Wetter Than Expected

My plan this morning was to walk along Bisterne Close for half an hour after which Jackie, having dropped me at one end, would follow and pick me up. In gloomy morning light and light drizzle we set off.

The War Memorial in Everton Road, Hordle, had been prepared for tomorrow’s Armistice Day.

The commemorative bench bears stylised pale red poppies and pure white doves of peace.

More poppies grace fences and

freshly mown grass.

By the time we reached Holmsley Passage the drizzle had increased to light rain which

gave ponies a somewhat more than bedraggled look.

Soon the rain had developed deluge dimensions. My readers will know by now that I don’t know when to give up, so we continued to

Bisterne Close.

 

Listening to the increasingly tympanic pattering of raindrops drumming onto the trees, dripping off the leaves, and thudding onto the shoulders of my porous allegedly damp-proof raincoat; peering through specs lacking windscreen wipers, through which I couldn’t clearly see my viewfinder I captured what woodland scenes I could.

Autumn leaves, above

or below, glistened with precipitation.

I resisted the temptation to ask a horse chomping hay for the loan of its cheerful rug.

Here, as on much of the forest terrain, pools were appearing.

Autumn leaves submerged beneath the water where raindrops floated on muddy surfaces until bursting into spiralling increasing circles. I stuffed my specs into my pocket and attempted to employ my dampened eyelashes to provide clear vision.

Fallen trees and their branches, both recent

and longer-lying, settled into their task of maintaining the ancient forest ecology.

while others, now dead, did their bit while still standing.

Some trees sent tentacles in search of rooting soil.

Such bracken as had not yet gathered a fully autumnal appearance was turning nicely.

Well fed birds have not yet been tempted to strip the hollies of their berries.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy pork paprika, savoury vegetable rice, and tender runner beans with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Cotes du Rhone.

 

 

Shots For Scale

Jackie and Nugget continued planting and bed making this morning while I cleared up some of the debris. Our little robin has even begun to get under my feet. He has begun to think ahead and, knowing where we are likely to go, arrives there before us. He only has to see me scoop up a trug full of clippings and he will be awaiting my arrival at the compost heap.

The normal size bricks in this photograph indicate what a diminutive creature he is. With secateurs in hand Jackie needs to be careful not to amputate anything.

Now, “Where’s Nugget?” (32).

Jackie plonked these starlike allium seed heads for their decorative quality.

Elsewhere we have plenty of varieties of dahlia; yellow self-seeded bidens;

flaming sedums;

delicate fuchsias;

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

pretty petunias;

roses, such as magnificent Mama Mia,

pure white Winchester Cathedral,

and blousy Schoolgirl,

all still keeping company with planted urns in the Rose Garden.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vibrant splashes of colour enhance garden views such as this one across the lawn with its basket hanging from the eucalyptus, petunias in the chimney pot, and Japanese anemones on the far side;

the stepping stones across the Cryptomeria Bed with its Michaelmas daisies and clematis scaling the arch that spans the Phantom Path;

the Gazebo Path, again sporting a clematis in its third flush, hanging baskets, and more.

The Patio Bed gloried in the morning sunlight.

Before lunch we took a short drive into the east of the forest.

Autumn leaves clung to damp fungus.

on the verges of Lower Sandy Down where the Modus puts the width of the winding lane into perspective.

While a curious field horse looked on

I photographed the opposite landscape where freer equine cousins could be glimpsed in the distance.

Further on a woman walking her dog provided a further shot for scale.

This afternoon I watched the recording of the World Cup rugby match between South Africa and Italy.

This evening we dined on succulent pork chops; crisp roast potatoes, one sweet; crunchy carrots, and tender cabbage and runner beans, all flavoured by tasty gravy. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Fleurie.

 

Decidedly Not Smart

A number of terra cotta and yellow kniphofias have self-seeded at various places in the garden and have recently chosen to bloom rather late. These are in the Kitchen Bed, accompanied by hibiscus, petunias, Japanese anemones and fennel.

This begonia and the pelargonium are recovering from near death with the benefit of Jackie’s tender care.

Like the white Marie Boisselot glimpsed in the bottom of the Kitchen Bed picture, this pink and blue clematis and the wisteria are producing their third flushes of the year.

I paused, this morning, to photograph this happy planting of pelargoniums, fuchsias, and Japanese anemones in the front garden before embarking into the car for a trip to Woodpeckers to visit

Mum, now well enough settled into her room to have hung her favourite pictures, one of which is a drawing I made in about 1958 when my sister would have been four and I would have been sixteen years of age.

It portrays Elizabeth watching the family’s first decidedly not smart dodgy black and white TV set.

Leaving Mum to her lunch we took a diversion around Burley on our way home for ours. On Bisterne Close we trailed a young woman riding a white horse.

Although dull, it was another warm day, which brought out flies again prompting ponies to cluster under the trees.

Jackie spent the afternoon in the company of her avian under-gardener who continually converses in the sweetest, almost imperceptible gentle whisper. We can just watch his throat pulsating. He spent some time in the cryptomeria above her head, dropping down to a terra cotta lantern beside her.

Now, “Where’s Nugget?” (21)

This evening we dined at The Wheel in Bowling Green. The food and service were as good as ever. We both chose tempura prawns as starters, with salad so fresh as to have possibly been immediately picked from the garden. Jackie’s main course was thick meaty burger with chunky chips, salad, and onion rings; mine was an excellently cooked rib eye steak with chips, mushroom, tomato, peas, and onion rings. Jackie drank a guest lager which we can’t remember and I drank a good Malbec.

When we arrived a robin greeted us from a hedge in the car park. For a moment we wondered whether Nugget had arrived before us.

Back at home I watched the recorded highlights of the first day of the final Ashes Test match.

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

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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

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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.