A Cattle Cluster

Jackie spent much of another very hot morning watering plants; I rendered some assistance with this, but mostly concentrated on dead heading and weeding down the Back Drive.

Before lunch I posted https://derrickjknight.com/2022/07/10/tower-blocks/

Afterwards we took a forest drive.

Along Sowley Lane we followed a tricyclist approached by a motorcyclist and bicyclists whom he acknowledged.

From St Leonard’s Road, with its dry verges,

beyond browning fields we had a clear view of the Isle of Wight and yachts on the Solent.

Tails twitching, cattle clustered, probably as protection from the irritating flies, in a field along Lodge Lane. One bothersome bovine, attempting to mount others, was repeatedly rebuffed.

Sunlight dappled treelined lanes like this unnamed one, which is why vehicles often keep their lights on as they constantly drive from darkness into light, and vice versa.

Among the moorland heather, gorse, and brambles, ponies – also coping with flies in the heat which seems to have exhausted a sleeping foal, consumed their vegan lunch.

After our trip we watched the Wimbledon men’s final between Novak Djokovic and Nick Kyrgios.

Our dinner this evening was similar to yesterday’s except that the Nando’s sauce was Peri Peri Lemon and herb with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Swartland Shiraz 2020.

Logistical Problems

Garden maintenance – mostly clearing up and dead heading – began early this morning for us both.

No doubt attracted by the redolent scent of roses released by the warm sunshine, bees buzzed and butterflies flittered around me as I wielded the secateurs.

Bees and Red Admirals both tried the fading Festive Jewel;

both also favoured verbena bonariensis,

as did Comma and Small White butterflies.

Worker bees were mostly partial to Summer Wine.

A little later we drove to Milford Pharmacy for a repeat prescription; to Tesco for E10 unleaded petrol; to Ferndene Farm shop for three bags of compost and various vegetables; and to the forest for a preprandial drive.

Heather beamed bright on the verges of Burley Road, while

a group of ponies were already sheltering under the trees at the corner of Burley Lawn, doing their best to switch off each other’s flies, by the head to tail method.

This presented some logistical problems arising from a certain size difference.

Later this afternoon I posted https://derrickjknight.com/2021/09/03/a-knights-tale-26-town-halls-trams-and-trolley-buses/

This evening we dined on oven fish and chips, onion rings, and peas, with which Jackie finished the Pinot Grigio and I drank more of the Comte Tolosan Rouge.

A Gentle Snow Plough

This morning I posted https://derrickjknight.com/2021/08/31/a-knights-tale-25-a-papal-honour/

By mid-afternoon the earlier Stygian gloom had lifted enough for us to drive to Puttles Bridge and back after buying another, larger, bag of tree bark mulch.

With barely a ripple the now very shallow Ober Water could hardly be said to flow under the bridge.

The root trip hazards, often framing pools of water, are now bone dry.

Two or three families were frolicking in what was left of the stream flanked by dappled woodland devoid of the usual mini-pools. I enjoyed a pleasant conversation with the mother in the first of these pictures, whose son, while manoeuvring a small dinghy, was heard to say “It’s not deep enough”. I told his Mum I had never heard that before.

Ponies, including a large foal, grazed beside the road.

A child had hopped home with one shoe.

Chips fell from a fallen tree.

On our return through Brockenhurst, a Highland cow, with its cumbersome rocking gait, lumbered among the patient vehicles.

Among the multicoloured heather on the moorland beyond the town, other, tail-swishing, ponies with another foal clinging to its mother, grazed or took their ease.

Two remained obdurately planted in the road until a tour bus, like a gentle snow plough, proceeded to shift them.

This evening we dined on succulent roast pork; boiled new potatoes; crisp Yorkshire pudding; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; moist sautéed peppers, mushrooms, and onions; and tasty gravy, with which Jackie drank more of Pino Grigio Blanc and I drank more of the Faugeres.

Head To Tail

A dull morning gave way to sunshine as we left to visit Shelly and Ron with a birthday present. After coffee and convivial conversation Jackie and I set off for a forest drive.

Heather, bracken, brambles, and gorse tangled together festooned the verges and the moorland alongside Burley Road.

Jackie parked on the gravel lay-by opposite the now powdery pony tracks along which I added my footprints to theirs across to Whitemoor Pond,

where ponies and cattle, drawing numbers of walkers sought the benefits of cooling water.

