The Way To The Church

After buying provisions from Ferndene Farm Shop this afternoon Jackie and I took a forest drive while Becky and Flo, taking Ellie with them, shopped elsewhere.

On the way up Lyndhurst Road outside Burley, Jackie managed to park the Modus allowing me to walk down

the soggy verge with my camera.

I had been attracted by the moss-carpeted roof opposite the bright red cones which had not prevented a number of heavy vehicles from gouging tracks in the mud with their outsize wheels.

Over the years, we have watched the gradual disintegration of this stump still functioning as a direction indicator to the church, provided you understand that you need to take the next right turn rather than carry straight on up the hill. Observant drivers will notice that that right turn is signed Church Lane.

As I approached a trio of Highland Cattle on Wootton Common one of them bravely ran away and stared me out from a safe distance.

This evening we dined on tender roast leg of lamb; crisp roast potatoes and Yorkshire pudding; firm cauliflower; crunchy carrots; piquant cauliflower cheese; and meaty gravy. Jackie drank more of the Cabernet Sauvignon, Becky drank Diet Pepsi, and I drank Mendoza Malbec 2020.

Some Forest Denizens

We saw no sign of the forecast sunny intervals on our afternoon forest drive.

Highland cattle, including friendly bulls Blackie and Splash, lounged lazily on the green at Bramshaw. After I photographed them we drove on to Penn Common where

Ponies cropped the

soggy terrain,

on which Jackie focussed. Just to the left of this drinking pony’s right ear perches one of the robins that flitted about.

She caught this pony reflected in another stream, and

a mallard having taken up residence in a puddle.

She also caught me photographing the pony beside her,

and I got my own back.

Cattle, donkeys, and ponies shared the drier woodland outside Nomansland,

where there were numerous new calves; one wobbly specimen being licked clean by its mother.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s wholesome chicken and vegetable stewp, which we have decided needs no alcohol, so we didn’t drink any.

Stable Yard Aroma

After an early start when Jackie concentrated on watering and I dug out a couple of brambles, we called a halt on gardening and drove to Rosie Lea for a very enjoyable full English brunch which, even under the open shelter had us oozing in the heat.

We then set off for the Rhinefield Ornamental Drive, but didn’t get very far. Our first encounter with

desperately sheltering sun-dappled ponies clustered together for protection against insufferable flies came immediately after leaving Brockenhurst on the Rhinefield Road.

A little further along, beside Whitemoor Pond Car Park where Jackie waited in the Modus, I walked around a pool inhaling the stable yard aroma sucked from the panting, pulsating, hides of ponies, including Shetlands, and Highland cattle, by the unrelenting 29C heat.

As usual, the larger Highlanders hogged the water while the poor native ponies patiently waited their turn on the banks. Sometimes, even those paddling, seemed unable to hold up their heads, or to be bothered to drink.

The still water scarcely summoned the energy to raise a ripple.

I went off the idea of a walk in the woods and we returned home. While I drafted this, Jackie watched TV Garden Rescue programmes, pausing them every 45 minutes to move the garden sprinkler hose.

As usual, after a hearty brunch, a light salad sufficed for our evening meal.

I Hoped Not

Given the forecast (accurate) of the very hot day we gardened in the morning.

My contribution was weeding the central brick paving of the Rose Garden,

where, later, Jackie took a break sitting in the shade.

This afternoon my Chauffeuse drove me into the forest. A parliament of rooks was held beneath a dead tree alongside

Mill Lane, where walkers, cyclists, and motorists were to be seen. In fact many visitors were about this afternoon, so we kept away from the more popular areas.

A cricket match was under way at Burley. Jackie opined that one of the bowlers reminded her of me in my youth, which she described as tall and skinny. Having watched his action, I replied that I hoped not.

The only livestock out in the sunshine today appeared on Wootton Common.

A small Highland cow nibbled at the verge, with its crop of

buttercups, daisies, and ferns.

A while ago I had photographed a heron beside birches in the middle distance. Today I spotted

a bovine trio in the same place.

Remembering the heron and realising that there was concave dip beside the tree, I wondered whether I might find cattle in a pool. My reflection was rewarded.

A pony mare grazed on the sward, hoping to build herself up enough to satisfy her nearby foal.

The usual two little Shetlands accompanied a group of their larger equine cousins.

Early this evening we continued emergency watering which Jackie had been doing on and off all day.

We then dined on spicy meat feast pizza with plentiful fresh salad. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Doom Bar.

School Was Out

Despite our recent sunshine The Head Gardener remained convinced that Jack Frost had not yet kept his icy fingers out of reach of the garden.

Early this morning she took her camera outside to prove her point.

