The Rainbow Blessing

This afternoon we drove into the forest, making use of the day’s changing light.

In contrast to the recent gales, the winds were so slow that the sun, albeit bright, would remain behind covering clouds for an age.

Although the distant Portsmouth’s Spinnaker Tower was well lit, the near Tanners Lane’s breakwater was not.

The skyscapes above the Isle of Wight reflected this, until

weak sun was briefly glimpsed.

We crept along Sowley Lane through which a string of dithering donkeys threaded their way;

one stopped for a scratch;

one toddler demanded its dinner;

another paused to chew on a stick.

As we approached St Leonards Grange

the road and its surrounding landscape were burnished by the brighter sun.

With showers of rain added to the mix rainbows separated trees and

blessed at least one of the jackdaw couples pairing off on the ancient granary roof.

Another two preferred the view from one of the ruin’s windows.

This evening Elizabeth joined us for dinner which consisted of succulent roast lamb; crisp roast potatoes, parsnips, and Yorkshire pudding; sage and onion stuffing; crunchy carrots, broccoli, and cauliflower; winter greens; tender runner beans; and tasty gravy, followed by Mississippi mud pie. My sister and I finished the Fleurie and I began a Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo 2018. Jackie drank Hoegaarden.

 

Symbiotic Relationship

Such brief sunshine as we were to enjoy today came quite early. That is when we set off for a forest drive.

Two lanes we traversed en route to Beaulieu are named Boldre and Rodlease.

The Gravel Pit Lake at Pilley, almost bone dry last summer, has returned to its normal full state, nurturing white flowers and geese.

Beside Beaulieu Lake we witnessed the annual symbiotic relationship between birds and beasts – in this case jackdaws and cattle. The jackdaw flying away in the first picture has been seen off by a rival for soft nesting material. In spring the animals need to shed their summer coats and the birds need to build nests. The cows remain nonchalant as the birds pluck away.

A short distance away a group of donkeys were being similarly shorn, but by the time Jackie had managed to park the car for my disembarkation, beaks had been filled and birds had flown.

I think a herd of white horned cattle at Dibden must be http://afs.okstate.edu/breeds/cattle/whitepark/index.html/

More familiar black ones wandered at Bartley.

From there we made our way to Nomansland, where we lunched at The Lamb Inn. I enjoyed a massive mixed grill and two thirds of a pint of Doom Bar. Jackie’s choice was halloumi burger with sweet potato chips and salad. She drank a Diet Pepsi.

More foals were in evidence alongside Roger Penny Way. One mare led her offspring across the road to make an introduction to a potential playmate. The acquaintance appeared to be short-lived.

After our most substantial lunch, we needed no further sustenance this evening.

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

 

Creating A Splash

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Today was another wet one. The New Forest is so waterlogged as to promote empathy for those unfortunates who chose to come here for the Easter holidays.

Lymington Plant Centre has clearly seen better days. Perhaps the daffodils that line Pitmore Road outside it had once come from stock.

Roads and paths were reduced to watercourses; bedraggled horses churned up mud to droop at their hay troughs; cattle grids overflowed.

Armstrong Lane in Brockenhurst was just one flooded thoroughfare.  Trees were reflected in the normally dry terrain on the other side of Burley Road.

Their mirrors joined up with the River Weir and another stream to swell the fast flowing water across the ford.

Jackie took one look at two boys cycling through the torrent  and decided to turn the Modus around and find another route.

She waited whilst I photographed other ambitious drivers,

then drove on the the aptly named Waters Green over which a raucus jackdaw chorus performed for the benefit of soggy ponies, one of whom still sported its curlers.

A fine looking chestnut was occupied clipping a hedge.

This evening we dined once more on Jackie’s splendid lamb biriani with black lentil dhal. I consumed more of the 16 Little Black Pigs.

Standing Stones

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It is more than fifty years since Jackie and Helen enjoyed their ‘Stonehenge Sandwiches’. Since that time English Heritage and The National Trust have, between them restricted access and priced out all but those individuals who can afford £25 for a timed entry ticket and have on-line facilities for booking this on the day before. When Flo and Dillon wished to see some Neolithic standing stones, we suggested viewing

Stonehenge as we drove past,

and driving on to Avebury, which is far more user friendly. Unfortunately the road that Jackie had carefully memorised before setting off was closed. With the aid of Dillon’s mobile phone we were able to find an alternative route by narrow roads through the Vale of Pewsey, where

we trundled along behind a hay cart. Jackie sensed that the driver of a Land Rover chasing her was becoming rather frustrated. At the first opportunity he sped past. He remained between us and the hay for quite some time until he reached his own destination. It was a considerable while before the cart turned off, freeing us and the convoy in our wake.

