Far Too Fast For Me

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The day was as radiant as yesterday had been dismal. At lunchtime we brunched at the Walkford Diner which now has sautéed potatoes and onions to be added to any of the standard meals. Naturally we added some to our All Day Breakfasts. We continued on into the forest, where

Thatchers Lane’s hedgerows bore many holly berries and a curved tree stem that Jackie termed “nature’s bench”.

High on Thorney Hill, two horses grazed in a sun-kissed field. As so often happens, first the white one, then its companion made a beeline for me as I stood observing them.

Somewhere about this point the name changes to Braggers. Here heavier workhorses, one sleeping under a tree, occupied another field. Sun streaked across grass and tarmac.

A staggered crossroads soon takes us into Fish Street where a young equestrienne ambling along in front of us was considerate enough to pull over to facilitate our passage. The early Christmas decorations suspended overhead were red painted pine cones.

On the approach to Bashley a solitary Gloucester Old Spot sow sped into the trees. She was far too fast for me, so I focussed on Autumn colour instead.

Tree work at the roundabout on the corner of Bashley Common Road and Sway Road, requiring 4 – Way Traffic Control, provided plenty of opportunity for me to poke my lens out of my stationary window and photograph roadside rose hips. Needless to say, fans of Hampshire’s roads will not be surprised that, of the four affected ways, only ours was subjected to the long tailback.

Elizabeth is spending a week with friends in Edinburgh. Jackie and I dined on the Culinary Queen’s excellent chilli con carne and savoury rice with which I drank Chateau Pinenc Minervois 2017.

 

A Clip Round The Ear

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Early this afternoon Jackie drove us off to the north of The Forest. Refraining from the opportunity to indulge in her customary giggle on passing Sandy Balls, she settled for a late lunch at The Fighting Cocks in Godshill.

View from The Fighting Cocks

Cattle 1cattle-2The view from the pub across to the green always includes animals. Today we had a predominance of cattle, including one of the Highland breed.

Pony and crows

The one pony in sight sheltered under a tree, surrounded by grubbing rooks.

Filled Yorkshire pudding meal

My choice for lunch was a large Yorkshire pudding filled with the pubs own tasty home made sausages, creamy mashed potato, fresh peas and onion gravy. This made me think of my maternal grandmother, a Yorkshirewoman whose eponymous puddings were made in a large baking tin. I drank Doom Bar. Jackie enjoyed a baked potato containing cheese and beans, accompanied by a coke. The publican was very friendly and accommodating of a couple who had turned up for a meal after 3 p.m.

Donkeys in car park 1Donkeys 1

Donkeys had taken over the gardens and car park.

Donkeys and cattle

This engaged some of the customers.

Family and donkeys

The crouching girl showed sensible discretion as she rapidly rose to her her feet which led her legs away faster than the rest of her as she clutched an adult hand when the donkey paid her some attention.

Donkeys scratching

Two other asses availed themselves of wooden posts for a good scratch

Donkey on road

then set off down the road in search of some traffic to disrupt.

The Fighting Cocks mural

The skilful mural decorating one of the inside walls of the hostelry obviated the need for me to photograph the building.

This is the time of year when, if you are quick, you will see sounders of swine as they speed through the forest, snuffling, foraging, grunting and squealing in search of mast, or acorns and other fruit of the trees.. The first group of these had vanished by the time I emerged from the car. This is an extract from the New Forest website:

“PIGS IN THE NEW FOREST (PANNAGE)

Pannage is the practice of releasing domestic pigs into a forest (also known as ‘Common of mast’), and goes all the way back to the time of William the Conqueror, who founded the New Forest. Pannage is no longer carried out in many areas but can still be observed every year here in the New Forest National Park. In the Autumn after the acorns, beechmast, chestnuts and other nuts have fallen, up to 600 pigs will work their way through the forest eating them from the forest floor.

You can usually find the pigs roaming the forest floors from around the third week in September or whenever the acorns begin to drop from the beautiful trees. The exact Pannage dates are decided by the New Forest Verderers and the Forestry Commission and is based on seasonal variations. The 2016 Pannage season start[ed] on 12th September.”

Gloucester Old Spot pig 1

Near North Gorley I managed to catch a trio of these animals including a Gloucester Old Spot. Note the rings through the noses, which would be the envy of some of our young people.

Pig head butt

The larger of the other two pink ones suddenly delivered a ferocious snout side-swipe to the other. The open mouth gives an indication of the decibels achieved by the resounding squeal emanating from the victim. Perhaps this was Mum administering a clip round the ear.

Gloucester Old Spot pig 2

It is difficult to convey the pace at which these apparently cumbersome creatures hoover the forest floor.

Pigs

After they had had their fill they flopped by the roadside.

Speaking of having had one’s fill, you have seen my late lunch, so will not be surprised that I did not join Jackie this evening in a second helping of our Chinese Takeaway.