Shade

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In order to use the services of the Post Office whilst Jackie was visiting the Birchfield Dental Practice, this morning I parcelled up some items the Australian branch of the family had left behind; wrote a cheque for the water bill in Sigoules; and packed up the various documents required for my tax return. I then posted everything.

Afterwards, Jackie took us on a drive through the forest.

Ponies 1

The unfortunate ponies struggled to find relief from the overhead sun, and clustered where they could under trees offering inadequate cover.

Tormented by flies, one of this group scratched against the tree trunks;

the others just bore their discomfort in silence. The beastly insects crawled over these wretched creatures’ eyes, noses, and mouths.

Lane

We could at least benefit from the car’s air conditioning, and choose to venture into shady lanes, three of which are featured for Jill’s benefit.

The domesticated horses enjoyed better shade,

even when grazing.

Ponies 3

Outside the shop at Pilley one string of ponies queued for the phone box

Pony 2

While others kept down the grass in front of the houses. This smaller animal, despite its leopard skin coat, was bullied by one of the larger ones when it ventured away from the gate.

Foal following mother

Foals are becoming big enough for their mothers to leave them to their own devices. One white mare attempted to escape the attentions of her little one, who was having none of it, and, on spindly legs, quickly trotted after her.

Foals

The little ones are still learning to tolerate flies, and twitch about in vain.

Foal 1

The lonely male just went to sleep.

Foal and mare 1

Sadly, juvenile tails are no use as fly whisks,

Foal and mare 2

so our little limpet clung to Mum,

Foal and mare 3

keeping within the sweep of hers.

Beach

We visited Tanners Lane on our way home. Despite the low tide, the appearance of water, against the backcloth of the Isle of Wight, gave the illusion of coolness.

Women and chidren on beach 1Women and children on beachWomen and children on beach 3Women and children on beach 4

Two women and children searching among the shallows, skirted

Boat on low tide beach

a rowing boat

Mooring chain

 chained to the stony shore.

House

This is the last house on the lane.

We had seen dog roses in the hedgerows at Boldre;

Small Heath butterflies

Those on Tanners Lane mingled with blackberry blossom among which Small Heath butterflies flitted. There are two in this picture.

Our evening meal consisted of cold meats, hard-boiled egg, salad, and cheeses.

Now we are going to drink beer on the patio.

 

 

 

The Ugly Ducklings

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Bees on poppy 1Bees on poppy 2

There was much competitive activity from honeybees, particularly partial to poppies

as we loaded two bags of hedge clippings and other green waste into the trusty little Modus for transporting to Efford Recycling Centre.

Recycling queue 1

This was to take some time, much of which was spent in a queue of traffic,

Hedgerow 1Hedgerow 2

admiring the hedgerows.

Recycling queue with yacht

On the horizon, through a gap in the trees, can be seen an intriguing land mass.

Isle of Wight from Efford Recycling Centre

We had enough time to watch several yachts floating by. This confirmed that the land is that of the Isle of Wight. The yachts were skimming over The Solent.

After this, Jackie drove us to Hatchet Pond and back to see if the swans had hatched their cygnets. They had.

Swans and cygnets

Here are the proud parents with, according to Hans Christian Andersen, their three Ugly Ducklings,

Swan and cygnets 1Swan and cygnet

Cygnet 1

one of which wasn’t quite sure what to do with its legs.

Cygnets

The Pond was so swollen that the birds chewed grass under water.

Swan and cygnets 2

One of the parents proudly stepped onto the land,

Couple with labrador

and when they both began hissing I thought that perhaps I had alarmed them into protective mode. Not so. They had seen the couple with the black labrador as they walked behind me.

Black-headed gull

Black-headed gulls also frequent this pond.

On our return home, I posted the sixth of my seven photographs in the Filling Facebook with Nature project.

Ponies and photographer

Here it is, first featured on my post of 23rd November 2013.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s piri-piri and lemon chicken; a melange of leeks, onions, and mushrooms; mashed potatoes; and carrots and green beans. This was followed by sticky toffee pudding and cream. I finished the Bordeaux.

Gooseberry

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This morning Jackie drove us around the east of the forest.

Pony on road

At East End we passed some ponies chomping by the roadside.

Lane

It was a narrow lane, so Jackie drove on and parked in a passing spot for me to walk back to photograph the scene.

Field and hedgerow 1Field and hedgerow 2

This is a small farming area with fields enclosed by hedgerows.

Ponies on road 1

Back up the hill and round the bend, I observed a novel method of clearing ponies from the road.

Ponies on road 2

What this driver did was to give the rear end of the white pony a gentle nudge with the vehicle’s nose and keep creeping forward.

Ponies and foals 1

In the field alongside stood, in awe, a little foal with a thought bubble above its head bearing the caption ‘Will I be like you when I grow up?’ I am not sure, however, that this was not a Falabella (named after its Argentine breeder, Julio) such as we encountered at St Leonard’s, further down the road.

