Dripping Rain

As, this morning, a skein of geese honked through clouds leaking liquid streams slithering down our roof tiles and window panes, I was reminded of goose dripping, spread on toast when we were small, and consequently of goose fat. (pictures are still missing from this earlier post, but that will not affect the story).

By lunchtime tentative notes of tweeting songbirds intermittently emerging from the shelter of glistening arboreal foliage merged with the trickling tinkle of plant-pattering precipitation, while sunlight penetrated lingering pearls bejewelling

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a proliferation of pelargoniums

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varieties of fuchsia;

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Absolutely Fabulous roses;

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snowy white snapdragons;

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long-lasting hollyhocks;

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and sky-bound rose hips I fortunately couldn’t reach to dead-head.

This evening we dined on oven cod and chips, garden peas, wallies, and pickled onions, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the merlot. Dillon and Flo ate later.

Ponies On The Road

Causing us some speculation, a straight line of horse droppings ran in front of us along Christchurch Road this morning on our journey to the forest. Wild ponies would not breach the barrier fences even if they could approach near enough; it would be a rather stupid equestrian who would ride a horse along that tarmac – that left a horse and cart.

While we were wondering whether we would catch up with such a vehicle we fell in behind a slow moving line of traffic which suddenly caught up speed. Whatever had occasioned the ponderous pace must have turned off, we thought.

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Then we spied a pony and trap conveniently tucked in beside the road. Both the driver and Jackie waited patiently for a lull in the traffic stream.

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Soon we found ourselves following the transport from an earlier era, before eventually passing and exchanging waves with the leisurely travellers.

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Pannage pigs of the Gloucester Old Spot breed burrowed among the acorn mast among the lower verges of Bull Hill, and along Jordans Lane, where Jackie parked the Modus and I stepped onto the still dry bed of the Pilley lake,

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when a loud grunting behind me alerted me to the fact that this second group were clambering down the bank intent on joining

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others seeking nourishment.

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Gulls, geese, and swans, happily coexisted beside Beaulieu River.

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Our return home along St Leonards Road was only briefly delayed by a bout of equine meandering.

This evening we dined on succulent roast chicken; crisp Yorkshire pudding; boiled new potatoes; firm broccoli and cauliflower; crunchy carrots; and meaty gravy, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden, I drank more of the Merlot, and Flo and Dillon abstained.

Before And After Sunset

This morning I posted https://derrickjknight.com/2021/11/11/a-knights-tale-62-appendicitis/ then set about starting the vast shredding of paperwork going back almost two decades that clearance of the vestibule cupboard that is to be replaced has prompted. I may be some time.

We lunched and caught up with each other at Tyrell’s Ford with Helen, Shelly, Bill, and Ron. My choice was steak, chips, onion rings, mushrooms, tomatoes, and peas. I had no room for dessert. I drank Flack’s Double Drop bitter. Jackie’s main course was turkey escalope, salad, and chips, followed by syrup madeira cake and ice cream; accompanied by Diet Coke. I won’t speak for the others, save to say that all the meals were enjoyed.

Jackie and I had to leave the sisters and their spouses to their coffees while we dashed back to Milford on Sea for our flu vaccinations.

Afterwards we drove to Keyhaven where I walked along the sea wall and we both took photographs as sunset approached.

I produced the first two images of a couple of sailboarders; the other two were Jackie’s.

I photographed a swan trying to discern its reflection in rippling water; Jackie focussed on me at the far end of the wall with the bird fishing in the foreground.

A couple walked on ahead of me while I concentrated on grasses in the landscape, a louring skyscape, and a skein of geese honking overhead.

Jackie photographed boats in the harbour and Hurst lighthouse in the distance; and, of course,

me in action

We both caught the sunset. Jackie’s are the last two with the rows of masts.

We returned via Saltgrass Lane where I pictured a further sunset to which Jackie turned her back to photograph the moon beyond a grass curtain.

As the sun lowered its sights another photographer and watchers were silhouetted on Hurst Spit.

We needed no dinner this evening.

