Rockford End

This morning I made my final cut of the Everton Festival Photographic Competition with the subject of The New Forest.

I am grateful to all those of you who contributed to the debate about my submissions. The ‘Happy Thatchers’ was a clear favourite. Although they were very popular I have reluctantly excluded those of sunbeams through the trees. This is because, in reality, they could have been photographed anywhere. For the same reason, the deer with the crow on its nose had to go. People may be surprised at the rank outsider which made it to the finish. I had removed ‘A Vantage Point’, namely the photographers on the hill, on the same grounds, and ultimately persuaded myself to reinstate this image because, after all, they were photographers, and there was a lot of gorse in the foreground.

I have made A4 prints of ‘Happy Thatchers’; ‘Drinking In The Gorse’; and ‘The Watersplash’.

‘A Huddle’; ‘Hedge Trimming’; and ‘A Vantage Point’, required in digital form, have been despatched in an e-mail.

Later this afternoon Jackie drove me to Everton Post Office where I delivered the prints, and on into the forest.

I disembarked at Wilverley in order to photograph the landscape. Jackie made the first photograph, then focussed on me after I had crossed the road for a closer vantage point.

She even captured me aiming at the

Ryanair plane flying overhead.

From this very narrow, winding, unnamed lane at Rockford End, I could look down on

a horse in a field surrounded by his entourage of crows and geese;

and a bevy of doves pinpointing a thatched roof.

Back at home this evening we dined on fillet steak – mine perfectly medium/rare and Jackie’s well done; creamy mashed potato; succulent ratatouille; and crunchy carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden while I, sadly, finished the Garnacha Syrah.

Yellow Fields

SINGLE IMAGES CAN BE ENLARGED WITH A CLICK, OR TWO IF REQUIRED. CLICKING ON ANY OF THOSE IN GROUPS ACCESSES ITS GALLERY, INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS OF WHICH CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE BY SCROLLING DOWN AND CHECKING BOX AT BOTTOM RIGHT

Today was one of cloudy sunshine with April showers in the afternoon. We took an early morning drive into the forest.

Machinery on road

When we encountered a piece of heavy plant blocking East Hill in Lymington we wondered why, with the temporary lights at red, no traffic passed it on the way up. This, we discovered, was because there was a queue of vehicles too wide to manage it.

Moving on, the swiftly flowing ford stream at Norleywood did not deter a cheery cyclist.

Dog following woman leading another and a horse

Further along that road to the east, a black dog trailed behind a young woman leading white one and a horse.

A loaded tractor on Charles’s Lane

gave us plenty of opportunity to admire the flanking forest scenery.

Please keep to the main tracks

Throughout the New Forest at this time are posted requests to dog owners to keep their animals to the main tracks in order to protect ground nesting birds. This one is at Wootton, where

ponies blend or contrast with the landscape.

The Yellow fields along Hordle Lane are examples of those throughout the country in springtime.

“Selby House is a small farm in the middle of Northumberland.” It has this explanation on its website. “Rapeseed oil comes from oilseed rape, a root vegetable and cousin of mustard cabbage. The name is derived from the Old English term for turnip [the Latin] rapum. And yes, it comes from those yellow fields you can see in late spring.

Cold pressed means that the composition of the oil isn’t altered by heating. It isn’t the most efficient process but this oil isn’t about efficiency it’s about taste and purity.

The seed husk that is left over is called cake and this is mixed with other cereals into a safe and nutritious animal feed or some people use it in their solid fuel burners since it is a very low carbon renewable fuel.

The oil has delicious earthy, nutty taste – try it in dressings, stir fry, roasting, dunking.

Compared to olive oil it has half of the saturated fat and a much higher natural omega 3 content, the one in our diet that is often lacking.”

Becky and Ian arrived this afternoon and we all dined in the evening at Lal Quilla. Food, company, and service were all as excellent as ever. My main course was king prawn Ceylon, with chapatis. We shared onion bhajis. Kingfisher and Diet Coke were imbibed.

 

A Pannage Extension

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED This morning we visited Lyndhurst in order to buy a couple of presents. Shirley Holms 3

In order to benefit from the gorgeous autumn light, we took a diversion

Shirley Holms 1

down Shirley Holms.

House in landscape

Across fields to our left we admired the situation of a house nestling on the hill

Horse and autumn leaves

and a chestnut horse blending into surrounding trees.

Cyclists and autumn leaves

A pair of cyclists rounding a bend,

Cyclist in Shirley Holms

soon to be followed by a solo rider, laboured up the undulating tarmac. Note the speed limit.

Forest floor

Long shadows were cast across the

Autumn leaves 2

forest floor

Trees in autumn 1

fast receiving

Autumn leaves 1

autumn leaves,

Autumn leaves 6

some of which clung to shady banks,

Autumn leaf

and stood proud at intervals.

