Lunchtime

Part of Mum’s deal at Woodpeckers Care home is that she can entertain guests to lunch once a week.

Elizabeth, Jackie, and I were her visitors today. My meal was Cajun chicken with Lyonnaise potatoes, carrots, and curly kale; the others opted for gammon. Mum chose stewed apricots with ice cream for dessert; the rest of us enjoyed plum crumble. We were served in our own quiet room. Service was friendly and efficient. The food was very good.

Afterwards, Jackie and I took a trip around the forest.

It is not unusual to see requests for information about hit and run accidents involving ponies. This, featuring a Shetland on the road to Beaulieu, was one of two we passed today.

Although much of it has been cut back by now, blackthorn has proliferated in the hedgerows for several weeks now.

As we rounded a bend on approaching East End we were struck by this fortuitous juxtaposition of maple and photinia.

Nearby one of a group of basking cattle suckled her calf which was enjoying its own lunchtime.

Donkeys were hard at work trimming the village’s hedgerows.

More cattle were serving themselves to lunch from the verges of Tanners Lane.

Beside Sowley Lane a flamboyant cock pheasant flashed across the road and fled beneath barbed wire fencing.

Another merged into hay stalks among scavenging crows beside a field of rape, many of which

are beginning to slash the landscape with sunlight.

More of the more colourful birds foraged in

this historic field with its

views across The Solent to the Isle of Wight.

This evening we dined on spicy Diablo pizza with plentiful fresh salad. Jackie drank more of the Sauvignon Blanc and I enjoyed Maipo Valley Carménere 2016 from the Majestic Definition range.

This Later Season

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This morning I learned that my PSA result was clear – no action required. It is an interesting phenomenon that this is one situation in which no news is good news. The GP only contacts the patient if there is a problem. Otherwise the patient has to make the call.

This afternoon Jackie drove me to Sears Barbers for Peter to cut my hair. Afterwards we visited Tanners Lane,

where a few others were having fun. Two women, children, and a Labrador collected shells; a young man walked his dog; two people rowed a canoe.

A gull atop a post ignored the swirling eddies where currents clashed in the otherwise calm waters.

En route to this site we had noticed a glimpse of the view across to the Isle of Wight from Shotts Lane. The second picture reveals the Isle of Wight ferry and smoke from a fire on the island. The cattle in the third image conveniently wandered into shot.

In order to remove the five barred gate from the scene I needed to scale it a bit, then climb down again.

Pheasants in Sowley Lane, no longer dressed in their mating finery, reflected this later season by picking at stubble in a ploughed field. Others sought the shelter of the Becks Farm drive.

Why Did The Pheasant Cross The Road?

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Yesterday evening we enjoyed the usual excellent food and friendly efficient service in the perfect company of Elizabeth, Danni, and Andy, at Dynasty Indian restaurant in Brockenhurst. This family grouping is always full of stories, fun, and catching up with current events. So it was then.

When John Keats penned his immortal line ‘Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness’ he was not thinking of Spring. This morning, one could have been forgiven for thinking so. Well, at least the ‘mists’ image. As I stood peering into the film covering Lymington River, a gull winged its way into view, alighted on a circular yellow buoy, and quickly sped off again.

Reed beds

I crossed the road and leant on a rail chatting to a little family who were on their way to the quay for a crabbing expedition. I was able to tell them about the reed beds, and thatching. One little girl told me that her Mummy had a coat like my jacket. “Well, it’s red. But longer”, she added.

Cyclists

On leaving Lymington we followed a pair of cyclists up the hill towards the east. These two had the good sense to stay in single file and on our side of the road. We are accustomed to and accepting of this. Whilst I can fully understand the joy of cycling for exercise, I cannot fathom why anyone would charge around bends on our narrow lanes two abreast. This happened twice today. On the second occasion a large group was involved. Fortunately our vehicle is a Modus, not a large lorry.

Donkeys were just about visible at Tanner’s Lane. Three grazed in the field against the backdrop of a burgeoning rape crop; another pair chomped on dry seaweed on the shingle.

An angler in a boat would not have been able to see the Isle of Wight behind him; a black-headed gull floated nearer the shore.

As we drove away from the beach, a decidedly grey pony, deviating at the last minute, headed straight for us.

Fat pheasants wandered quite leisurely around this area. Why, we wondered, would one decide to cross Sowley Lane?

Ah. There’s the answer.

Bright purple aubretia lit up the ancient stone wall alongside the ruins of St Leonard’s granary, beside which

drowsed representatives of the usual group of ponies. Before the rains set in, the chestnut against the rusting fence rails would not have been able to enjoy admiring its mirrored image. What, perhaps, these photographs cannot display is the absolutely still silence conveyed by these creatures.

Only the tiny Falabella raised an eyebrow as I approached.

