Given that we are to expect two consecutive named storms in the next few days it was imperative that we took a forest drive during intermittent sunny periods this afternoon, because we may not enjoy such pleasant weather for a while. We shopped at Tesco, then continued from there.
We were to encounter more than usual traffic hold ups on this trip.
The first was a veteran paying his respects to the police who had clearly been called to investigate the case of the fallen number plate at the roundabout forming a link between Southampton and Wellworthy Roads,
which had caused an extensive tailback on the major road to Lymington.
We turned into Sandy Down where a large flatfish in a ditch revealed itself to be a foamy buildup of the collected rainwater. Roots, ferns, and other plants clung to the bank on the opposite side of the road.
Later a group of cattle pressed their claim to Norleywood Road,
and a pregnant donkey paused for a scratch outside the East End Arms.
Wherever we looked catkins hung from trees. These images are from Sandy Down and from Church Lane,
which has varying characters, from residential to more open land
including a field where we are enjoined not to feed the horses, most of which are still sporting rugs.
This evening we dined on mildly spicy piri-piri chicken; new boiled potatoes; firm cauliflower and broccoli; and tender green beans, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Merlot.
Early this bright, sunny, and cool day we drove out to Pilley to deliver a letter to Elizabeth. I popped it into her letter box and we continued on our way.
I have a couple of times before featured the horse and pony occupying the garden of Jordan’s Cottage on the corner of Bull and Jordan’s Lanes. Today I was to be formally introduced. As I photographed the two equines feeding from their trough a Gentleman planting flowers invited me in. This was Roderick, whose granddaughter owns these creatures. The horse is Foxglove and the pony, Twinkle.
Given her freckles, Foxglove is so aptly named. She is an eventer who is convalescing while recovering from and injured back leg. Roderick confirmed that the mask is for protection from flies. Seeing me back away as the horses trotted over to me when I entered the small paddock, he assured me that they were very friendly. I laughed and explained that I was not afraid but had to keep my distance to use the lens on my camera. In fact I left the paddock to take the shots of Foxglove in her mask. It would, of course, have been rude not to have photographed Twinkle’s eye.
On Norleywood Road we passed trick cyclist who probably wasn’t a psychiatrist. This was to have been on our way home until Jackie took a diversion down
Lower Pennington Lane to investigate the nature reserve at the far end.
Hurst View camping site was packed out and I could hear voices planning their day’s trips all the way down the lane along which I walked while Jackie waited in the car, parked on a verge just before a considerable narrowing of the thoroughfare.
Even cyclists had little passing room.
The marshland to my left was quite dry and occupied by a few basking ponies. The Isle os Wight could be seen in the distance.
When I reached the entrance to the bird sanctuary it seemed that the caravan site was decanting its entire contents who were making their way along the dedicated path which I consequently decided to eschew and set off across undulating terrain which I largely had to myself. I took the last section of the path on my return and I have to say that the boys in the third picture above thanked me for stepping aside.
In the circumstances it is hardly surprising that the only birds I saw were flocks of Canada geese,
occasionally joined by others flying in.
Against the backdrop of the Isle of Wight, The Needles, Hurst castle and their lighthouses, across the marshland could be seen walkers, cyclists and a dog. Particularly the last of this gallery would benefit from bigification.
A few goats occupied a field opposite the campsite.
After lunch I put in another stint at pruning Félicité Perpétue in the front garden.
Later this afternoon Elizabeth came for a cup of tea and stayed for dinner consisting of another of Jackie’s succulent cottage pies; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; tender cabbage; and meaty gravy, with which the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Carles.