Why Did The Pheasant Cross The Road?

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Yesterday evening we enjoyed the usual excellent food and friendly efficient service in the perfect company of Elizabeth, Danni, and Andy, at Dynasty Indian restaurant in Brockenhurst. This family grouping is always full of stories, fun, and catching up with current events. So it was then.

When John Keats penned his immortal line ‘Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’ he was not thinking of Spring. This morning, one could have been forgiven for thinking so. Well, at least the ‘mists’ image. As I stood peering into the film covering Lymington River, a gull winged its way into view, alighted on a circular yellow buoy, and quickly sped off again.

Reed beds

I crossed the road and leant on a rail chatting to a little family who were on their way to the quay for a crabbing expedition. I was able to tell them about the reed beds, and thatching. One little girl told me that her Mummy had a coat like my jacket. “Well, it’s red. But longer”, she added.

Cyclists

On leaving Lymington we followed a pair of cyclists up the hill towards the east. These two had the good sense to stay in single file and on our side of the road. We are accustomed to and accepting of this. Whilst I can fully understand the joy of cycling for exercise, I cannot fathom why anyone would charge around bends on our narrow lanes two abreast. This happened twice today. On the second occasion a large group was involved. Fortunately our vehicle is a Modus, not a large lorry.

Donkeys were just about visible at Tanner’s Lane. Three grazed in the field against the backdrop of a burgeoning rape crop; another pair chomped on dry seaweed on the shingle.

An angler in a boat would not have been able to see the Isle of Wight behind him; a black-headed gull floated nearer the shore.

As we drove away from the beach, a decidedly grey pony, deviating at the last minute, headed straight for us.

Fat pheasants wandered quite leisurely around this area. Why, we wondered, would one decide to cross Sowley Lane?

Ah. There’s the answer.

Bright purple aubretia lit up the ancient stone wall alongside the ruins of St Leonard’s granary, beside which

drowsed representatives of the usual group of ponies. Before the rains set in, the chestnut against the rusting fence rails would not have been able to enjoy admiring its mirrored image. What, perhaps, these photographs cannot display is the absolutely still silence conveyed by these creatures.

Only the tiny Falabella raised an eyebrow as I approached.

This afternoon a smiling sun warmed the garden from a cloudless blue sky.

This evening we dined on smoked haddock fish cakes, piquant cauliflower cheese, mashed potato and swede, and carrots and broccoli, with which I finished the Comino Nuevo.

 

Waiting For A Bus

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This afternoon, Jackie drove us around the forest.

On the outskirts of Brockenhurst a troop of cattle exercised their right to hold up the traffic.

River Lymington

Over Lymington River

Swing over Lymington River

a swing has been suspended from a tree bearing

a lengthy lichen-laden limb kept out of the water by a complicated system of rigging.

Pool and reflections

A pool is filling up on the other side of the road.

Crow on shrub

Wherever we go we are likely to see a crow perched high enough to explain the term ‘a crow’s nest’.

This one could observe ponies chomping whilst waiting for a bus.

Ponies on moor 1

I was just thinking how sleepy one of the animals looked, when it turned and yawned in my direction.

An isolated individual had no competition for the grazing on the other side of the road.

Sun, tree, pool

At East Boldre, the sight of the sun behind a tree mirrored in a pool,

 

encouraged us to return in time to watch the sun drop down below the horizon

and deepen the red, gold, and indigo hues above.

Ponies keeping the grass down here were oblivious of the beauty above.

This evening we dined on fishcakes, one Thai, and one parsley and cheese, served on a bed of onions, peppers, tomato, and garlic; with runner beans, carrots, and cauliflower. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and I finished the Malbec.

A Rescue Operation

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This morning turned out to be rather longer than planned and required a little more energy than anticipated to be expended. We began with a trip to New Milton for shopping, including a new watch strap for me. We then returned home to collect two large bags of garden refuse for the dump.

It was to be quite fortuitous that we had the bags on board when we set off into the forest from the Efford Recycling Centre.

Lymington River with egret 1Lymington River with egret 2Lymington River with egret 3

Egrets were fishing on Lymington River,

Boats

where the usual boats were moored.

