Warm October Sunshine

Early this morning I watched a recording of last night’s rugby World Cup semi final match between England and South Africa.

Later, sporting shirt sleeves, I wandered among the garden plants with my camera.

As usual, accessing the gallery by clicking on any image will reveal individual titles.

Before dinner, Jackie drove me to Hatchet Pond to catch the sunset.

While waiting for the sun to reach the lake I was entranced by

the calm communing of a lone woman who was unknowingly blessed by a rainbow as light rain fell.

Jackie had also glimpsed the colourful phenomenon as it appeared above the car park.

We each photographed the sunset, the last two in this gallery being by Jackie.

The above mentioned dinner consisted of Jackie’s delicious chicken and vegetable stewp followed by her spicy pumpkin pie. We drank more of the same wines of yesterday.

Are You Skating On Thin Ice?

Ronan from Tom Sutton Heating visited today. He confirmed that we had taken all reasonable steps to reactivate our boiler, but that the capacitor needed replacing. He had ordered the part, which would not be delivered until Monday. He will fit it that evening

Ian, as already arranged, came to collect Flo, Dillon, and Ellie for a weekend at Southbourne. We will make use of their heater while they are away.

Now, on a bright, sunny, day with temperatures never rising above freezing where is the warmest place available to us? You have guessed it. The Modus.

We spent the early part of the afternoon unsuccessfully attempting to resuscitate the immersion heater, then took a ride in the car.

We needed to go no further than the largely icebound Hatchet Pond

where we stayed until just before the early sunset.

The pair of swans and their cygnets stayed on the edge of the lake.

Despite the sign set up by the Forestry Commission “Are you skating on thin ice?”, and the news of the deaths of four boys in Solihull succumbing to cardiac arrests from the shock of falling into icy water a few days ago,

one man, joined by a walker and a dog, skated up and down the Hatchet Moor section of the pond,

while a young family played on the shallows of the main body of water,

and a group of teenagers walked across it. Had the youngsters been here in the summer they would have been warned of the lethal currents in the depths of this pond.

A woman who remonstrated to no avail with the parents of the family, explained to us that her son was a fireman who had often been one who pulled dead bodies out of the water.

This evening we dined on the last of the left-overs. Jackie’s choice was the beef and the Bolognese, mine the curry.

Parched

Early this morning, after she had shopped and Tesco and we had unloaded her purchases, Jackie drove me to Wessex Photography in Lymington where I bought more printing paper; and further on into the forest.

Although grasses were well-watered beside Hatchet Pond

the surrounding moorland was drying up. It was hot enough for us two days ago, and therefore not surprising that areas 10 degrees C hotter elsewhere in the country suffered numerous grass fires that spread to destroy neighbouring homes. We considered ourselves fortunate that the New Forest remained unscathed.

Waterlily tapestries adorned the pond, and beneath the sheltering

lakeside silver birch

cygnets originally seen in May and posted in https://derrickjknight.com/2022/05/27/a-hanging-out-nest/ have now caught up with their mother.

While wandering around Hatchet Pond, I met and enjoyed wide-ranging conversation with friendly Australian Justin and Spaniard Natalia, on holiday from their home in Andorra, who were happy to be photographed with their boys and dog before Jackie called to tell me that the cygnets were back.

Already, soon after 10 a.m. ponies at East End were lining up in what shade they could find in order to escape the oppressive heat and the myriad of flies that could either be momentarily shooed off with twitching tails, rubbing noses against legs, or simply stoically tolerated. The last of the trio looks as if she may have found a mud bath at some point.

There are usually a few ponies cropping this parched patch which would now be like breakfasting on burnt toast. Perhaps it is the residents of No. 1 Sowley Lane, opposite who have filled these containers of water for the animals who have slaked their thirst and moved on to seek greener grass.

This afternoon I dozed over ‘The Moonstone’.

