Ponies In Motion

Today the sun shone and the temperature was comparatively mild.

Jackie helped her avian familiar plant an astilbe

and thin out a lamium.

“Where’s Nugget?” (45)

Afterwards my Chauffeuse drove me to Undershore, along which I walked for half an hour until she picked me up.

Undershore, the narrower lane, should not be confused with Undershore Road. Leaving Lymington by the level crossing the former runs left along the reed beds while the latter takes a right turn beside the Lymington River.

The woodland on Undershore’s left hand side in today’s direction of travel stands on soggy, pool strewn, terrain.

Reflecting puddles spread across the tarmac

collecting fallen oak leaves at the verges.

Fungus decorates fallen logs.

In time we will see it sprouting from this recently sawn hollow trunk, branches of which lies on the other side of road across which they probably crashed during the recent gales.

Brambles cast their shadows on larger leaves.

To the right of the lane autumnal oaks gracing the horizon came into view by courtesy of a five barred gate breaking the hedge line.

I have spared my readers the sight of discarded detritus but for this dumped carpet.

A fallen tree gripped by thick ivy tendrils lay across the bridleway entrance. A horse could no doubt have jumped it. Not that I’ve ever seen one taking this route. I couldn’t risk stepping over. Maybe next year.

Shortly after I reached this point my chariot arrived. This was the view from my passenger seat looking across to Pilley Hill.

Returning home via Shirley Holms we paused to take in another autumn landscape,

proceeding past this woodland scene

to the car park area where I disembarked to photograph ponies in the landscape. While some turned their backs on me one chestnut-coloured one remained inquisitive until it turned about and in the usual ungainly manner

flopped to its knees

vaguely watching the trio in the first picture demonstrate the motion of walking horses, until it needed to attend to an itch.

This evening we dined on a meaty rack of pork ribs; prawn toasts, spring rolls, and Jackie’s vegetable-packed savoury rice with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Cotes du Bourg.

 

Wetter Than Expected

My plan this morning was to walk along Bisterne Close for half an hour after which Jackie, having dropped me at one end, would follow and pick me up. In gloomy morning light and light drizzle we set off.

The War Memorial in Everton Road, Hordle, had been prepared for tomorrow’s Armistice Day.

The commemorative bench bears stylised pale red poppies and pure white doves of peace.

More poppies grace fences and

freshly mown grass.

By the time we reached Holmsley Passage the drizzle had increased to light rain which

gave ponies a somewhat more than bedraggled look.

Soon the rain had developed deluge dimensions. My readers will know by now that I don’t know when to give up, so we continued to

Bisterne Close.

 

Listening to the increasingly tympanic pattering of raindrops drumming onto the trees, dripping off the leaves, and thudding onto the shoulders of my porous allegedly damp-proof raincoat; peering through specs lacking windscreen wipers, through which I couldn’t clearly see my viewfinder I captured what woodland scenes I could.

Autumn leaves, above

or below, glistened with precipitation.

I resisted the temptation to ask a horse chomping hay for the loan of its cheerful rug.

Here, as on much of the forest terrain, pools were appearing.

Autumn leaves submerged beneath the water where raindrops floated on muddy surfaces until bursting into spiralling increasing circles. I stuffed my specs into my pocket and attempted to employ my dampened eyelashes to provide clear vision.

Fallen trees and their branches, both recent

and longer-lying, settled into their task of maintaining the ancient forest ecology.

while others, now dead, did their bit while still standing.

Some trees sent tentacles in search of rooting soil.

Such bracken as had not yet gathered a fully autumnal appearance was turning nicely.

Well fed birds have not yet been tempted to strip the hollies of their berries.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy pork paprika, savoury vegetable rice, and tender runner beans with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Cotes du Rhone.

 

 

It Didn’t Seem Politic

The best light of the day was forecast to be seen this morning. And so it proved.

Fairly early on we drove to Tesco’s for petrol; to New Milton Post Office for currency exchange and Christmas stamps; and to Brockenhurst, where, in common with New Milton,

poppies ahead of Armistice Day adorn the lampposts, before making our leisurely way to Hockeys farm shop for lunch.

