“Let’s Scarper”

This afternoon we drove to Mudeford where

marauding gulls hadn’t yet given up scavenging from a fishing boat that had unloaded its catch. In an attempt to secure a better angle for photographing them I perched on the lip of a large container. What I hadn’t realised was that I would tip over onto the pool of water in the centre. I yelled a bit as I leaped off. This caused a couple seated on a nearby bench to move over for me. I expressed some hesitation about taking this lower seat on account of my knees. This prompted a discussion in which I acquainted the gentleman with what he was in for when his wait for his replacement was over.

A motor boat sped along the surface alongside the quay.

We drove on to the north west of the forest, taking this lane through Woodgreen, where

pairs of twins in a sheep field raced each other for their mother’s dugs.

The woodland at Hale Purlieu is owned by The National Trust. I wandered around it for a while, looking down over the neighbouring landscape occupied by a solitary white cow,

and noticed ants darting along their route across the criss-crossing tree roots beneath my feet.

This Red Bull can tossed onto a lane at Hale rested inches from the bluebells, stitchwort, and other wild flowers on the verges.

From my passenger seat I noticed that a quartet of deer were grazing among the ponies on the moors bordering Roger Penny Way. They occupied a slope beneath a ridge, rendering them out of sight when I disembarked to approach them. It was therefore with some trepidation that I gingerly crossed a dry ditch and made my way across pitted terrain, being unsure whether they would still be there when I was able to look further down. In fact they were still chomping away. Eventually, of course they got wind of me. Taking an alert pose I overheard their conversation in which they pointed out the interloper and discussed what to do. “Let’s scarper” cried one, and they rapidly disappeared into the landscape.

Ponies on the slopes ignored them.

New foals are becoming commonplace now. Here is one of today’s keeping up with its mother.

Back at home this evening we dined on cheese centred smoked mackerel fishcakes; creamy mashed potato; piquant cauliflower cheese; ratatouille, carrots and cabbage, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Malbec.

Shared Pasturage

Although it was to brighten a little before we finished our trip into the forest this afternoon, it began very dull and overcast.

At Braggers Lane I disembarked from the Modus to focus on distant landscapes. The last two images include All Saints Church, featured in an earlier post.

Nascent bracken now towered above bluebells on the verge.

Horses grazed in the field opposite. One already wore an eye mask as protection against flies.

Generous assorted sheep and their little black lambs shared their pasturage with emus, ducks, and chickens in a field beside Fish Street. (Note Lwbut’s comment below. The large birds are Rheas)

While I focussed on the field, Jackie photographed the field behind me. at the far end of her vision two cows left their watering hole. One showed no interest, but its companion appeared to display some curiosity. The Assistant Photographer also created an image of the occupants of the field through a gap in trees beside the stream. The thatched cottage stands opposite the gate to the sheep field.

The road bridge provides a link between Fish Street and London Lane, alongside which whiter lambs were penned. This lane, along with many others, was permeated with the heavy, sweet, scent of oil seed rape seen in the distance in the first of the above pictures.

This evening we dined on Mr Pink’s fish and chips, pea fritters, and pickled onions. Jackie drank Peroni and I finished the Merlot Bonarda.

Stand-off

This afternoon our drive began at Keyhaven.

From the hill above the village we had a clear view across The Solent to the Isle of Wight. The mainland buildings are in the foreground. A solitary yacht passes the island.

At the bottom of the slope a field of black sheep introduced their very young lambs to life. Just two of the offspring were white.

A young cock pheasant face-off was under way at East End. Quite suddenly the more timid of the two turned and disappeared into the moorland,

leaving the victor to strut his stuff.

Casper, at East Boldre, enjoyed his own observation grill.

This evening we dined on Tesco’s finest fish pie; Jackie’s even finer piquant cauliflower cheese; crunchy carrots; tender peas and green beans. We both drank New Zealand’s The Quintet 2017.

Sway Tower Sunset

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Our BT Internet reception was so consistently poor that I closed the account a year or so ago and eventually transferred to EE mobile. This is far more expensive, but, by and large, reliable. We regularly need the maximum data allowance. Since Elizabeth joined us in July we have sometimes needed topping up. Suddenly, in the last couple of weeks, the allocation has been ingested through an insatiable, invisible, avaricious, maw. This morning, Nick, a technician from Peacock Computers, came to the house and checked all our devices, including the smart TV and my sister’s two computers. Culprits were identified, and advice given.

Having more confidence in logging on, I added a little more to ‘A Knight’s Tale’, adapting a small section of ‘Questions’.

Later this afternoon, Jackie drove me, via Barton on Sea, to South Sway Lane in time to catch the sunset.

Clifftop visitors at Barton, like this seated, bespectacled, gentleman, created silhouettes against the skyline.

A crow catching the lowering sun at Wootton was more exposed now many of the leaves are falling;

 burnished bracken blazed among banks of trees;

Jackie’s handbrake application startled a browsing chestnut pony.

Lucy, a grey with kindly eyes,

chomped, first food from a trug provided by her owner, then from grass, alongside her tubby neighbouring bleating lambs.

These animals were tinged with the red-gold hues of the Sway Tower sunset.

This evening we dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away fare with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and Elizabeth drank Cahors Malbec 2016, while I abstained.

