A Forest Walk

During this pleasantly sunny morning, I was mostly dead heading while Jackie continued with her general garden maintenance.

After lunch I posted https://derrickjknight.com/2021/08/07/a-knights-tale-12-the-night-of-the-panther/

We had been promised light showers for the afternoon, and this is how it began, so my Chauffeuse drove me to the Rhinefield Ornamental Drive and parked in one of the designated car parks while I took a walk. The rain kept coming, but it was mild and sporadic enough for me to set off for twenty minutes each way, crunching along a gravel path and pine cones carpeting the forest floor

through the majestic giant redwoods and their neighbours

some of which, having fallen, would take their time returning to the soil. In answer to Yvonne comment below, I have discovered that “Managing forest land often generates lots of woody branches, pieces of trees and other loose woody material — slash in other words — from tree harvesting or thinning. While many landowners and managers look upon this material as a disposal dilemma, it also is a rich, and frequently overlooked, opportunity for to enhance wildlife habitat. Arranging slash materials into piles can provide birds, mammals and other wildlife in the forest with the food, water, space and cover they need.” (https://washingtondnr.wordpress.com/2017/02/14/not-just-another-stack-of-dead-branches-habitat-piles-for-wildlife/)

I believe Forestry Commission volunteers make the stacks we see.

At first there were many other groups of walkers taking a similar route.

This was to change in a moment, as quiet adult voices and shrill cries of children were drowned by the increasing crescendo of pattering precipitation misting the trees,

puddling the path, and running down my specs and my camera lens.

This was at my turn round point and continued, soaking me to the skin beneath my allegedly showerproof jacket, until my mud-spattered sandals, sans socks, reached the car. Just one family of three passed me in the rush to get out of the rain. The mother informed me that she had wet pants. “Is that all?” was my reply.

With all fresh ingredients, Jackie repeated yesterday’s menu for dinner tonight, with which we drank the same beverages.

Bad Hair Day

This afternoon Jackie drove me to Eyeworth Pond and back to watch the birds.

Golden gorse glowed in the sunshine on Hinchelsea Moor and many others.

The deciduous trees, like this oak, are all filling with foliage.

Walkers along the Rhinefield Ornamental Drive

gave scale to the giant redwoods.

Mandarin ducks are not native to UK, but we now have a feral population which originates from escapees from collections. These two males brightened an otherwise dull Eyeworth Pond.

Birders tend to place nuts and other food on the posts of the gate to the woodland footpath. A moss-covered log has recently been added. The blue tits, a coal tit, a nuthatch, chaffinches and sparrows were extremely busy today swooping to pick up and dart off with nutriment for the babies in their nearby nests.

A pair of sparrows left a tardy chaffinch on the ground beneath the post upon which they filled their beaks, debating who should set off first. Although not up to his flying bird sequence the last of these pictures is a nod to Tootlepedal.

Alongside Cadnam Lane a couple of pigs have joined

the grazing ponies and recumbent cattle now fertilising the greens alongside Cadnam Lane

One pony demonstrated its ungainly rise from the ground;

a small Shetland was definitely having a bad hair day.

This evening we dined on succulent chicken Kiev; Lyonnaise potatoes with lashings of onions; red cabbage cooked with butter and red wine; and crunchy carrots and cauliflower. Jackie finished the Sauvignion Blanc, while I drank the last of the Carménere.

Haven’t We Seen Them Before?

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This being a glorious Saturday in the tourist season, we ventured out early into the forest. Groups of walkers toting huge packs; a solitary jogger; and numerous cyclists were already on the road.

Jackie parked the Modus on a verge in the Rhinefield Ornamental Drive while I wandered among the giant redwoods and the cones underfoot.

A number of benches have been strategically placed, some partnered by marker posts bearing interesting carvings, perhaps from these majestic trees.

Our stopping point was prompted by my spotting a family group on a bench alongside a path. A couple with a dog walked past them and continued on their way. The youngest member of the group rose from her seat and photographed the others. She enjoyed a stretch, and they walked on with their dog.

Many other families could be glimpsed among the forest giants. One couple pushed a baby in a buggy; slightly older children and other dogs scampered along.

Two groups converged, and passed each other with no apparent acknowledgement. Just a moment. Haven’t we already seen the second group on the other side of the road?

On the outskirts of Brockenhurst on our way home, a group of pony trekkers crossing the road demonstrated that it is not just the free-ranging animals that hold up the traffic.

For me, this afternoon’s main viewing event was the Wimbledon women’s tennis final between Angelique Kerber and Serena Williams. Scheduling clashes and delay caused by last night’s epic men’s battles meant I could not watch the tennis on BBC One and the third place World Cup football play-off between England and Belgium on ITV. I settled for the continuation of the Djokovic/Nadal semi final into the fifth set, then the first half of the football, followed by the complete women’s final.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s splendid pork paprika with vegetable rice. She had drunk her Hoegaarden and I had finished the Malbec in the Rose Garden beforehand.