The First Foal

We took an early morning trip into the forest today.

A favourite route takes us through Holmesley Passage which links the A35 with the Burley Road.

Each time we drive along this slender, serpentine, disintegrating rat run we wonder if it will be our last – so rapidly is the tarmac crumbling.

Nevertheless, the landscapes it affords, with its resident ponies and cattle, makes the risk of winding up in a ditch worthwhile. The intrepid creature in the last of this set of photographs has sunk up to its knees in soggy turf.

On Bisterne Close, Burley, we encountered our first foal of the season. Already steady on its feet, just two or three days ago this infant would, having emerged unaided from its mother’s womb, have immediately, in ungainly fashion, tottered to its feet on the end of stick legs, and maybe wobbled a bit on its first visit to the milk bar.

The couple walking down the lane told me they had seen the new-born the day before and thought it could not have been much more than a day or so.

It had been the first of the year for this horse rider, too. She confirmed the newness.

At the junction of Bisterne Close and Bennets Lane a tree, probably precariously placed in the recent windy weather, had been felled.

It was in Bennets Lane that we came across Abbotsfield garden open today as part of the National Gardens Scheme in which approved gardens are open to the public for an entrance fee donated to charity.

For me, the highlights were a splendid display of tulips in most of the beds.

I was also impressed by the erythronium pagodas.

Jackie was disappointed that there was no scent to an unknown shrub, but she did enjoy the cherry blossom.

The garden views included magnolias and Japanese maples.

The honesty in Abbotsfield was of the white variety.

I probably didn’t need to be enjoined to be careful, but this was a helpful sign placed at ground level.

This evening we dined on zesty lemon and herb chicken, creamy mushroom risotto, spicy ratatouille, crunchy carrots, and tender mangoes touts and green beans. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I enjoyed Toro Loco Superior Organico 2017, given to me for Christmas by Shelly and Ron.

Haze

Soon after 6 a.m. this morning a mist was rapidly rising from the garden. Jackie made these photographs, while

I descended the stairs. On the way down I am supposed to lead with the foot on the recently operated right leg. In fact it is far less painful than the left one which received its replacement knee last May. Never mind, I do as I am told.

This afternoon we drove to Brockenhurst to collect the tap fitments from Streets ironmongers. Again we took the leisurely route home.

On the moorland at Shirley Holms a young lady galloped in circles astride a frisky horse. By the time I had the camera ready she was trotting alongside her companions.

On the approach to Burley, a cloudy vapour draped distant landscapes. A pair of walkers entered the forest as a runner emerged from the blue layered backcloth. Working horses occupied a farmyard and its fields.

Bending to graze, a troupe of red deer tripped elegantly across the Burley Manor lawns.

More haze lingered on the layered landscape visible from Holmesley Passage.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s superb steak and mushroom pie; boiled potatoes; firm Brussels sprouts; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; with tasty onion gravy. This was followed by treacle tart and ice cream. The Culinary Queen finished The Quintet wine and I drank more of the pinot noir.

Making Pictures

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One of Aaron’s tasks this morning was to start clearing the falling leaves. He used his handy blower to stir the frisky foliage.

Jackie and I left Elizabeth behind when we left before our friend had finished this morning to meet Frances, Fiona, Paul, James, Danni, and Andy for lunch at the Luzborough House pub in Romsey. Elizabeth had a cold and was careful not to pass it on, either to my two pregnant nieces or to our mother. The venue had been chosen so that sister-in-law Frances, her daughter, son-in-law, and grandson could visit Mum in hospital.

The meals were OK. My choice was steak, prawns, calamari, and salad followed by ice cream sundae. I drank Old Speckled Hen.

On our return home, Jackie and I, having opted not to overcrowd Mum, took a diversion into the forest.

At Bramshaw, we took a lane we have not previously discovered. This led us to Bramble Hill where, sharing the sky with cotton wool clouds, the sun gilded the bright bracken. I was delighted when an obliging young lady brought her steed into shot. As I told her, she had just made a picture.