Unicorn Piñata

‘A piñata (/pɪnˈjɑːtə/Spanish pronunciation: [piˈɲata] (listen)) is a container, often made of papier-mâchépottery, or cloth, that is decorated, filled with candy, and then broken as part of a celebration. Piñatas are commonly associated with Mexico. The idea of breaking a container filled with treats came to Europe in the 14th century, where the name, from the Italianpignatta, was introduced. The Spanish brought the European tradition to Mexico, although there were similar traditions in Mesoamerica, such as the Aztecs’ honoring the birthday of the god Huītzilōpōchtli in mid-December. According to local records, the Mexican piñata tradition began in the town of Acolman, just north of Mexico City, where piñatas were introduced for catechism purposes as well as to co-opt the Huitzilopochtli ceremony. Today, the piñata is still part of Mexican culture, the cultures of other countries in Latin America, as well as the United States, but it has mostly lost its religious character.’ (Wikipedia)

During her stay here, Tess, for an upcoming birthday party, has produced this unicorn piñata using balloons, capable of being burst by boys with sharp implements, as containers for the papier-maché body trimmed with castellated slices of scrap paper; coloured tissue strips; and a twisted card horn.

It was a delicate operation for Tess to place her creation safely in the car.

This afternoon we led the family on a pony and donkey hunt.

At the top of Holmsley Passage we stopped for a foal and other ponies among the bracken and the heather.

We did encounter one baby donkey trotting with its mother along the road at South Gorley, but by the time we managed to park the cars it was long gone.

In fact the traffic, especially along the narrow lanes, was so congested as to make the trip somewhat abortive, until it was rescued by a trip to Hockey’s Farm Shop for ice cream and fun with the livestock of this establishment, where Poppy was pleased to

stroke a donkey;

see lamas;

pigs at trough;

geese blending with buddleia;

a horse attending to pedicure;

and especially chickens.

We parted at Hockey’s and each made our ways home.

This evening Jackie and I dined on chicken marinaded in Nando’s lemon and lime sauce; her own savoury rice, and fresh salad, with which she drank more of the Sauvignon Blanc and I drank more of the Douro.

Up To Their Necks

On another wet afternoon we drove to Lymington for printer inks and to Milford on Sea pharmacy and Co-op, diverting to Keyhaven on our way home.

Saltgrass Lane was well waterlogged, even though the tide was not yet high enough for its closure.

Walkers, dogs, and vehicles were silhouetted on the spit against dramatic skies.

Sedate swans, occasionally dipping their benthic burrowing beaks, sailed along the water’s surface.

Skeins of geese honked overhead;

turnstones rested on rocks while

Jackie photographed me photographing them, as the rising tide lapped around them

Nearby she also spotted a thrush (identified by quercuscommunity’s comment below as more likely a rock pipit), curlews, geese, and an oystercatcher.

A hardy human pair spent some considerable time immersed up to their necks in the water, arousing the interest of a pair of swans when they changed into their dry clothes. The last picture is Jackie’s.

This evening we dined on tasty Welsh rarebit, Jackie’s choice chicken and vegetable stewp, and fresh crusty bread, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Macon.

‘Why Do Swans Have Such Long Necks?’

On another darkly dank afternoon, after visiting Milford on Sea Pharmacy we returned home via Keyhaven.

From Saltgrass Lane we watched geese, gulls, and other waterfowl fishing,

flying, and floating fast on the tidal current. The colour picture in the first gallery and the first two in the next are Jackie’s.

Walkers, dogs, and cyclists exercised at safe distances. The Assistant Photographer provided the first image of this set.

Swans tend to gather under the bridge linking the lane with the spit.

Today they were accompanied by

cygnets, no longer Hans Andersen’s Ugly Ducklings, but yet to shed their cinnamon plumage and acquire an orange beak.

This one is not too big to avoid mother’s sharp reprimand.

Emma, West Sussex recently wondered why swans have such long necks.

Today’s observations suggest that it is to enable them to reach the river bed.

Here I am photographing the swans.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s scrumptious sausages in red wine; creamy mashed potatoes; crunchy carrots and cauliflower, with firm Brussels sprouts. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Shiraz.

