A Cervine Spectre

Jackie was up in the dark this morning, in time to photograph

our first smattering of snow before the rain washed it away.

This afternoon we drove to Crestwood in Lymington to complete the paperwork and pay a deposit on our new sitting room flooring which will be laid after Christmas. We continued on to the north of the forest by way of

Roger Penny Way where

the gloom could not conceal the burnished gold of bracken

and autumn leaves.

Among the fallen trees

a skeletal cervine spectre remained tethered beside a moss-coated log.

Blissford Hill was not the only thoroughfare becoming waterlogged enough for arboreal reflection.

The pannage season has been extended. Pigs dashed towards us on

Hyde Hill where Jackie parked the Modus ahead of the

billowing sounder, too fast for me to keep up with.

Suddenly they dashed off piste and disappeared into a soggy field.

I needed to wade through sucking mud to reach the gate.

A somewhat perplexed freckled Shetland pony, sharing its field with

two be-rugged horses and an oak tree, observed the porcine proceedings.

Many thatched cottages, like this one at North Gorley, were able to admire their coiffure in their weedy green pools.

Since our dinner was being slow-roasted while we were out, I had no qualms that I might have been eating the shoulder of one today’s snuffling pigs with crispy crackling, Yorkshire pudding, creamy mashed potatoes, crunchy carrots, and tender cabbage with most tasty gravy. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Fleurie.

 

 

Fauna And Flora

This morning I watched the recorded Rugby World Cup quarter final match between England and Australia.

After lunch Jackie drove us into the forest where most of the free ranging animals were on display.

Donkeys with a foal basked in the sunshine at Bramshaw, where

another wandered up a lane towards the green occupied by

 

 

 

red brown and black Highland and other cattle.

In the vicinity of Nomansland we drove down a lane in Deazle Woods, up and down which a pair of walkers walked several times. Our paths continued to cross as we continued towards Newbridge. Each time I left the car with a camera they were there.

Here are some scenes of the woodland I wandered through.

Returning to the road from Nomansland we encountered a couple of sows with two piglets snuffling among the mud in search of mast.

One little piggy let out a fearful squeal as its mother butted it out of reach of one tasty morsel she wanted for herself.

Another donkey foal sat in the road as we approached Newbridge.

Sheep and cattle shared pasturage here.

One mother suckled her hungry calf. There was a certain amount of avid spillage.

A young lady speeding astride a sturdy steed seemed amused to scatter the sheep.

Just outside the village a small Shetland pony kindly enhanced my view of a backlit autumnal tree,

while a larger animal gave a demonstration of how to cross a dry ditch.

Back at home I watched the rugby quarter final match between New Zealand and Ireland, while Jackie planted more pansies and snakehead fritillaries and cleared more beds.

She photographed fuchsias Army Nurse and Display, heuchera leaves, phlox, and a  Japanese anemone.

Nugget was, of course, in attendance,

and wishes it known that he does feature in this garden image, perched above the central hanging basket. We considered that this was too difficult an example for the “Where’s Nugget?” game,

and made him settle for this “Where’s Nugget?” (38).

This evening we dined on Jackie’s wholesome cottage pie, the mash topped with fried potatoes; piquant cauliflower cheese; and crunchy broccoli and carrots with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Parra Alta Malbec 2018.

 

Vacuuming

This was a day of fleeting sunshine, pelting showers, and gusting gale force winds.

So far I am still wearing sandals with no socks. This is because I always continue with this footwear as long as possible; and because it remains difficult to don shoes and socks. When answering the door to a neighbour I managed to drag the front door across the big toe of the more recently operated leg. The ensuing gash – and Jackie – suggested it was time I reverted to more sensible footwear.

 

Fortunately this morning Jackie and Nugget were able to manage a certain amount of planting – when

the little familiar wasn’t getting under the Head Gardener’s feet.

 

As usual, Nugget would occasionally zip up to a level at which he felt more equal in stature.

“Where’s Nugget?” (37)

This afternoon we drove to the bank at Lymington where we completed the forms for adding Jackie jointly to my account. Next call was at Ferndene Farm Shop where we acquired three more bags of compost.

We continued into the forest, where, on Burley Road, trees bore increasingly autumnal foliage,

as, less so, did those of Burbush Farm.

Ponies at Thorney Hill seemed to be waiting patiently for

pigs, clad in their own autumn best, making their way along the verges snuffling and sloshing about their business of vacuuming up the acorns for their equine neighbours’ culinary comfort.

This evening we dined on fish cakes – one Thai flavoured with Jackie’s savoury rice, the other cod and parsley with Duchess potatoes; piquant cauliflower cheese, crunchy carrots, and tender runner beans with which The Culinary Queen drank Blue Moon and I finished the Malbec.

 

 

 

The Halloween Template

The day began as gloomy as yesterday. The early rain was quite light – enough for us to put in a stint of clearing up clippings and dead heading before it increased in ferocity.

I watched recordings of the Rugby World Cup matches between USA and Tonga; between Wales and Uruguay; and between Ireland and Japan. As usual I will not reveal the outcome of any of these , save to say that the sight of several of the smaller Japanese simultaneously tackling some of the larger Scots put me in mind of a pride of lions bringing down an elephant.

By late afternoon the sun emerged as the clouds sped away.

We took a drive into the forest via Holmsley Passage where the lowering sun burnished the bracken beneath still laden clouds.

I rambled for a while along Bisterne Close where ponies ambled once they left the

woodland on one side.