Hoarding mural 1Hoarding mural 3Hoarding mural 4Hoarding mural 5Hoarding mural 2

A long hoarding has been in situ around Threeways in Pilley for quite a number of years has at some time served as an art gallery. Paintings by a variety of artists remain in situ.

Pony 1Ponies 1Ponies 2

Ponies, in return for the freedom of the village, keep the grass in front of the houses cropped short.

Pony 2

There were many ponies in evidence at the road junction at St Leonard’s Road, East End. We weren’t going to get past them, so just watched this grey

Pony 3

leave its post on the centre line, turn,

Ponies 3

Ponies 4Ponies 5

and, passing a companion at the swampy corner, cross

Ponies 6

the road towards East Boldre, leaving another chestnut to take over traffic control duties.

Pony's legs

The pony standing in the pool

Pony eating and drinking

liked a drink with its grass, which took its mind of the fly on its nose.

Pony 4

Another grey advanced on me, no doubt seeking goodies, in which it was to be disappointed.

Ponies 7

Travelling on, we hadn’t covered many metres of St Leonard’s Road before our road was blocked again.

Pheasant cock

Pheasants, both male

Pheasant hen 2

and female, skittered backwards and forwards into the hedgerows,

Pheasants on road

except on Tanner’s Lane, where they gathered in a bouquet.

Tanner's Lane beach

Sunlight sparkled on the water between the mainland and

Isle of Wight and Needles from Tanner's Lane

the Isle of Wight.

Car on shingle 1

Hello. What was this on the shingle beach?

It was Emma’s car, a Twingo.

Watched by her mother, Paula, and two other young ladies attempting to offer advice, guidance, and assistance, the driver had, with her mother and dog, set out for a walk which had to be abandoned. It became immediately necessary to free the vehicle. But how?

The car’s wheels just span on the loose pebbles as Emma vainly tried to climb over them. I helped guide her onto a firmer section, but this involved first having to reverse further down towards the waterline, turning, driving at an angle to the foreground of this picture, then reversing as close to the corner post as possible. Despite her fears, the young lady kept her cool, and almost made it. Several times.

Car stuck on shingle 2

It was then that I remembered the orange bags. By this time Jackie had joined us, so she fetched them. We placed them on gravel behind the wheels. It was still difficult. We then roped Jackie’s hessian supermarket bags into service so we had all four wheels covered.

Car stuck on shingle and dog

Still no joy, until we were joined by another gentleman with rather more knowledge, especially about being very very gentle on the accelerator. Emma turned left at the point in the picture above, and reversed slowly towards the corner. With all hands on the bonnet; backs, thighs and knees straining, we tried again. We had lift off. Emma just avoided reversing into a hedge. We all gave each other hearty hugs, and Jackie and I drove home for a late lunch.

This evening we dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away fare. And very good it was too. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the malbec.

 

 

 

Foggy Necking

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We awoke to a garden covered in frost and fog. As the day progressed, some of the precipitation departed, but the mist remained. My photographs largely appeared as if in monochrome, and I undertook no editing at all.

I began with a wander round the garden. Some of these shots, especially the one featuring a dripping cobweb, were taken from an upstairs window. The other cobweb adds a hairpiece to Florence’s statue.

One front and one rear light had failed on the car, so it spent the morning in Downton Service Station.

Christchurch Road in fog

This is what Christchurch Road looked like when we collected it, and drove off, first to

Lymington River where the moored boats were barely discernible,

Ferry crew in fog

and the ferry crews hung about on the upper deck because, like Southampton Airport, the services were fogbound.

Tanner’s Lane was our next target. There the flats at low tide took on the air of Paul Nash’s paintings of the First World War.

Trees and barbed wire in fog

The barbed wire and gnarled trees separating the beach from the field added to the atmosphere.

Ponies in fog 1

As we drove off up the lane two red/brown ponies loomed up ahead.

Considering themselves safe from prying eyes, and ignoring the grey gooseberry further up the road, they embarked upon a passionate necking session.

Once we had circumvented the happy couple, we continued to St Leonard’s Grange.

Trees, both in the fields and along the road took on a spooky image, in keeping with the ruins of the ancient grange.

Pheasant in fog

A pheasant stood proud on the old stone wall of the big house.