Later, Callum of Metro Rod brought his specialist camera to investigate a blockage in the drainage to our septic tank. His diagnosis was that the tank needed emptying. There was no additional obstruction. We are normally on an 18 months rolling cycle for clearance, yet it is only nine months since it was last emptied. I telephoned CSG, increased the frequency of the pump out, and booked one for next week.

The temperature was warmer this afternoon when we drove into the forest.

Blackie, photographed by Jackie,

and Splash, by me, two Highland bulls to whom I have been introduced, with their herd, occupied the green at Bramshaw. After a good scratch the red bovine let me know what he thought of me.

Among the others on which I focussed,

one sported a mud pack by rubbing the grass of well-placed mound.

Jackie also captured me at work, refusing to accept that it was a portrait of the muddy cow I was making, and not the other creature’s bum.

Moving on to Nomansland, an assortment of ponies were employed on keeping down the grass in the cricket outfield.

Today, most primary schoolchildren in England, have returned to school after the latest Covid-19 restrictions.

Those in the village of Hale share their playing fields with ponies on the green. The school bus driver had to shift the pony from the path in order to pick up some pupils. Meanwhile families gathered, safely distanced, to collect their charges. School was out.

I believe this was a herd of English White cattle on a hillside outside the village.

Primroses now line many of our verges, like those beside the field above, beyond which

stretch extensive landscapes.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy pasta arrabbiata, and tender green beans, with which she finished the Sauvignon Blanc and I drank Primitivo Solento 2019

Highland Games

Late this morning we visited Mum in Woodpeckers where she continues to thrive. This time she availed herself of the blanket provided.

Afterwards we drove into the forest for a picnic in the car.

The day was cooler and overcast. From the bridge on Rhinefield Road I obtained enough light to photograph reflections in the stream.

Still host to a small holly tree, the toppled ancient oak at Bramshaw has now been completely cleared away,

with the exception of fallen leaves now camouflaging foraging wagtails.

A pair of donkeys leaning beside a brick wall watched

a couple of Highland cattle pondering their next move. I have often photographed them before, but not until today have I been formally introduced to Splash and Blackie. They stood aloof while a young lady did the honours.

As I returned to the car they heaved their lumbering bulks onto the tarmac and with swaying gait set off in the direction of Furzley Common which was our destination. Fortunately Jackie was able to negotiate our way round them.

We parked beside a stream and settled into our lunch when

a regular clop of horses’ hooves alerted me to the approach of a carriage and four passing a herd of cattle who were themselves soon to feature in our story.

Having journeyed a lumbering mile from Bramshaw the two Highland cattle approached and set up a regular lowing. “I wonder if they are going to join those cattle over there?”, I mused.

They were, indeed. In Splash’s case somewhat vigorously. It is not just the local flora that are confused about the season.

As I was about to return to the car a quartet of portly porkers approached. I was forced to attempt to evade the attentions of the Gloucester Old Spot. Jackie’s cackles from within almost drowned the snorting slobbering of my new admirer as she raised her dripping snout for a kiss. I was scared of this, but even more scared of her feet as she rounded me beside the car door. Being trodden on by a creature weighing up to 280kg was no joke. In the circumstances I thought my Chauffeuse was a little harsh.

This evening we dined on crisply roasted chicken thighs, sage and onion stuffing, parsnips, and Yorkshire pudding; piquant cauliflower cheese; creamy mashed potatoes; firm carrots, peas, and Brussels sprouts, and tasty gravy, with which we shared the last of the Rioja.

At The Trough

James Peacock of Peacock Computers spent most of the morning with me on the phone and at my desk resolving the banking/computer problems. Naturally this has been a great relief.

While James and I clicked on icons and stuff outside the kitchen door our nostrils were treated to the delicious aromas of Jackie’s lamb curry bubbling and steaming on the hob.

This afternoon, continuing what Jackie had begun this morning,

I watered a few pots and hanging baskets while she

chopped the ingredients for mushroom rice.

It was far too hot for any further gardening this afternoon, so we took a short drive into the forest.

A group of Highland Cattle were slaking their thirst in the cattle trough on Wootton Heath. The comments on https://derrickjknight.com/2013/02/27/why-did-the-chicken-cross-the-road/ give intriguing additions providing an explanation of how this London icon found its way into the New Forest.

Most other animals kept out of sight of the scorching sun, as we discovered when traversing

Bisterne Close, where sun dappled woodland scenes were all that was on offer for a photographer.

From Lyndhurst Road we could look down onto field horses, two of which wore masks protecting eyes and ears from irritating flies. As usual the galleries can be accessed by clicking on any image and viewing full size by clicking the box beneath each picture which may then be further amplified.

