I Meet A Verderer

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This afternoon, Jackie gathered together all the ingredients for her first ever fish pie that she made without a recipe. Potatoes for the mash lay on the worktop alongside butter, leeks, parsley and cheese. Eggs boiled in a pan alongside dishes of mixed salmon, haddock, and prawns to which were added a layer of parsley, and, when defrosted in the sink, spinach. Regarding the meal as a lost chord, that is, a creative effort that cannot be repeated, our Culinary Queen will not give further details of her method. There are a number of available recipes on the internet, although Delia Smith’s Fisherman’s Pie I used from her Complete Cookery Course doesn’t seem to be included on her Internet page.

She took a break before it was time to place the dishes in the oven, and drove us through the forest.

On Holmsley Road the equine staff of a landscaping company kept the grass cropped at the entrance to Wootton Oaks.

 

Rather splendid crab apple trees stood on the moors at either side of Holmsley Passage.

Much of the heather has browned already, but purple patches are still in evidence.

Although there is no through road along Castle Hill Lane between Burley and Burley Street, we decided to explore it. We were rewarded with sun-dappled forest scenes on either side of a narrow, winding, gravelled thoroughfare.

It was as I walked along admiring the landscape that I met a delightfully fascinating elderly woman who lived on the lane. Having been Chair of the New Forest Publicity Group for a 35 year period, she held a vast amount of the forest history. She nipped into her cottage to obtain a leaflet about the ponies for me. Although much faster than me she came out hobbling because she had a thorn in her foot. She bent down and removed it. It was then she told me she was a verderer. The leaflet explains that the verderers ‘are a body of ten persons appointed to administer the law concerning the New Forest. They hold the register of brands – all pony owners must use a brand to identify their depastured stock. The Verderers also have complete administrative control of all the stallions on the New Forest.’ When we parted, my informant, strode on ahead, paused for a while in a shaft of sunlight, then jogged on past the Modus and into the distance.

Fish pie in ovenFish pie

While I was drafting this, Jackie cooked two pies in the ovens. She withdrew one for tonight’s dinner and decorated it with sprigs of parsley.

This was served with piquant cauliflower cheese; sautéed leeks and mushrooms; and colourful crunchy carrots. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, Elizabeth, Becks Blue, and I, Casillero del Diablo reserva Cabernet Sauvignon 2016.

 

 

Wrecking The Shrubbery

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This afternoon, Jackie drove me around the East of the forest.

A group of donkeys diced with death as they munched on the verges of the winding lanes approaching East End,

where a llama in a field slowly swivelled its gaze in my direction;

and seasonal signs included blackberries ripening in the hedgerows,

starlings gathering on overhead cables,

and pheasants trotting across the moorland.

Three young cyclists came whooping down the approaching slope and up the next,

until they ran out of puff, dismounted, and, with a certain amount of trepidation, negotiated their way past fly-pestered ponies bent on keeping cottages’ grass cropped.

One of the many wandering cattle at East Boldre craned over a white picket fence and set about wrecking the owners’ shrubbery.

Gulls and swans shared Beaulieu’s Hatchet Pond.

This evening we will shortly be driving to The Family House at Totton where we will meet Becky, Ian, and Elizabeth for an excellent Chinese meal.

P.S. The evening was most enjoyable. The restaurant served the usual excellent food; the ambience being as warm and friendly as ever.

 

 

Three Young Stags

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On this very grey morning Jackie and I took another trip to Burley for the second birthday present. This time we were successful. As for yesterday’s gift, I cannot be more specific, or publish a photograph. After all, I never know who’s reading this.

As we returned along Mill Lane I was struck by how well a pony and foal blended with the wall of the farm building behind them. There were, in fact, two mares and two foals. The youngsters have reached the stage when their tails are growing and they are able to sport splendid Mohican haircuts.

On the far side of a field further down the lane, three young stags seemed not too perturbed by my distant lens.

Elizabeth is spending another night with Mum, who has a chest infection. Jackie and I dined on her flavoursome beef in red wine with onions, peppers, and mushrooms; served with creamy mashed potato, crunchy carrots, and our own runner beans. I drank Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2016. The Culinary Queen had consumed her Becks Blue on the patio beforehand.

The Modus Rocks

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This afternoon Jackie drove me to New Hall Hospital for a physiotherapy session. This was another positive outcome. I am now just 5 degrees short of the knee flexion target of 120. There remains tightness in the tendons and muscles used to straighten the leg. Claire, my physiotherapist, thinks that this dates from the hip replacement nine years ago. She has given me exercises for this and another session has been booked to work on it further.

We took a leisurely drive back home.

At Nomansland we witnessed a comic drama. The waste bins in the New Forest are designed to be pony proof. The effectiveness of this was demonstrated by a pony that didn’t know this. While the animal struggled to gain access, some members of a visiting family paid attention to the mare’s nearby foal. Suddenly they began pointing past me. Having given up with the bin, the mother pony had homed in on the family lunch bags. The human mother was alerted and came to the rescue. Others joined in.