Ponies occasionally drank; cattle stood in silence broken only by the occasional canine yelp.

The stationary, uncomplaining equines, plagued by pesky flies, clustered together in groups, head to tail, flicking at each other’s persistent pests.

This afternoon I posted https://derrickjknight.com/2021/08/26/a-knights-tale-22-but-a-little-boy/

This evening we dined on our second helpings of last night’s Red Chilli takeaway with which Jackie drank more of the Greco di Tufo and I finished the Dao.

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.

Lunch At The Rising Sun

On a morning of sunny intervals, Jackie and I nipped out to buy bread and took the opportunity for a short forest drive.

The heather on the moorland straddling Holmsley Passage is glowing purple, and the bracken beginning to yellow.

Several cyclists crossed Holmsley Passage in their trip along the gravelled path converted from former railway tracks of one of the lines destroyed by the Beeching/Marples combination of the 1960s.

Ponies and foals were cropping the verges of Bisterne Close.

We lunched with Mat, Tess, and Poppy at The Rising Sun at Bashley. Despite the hundreds of customers in this extensive establishment, we were all impressed with the speed and efficiency of the service and the excellence of the meals. Mine consisted of steak and ale pie, chips, peas, carrots, and cabbage with thick, meaty gravy, followed by ginger sponge and custard. I drank Otter ale.

There were not quite as many ponies outside the pub as in this image from 2017, but enough to give credibility to my prediction that there would be a sighting.

Our granddaughter met another contemporary called Poppy and her sister Florence – the names of our Poppy and her cousin, Becky’s daughter.

Afterwards, Tess and Poppy drove off to a beach, while the rest of us returned home and flopped.

Later, the others grazed while I didn’t.

Running For Cover

Following a warning of further fierce winds we carried out our normal protective preparations early this morning. Although still strong the gusts were not as forceful as yesterday.

Soon after lunch we took a drive into the forest to take our minds off any possible storm damage.

As we approached Smugglers Road car park we witnessed the most unusual sight of a quartet of ponies racing down the hillside. Naturally we turned in to investigate the equine objective.

There, apart from a more nonchalant trio preferring grass to whatever goodies were on offer, the animals gathered around a group of promising visitors.

My attention strayed to the purpling heather on the verges and upward on the hillside. As I picked my way up a steep and very narrow pony track, I had forgotten that, with the current state of my knees, it is far easier to climb than descend. When I realised I would have difficulty getting down, and would not therefore be nimble enough to negotiate meeting a pony face to face, I sidled crablike to the bottom. I really must keep a stick in the car – and remember to take it out.

On my return manoeuvres I was happy to see the ponies still occupying the car park.

A group of walkers set off by a different, gentler, route

So far the rain had kept off. Enough, at Linwood Bottom, for me to be tempted to stray to photograph

a number of white cattle from a different angle.

No sooner had I disembarked than a heavy downpour sent me diving into the Modus; the cattle lurching to their feet; and a gentleman and two boys passing the bovine bunch in their dash for cover.

Having read enough of David Copperfield to scan four more of Charles Keeping’s memorable illustrations, I did so.

‘Mr Micawber accepted my proffered arm on one side, and the proffered arm of Traddles on the other, and walked away between us’

‘With the veiled face lying on his bosom, Mr Peggotty carried her, motionless and unconscious, down the stairs’

‘The door of the boat-house stood open when I approached’

‘ ‘The Devil take you!’ said Uriah, writhing in a new way with pain’

All the portraits in these examples remain faithful to earlier versions.

Tonight we dined on a mixed meat melange with tasty gravy; new potatoes, both boiled, and fried with mushrooms; crunchy carrots; and tender cabbage. Jackie drank more of the rosé while I drank Chevalier de Fauvert Comté Tolosan Rouge 2019.

Beside The Pond

This morning was the dry part of day beset with showers of varying ferocity. We shopped at Ferndene Farm Shop for three more bags of compost and a replenishment of our stock of fruit and vegetables, then continued into the forest.

Fly-decorated ponies planted in the road around the fully occupied Holmsley Campsite did their best to impede decanted campers, cyclists, and walkers setting out on their trips.