Autumn leaves 4  

Ornamental trees animated a

Autumn leaves 5

splendid garden.

Having made successful purchases in Lyndhurst, we lunched there on Bertie’s excellent fish, chips, and mushy peas. We both drank tea which, rather unfortunately, resembled a dishcloth that needed boiling.

The Private Ear Clinic, this afternoon was based at Lymington Hospital. Our next visit was to this establishment where my left ear was relieved of the remains of its stubborn wax.

Trees in autumn 2

We then returned to the forest where, just outside Bramshaw,

Pigs 1

we came across a sounder of swine slobbering

Pig 3

among ditches

Pig 2

leaves

Pig 4

and mud.

Pigs on road 1

Occasionally with a loud snort they would trot across the road

Pigs on road 2

to investigate the pickings on the other side. The pigs are revelling in a month’s extension of the pannage, possibly because of our stretch of mild weather.

Pony on road 1

This particular spot was doubly hazardous for drivers, because ponies

Ponies on road

played the same leisurely game.

Pony on road 2

The speed limit in the forest is generally 40 m.p.h., but you would be well advised to reduce this on the serpentine roads. You never know what is around the next bend.

This evening we dined at Bartlett’s in the Church Hall at Bransgore. Jackie’s main meal was chicken tikka masala; mine was lamb madras. We take our own drinks. Jackie’s was Hoegaarden. I finished the madiran (WordPress, how many times must I tell you this is one word?).

Pollie’s Day Lilies

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED.

Grass edge 1Grass edge 2

This morning, while Jackie continued planting, I shaved a curved line on the edge of the grass patch,

Petunias

where Jackie had placed a group of petunias. Then, removing grass roots and us much moss as possible, I broke up the sods and mixed them with the Head Gardener’s fresh soil.

Clematis 2

Of all the clematises in the garden it is perhaps pertinent to mention two today. This one is making its way across the arch spanning the Phantom Path on the other side of Margery’s Bed against which the above petunias have been placed.

Clematis

The other, being the same white hue as the now faded Marie Boisselot now commands the attention that she had in her youth on the Kitchen Bed obelisk.

Kniphofias

The same bed contains miniature kniphofias;

Cosmoses and geraniums

the stone urn standing beside them contains cosmoses and geraniums;

Mesembryanthemums

and almost fluorescent mesembryanthemums overlook the Waterboy’s fountain.

Flies on scented lily

Gloriously scented lilies in the New Bed attract a myriad of flies.

Day lilies 1Day lilies 2Day lily 1Day lily 2

Day lilies abound throughout the beds, but they are of just three varieties.

When Jackie discovered that a splendid collection of the plants is nurtured in Sway, just two or three miles up the road, it became imperative that we should pay a visit. Accordingly we took a trip to Pollies Daylilies signin Mount Pleasant Lane,

Along a winding gravelled drive we entered a lovely garden with a huge array of plants of all kinds. I rang a doorbell and Pollie Maasz, the friendly and pleasant proprietor, emerged to show us around her amazing collection, about more of which can be read on Day lilies .

Day lilies 5Day lilies 6Day lilies 3Daylilies 4Day lilies 8Day lilies 9Day lily 4Day lilies 7Day lily 7Day lily 6Day lily 5Day lily 8Day lilies 13Day lilies 12Day lily 9Day lilies 11Day lily 3Day lilies 10Day lilies 14Day lilies 5

A gate in the domestic garden led us to a splendid display of unusual hemerocallis flowers.

Horse and flies 1Horse and flies 2

As Pollie searched among rows of potted samples for sale, through a wire fence, she chatted to her neighbour’s horse, tormented by marauding flies. The good-natured mare tossed her head in vain attempts to rid herself of the plague.

Day lilies 15

We bought two plants. All we have to do is create spaces for them.

This evening we dined at Lal Quilla. I enjoyed chicken jaljala; Jackie chose chicken shashlik; and we shared mushroom rice and a plain paratha. We both drank Kingfisher.

 

Playing Gooseberry

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. THOSE IN GROUPS ACCESS GALLERIES THAT CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE BY SCROLLING DOWN THE PAGE AND CLICKING THE RELEVANT BOX.

This morning we continued Spring clearing in the garden. My task was dead heading the hydrangeas.

One of Jackie’s was to clean out the Waterboy’s pond. He nodded his approval.

The Head Gardener was extremely excited about her corydalis flexuosa ‘China Blue’ which is apparently hard to grow.

Another euphorbia is flowering in the front garden,

where the winter flowering cherry has blushed continuously since September.

Sitting on the Castle Bench when I had finished my gardening I engaged in a game of peep-bo with a collared dove in a shrub that has become a tree. This creature kept lowering its head out of sight, then popping up briefly.