Once clear of Salisbury we had stopped at a Harvester pub opposite Old Sarum Castle for lunch. My choice of meal was gammon steak with all the trimmings, and my drink was Marston’s pale ale. Should they wish, the others can speak for themselves.

Silbury Hill

On reaching Avebury we passed ‘the largest artificial mound in Europe, mysterious Silbury Hill [which] compares in height and volume to the roughly contemporary Egyptian pyramids. Probably completed in around 2400 BC, it apparently contains no burial. Though clearly important in itself, its purpose and significance remain unknown.’ (English Heritage website)

 

 

When we reached the henge itself we went our separate ways. I dawdled with my camera, seeing faces, figures, and even a horses head in this 10,000 year old monuments. There was quite a lot of evidence of mole activity.

The Red Lion

We met up at The Red Lion, a 400 year old pub standing in the middle of the largest circle.

Flo and Dillon

Flo and Dillon posed against the backdrop of the stones,

Tree of JackdawsJackdaw tree and Stone

alongside a tree full of jackdaws.

Back at home, Jackie made pancakes for the others and brought me a plate of finger food to be enjoyed whilst working on this post. When the internet started misbehaving I poured myself more of the Navarra, and just managed to publish before the witching hour.

 

 

 

Was It Something In The Water?

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This morning was spent Christmas shopping in New Milton and in Brockenhurst

Stream

Jackie parked the car in Butts Lane, Brockenhurs and I walked alongside the stream beside it.

Water level guage

At the far end a ford leads to Park Close. The water level gauge shows

Water level gauge and reflections

it is quite shallow at this point.

Ripples on stream

Vehicles are able to cross easily, and send ripples along the waterway.

Reflection in streamReflections in streamReflections in stream

Trees,

Reflections in streamReflections in streamReflections in stream

buildings,

Reflections in stream

and fences rippled in the water.

Rose hips

Wild rose hips wound over the wooden bridge rails.

Chaffinch

A chaffinch took advantage of shrubbery camouflage,

Stream

spanning the stream.

Pigeon

This didn’t conceal a wood pigeon.

Feather on water

Perhaps this bird had lost a feather.

Jackdaws

Jumping jackdaws scratched around on the bank.

Pigeon

Although I saw no birds in the stream, the pigeon had a bath in,

Jackdaws

and the jackdaws drank from, a pool beside a house. Was it something in the water?

This evening we dined on barbecued pork spare ribs, prawn toasts, and Jackie’s exceedingly savoury rice. She drank more of the sauvignon blanc and I drank Mendoza Parra Alta malbec 2016.

 

 

 

Lymington’s National Hero

This morning we drove to The First Gallery with the last of the prints for the exhibition,

Seedlings

and Jackie’s donation of labelled seedlings,

Seedlings notes

with which she has included explanatory notes.

Cattle

On our journey via Beaulieu, cattle basked by the roadside at East Boldre.

Margery and Paul’s reception rooms resembled a frame-maker’s workshop, which, indeed they are at the moment. We are assured all will come right on the night. I commented that there was more work going into the mounting of my pictures than in the printing of them. Paul does make exceedingly good frames.

On our return trip, the cattle had been replaced by donkeys, but we had already seen some by the river at Beaulieu, playing host to parasitic jackdaws. It is very difficult to find somewhere to Park in Beaulieu, so, by the time we did so, the birds that had been fiercely  stabbing the hides of the unflinching drowsy asses on which they were perched,

Donkey and jackdawsDonkey

had moved off by the time I had walked back to the scene.

Burrard Monument from Lymington High StreetLymington High Street and Burrard Monument

We have often wondered at the obelisk that we have noticed when walking down Lymington High Street,

therefore passing Monument Lane on the approach to this small town, we decided to investigate. There was barely any passing space along this muddy track which led us to:

Welcome to the Burrard MonumentClicking on the images above and below

Admiral Sir Harry Burrard Neale

will provide enlarged information giving the story of

Burrard Monument

the monument.

Railing stumps

The notice board explains the railing stumps around the obelisk. These are the residue of iron that was commandeered for World War 2 armaments. Buildings, including residential homes, throughout their lands lost their railings, never to be replaced. It is highly debatable how much of this material was ever actually used for the war effort.

Unsown trees have now grown to fill what was once open parkland,

Pool and reflection

Reflection of Burrard Monument

and muddy, reflective, pools now surround its mound.

This evening we dined on roast duck, mashed potatoes, carrots, and Brussels sprouts followed by treacle tart and cream. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the madiran.