This afternoon a smiling sun warmed the garden from a cloudless blue sky.

This evening we dined on smoked haddock fish cakes, piquant cauliflower cheese, mashed potato and swede, and carrots and broccoli, with which I finished the Comino Nuevo.

 

Almost Blown Away

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James, of Peacock Computers, visited to examine the iMac, and took it away to restore it to working order. In anticipation of the Apple’s removal, I had scanned a set of photographic prints from May 1993 onto the Windows laptop. We had also thought the weather would be bad this afternoon and I would be able to use these to illustrate today’s post. In the event, the sun shone and the winds were high enough, at more than 50 m.p.h. to suggest a trip into the forest. The 1993 set will appear tomorrow.

Cattle on hillside

A short distance  outside East End cattle grazed on a hillside that was topped by an oak tree sporting a car tyre.

Falabella

The little falabella pony which

Ponies at poolside

sometimes joins its cousins outside St Leonard’s Grange,

Falabella pony

 

spent its time crossing from one side of the road to the other.

Ponies on road

Another just stayed in the road.

Ruin in silhouette

When we reached this point, one of the ruins of the granary was nicely silhouetted

Ruin before sunset

against the lowering sun, bestowing a sepia tone.

Pheasants

We continued along the road, intending to return for sunset. Pheasants chased each other across the lanes and the autumnal fields.

Ruin at sunset

On our return golden streaks stretched along the sky.

Skyscape

We took a diversion down Tanners Lane on our journey home. Those streaks had deepened over the Isle of Wight.

Windsurfer

The winds pressed so strongly against the car door that it felt as if it was close to a wall. Just one other vehicle was parked in front of us. Perhaps it belonged to the windsurfer

Windsurfer

who skimmed over the choppiest waves we have ever seen there,

Windsurfer

constantly changing

Windsurfer

direction, and almost blown away.

This evening we dined on Jackie;s gorgeously spicy chilli con carne, with her most savoury rice wearing an omelette jacket. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank Mendoza Parra Alta malbec 2016.

 

A Rescue Operation

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This morning turned out to be rather longer than planned and required a little more energy than anticipated to be expended. We began with a trip to New Milton for shopping, including a new watch strap for me. We then returned home to collect two large bags of garden refuse for the dump.

It was to be quite fortuitous that we had the bags on board when we set off into the forest from the Efford Recycling Centre.

Lymington River with egret 1Lymington River with egret 2Lymington River with egret 3

Egrets were fishing on Lymington River,

Boats

where the usual boats were moored.

Hoarding mural 1Hoarding mural 3Hoarding mural 4Hoarding mural 5Hoarding mural 2

A long hoarding has been in situ around Threeways in Pilley for quite a number of years has at some time served as an art gallery. Paintings by a variety of artists remain in situ.

Pony 1Ponies 1Ponies 2

Ponies, in return for the freedom of the village, keep the grass in front of the houses cropped short.

Pony 2

There were many ponies in evidence at the road junction at St Leonard’s Road, East End. We weren’t going to get past them, so just watched this grey

Pony 3

leave its post on the centre line, turn,

Ponies 3

Ponies 4Ponies 5

and, passing a companion at the swampy corner, cross

Ponies 6

the road towards East Boldre, leaving another chestnut to take over traffic control duties.

Pony's legs

The pony standing in the pool

Pony eating and drinking

liked a drink with its grass, which took its mind of the fly on its nose.

Pony 4

Another grey advanced on me, no doubt seeking goodies, in which it was to be disappointed.

Ponies 7

Travelling on, we hadn’t covered many metres of St Leonard’s Road before our road was blocked again.

Pheasant cock

Pheasants, both male

Pheasant hen 2

and female, skittered backwards and forwards into the hedgerows,

Pheasants on road

except on Tanner’s Lane, where they gathered in a bouquet.

Tanner's Lane beach

Sunlight sparkled on the water between the mainland and

Isle of Wight and Needles from Tanner's Lane

the Isle of Wight.

Car on shingle 1

Hello. What was this on the shingle beach?

It was Emma’s car, a Twingo.

Watched by her mother, Paula, and two other young ladies attempting to offer advice, guidance, and assistance, the driver had, with her mother and dog, set out for a walk which had to be abandoned. It became immediately necessary to free the vehicle. But how?

The car’s wheels just span on the loose pebbles as Emma vainly tried to climb over them. I helped guide her onto a firmer section, but this involved first having to reverse further down towards the waterline, turning, driving at an angle to the foreground of this picture, then reversing as close to the corner post as possible. Despite her fears, the young lady kept her cool, and almost made it. Several times.