Clouds of flies were, of necessity, ignored by the pestered animals at this site;

and by this family group on the verge of Roger Penny Way.

We parked the car by the side of Manor Farm in Cadnam Lane, which was overrun by three sows and a sounder of piglets. You can’t get much rasher than that. These snorting, grunting, trotting, creatures dashed hither and thither scratching their flanks on anything in sight, including the Modus, which they sent rocking. I needed to guide Jackie when she wanted to drive off, to ensure that she didn’t have a pig in front of her car.

This evening the three of us dined on Mr Chan’s excellent Hordle Chinese Take Away fare. Jackie drank Hoegaarden while Elizabeth and I finished the Merlot

A Bigger Splash

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The garden was looking very refreshed as I wandered around this morning. Most blooms bore baubles of raindrops.

Bees were making up for being confined in hives by the recent precipitation.

By lunchtime, I had finished reading 

Hibbert’s well researched history is founded on the subject’s personal correspondence and contemporary observations. Like many great men, our national hero comes across has a man of two halves. Undoubtedly kind and generous to his men and to many others Nelson’s relationship with Lady Emma Hamilton was seen as folly by many, and, even as demonstrated by his own letters he must have treated his wife very badly. This Viking paperback of 1994 contains no identification of the painter of the cover portrait.

After lunch, Jackie and I visited the sites of the two scarecrows missing from our last visit. Prince Eric, now wearing a rain hood, perched on a hedge at Ramblers in Woodcock Lane. I am very pleased to be able to report that a rebuilt Frog Prince again sits outside 49 Ashley Lane. His creator informed me that his battered body had lain on the ground and his decapitated head had hung from a branch.

We continued on a drive through the forest. Near Ogdens, a herd of deer got wind of my approach, and, turning tail, slowly picking up speed, elegantly trotted across the undulating terrain to safety over the brow of a hill.

Ponies and fliesPoniesPonies and fliesPonies

Clusters of pesky flies surrounded somnolent ponies gathered together at North Gorley.

Other ponies mingled with visitors to Ibsley ford, some of whom competed to establish who could create a bigger splash.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s splendid spicy pork paprika with savoury rice. The Culinary Queen drank Coonwarra Chardonay 2016; Elizabeth and I chose Villanyi Merlot 2015 and drank some of it.

“I Was Trying To Get Out Of Your Picture”

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Late this afternoon Jackie and I took a car ride into the forest.

Braggers Lane

Whilst we were making our leisurely way along Braggers Lane,

we passed a friendly young woman riding a horse. I exchanged waves with the rider.

Ferns

Further on, I disembarked to photograph fresh ferns in the hedgerow

Landscape with poniesLandscape with ponyLandscape with ponies

and the sloping landscape with ponies.

Horse and rider

I was pleased to hear the gentle, rhythmic, clopping that told me the rider was approaching. I waited for her to arrive and she effected a skilled manoeuvre taking her steed across the road taking backward steps.

She was happy to be photographed, but said “I was trying to get out of your picture”.

“I wanted you in it”. I replied, “It’s all part of the scene”.

“I guess so”, was her smiling response.

“Definitely”, said I,

Horse and rider

and she continued on her way.

Further waves were exchanged a little later on.

New Forest tour bus

As we neared Burley, a New Forest tour bus approached us. We keep promising ourselves a ride on one. We must look into it. The photographic perspective should be interesting.

This evening the three of us dined on mango and chili chicken fillets; juicy ratatouille; roasted sweet potatoes; and tender runner beans. Jackie drank a local wheat beer, and Elizabeth and I drank more of the Merlot.

The Food Is Over There

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This afternoon Jackie drove Elizabeth and me to Lymington where my sister visited her Estate Agent. Afterwards we carried on to Pilley in order to introduce the prospective new resident to more of her soon to be local fauna. The ladies also visited the Community Shop where much local information was gathered.

The lake is still very dry, although at least one pony was able to soak its feet in the water while drinking and tugging out the weed, before foraging on the bed. When we visited before the recent storm there had not been sufficient water to reflect the houses in the first two pictures. The animal on the far side had quite a trek from what was the bed of the lake earlier in the year, to take a drink.

The customary number of ponies, with foals, occupied the parched grassy area in front of the terrace of houses alongside the shop.

A young girl and boy were enjoying feeding the ponies from bowls. Their mother, like me, having photographed them, was forced to protest that she had no food for the more persistent beggars, and that they should look elsewhere.

Ponies

We toured the local lanes. May Lane is a cul-de-sac, from the end of which we could see more ponies on Pilley Street.

Finally we enjoyed a drink in the Fleur de Lys, the highly recommended local pub, where we will dine tomorrow.

This evening we savoured more of Jackie’s excellent, hot, chilli con carne. Having downed a pint of Jail ale at the pub I drank water; Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and Elizabeth, more of the Merlot.