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.

Shots For Scale

Jackie and Nugget continued planting and bed making this morning while I cleared up some of the debris. Our little robin has even begun to get under my feet. He has begun to think ahead and, knowing where we are likely to go, arrives there before us. He only has to see me scoop up a trug full of clippings and he will be awaiting my arrival at the compost heap.

The normal size bricks in this photograph indicate what a diminutive creature he is. With secateurs in hand Jackie needs to be careful not to amputate anything.

Now, “Where’s Nugget?” (32).

Jackie plonked these starlike allium seed heads for their decorative quality.

Elsewhere we have plenty of varieties of dahlia; yellow self-seeded bidens;

flaming sedums;

delicate fuchsias;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

pretty petunias;

roses, such as magnificent Mama Mia,

pure white Winchester Cathedral,

and blousy Schoolgirl,

all still keeping company with planted urns in the Rose Garden.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vibrant splashes of colour enhance garden views such as this one across the lawn with its basket hanging from the eucalyptus, petunias in the chimney pot, and Japanese anemones on the far side;

the stepping stones across the Cryptomeria Bed with its Michaelmas daisies and clematis scaling the arch that spans the Phantom Path;

the Gazebo Path, again sporting a clematis in its third flush, hanging baskets, and more.

The Patio Bed gloried in the morning sunlight.

Before lunch we took a short drive into the east of the forest.

Autumn leaves clung to damp fungus.

on the verges of Lower Sandy Down where the Modus puts the width of the winding lane into perspective.

While a curious field horse looked on

I photographed the opposite landscape where freer equine cousins could be glimpsed in the distance.

Further on a woman walking her dog provided a further shot for scale.

This afternoon I watched the recording of the World Cup rugby match between South Africa and Italy.

This evening we dined on succulent pork chops; crisp roast potatoes, one sweet; crunchy carrots, and tender cabbage and runner beans, all flavoured by tasty gravy. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Fleurie.

 

Kites In The Harbour

I watched recordings of World Cup rugby matches, last night between Fiji and Uruguay; today between Italy and Canada, and between England and USA.

Early this evening Jackie drove us to Mudeford and back.

The oyster shells arranged around a beech tree in The Oaks on Lymington Road, Highcliffe revealed themselves to be a ring of fascinating tree fungus.

Beneath louring skies,

aboard choppy waves spray-soaked,

wet-suited, windsurfers strutted their stuff, while

kite surfers preferred the more sheltered harbour.

A lone little egret picked its way along the shallows.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s deliciously authentic tender lamb jalfrezi and savoury rice garnished with fresh coriander with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Saint-Chinian.

I am copying and resubmitting this post because some people never received it and others could not enlarge pictures. (27th September)

Kites In The Harbour

I watched recordings of World Cup rugby matches, last night between Fiji and Uruguay; today between Italy and Canada, and between England and USA.

Early this evening Jackie drove us to Mudeford and back.

The oyster shells arranged around a beech tree in The Oaks on Lymington Road, Highcliffe revealed themselves to be a ring of fascinating tree fungus.

Beneath louring skies,

aboard choppy waves spray-soaked,

wet-suited, windsurfers strutted their stuff, while

kite surfers preferred the more sheltered harbour.

A lone little egret picked its way along the shallows.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s deliciously authentic tender lamb jalfrezi and savoury rice garnished with fresh coriander with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Saint-Chinian.

Bembridge

Jackie rose early this morning and sat in a chair on the patio with a cup of instant coffee.

In an instant Nugget was on a paving stone peering hopefully up at the rim of the cup.

Now, “Where’s Nugget?” (16).

Today’s weather was blustery and damp. The Test Match was delayed until after lunch. I spent the afternoon listening to the BBC Sport broadcast and scanning the first batch of a set of prints from negatives I have lost from a holiday with friends in August 2000. This was at the home of Sarah and Howard at Bembridge. Although we live so near the Isle of Wight this was the last time I visited it.

Jessica and Heidi towed Emily and Oliver in our dinghy;

Howard wandered

along the shore

and helped Jessica into their small yacht,

while Michael took over dinghy duties.

The skies had brightened a bit by the end of the afternoon when we visited Otter Nurseries to buy two more bags of compost and somehow came away with four more phlox plants and another bag of tulip bulbs. We continued on for a short forest drive.

Many of the verges, like these along Sandy Down, are already carpeted with cyclamen.

This gnarled fungus has more right to be there than

this shiny drink can.

Moody skies glowered over Sway Tower.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy chicken jalfrezi and boiled rice, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank El Zumbido Garnacha Syrah 2017.

Commandeering Cattle Go Unchallenged

Who cares whether we have followed the meteorologists into autumn or await the equinox on 21st of this month? This morning was bright, sunny, and warm. We took an early trip into the forest where I walked for half an hour along the Rhinefield Ornamental Drive.

There was still enough water to carry reflections in the now very shallow stream that is spanned by Rhinefield Road.

Shadows dappled the forest floor strewn with pine cones and gnarled roots of the giant Douglas firs morphed into stumbling stones along the footpath;

and leaving imprints on the trunks.

Bracken, mossy stumps, fallen trees, and fungus abound. Notice how the spears of grass pierce these Danish pastry lookalikes.

So silent was the air that voices of walkers on the other side of the road could be heard.

Most schoolchildren have now returned home, leaving the forest to me; to the above mentioned walkers; to couples with or without dogs; and of course,

to the returning ponies.

Highland cattle have now commandeered the almost dried-up paddling pond at Whitemoor. Here ponies adopt sensible discretion and leave the big horned beasties unchallenged.

Later I was due to have Peter cut my hair. I wondered whether my barber would fancy having a go at these creatures, flies and all.

Before keeping my appointment I printed this picture Jackie had taken on 19th July when I had my last one, and presented it to Peter.

When we arrived there was another Derrick sitting waiting. Apparently he and I sound the same on the phone. This gentleman’s appointment had been an hour earlier than mine anyway. To settle the confusion I stepped aside and rebooked for a couple of hours later. Jackie had visited the charity shop seeking another choice of teapot home for Nugget. I joined her there and explained what had happened. The shop volunteer joined in the conversation with the observation “what if you had been waiting for results and they had been given to him?”. “I only want him to cut my hair”, said I. The woman had, of course, thought we were talking about a medical appointment. And here was I thinking I look quite healthy now.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s sumptuous sausages in red wine; new potatoes sliced and roasted in their skins; crunchy carrots; and tender cabbage and runner beans from the garden. She drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Malbec.

Flounces

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We are experiencing a little colder spell at the moment, and, this morning drove out to the forest in bright, crisp, sunshine

Woodland

At the top of Mead End Road, on the outskirts of Sway, lies Boundary car park, leading to a wooded area

Ponies in landscape

overlooking moorland on which, today I spotted just two distant ponies – a grey and a chestnut.

Reflections in pool

Flecks of ice still lay on the reflecting surfaces of recent pools

and crusted the muddy paths trodden by the horses

on their way down the slopes.

Horse riders

One pair of riders chose to keep their mounts on the road.

The lengthy log stacks, with the application of saw cuts, splits, lichen, fungi, moss, ivy, and painted lettering, contain much abstract potential.

Tree stump

This two-faced stump looks both jubilant and resigned at having evaded the final felling.

Reflections in pool 1

Reflections in waterlogged terrain, such as this at Wootton enhance much of the forest floor.

At this point an extended area sported the silvered flounces of a can-can skirt.

This evening we came back for a second sitting of Jackie’s splendid pasta arrabbiata with which I drank Reserve des Tuguets Madiran 2014.