The Persistent Suitor

This morning Jackie drove me to New Hall Hospital and back for follow-up visits to surgeon Mr Ivar Kask and to physiotherapist Vanessa. Both were happy with progress and neither needs to see me again.

We followed an unnamed narrow winding lane from Bodenham, just behind the hospital, to Charlton-All-Saints. Hoping we would not meet another vehicle along the way we first encountered a young woman so engrossed in her mobile phone that she was in danger of walking straight into us.

Ponies, as usual, grazed or lazed on and around the green at Hale,

where a group of donkeys presented a tableau before a thatched cottage. A solitary creature to the left of these pictures stepped across the grass leaving the two dozing on the right

to the attentions of this character who had been lurking out of shot. He made his way steadily towards the other two,

intent on making further acquaintance.

His sweet-faced intended simply walked away from beneath him as he pursued his suit. He returned in persuasive mood. She didn’t seem to mind his nuzzling up,

but drew the line at a further approach from the rear.

He had to settle for a consoling scratch.

Hatchett Lodge, being the 19th century lodge to Hale Park, is a Grade 2 listed building.

The village stands on land high enough to offer views of distant landscapes; bluebells now embellish banks; the bole of a gnarled oak tree commands attention.

Ponies and cattle co-exist happily on the green at Woodgreen, from where,

beyond an aged oak, one of its limbs propped by a makeshift chock, can be seen Braemore House, standing since the time of Queen Elizabeth I.

We lunched at The Green Dragon, Brook. My egg was not broken when it was delivered, but I had pierced it with the obligatory chip before deciding to record it for posterity. My meat was gammon. Jackie very much enjoyed her battered haloumi with mushy peas and French fries, which, of course demanded a dousing in the spicy dip. Jackie drank a flat white coffee while I drank Wadsworth’s 6X.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s substantial vegetable soup and fresh crusty bread with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Juicy Assemblage.

Ponies At The Door

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After an exchange of e-mails this morning, I had sufficient information to make the bank transfer of payment for the unexpected French land tax demand. Jackie drove me to the bank at Lymington where I completed the process.

We then took a brief drive into the forest. Seeking colour under a sunless granite sky was a little optimistic, but the unusually warm temperature was pleasant enough.

Undershore, popular with intrepid pedestrians

links land alongside Lymington Reed Beds with Pilley Hill. A footpath signed before a picket fence follows the side of Lymington River. Road closures in Pilley, where we wanted to book a table at the Fleur de Lys for tomorrow night, meant we retraced our wheels to take this route.

Two of the usual hopefuls waited at the door of Greatham House at Brockenhurst for pony treats.

This evening Jackie and I dined at Lal Quilla. Jackie chose chicken sag as her main course; mine was chicken jaljala; we shared special fried rice and an egg paratha; we both drank Kingfisher. Jackie was given two large carrier bags full of chillis – enough to see us out. I hope there is enough room in the freezer.

‘Wait For Me, Mum’

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This morning I tidied up after some of Jackie’s cutting back yesterday, and was then rewarded by delicious scents from the roses as I dead-headed them.

Elizabeth came to lunch and dinner. This afternoon the three of us drove out to Hyde where we enjoyed refreshments in the café, and the ladies bought plants from the farm shop.

Ford 3Ford 1Ford 2

 We drove on for a while, crossing the ford at Frogham. The stream under the road was as shallow as we have ever seen it.

Tractor wheelsTractor wheel

The rusting tractor parts up on the bank were in no danger of inundation,

Pony mare and foal

and a pony mare and foal set off to find refreshment elsewhere.

Mare and foal crossing road 1

On Roger Penny Way, bringing the traffic to a halt, another pony led her offspring across the road.

Foal running across road after mother

As she bent down to chomp the grass a cry of ‘Wait of me, Mum’ rent the air and the little foal began frantically running after its oblivious parent. I have never seen a foal run before.

Foal hiding under mother

Further on, having similarly crossed the road, another little pony took refuge under its mother, producing a rather deceptive image.

Elizabeth photographing

Before returning home we took a diversion to Bank, near Lyndhurst, where Elizabeth and I took some photographs.

