Who Needs A Rug

With help and encouragement from SueW, I have today replaced the missing photographs from the following posts dated from 23rd to 28th October 2022. New followers from before mid-December may not have seen them.

Flo, Dillon, and Ellie were collected by Ian at mid-day to take them for a few days to Southbourne.

After lunch we took a forest drive.

On Forest Road a grazing pony blended with the bracken.

We looked down on the landscape below Braggers Lane,

Where a paddock was entered through a fence that lay between a decaying stump and a gnarled tree trunk;

a New Forest pony accompanied a field horse protected against the cold temperatures by a rug, of which the hardy little equine has no need. Throughout the day we noticed field horses wrapped up and ponies uncovered.

During their safe season, pheasants abound in certain areas of the forest. Most scurry through a hedge when poked at by a camera lens. Not this fellow on parade on Ringwood Road who happily strutted about showing his best side.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s wholesome shepherd’s pie with fried potato topping, crunchy carrots, firm cauliflower and tender cabbage with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Shiraz.

What To Do With Flies

For much of the morning and the first half hour of a sweltering afternoon Jackie continued weeding the Brick Path, taking her own

before

and after photographs;

meanwhile I filled several trug-loads of dead-headed roses and weeds pulled up from the beds along the way.

Afterwards I printed another batch of A4 prints of him at work for Nick, who finished his work today.

Early this evening Jackie and I took a drive into the forest.

There seemed to be three options for photography when we arrived at Hatchet Pond: a man throwing sticks into the lake for his dogs to splash after, crows pecking in the grass, and, as a last resort my lens might reach a few groups on the far bank. As I disembarked from the Modus the man and his dogs walked away, and the rooks flew off.

Fortunately, a young lady aimed a judicious kick on the far side.

On Furzey Lane, a young foal, looking enviously at his mother’s tail, the switching of which he tried to emulate with no effect, did his best to dislodge the flies which pestered him, with ineffective kicks and waggling of his abbreviated little brush.

Along Lodge Lane a colourful pheasant strutted in the verge grasses, and inquisitive field horses displayed their fly protection gear.

This evening we all dined on Jackie’s pasta bolognese with fresh salad. The Culinary Queen and Ian drank Hoegaarden, Becky drank Zesty, and I finished the Côtes du Rhône.

A Prospective Crow’s Nest?

On this still, silent, gloomy gunmetal grey day, apart from the avian variety we discerned very little signs of life as we took a not very hopeful drive into the forest.

A pheasant trotted across Sowley Lane;

except for one fleeting moment even crows and doves were not in their usual numbers on the roofs and ruins of St Leonard’s ancient granary.

A crow courtship was taking place atop a ruined wall. Could this be a prospective nest?

Jackie also photographed a perching crow;

a grounded robin; and

a flightless kite.

The first ponies we sighted were cropping the East Boldre moorland;

a pair of Shetlands shaved the green in front of Turnstone Cottage.

This evening we enjoyed a second sitting of Jackie’s succulent sausages in red wine; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; creamy mashed potatoes; and firm Brussels sprouts. The culinary Queen drank Stellenbosch Chenin Blanc 2021, and I drank more of the Shiraz.

PS. I have often featured this ruin, never with such a comprehensive history as Lavinia’s question has prompted:

(1) St. Leonard’s Barn

St. Leonard's barn, looking from close to the scant remains of the western gable, past the more recent barn and on towards the eastern gableSt. Leonard’s barn, looking from close to the scant remains of the western gable, past the more recent barn and on towards the eastern gable

Particularly impressive evidence of the monks’ farming endeavours can be seen at St. Leonard’s where the ruins of an enormous 13th or 14th century barn, with a later, circa 16th century, barn built within, stand by the roadside.

Said to be the largest barn built in medieval England, the St. Leonard’s barn was 70 metres (230 feet) long and 33 metres (108 feet) wide, and had a capacity of ½ million cubic feet. Originally a seven bay aisled barn with porches either side of the centre bay, the whole of the east gable end and north wall remain, and so do most of the west gable and the east part of the south wall.St. Leonard's barn - the remains of the huge eastern gableSt. Leonard’s barn – the remains of the huge eastern gable

Barns such as this – the Cistercian order alone is reputed have built up to 3,000 – were used to store grain grown locally and also provided workspace for threshing the grain in a lengthy, labour intensive process whereby the crop was spread on the floor and beaten with heavy wooden flails so as to separate the grain from the straw and chaff – the dry, scaly protective casings around the seeds.

