‘You Do Get About Don’t You?’

Landscape

Water coming off fieldDitchAlthough still rather windy, the morning after the storm dawned bright and sunny. On a springlike day rooks cawed on the wing and smaller birds sang in the trees or squabbled, flapping, in the bushes as the females fled the males. Water still poured off the fields and trickled down the gullies or roared into ditches as I walked the two fords ampersand.

A Highway Maintenance team had just finished patching the pitted tarmac at Seamans Corner.Highway Maintenance They agreed they were very busy at the moment. The rest of the team declined to be photographed and left the youngest member to face the camera.

Gloves and banana skinLaneClear streams rolled off the fields onto the lanes of Minstead. Two odd gloves and a banana skin nestling in one of the pools must have a story to tell.

Rivulets crossing the fords were still swollen, so much so that when I stood in the water to photograph the torrent, my socks were soaked.Ford

Ford waterTelephone boxThe telephone box at Newtown bears a notice informing us that coins are not accepted. Since there is nothing inside I wonder who might be considering a donation.

Sheep

Sheep were out in the field again.

Horse & trap

Teeth marksTwo women thanked me for photographing them in their horse drawn vehicle. I don’t think the teeth marks left on a tree by a stream came from their steed.

I have mentioned before that post is delivered throughout the area from a little red van. I often exchange waves with the bearded driver. Today our paths crossed on numerous occasions. As he parked up and approached a house clutching a couple of letters he quipped that he should have given me some and I could have delivered them for him. ‘You do get about, don’t you?’, he said.

Chicken jalfrezi and special fried rice.This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious chicken jalfrezi and special fried rice, with which I drank Cobra and she chose Hoegaarden. For the method of cooking the curry readers are referred to that for the lamb version described on 22nd January. In this case the chicken is not pre-cooked, but added at the same time as was the lamb. The richness of this particular sauce is obtained by adding up to half a pint of water as required and bubbling the pot on hob mark one for up to a couple of hours. Have a look at it, give it a stir, and see what you think.

Again, on the 22nd January, pilau rice has been described. Jackie has transformed this into what the restaurants call special fried rice with the addition of an egg.

Do not chuck the egg in straight from the shell, otherwise you will just bind all the rice together. Make a small single egg omelette, chop it up, and scatter the pieces into the mixture when it is virtually cooked. Stir it in. We said before that anything you wish can go into the rice. Today’s variation was peppers of three different colours.

Bon appétit.

A Blighted Oak

This morning began with an hilarious exchange with Becky who corrected our ageing memories over the Apple Juice story.  This necessitated amendments in the form of a postscript.

Oak landscape

The very heavy rain kindly desisted as I walked the two fords Q later on.  The sun put in enough of an appearance to set twinkling the streams running downhill in the ditches, and on the tarmac and verges into Minstead. The blustery wind had not given up.  Its thrumming blended well with the tinkling of water on gravel.

Drain

Ripple on poolStream foamingWater ripples on concreteSilently dripping from branches above, the rainwater described expanding ripples on the pools beneath, and the torrents pouring under the concrete surfaces of the fords swirled and bubbled, far too fast for me to get a shot in focus.  The roughness of the aggregate’s texture produced a criss-cross effect as it disturbed the flow of water upon it.

Minstead’s drains are not yet clogged up, but they will be, and the downhill streams will then proliferate.

Oak blasted - Adam or EveI am not sure whether it is Adam or Eve that has lost a large limb to the winds.  This bough would certainly have blocked the road until removed by the foresters.

Heaps of crumbled tarmac have been laid across Primrose and Champion‘s gateway in an effort to make their winter feeding a less soggy affair.

Vociferous rooks filled the sky and a silent squirrel sped across the road in front of me on the approach to Running Hill.  As I walked up it, tall beeches swaying aloft creaked alarmingly.

This evening we dined on one of their very reasonably priced and excellent set meals and T’sing Tao beer in the friendly atmosphere of Totton’s Family House Chinese restaurant.

Falling Into Pits

Mice in dustbin (crop)11.12As I set off in the pouring rain for a perambulation around Minstead, I stopped to put a bin bag in our recently emptied dustbin.  The bin was not empty.  It was occupied by two bedraggled mice, one making sudden attacks on the other, which looked rather cowed.  They were clearly in danger of starvation, and one perhaps of cannibalism.  Had there not been shelter over the bins, which had their lids strewn about haphazardly, they may have drowned before they starved to death.  As a reward for their posing for me, I gently placed the bin on its side and, in turn, they scampered off.

I chose the Upper Drive route which has more forest before you reach the road.  The recent pools are now becoming lakes, and the rivulets down the road steady streams.  A silent, statuesque, pony, head drooping, planted across Seamans Lane, stood looking damp and forlorn.  I turned off right in the direction of Emery Down.  Reaching the ford, I now knew what it was all about.  A torrent poured down the hill leading to Furzey Gardens.  Drivers spurting and spraying their cars across the stream would certainly need to test their brakes when they reached comparatively dry ground; and I would have made my trouser legs even more soggy than they already were had I not used the footbridge.  I walked up the hill, turning right at a T junction leading to Minstead Hall, whence I returned by the lower drive to Castle Malwood Lodge.  Climbing up this steep road I took care to keep to the central camber where all I had to negotiate was debris from the storms, as opposed to the water flowing down the sides.

This afternoon Jackie decided to clean under the grills in the bay window.  We had discovered that these concealed under-floor heating, and the smell of burning dust was a bit strong.  The ornate cast iron grills are rather heavy.  Rather like the sides of a sofa or an armchair, these spaces, when explored, yielded trophies.  Hoping for a krugerrand the best Jackie could manage was a 2p piece.

Jackie produced a delicious sausage and bacon casserole (recipe) for our evening meal.  This was followed by an excellent Victoria sponge cake from the village shop.  I drank Unico Brindizi Riserva 2007.  Jackie didn’t imbibe because she was driving us to The Amberwood pub quiz in Walkford.

I will report on that tomorrow.