Soon after this the journey took an alarming turn. A warning light came on and a message stated that there was a steering fault. In the increasing fog. Several miles from home. Jackie, bravely, tensely, continued, having come to the conclusion that the power steering had failed. She made it back to the service station, and switched off the engine whilst I brought out a mechanic. He sat in the driving seat, switched the ignition back on, and spun the wheel with ease. The problem had righted itself. We decided that, like any computer, when there is a problem one should always try switching it off and switching it back on.

This evening we dined on lamb steaks flavoured with our own dried rosemary, cottage pie topped with cheddar cheese, and sautéed potatoes, leeks, carrots, and green beans; followed by bread and Benecol pudding with evap. I drank Reserve des Tuguets Madiran 2012, while Jackie chose sparkling water.

A Murmuration

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An underground problem with installation of the new phone line required further attention today. This necessitated a visit from another engineer who completed the task.

Jackie then drove us around the forest in a very wet late afternoon.

Much rain has fallen during our weekend away. Familiar pools have returned to the forest floor.

The moorland in the rain took on a dramatic aspect as the clouds unloaded their precipitation.

Between Brockenhurst and Beaulieu, the River Lymington has burst its banks.

Sunset is early at this time of the year;

Sunset over Hatchet Pond

it is a reflection of the different light today that this is the same clump of trees beside Hatchet Pond that I photographed at virtually the same time from a slightly different angle yesterday.

A murmuration of starlings

As we waited at the level crossing on the approach to Lymington, an elliptical disc that was a murmuration of starlings slid around the skies.

This evening we dined on roast lamb with roast potatoes and crunchy carrots and cauliflower. I drank Clervigny Arbois, 2014

 

 

Back On Track

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James Peacock of Peacock Computer Systems collected the iMac today and took it off for surgery. In the process he helped me out with the WordPress problem, and I was able to insert into the ‘No Resolution’ post

Sunset at LymingtonSunset at LymingtonSunset at Lymington

the sunsets at Lymington.

This afternoon we went for a drive in the forest.

Lymington River

Lymington RiverLymington River

The tide was out on a glassy Lymington River which was bright and clear in the sunlight.

Reedbeds

On the eastern side of the river stand the reed beds, where a solitary swan, tail in the air, dived for food.

Undershore Road

 Undershore Road road runs alongside the river.

Footpath

Jackie parked, at the point above, so that I could take a ramble along a footpath.

Reedbeds from footpath

This narrow way offered on the left a view of the reed beds.

Footpath

We have had such an extended dry period that the path mostlyFootpath remains reasonably dry;

Reedbeds from footpath

although streams meander from the river.

All this work has been carried out on my Windows laptop. I think you could say I was back on track.

This evening we dined on spicy Turkey, lamb and mint sausages, mashed potato, and carrots and runner beans al dente. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I consumed more of the Fleurie.

 

Drinking Water

Chair, table, camellia, euphorbia

Today I completed the last of the exhibition prints, whilst Jackie continued a commendable amount of garden maintenance, including cleaning up the decking and placing the newly refurbished table between the cane chair and one of the camellias. The prolific euphorbia in the background has been heavily pruned, and one of the recently planted clematises trained along the trellis installed in the autumn is just visible when the image is enlarged.

Pansy We now have a considerable range of blooming pansies that Jackie planted earlier.

This afternoon, we collected the A2 image from Lymington Print and went driveabout.

Leaving the town via Undershore Road we explored the forest and its villages in a fairly small circular route.

Running alongside Lymington River, Undershore is narrow enough to require double yellow lines on both sides. Normally parking close enough to the water is impossible, but we benefited from the gradual decline of the British Pub industry.

The Waggon & Horses

The Waggon & Horses, like so many, is up for sale. This meant we could happily block the entrance to their closed up car park,

Lymington River

and I could photograph the river at low tide

Boats, Lymington River

with its grounded rowing boats.

This, probably the warmest day of the year, clearly encouraged ponies to paddle in potable pools in which they left both reflections and shadows.

Pony in waterPony drinking 1

A grey did so at Boldre

Pony drinking 3Pony drinking 4Pony drinking 2

and a russet-coloured one at East Boldre,

Ponies outside Masseys

where ponies lined the street,

Pheasant

and a cock pheasant, oblivious of the surrounding big beasts, strutted about the turf.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious lamb jalfrezi and savoury rice. We both drank Kingfisher.