The Classic Country Yokel


Today was sunny and crisp, with a chill wind and blue skies. This morning we took a drive up to the north of the forest.

Ditches and streams run alongside many lanes in the New Forest. People dwelling on Crow Lane, just beyond Ringwood, access their homes by means of bridges across clear running water.

Gabled rooftops

Further on, at Linwood, we were attracted by the rather splendid houses near the lake. This gabled rooftop presents a pleasing example.

Stream 1

The stream continues here, and

‘golden daffodils’, like Wordsworth’s ‘host’, ‘beside the lake, beneath the trees’ were ‘fluttering and dancing in the breeze’.


Even here, people dump rubbish. I didn’t investigate what I took to be a discarded dog poop bag.

Ponies 1

On the approach to North Gorley we stopped to admire three ponies backlit by the morning sun. I could not photograph the scene because, as so often, forcing themselves between a tree and barbed wire, the animals assailed me with curiosity.

They then tracked us along the lane. Or were we tracking them?.

Ponies 2

We stopped to take in the picture of ponies mowing the lawn outside a thatched cottage at Furze Hill.

Pony on road

Inevitably, one of the horses kept us stopped, as it crossed the road,

Pony 4

ambling through the trees,

to take a drink at a stream, and

Ponies 4

have a good scratch against a flexible young tree,

Ponies 3

where it was joined by its companions, who all took their turn.

One of these emulated Mark Williams’s Jesse from The Fast show,


a T.V. series in which the classic country yokel would emerge from his shed and announce what, that week, he had ‘been mostly eating’. The traditional yokel always chewed a straw.

From the top of Furze Hill we looked down on a herd of basking deer. Protected by a single stag and the antlered silhouettes of lopped trees behind them, they were simply curious until another passing car brought them to their cloven hooves. Large black birds always seem to surround basking ungulates.

This evening we dined on minced beef pie; mashed potato and swede; boiled cauliflower; and carrots, onions, and leeks with garlic. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the merlot.

Colour Slides From The Sixties

Despite the fact that dizziness, especially when coughing, is still a difficulty, I feel a great deal better today.

Mark Williams The LinkNever before have I been so acquainted with daytime television. Sometimes, when Jackie is watching TV, I am doing something else in my chair in the corner of the long sitting room, where the screen is not in view, and I quite like listening to it. Today, I joined her on the sofa. ‘The Link’ is a quiz game that I have often heard, but never seen the quizmaster, whose accent always puzzled me because I couldn’t place it, other than vaguely in the West Midlands.Father-Brown-Season-2

Imagine my surprise when I realised that the programme host was Mark Williams who plays Father Brown which we had just watched. This narrowed down the accent, for Williams was born in Bromsgrove in Worcestershire.

This afternoon I rescanned a few more colour slides from the 1960s. After Vivien’s death in September 1965, Michael and I had spent that Christmas with my family in 18 Bernard Gardens, to which we had moved on the night she died. After Christmas, as I did every weekend for six months, I took our son to visit his maternal grandparents in Sidcup. This was a complicated journey on public transport from Wimbledon, with the pushchair and all the other paraphernalia required for a small child.Michael and swans 12.65

That particular December the weather was freezing and he had to be wrapped up well to see the magic of swans walking on ice.

The following Christmas I gave my mother a calendar, each month of which was illustrated by a suitable photograph. This was the one chosen for December. Now, of course, this is not particularly unusual, because there are number of computer applications, none of which I know how to use, which will help do the job. Both Louisa and Sam have produced such welcome presents. What I did in 1967 was to have a processing shop make the 7” x 5” prints, which I stuck to hand drawn pages for each month.Michael 3.66

By March 1966, now almost two, Michael was well able to manage his own ice-cream. I have no idea why he needed the plaster on his chin, but I don’t expect it was anything too serious.

The following month I met Jackie and took a series of photographs of her on Wimbledon Common, a couple of which have been posted before.Jackie 4.66 3

This is one more.

Jackie and Michael 7.66 2

By July, she and Michael were beginning to bond. I liked the soft natural colours produced by the Fujifilm of the time.

Shopping and cooking have not been happening for some days, but, especially as my appetite is returning, it is fortunate that our fridge and freezer are reasonably well stocked. Salad from the former adorned a meaty pizza for our evening meal.