I begin with this picture of Jackie’s, down the Brick Path, which I unfortunately omitted yesterday. Mea culpa.

We received a fair bit of rain overnight, but today was dry, if pretty cool, with intermittent sunny periods blown along by stiff breezes.

Our morning began with a trip to Tesco where Jackie carried out the shopping, then wheeled it to the car in a trolley, and I helped unload it into the Modus, after having read a little more of David Copperfield. I then unloaded it at home before my Chauffeuse took us on a forest drive.

During one of the duller spells we drove down Lower Pennington Lane where fresh cow parsley; burgeoning blackberry blossom; and carpets of yellow flowers dotted the fields and hedgerows beneath lowering skies. An inquisitive goat peered through a farm fence.

Looking across to the Isle of Wight we could see Hurst lighthouse and castle, distant walkers, and hang gliders welcoming the wind.

As we pulled into Longslade Bottom car park I was intrigued by voices emanating from the undergrowth. Upon inspection I met three friendly women seated on folding chairs enjoying the shelter.

Dog walkers shared the grassy slopes with ponies. By and large they were respectful of each other.

Then along came a gentleman with two dogs on leads. A small brown one barked a lot. It was loosed. It carried on barking at the ponies. Fortunately they ignored it.

I was also let loose on Bisterne Close where I photographed the woodland and its trees, lichen, moss, and fresh ferns.

A squirrel, racing between trees froze, listened, then sped on. It was so kind of it to pause for the photographer.

A young buck in a field of yellow flowers was quite unfazed by my presence.

More ponies stood among the gorse in the moorland alongside Holmsley Passage.

This evening we dined on a rack of ribs in barbecue sauce; Jackie’s delicious egg-fried rice; and tender green beans, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Rioja.

Foxglove And Twinkle

Early this bright, sunny, and cool day we drove out to Pilley to deliver a letter to Elizabeth. I popped it into her letter box and we continued on our way.

I have a couple of times before featured the horse and pony occupying the garden of Jordan’s Cottage on the corner of Bull and Jordan’s Lanes. Today I was to be formally introduced. As I photographed the two equines feeding from their trough a Gentleman planting flowers invited me in. This was Roderick, whose granddaughter owns these creatures. The horse is Foxglove and the pony, Twinkle.

Given her freckles, Foxglove is so aptly named. She is an eventer who is convalescing while recovering from and injured back leg. Roderick confirmed that the mask is for protection from flies. Seeing me back away as the horses trotted over to me when I entered the small paddock, he assured me that they were very friendly. I laughed and explained that I was not afraid but had to keep my distance to use the lens on my camera. In fact I left the paddock to take the shots of Foxglove in her mask. It would, of course, have been rude not to have photographed Twinkle’s eye.

On Norleywood Road we passed trick cyclist who probably wasn’t a psychiatrist. This was to have been on our way home until Jackie took a diversion down

Lower Pennington Lane to investigate the nature reserve at the far end.

Hurst View camping site was packed out and I could hear voices planning their day’s trips all the way down the lane along which I walked while Jackie waited in the car, parked on a verge just before a considerable narrowing of the thoroughfare.

Even cyclists had little passing room.

The marshland to my left was quite dry and occupied by a few basking ponies. The Isle os Wight could be seen in the distance.

When I reached the entrance to the bird sanctuary it seemed that the caravan site was decanting its entire contents who were making their way along the dedicated path which I consequently decided to eschew and set off across undulating terrain which I largely had to myself. I took the last section of the path on my return and I have to say that the boys in the third picture above thanked me for stepping aside.

In the circumstances it is hardly surprising that the only birds I saw were flocks of Canada geese,

occasionally joined by others flying in.

Against the backdrop of the Isle of Wight, The Needles, Hurst castle and their lighthouses, across the marshland could be seen walkers, cyclists and a dog. Particularly the last of this gallery would benefit from bigification.

A few goats occupied a field opposite the campsite.

After lunch I put in another stint at pruning Félicité Perpétue in the front garden.

Later this afternoon Elizabeth came for a cup of tea and stayed for dinner consisting of another of Jackie’s succulent cottage pies; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; tender cabbage; and meaty gravy, with which the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Carles.