Pool At Sunset

Enough steady rain fell throughout the morning for Jackie to join a line of drivers playing water sports spraying each other as they drove through pools speeding out from the verges along Christchurch Road as she drove me to Birchfield dental practice for a hygienist session with Bronya.

By mid afternoon bright sunshine shone on our forest drive.

The Wootton Road post box now carries a crocheted Remembrance Day tribute. This actually stands in Tiptoe. Further along the thoroughfare enters woodland and becomes

Tiptoe Road, which, today was awash. Naturally I stepped out and photographed cars splashing through the pool streaming across the moorland and down into the opposite field. Naturally Jackie photographed me in action and a van from her driving seat.

She also pictured mushrooms and autumn leaves on the ground and leaves on their branches against the clear blue sky.

A young pedestrian was forced to cross the bridge by the Forest Road ford where the water doesn’t usually rise so high.

At first along Bisterne Close, our paths kept crossing with a dog walker at impressively far apart locations.

Despite the continuing comparatively mild weather the woodland alongside the Close looks definitely autumnal.

Jackie produced images of fall’s red-gold ferns and squirrels perhaps stocking up their larders.

Finally the Assistant Photographer caught the sun slip sliding away sunset and me failing to do so.

This evening we all dined on Jackie’s stupendous chicken and vegetable stewp and cheesy pizza with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Hacienda Uvanis Garnacha Old Vines 2022.

Ponies On The Move

This morning, while on a daffodil dead-heading session.

I also pulled up swathes of Sticky Willies along the Back Drive. These sinuous weeds climb everywhere and if not deracinated will reach the tops of the highest shrubs, bearing clusters of white flowers.

Afterwards I wandered back with the camera on this overcast morning.

The daffodils have been late to bloom and struggled to linger this year, but there were still quite a few to dead head.

The forget-me-nots sharing that first daffodil picture, like those accompanying the Spanish bluebells in the first of the next trio of images, proliferate in the garden; as do the English/Spanish hybrids.

Honesty is cropping up everywhere, as in the Patio Bed and behind the mossy stumpery with its yellow cowslips.

Lichen blooming on the bench beneath the pieris on the lawn, and bleeding hearts on the West Bed managed to add splashes of colour.

This afternoon the sun did put in fairly regular appearances, so Jackie and I took a forest drive,

where it set the gorse glowing on the moorland flanking Wilverley Road, up which

a group of energetic ponies trotted at an unusual pace for them.

I had hoped that they would pause for a drink in the pool, but they were more interested in slowing the traffic.

Further down the hill another pony did slake its thirst, while

others continued trotting through the undergrowth.

This afternoon we all dined on well cooked pork chops coated with almonds and mustard; with creamy mashed potato; crunchy carrots, and succulent peppers, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Shiraz.

Gold Rings

On a dull, dreary, yet dry, finger-tingling morning Jackie and took a forest drive.

Golden gorse extended across the otherwise brindled bracken-layered moorland traversed by a solitary dog walker and flanking the eroding tarmac of Holmsley Passage.

I entered the woodland alongside Bisterne Close, passing a lattice of branches against the sky; a wildlife tepee built for sheltering small fauna and insects; a recently uprooted mossy tree; scattered bones upon the ground, on my way to

commune with a distant equine group, one pair of which were engaged in mutual grooming.

Back on the Close we noticed a recently fallen, sawn, arboreal giant, its golden core rings and fresh sawdust betraying its recent sectioning. This gold will not take long to turn grey, but many years to gradually disintegrate and return to the dust of the earth, eventually nourishing the next generations of oaks or beeches.

This afternoon I watched the ITV transmissions of the Six Nations rugby matches between Wales and Italy, and between England and France.

Dinner this evening consisted of succulent roast pork; crisp roast potatoes and Yorkshire pudding; sage and onion stuffing; crunchy carrots; firm cauliflower and broccoli, and tasty gravy. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Frappato-Syrah.

A Breakaway Group

This morning Jackie and I transported three blag bags of plastic plant pots to the Otter Nurseries recycling point, after which we continued on a forest drive.