“I’ll Have A Copy Of That”

Despite yesterday’s rain the Head Gardener drove to Otter Nurseries clutching vouchers for special offers of seven different items. One of these was for 10 fifty litre bags of compost. The helpful staff had stuffed these all into the Modus. Unfortunately they did not offer to unload them at this end. That was my task this morning. I piled them up beside the shed, then staggered inside for a sit down.

Today had dawned as dry, bright, and sunny as yesterday was wet and dreary.

Jackie entered the garden in order to photograph Eric the pheasant. He immediately scarpered, so she cast her camera lens onto the plants.

These cranesbill geranium leaves bear a slight dusting of last night’s light frost.

 

One of Eric’s little games is to decapitate daffodils. He missed those in these three pictures.

Fallen camellia blooms enhance the third composition. Others remain on the shrubs.

 

 

New clematis shoots cling to the weathered iron gazebo, preparing to supersede

winter-flowering Cirrhosa Freckles;

These blue pansies will soon be supplanted by their pot-sharing tulips.

Pink hyacinths,

magenta cyclamens.

two-tone comfrey,

and cream hellebores brighten beds.

Spring is the season for nest-building and incubating eggs. It is prime poaching period for predatory magpies.

On the lookout for potential prey one of these plumed pests perches atop a blighted oak on the other side of Christchurch Road.

Later this afternoon Jackie drove us into the forest.

On Shirley Holms Shetland ponies grazed in the soggy landscape

which was waterlogged in parts, a number of reflective pools having been recently created

on the wooded side, the drier sections of which were littered by fallen branches,

beech nuts,

and their leaves.

On my way back to the car I photographed an equestrienne approaching us.

As she drew near she smilingly exclaimed “I’ll have a copy of that”.

“What’s your address?” I enquired.

“I’ll take it off your blog” she replied. It was only then that I realised that the beaming face beneath the unfamiliar helmet was that of Anne of Kitchen Makers.

So I felt the need to produce a close-up of her astride her splendid steed.

Beside Church Lane at Boldre lay a recently uprooted tree in a field occupied by

horses wearing rugs to protect them from the overnight temperatures currently slipping below freezing.

Daffodils surrounded the Church of St John the Baptist, in the graveyard of which

a photographer shepherded his subjects.

A gaggle of geese now occupied Pilley lake;

Hatchet Heath harbours more than its normal quota of ponds;

and swans smoothly glide on the slopes of East Boldre.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s juicy chicken jalfrezi and savoury rice with plain parathas accompanied by Hoegaarden in the case of the Culinary Queen and the last of the Cabernet Sauvignon in mine.

 

 

 

 

Fly Masks

I didn’t think I could face the tension of listening to ball by ball broadcasting of the last day of the first Ashes Test match of 2019, so I suggested a trip out this morning and deferring cricket gratification until this evening’s highlights.

Before leaving, Jackie photographed raindrops on spider’s webs and our porch planting. These will repay bigification.

Consequently we drove to Hockey’s Farm shop hunting for suitable teapots to offer Nugget for his habitation. As Jackie pointed out, we had forgotten to ask our robin “whether he preferred new-build or something with more character.” Hockey’s had a few characterful examples but they carried typical loading of prices for a New Forest residence. Since the lids would be discarded this seemed a bit steep.

Heather and bracken along Holmsley Passage had brightened after receipt of the recent rain. While I photographed the moorland Jackie was careful to point out the heather’s healthy range of hues.

On leaving Burley we were surprised to notice that a grey pony, waiting patiently on the verge seemed to have induced a low crawl in the traffic. It was not until we drew level that we spotted its companion standing bang in the middle of the road between the two streams of cars.

As we proceeded along Crow Hill the startling eyes of an extraterrestrial landing craft sent Jackie hugging the hedgerows on the left side of the road. It was with some relief that we realised this was a large tractor slowly towing a very long hay bale container.

In the vicinity of Linwood we took a diversion along our favourite unnamed lane. This is in effect a cul-de-sac,

along which there are some interesting houses and gardens;

and, as today, we are likely to encounter equestriennes.