 

“If I’d Known How Long They Lived I’d Never Have Married You”

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This morning the warm sun shone from a cloudy sky; this evening, still warm, the sun shone from a clear blue sky; this afternoon the sky was overcast. There are no prizes for guessing when we took a drive into the forest.

The first troop of animals that occupy the road was of sheep at Bramshaw. All but one left the green pitted with their hoof prints, some of which were water-filled. I made the mistake of setting out across this poxy terrain. This, in my current wobbly condition, caused Jackie, waiting in the car,  some consternation.

I could really identify with one lame, bleating, creature, left alone to limp over to join its companions.

Further on, it was the turn of muddy cattle, cropping hedges, standing and staring on the winding, undulating, road, or wallowing in ditches, to disrupt the traffic.

Donkeys took up the baton at Frogham. Like yesterday’s pony a little white foal nudged its mother’s furry flanks,

took an inquisitive look at me, and had a good scratch. At this point I indulged in a pleasant conversation with a farmer who pointed out that the mother was in need of a good hoof trim. When the lady had married her husband she had owned six donkeys. Her husband had said that had he known how long they lived he would never have married her.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s splendid chicken jalfrezi and pilau rice. On the patio beforehand the Culinary Queen had drunk her Hoegaarden and I had finished the Paniza. I did, however, have a glass of Lellei 2015, a very quaffable Hungarian pinot noir from Lidl with my meal.

 

The Grass Is Greener

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“We must find a lamb,” announced Jackie this morning. “To prove it is Spring”.

So we did. Quite a few in fact. This wasn’t very difficult given that Christchurch Road is flanked by fields full of them. The farmer appeared to be conducting an inventory. The golden heap in the fourth picture is gravel from New Milton Sand And Gravel.

On such a morning it was a pleasure to continue up to Hockey’s Farm Shop at Gorley Lynch for brunch. Ponies were out in their multitudes today. This group on Holmsley Road couldn’t make up their minds on which side of the road they wanted to take up residence. We thought it best to stop until they had decided.

Many players were out on the Burley golf course, where, to complete a round, they must wheel their clubs across the main road.

Donkeys breakfasted from the middle of the thoroughfare at Rockford Green, while another, oblivious of a passing cyclist, took up her stance on a junction at South Gorley.

Chestnut ponies at Gorley Lynch, having slaked their thirsts in the full ditches, set off down the road to cross at a well-trodden path. One, skirting a welly atop a traffic cone, created a mighty thud as it leapt the ditch and set off in pursuit of its companions. I exchanged pleasantries with the walker being followed by three cyclists. Jackie informed me afterwards that she had waited patiently behind me whilst I wielded my camera. I hope the young woman hadn’t wondered why I hadn’t thanked her.

The paddocks at the farm were, as usual, shared by donkeys and alpacas. One of the latter animals knew very well that the grass is greener on the other side, and seemed determined to taste it.

Not every pony we saw was exercising its right to dominate different road users. Others, occasionally outlined on hillsides, occupied the moors. The one pictured here with its legs in the air is not dead. It is rolling on the grass in order to dislodge something irritating.

For our dinner this evening Jackie produced spicy piri-piri chicken, soft sautéed leek and peppers, and colourful vegetable rice. She drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Azinhaga Portuguese red wine.

Giving It Some Welly

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Dawn

This morning’s dawn promised a better day than forecast.

And so it proved, at least for the first hour or so. I took an early ramble round the garden on which more light was cast than yesterday. This brought forth an open-mouthed gape from a bespectacled gentleman atop the skeletal honesty in the Weeping Birch Bed.

Camellias and hellebores were nicely backlit in some areas.

Garden view from Fiveways

Here is the view from Fiveways;

Daffodils, hellebores, allium, and bergenia

bergenia, daffodils, and hellebores in a corner of the Dead End Path;

and more hellebores, alliums, and vincas.

Daphne odora Aureomarginata

Jackie is particularly delighted with the daphne odora Aureomarginata that she put in last year. It is apparently quite a fussy plant.

When shopping at Lidl this morning, Jackie had spotted that the supermarket was selling very reasonably priced wheelbarrows. She drove me back there to buy one. After this we travelled on to Friars Cliff for me to post, into one of the beach huts, the prints I had made of photographs taken of two little girls on the beach on 24th February.

On one side of Christchurch Road stretches a number of extensive fields which, at this time of the year are occupied by hundreds of ewes and lambs. On the other, in front of a farmhouse, is a much smaller rectangular enclosure, not much more than a fold, really. We have always thought of that as the nursery for very newborn lambs before their decanting across the road. Today we saw confirmation of this.

The most recent arrivals and their mothers could be seen through the fencing bars. The rolled folds in the babies’ skin demonstrated their newness. Already, just like the grown sheep, they were stamped with identification numbers.

Even so young, some of the lambs were as inquisitive as the ewes,

whereas others and their mothers were not quite so sure.

As we arrived, a farmer drove a large tractor and long trailer from the farmyard, around a bend in the road, and through an open gate into the field opposite. He proceeded to unload his cargo of ewes and their lambs,

Ewes and lambs 1

which were very soon suckling fit to fill out those rolls of skin.

Unloading ewes and lambs 7

The farmer was very gentle with his charges, even when offering a whole new meaning to the phrase, ‘giving it some welly’, as he encouraged a reluctant little one to join its patiently waiting mother.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s pasta arrabbiata, sugar snap peas, and rocket salad, followed by tiramisu. I drank more of the Fleurie and the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden.