The Persistent Suitor

This morning Jackie drove me to New Hall Hospital and back for follow-up visits to surgeon Mr Ivar Kask and to physiotherapist Vanessa. Both were happy with progress and neither needs to see me again.

We followed an unnamed narrow winding lane from Bodenham, just behind the hospital, to Charlton-All-Saints. Hoping we would not meet another vehicle along the way we first encountered a young woman so engrossed in her mobile phone that she was in danger of walking straight into us.

Ponies, as usual, grazed or lazed on and around the green at Hale,

where a group of donkeys presented a tableau before a thatched cottage. A solitary creature to the left of these pictures stepped across the grass leaving the two dozing on the right

to the attentions of this character who had been lurking out of shot. He made his way steadily towards the other two,

intent on making further acquaintance.

His sweet-faced intended simply walked away from beneath him as he pursued his suit. He returned in persuasive mood. She didn’t seem to mind his nuzzling up,

but drew the line at a further approach from the rear.

He had to settle for a consoling scratch.

Hatchett Lodge, being the 19th century lodge to Hale Park, is a Grade 2 listed building.

The village stands on land high enough to offer views of distant landscapes; bluebells now embellish banks; the bole of a gnarled oak tree commands attention.

Ponies and cattle co-exist happily on the green at Woodgreen, from where,

beyond an aged oak, one of its limbs propped by a makeshift chock, can be seen Braemore House, standing since the time of Queen Elizabeth I.

We lunched at The Green Dragon, Brook. My egg was not broken when it was delivered, but I had pierced it with the obligatory chip before deciding to record it for posterity. My meat was gammon. Jackie very much enjoyed her battered haloumi with mushy peas and French fries, which, of course demanded a dousing in the spicy dip. Jackie drank a flat white coffee while I drank Wadsworth’s 6X.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s substantial vegetable soup and fresh crusty bread with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Juicy Assemblage.

Feeding Time

Such is the continuing mild nature of our weather that there was plenty of evidence on the holly bushes of Hordle Lane, along which I walked to the paddock and back this afternoon, that the other avian larders are still well stocked.

Holly berries

The berries are not even refrigerated yet.

Oak tree 1

Oak tree 2Oak tree 3Oak tree 4

The deciduous oaks are, however, displaying their seasonal x-ray images.

Horses crossing field 1Horses crossing field 2

As I leaned on the paddock gate, observing  that the horses were all sporting their protective rugs, they suddenly stirred, turned, and trotted with intent across the field. I didn’t really think I had had that effect on them.

Horses feeding 1Horses feeding 2

Soon afterwards a man and a woman led them to a pen on the far side. Whilst I couldn’t quite see what was going on, I imagine it can only have been feeding time that would provoke such spirited movement. My camera lens confirmed this.

Christmas decorations 1

Whilst writing this I am myself slowly being penned in by Christmas decorations which have a propensity to multiply at will.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s scrumptious sausage casserole; mashed potatoes; Brussels sprouts; and sautéed carrots, potatoes, onions, and mushrooms. Dessert was steamed pineapple pudding and custard. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the malbec.