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.

Almost Blown Away


James, of Peacock Computers, visited to examine the iMac, and took it away to restore it to working order. In anticipation of the Apple’s removal, I had scanned a set of photographic prints from May 1993 onto the Windows laptop. We had also thought the weather would be bad this afternoon and I would be able to use these to illustrate today’s post. In the event, the sun shone and the winds were high enough, at more than 50 m.p.h. to suggest a trip into the forest. The 1993 set will appear tomorrow.

Cattle on hillside

A short distance  outside East End cattle grazed on a hillside that was topped by an oak tree sporting a car tyre.


The little falabella pony which

Ponies at poolside

sometimes joins its cousins outside St Leonard’s Grange,

Falabella pony


spent its time crossing from one side of the road to the other.

Ponies on road

Another just stayed in the road.

Ruin in silhouette

When we reached this point, one of the ruins of the granary was nicely silhouetted

Ruin before sunset

against the lowering sun, bestowing a sepia tone.


We continued along the road, intending to return for sunset. Pheasants chased each other across the lanes and the autumnal fields.

Ruin at sunset

On our return golden streaks stretched along the sky.


We took a diversion down Tanners Lane on our journey home. Those streaks had deepened over the Isle of Wight.


The winds pressed so strongly against the car door that it felt as if it was close to a wall. Just one other vehicle was parked in front of us. Perhaps it belonged to the windsurfer


who skimmed over the choppiest waves we have ever seen there,


constantly changing


direction, and almost blown away.

This evening we dined on Jackie;s gorgeously spicy chilli con carne, with her most savoury rice wearing an omelette jacket. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank Mendoza Parra Alta malbec 2016.


Lunch Time

Yesterday evening Jackie borrowed the camera to photograph poppy heads. This morning we worked on cropping the images.

Jackie then drove us to Kilmington, near Axminster in Devon, and back. Our friends Luci and Wolf are spending a week in a holiday cottage there. This is The Linhay off Whitford Road. It is a beautifully restored and tastefully presented former milking shed, and the owners, who live next door at Oxenlears, are most considerate.

The house is perched on a hillside overlooking an idyllic, sheep-dotted, valley, the pastoral quiet of which is broken only, it seems, at certain regular times.

On 17th December 2012 I described how, as I retired person, I sometimes don’t know what day it is. The same thing applies to the time of day. Such is the freedom of release from work commitments. Our friends would probably find the same uncertainty in their Devon hillside cottage, were it not for these timely clarion calls.

The most frequent is the clatter of the train crossing the valley from Lyme Regis on the hour every hour, followed by another coming from the opposite direction five minutes later. We may not have known which hour it was, but at least we knew it was something o’clock or five minutes past.

It was the sheep’s alarm that was the most insistent. Just as Luci announced that she was about to produce lunch, a clamorous bleating was set up. 

The black-faced creatures had, until then, spent the day huddled around a tree. 

They clambered or sprang to their feet and trooped eagerly, two by two, across to another field where they were being joined by cattle. Then we noticed the little white van and trailer that they were vying with their bovine companions to reach first. Whatever they were being fed was deposited on the ground without the driver having to leave his vehicle.

Presumably after the animals had had their fill, the sheep trotted back to their tree, and the cattle off to another field. Whatever they had been fed could not have matched the huge succulent chunks of juicy chicken that Luci had ‘thrown in a pot’ with mushrooms, new potatoes, carrots, and a tasty sauce for us. Jackie wondered whether she might be at risk of overdosing on carrots when we had carrot cake with strawberries to follow. Both were delicious so she took a chance. Luci and I drank a 2013 Wolf Blass red wine, and Jackie drank Hoegaarden. Wolf’s choice was fruit juice.

As usual, we all enjoyed each other’s company. Cheese and onion sandwiches were quite sufficient for Jackie and me when we returned home.

P.S. I am indebted to Barrie Haynes for pointing out that trains do not run from Lyme Regis any more.