Photographic clues earlier in the post will make our dinner no surprise when I tell you we enjoyed

Jackie’s excellent spicy lamb jalfrezi with mushroom rice, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Carinena.

It was the Assistant Photographer who, dinners in our dishes, dashed out to photograph what she could see from the kitchen table. I would never have got away with it. The landscape format shows bronze fennel in the Pond Bed; the portrait, fuchsia Chequerboard.

More Young Life

Jackie spent the morning and part of the afternoon in the garden. Later she drove me into the forest for a short trip.

Ponies cast their shadows on the sward beside Holmsley Road. One enjoyed a good scratch.

Two mares suckled their foals. In the first picture the youngster is in the process of rising for a feed. The adults are so ungainly when they heave themselves upright that I was quite surprised at the nimbleness of the little one. The mother ignored the flies crawling over her muzzle. The grey became a little self-conscious at my approach; unplugged her infant; and moved off. Her persistent progeny latched on from the other side. I left them in peace.

While Jackie waited in the Modus I took a walk down the far end of Forest Road outside Burley as far as the very dry ford and back.

The high banks and exposed roots at each side of the lane betray its ancientness.

The stream is so very dry that much of the gravel bed is exposed; reflections on the shallow surface mingle with the small strip that does contain a smattering of liquid; and the depth gauge stands proud of solid ground.

I was not the only photographer focussed on groups of small Highland cattle on the outskirts of Bashley where a calf was learning to forage.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy pasta arrabbiata; pepperoni pizza; onion, tomato, and mozzarella salad; and juicy ratatouille, with which the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Cabernet Sauvignon.

Whispering Leaves

The light today was bright; the skies clear; and the temperature cold. This morning we drove into the forest via

 

Holmsley Passage,

with its splendid autumn colour burnishing both woodland trees

and bracken-carpeted moorland.

The moon, not yet having retired, nestled in the crook between two sunlit tree.

Golfers in their retirement putted balls on the Burley course. Biggification of the second above image will reveal three of the little white orbs, one of which has just been struck by the gentleman assuming the position. His shot didn’t quite have the legs.

Alongside Forest Road I left the car to photograph more flaming trees,

and wandered among trees opposite.

Fallen leaves whispered softly as I

gingerly swept the sun-streaked forest floor,

with its moss-coated roots and trunks,

broken branches,

and prehistoric skulls.

Lingering leaves traced companionable shadows;

while backlit ponies cast longer ones even in the late morning.

Pools, dry for many a month, like this one on the Burley Road, are filling up and reflecting the season.

Miniature Highland cattle made use of the landscape’s camouflage outside The Rising Sun at Bashley.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s most flavoursome mixed grill casserole; bright green broccoli, traffic light orange carrots, and creamy mashed potato with which I drank Saint-Chinian 2016 and the Culinary Queen abstained.

 

Fauna And Flora

This morning I watched the recorded Rugby World Cup quarter final match between England and Australia.

After lunch Jackie drove us into the forest where most of the free ranging animals were on display.

Donkeys with a foal basked in the sunshine at Bramshaw, where

another wandered up a lane towards the green occupied by

 

 

 

red brown and black Highland and other cattle.

In the vicinity of Nomansland we drove down a lane in Deazle Woods, up and down which a pair of walkers walked several times. Our paths continued to cross as we continued towards Newbridge. Each time I left the car with a camera they were there.

Here are some scenes of the woodland I wandered through.

Returning to the road from Nomansland we encountered a couple of sows with two piglets snuffling among the mud in search of mast.

One little piggy let out a fearful squeal as its mother butted it out of reach of one tasty morsel she wanted for herself.

Another donkey foal sat in the road as we approached Newbridge.

Sheep and cattle shared pasturage here.

One mother suckled her hungry calf. There was a certain amount of avid spillage.

A young lady speeding astride a sturdy steed seemed amused to scatter the sheep.

Just outside the village a small Shetland pony kindly enhanced my view of a backlit autumnal tree,

while a larger animal gave a demonstration of how to cross a dry ditch.

Back at home I watched the rugby quarter final match between New Zealand and Ireland, while Jackie planted more pansies and snakehead fritillaries and cleared more beds.

She photographed fuchsias Army Nurse and Display, heuchera leaves, phlox, and a  Japanese anemone.

Nugget was, of course, in attendance,

and wishes it known that he does feature in this garden image, perched above the central hanging basket. We considered that this was too difficult an example for the “Where’s Nugget?” game,

and made him settle for this “Where’s Nugget?” (38).

This evening we dined on Jackie’s wholesome cottage pie, the mash topped with fried potatoes; piquant cauliflower cheese; and crunchy broccoli and carrots with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Parra Alta Malbec 2018.