“Look, He’s Posing”

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This morning Jackie drove us to Lymington for me to take photographs that might be suitable for the walls of Lal Quilla restaurant. Raj had asked me for some a couple of days ago.

I began with a few featuring the building itself.

Gosport Road

The surrounding area includes Gosport Street, and

Quay Hill,

Painter Quay Hill

where the painter working on Sophie’s stopped to pass the time of day with a passer-by.

Quay Hill 1

 The King’s Head stands on the corner diagonally opposite Lal Quilla, at the point at which the High Street turns at right angles into Gosport Street. The tavern’s website tells us that

‘Despite dating back at least 300 years, many of the original features of The Kings Head can still be seen today.

The pub is known to have originally also been a bakers back in the day and even now the old bakers oven is still standing, along with the old well which is featured at the centre of the pub.

When you visit The Kings Head you will see the long-lasting beams made from Napoleonic Ships that only add to the character of this old English pub.

The pretty courtyard that we see today was previously used for fish-drying, whilst the buildings adjacent to the yard were an abattoir and fishermans house.

Despite these drastic changes over time, the inside of the pub has remained somewhat the same and the great open fire that cannot be missed is at least 300 years old.

It is these characteristics that, when you visit, make it easy to imagine the pub back in the 18th Century as a regular haunt for the smugglers and sailors that would frequent this famous sailing town.

Sometimes, if you’re lucky, you may even see one of the old regulars who used to pick up pots in exchange for ‘grog’ as he has been said to return occasionally as the pubs very own friendly ghost…’

I doubt that Raj, the manager, would want all the pictures I have produced, such as those of two alleys that can be seen from inside the restaurant, but I did need to indulge myself.

Quay Street lies at the bottom of Quay Hill. The driver who left his van at bottom right of the second picture was to be disappointed when he attempted to deliver a package to a closed shop. Winter hours in these establishments are somewhat restricted. The Boat House Café featured in the first scene is where we brunched,

People on bench

after I had wandered along the quay photographing a row of people seated on a bench;

Young woman on wall

a young woman crouching cross-legged on a concrete wall;

Shadow of young woman

and another casting a long shadow as our paths crossed.

Train crossing harbour

The train aiming for the Isle of Wight ferry traversed the harbour.

Lymington Quay 1

A pair of oriental tourists walked towards The Ship Inn,

the windows of which rippled in the water.

We drove on through the forest and found ourselves at Pilley Bailey, where, knee deep in water or autumn leaves, a group of ponies enjoyed their alfresco lunch.

Pony crossing road

One of these animals decided to cross the road. As I turned to watch it, I noticed

a trio of alpaca and dog walkers.

Alpaca walkers 4

One of the ungulates stopped still, staring in my direction. “Look, he’s posing”, cried his guide, as she strained at the leash.

Clouds on horizon

We were a little late to catch the sunset at Barton on Sea, but the bank of clouds resting on the horizon gave a differently dramatic effect.

This evening Jackie, for our dinner, produced roast chicken, mashed potato, green and runner beans, cauliflower, carrots, and ratatouille. She drank sparkling water and I drank Chateau Bonhomme Minervois 2016.

 

Winter Quarters

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Fibre optic broadband installation takes place in the exchange, and we cannot obtain a projected time for the work. It could be as late as midnight. James Peacock will therefore bring the router tomorrow morning. So the uploading struggles continue today.

Today’s fresh blooms in the rose garden are those of Crown Princess Margareta; and the honeysuckle on the entrance arch is under the reasonable impression that Spring has arrived.

Quay Hill

This afternoon we visited Dials on the bottom corner of Quay Street, Lymington, to buy a Christmas present;

then walked down to the quayside. A friendly young fisherman I have featured both in Lymington and in Mudeford, was steering his little boat into dock. I wonder if his

coracle?

and this one are kinds of coracle.

My young friend explained that he spends the period from the winter months to Easter at Lymington, because this calmer harbour is much safer than the other, which is exposed to the open sea. Crab pots, ropes, and buoys are neatly piled on the quay.

Boats

There was no other activity on the water with its forest of masts,

except for that of mallards and gulls ignoring the signs forbidding diving and mooring.

 This evening we enjoyed a second helping of Hordle Chinese Take Away’s delicious food. Jackie drank Hoegaarden whilst I chose Doom Bar.

The Drift

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The Boat House Café

On another beautiful late summer sunny day we brunched at The Boat House Café in Lymington. I chose the Full English Breakfast with tea, while Jackie selected a baked potato generously filled with prawns, accompanied by a cappuccino . The food was good, and the drinks enormous, but further visits would be happier when not on a scorching hot day in the height of the holiday season.

Lymington Quay 1

This was the view outside the eating house. Henrietta can be seen at her strawberry stall.

Strawberries and shoe 1

On the wall against which her sign is propped, can be seen a child’s shoe and a small punnet of the fruit. I asked this lovely lady what was the story behind this display. She explained that she was trying to draw attention to the lost item of footwear. She had originally placed a strawberry inside the shoe. Never one to pass up a photo opportunity, I asked her to do it again.

Strawberry in shoe 1Strawberry in shoe 2

She obliged. I was not surprised that someone has loved her enough to adorn her wedding finger.

Lymington Quay 2

The quayside was very well populated; people were occupied

Lymington Quay 3Harbour master crewBoats

boating,

Lymington Quay 4Fishing 1Fishing 2Fishing 3

crabbing,

Feeding ducks

feeding the ducks,

Couple on quayside

or just sitting.

