Beechwood Fauna

This being the second day of 50+ m.p.h. winds it seemed one to have a look at the waves on The Solent.

The sun lit the cliffs of the island and the waves on the skyline.

When I photographed the sea,

rocks, and spume on the sand

I was not alone;

one young woman, exhibiting enviable knee flexion, took a bird’s eye view.

When I grew tired of bracing myself against the gusts, we drove through Shirley Holms into the forest,

where, on Beachwood Lane, our new foal, still keeping close to her mother, and needing to suckle, looked more as if her legs belonged to her and could, to some extent, risk making our acquaintance.

Other ponies wandered about

and a group of cattle were accompanied by a young calf.

They soon wandered off down the lane in order to trim residents’ hedges.

Perhaps we were downwind of the deer which occasionally peered out from the distant undergrowth before gradually moving off under cover.

One of the fallen trees appeared to have been uprooted quite recently.

Our return journey took us along Bickley Common Road with its bluebells and cow parsley on the verges.

This evening we dined on roast chicken breasts; potatoes roasted with onions and mushrooms; and crisp carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli; followed by strawberries and cream. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Dragon Hills Pinot Noir 2017.

Durdle Door

Today continuous rain fell from a leaden sky.

ERRATUM ERRATUM ERRATUM ERRATUM ERRATUM ERRATUM ERRATUM ERRATUM

MRS KNIGHT INFORMS ME THAT MY DURDLE DOOR IS IN FACT PULPIT ROCK AT PORTLAND. DURDLE DOOR IS AT LULWORTH COVE.

DOH! DOH! DOH! DOH! DOH! DOH! DOH! DOH! DOH! DOH! DOH! DOH! DOH! DOH!

As I focussed on the spray-spattered cliffs beneath Portland Bill lighthouse, a small yacht crossed the ocean near the horizon.

Lovers had carved their names in the weathered rocks. How long ago, I wondered, and are they still together?

Boat sheds perched above these geological specimens.

Having begun at dawn our group returned to take advantage of the evening light.

Elizabeth is third from our right of those focussing on the iconic

Durdle Door and its intrepid climbers.

Packs of frozen peas are regularly applied to ease the swelling on my operated knee. One of the bags has split. This meant that a plentiful helping of said peas appeared on our dinner plates this evening. These were alongside cheese centred smoked haddock fishcakes, tangy ratatouille, and piquant cauliflower and broccoli cheese. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I didn’t.

At The Corner Of The Street

An unusual phenomenon is evident in our front garden this year. We have crab apples, normally stripped by blackbirds long before now – still suspended from their branches – standing alongside a winter flowering cherry.

When I endured my flexible cystoscopy on 13th December I was given a form to send back after a fortnight in order to report on whether or not I had an infection. Now I know why. Today Jackie drove me to the GP to obtain some antibiotics.

Before then we took a drive in the forest.

The two ponies always seen at the door of Greatham House near the junction of Sway Road in Brockenhurst, and various attendant donkeys

attracted quite a crowd of visitors, many with cameras. The grey pony, in particular, tended to poke her head through the open front doorway when the owner appeared with goodies.

Several donkeys on the opposite corner of the street attracted their own admirers.

Soon, occasionally coming to an abrupt halt, either to doze or to enjoy a scratch, crossed the road to join their relatives.

As most photographers will know, it is necessary to stand well back from your subject when using a long lens. This becomes rather difficult when your prey – in this case a small donkey in search of treats – is intent upon investigating your camera. One gentleman attempting to flee his moving subject was compelled to wait until the animal became distracted in order to take his opportunity for a shot. Otherwise, each time he turned round the creature continued to bear down upon him.

Jackie, who tried out her new camera today, reprimanded me for standing in the road “like a donkey”. These are two of her images. The woman I was conversing with was telling me that the local council were engaged in a long running feud with the owner of Greatham House who refused to stop feeding the ponies. She said that the two regular equine visitors were a mother and daughter, and that the younger, grey, animal was pregnant. As Jackie said, “she’ll be bringing her foal along soon”.