Daffodils like these on a bank outside a fence on Church Lane are piercing the soil,

while pendulously arched snowdrops ascend another bank outside a garden at Pilley, alongside which

string of determined Shetland ponies make their way to their favourite foraging spot. We had not seen these four here before, which is why, when we reached Bull Hill, Jackie observed that they were a breakaway group from

the more usual occupants of the moorlands at the top.

This afternoon I watched the Six Nations rugby matches between France and Ireland, and between Scotland and Wales.

For dinner this evening Jackie provided moist cheese centred fish cakes; creamy mashed potatoes; a tasty melange of tomatoes, leeks, onions, and garlic; firm broccoli, carrots, and peas; with a piquant cheese sauce. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden, and I drank more of the Frappato-Syrah.

From The Passenger Seat

This morning Jackie and I drove to The Oakhaven Hospice Trust furniture warehouse on the Ampress industrial estate in order to offer for collection a Chinese oak cabinet which is now surplus to our requirements.

I took the opportunity to photograph the parched condition of the surrounding verges.

The now golden moorland around Brockenhurst was tinged with purple heather, yellowing bracken, and early autumnal trees.

The usual ponies had deserted the arid Longslade Bottom

for such sheltered spots as they could find among the lanes

and the dappled woodland.

Plants were drying along the verges of Hordle Lane and

Christchurch Road at the point at which it runs alongside our house, the front garage trellis of which has been saved from suffering a similar fate by Flo and Dillon’s valiant irrigation.

With the exception of the first and last all these photographs were produced from the front passenger seat.

This evening we dined on pizza and fresh salad with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden, Flo and Dillon drank Ribena, and I drank Ch√Ęteau La Mauberte Bordeaux 2020.

Standing Out

On another cool, crisp, bright morning of full sunshine we drove to Milford Supplies to buy more picture nails, and continued into the forest.

Looking into the valley below and across to a distant, hazy, Bournemouth from Picket’s Post, I watched foraging ponies warming on the moorland.

Greys also stood out on the hillside along

Forest Road, where,

Jackie parked the Modus beside a forded stream

and I walked back to make the acquaintance of a be-rugged field horse.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy Chilli con Carne and boiled rice, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Medici Riccardi Chianti Rufina 2018

Murky Moorland

Becky and Ian returned home to Southbourne early this afternoon.

Later on this, another dreary, dismal, day Jackie and I took a brief forest drive just before the light finally failed a little after my camera battery had done so.

While recharging I posted https://derrickjknight.com/2022/01/03/a-knights-tale-87-villeneuvette/

With sunset – not that we would see it – three quarters of an hour away the moorland was decidedly murky

The blaze on one chestnut pony’s face made it somewhat more visible than others.

Naked branches linked against the skies across Burley Road, and a golfer must have known my battery was about to die.

This evening we dined on succulent roast lamb; fried and boiled potatoes; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; and meaty gravy with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2020.

More Water For The Animals

Early yesterday evening Jackie drove us to Darbar Indian restaurant in Emsworth where we joined Becky and Ian in celebration of our daughter’s 50th birthday. Catching up after six months in lockdown was remarkably easy – we just dropped into delightful conversation over excellent food with attentive service. We shared poppadoms, onion bahjis, three different types of naan, and pilau rice. My main dish was Goan fish curry. Ian and I drank Cobra while the ladies drank Diet Coke.

The waiting staff all wore PPE masks and were as attentive and efficient as ever.

The warm, sunlit, weather today asserted that summer is not yet ready to yield to autumn. For this reason we took a mid-morning drive into the forest.

Robert Gill’s garden in Everton Road is always the showpiece of the annual Hordle Scarecrow Trail. We are not sure whether there will be one this year, but this professional gardener has given us an advance display with his NHS tribute while his alter ego sits comfortably with his name-mug.

So much tarmac is regularly nibbled from the edges of this lane winding through the undulating moorland carpeted with heather and bracken that we always wonder how much longer we will be able to use the route.

There is no passing space for any two vehicles without one diverting to the verge; whenever I want to leave our car in order to wander among the ponies Jackie has to find a spot where there is possibly enough leeway for such a manoeuvre.

Ponies in and around the stream are sometimes irresistible. After the recent rains there is more fresh water for the animals.