The barn, then, would clearly have been an absolute hive of activity in stark contrast to its current, peaceful persona.

(2) St. Leonard’s ‘sister’ barn at Great Coxwell 

Great Coxwell barnGreat Coxwell barn

A somewhat smaller, contemporary barn survives intact, in the care of the National Trust, at Great Coxwell in Oxfordshire, which had been part of the ancient Manor of Faringdon. (Still in magnificent condition, this barn is 46 metres (150 feet) long and 13 metres (44 feet) wide).

An outlying grange belonging to Beaulieu Abbey, Faringdon had originally been intended to be the site of the abbey – King John, the Cistercians’ benefactor, granted the lands at Faringdon in 1203, but they instead went on to found their abbey in 1204 at Beaulieu on land also granted by the King.

This barn provides a fascinating insight into how the St. Leonard’s barn would probably have looked all those years ago – it served the same purpose, had the same ownership and is of broadly similar vintage: it was until recently considered to be of early 13th century date but scientific testing of its timbers have subsequently suggested that it was under construction in 1292, or shortly afterwards. (http://www.newforestexplorersguide.co.uk/heritage/beaulieu/st-leonards-barn.html)

Lockdown Hair

I spent the bulk of the morning in boring administration, earning a trip out in the warm and sunny afternoon.

Our first pheasant sighting was just a few hundred yards away, strutting along Hordle Lane.

Most verges displayed golden celandines and varieties of daffodils. These embellished those of Barrows Lane.

Walkers at the high point of Middle Lane could, as I did, look down on a bucolic landscape featuring a grazing grey horse cropping a field.

Most forest views were dotted with foraging ponies, such as these along Burley Road,

or these beside Forest Road.

One attempted to enter the Modus

before enjoying a scratch on the lichen coated tree trunk;

another sported a fine head of lockdown hair.

In recent days we have acquired a new young couple of collared doves. While preparing this evening’s dinner Jackie, sadly, witnessed a lightning sparrow hawk swoop and carry one off, leaving a pile of fresh feathers. Its mate is wailing its grief.

Said dinner consisted of breaded cod fillets; cheese-centred haddock fish cakes; moist ratatouille; and creamy mashed potatoes, with which I finished the Cabernet Shiraz and Jackie drank sparkling water.

Late Afternoon Sun

An early end to the Test match and rain falling for most of the day prompted me to read eight more chapters of ‘Little Dorrit’, and consequently to scan eight more of Charles Keeping’s excellent illustrations.

‘Mrs Sparkler began to wonder how long the master-mind meant to stay’ is another two page spread.

‘Lying in the bath was the body of a heavily-made man’ sandwiches the text between the ends of the bath.

‘Mr Clennam, I think this is the gentleman I was mentioning’

”Young John surveyed him with a fixed look of indignant reproach’

‘Arthur turned his eye upon the impudent and wicked face’ which we now all recognise.

‘The gate jarred heavily and hopelessly upon her’

‘She staggered for a moment, as if she would have fallen’

For ‘The old house collapsed and fell’, the artist had no need to draw the building – he simply produced the effect.

Late in the afternoon, the sun emerged and drew us into a forest drive.

All along Sowley Lane

shaggy ponies tore at the hedges for sustenance;

colourful cock pheasants played Chicken crossing the road;

and snowdrops scaled the banks of the verges.

The pink-tinged water of the lake now surrounded bordering grasses;

and similar tints touched the puddle reflecting a gate above it.

Sunset. was arriving over St Leonard’s Grange

and lingered slowly for a while on our return journey.

This evening we dined on oven fish and chips; green peas; pickled onions and gherkins, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Garnacha.

Twilight Haze

On a dull and frosty morning Jackie photographed some aspects of the garden.

A perky dragon was garlanded in frosted ivy; the ‘Autumn’ sculpture vied with winter;

euphorbia, cordyline Australis, and rose leaves bore fringes of frost and lingering water drops;

some potted pansies were rather limp, while iris reticulata and tulips broke the soil in defiance.