This mare led her foal

across to the side occupied by farms, houses and field horses. The mother enjoyed a scratch as her offspring waited patiently.

The domesticated animals now sport their rugs. The free ranging ponies grow their own.

Readers may observe that leaf shadows on one of these tree trunks have provided a template for a Halloween pumpkin face.

Mushrooms and tree fungus are found here;

varieties of tree fungus emerge from logs lying alongside Beechwood Road.

 

 

The stream under Mill Lane flows again over the ford.

Cattle graze beside the waters, and pigs

snuffle along the lane vacuuming up the fallen acorns so that they do not poison the ponies.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s nicely matured pork paprika with rice and peas, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Pinot Noir.

As Happy As A Pig In The Proverbial

Earlier today I watched recordings of the rugby World Cup matches between Australia and Uruguay and between England and Argentina.

After lunch we took a drive up to the north of the forest.

Pigs are free for the next six weeks or so to enjoy searching for acorns and other forest fruits, known as mast, that litter the roads and woods.

 

 

 

 

This sow led her troop along the verges of North Gorley. She was not averse to leading them across the road.

Sometimes a straggler, snuffling, snorting, and squeaking among the terrain, would wake up to the fact that the others had moved on, and take off like a porcine Exocet to catch up.

As one car speeded on, having passed the main group, one of these creatures darted from the undergrowth straight across its path. Fortunately I saw this coming and held up my hand in warning.

Horse chestnuts, known as conkers, are not, as far as I know, among the forest fruits favoured by the pigs. They were ignoring those that had fallen from a tree in someone’s garden.

Ponies foraging along the Gorley Road ignored

another group of small pigs on the road ahead.

For the first time we followed a No Through Road to Ogdens North. This took us along a somewhat pitted road through rugged landscape and terminating in a

gravelly stream,

in which were reflected leaves above.

Mushrooms in the grass,

and lingering lichen coating a rotting branch, lay on the soggy banks.

I thought it best for my sandalled feet not to cross the muddy footbridge.

As we left a pair of determined ponies steadily approached from the woods, to join

another grazing on the open ground.

This evening we dined on prawn fishcakes topped with sweet chilli sauce, Jackie’s superb savoury rice, and ratatouille so liberally containing chillis as to make them much more appealing to me than to the Culinary Queen, who drank Hoegaarden while I drank Patrick Chodot Brouilly 2017.

 

More Than She Could Chew

Aaron works in all weathers. This morning, however warm enough, was even too wet for him. He visited anyway and we enjoyed a pleasant conversation over tea, coffee, and biscuits.

Afterwards I watched England’s World Cup Rugby match against Tonga.

Although this afternoon the skies remained overcast, the steady rain let up; Jackie worked on cuttings in the greenhouse; and I tried to photograph

Nugget without his getting too much under my feet as he darted back and forth after prey.

“Where’s Nugget?” (28)

Rosa Glauca hips and pelargoniums are just two examples of wearers of glistening pearls;

Virginia creeper perspired precipitation,

which weighed down one solitary bedraggled wasp’s antennae.

We have never before had so many nuts dropping from our copper beech. They have to be swept up daily, the husks making good mulch.

Later, with the sun made fairly regular appearances, we drove out into the forest.

One flock of sheep occupied the green at Bramshaw

while another streamed out onto a side lane.

A lone pony was carrying out lawn mowing duties at Nomansland.

Pigs, such as these at Landford, sought out mast;

we wondered what this one at Fritham had caught. soon we realised that

she had trapped a rat

and that she had bitten off more than she could chew. Jackie exclaimed that this sight had permanently put her off pannage pork.

We took the lane leading from Fritham down to Eyeworth Pond where

small birds flitted to and from the trees and the peanuts birders had left on the posts.

An inquisitive cow raised its head in the woodland,

and ponies enhanced the moorland landscape.

This evening we dined on fish pie and a medley of carrots, cauliflower, greens, and runner beans, all perfectly cooked al dente. We both drank Albarino 2017.

Silent Companions

Today the light was dull; the weather warm and dry.

This afternoon we visited Ferndene Farm shop to buy pork for tonight’s dinner.

I joined a young lady happily photographing chickens on her phone. We had noticed that she had chosen a good vantage point. It was a matter of seconds before I discovered that she had no speech and couldn’t understand me. Her carer approached and told me what I had already gathered and that she loved chickens. I said that perhaps she wouldn’t mind me continuing. That was the case and we became silent companions for a while.

I then sought out the resident pigs in order to reassure myself that we would not be eating them.

We continued on through the forest, taking an unnamed lane alongside which refuse had been dumped. At least it had been bagged up;

as had these drink cans on Braggers Lane.

If you are going to dump old fridges on the verges of Fish Street, I suppose you wouldn’t bother to wrap them.

Further along Fish Street we encountered a pair of inquisitive goats, the Billy of which sported a splendid beard.

This evening, when the sun emerged, Jackie went into the garden to plant some bulbs. Nugget kept getting under her feet, so she gave up and photographed a few garden scenes, including

this area she had planted yesterday;

honesty, rudbeckia, and Japanese anemones;

the lawn, eucalyptus, and hanging baskets;

the decking and its planting;

Florence sculpture, petunias, and nicotiana.

Oh, and “Where’s Nugget?” (13).

Later this evening we dined on Jackie’s spicily piquant pork paprika and toothsome mushroom rice with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Hardy’s Chapter and Verse Shiraz 2018.