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.

Cock Of The Roost

John Wain writes a good story. His ‘The Pardoner’s Tale’, which I finished reading last night, uses the device of a novel within a novel, fusing two stories together by an ingenious means which I will not reveal, but which soon becomes clear. The narrative moves along nicely. Published by MacMillan in 1978, the work traces the transient development of sexual relationships, leaving the reader to use his or her imagination as to the exact nature of the coupling. Following his example I will not provide too much information, thus diminishing the reader’s curiosity.

It is almost fifty years since I last read Chaucer’s tale from which I thought Wain must have taken his inspiration. I therefore read that again this morning. Strangely enough, although about gluttony and other lusts, this cautionary tale did not cover sex. This had me puzzled until I explored the pardoner’s motto: ‘radix malorum est cupiditas’ which translates as ‘greed, or desire, is the root of all evil’. (Don’t get excited – Latin gave me up at school, so I had to look this up.) Thus, our modern author focuses on the desire for ideal sexual relationships.

My Chaucer reading was from my Folio Society copy of The Canterbury Tales (1974)

illustrated with woodcuts by Edna Whyte, and translated into modern English by Nevill Coghill.

On the afternoon of this dismally dripping day, Jackie drove me into the forest where

beside the green at Pilley, sodden ponies scoured pasturage near the replenished old quarry

lake.

Cattle, as usual, occupied the aptly named Bull Hill, further down which

a duck paddled among the reflected branches of a tree in a garden where it would have waddled in the summer.

A clutch of chickens raking over a heap of straw across the road scurried off as I approached. Not so the cock of the roost who gave me the evil eye and continued combing.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s toothsome sausage casserole; boiled potatoes; and firm carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli with which I drank Nero d’Avola 2014.

The Food Is Over There

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This afternoon Jackie drove Elizabeth and me to Lymington where my sister visited her Estate Agent. Afterwards we carried on to Pilley in order to introduce the prospective new resident to more of her soon to be local fauna. The ladies also visited the Community Shop where much local information was gathered.

The lake is still very dry, although at least one pony was able to soak its feet in the water while drinking and tugging out the weed, before foraging on the bed. When we visited before the recent storm there had not been sufficient water to reflect the houses in the first two pictures. The animal on the far side had quite a trek from what was the bed of the lake earlier in the year, to take a drink.

The customary number of ponies, with foals, occupied the parched grassy area in front of the terrace of houses alongside the shop.

A young girl and boy were enjoying feeding the ponies from bowls. Their mother, like me, having photographed them, was forced to protest that she had no food for the more persistent beggars, and that they should look elsewhere.

Ponies

We toured the local lanes. May Lane is a cul-de-sac, from the end of which we could see more ponies on Pilley Street.

Finally we enjoyed a drink in the Fleur de Lys, the highly recommended local pub, where we will dine tomorrow.

This evening we savoured more of Jackie’s excellent, hot, chilli con carne. Having downed a pint of Jail ale at the pub I drank water; Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and Elizabeth, more of the Merlot.

Gravel Pit Cottage

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We began this cold, bright, day with two trips to the recycling centre to dispose of bags of garden refuse. Afterwards we drove around the east of the forest and back.

The waterlogged green at Pilley reflected the houses beside it.

Trees,

horses,

  and buildings were similarly mirrored in the more permanent lake. Some of the animals drank the clear water, others dozed on the bank. Note the thatched homes.

The workman seen to the left of the nearest cottage was ignored by the ponies as he walked backwards and forwards from front to back of the house. Apart from the presently muddy bank and sodden bench, this was a convenient site for a bus stop. The house is named Gravel Pit Cottage, thus giving an indication of the origin of the lake. I’ve only ever seen animals drinking from the edge, suggesting that it is probably quite deep in the middle.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s special cottage pie; perfectly prepared broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and cabbage; and very tasty gravy. I finished the Chateauneuf du Pape.

 

Message In A Bottle?

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This morning I tidied up the Head Gardener’s Walk. It was becoming a little overgrown.

This was the result.

Apart from a brief spell of sunshine when I was carrying out this task, today was very dull and overcast. It was not the afternoon to go in search of a field of bluebells – especially as we didn’t find it.

Ballard Water Meadow 1

We understood that it was part of Ballard Water Meadow and Woodland.

So dry has been our month of April, that the streams that cross the area are all but dried up.

Conservation has been in progress for some years. A footpath, logging, and cutting back of undergrowth beside the main ditch provide evidence of industry.

A handful of small black cattle sat around chewing the cud as I left Jackie sitting on a bench and went off on a bluebell hunt. The beasts contributed plentiful pats as their contribution to the ecology.

Cow 1

The cows quietly tolerated the flies crawling around their eyes.

Dog walker, buggy, cattle

Many dog walkers availed themselves of the pet-emptying facility.

Bluebells

I continued in search of the elusive bluebell field, and settled for the odd clump of the English variety – not the Spanish Armada.

Reflections in lake

I reached a man-made lake with its share of water fowl and reflections of nearby buildings.