By the time we drove over to Pilley to present Elizabeth (in our bubble) with a tub of Jackie’s substantial chicken and vegetable stoup, the skies had brightened.

In the woodland alongside Undershore a soft toy had successfully scaled the wall that is the undercarriage of a fallen tree.

The decorated postbox in Pilley Street now bears the year date 2021;

the icy old quarry lake bears branches and reflections.

At Walhampton I photographed a pheasant on the verge and Jackie focussed on a silhouetted wood pigeon;

on Monument Lane while I caught the lowering sun behind trees Jackie picked out its tipping the monument railings.

Finally the Assistant Photographer caught me

focussed on the dying sunset and twilight haze shrouding the Isle of Wight and The Needles at Milford on Sea.

This evening we dined on succulent fillet steaks; crisp oven chips; moist mushrooms; nicely charred onions; cherry vine tomatoes; and a colourful melange of peas and sweetcorn, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2019.

The Manure Factory

This windy, warm, and hazy afternoon Jackie drove me to Milford on Sea where the car parks are now open

although the Public Conveniences are not. The sign warning people to keep their distance applies to the empty bench.

Similar signs line the sparsely populated promenade.

Two gentlemen approached with their dogs. Only one of the owners could manage the shingle.

Boisterous billowing waves battered breakwaters and rocks while black-headed gulls flew overhead and kite surfers could be seen in the distance at Barton.

A single family group braced themselves against the breeze

as I had done earlier

while photographing the sea.

The verges along Park Lane nurtured banks of sweeping thrift, grasses, moon daises and dandelions while round the corner a tidy row of calendula lined a concrete wall.

From here we drove on to South Sway Lane where

a cock pheasant now strutted about Gimlet’s field and

across the road, fully equipped with Personal Protective Equipment, stood the horse which we believe is our manure factory. The rug protects from the cold nights we are currently experiencing; the face and ear masks keep the flies away. We carried off three bags of the animal’s prime product.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s tasty and wholesome liver and bacon casserole; crunchy carrots; tender cabbage; and creamy swede and potato mash. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden while I quaffed Valle Central reserva privada Syrah 2019.

This post is my second effort with the new editor. Despite my good friend Tangental’s efforts to guide me I have been unable to change the font.

Playing With The Big Girls

On a bright, sunny, and warm morning we took a trip to

Everton Nurseries were there was no queue and Jackie was able to buy the elusive trailing petunias. The young man collecting up the discarded trolleys

sanitised the handles of every one.

It was perhaps no coincidence that he was tall enough to have a fair chance of keeping the requisite distance when sanitising the hands of customers needing it.  Most potential purchasers were wearing masks and gloves.

The notice in the centre foreground of the first picture spelt out the outlet’s necessary rules. One can forgive the superfluous apostrophe.

Jackie then drove me into the forest where, on a green on the outskirts of East End, a couple of ponies grazed.

She decanted me on Sowley Lane, along which I walked for half an hour before she followed and picked me up.

We have seen this assorted group of ponies in this vicinity for a good couple of years now.

The little Falabella is still allowed to play with the big girls.

The animals are normally quite comfortable in my company, but on this occasion they showed me a clean pair of hooves and, surprisingly, ran away.

This involved nipping over a pipe that Jackie soon afterwards photographed.

One of the larger ponies balked at the obstacle, and rapidly clattered across the tarmac heading straight for me. This distracted be somewhat as it was now me who had to nip – out of her way.

Off she dashed, mane and tail swishing past me,

to catch up with her equally fearful companions.

Jackie then turned her attention to a pulsing sound emanating from a crop field being irrigated on the opposite side of the road.

Water was being pumped from the lake and passed under the road by means of the pipe shown above.

Having satisfied her curiosity about the pumping sound Jackie turned her attention to the cock pheasant still trying to attract the attention of the hen who appeared to have rejected him earlier.

Next, she photographed me photographing the retreating equines,

then turning to continue on my way, eventually photographing

the car and cyclists seen approaching.

Other cyclists

and a tractor shared the road featuring

the eponymous lake on my left

and, on my right, woodland,

occasionally damp;

fields;

and a few attractive houses and gardens.

