No Deep End

Late this morning Jackie drove me to Birchfield Dental Practice in New Milton for a routine check. Mr Hefferen pronounced no treatment required. We continued on to brunch at Hockey’s Farm Shop. There is always a bit of a wait there, but everything is cooked from scratch and is of very good quality. And we are seldom in a hurry.

These donkeys dozing in the shade at South Gorley were not thinking of going anywhere fast.

The Fighting Cocks on Roger Penny Way at Godshill enjoyed its usual entourage of asinine attractions

for visitors with an array of cameras.

After a series of strokes one foal found a little grooming was in order.

This little chap had been performing the cartwheels that seem to be necessary for new babies, but steadfastly refused to repeat it for my camera.

Another was more interested in lunch, until becoming unplugged when sated.

Probably the youngest new arrival

flopped not far from its mother who was hungry herself.

This creature vainly sought shelter in a rather narrow gap.

Many forest pools, like this one across the road from the pub are drying up in this prolonged warm spell of weather.

Having stepped out of the car to photograph the area around the pub, I decided to walk along this rather uneven terrain for approximately half an hour. Despite the numerous warning signs along this road there is still hit and run appeal for witnesses involving a pony fatality further along.

Taking paths trampled by the animals,

I made a few diversions into the surrounding woodlands,

where a Red Bull can nestled among the buttercups.

When I’d just about had enough, the Modus in the car park of The Fighting Cocks still seemed far off. I became somewhat slower. Eventually I looked up and spotted Jackie in the car on the opposite side of the road. She revealed that she had had her binoculars on me and had liked the look of neither my gait nor my face. I was certainly pleased to see her.

Continuing the journey along Roger Penny Way by car, as usual we were wary of ponies stepping out. The group at the bottom of the hill would be bound to be followed by others. They were.

In order to avoid the bottleneck that is Lyndhurst, we took the Minstead route where sunlight illuminated these ferns.

Cattle and ponies, one suckling, shared pasturage at Boldrewood,

until the bovines decided the grass was greener on the other side.

This intrigued an approaching family of cyclists.

A solitary deer had no competition along Rhinefield Road.

The mother of this foal sporting a typical Mohican foraged behind the ferns, while her offspring was being photographed by a gentleman behind a tree, and another from a car window.

Ponies sharing the sheltered pool outside Brockenhurst with Highland cattle clearly see it as politic to allow the larger, hairy, beasts first paddle while they patiently wait their turn in the shade.

One poor unfortunate was not having a good day. Attempting to take a drink, it had been butted away by another equine, only to find itself nose to nose with a Volkswagen.

Normally reasonably full, this animal paddling pool currently has no deep end.

This evening we dined on Forest Tandoori Lamb jalfrezi, chicken shashlik, and pilau rice; Tesco’s vegetable wontons; and paratha fried in oil from a little shop in New Milton. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank an excellent Angelica Sur Malbec 2016 given to me for my birthday by Shelly and Ron.

Marshmallows Anyone?

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This afternoon Jackie and I had a successful Birthday present trip to Lyndhurst, and an abortive one to Burley. The car park in the latter village was packed to bursting, with many queuing, and there is nowhere else to leave your car. So we returned home via Bashley, where

we encountered a breed of cattle we had not seen before. They are small, hairy, and horned. The two calves and a cow were quite close to the road until I disembarked to photograph them. Off they trotted at a fair old rate to the comparative safety of the rest of the small herd; whilst I tottered gingerly over the now churned up, pitted, terrain that they had trampled over. Imagining them to be a small variety of Highland cattle I Googled them and identified them as Marshmallows. Would anyone agree?

Later, two gentlemen from Jem Fabrics came to measure and photograph our threadbare Chesterfield in order to quote for reupholstery.

Elizabeth being at Mum’s, Jackie and I dined on spicy meat feast pizza and left-over takeaway curry. I drank more of the Australian Shiraz Cabernet. My lady had finished the Ciro on the patio beforehand.

 

Getting The Measure Of The Kitchen

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Yesterday I was asked by the suppliers of our greenhouse whether I had any photographs they might use in their next brochure. Regular readers will know the answer. This morning I e-mailed them links to four posts.

Dale, from Crestwood Showrooms, visited at midday in order to measure our kitchen floor to accommodate the new appliances. It is sad that we will need to replace the existing tiles which will no longer fit. Having made his measurements, this very friendly and personable gentleman checked his figures and photographed the existing area. He chatted for a while, explaining just how the flooring would be synchronised with the carpentry and installation processes.

To the left of Dale in the first picture above can be seen the edge of the island on which the current hobs stand. His hand is above the kitchen sink which, along with everything else on that wall, is to be replaced. What should be apparent is the distance the water source is from the cooking area. On the other side of the dining table stands a kitchen cabinet and a set of IKEA shelves which will probably be brought into service elsewhere.

After lunch we motored into the forest.

Highland cattle

On the outskirts of Brockenhurst, a group of Highland cattle often seen wandering the streets and forested areas, were now confined to a field.

Along the Rhinefield and Boldrewood Ornamental Drive the recent high winds and the rains loosening roots have replenished the stock of arboreal casualties whose limbs and trunks now join those fallen earlier, to be left mouldering in the interests of ecology.

Today was one more of showers than sunshine, which did make for fascinating skies over the moorland and, later, at Milford on Sea where gulls played on the thermals

until the setting sun kissed the waves below.

This evening we dined on juicy chicken Kiev; crunchy carrots and runner beans; and creamy mashed potato. I drank Mendoza Beefsteak Malbec 2016.

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.