A string of stately alpacas stepping across the fields of ‘Faraway Alpacas’ in Godshill, passed a blissfully happy hembra suckling her contented cria.

Further along the road a lone chestnut pony took its turn at making its own couple of Autumnal pictures.

No further sustenance was needed this evening.

Far Too Fast For Me

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The day was as radiant as yesterday had been dismal. At lunchtime we brunched at the Walkford Diner which now has sautéed potatoes and onions to be added to any of the standard meals. Naturally we added some to our All Day Breakfasts. We continued on into the forest, where

Thatchers Lane’s hedgerows bore many holly berries and a curved tree stem that Jackie termed “nature’s bench”.

High on Thorney Hill, two horses grazed in a sun-kissed field. As so often happens, first the white one, then its companion made a beeline for me as I stood observing them.

Somewhere about this point the name changes to Braggers. Here heavier workhorses, one sleeping under a tree, occupied another field. Sun streaked across grass and tarmac.

A staggered crossroads soon takes us into Fish Street where a young equestrienne ambling along in front of us was considerate enough to pull over to facilitate our passage. The early Christmas decorations suspended overhead were red painted pine cones.

On the approach to Bashley a solitary Gloucester Old Spot sow sped into the trees. She was far too fast for me, so I focussed on Autumn colour instead.

Tree work at the roundabout on the corner of Bashley Common Road and Sway Road, requiring 4 – Way Traffic Control, provided plenty of opportunity for me to poke my lens out of my stationary window and photograph roadside rose hips. Needless to say, fans of Hampshire’s roads will not be surprised that, of the four affected ways, only ours was subjected to the long tailback.

Elizabeth is spending a week with friends in Edinburgh. Jackie and I dined on the Culinary Queen’s excellent chilli con carne and savoury rice with which I drank Chateau Pinenc Minervois 2017.

 

“I Was Trying To Get Out Of Your Picture”

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Late this afternoon Jackie and I took a car ride into the forest.

Braggers Lane

Whilst we were making our leisurely way along Braggers Lane,

we passed a friendly young woman riding a horse. I exchanged waves with the rider.

Ferns

Further on, I disembarked to photograph fresh ferns in the hedgerow

Landscape with poniesLandscape with ponyLandscape with ponies

and the sloping landscape with ponies.

Horse and rider

I was pleased to hear the gentle, rhythmic, clopping that told me the rider was approaching. I waited for her to arrive and she effected a skilled manoeuvre taking her steed across the road taking backward steps.

She was happy to be photographed, but said “I was trying to get out of your picture”.

“I wanted you in it”. I replied, “It’s all part of the scene”.

“I guess so”, was her smiling response.

“Definitely”, said I,

Horse and rider

and she continued on her way.

Further waves were exchanged a little later on.

New Forest tour bus

As we neared Burley, a New Forest tour bus approached us. We keep promising ourselves a ride on one. We must look into it. The photographic perspective should be interesting.

This evening the three of us dined on mango and chili chicken fillets; juicy ratatouille; roasted sweet potatoes; and tender runner beans. Jackie drank a local wheat beer, and Elizabeth and I drank more of the Merlot.

Building Materials

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Today’s sky was cloudless, the sun shone, and the temperature was hot enough for summer.

Most of our tulips are now fully opened.

The mirrors, like these beside camellias, now have blooms to reflect.

Heucheras and forget-me-nots

Heucheras and forget-me-nots are enlivening the rose garden edges.

Comma butterfly

Butterflies, including commas, freely flit about.

Cherry blossom

Now that the winter flowering cherry is thinking about shedding its blossom, others are coming into full bloom.

Naturally, we took a drive into the forest.