Cyclists and walkers tend to gather and consult maps before the modern house built on the footprint of the old signalman’s building beside the former railway track which is now a path for their convenience.

Penetrating the trees the bright sunlight dappled both woodland and ponies along Bisterne Close. This poor creature trying to ignore the flies coating its muzzle let out an almighty snort when the insects became too intrusive.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy pasta arrabbiata served with fritters of courgette that Giles had bought from some enterprising children on his way to his last visit to us. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank Axis 280 Cabernet Sauvignon 2017 – a smooth red wine from Western Australia’s Margaret River.

Nugget, You’ve Got Mail

This morning while Jackie applied herself to unearthing food for Nugget, I occupied myself with dead-heading roses. The two photographs above are a day’s relief for eyes which struggled with yesterday’s “Where’s Nugget?”.

Hearing Jackie clearly speaking Avian I thought at first she had been addressing her little robin, but in fact it was “those ruddy randy pigeons”.

Here are two examples of the Head Gardener’s happy planting. We have pink Japanese anemones fronting similarly hued phlox in the first picture and a melange of begonias, pelargoniums, fuchsias, more of the anemones in the patio bed.

Lwbut has requested close ups of the Japanese anemones. There you go, Bob.

There is evidence from their webs that we are breeding vegan spiders – either that or they are currently constantly being disappointed.

Bees are busy with cosmoses, and sampling various vintages of Summer Wine.

Clematis has granted her presence to the Rose Garden arbour.

Although we have flotillas of Small White butterflies fluttering throughout the garden, we have very few other species, but we do have humming bird moths in phlox.

This afternoon Nugget received his first piece of snail mail.

This card, when opened, plays a recording of a robin’s song. The words inside, in Auntie Becky’s handwriting, state that she chose the card for the words – i.e. the birdsong.

Jackie and I spent a considerable amount of time getting our heads round how to record stuff on her camera. We managed it. I uploaded it into my computer and WordPress wouldn’t support the file format. I was, of course, my usual phlegmatic self on discovering this.

With the late afternoon growing duller and cooler, my chauffeuse drove us on a short trip into the forest.

A colourful range of heathers and bracken beginning to brown spread carpets across the moorland beside Holmsley Passage.

We thought it best to allow this beefy bovine free passage on the Burley road.

We spotted these rather splendid mushrooms along Bisterne Close.

Jackie produced a lovely lamb’s liver casserole with creamy mashed potatoes, crunchy cauliflower and carrots with tender green beans for our dinner this evening. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Malbec.

Trichologists Having Fun

The storm that raged through the night and most of the day had Jackie regretting the time she had spent watering the garden yesterday. By the afternoon the precipitation was beginning to be interrupted by periods of sunshine.

After lunch it seemed to be the weather to buy a new tyre to replace the one that was suffering a slow leak. Others must have had the same idea, because there was quite a queue at the fitters. In the event we needed two new tyres. I had begun to be quite nervous about whether I would arrive at the dentists in time to keep my hygienist’s appointment. Actually I was a little early. After a painless scraping and polishing we drove into the forest.

As we left New Milton we couldn’t miss a young lad in Station Road celebrating school holidays in party mood, albeit attempting to look quite normal.

Heather is turning purple on the moors alongside Holmsley Passage;

while rowan trees, like these beside

Bisterne Close, Burley, are a good six weeks early.

We have often remarked upon the varied colour ways found on the New Forest ponies, for example a grey body with chestnut forelegs, mane and tails; or a bay with black and white tail. FP even sported a matching brand. Their trichologists must have fun with the hair dye.

From Bisterne Close we turn into Mill Lane where sunlight pierced the spaces between the trees and sliced last autumn’s layers of leaves. Here a fly on an oak leaf must have preferred this to the ponies’ muzzles.

We noticed several groups of walkers carrying their temporary homes on their backs. It is little wonder that, give the soaking they had received, some of them seemed somewhat less than gruntled.

This evening we dined on chicken breasts, mushrooms, and peppers in a Chinese sauce marinade, creamy mashed potatoes; crunchy carrots; and tender runner and green beans, with which Jackie drank Blue Moon and I drank more of the Bergerac.