Polishing The Car

On a largely overcast, yet warm, morning Jackie and I took a forest drive during which we brunched at Hockey’s Farm Café.

We seldom see ponies in the woodland flanking Holmsley Passage,

but we spotted these largely buried in ferns today.

It was golfers crossing from one side of the Burley course who stopped the traffic on this occasion.

A number of ponies, one very fetching in her natural necklace and tiara, browsed along Forest Road.

A number of assorted pigs, the last pair polishing our car, had no intention of making it easy to photograph them as they scampered snorting and snuffling in their eagerness to be first on the mast now falling freely. The last two, carefully avoiding the cattle grid entrance to Hockey’s gave our new Hyundai a good polish.

The pair in the first two pictures above kept well ahead of me until they disappeared out of sight, and were not reflected in the stream I was left with.

We didn’t get far down Newtown Lane where we would normally expect to spot porkers, because they had obviously avoided the resurfacing work which caused us to turn back.

A young pony sank into soggy ground at North Gorley, where a duck crossed the road, maybe aiming for the stream behind the horse.

Donkeys, as usual, tried their luck with customers of The Forester’s Arms at Frogham.

Cattle and ponies shared the Abbotswell landscape,

while, at the bottom of the hill a pair of ponies alongside the now very shallow stream feeding the ford, bore their share of flies.

Later this afternoon Ronan and Craig from Tom Sutton Heating replaced the new valve they had fitted last week which turned out to be faulty.

This evening we all dined on delicious sausages and creamy mashed potato, with crispy bacon and fried onions; crunchy carrots; tender broccoli stems, and meaty gravy with which Jackie drank Zesty and I finished the Montepulciano.

Along Holmsley Passage

After purchasing final Easter provisions from Ferndene Farm Shop Jackie and I took a short forest drive.

The Postbox Cottage letter box on Wootton Road is now graced by an Easter Bunny yarn decoration.

Along Holmsley Passage Jackie parked the Modus and I stepped out

to photograph ponies, landscape,

and a family wheeling with their dog along the disused railway track.

This evening we all dined on meaty pork spare ribs in barbecue sauce, Jackie’s savoury rice, and green and runner beans, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Nero di Troija.

Three Ponies For A Pound

After lunch today, with, as usual, SueW’s help, I recovered the pictures to the following posts:

This afternoon Jackie and I took a forest drive.

When I photographed these grasses in and the log teepee beside a section of Hatchet Pond that I had often photographed before I had not realised that I was about to learn that this was known as Little Hatchet.

Approaching a larger area of the lake I noticed sky borne evidence that a woman was tossing food for gulls

and a pair of swans who she told me were Norman and Nancy, who normally had their home in Little Hatchet, where Flo and I had photographed them with their cygnets on 27th May.

Each year they chased the other Cygnus family away from this section, where I had photographed them before Christmas, and took possession of the spot in case they would like to move home.

We drove on to Furzey Lane where Jackie noticed, and photographed, that the thatcher’s donkey on a rooftop had provided even more material for nesting birds.

She also focused on the landscape into which the avians had probably carried their stolen straw.

Nearby stands the Furzey Lodge Pound, which we have never before seen occupied.

Today there were three residents.

This evening we all dined on perfect pork chops with mustard sauce and almond topping; sautéed new potatoes and leeks; roast sweet potatoes and mushrooms; crunchy carrots, and tender green beans, with tasty gravy. I drank more of Gran Selone and no-one else did.

Who Needs A Rug

With help and encouragement from SueW, I have today replaced the missing photographs from the following posts dated from 23rd to 28th October 2022. New followers from before mid-December may not have seen them.

Flo, Dillon, and Ellie were collected by Ian at mid-day to take them for a few days to Southbourne.

After lunch we took a forest drive.

On Forest Road a grazing pony blended with the bracken.

We looked down on the landscape below Braggers Lane,

Where a paddock was entered through a fence that lay between a decaying stump and a gnarled tree trunk;

a New Forest pony accompanied a field horse protected against the cold temperatures by a rug, of which the hardy little equine has no need. Throughout the day we noticed field horses wrapped up and ponies uncovered.

During their safe season, pheasants abound in certain areas of the forest. Most scurry through a hedge when poked at by a camera lens. Not this fellow on parade on Ringwood Road who happily strutted about showing his best side.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s wholesome shepherd’s pie with fried potato topping, crunchy carrots, firm cauliflower and tender cabbage with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Shiraz.

To Catch A Worm

I spent much of the morning recovering pictures for https://derrickjknight.com/2022/10/29/nine-years-on/

Immediately after lunch we took drive into the forest where

a weak sun photographed over Charles’s Lane

and through trees at Ogden North feebly attempted to pierce cold cloud cover.

Earlier, Martin had been stymied in his work on the patio by the frozen cementing material. He left after

cutting and carrying from the Back Drive the paving slabs he had oped to fix in place.

The knitted robin decorating the Tiptoe post-box on Wootton Road, knowing where he would land, having risen early enough to catch a juicy worm, donned a breast bib to compete with the Royal Mail red,

A string of ponies gathered outside The Rising Sun at Bashley.

Looking across the valley beneath the aforementioned Ogdens North frost still lay on the roofs, while a pillar of bonfire smoke made its way to merge with the clouds.

A pair of field horses sported rugs to put their unfashionable companion to shame,

while others simply blended with their golden hay.