This evening we dined on oven fish, baked beans, and Jackie’s home made chips, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Vina Majestica Rioja reserva 2013.

 

 

Puttles Bridge

Today was mostly bright, sunny, and dry, except for a shower or two this morning.

While Jackie filled the bird feeders she met and photographed Eric the Pheasant who has returned for his annual visit to announce he has once again evaded the seasonal guns. We know it is Eric because he amuses himself chucking the Head Gardener’s rows of ornamental shells in all directions.

Later we visited New Milton Post Office to send off a card, then Milford on Sea pharmacy for a repeat prescription, and into the forest for a drive.

En route to Milford strong sunlight set the Solent sparkling and

silhouetted walkers on the coastal promenade.

Similarly silhouetted were moored boats and

a gentleman encouraging his dog to take a bath at Keyhaven harbour

where the parking area now reflected pedestrians. Jackie waited patiently for these two to pass in order to avoid spray-showering them.

A pair of swans investigated the tidal shore-side waters. The second two photographs are Jackie’s.

A steady jogger ran down Lymore Lane.

We stopped at Puttles Bridge over Ober Water which was now bordered by reflective pools.

Jackie photographed me making my way to the bridge,

 

taking some of my own pictures,

and walking across for more.

The fast flowing stream reflected still skeletal oaks, cerulean skies, and scudding clouds.

Stirred by rocky bends, bubbling surface water sped upstream, clearly revealing the gravel bed.

Not so clear was the mud coloured liquid in the shallower pools lined by last year’s oak leaves, now nurturing bright green weed.

I wandered off piste to picture a grazing pony;

a shadow-strewn path;

roots exposed by the erosive action of the waters;

 

further reflections;

and a friendly family group.

Our first wedding was 52 years ago today. After a somewhat lengthy hiatus we enjoyed a second in 2017. This evening we are off to The Family House Chinese restaurant in Totton where will partake of our favourite set meal while drinking Tsing Tao beer.

One For Quercus

High winds gusted and steady rain fell throughout the morning, only lifting at 2 p.m. when we set off to South Sway Lane in order visit our equine friend with the striking eyes.

Unbeknown to each other we both carried a carrot. Now we have a spare in the car.

First Jackie photographed a pheasant, because our friend was a long way down her field.

As soon as the nameless pony spotted us she made straight for our feeding station.

Stretching over the fence, she was most eager to relieve me of whatever I might have about my person.  I held up my finger and enjoined her to wait until the Assistant Photographer was ready.

 

On Jackie’s say so I handed over the carrot, which between us we managed to

drop on the ground. “Now What?” neighed the pony.

“Have no fear,” I replied.picking it up. “I am here”. By this time I was confident I would not lose any fingers, and made a better fist of the process.

Perhaps I was getting a bit excited here.

The vegetable was gratefully received and rapidly consumed. Jackie produced this whole set of pictures, including those in which I do not feature.

We then proceeded to Woodpeckers to visit Mum who was on good form and very proud to display the Amaryllis which we had given her as a bulb for Christmas. It is apparently a talking point among the staff. Three blooms ar shown here, There are four more in bud.

The pencil drawing on the wall is one I made of Elizabeth when she was about 4 and I would have been 16.

By the late afternoon when we left the clouds had dissipated and we were treated to clear sunshine. Without the cloud cover the temperature dropped from 10 to 5 degrees.

The woodland along Balmer Lawn Road out of Brockenhurst was burnished by the sun; lichen glowed; shadows stretched fingers across the soggy ground, embracing the wide oak trunks;

numerous pools reflected trees and skies.

Jackie photographed me once more as I ventured across the muddy terrain.

In particular she was keen to catch me hoisting my trouser legs as I prepared to negotiate a watery ditch. Our blogging friend Quercus had recently suggested that she should produce a picture of such an event for his amusement. This one is for Quercus.

Such temporary lakes such as this at East Boldre are appearing all over the forest.

Further along the same road, as woodland gives way to moorland, grazing ponies do not have far to go for a drink.

This evening we dined on spicy pizza with fresh salad with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the El Zumbido, Garnacha, Syrah.