For most of the stretch of road between Burley and Bransgore we were treated to a generous display of shiny MAMIL backsides. It was difficult to construe the occasional cyclist’s veering across the centre of the road other than as designed to prevent any thoughts of overtaking the crocodile.

Horse and rider

By contrast, the equestrian on the horribly pock-marked Snails Lane had the good sense to tuck in her steed and wait as we approached.

Perched on the backs of long-suffering donkeys at Ibsley, a clattering of jackdaws filled their beaks with the creatures’ soft, flexible, hairs pecked out for use in nest building. As I approached the scene, the birds flew off. Uncomplaining, silent, and motionless, this forlorn creature fixed me with a baleful eye.

Donkeys shared the road with cattle at Gorley Lynch,

but at Hyde they were reluctant even to share it with motor vehicles.

We lunched at The Hyde Out Café then collected a blood test referral form from our GP. This is for a post-hip-replacement follow up. There are no problems but I have been asked for this and the completion of a questionnaire because, in the years since my operation, involving a metal on metal replacement, it has emerged that that method has led to later difficulties for some people. My knees are nothing to do with that.

Paul popped in for a visit this afternoon, and we enjoyed our customary pleasant conversation. Modern life and its geography means that this is something that doesn’t happen very often now, and it is our loss.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s splendid chicken jalfrezi and aromatic pilau rice with which I finished the Shiraz

 

New Roses

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This has been a day of varied activities. This morning involved various administrative phone calls; a trip to Lymington to confirm the order and pay for Jackie’s new laptop; and a drive among the lanes around Sway.

Horse and rider

Other road users somewhat impeding our leisurely progress included a horse and rider;

cyclists

a group of cyclists consisting of a gentleman and young girl lagging behind two boys pausing on the brow of a hill;

Hay truck

and a truck bearing a precarious looking wide load of hay.

Sunflowers and acorns

Coombe Lane, in particular, is home to Long Cottage, the garden of which contains a row of sunflowers fronting a rather wizened little oak tree bearing large clusters of cupped acorns.

Friesians

Further along this road a group of inquisitive young Friesians thronged to their gateway in order to enquire what we were doing there.

ScarecrowScarecrows 1Scarecrows 2

Hordle has its own Scarecrow Trail, but since we followed the Bisterne one thoroughly, and parking is quite dangerous alongside the exhibits in the more populous village, I will simply photograph those we come across in our wanderings. The first of these are outside Hordle Parish Church of All Saints. They have been created by the children of the nearby Nursery School.

Hole for new rosesBrick path 1Sweet peas

Early this afternoon Jackie dug  the first hole for  the roses that will ascend the now unclad Gothic Arch seen at the far end of this section of the Brick Path, alongside which stands the Nottingham Castle bench with its attendant sweet peas.

Clematis Star of India

The rear of the bench can be seen in this shot of the Star of India clematis in Margery’s Bed.

Dragon Bed 1

The elegant forms of white gladioli take centre stage on this view of the Dragon Bed,

Dragon Bed 2

while, to the right of them, the colours of Japanese anemones, fuchsia, and lobelia form a similar sinuous shape.

Rose Penny Lane

Later, we visited Otter Nurseries where we bought two roses for the bare arch. We have examples of these elsewhere in the garden. Penny Lane wanders over the potting shed in the Rose Garden, and the bright red Super Elfin has taken off like a rocket in the herbaceous border.

Jackie digging hole for Super Elfin

Here Jackie, having planted Penny Lane, starts on a hole for the heavily pruned Super Elfin. I helped out a bit with that one, but the Head Gardener refused to photograph me on the grounds that my minor effort didn’t warrant a presence on the blog. Frankly that seemed a little harsh to me.

Penny Lane and Super Elfin

In a short while we can expect to see a difference.

Beef pie

This evening we dined on Jackie’s brilliant beef pie, with meaty gravy, boiled potatoes, spring greens, and bright carrots. The Culinary Queen finished the sauvignon blanc, and I finished the Fleurie.