They Think It’s Spring

On another bright, almost balmy, morning, Jackie drove us out to Hatchet Pond and back.

Donkeys,

cattle,

and ponies, basked, dozed, chewed the cud, or cropped the grass on the approach to the pond. Eyes open or closed, they definitely think it’s spring.

Have the usual companions of the

sole cormorant on sentry duty

metamorphosed into a pair of swans gliding to and fro beside their posts?

Sedate gulls basked and preened on the opposite bank.

More ponies could be glimpsed among the still leafless trees within the nearby Rans Wood.

This evening we dined on rack of pork ribs in barbecue sauce, prawn toasts, aromatic spring rolls, and Jackie’s special savoury rice, with which she drank Hoegaarden, from which I abstained.

At Their Posts

On another milder but less misty afternoon Jackie drove us into the forest.

A string of deer dashing across the road at South Baddesley took me by such surprise that I could not present a clearer view than we saw in several blinks of an eye.

At Tanners Lane I had thought I would need to be satisfied with a couple of distant shots of the Isle of Wight, until another car drew up behind us and decanted its contents onto the shingle.

Moving on to Sowley brightly coloured male pheasants strutted round the fields while other birds preferred crows’ nests.

A variety of ponies graced a bend in the road to Beaulieu. As so often the bigger creatures enjoyed a miniature hanger-on.

I wonder if these three cormorants regularly at their posts in Hatchet Pond are ever relieved by other sentries.

This evening we dined on tender roast lamb; crisp roast potatoes and onions; red, orange, and yellow carrots; and green beans and sprouting broccoli; all with tasty, herby, gravy.

Up On The Roof

This morning I made four 5 x 7 prints for Ian from his and Becky’s wedding.

After lunch I made a start on the Christmas cards and Jackie and I drove to New Milton for some Christmas shopping, and continued on into the forest.

The day was dull and dry.

We arrived at a glassy Hatchet Pond when a pink strip above the tree line was a precursor of the impending weak sunset.

Waterfowl in evidence included a pair of swans and their adolescent cygnet

flexing its muscles

in sight of gulls, mallards, and moorhens.

One vociferous gull seemed to be reflecting on this 1962 classic of The Drifters:

 

The tide was high at Tanners Lane where the Isle of Wight, The Needles, and the lighthouse were silhouetted against the pink precursor.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s flavoursome lamb jalfrezi with tasty savoury rice. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Malbec.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chasing Their Shadows

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Jacqueline visited Mum again this afternoon and then returned to her own home in Boston, Lincolnshire. Elizabeth will be returning here from Edinburgh tomorrow. Late on another surprisingly warm, bright, cloudless afternoon, Jackie took us for a drive in the forest.

Some specimen oaks, like these on Warborne Lane, Portmore, are turning to gold somewhat ahead of others.

A little further along the road there was evidence that a flock of sheep had attempted to leap their boundary fence and hadn’t quite made it.

Ponies at Dibden seemed to be chasing their own shadows.

We watched the sun subside behind a copse beside the mirror that was Hatchet Pond.

A couple of photographers taking a different viewpoint on the far side of the lake were nicely reflected in silhouette.

As we would pass Walhampton Arms on our way home it seemed sensible to stop off there for their excellent carvery meal. So we did just that. I drank Razor Back while Jackie drank Amstel.

The Head Of The Queue

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This afternoon Jackie and I transported to Oakhaven Hospice Charity Shop in New Milton several boxes of kitchen equipment rendered surplus to our requirements after the installation of the new kitchen. We then ordered a quotation for recovering our Chesterfield sofa from Jem Fabrics.

A drive to Hatchet Pond was next.

Swans and cygnet

I have noticed that when families are cycling in the area it is always the youngest member who speeds on ahead. So it is with cygnets. Here, under a sky the colours and texture of a soiled lawyer’s wig, one of this year’s offspring led its parents along the surface of the lake.

Cygnet flappingCygnet flapping

On shore, it flexed its muscles

Cygnet and gulls

and told the gulls where to go.

Coot

Coot

A coot paddling among the surf,

Mallards

 

and several mallards stepping out on the bank made up the avian population.

Fishing at Hatchet PondFishing at Hatchet Pond

Angling families tried their luck.