In the skies over Bransgore a mini murmuration wave swooped, turned, ebbed, and flowed low above the trees.

This evening we dined at Lal Quilla. My main course was lamb Ceylon; Jackie’s Lal Qilla Special; Ian’s chicken tikka masala; and Becky’s Murg something I can’t remember. We shared onion bhajis, various rices and a peshwari naan. Becky drank rosé wine while the rest of us enjoyed Kingfisher.

The Last Half Hour

An exchange of comments with another blogger this morning took me back to ‘Child Labour’ from 14th January 2014.

Later, I added some material from ‘Anticipating The Shot (2)’  and from ‘One Life Cut Short, Another  Changed Forever’ to the draft of ‘A Knight’s Tale’.

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Our crab apple trees have lost almost all their leaves. Their enticing fruit has still not tempted the blackbirds.

This afternoon Jackie drove me to Sears Barbers where Kelly cut my hair. Peter is recovering from his knee replacement operation. After this we continued along the coast to Barton on Sea where

we enjoyed watching the skies, walkers, and the sea, during the last half hour leading to a somewhat subdued sunset. Most pedestrians and their dogs remained on the clifftop; one man gazed at the waves down below; Another in a wetsuit even breasted the turbulent waters (he was too far away for my lens). A jet plane’s perspective gave the impression that it was heading down to the waves beneath. I was not the only photographer focussed on the golden orb.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s tender peri peri chicken in a lemon marinade; creamy mashed potato; sautéed mushrooms, onions and peppers; carrots and green beans with which I drank more of the Merlot. We saved some for Elizabeth who will be home later.

P.S. In response to Sandra’s comment below, Jackie has produced her annotated version of the BBC Good Food recipe for Pumpkin Pie

Where To Find A Drink

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This afternoon we drove into the forest in search of water. We hoped to find at least some areas where the animals could drink.

The bed of the stretch of Highland Water just outside Brockenhurst was unusually dry, yet provided enough water for cattle to drink and to paddle, and for dogs to play. Other photographers recorded the scene while I focussed on them.

From there we proceeded to Hatchet Pond where the levels were high, and, again, cattle stood in, or along, the far side of the lake.

The tide was high at Tanner’s Lane. This little boy couldn’t drink the water, but he could certainly play in it. Just after I took these photographs he was stripped off and paddling.

As we left the lane a Muscovy duck made its slow, ungainly, way across the road, practising the heel and toe technique that would please my physiotherapists.

Back home we had no trouble finding a drink. Ours were taken on the grass patch from where we could enjoy views across the garden; and hanging baskets and planters in and around the area. Jackie couldn’t resist making a few adjustments. Bees, like the one in the convolvulus in the last picture, were still very busy.

This evening we dined on a Margarita pizza embellished by Jackie with salami and cheese; and fresh salad.

 

Maybe There’ll Be Frost

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Although the meteorologists keep changing their minds about it, we have a frost warning for tonight. We therefore began the task of bringing some of the more tender potted plants into

Cold frame 1Cold frame 2

a makeshift cold frame

Greenhouse 1Greenhouse 2

and the greenhouse.

Gazebo Path

Sun still streaked across the Gazebo Path;

Shady/Oval Bed paths

across the Shady Path;

Dead End Path 1

Begonias etc

across the Dead End Path;

Brick PathBrick Path 2

and down the Brick Path.

Cryptomeria Bed 1Cryptomeria Bed 2

Some geraniums and other similarly vulnerable plants like these in the Cryptomeria Bed,

Petunias

or these petunias, had to be left to the elements,

Pelargonium Quercifolium

but this pot of pelargonium Quercifolia that has taken two years to reach splendid maturity, just had to be placed in the greenhouse.

