Don’t Frighten The Humans

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Today was largely overcast, but it brightened up a little in Brockenhurst.

We spent the morning mostly tidying and composting the Oval and Elizabeth’s Beds. Jackie continued with this work after we went for a drive this afternoon. I can report that there has been no evidence of Big Beast activity for 48 hours.

Many of the verges in Sandy Down seem to have been tended by the residents. Particularly attractive was that outside Cranford Cottage, where cultivated rhododendrons grow alongside gorse.

Cattle were out in force on the verges and in the woods of Brockenhurst. The mottled black group, perhaps jealous of the attention given to the Highland creatures, wandered into the road to claim their own share.

I became a bovine expert when I explained to a number of visitors that these were Highland Cattle rather a long way from their natural environment.

Stream

Venturing into the woodland in order to photograph one particular grazer, I discovered an inviting fern-bound stream, alongside which

my quarry chomped on grass and other undergrowth.

Further along the road a pair of ponies performed their own interpretation of Oscar Wilde’s aphorism. What they were doing was acceptable as long as they didn’t frighten the humans.

This evening we dined on chicken casserole, sage and onion stuffing, roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, carrots, Brussels sprouts, and runner beans. I drank more of the shiraz.

Patrick’s Patch Revisited

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We enjoyed a productive drive through the forest this morning.

Hincheslea Moor 1

On Hincheslea Moor the horizon still bore the early haze, as one man and his dog disappeared into the bracken,

Hincheslea Moor 2

Hincheslea Moor 3

Hincheslea Moor 4

whilst the sun’s rays illuminated the rest,

Hincheslea Moor 5

especially the bright purple heather.

Highland Cow 1

Venturing into the wooded area at the edge of the moor, I became aware that I was being observed.

Highland Cow 2

A number of Highland Cattle glided among the trees,

Highland Cow 3

and sailed majestically into the sunshine beyond.

Highland Cattle 1

These great shaggy beasts have roamed the rugged landscape of Scotland since at least the 6th century AD, possibly having been imported from Scandinavia by invading Vikings.

Highland Cattle 2

Forage is easy to come by in The New Forest,

Highland Cow 5Higland Cow 6Highland Cow 7

and they probably don’t need their extra overcoats.

Highland Cow 8

They really are light on their feet, silent, and really quite elegant.

Highland Cow 9

On my way back through the forest this one became more interested in my presence;

Highland Cow 11

raising her head, she licked her chops;

Highland Cow 10

and attempted a kiss, which, deftly avoiding tripping over a fallen trunk, I politely declined.

Lymington RiverLymington River 2Lymington River 4

Moving on, the Lymington River at Brockenhurst was as smooth and effective as glass.

From there we travelled to Beaulieu for a visit to Patrick’s Patch. Although this gem of a community garden has featured in a number of posts, the link from 25th November 2013 explains its purpose.

Paddy's Patch 1

Today, the garden was enjoying one of its peak periods. This path, to one of the many scarecrows, is flanked by sweet peas, dahlias, and globe artichokes.

Comma butterfly

Butterflies, like this comma, punctuated the hedges;

Bee on echinacea

bees raided the echinacea;

Zinnia

at their peak were flowers like the dahlias above, this zinnia,

Globe Artichoke

and the globe artichokes that bore the evidence of the irrigation of

Rachel Head Gardener

Rachel, the Head Gardener, who worked over the whole plot with a snaking hose.

Bouquet from Paddy's Patch

Before we left, this friendly young woman cut us a bouquet of flowers, including the zinnia pictured above. Jackie was quick to place them in a vase on the kitchen table.

This evening we dined on the offerings of Mr Chatty Man Chan at Hordle Chinese Take Away. I finished the last inch or two of the Slovenian white wine.

‘Behind You!’

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This afternoon, we took a drive through the forest. Being the tourist season, there was much traffic, including cyclists, on the road.

Pony and traffic

On the way into Brockenhurst, a pony trotted elegantly ahead of a car, until it obligingly stepped onto the grass verge and allowed the vehicles to continue on their way.

Ponies and tourists 1Ponies and tourists 2

A string of ponies by Whitemoor Pond attracted both me and a family of visitors.

Ponies and ball

First the children attempted to involve the creatures in a game of football;

Ponies and tourists 3

then a young woman tempted them with slices of bread.

Pony and tourists

I did my best to indicate that this wasn’t a good idea, but we didn’t speak the same language, however,

Ponies and tourists 4

the equine teeth got the message across.

It was then that I heard Jackie crying ‘behind you!’ I turned around with some trepidation. This was no pantomime.

Highland cattle 1

Behind me, cooling off and slaking their thirst, were two Highland cattle.

Highland cattle 3Highland cow 1

I wondered how they could see through their fringes.

Highland cattle 6

They commandeered the pond;

Highland cow 4

 another loner joined in;

Ponies and Highland cattle

and a fourth, with number five on its way across the road, gave the ponies second thoughts about reclaiming the pond.

High Corner Inn

Having battled along a pitted track of Ringwood Road, we stopped for a drink at High Corner Inn,

Pony in car park

where ponies in the car park

Ponies being fed carrots

were being fed carrots by a chef who told me that the animals congregate under the kitchen extractor vent because it keeps the flies off them.

Donkey and foal

Near Frogham, a pregnant female donkey with two foals escorted by a large pony temporarily blocked the road.

Donkey and pony

At least one of the infants seemed confused about its parentage.

Back home, my choice of the goodies superfluous to yesterday’s feast was Coronation chicken and rice, with which I drank McGuigan Bin 578 merlot 2015. Jackie drank Hoegaarden with various other items.