Oasis wrapper

Unfortunately there was a smattering of litter in the surrounding woodland,

Maltesers in lake

and in the lake itself.

The Maltesers container lay at the edge. A couple of bottles stood up in the water. Was there a message in this?

On my return the cattle had risen to their feet and started foraging.

This evening we dined at The Crown Inn at Everton. I chose well-filled steak and kidney pudding with carrots and swede wrapped in a cabbage leaf, chips and gravy. Jackie chose duck with noodles, stir-fry vegetables and hoisin sauce. Desserts were respectively bread and butter pudding with pomegranate seeds floating in creme Anglaise, and sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream. Jackie drank draught Becks, and I began with a glass of Brown Brothers Everton Red, which was accurately described as having the flavours of the hedgerow. My second glass was the well-tried Mendoza Argentinian Malbec.

Boating and Fishing

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On another low key day Jackie drove me to Lymington to collect my laptop, the battery of which had needed replacing.

Later I scanned the last of the colour negatives of the French holiday taken towards the end of 1985.

Matthew,Sam and Louisa 1985 1

In the evenings Matthew, Sam, and Louisa liked to sit and contemplate the pool;

Jessica 1985

Jessica kept an eye on proceedings.

MatthewandSam 1985 1

One day Matthew, starting with Sam, took family members in different combinations on a paddle boat trip on a local lake.

Matthew, Sam and Louisa 3

Louisa joined in, as did Becky, whose trailing arm is visible here;

Louisa, Becky, Jessica, Sam, and Matthew 1985 res. 2400Matthew, Sam, Jessica and Becky1985

and, later, Jessica.

Matthew 1985 res 1200

Back at the gite Matthew, with an improvised rod and line, went fishing,

Becky and Sam 1985Sam 1 res 1200Sam 2 res 1200

and introduce Sam to the pastime. The little chap made his own rod.

Sam and Louisa 1985 1

Before bed, Sam and Louisa made an exciting den with kitchen furniture. The scabby knees still look impressive.

This evening Jackie produced an excellent meal of Chicken fillets marinaded in sweet chilli and mango, on a bed on vegetable rice. The vegetable included onion, mushrooms, peas, beans, sweet corn, and carrots. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Barbera d’Asti.

Despite repeated attempts, intermittent loss of connection has made it impossible to load most of today’s pictures. I am giving up and going to bed, hoping that there will be some improvement in the morning.

October 8th. All pictures are now inserted

A Garden Of Delights

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Japanese anemone suspended petal 1Japanese anemone suspended petal 2Japanese anemone suspended petal 3

Watching the suspended petal of a Japanese anemone this morning set me musing. First I considered the strength of the thread that grasped it. As the flower part spun and twisted in the breeze, its captor clung on, just as it would with a fly’s frantically thrashing death throes.

On a more musical note, my head recalled the rhythmic tones of chirpy Chubby Checker from 1960:

This afternoon we went on an outing to Stratford Tony Manor House garden which was open under the National Gardens Scheme. It was my idea of a delightful garden.

Lakeside

There was space for large lawned areas, many trees, a stream, and a lake.

Shrubbery 1Shrubbery 2

The large borders, especially those planted against walls, were really rather splendid,

Couple admiring border

and admired by many,

Jackie admiring festooned wall

including Jackie.

Sculpture 1

There were a number of interesting sculptures.

Three girls sculptures

Three girls sculpture 2

The story behind those of three girls sheltering among cyclamen under a weeping willow is  rather endearing. Made some twenty years ago, they are the daughters of the family. The eldest, now brings her own child to visit the family home. This scene, reminiscent of Enid Blyton characters from an earlier time, has been brought into the 21st century with the subtle placement of a mobile phone. The standing child once had a tennis ball placed with  equal whimsy, but the dog kept taking it.

Fossilised stump

Two apparent sculptures were in fact fossilised stumps with polished tops.

Photographer photographed 1

A more modern garden ornament features in this photograph of a photographer and her subjects. We had a delightful conversation about this, and I gave them details of this blog.

Photographer photographed 2

The next picture I made of them will be a surprise to them. (I hope you like it, folks).

Visitors to garden 1

Some quite large groups of visitors wandered around, negotiating the sometimes steep slopes,

Tea Terrace

leading to the tea terrace where a very busy team of helpers kept us all supplied.

Flower arrangement

On each table was placed one or two very tastefully arranged vases of flowers.

Bridge

There were suitably placed bridges over the still lake;

Crossing the bridge

visitors enjoyed crossing them,

Lake 1

or just contemplating the tranquil scene,

Reflection

the tempting water,

Swan 1Swans 1

and the swans.

Gate

The nicely rusting iron gate to the kitchen garden contrasted with the green grass behind it, revealed by suitable excised symbols.

Field 1

At a short distance from Stratford Tony, an army helicopter chugged over crows in a recently harvested field

Field 2

now draped with striped curtains.

Back at home, Mr Chatty Man Chan of Hordle Chinese Take Away provided our evening meal with which Jackie drank sparkling water and I drank more of the Kekfrankos.