Car stuck on shingle 2

It was then that I remembered the orange bags. By this time Jackie had joined us, so she fetched them. We placed them on gravel behind the wheels. It was still difficult. We then roped Jackie’s hessian supermarket bags into service so we had all four wheels covered.

Car stuck on shingle and dog

Still no joy, until we were joined by another gentleman with rather more knowledge, especially about being very very gentle on the accelerator. Emma turned left at the point in the picture above, and reversed slowly towards the corner. With all hands on the bonnet; backs, thighs and knees straining, we tried again. We had lift off. Emma just avoided reversing into a hedge. We all gave each other hearty hugs, and Jackie and I drove home for a late lunch.

This evening we dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away fare. And very good it was too. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the malbec.

 

 

 

On The Road To Brockenhurst

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Jackie and I began the day with a drive in the forest, in order to see how the thatching at East End was progressing.

Ford 1Ford 2Ford 3

A shallow stream ran over the ford at Norleywood, enhancing the beauty of the shadows on the road ahead.

Donkeys 1

A pair of donkeys breakfasted on the hedgerows opposite the house

Thatching 3

on which the skilled roofing work had commenced.

Donkey 1

As is their wont, one of these creatures crept, silently, up behind me to see if I had any carrots. I am mean enough to disappoint them, however, feeding them is not advised by the verderers, unless you want to catch Weill’s disease.

Donkeys and ModusDonkey and ModusDonkey 2

Jackie had driven further up the road to turn round, by which time the donkeys really had claimed the road.

Donkeys 2The other two large lorries were still parked outside the neighbouring house. One was being loaded with soil dug out from the garden.

Shetland pony 1Chickens and Shetland pony 1Chickens and Shetland pony 2

High above the chicken range a solitary Thelwell child’s pony also enjoyed its morning meal.

Chickens and cockerel 1

Chickens 1Cockerel and chickens 1Chickens 2Chickens 3Chicken 1Chicken 2

The chickens cooed and clucked around their chook house,

Crow and chickens

sharing their repast with crows,

Ducks and chicken

ducks,

Ducks and hen pheasantPheasant henPheasant cock 1

and pheasants, which were freer to roam.

Llama 2

One of the llamas sat with a silly grin on its face

Llama 1

as another gurned at me.

Cyclists

A trio of cyclists paused at the road junction to take their bearings.

Cyclists 1Cyclists 2Cyclists 3Cyclists 5Cyclists 6

They were small fry compared with those who were to limit our progress on the road to Brockenhurst.

Cyclists 4

As we approached that village, Jackie expressed the wish that they would not be going our way. No such luck.

This afternoon we continued, focussing on the rose and front gardens, preparing for an alfresco summer.

This evening we dined on shepherd’s pie topped with layers of cheddar cheese and mushrooms; crisp carrots, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and runner beans. Jackie finished the Cotes de Gascoigne and I drank more of the shiraz.

Island In The Sun

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This morning’s sunshine lasted long enough

to draw me into pruning the rose garden. By the time I had finished the skies had clouded over and rain begun.

Window boxes

Between showers Jackie was able to plant primulas into the large window boxes on the front wall.

Camellia 1

More camellias are in full bloom, and

Daffodils and ferns

all the beds are clamouring for our attention,

Mudflats

but we abandoned them in favour of a drive to Tanner’s Lane beach,

Boat on mudflats

where the usual boat was moored on the mudflats.

Yacht

A solitary yacht sailed alongside the Isle of Wight,

Ferry boat and The Needles

as a ferry boat threaded its way past The Needles.

At low tide seaweed clung to rocks and breakwaters.

Trees and breakwaters

Further along the coastline gnarled trees were coming into bud,

Cloudscape

as rain-laden skies loomed over the sunlit landscape.

Egrets were among the birds feeding on the shore.

Egret in flight

One rewarded my numerous efforts to catch it in flight.

Having left Tanner’s Lane and begun to drive along Sowley Lane it seemed as if we were on the floor of a school dance from my teens. In the undergrowth on one side of the lane were assembled a bouquet of hen pheasants.

Pheasants 1

The less fragrant cocks patrolled the opposite side.

Plucking up courage, they paraded a bit,

Pheasants 2

then slipped through the barrier to join the ladies.

Crane at sunset

Just before sunset at Milford on Sea a crane silhouetted against the skies was a reminder that the beach huts destroyed in gales a couple of years ago are being rebuilt.

We hastened to Barton on Sea and waited for a pair of figures to make their way along the clifftop so that I could include them in my shot. Following their progress I was to discover that the gentleman was pointing a camera away from the west, and photographing the Isle of Wight.

Truly an Island in the Sun.

Tree and holiday homes

The tree in the grounds of the holiday homes park has grown as directed by the sea breezes.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy chilli con carne, savoury rice, and salad. She drank Hoegaarden, and I finished the Carmenère.