This evening we dined on roast duck, fried and boiled potatoes, fried onions, and firm carrots, cauliflower and broccoli, with meaty giblet generated gravy. Jackie drank Hoegaarden; Flo, Robinson’s mixed fruit cordial; and I, more of the Cabernet Sauvignon.

Sopping

In mid-morning a smoky burnished golden brown cupola had descended over Downton. By lunchtime rain had set in for the day. Afterwards I posted https://derrickjknight.com/2022/03/16/a-knights-tale-116-a-ploughing-contest/

Peering through a rain-smeared windscreen Jackie and I took a drive in search of wet ponies.

On a soggy bank beside Hatchet Pond damp donkeys tore at prickly hedges, while the usual

pair of mallards occupied the waterlogged terrain seeming to extend the pond on the banks of which

gulls sat with dripping feathers.

More sodden donkeys sought sustenance beneath naked trees at East Boldre;

hardy ponies on the moor were shrouded in rain-mist.

This very much seasonal reflecting pool is filling up once more.

Sopping ponies pastured along Tanners Lane, at the end of which

fresh pools had formed at the entrance to the beach.

This evening Becky and Flo cooked a very tasty chicken risotto which we all enjoyed. Becky and Ian drank Zesty white; Jackie drank Pinot Blush; and I drank more of the Monastrell.

Sunset Is For The Birds

This morning I emptied a small cabinet of drawers which stood beside my desk. Some of the contents needed shredding, some were binned, and some found homes in our new cupboards. I then tackled two public bodies who I can only reach on line. I won’t bore you with the details of these, save to say that after nearly an hour on the phone with BT I wound up learning that I must pay £7.50 a month to retain my e-mail address. VAT wasn’t mentioned, but I bet that will be added.

Jackie and I moved the empty cabinet to the garden shed, and I calmed myself down this afternoon by posting https://derrickjknight.com/2021/11/29/a-knights-tale-72-upstaged/

At the end of the afternoon we took a drive on which, over Beaulieu Road we noticed that

sunset was on its way.

Hatchet Pond rose up to meet it as we watched the gentle pink skies set ablaze reflecting on the surface among swans, gulls, and ducks, some of which each of us photographed

away from the the flaming areas. In mine gulls create ripples on the surface which Jackie’s sailing swans do not disturb. The Assistant Photographer has also captured reflecting gulls with wings raised and lowered in flight.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent sausages in red wine; creamy mashed potatoes; crunchy carrots; firm broccoli; and tender red cabbage, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Merlot.

Setting Ducks Into Flight

This morning we began filling the new wardrobe, which meant bagging up for disposal many clothes we will never wear again.

Afterwards I posted https://derrickjknight.com/2021/11/06/a-knights-tale-59-about-the-children/

This afternoon we took a drive into the forest. Our first stops were at Pilley, where

the lake is beginning to recede once more, and

rippling water lines the edges with autumn leaves.

The crocheted letter collection box on Pilley Hill now prepares for Remembrance Day.

I called in at the Community Shop to find out who was the creator of these adornments changing with the seasons. Unfortunately the man on duty didn’t know, but advised me to call in during the week.

I settled for photographing cattle, calves, and walkers on the other side of the street.

Although one patch of blue sky separated clouds along the road to Hatchet Pond, louring billows, pierced by Jesus beams hung over the water, where pair of swans and their cygnets set a paddling of ducks into flight.

This evening we dined on oven fish and chips, peas, pickled onions, and chilli cornichons, with which we finished the Jurancon white wine.

A Very Thoughtful Gift

As Jessie left this morning to return home to Primrose Hill, Jackie and I drove to Elizabeth’s to wait for a Parcel Force delivery while she kept a hospital appointment.

We took a minor diversion through the forest on our way home.

Groups of pigs from the verges and the greens of Pilley converged on the sward carpeted with silver birch catkins which they crunched with the delight of a child chomping on his Rice Crispies breakfast cereal.

A llama pricked up its ears as I approached its field at East End, where

donkeys dawdled up the road, pausing to sample prickles along the way.

