A Nippy Little Pig

When I ran regularly across London to work I would adapt my route according to traffic conditions. This is what Jackie did early this morning as we took a drive in what we knew would be the very small window of reasonable light when she had to follow

a huge vehicle negotiating its way along Hordle Lane which was difficult enough without the Mums’, Dads’ and Grandparents’ school run. At the junction with Everton Road the large motor turned left so we continued straight on once the school crossing lollipop man granted his permission.

The stream meant to run under Holmsley Passage flowed fast over the ford. Having dropped me on the far side Jackie drove back through the water to present me with a photogenic splash.

I also pictured woodland with a fallen tree, and a grey pony more interested in us than in its relative trotting behind it.

On the moorland stretch of the road a burnished bay blended with browned bracken;

and billowing clouds soared above hazy landscapes.

There is always a large reflective pond on the left up Clay Hill.

Today a winterbourne stream provided another mirror on the right hand side.

In order for mobile phone masts to be permitted in the forest they are required to adopt an arboreal appearance. There is one at the bottom of this hill.

Pigs at pannage snuffled-snorted, as they burrowed their eager way into heaps of autumn leaves and muddy ditches, occasionally trotting backwards and forwards across Holmsley Road. The last three pictures in this gallery represent the slobbering mobbing to which I was subjected when I emerged from the car in order to photograph the mobile pork in search of a different kind of mast. It was difficult enough to dodge the trotters and keep focussed without being nipped in the back of the leg while attempting to capture the little Gloucester Old Spot. Fortunately neither my trouser nor my skin was penetrated.

The rain set in for the rest of the day after we returned home.

For this evening’s dinner Jackie produced a minced beef pie with a topping of potato slices; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; firm Brussels sprouts, and meaty gravy with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Malbec.

Arboreal Destruction

Precipitation of varying velocity and winds of unwavering ferocity beset the day.

This morning we drove to the outskirts of Burley and back.

It is not unusual to be held up by tree cutters carrying out routine arboreal management. This is perhaps more frequent at the moment, as the unrelenting recent series of storms have taken their toll.

Here, on Holmsley Road, overhanging branches were being lopped . Especially in the pouring rain, I do sympathise with the men supporting the Stop/Go lollipops. I hope they take it in turns. Jackie let me out of the car when we were stopped and took the first photograph through the windscreen before passing the barrier. I walked, and took the second. The men were somewhat concerned that I might not stay on my feet.

The gentleman doing the lopping was happy to pose for a rear view.

Further along the road I wondered whether that team had earlier attended to this fallen tree

which attracted a trio of ponies seeking fresh nutriment from the lichen coated branches.

The last time I photographed this dead oak tree with its fungus and lichen on Bisterne Close it was standing firm.

It stands no more,

its shallow roots ripped into open air. This giant will now gradually take its part  in the maintenance of the forest ecology, feeding insects, plants, and soil for years to come.

Given its position on the verge it did well to fall away from the road.

The rain really hammered down on our return home. A group of stoic ponies alongside  Holmsley Passage simply stood and bore it.

This evening we dined on second helpings of Hordle Chinese Take Away’s excellent fare with which Jackie finished the Sauvignon Blanc and I finished the Shiraz.

 

The Weather

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Early this morning we attended to bits of my body.

First, Jackie drove us to the GP surgery in Milford on Sea where I set in motion a long overdue referral for an orthopaedic assessment of my knees, and learned that I am on a list for a cataract adjustment to my left eye. I should be fully bionic soon. Next was a visit to our dental hygienist for a routine treatment.

We then returned to Hockey’s Farm Shop for a box of eggs we had left on the table yesterday.

Today the weather was decidedly soggy with occasional rain. Just one pony appeared to have ventured out. As it struggled to find nourishment along the verges of Holmsley Road it must have regretted the lack of

one of the rugs its more pampered field residents were still wore. They didn’t all even have to find their own food.

These latter animals were kept at South Gorley, so let us here return to Holmsley Road, the forest floors on either side of which are now full of temporary pools covering the terrain and reflecting branches, trunks, and mossy roots.

Crossing the A35 we come to Holmsley Passage, bordered with its own pools of precipitation and wind-blasted branches.

A woman with a dog strode down the hill and across the swollen ford just in time to enhance my photographs.

At Gorley Lynch, light rain seeped from silver-grey skies, supplementing ditchwater flowing across the crumbling road, and brightening moss on the thatch of the house alongside the farm café. This was in stark contrast to the cerulean canvas that had covered the building the day before. Note the mistletoe in the tree. There is much of it about the forest.

This evening we dined on Hockey’s Farm hot and spicy pickled onions accompanying Mr Pink’s fish and chips, and pineapple fritters in Lyle’s golden syrup. I drank Don Lotario gran reserva Navarra 2009.