North Gorley, where a 2017 finisher took his eager dog for a run.

While photographing horses in the landscape rising to Gorley Common, I noticed

a horse and trap approaching. After I had taken the last shot the friendly driver doffed his cap.

This stream with its reflections was one of many we passed.

Jackie’s meals are all very good. Occasionally, as with tonight’s delicious chicken jalfrezi, she excels herself and produces something that would make any self-respecting chef from the Indian sub-continent sit up and take notice. Her savoury rice was equally praiseworthy and was accompanied by vegetable samosas and a paratha. The Culinary Queen drank more of the Sauvignon Blanc and I drank more of the Carménere.

A Soggy Forest

Becky and Ian returned home to Emsworth yesterday evening.

As forecast, the rain didn’t set in this morning until 11. We therefore set off for a drive at 10.

The sunken tarmac at the corner of Hordle and Sky End Lanes always fills up during heavy rain. It has recently been marked out for repair. Now the cones tilt in the reflecting water.

Weeds and grasses across the soggy terrain are swamped by rainwater and now feature winterbourne pools in which trees and shrubs are mirrored.

Most ponies are sheltering among the trees. Those intrepid enough to graze on the damp outskirts of villages like Brockenhurst are very bedraggled indeed.

A number of fords, like this one at Brockenhurst, are known by local residents as ‘The Splash’. A few minutes watching the traffic demonstrates the reason. Note the pedestrian footbridge and the amused onlooker.

Jackie’s succulent, spicy, ratatouille provided sublime moisture for this evening’s meal of fish pie, cheese centred fish cakes, mushroom risotto, boiled potatoes, carrots and cauliflower. She finished the Rosé and I finished the Lalande de Pomerol.

Becoming More Difficult For Them

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Someone in our National Health Service is on the ball. After recent x-rays of my knees I was given an appointment to see an orthopaedic clinician on 17th May. I tolerate pain beyond what is sensible so that seemed a long way off. This morning I received a phone call cancelling that. They have looked at the x-rays again and decided I need an urgent referral directly to a surgeon. I was given a choice of about a dozen venues. I wound up with an appointment on 16th of this month – that’s next Monday – ooh-er.

We experienced another dull, damp, day, although the rain had desisted by this afternoon when we went for a drive in the forest.

On the banks of the stream at Ibsley a pair of mournful bedraggled ponies foraged.

Like many other fords this one was awash with fast-flowing water. Two riders walked their horses across. Vehicles splashed through with varying degrees of trepidation. The best spray of all was produced by the gregarious children’s story writer Susan Rigden whose work can be found on the Amazon Kindle site. I hadn’t been ready to catch it. Telling her this began an enjoyable conversation. Susan had brought her retriever, Elsa for a bath in the stream after a walk in the woods. Elsa wasn’t interested, but was eventually cajoled into a cursory dip.

The sward at North Gorley was most waterlogged. A herd of usually inquisitive cattle had bagged the driest area. Some were young enough to suckle.

Apart from the brown pony sleeping upright on the reflecting road, the equine creatures were up to their ankles in sogginess.

Whenever we pass the ford at Frogham the field-kept horse is munching on hay. On more recent visits, its less pampered cousins have been taking their share. They also provide a holly pruning service. The boniness of this latter group and the number of ponies eschewing soggy grass and opting for the higher, prickly, foliage, indicates that obtaining food is becoming more difficult for them.

Mr Chan’s establishment, and another, being closed for another ten days, Jackie was forced to go on a hunt for a Chinese takeaway this evening. She found Oliver’s at Old Milton which was very good. She drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Casillero del Diablo.

 

 

Creating A Splash

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Today was another wet one. The New Forest is so waterlogged as to promote empathy for those unfortunates who chose to come here for the Easter holidays.

Lymington Plant Centre has clearly seen better days. Perhaps the daffodils that line Pitmore Road outside it had once come from stock.

Roads and paths were reduced to watercourses; bedraggled horses churned up mud to droop at their hay troughs; cattle grids overflowed.

Armstrong Lane in Brockenhurst was just one flooded thoroughfare.  Trees were reflected in the normally dry terrain on the other side of Burley Road.

Their mirrors joined up with the River Weir and another stream to swell the fast flowing water across the ford.

Jackie took one look at two boys cycling through the torrent  and decided to turn the Modus around and find another route.

She waited whilst I photographed other ambitious drivers,

then drove on the the aptly named Waters Green over which a raucus jackdaw chorus performed for the benefit of soggy ponies, one of whom still sported its curlers.

A fine looking chestnut was occupied clipping a hedge.

This evening we dined once more on Jackie’s splendid lamb biriani with black lentil dhal. I consumed more of the 16 Little Black Pigs.