Becoming More Difficult For Them


Someone in our National Health Service is on the ball. After recent x-rays of my knees I was given an appointment to see an orthopaedic clinician on 17th May. I tolerate pain beyond what is sensible so that seemed a long way off. This morning I received a phone call cancelling that. They have looked at the x-rays again and decided I need an urgent referral directly to a surgeon. I was given a choice of about a dozen venues. I wound up with an appointment on 16th of this month – that’s next Monday – ooh-er.

We experienced another dull, damp, day, although the rain had desisted by this afternoon when we went for a drive in the forest.

On the banks of the stream at Ibsley a pair of mournful bedraggled ponies foraged.

Like many other fords this one was awash with fast-flowing water. Two riders walked their horses across. Vehicles splashed through with varying degrees of trepidation. The best spray of all was produced by the gregarious children’s story writer Susan Rigden whose work can be found on the Amazon Kindle site. I hadn’t been ready to catch it. Telling her this began an enjoyable conversation. Susan had brought her retriever, Elsa for a bath in the stream after a walk in the woods. Elsa wasn’t interested, but was eventually cajoled into a cursory dip.

The sward at North Gorley was most waterlogged. A herd of usually inquisitive cattle had bagged the driest area. Some were young enough to suckle.

Apart from the brown pony sleeping upright on the reflecting road, the equine creatures were up to their ankles in sogginess.

Whenever we pass the ford at Frogham the field-kept horse is munching on hay. On more recent visits, its less pampered cousins have been taking their share. They also provide a holly pruning service. The boniness of this latter group and the number of ponies eschewing soggy grass and opting for the higher, prickly, foliage, indicates that obtaining food is becoming more difficult for them.

Mr Chan’s establishment, and another, being closed for another ten days, Jackie was forced to go on a hunt for a Chinese takeaway this evening. She found Oliver’s at Old Milton which was very good. She drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Casillero del Diablo.



“A Lovely Autumny Day”


Pumpkins and skulls

We began the day with a trip to Everton Nurseries to buy four more slabs of reconstituted stone for the new bench base. Sadly, artificial Halloween pumpkins and other scary things were being arrayed at the entrance. What has happened to the pleasure of making your own carving? Sadder still, I noticed a heap of dog turds in the car park. Someone had allowed their dog to dump where others may wish to tread. I informed a staff member who picked up the offending material with a plastic bag.

I soon cheered up as we drove through the forest.

Austin 7 being transported

Somewhere near Bramsgore an Austin 7 was being carried on a low trailer.

Tree bole 1Stump on hedgerow 1HedgerowIvy-bearing bole on hedgerow

We stopped on Charles’s Lane near Ringwood, where Jackie had noticed rows of gnarled boles of trees that had lived and died over centuries of accumulated hedgerow boundaries. I spent a pleasant time wandering up and down photographing these,

Shadows on forest floorForest trees 1Forest scene 1Forest fernsForest trees 2Forest scene 2

and the forest scenes beyond them. Leaves are just beginning to fall and ferns are turning brown.

I have been unable to discover any history of this lane, but we feel that, judging by the ancient hedgerows, it is a very early one.

Cyclist on Charles's Lane 1

One cyclist ascended the slight incline and disappeared round a bend in the road;

Cyclist on Charles's Lane 2

another whirred into sight and whizzed downhill.


The rapid machine gun fire that was acorns spattering the tarmac had me ducking for cover.

Horse riding on Charles's Lane 1Horse riders on Charles's Lane 2

Soon, even this rattling was eclipsed by the clopping of horses’ hooves. I stood on the verge, expecting perhaps a couple of equestrian carriages to round the distant bend. What appeared were a group of riders who slowed as they approached,

Horse riders on Charles's LaneHorse riders on Charles's Lane 4

and thinned out to a string, the young lady bringing up the rear being led by a rope.

Horse riders on Charles's Lane 5Horse riders on Charles's Lane 6Horse riders on Charles's Lane 7

Having, I thought, exhausted photographic possibilities I returned to the car. On the way the familiar clip clop indicated that the riders were returning.

Horse rider on Charles's Lane

Their leader paused for a chat, a comment that it was “a lovely autumny day”, and a wave goodbye.

Horse riders on Charles's Lane 8

Off they returned, on past

Railway bridge arch 1Railway bridge arch 2

the walls of a now demolished railway bridge, an overgrown example of ‘Beechingisation’.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s excellent cottage pie, crunchy carrots and cauliflower, with most flavoursome first Brussels sprouts of the season. I finished the malbec.