This evening we all dined on oven fish and chips, sliced pickled gherkins, pickled onions, onion rings, and mushy peas, with which Jackie and I both drank Trentino Pinot Grigio 2021.

Hung Out To Dry

Early this morning Jackie stocked up with provisions at Ferndene Farm Shop while I sat in the car, then continued into the forest via

Beckley Common Road, which, like all lanes on this decidedly damp, drear, day bore reflecting pools along the verges,

and soggy autumn leaves there

and in the bordering woodland, where someone had hung

a pair of toys out to dry.

Equally damp were the ponies foraging alongside Forest Road.

Distant landscapes, as, for example, visible from Wilverley Road, were distinctly hazy.

Martin and his younger son, Arlo, visited briefly at lunchtime to deliver a Christmas card with a warm message, and beverages for Jackie and for me selected from information gleaned on this blog.

This evening we dined on more of Hordle Chinese Take Away’s excellent fare with which I drank Gran Selone Italian red wine.

Ever Increasing Circles

The overnight gales offered us a brief respite this morning, during which the

sun was permitted an appearance and the rain lessened. This was not to last, but we were fortunate for a time during which we ventured into the forest.

A dip in the landscape as we head towards Burley from Holmsley Passage, dry until recently has filled with water the surface of which ripples with reflections while fat, pendulous, raindrops slip from the branches above, sending ever increasing circular patterns into play.

Clay Hill is closed to traffic when small birds are nesting among the undergrowth. Today its own pond was fuller than it has been so far this year.

It, too, reflected the surrounding woodland,

containing dripping rose hips.

On the moorland to our left as we drove back down Holmsley Passage, several damp ponies enjoyed a small spot of sunshine, while

a fire on the opposite side of the lane seemed to be a bout of controlled burning of gorse.

This evening we dined on more of Jackie’s pasta Bolognese, this time with stir fried vegetables al dente. I drank more of the Malbec while the Culinary Queen, Flo, and Ellie, all abstained.

How Many Centuries?

Jackie drove me to Lymington where I spent the morning in the EE showroom. I had been two days without a service on O2. There is no other supplier’s showroom within several miles of us, and I could not telephone O2.

Cutting a long story short, I decided to transfer to EE, where it is possible to speak to a real person in an accessible building. My old Samsung, a good 10 years old, is now obsolete, so I also upgraded to the current model.

Miraculously, my O2 account worked this afternoon.

Late this afternoon, we took a short forest drive.

I stepped out on Holmsley Passage

and photographed autumn bracken in surrounding woodland

and undulating landscape.

Voices of the two young women on the winding road had carried way up the hill behind me.

Further on, I wondered for how many centuries had shafts of sunlight outlined the mossy mounds of the ancient hedgerow banks along Bisterne Close, or

the backs of generations of smiling young pigs, 

gleefully guzzling

acorns on the steep slopes leading out of Burley.

This evening we dined on second helpings of last night’s takeaway with the same beverages.

Frustrated

WordPress has tested my good nature to the limit today. I have struggled to like other posts or my followers comments; I have failed intermittently to comment on others’ posts; I have been unable until now (mid-afternoon) even to begin a new post.

We began the day with a trip to the pharmacy at Milford on Sea for our flu vaccinations – at least these weren’t problematic – and continued to Ferndene Farm shop for provisions, and on to the forest.

Along Wilverley Road the landscape still looked rather parched,

apart from the banks of trees ahead;

the burnished bracken on the moors flanking Holmsley Passage remained many shades of green and gold.

Jackie speculated that the tree trimming on the road outside Burley was to ensure that visitors on our open-topped tourist routes would not be clouted on this section of their journey.

The post box decoration on Tiptoe Road raised a smile from me when I noticed the spider crawling over the seasonal pumpkin.

After two hours during which I had only reached the second picture above, I gave up and made one more attempt before dinner, and polished off the rest like a dream.

The said dinner consisted of Jackie’s delicious lamb and apricot cobbler: the filling was tender, and the cheese and thyme scone topping, firm; the vegetables were boiled potatoes, firm broccoli and cauliflower, and crunchy carrots. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden, I drank Château La Mauberte Bordeaux 2020, and the young parents ate later.

The last two lines, omitted by WP yesterday, were added with much difficulty on 4th.

One For Tootlepedal

Jackie and I drove through a succession of heavy showers on a trip to the north of the forest and back.

Manic windscreen wipers fought to keep pace with raindrops obscuring vision and sliding across the glass; roadside ditches were filling up and ever increasing circles spread around every drop striking the surfaces of pothole pools. All was gloomy darkness periodically pierced by episodes of sunshine highlighting the white trunks of birch trees and glistening foliage and field crops.

Unconcerned distant deer on Blissford Hill enjoyed their damp pasturage.

The pool at Abbotswell, dry for weeks, was beginning to fill while

rain misted the landscape below.

As we left the splashing pothole pitted site tail-twitching ponies pottered along ahead.

The stream at Ogdens North, now flowing once more, rippled across the gravel bed and foamed against a nippled fallen log.

A bejewelled oak leaf from last autumn

lay beside the wooden bridge photographed for Tootlepedal.

Becky returned home to Southbourne this afternoon, leaving good portions of her tagliatelle Bolognese for our dinner this evening, which we enjoyed with various pizzas and fresh salad. My pizza choice was salami and chillis. The young couple ate a little later than Jackie and I, who drank Peroni and more of the Bordeaux respectively.