Lane

My sister and Rob had lived here when they were young adults, and she took us on a nostalgic wander along the lanes

Forest scene 1Stream 2Stream 3Stream 1

and into the forest with its somewhat depleted stream.

This evening Jackie produced an excellent meal of poached haddock; swede, parsnip, and potato mash; piquant cauliflower cheese, carrots, and  runner beans. Jackie and I both drank Bergerac blanc sec 2016, and Elizabeth chose Louis de Camponac cabernet sauvignon 2016.

P.S. See wfdec’s comment below. He has identified the ‘tractor parts’ as a timber jinker. Many thanks to John.

Location Established

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The discovery of a few more colour negatives from 1986, with the aid of a properly labelled photograph album, enabled me to establish that the mountain scaled by Matthew and Sam in yesterday’s post was actually in North Wales, near Cerigydrudion, where Ann and Don were refurbishing their house.

Seen in context, with Louisa hastening to join them, the hillock doesn’t seem so daunting.

Early one morning Sam escorted his little sister on a recce down the lane leading from the farmhouse we had rented.

Becky

Becky

gave Louisa a lesson in building a sandcastle.

Sam and Louisa

I’m not sure where Sam and Louisa found this swing boat which gave so much pleasure.

Becky at Christmas tree with Easter eggs

This afternoon Jackie went out for newspapers and came back with the first Easter eggs of the year – and it’s not even Twelfth Night, when the Christmas decorations are customarily taken down. Becky suitably expresses the stupidity of our marketing practices. Indeed, it occurred to me that, unless kept at the right temperature, the chocolate would have a white film on it by the time of the festival for which it was intended.

This evening, with our dinner, Jackie, Becky, and Ian drank Don Cayetano Sauvignon Blanc 2015. My beverage was Louis Virion Costières de Nîmes 2014. We ate Jackie’s sublime roast lamb, potatoes, and parsnips; green beans, broccoli, and carrots; followed by Christmas pudding and cream.

Gooseberry

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This morning Jackie drove us around the east of the forest.

Pony on road

At East End we passed some ponies chomping by the roadside.

Lane

It was a narrow lane, so Jackie drove on and parked in a passing spot for me to walk back to photograph the scene.

Field and hedgerow 1Field and hedgerow 2

This is a small farming area with fields enclosed by hedgerows.

Ponies on road 1

Back up the hill and round the bend, I observed a novel method of clearing ponies from the road.

Ponies on road 2

What this driver did was to give the rear end of the white pony a gentle nudge with the vehicle’s nose and keep creeping forward.

Ponies and foals 1

In the field alongside stood, in awe, a little foal with a thought bubble above its head bearing the caption ‘Will I be like you when I grow up?’ I am not sure, however, that this was not a Falabella (named after its Argentine breeder, Julio) such as we encountered at St Leonard’s, further down the road.

Ponies 1

Falabella 1Falafella 2

This adult horse, lost in a group of larger ponies, rarely exceeds 75 cm. in height.

Ponies 2

Ponies 4

Two pairs in this group were indulging in heavy petting,

Ponies 5

which extended to love bites,

Ponies 3

Ponies 1

which was all rather difficult for the unfortunate, mournful-looking, gooseberry.

Lavender Farm 4

We visited the Lavender Farm at Plaitford where we enjoyed coffee and plants along with many other visitors.

Lavender Farm 1

Even before entering we could see that lupins and foxgloves were in abundance.

Lavender Farm 5

Many more plants at their peak were also on sale;

Lavender Farm 2

Lavender Farm 3

and, of course, numerous types of lavender,

Lavender Farm 8

Lavender Farm 7

also growing in the gardens. I am not sure which bird is represented by the avian topiary in the centre distance of this shot,

Lavender Farm 6

but this is surely an elegant swan.

Plough, Lavender Farm

Since our last visit a blue painted plough has been added to the interesting artefacts enhancing the beds.

This evening we dined at Dynasty in Brockenhurst. My choice of main meal was Ayre (fish) jalfrezi with special fried rice. We shared onion bahji, tarka dhal, and egg paratha. Jackie and I drank Kingfisher, and Sheila drank sparkling water.