Oak Leaves Swept Along

This morning Becky drove Dillon and his family to Heathrow to see him safely off to America for the next month. All went smoothly and the ladies returned with Ellie early this evening.

After lunch, Jackie took me on a forest drive.

Ponies stood out in a distant hazy landscape on yet another shirt-sleeves mild afternoon.

At Puttles Bridge I passed a pile of sawn limbs from a recently fallen tree,

and followed a family of cyclists approaching the bridge.

Rippling, fast running, Ober Water had filled somewhat since our last visit.

Oak leaves gathered among exposed tree roots and swept along a surface clear enough to see the river bed.

Just one cluster of mushrooms was visible.

The dried pool beside South Weirs Telephone Box was reappearing, and had tempted ponies to come for their lunch

alongside neighbouring houses.

This evening we all dined on succulent roast chicken; crisp Yorkshire pudding and roast potatoes; firm carrots, cauliflower and broccoli, with meaty gravy. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Santa Julia, Reserve, 2020.

Becky’s Turn

This morning, Becky took a turn at enjoying Ellie.

Afterwards she drove the young family to a check up appointment at which all was pronounce well.

Meanwhile Jackie and I took a forest drive, mostly focussed on Ober Water,

beside which a fallen tree made its contribution to the ecology,

and a Dalmatian called Pringle set up an alarm call at my presence which did not phase its friendly owners reflected in the stream.

At the Puttles Bridge section of the river a gentleman sat photographing a model car.

On leaving Sway we fell in behind

an antique horse drawn cart which turned right at a junction ahead of us.

This evening we dined on succulent roast chicken; crisp Yorkshire pudding; sage and onion stuffing; firm cauliflower; mixed vegetables in a creamy cheese sauce; tender green beans; and flavoursome gravy. Jackie drank Hoegaarden; Flo and Dillon, fruit cordial; while I finished the Shiraz.

Enough For A Splash

Our Waterboy feature had been reduced to a mere trickle by the narrow pipe feeding the fountain from the pump being clogged up. Jackie spent much of

the morning clearing the blockages and restoring normal working order.

I dozed over an Iris Murdoch for most of this very hot day until 5 p.m. when I

adjudged it cool enough for a walk around the garden with my camera. These images all bear titles in the gallery.

Jackie had slept upstairs for a couple of hours, and, refreshed, suggested a drive to Puttles Bridge to investigate the condition of Ober Water, which,

although far shallower than usual contained just enough liquid for

a dog chasing a stick to create a splash.

Unfortunately the first thing I saw as I disembarked in the car park had been

a heap of discarded rubbish. There is of course a bin nearby.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy paprika pork served with boiled potatoes and tender runner beans, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Shiraz.

Too Close

This morning I posted https://derrickjknight.com/2022/06/24/a-knights-tale-141-why-i-bought-no-3-rue-saint-jacques/

After lunch Jackie and I took a forest drive through Beachern Wood to Ober Corner where

ponies and their foals rested in the still overcast and humid atmosphere.

One suckler was welcomed – anther was given a clear message that he was getting too close.

I walked through the woodland to

the now shallow Ober Water.

Some tree roots are very exposed.

Another holds a sign rigidly in position – I think it reads Special Place.

Ponies on Rhinefield Road at the approach to Brockenhurst seemed to wonder what our problem was.

Ian returned to his home in Southbourne this afternoon so he was unable to partake of Jackie’s succulent beef pie; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; boiled potatoes; and tender runner beans with meaty gravy with which she drank more of the Entre-Deux-Mers, Flo drank elderflower cordial and I drank Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2019.

I do hope he managed to see the highlights of the second day of the third Test between England and New Zealand, which I did.

A Surfeit Of Foals

This afternoon Jackie drove me into the forest. She spotted a possibly sleeping foal on the verge of Wilverley Road and parked the car so I could walk back to find the prone animal.

As I reached it it clambered to its feet and sought

the comfort of its mother who twitched her tail, perhaps wishing to deter the suckler and necessitating a hoof-scratch.

On my return to the car I photographed the woodland landscape,

followed by that at Wilverley Pit which accommodated its own scattered herd.

The South Weirs telephone box just outside Brockenhurst has now become a public book exchange as have so many now surplus to requirements because no-one uses them any more.

Another foal on the opposite side of the road from the box took great interest in the roadside furniture, essentially traffic calming devices such as the narrowing of the access negotiated by this

Vintage Hot Rod Society member.

Another foal lay among other ponies on the outskirts of Beachern Wood,

where a squirrel stop-start jerked its way across a five-barred gate.

Ober Water is a little fuller than on our last visit, and reflects the surrounding trees, many of the roots of which have been exposed by decades of rivulets.

Some of those roots even span arms of the stream.

I reached the stage where there were so many foals about that I stopped photographing them.

This exceptional group, planted on a bend in the road and consequently causing traffic to make a very wide berth warranted further attention.

