Still Tagging Along

Work continued on the Rose Garden this morning. We used a metal mallet to straighten the legs of the recent acquired rusty obelisks and hammer them into position.

More fallen leaves from the copper beech tree were swept, gathered up with big hands, and deposited into

black bags in bin subsequently transferred to the compost area. The potted pansies in the above pictures have settled in nicely.

Penstemons and fuchsias continue to thrive.

As seen on the Shady Path there are many more leaves to be collected.

This afternoon Jackie began our Christmas shopping at Otter Nurseries while I sat in the car and read more of Edwin Drood.

Although we had enjoyed the best of the light this morning we then drove into the forest where

trees are turning on Pilley Hill.

At the Lodge Lane road junction

donkeys foraged;

fallen trees stretched across the woodland;

and burnished mushrooms burgeoned beneath golden-brown beech leaves.

Indigo clouds swept across pale pink skies over St Leonard’s Road where

our familiar miniature pony still tagged along with the big girls;

and strutting pheasants trotted across adjacent fields.

This evening we dined on second helpings of Hordle Chinese Takeaway’s tasty fare with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Corbieres.

Emulating The Squirrel

The first couple of hours this morning were bright and breezy. After that the skies clouded over and the atmosphere gained weight. Later in the afternoon rain resumed its descent.

We therefore drove out to the forest soon after 10 a.m., First visiting

the pony, Gimlet who left off chewing his breakfast hay to crunch the carrot I offered.

She was quite impressed that I had successfully employed the Sue W. flat hand technique.

Before leaving home I had printed a couple of large copies of the photographs of Anne and her steed taken a few days ago. We delivered these to her place of work at Kitchen Makers. She was very pleased.

We continued on to Pilley Hill, the verges of which were awash with several varieties of daffodil.

The 11th century pub Fleur de Lys is in the background of this image.

The owners of a recently sold house at Norley Wood had engaged a group of asinine hedge clippers.

Richard Adams, in ‘Watership Down’ describes how rabbits become road kill when they freeze in the glare of car headlights.

Fortunately for this creature cutting the grass it was daytime and our headlights were extinguished.

Other examples of small creatures meeting their death on the country roads are pheasants who seem to wait for vehicles to arrive then dash across in a game of chicken.

Young squirrels, who can’t possibly reach maturity will leg it in front of the car in an effort to outrun it.

Ponies and donkeys, not usually the most energetic animals, normally just stand stolidly in the road. Today we met a group attempting to emulate the squirrel.

As we turned from Norley Wood Road down the hill towards East End, a trio of ponies ambled out of Broomhill and trotted off towards a drove of donkeys already in occupation.

After taking a slight diversion to see how the neighbouring alpacas were doing

these animals picked up their heels and set a pace which had their smaller cousins racing on ahead.

A pair of more nonchalant donkeys emerged from the field on the left. They simply stepped aside for us.

Others kept up the pace

despite oncoming traffic. Eventually we managed to pass them without a collision.

This afternoon, while photographing Nugget at his trough,

Jackie became concerned about an apparently ailing blue tit curled up,

gasping, clinging to a feeder for upwards of half an hour.

Eventually it raised its head and seized a suet pellet.

Soon it decanted to the wisteria, from which it subsequently disappeared.

This evening we dined on succulent roast duck breasts, boiled potatoes, crisp Yorkshire pudding, crunchy carrots, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts, with tender runner beans. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Lacaze Cabernet-Carmenere 2017.