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The bright sunshine that tempted us out for an early drive through the forest was to last all day.
Beams searching their way into the trees picked out the browns, the golds, the greens, and the greys of the season.
while dog walkers shared the bracken coated moors with browsing ponies.
Sunlight slashed the road skirting Holmsley on the way to Burley.
I am no good at cars, so I cannot identify either the old or the new models passing each other here. No doubt a reader will oblige. (Cue, Barrie). (Barrie responded to his cue and put this on Facebook: ‘As to the cars, the old one is what looks like a bog standard Austin 7 albeit quite an early one (1920s) as it does not have a rear fuel tank. The newer one at first I thought was a Volvo (new cars all look the same to me!) but expanding the picture shows what looks like a round red badge on the grill so I believe it to be some sort of Jaguar, but I stand to be corrected!’)
There are a number of golf courses in the New Forest. As we passed one just outside Burley, I notice both ponies and putters on the green. By the time Jackie had parked the Modus and I had walked back, the golfers were moving on, to another tee on the opposite side of the road. I pointed out to one that a ball lay in the ditch. He thanked me, hooked out the ball with a club, and joined his friends who were surrounded by a similar equine audience.
Undeterred, the sporting trio teed off.
Another group of three ponies dozing on the verge of Burley Street had not moved by the time I returned from a wander down Honey Lane.
The lane, pock-marked by pitted pools, was more hospitable to Land Rovers than to our little car, so Jackie parked up and left me to it.
We took a rest and a late breakfast at The Hyde-Out Cafe. My choice was a Full English, while Jackie’s was fried eggs on toast. That took care of lunch, too.
There were warning signs informing drivers that pigs were roaming free, but just beyond Gorley it was a cyclist who hogged the centre of the road.
A more sensible female equestrian kept her steed to the edge of it.
Not so a group of donkeys, one of whom held eye contact through our windscreen until the helpful horse nudged it and its friends aside, and continued on its way.
A free Forest pony, sporting Regency style ringlets, observed all this with interest.
As we approached Godshill, a helmeted cyclist employed staccato stop-start attempts to lead his family across a road junction. He alternated between calling them forward and sending them back, as he made the same movements. To our relief, he was eventually successful.
We made our way home via Roger Penny Way, one of the major thoroughfares traversing the forest.
This evening we dined on beefburgers with caramelised onions on a bed of roasted vegetables; mashed potato; carrots, cauliflower, spinach, and Brussels sprouts; followed by Jackie’s tried and tested pumpkin pie with whipped cream that had been bought and paid for. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden, while I quaffed Cono Sur Bicicleta pinot noir 2015.