Collared doves 3

At least, that is what I thought I was playing. But, hang on a minute. What was this?

Collared doves 2

Do you see?

Yes. There were two. I had been playing gooseberry.

Collared dove 2

Sussed.

This afternoon we went for a drive in the forest.

Pool, gorse, reflection

The Shirley Holms corner beyond Sway is still pretty waterlogged.

Ponies

These young ponies found a dry patch to have a lie down;

Pony rising to its feet

although my attention prompted the larger one, looking almost as awkward as I would, to rise to its feet.

Pigeons in flight

As I returned to the car, two pigeons took off into the skies.

Primroses decorated the bank of a stream by the roadside at Sandy Down,

Horse eating hay

where horses in a field chewed hay,

and snake’s head fritillaries shared berths with daffodils and more primrose.

Magnolia stellata

Steff’s Kitchen is attached to Fairweather’s Garden Centre in Beaulieu. We took coffee and water there, where a magnificent magnolia stellata shed confetti over the tables and the grounds.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s beef, peppers, mushrooms and onions cooked in a rich red wine sauce and served with new potatoes, carrots, and Yorkshire pudding. I drank more of the shiraz.

Succulent Graffiti

On another rainy day, with me not yet fully recovered, and Ian coming down with the cold, we had to postpone Becky’s birthday meal out. I scanned another batch of Barbados colour slides from May 2004, and Jackie stocked up on tissues and medications.

Flowering cacti

Cacti were flowering profusely.

Unknown plant

I don’t know what this plant is (See Mostly Mondays’ comment below. It is calotropis),

Hibiscus

but I do recognise hibiscus,

Bougainvillea

and bougainvillea which grows everywhere on the island.

Breadfruit

Maybe these are breadfruit, (actually coconuts, see PS) but most of the Google images have dimpled skins.

Stork

A lone stork stands out from the long grass by the sea,

Homes on coastline

on the coast of which expensive holiday homes

Chattel houses

contrast with the traditional wooden chattel houses.

Horse

I was surprised to see a horse lurking in the hedgerow, but have since learned that racing is a popular pastime, dating from the colonial years.

Grackle

This is possibly a grackle, or a Barbadian Black Bird.

Zenaida dove 5.04 02

The iridescent blue tinge on the neck of the Zenaida dove is intriguing.

Rusty drum

I expect there were plans for this rusting drum.

Succulent graffiti 1Succulent graffiti 2

Succulent graffiti 3

I have seen graffiti in many forms, but only on Barbados has it been carved into succulents.

This evening Jackie collected our meal from Hordle Chinese Take Away which was as good and as plentiful as usual. My drink was Kumala reserve shiraz 2012; Beccy’s, rose; Jackie’s, Hoegaarden; and Ian’s, Tiger beer.

PS. Following the comments of wolfberryknits and Mary Tang, I have corrected my text to show coconuts for breadfruit.

Blending

Our daughter Becky is convinced that I bear a resemblance to Worzel Gummidge. As I scanned yesterday’s photograph of four year old Louisa I wondered what the wit would have to say about it. This was her Facebook observation: ‘How clever of you to include a portrait of yourself in the photo of Louisa!’

Horse and oak

Managing a slightly brisker pace than my slow trudging of late, I walked up Hordle Lane and back, to the paddock, where a weak sun dappled horse and oak alike.

Honeysuckle and lichen

Honeysuckle blended beautifully with lichen in the hedgerows,

Dog roses

where pink dog roses bloomed,

Hoverfly on cow parsleyBee on ow parsley

and hoverflies on cow parsley masqueraded as the bees filling their thighs with the tinge of buttercups.

Barley field and lorry

Through a gap in a hedge, on the far side of the barley field, a lorry, its rear resembling the buttercup, the honeysuckle, the lichen, and the bee’s thighs; its sides reflecting the blue of the sky, sped along Christchurch Road. White petals in the hedgerow carried the colour of the cotton clouds.

This afternoon, using the brick pile as a saw horse, I filled a wheelbarrow with logs cut from the last heavy branches of the sycamore tree. Then, with a break provided by a welcome visit from Shelly, I continued in the role of under-gardener. This involved the usual collecting up of the head gardener’s pruning and weeding; digging out some invasive geranium palmatums for her to transplant onto the northern verge of the back drive; and excavating two homes in the rose garden, one for Rosa Gallica, and another for Deep Secret. Rosa Gallica, Deep Secret and pansies.Rosa had shared her nursery pot with some yellow pansies. It seemed a bit churlish to make them part company, so we didn’t.

This evening Jackie’s superb egg fried rice and green beans accompanied Mr. Lidl’s plentiful spicy pork rib rack on our dinner plates. Victoria sponge was to follow. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and I quaffed Torre de Ferro Dao 2013.