Pony

A wandering pony searched for fresh grass,

DonkeyDonkey

while a patient donkey, at the head of the queue,

Donkey and ice cream vendorDonkey and ice cream vendor

waited for its friend, the kindly vendor, viewed in his wing mirror,

Donkey and ice cream vendor

to hand over the last of his own ice cream.

This evening we enjoyed second helpings of Mr Chan’s Chinese Take Away fare. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and Elizabeth and I drank Calvet’s Cahors Malbec 2016.

Where To Find A Drink

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This afternoon we drove into the forest in search of water. We hoped to find at least some areas where the animals could drink.

The bed of the stretch of Highland Water just outside Brockenhurst was unusually dry, yet provided enough water for cattle to drink and to paddle, and for dogs to play. Other photographers recorded the scene while I focussed on them.

From there we proceeded to Hatchet Pond where the levels were high, and, again, cattle stood in, or along, the far side of the lake.

The tide was high at Tanner’s Lane. This little boy couldn’t drink the water, but he could certainly play in it. Just after I took these photographs he was stripped off and paddling.

As we left the lane a Muscovy duck made its slow, ungainly, way across the road, practising the heel and toe technique that would please my physiotherapists.

Back home we had no trouble finding a drink. Ours were taken on the grass patch from where we could enjoy views across the garden; and hanging baskets and planters in and around the area. Jackie couldn’t resist making a few adjustments. Bees, like the one in the convolvulus in the last picture, were still very busy.

This evening we dined on a Margarita pizza embellished by Jackie with salami and cheese; and fresh salad.

 

The Rush Hour

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We had a very enjoyable time yesterday evening at Vicki and Barrie’s Golden Wedding Celebrations, organised by their children and grandchildren.

Pop records and TV adverts from 1967 were played on a monitor. Son, Steve, conducted a spoof ‘Mr and Mrs’ programme that his parents entered into with gusto.Oral tributes were made. The septuagenarians nimbly led the dancing.

A plentiful, varied, and fresh, cold buffet was supplied and we were invited to bring anything stronger than the soft cold drinks, or tea and coffee. We shared the bottle of Prosecco we had won at Ron’s party quiz.

The couple’s daughter, Angie took photographs on her mobile phone, and will e-mail me the results so I can add them to this post.

Late this morning, I watched yesterday’s recorded rugby matches between Scotland and New Zealand, and between England and Australia.

Jackie in greenhouse

While I watched telly, Jackie tended plants in the greenhouse.

Pelargonium 3

She is nurturing pelargoniums

Pelargonium 2

of the more tender variety,

Begonia

and begonias.

 

Hardy pelargoniums

Pelargonium1

survive outside,

Antirrhinum

as still do antirrhinums,

Nasturtium

nasturtiums,

Honeysuckle

honeysuckle,

Red Admiral

and somewhat battered Red Admirals.

Jackie has given the Kitchen Bed’s urn its winter planting.

Clematis Duchess of Albany

In addition to roses we have, in the Rose Garden, clematis Duchess of Albany, her skin taking on the quality of parchment,

Fuchsia 1

various fuchsias,

Salvia

and penstemons.

Hydrangea

Hydrangeas take on autumnal hues.

When I sat down to upload the above pictures, my Apple invited me to upload the latest operating system. I attempted to do this. An error occurred in this. The system is locked and I can’t do anything more with the computer. I had to give up, and eventually used the Microsoft laptop. Windows 10 has changed everything about importing pictures since I last used it, and it wasn’t easy to get my head round.

Off we then drove to Hatchet Pond in an effort to calm me down.

Silhouettes by pond

Not long before sunset

Silhouetted photographer

photographers

Tree and man reflected

gathered;

Hatchet Pond and waterfowl 1

waterfowl

Sunset and waterfowl

paddled along;

Swans with wake

swans trailed their wake.

Sunset 4

The pond reflected

Sunset 2

gold

Sunset 3

 tinged clouds,

Sunset 5

rapidly turning red.

Sunset and jettrail

A jet plane streaked into the foaming flames.

Sunset with silhouettes

So many photographers were now lined up that this seemed like rush hour on the railways.

The treatment worked. I retained my equanimity.

This evening Jackie produced succulent roast pork served on a bed of peppers and onions, accompnied by roast potatoes, carrots, and Brussels sprouts. I drank Concha y Toro cabernet sauvignon 2016.