Ponies 1

Falabella 1Falafella 2

This adult horse, lost in a group of larger ponies, rarely exceeds 75 cm. in height.

Ponies 2

Ponies 4

Two pairs in this group were indulging in heavy petting,

Ponies 5

which extended to love bites,

Ponies 3

Ponies 1

which was all rather difficult for the unfortunate, mournful-looking, gooseberry.

Lavender Farm 4

We visited the Lavender Farm at Plaitford where we enjoyed coffee and plants along with many other visitors.

Lavender Farm 1

Even before entering we could see that lupins and foxgloves were in abundance.

Lavender Farm 5

Many more plants at their peak were also on sale;

Lavender Farm 2

Lavender Farm 3

and, of course, numerous types of lavender,

Lavender Farm 8

Lavender Farm 7

also growing in the gardens. I am not sure which bird is represented by the avian topiary in the centre distance of this shot,

Lavender Farm 6

but this is surely an elegant swan.

Plough, Lavender Farm

Since our last visit a blue painted plough has been added to the interesting artefacts enhancing the beds.

This evening we dined at Dynasty in Brockenhurst. My choice of main meal was Ayre (fish) jalfrezi with special fried rice. We shared onion bahji, tarka dhal, and egg paratha. Jackie and I drank Kingfisher, and Sheila drank sparkling water.

Gold Blends

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Jackie did a great deal of tidying and planting today whilst I carried out a little of the latter.

Landscape bark scattered

We suspected that once the landscape bark in the rose garden began to attract live bird food we would need to sweep the brick path on a regular basis. That time is upon us. Like human babies in highchairs, the carnivorous members of our avian population toss out what they are not partial to.

Our camellias bloom at different times.

Camellia

Whilst this deep red one is at its peak,

Camellias and Japanese maple

a lighter relative fades to meld with the neighbouring Japanese maple;

Daffodils

and these once bright yellow daffodil trumpets have also turned to old gold.

This afternoon I walked to the paddock in Hordle Lane and back.

Rape fieldSky over rape field

Landscape with rape

The golden field visible from our bedroom window

Hedgerow and rape field 1Hawthorn hedge and rape field

blends in the hedgerow with hawthorn

Lichen and rape field

and like-hued lichen.

This evening we dined on pork rib rack coated in barbecue sauce and Jackie’s excellent vegetable rice followed by Black Forest gateau, with which I drank more of the cabernet sauvignon.

 

Optical Aids

DawnMoon at dawnAs the dawn sun emerged behind the trees in our back garden, the moon still occupied the sky at the front of the house.

By the time I returned from my Hordle Cliff top walk the bright, cold, day had warmed up a little because these skies had clouded over.

Ivy CottagesFramed by a leafless arched bough, Ivy Cottages, dating from 1897, with their neighbours beyond Downton Service Station on BrackenCoke tin in hedgeChristchurch Road, could now be seen from the hedgerow on Downton Lane, where bracken has browned, and a Coca Cola tin blends with red berries. Most cans and bottles similarly discarded are not so happily juxtaposed.

Ice shardsShards of ice shattered by passing cars had been tossed onto the verges.

Isle of Wight, Needles, lighthouseThe Isle of Wight, The Needles, and their lighthouse were silhouetted against a pale pastel palette.

Cow parsley seedsOn a small piece of ground at the top of the steps leading into Shorefield from the path to the beach, fresh cow parsley still blooms. Some of this has begun to seed.

It is time to return to the ‘through the ages’ series. Today I have chosen to reproduce three, being Derrick and Samnumbers 53, 54, and 55, the first two from 1980 and the third from the following spring. These photographs Derrick and Sam 12.80were all taken by Jessica, the first two at Gracedale Road, the month of the second being indicated by its background Christmas tree.

The indentations left by over-tight nose pads in the first photo show that I was wearing specs in those days. Having been somewhat short-sighted since I was eighteen, vanity had led me to contact lenses in my twenties, but I managed to play Rugby without them, until, into my thirties I needed them to see clearly across the field. This was rather crucial for a second row forward, one of whose tasks was to cover the corners. I therefore began to wear lenses during the games. Until I lost three in a fortnight, that is. Quite apart from the cost of replacements, the search for little pieces of plastic in cold and soggy mud became somewhat disruptive. So I returned to spectacles.

The story of my first embarrassing visit to an optician, and of the accident which, many years later, resulted in a cataract operation, was told on 13th July 2012. Whether I have the eye specialist’s prediction or the new lens inserted more than fifteen years ago to thank for it, I just use varifocal lenses in specs with the close up element being plain glass, only for watching television or drawing from life. Until I purchased these about six years ago I had to choose between viewing either the model (with specs), or the texture of the paper (without them). Either that or keeping taking the glasses on and off.  I have never needed such assistance to read, and don’t even take them with me on my rambles with the camera.