This evening we dined on more of the baked gammon; plump chicken thighs; macaroni cheese; crunchy carrots; tender runner beans; and tangy red cabbage, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Faugères.

Across The Stream

On this overcast, somewhat warmer afternoon Jackie drove me to Puttles Bridge and back.

From the carpark I crunched among the dropped pine cones and dried autumn leaves; thudded along the beaten track; slalomed around fallen, decaying, branches and tree trunks; and gingerly stepped over exposed, sometimes mossy, interwoven roots, alongside the still, silent, reflecting Ober Water.

I enjoyed a pleasant conversation with a friendly couple across the stream. They had been visiting their son at Southampton University.

Now the cattle, having been overwintering in their shelters, are free to introduce their calves to the moorland. These occupied the environs of Sway Road.

Later, I booked my Spring booster Covid vaccination.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent sausages in red wine; creamy mashed potatoes with nutmeg; crunchy carrots; and tender broccoli, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts, with which she finished the Rosé and I drank more of the Cabernet Sauvignon.

Beachern Wood

If we overlook the fact that, because she was feeling so much better, Jackie probably did do too much today we would think we really were back to normal. First we shopped at Tesco and this time it was Mrs Knight who did the shopping while I sat in the car with my book, loaded the goods into the car and unloaded them into the the kitchen when we returned home.

This afternoon my Chauffeuse took us for a drive to Beachern Wood and back. She sat in the car with her puzzle book and I wandered about.

A badly broken beach tree and a more resilient oak framed walkers and Shetland ponies on the approach road.

Other ponies wandered, grazed, and scratched in the woodland. A Shetland thought better of trying to garrotte itself between a pair of tree trunks.

This stretch of Ober Water rippled gently and reflected the trees around.

This evening we reprised yesterday’s meal and beverages.

Chasing Her Stick

This morning I published https://derrickjknight.com/2022/01/28/a-knights-tale-96-kings-lynn/

During mid afternoon we took a forest drive to Puttles Bridge and back.

Several groups of walkers set out on the flat and reasonably dry trail through the woodland, while I chose

the wetter area alongside Ober Water, with its ripples, reflections, mossy stumps and gnarly roots.

It was there I met Steve and Fizzy, his twelve year old companion with the spring of a puppy who never tired of chasing and returning her thrown stick. We had an enjoyable conversation.

The sun was weakening as we returned home via Brockenhurst where ponies cropped the soggy verges.

What, I wondered, had chewed the lichen-covered log lying in a Winterbourne stream.

This evening we dined on duck in orange sauce, soft centred and crispy coated; crunchy carrots; boiled baby potatoes; tender runner beans and cabbage, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Shiraz.

Bridge Over Untroubled Water

This morning I posted https://derrickjknight.com/2021/10/16/a-knights-tale-53-a-stormy-birth/

After lunch on this warm and sunny day we took a forest drive.

A solitary Highland cow was in possession of Whitemoor Pond.

Sunlight dappled the landscape; cast shadows across the banks of Ober Water, its bed and rippling surfaces; and backlit the leaves. Dog walkers led sometimes dripping pets; other photographers stood on Puttles Bridge or crouched before their subjects.

Rhinefield Ornamental Drive was also popular with walkers.

This evening we dined on lamb chops; roast potatoes; Yorkshire pudding; gravy; mint sauce; cauliflower, carrots, and green beans, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Zinfandel.

A Gentle Snow Plough

This morning I posted https://derrickjknight.com/2021/08/31/a-knights-tale-25-a-papal-honour/

By mid-afternoon the earlier Stygian gloom had lifted enough for us to drive to Puttles Bridge and back after buying another, larger, bag of tree bark mulch.

With barely a ripple the now very shallow Ober Water could hardly be said to flow under the bridge.

The root trip hazards, often framing pools of water, are now bone dry.

Two or three families were frolicking in what was left of the stream flanked by dappled woodland devoid of the usual mini-pools. I enjoyed a pleasant conversation with the mother in the first of these pictures, whose son, while manoeuvring a small dinghy, was heard to say “It’s not deep enough”. I told his Mum I had never heard that before.

Ponies, including a large foal, grazed beside the road.

A child had hopped home with one shoe.

Chips fell from a fallen tree.

On our return through Brockenhurst, a Highland cow, with its cumbersome rocking gait, lumbered among the patient vehicles.

Among the multicoloured heather on the moorland beyond the town, other, tail-swishing, ponies with another foal clinging to its mother, grazed or took their ease.

Two remained obdurately planted in the road until a tour bus, like a gentle snow plough, proceeded to shift them.

This evening we dined on succulent roast pork; boiled new potatoes; crisp Yorkshire pudding; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; moist sautéed peppers, mushrooms, and onions; and tasty gravy, with which Jackie drank more of Pino Grigio Blanc and I drank more of the Faugeres.