Jackie drove right past our house afterwards and headed off to the forest in search of ponies. As far as the eye could see the sun-blest, purple heather-carpeted moorland between Sway and Brockenhurst was devoid of ponies. We wondered why. It was then that my driver saw the road signs such as: Pony Round-up sign

Maybe we were going to be in luck after all. But which way? We did an about turn and turned left in the direction of Brockenhurst. In the distance a line of parked vehicles came into view. We headed for them. Eventually we came to a track under a railway bridge from which a rather frantic neighing emanated. Jackie parked on the gravelled path and I walked in the direction of the sounds. Having moved under the bridge I came upon the round-up, known as The Drift.

Pony round-up 1Pony Round-up 19

This was an area penned off with very stout poles. An increasingly active and vociferous mass of equine flesh and hides was contained within its confines. Spectators of all ages lined the structure, leaning or sitting on the struts.

Pony Round-up 9

Pony Round-up 8

Seeing the handlers in the pen surrounded by heavy, heaving, horseflesh, hooves thudding on the impacted soil, I wasn’t surprised to read signs saying that anyone attending The Drift did so at their own risk. When I was absorbed in taking the last photograph above, I almost backed into a pony that had been freed.

Brands in fire

A tap on my shoulder alerted me to the fact that if I stepped backwards I would encounter a hot branding iron hanging from the tree behind me. I had noticed a fire, and walked close to the heat of it, but I had not examined it closely enough to notice that it was heating an array of such implements.

These creatures were being given an annual health check. They were rounded up; had their condition inspected; branded; and given a tail trim. Any that had problems were returned to their owners on whom it was incumbent to resolve any problems before letting them back into the forest. Those to be branded with their owners’ initials were either new to the forest, or had been born since the last annual event. I have mentioned before that the animals’ tails are cut in a particular way specific to the area in which they roam. This is the reason for the trim.

Pony Round-up 13

The gentleman in this picture was one of those tasked with trimming and branding inside a smaller enclosure into which the ponies were led in manageable groups. Managing involved prodding with a stick, slapping on the rear, and only occasionally shouting. The horses made far more noise than their carers. Interestingly, those animals which had been in the forest for several years, and therefore knew the ropes, were far less alarmed than the younger ones.

Ponies on road

They also knew that, branded, brushed, and treated to a new collar they would, like those in this shot, be set free to worry the traffic and set off under the railway bridge to Brockenhurst for a good feed.

Pony Round-up 11

Pony Round-up 12

Once a few had been cajoled into the the treatment pen, a little space opened up in the main enclosure,

Pony Round-up 3

Pony Round-up 7

until newcomers filled it.

Pony Round-up 14Pony Round-up 15Pony Round-up 16

Occasionally the seething masses would divide enough for

Pony Round-up 2Pony Round-up 4

human handlers,

Pony Round-up 5Pony Round-up 10Pony Round-up 17

and equine captives to steal the show.

The gentleman in the purple T-shirt on the left of the first picture in this series was my informant today. Further information can be obtained from this excellent website: http://www.newforest-life.com/New-Forest-Drift.html

This evening we dined on pork spare ribs in barbecue sauce with Jackie’s savoury rice and green beans, followed by Bakewell plaits and custard. I finished the syrah.

A Rapid Change Of Light.

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Robin juvenile

Early this morning we had an avian visitor, in the form of a juvenile robin looking wistfully through the kitchen window, during intervals between frantic flapping. Jackie lifted it up and set it free, but didn’t wait for me to get in another shot.

Unbeknown to us, when we visited Lymington Quay a little later, we just missed Frances and her friends Dave and Kay who also spent some time there.

Young man on Mavis Robinson's memorial bench

Initially oblivious of the hydraulic load-lift behind him, a young man dozed on a bench

Ship Inn

against the backdrop of the Ship Inn,

Ship Inn rooftop

with its lichen painted roof.

The Boat House Café

Tourists gathered around The Boat House Café,

Waiting for a cruise

 waited for the cruises to begin,

Train and boats

or travelled on the ferry port train.

Boat detail 1

Rigging

while more regular visitors prepared the rigging of their boats,

Kayakking

and a pair of kayakers set off between moored hulls.

As the quayside filled up and the hot sun rose in the sky, we set off for the cooler, less crowded, forest.

Boxer Dog

At East Boldre an imperious boxer dog occupied his own personal observation platform. (See comments from arlingwoman and 10000hoursleft below. The dog is an Old English Mastiff)

Cyclists

Cyclists enjoyed their track around the Ladycross Estate near Brockenhurst

Woodland

where dappled sunlight played on the woodland trees,

Log rising from bog

and Jackie saw a dinosaur emerging from a dried up bog.

Ponies 1

In this weather, ponies tend to shelter under trees, utilising their fly whisks.

Ponies 2

It seems they have learned that those in white clothing need less shade.

Even before we arrived home, we could see mist rolling in from the sea. I didn’t need to suggest we went and had a look at it. My Driver just turned away from the house and made straight for the coast, where

Sea mist with invisible Isle of Wight

the Isle of Wight was invisible,

Beach scene in mist 1Beach scene in mist

and a light pall lay over those on the beach.

This afternoon we received a delightful surprise when the three people we hadn’t known had been at the quay arrived for a visit. We spent an enjoyable few hours together, naturally involving highly satisfying admiration of the garden.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s splendid chicken jalfrezi and savoury rice.

Not a bad day, really.

P.S. Barrie Haynes put the following additional information about the lifting device on my Facebook page:  ‘As an amendment to that, the heavy duty ones (as in this case) do use oil when going down. It is released through a small orifice, thus making the tail lift go down slowly and safely with a heavy load and taking the stain of up to a couple of tons off the operating mechanism. So you were right after all Derrick it’s Mechanical (two big chains) Electrical (separate battery on lorry) and Hydraulic (for safety). For anybody reading this, never use a tail lift on a hired vehicle unless you are happy you know exactly how to do it. They can remove fingers!’