While at Elizabeth’s I read more of ‘Our Mutual Friend’ and this afternoon scanned three more of Charles Keeping’s inimitable illustrations.

‘The train rattled among the hose-tops’ gave the artist scope to display his perspective skills.

‘They began driving among low-lying water-side wharves and docks’

‘Bella and Mrs Boffin took a good long look and one another’

Before dinner we drove out to Hatchet Pond in order to Photograph the sunset.

During the afternoon Jackie received, delivered by Amazon, a very generous gift from Jessie, who had enjoyed the solar lights.

As soon as we arrived home she dashed out to plant and photograph the treasure. Thank you very much, Jessie.

This evening we reprised yesterday’s roast dinner with similar beverages.

Lymington River

Late this afternoon we took a drive into the forest.

The deciduous trees shielding Sway Tower from South Sway Lane are turning chestnut brown.

Jackie parked beside Beaulieu Road, Brockenhurst on a verge beside which an exhaust box kept pace with the turning of fallen oak leaves. From there I walked along

the undulating banks of the reflecting waters of Lymington River.

The woodland floor, like most, is littered with lichen coated twigs. Ponies basked in hazy sunlight in fields on the opposite bank.

We visited Hatchet Pond where

ponies wandered among gulls, swans, and dog walkers; a solitary donkey tried its luck among the parked cars; a rooks cawed from the trees.

Jackie also photographed the pond with its swans; me on my return to the car;

and the signs explaining the need for restoration and the nature the wildlife.

Elizabeth joined us this evening for dinner which consisted of succulent roast pork with baked apple slices and sage and onion stuffing; crisp brown roast potatoes and Yorkshire pudding; carrots, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts al dente; and tasty gravy with which the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and my sister and I drank Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2019.

Hatchet Pond At Dusk

Today’s Christmas rose is this peach one from the patio bed.

The neighbouring clematis Cirrhosa Freckles festoons the grateful gazebo.

The now solitary pigeon still perches praying for the return of its deceased mate.

Nugget now spends much of his time outside the stable door where he enjoys sole use of the feeder by the house which is too close for other birds to risk.

“Where’s Nugget?” (56)

“Here I am”, he says.

While Jackie worked on the Christmas decorations I finished the cards which we posted later in

a suitably capped pillar box

at Everton Post Office.

By dusk we had arrived at Hatchet Pond

where other photographers focussed on ducks and swans.

Oh, dear. I seem to have pressed publish prematurely. Tonight we will dine on Jackie’s superb Shepherds pie with carrots, cauliflower and runner beans which will no doubt be perfectly cooked. I will drink Patrick Chodot Fleurie and Jackie will drink more of the Sauvignon Blanc.

Swooping And Squabbling

All was still and bright in the garden today when we began the post-storm recovery.

We didn’t manage the patio area, which won’t take long tomorrow.

Aaron righted the Rose Garden arch, with minimal discomfort to Crown Princess Margareta and Zefirini Drouhin.

The Phantom Path;

the Gazebo Path;

views from the Kitchen Bed,

from the Shady Path,

from the Palm Bed,

towards the Rose Garden from the corner of the Phantom Path, are now less cluttered.

Some hanging baskets, like these suspended from the eucalyptus, have been righted.

In order to prevent loosening of the rose roots from further winds, Jackie has begun their winter pruning.

Nugget, of course, could not keep his beak out of the process. Yes – he and Muggle are both alive and well.

“Where’s Nugget?” (42)

Late this afternoon we took a drive into the forest. Given that a woman had been killed not far away yesterday by a tree falling on her car it had been a good decision not to risk it ourselves.

Moody skycapes loomed above Beaulieu Heath

and Hatchet Pond,

casting reflections on the water

over which greedy gulls swooped and squabbled.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s especially spicy lamb jalfrezi with pilau rice, vegetable samosas, and plain parathas with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Fleurie.