A nonchalant adolescent foal ambled across Burley Road, along which Jackie parked so that I could

follow the bone-dry powdery pony track to Whitemoor Pond. The third of these pictures is “Where’s Derrick” (5)

It was the sight of the distant clusters of ponies and foals that drew me to take the trek through the

moorland heather. Note the crow on the back of the reflected bay alongside the grey.

This afternoon I scanned four more of Charles Keeping’s skilled illustrations to “David Copperfield”.

‘Mr Dick leaned back in his chair, with his eyebrows lifted up as high as he could possibly lift them’

‘Mr Peggotty kept a lodging over the little chandler’s shop in Hungerford Market’ contains the artists ubiquitous little dog.

‘The girl we had followed strayed down to the river’s brink, and stood, lonely and still, looking at the water’

‘I began to carry her down-stairs every morning, and up-stairs every night’

Later, I did some more work on the next episode of The Knight’s Tale. Shortly before his death in 2017, my brother Chris asked me to help with the writing of his research on the family history. Now, for this section, I find myself wading through pages of material, including contemporary photographs and reminiscences. The problem is how to cull it to reasonable blog length.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s special savoury rice with tempura and hot and spicy prawns; tuna and egg mayonnaise with paprika; and plentiful fresh salad, with which she drank more of the Carricante and I drank more of the Barolo.

An Unknown Soldier

Just before I spent the week in Eymet with Maggie and Mike in September 2008, culminating in agreeing to buy their house in Sigoules, I enjoyed various locations with Mike and Heidi, Emily, Oliver, and Alice. One of these was at

Onesse in Les Landes. Oliver doesn’t seem to be in this family shot from the selection I scanned today from the recently recovered colour slides.

I am not sure where this beach was, but I remember picnicking on the bank in the foreground.

We took a number of walks in the sun-dappled forest with its tall pines, red-brown streams, and sandy banks of bright purple heather.

The farmhouse and its field; the nodding sunflowers; and the village perching above it are all outside Eymet, while the colourful garden and the church spire behind the rooftops are probably inside it. Without notes I am a little hazy after twelve years.

I really regret not being sure where this wonderfully sensitive sculpture of an unknown soldier adorns a war memorial. Maybe someone will enlighten me.

Having read another four chapters of ‘Little Dorrit’ I now present four more of Charles Keeping’s skilful illustrations.

Here we have a ruined uncle well portrayed by the artist;

‘My eldest daughter and my son Mr Clennham.’ The essences of one weak and one haughty captured by the artist’s pen;

‘Oh, Maggy, What a clumsy child you are!’ Drawn to perfection is Dickens’s portrait of this simple soul, including her clothing’s ‘general resemblance to seaweed’;

‘He seemed to have been sitting for his portrait all the days of his life’. Keeping has caught Dickens’s vivid description of the aptly named Tite Barnacle, down to his very clothing.

This evening we dined on a second sitting of Hordle Chinese Take Away’s excellent fare, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Recital.

Extra Time

Before visiting Mum at Woodpeckers this morning, Jackie drove us to

Ober Water where I photographed the stream and its reflections as I clambered among

the roots and grasses.

The acute sunlight etched shadows across the land and the water.

Acorns, like Pooh sticks, floated gently down the stream.

At first we had the woodland to ourselves

and the ponies, ignoring their flies. The occasional equine snort was the only sound we heard

until the gentle voices of walkers and the occasional bark of a dog announced the gradually filtering humanity.

On our departure the moorland opposite was rich in green/gold bracken and purple heather.

We settled ourselves behind the screen in the dedicated visiting room at Woodpeckers awaiting the delivery of my wheelchair-bound mother when a loud blast rent the air and the door to the room slammed shut. This, it transpired, was a fire alarm test. Clearly the system was built for instant isolation of each room.

A few minutes later Mum, with a section of peeled skin on her arm, was wheeled in. She had been being pushed out of her room at the crucial moment and the closing door hit her arm. A nurse would soon arrive to dress the wound and order pain relief.

She did this efficiently. Mum was untroubled by the event and was on good enough form to point out that this warranted extra time for the visit. In fact we were given an additional twenty minutes which our mother considered a result.

This evening we dined on succulent sirloin steaks; fried onions; oven chips; fat grilled tomatoes; and baked beans with added tomato purée. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Bordeaux.