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.

It Has To Go

As she toured the garden this morning Jackie was struck by the contrast between the number of survivors from spring and summer still blooming –

including clematis Niobe;

fuchsias Delta’s Sarah

and Mrs. Popple;

hebes;

hot lips;

bidens;

pelargoniums;

pansies;

campanulas;

and roses in the Rose Garden –

and the harbingers of spring to come, such as the budding rhododendrons;

the new shoots of Michaelmas daisies;

and the burgeoning mimuluses.

One of Aaron’s tasks was to clear dragons, hanging baskets, and other vulnerable artefacts from beneath the

rather brittle cypress that continually sheds dead branches and therefore has to go. It will be removed later in the week.

As we were planning to venture into the forest this afternoon the skies darkened, the previously still air produced gusts of more than fifty miles an hour, torrential rains fell, and the birds left the front garden feeders. Within half an hour tranquility returned.

Blue tits returned to the suet balls.This bird tried to masquerade as one;

and Ron, as we have named the front garden robin, was able to head for his seed feeder before the sparrows returned to dispossess him. It is almost impossible to distinguish between male and female robins. Should Ron turn out to be a female I guess she will be a Ronette. https://youtu.be/FXlsWB1UMcE

We then did drive into to forest.

Ponies at Norleywood had calmly weathered the storm that had added to

the pool at the corner of St. Leonards Road,

along which, like cannon-shot, clouds sped across the sky,

against which oak tree branches groped gnarled fingers.

It was not yet sunset when we passed St Leonards Grange and the ruins of its ancient grain barn.

Another winterbourne pool on which oak leaves floated reflected  the tree limbs and trunks;

a cheerful young girl running down the road was overtaken by a passing car;

and a pheasant was framed by a Star of David.

We drove on past Bucklers Hard, then retuned along St Leonards Road to catch

sunset both at the Grange

and a little further along the road.

This evening we dined on fish pie with Jackie’s succulent ratatouille; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; and tender cabbage, with which we both drank Barefoot Sauvignon Blanc 2016.

 

 

“Alice’s Last Day”

On this bright and chilly morning, Nugget was torn away from his perch on the lip of

 

Jackie’s tulip planting pot

by Muggle’s war cries, which, proudly puffed up, he was required to reciprocate from a higher viewpoint.

“Where’s Nugget?” (49).

Later, we drove into the forest, taking School Lane out of Milford on Sea.

Tanners Lane was to produce two very enjoyable conversations.

The first was with Ed and Alice who were enjoying “Alice’s last day” in Lymington before travelling up to London for an interview for a job in Marylebone which, of course, I knew very well. I wished her luck and gave them a blog card.

The second was with a painter working on number 7.

Jackie and I must have been watching the renovation work in progress for a good two years now.

First there was the roofing of master thatcher A. D. Smith, with renovations by New Forest Oak Buildings

 

The painter confirmed my observation that the different materials in the walls are being matched and preserved.

Soon work will commence inside. Maybe I will have further opportunities to enter the historic building.

My informant told me that he had been delayed coming to work yesterday because the Beaulieu River had burst its banks. We therefore headed off in that direction.

Cattle basked on the moorland at East End

and grazed on the hillside above

St Leonards Road, for much of the length of which we were required to track a string of veteran cyclists.

For variety in the game of “Where’s Nugget”, I can offer “Where’s the pheasant”, camouflaged in the verge side bracken.

Beaulieu Lake, presumably at high tide

was certainly fuller than usual,

providing a splendidly smooth cygnet paddling pool.

Rowing boats left on the soggy bank of the

now still river must have been put into service during the spate.

Today, another group of cyclists were able to gather round a wooden seat for relaxation, refreshment, and reflection.

I am not quite sure how this post has been published early, that is before we have dined on Mr. Pink’s Fish and chips, drunk Hoegaarden, and finished the Cabernet Franc.

 

Conversation

On another overcast afternoon we meandered in the Modus.

On the Beaulieu Abbey lake teal ( see John Knifton’s comment below) paddled among the reed beds;

black headed gulls quietly reflected;

stately swans sailed sedately, sometimes safely splash landing.

One conversed with a little boy in a buggy.

In a field across the road cock pheasants competed with crows for forage.

Cattle claimed the road at East Boldre.

This evening we dined on our second helpings of Hordle Chinese Take Away’s excellent fare.

Taking Aim

Very early this morning, Jackie drove me to New Hall Hospital for a follow up visit to Mr Kask, the knee surgeon, who pronounced himself satisfied with progress. The right knee is already more flexible than the left.

Our Lucky pheasant takes a violent exception to the others beyond the mirror.

This morning, Matthew took these two photographs of him looking askance at the enemy.

Later he pecked away at his lookalike intruder,

and was really taken aback at the sight of Matthew’s reflection taking aim.

Having stayed overnight once more and remained talking much of the day, Mat, Tess, and Poppy left late this afternoon.

This evening we dined on salami pizza with extra cheese served with plentiful fresh salad.

Big Brother

Matthew, Tess, and Poppy came to visit this morning. Becky and Ian followed on this afternoon.

I printed Matthew and Becky each a copy of this image of Michael being big brother taken from ‘The Hat’.

This afternoon we were visited by a very tame cock pheasant. Poppy named him ‘Lucky’.

This evening we dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away’s excellent fare, after which Becky and Ian drove home and the others stayed the night.