Meanwhile roses such as Compassion, seen rising above the Dead End Path in one of the earlier pictures;

Lady Emma Hamilton

Lady Emma Hamilton;

Absolutely Fabulous

and Absolutely Fabulous, will fight their own corners.

Sky an hour before sunset

An hour before sunset, the skies over Downton presaged splendid views later,

Sunset 1

when off we sped to Barton on Sea where

Sunset 2

we were not disappointed.

Sunset 3

Others had the same idea;

Photographing sunset 1

especially those

Photographing sunset 2

photographing

Photographing sunset 3

the ever-changing

Sunset 4

scene.

Sunset 5

Frozen vapour in the cross-hatched clouds suggests that maybe we will have frost.

Sunset with walkers 1Sunset with walkers 2Sunset with walkers 3Sunset with walkers 4

While walkers aimed for the sunset,

Isle of Wight at sunset

the Isle of Wight and The Needles were satisfied with the lighthouse beacon (enlargement will be necessary to see this).

This evening we dined on Jackie’s excellent sausage casserole, roast potatoes, and cauliflower. We did not imbibe.

 

 

 

 

My New Haircut

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Today the temperature was unseasonably warm, and the skies overcast. Although we have a great number of flowers still blooming beyond their normal time, I chose this morning figuratively to pick

Dahlia 1Dahlia 2Dahlias 1Dahlias 2Dahlias 6Dahlias 4Dahlias 2Dahlias 3Dahlias 5

a bunch of dahlias from the garden.

Spider and leaf

On my way round my attention was drawn to a fallen leaf, twisting frantically in an attempt to free itself from the spider’s web from which it was suspended. This brought the arachnid scampering down its central line, only to be disappointed in what it had trapped.

Bench in West Bed

I have recently featured developments in the West Bed, cleared of shrubs and an old rose by Aaron, and having two new roses set to climb the arch by Jackie. There is now a new bench ready for positioning on reconstituted stone paving.

Elizabeth came for lunch and dinner. This afternoon we all travelled to Friar’s Cliff Beach and visited the Beach Hut Café for refreshments.

Yacht and couple on beach

A heavy haze restricted rendered the Isle of Wight invisible beyond a passing yacht.

Couple and dog on beach

From Steamer Point nature reserve I watched the couple seen in the above picture  continuing along the beach in the direction of Mudeford.

Man and dog on beach 1Man and dog on beach 2

Other dogs were frolicking on the beach;

Retriever on beach 1Couple and retriever on beachMan and retriever on beach 1Man and retriever on beach 2

one retriever in particular swimming like a seal,

Woman filming man and retrieverWoman filming man and retriever 2

its antics being filmed from the breakwater.

Red seaweed and group of peopleRed seaweed on beach 1Red seaweed en masse

Red seaweed on beach Friar's Cliff Beach

Even as far away as the clifftop car park we could smell the red seaweed that coated the sand

Gull and red seaweed 1

where a solitary gull wandered.

Gulls

This bird was joined by another and quickly took off,

Gull flying

flying out to sea,

Gull on beach

leaving the visitor all forlorn.

Seawater

Bubbling eddies swirled around

Rocks and seaweedFriar's Cliff BeachFriar's Cliff Beach

the rocks swathed in green and red weed.

Seaweed tinged wavesSeaweed on beach and tinging waves

As the waves rolled in they were tinged with red.

Gull leaping waves

The gull bobbing on the wave above leapt to avoid the next one,

Wader flying

and a wader flew off as I approached in an attempt to identify it.

Elizabeth photographing

I photographed my sister focussing on the water,

Derrick Photographing

and she got her own back.

Derrick photographing 2Derrick photographing 3Derrick photographing 4Derrick photographing 5

This served a dual purpose in that we could satisfy the request of LordBeariofBow to feature my new haircut so that he could pass judgement on it.

This evening’s dinner consisted of Jackie’s superb sausages in red wine, creamy mashed potatoes, and crunchy carrots and cabbage. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and Elizabeth and I drank Parra Alta malbec 2016.