Our first pause was at Wilverley where a pair of pensive ponies beside the road from Wootton paid no attention to two walkers on the opposite side –

they were more interested in their necking session.

Meanwhile a friendly horse rider emerged from the

 

autumn landscape,

more of which was seen in the forest scenes on either side of

Roger Penny Way.

Jackie decided that I blended in rather well with the environment.

Having, tentatively as always, in second gear, scaled Blissford Hill we encountered a shaggy calf using a scratching post beside Hyde Parish Hall.

Coming across a band of bulls further along the road I speculated about which one may be the father.

Somehow it didn’t seem politic to enquire too closely into the infant’s parentage.

This evening we dined on spicy pizza and plentiful fresh salad with which I finished the Merlot and Jackie didn’t.

 

Cervine Elegance

Occasional sunny spells on a clouded morning developed into bright sunshine by the time we drove into the forest this afternoon.

Jackie spent some time collecting cuttings with which to populate the

greenhouse pots.

The orange poppies that last just a day don’t normally emerge from the soil until spring. We have several clumps now. These, incongruously beside more seasonal asters, are in the Cryptomeria Bed

which also houses hot lips

still attracting bees.

The cryptomeria itself can be seen beyond the cordeline Australis lending its name to the Palm Bed;

it stands beside the laurel on the far right of the Phantom Path.

The deep red climbing rose soaring over its arch spanning the Shady Path also doesn’t know it is autumn,

although the Weeping Birch clearly has an inkling.

Elizabeth’s Bed

and the patio planting continue to flourish.

Pelargoniums still hang in baskets.

Nugget, this morning patrolled his fences. This fellow, I think, is a rival displaying discretion. I did see our own robin dive-bomb another which immediately scarpered, but he was too quick for me.

These autumn colours brighten Sway Road;

others burnished the landscape beside the A35,

and glowed beneath

an unnamed lane off Cadnam Lane,

along which clusters of mushrooms burst from the moss coating of a fallen log,

and bracket fungus clutched a living tree.

Pheasants, both cocks and hens, dared anyone actually to drive at the 40 m.p.h. limit.

On one side of Tiptoe Road a pair of ponies cropped the verge outside The Old Bakery;

several more slaked their thirst on a winterbourne pool on the opposite side.

A mare led her foal along the road

to add to the chaos caused by a broken down car.

Returning home along Roger Penny Way we were treated to a display of cervine elegance as a young stag stepped on pointe across the road in front of us.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s tasty and wholesome liver and bacon casserole (for recipe see Jackie’s comment below); roast potatoes and butternut squash; crunchy orange carrots, and bright green firm Brussels sprouts, with she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Saint-Chinian 2017.

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.

 

 

 

Lacework

Early this morning Jackie ventured into the garden with her camera to

sweep some cobwebs. Lingering raindrops reveal the arachnid lacework and the length of their funambulist ropes.

The Assistant Photographer also photographed colourful coreopsis in Margery’s Bed;

vibrant Virginia creeper draping the Westbrook Arbour;

and the moisture-laden Rose Garden with its backcloth of mist.

Later in the morning we drove to Milford on Sea pharmacy for a repeat prescription, then to Wessex Photographic in Lymington for a spare ink cartridge.

Shortly before noon we continued to Beaulieu Heath, atop a small hillock on which stood three walkers.

It must have been a relative of Nugget’s perched on a prickly spire because we had left him at home.

There was sprinkling of assorted mushrooms among the browned heather, the spiky gorse, the rough grass and the trailing brambles.

Jackie also photographed a model plane enthusiast with his aircraft.

 

 

A pair of ponies, one chestnut and one grey, blended and contrasted with the russet bracken.

As they each ambled across the road, passing the 40 m.p.h. sign painted on the tarmac, I reflected as so often that impact from a vehicle travelling at this speed would surely result in fatal injury.

Some quite large foals, like this one at East End, are still being suckled by their mothers.

Early morning mist usually results in sunny afternoons. So it was today when Nugget supervised Jackie’s planting of tulips.

“Where’s Nugget?” (36).

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent sausages in red wine; creamy mashed potatoes; crunchy carrots and cauliflower, with which she drank Blue Moon and I drank more of the Fleurie.

 

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.