Derrick and Sam 1981The third picture was taken at the very attractive Owl House Gardens at Lamberhurst near Tunbridge Wells in Kent. It was from one of the photographs in that day’s set that I made the drawing featured on 4th May.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s Cottage Pie, to which she had very successfully added a touch of garam masala; cauliflower, carrots, cabbage, runner beans and brussels sprouts; followed by blackberry and apple crumble and custard. She drank Stella, and I finished the malbec.

Ondekoza

Seamans Lane

Rose and honeysuckleAlthough it brightened up enough around noon to add a glow to vibrant magenta roses intertwined with honeysuckle in a Minstead hedgerow, the day dawned dull and dank as I walked the Seamans Lane/Shave Wood loop.  I did not venture off the tarmac.Roses and honeysuckle

The blossom I had seen on the edge of the forest leading to Football Green was indeed apple, as evidenced by the little green fruit on the boughs.

Apple tree

Until I met Anne in Minstead, I had the road to myself.  The elderly woman has been away for a while whilst her dilapidated house with its waterlogged garden, photographed on 21st April, was being refurbished.  It was good to see her back home and looking well.

On 24th February I posted information about Elizabeth’s Open Studios exhibition to take place in August. Ondekoza, 9.76. 001 There I mentioned that I was to submit some photographs of drumming that I took in September 1976, of the stunning Japanese band of timpanists that entertained the Soho Festival that year.  Ondekoza, 9.76. 002This afternoon I made a start by unearthing the original colour slides, scanning them and uploading  (if that’s the right word) them to my computer.  There was a fairly considerable amount of retouching to take out tiny blemishes in these little rectangles of positive film almost 37 years old.  They do not have the sharp clarity of today’s digital images, but maybe they are none the worse for that. Ondekoza, 9.76. 002 - Version 2 One I have even managed to crop, yet still retain enough of a focus to show the speed of the drumstick fanned across the drummer’s face.  We’ll see what I manage to do when I come to print them tomorrow.

Ondekoza, 9.76. 003

Jackie is camping at Corfe Castle with Helen and Shelly, but she still fed me this evening.  She has left me enough cooked meals and cold meats, pies and bread to last me a fortnight, let alone the four days she will be away. Chicken curry meal This evening I made a little impression on the large casserole of chicken curry, and ate one of the beautifully served dishes of savoury rice with a vegetable samosa and a nan, accompanied by a bottle of Kingfisher.  I did have to microwave the home-cooked dishes and heat the samosa and bread in the oven, but that wasn’t really any hardship.

The Nuthatch

Jackie's side gardenBack down to earth after yesterday’s Mottisfont display, we were nevertheless delighted to note the progression of Jackie’s south side garden, begun some time after the kitchen one. Verbena and marigolds With few exceptions, her plants are benefitting from her love and attention, and the warmer weather.

Jackie was running out of certain specific items of bird food.  They now take precedence over shopping for human nutriment.  So we had to go to In-eXcess near Poulner on the A31 for replenishments.  While she bought the avian fodder and sat with her newspaper in the establishment’s cafe waiting for me, I walked a loop taking in Hangersley, Linford, and Shobley.  Horses in pastureThis consisted of sometimes steeply undulating lanes, harbouring idyllic homes, and offering views of sweeping woodland and hillside pasturage.  Bramble blossomThe thick hedgerows are decked with dog rose, bramble blossom, and honeysuckle, attracting much insect life.

Honeysuckle hedgerow

As I vainly wafted my ordnance survey map and watched horses switching their tails, I discovered why they are equipped with fly sheets.

margritti-this-is-not-a-pipeThe Surrealist artist Rene Magritte’s 1929 painting, ‘The Treachery of Images’ is of a pipe beneath which is the phrase ‘this is not a pipe’.  The philosopher was correct.  It was not actually a pipe, but the image of one.

Hoverfly on dogroseSimilarly, the insect that alighted on the dog rose, was not what it looks like.  This was a harmless individual that masquerades as something else much more harmful, no doubt to scare off the opposition.  Not a bee, not a wasp, it was a hoverfly.

Whilst she was preparing our dinner of delicious sausage, bacon, and liver casserole, Jackie was startled by a thud from outside, as of a bird hitting glass.  Nuthatch on matShe looked outside and saw a nuthatch on the welcome mat, with  metaphoric stars in a speech bubble above its dazed head.  It was then her turn to bang on a window as she came round outside the sitting room and I handed her the camera. Nuthatch on blind On her return her little friend had recovered sufficiently to fly, but was disoriented enough to be perched at the top of the kitchen window blind.  I don’t think it still had limited vision.  It soon disappeared.

The aforementioned casserole was enjoyed with potato, carrot and swede mash; cauliflower; and, by me, the last of the Terres de Galets.