Heavy field horses wear full fly masks, protecting eyes and ears. One, more inquisitive than the other which couldn’t really be bothered, gave us a sun-kissed smile as we paused to demonstrate interest.

Several thirsty ponies and a foal, paddling in the forded stream at Ibsley, left the water to a grey as they settled on the opposite bank.

Before we brunched at Hockey’s I photographed their adult and juvenile alpacas and an elegant pair of geese.

To no avail we tried charity shops in Milford on Sea for the teapots. Jackie then left me at home while she tried similar outlets with more success. Nugget will have a choice between one plain and simple new-build and another masquerading as a watering can. I will feature the finished articles after they have been hung.


I watched the cricket highlights as planned.

After this we dined on Jackie’s delicious chicken jalfrezi; toothsome mushroom rice topped with a tasty omelette; and a plain paratha. The Culinary Queen drank Blue Moon while I finished the Saint-Chinian and started another – this time Clostre Brunel, also 2016.

Gone Fishing

The final fatal body blow to my hopes for a daily post during my hospital stay was dealt by EE mobile on the late afternoon of the day before my surgery. Today I began to fill in the gaps with the entry planned for

8th January 2019

On this bright, sunny, morning we set out to enjoy a drive in the forest and to gather a few photographs for my final pre-op publication.

We began by joining a number of bird watchers at Eyeworth Pond near Fritham. Three gentlemen sat on rails, at their lunches, and watched the waterfowl.

Others, like me, photographed

the various tits, including those of blue, marsh, and long tailed examples; thrushes; and a robin, tempted by feeders suspended from branches, and by nuts left on posts, flitting about among the surrounding trees and shrubs, pecking up scraps among the gravel beneath.

Ducks, geese, and a moorhen, occasionally diving for their prey, and surfacing dripping and glistening with pond-water, could certainly be said to have gone fishing.

Ponies basked in the midday sun at Fritham,

where donkeys also grazed

We brunched at Hockey’s Farm Shop before continuing

via Roger Penny Way where pools were filling up for drinking and paddling.

As we drove along the Poulner stretch of Southampton Road, we wondered why there was a seemingly equal body of water being sprayed by vehicles on its surface.

The answer lay in a Christmas tree that still had its lights cascading.

I had, this morning received a message from Alex at Peacock Computers informing me that my laptop was ready for collection. This, of course, meant that I could be on line in hospital.

It was therefore with a certain amount of glee that I sat down to draft this post.

Then came the blow. We had no internet connection and the router was dead. I took this equipment with me to Peacock Computers where James confirmed my diagnosis. Even though it was close to his own closing time, James sped off to the EE shop, attempting to obtain a replacement. After more than an hour of negotiation he returned with a loaned device and an undertaking to repair the faulty article. At least I came home with my MacBook Pro.

I was unable to make the loaned router work. The reason will be revealed in a subsequent post. Eventually I conceded defeat.

We dined on pizza and salad. I drank water.

The Dying Of The Light

Increasingly sunburned clouds sped across the dawn skies over Christchurch Road this morning

as Jackie drove me to Lymington Hospital for my flexible endoscopy. It was just my luck that this procedure was carried out by a beautiful, slender, Italian doctor.

There is no apparent damage. I delivered a report to my GP in Milford on Sea, and the urologist has undertaken to write to my knee surgeon with recommendations for the next replacement operation.
Elizabeth completed her move into her new home today.
This morning’s procedure rather knocked me out for much of the day, so I had to defer a planned trial of my new lens in good light. At the last possible moment Jackie and I sped off to Mudeford to try out the 600mm monster.

There wasn’t much of a sunset itself,

but, at the dying of the light, I had fun seated on a bench watching geese skeins, sometimes keeping to the familiar V formation;

sometimes unravelling, as they left our shores;

and, coming in to land, gulls gathering together, purposefully preening.

This evening Jackie and I dined on her delectable chilli con carne and delicious savoury rice. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank Alzar Malbec 2017.