Witchcraft With Acorns

The light today was gloomy and the slate-grey overhead colander-canopy constantly leaked drizzle.

Jackie reported that this morning while Muggle tweeted in her ear she realised that there was another exchange of battle cries between

Nugget and someone else who occupied the garden of No 5 Downton Lane. There are now three robins setting out their territory. Later, when Jackie tried to engage Nugget in conversation while he was perched on the rose garden fence, he turned his back on her. “Aren’t you talking to me?”, she asked. He peered over his shoulder, fixed her witheringly,  and turned away again.

“Where’s Nugget?” (41).

Given the date, we thought a trip to Burley, the village of witches, might be order.

In Everton Road the New Zealand flag fluttered limply at half mast. This was clearly in mourning for the All Blacks’ defeat by England last Saturday in the Rugby World Cup Semi Final. The New Zealanders have been the acknowledged best team in the world throughout my lifetime. Three times world champions, they had not lost any match in the tournament for twelve years.

Nearby a cross-eyed pumpkin face sat on a wall.

Despite the dismal drizzle Holmsley Passage managed to put on a bright face,

even though someone had dumped a sofa on the verge.

Jackie photographed me as I wandered along for a while.

Landscapes on the moorland section were misted by dripping precipitation.

At Burley a pair of guinea fowl created their own mix of havoc, amusement, and trepidation, as they wandered back and forth across the through road.

One young lady crouching with her mobile phone graphically expressed her concern as they stepped off the kerb;

two young cyclists seemed a bit bemused.

While I concentrated on these two, Jackie observed a chicken eating an ice cream.

Shop windows venerated the season;

we both pictured The Mall,

guarded by a pumpkin witch.

 

All the little shops in this small street sported suitable  adornments.

Jackie entered a gift shop in search of stocking fillers. She emerged with two owls, which, if Orlaith got her sums right, makes the current garden total 93.

This evening we dined at The Wheel at Bowling Green. Jackie enjoyed tempura prawn starters followed by a rack of ribs, fries, onion rings, and plentiful fresh salad; my choice was equally good breaded whitebait, salad and toast followed by rib-eye steak, chips, mushroom, tomato, and peas. Mrs Knight drank Kaltenberg and I drank Malbec.

 

 

I Hadn’t Seen Rahul

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This morning Jackie drove us to the GP surgery at Milford on Sea where we were given our flu jabs. There is nothing like joining the priority group above a certain age for letting us know where we belong.

Afterwards we travelled on for a short trip in the forest.

Gates CottageGates Cottage 2

Fence

Gates Cottage, with its attractive picket fences is nicely situated

Mead End Road

on a bend in Mead End Road near Lymington.

Cattle peering through hedge

Inquisitive as always, a pair of cattle, possibly Herefords, peered through a hedge alongside the driveway to Greenslade Farm opposite the thatched cottage.

Bracken

Bracken in the hedgerows wears its autumn hues.

Mead End Road continuation

We turned off into another lane,

ScaffoldingHousing development 2Housing development 3

and returned home via Hordle Lane where the new housing development

Housing Development 1

has changed forever the view from All Saints Parish Church,

Autumn leaves 2

the graveyard of which

Autumn leaves 1

is donning its autumn splendour.

This afternoon we returned to NatWest in Lymington where I collected the Australian dollars I am sending to Orlaith for her fifth birthday.

Jackie waited in the car for me at the bottom of the High Street while I wandered down photographing the seasonal displays.

St Thomas and All Saints graveyard 1St Thomas and All Saints graveyard 2St Thomas and All Saints graveyard 3

I began with the graveyard of St Thomas and All Saints church, containing some of the souls we remember this evening;

Holly berries

where holly berries proclaim the season.

Bunting Halloween

Like Pizza Express, we take the opportunity to amuse with spiders and ghouls carved from pumpkins featured on this bunting;

Pizza Express window

and scary creatures peering from their window.

Dogs Trust window

The Dogs Trust display also includes a discreet poppy.

Costa Coffee window

Inside Costa Coffee, a wandering pumpkin selects a snack from the cabinet.

English and Continental Chocolates window

English and Continental Chocolates’ cornucopia includes a number of witches of which Burley would be proud.

White Stuff Halloween display

Living up to the outlet’s name White Stuff displayed an albino pumpkin.

Save The Children shop window

The Save The Children shop favoured horror.

Lounges Coffee Shop and Rose Garden Crafts

Across the road Lounges Coffee Shop and Rose Garden Craftsstruck a lower key.

Drydock window

This crafted pumpkin is in drydock.

The Gilded Teapot window

It is probably appropriate that The Gilded Teapot’s window should show falling leaves.

Rahul in High Street 1

In common with a number of our towns and villages, Lymington remembers those souls who never came back from Flanders, by fixing a poppy to each lamp post.

Rahul in High Street 2

It wasn’t until I cropped and enlarged the two images that I realised that I had photographed Rahul, one of the delightful Lal Quilla waiters. He is on the left, speaking on his mobile phone. On his way back down the hill a little later he stopped for a chat, neither of us being aware that I had immortalised him. I will make some prints for our next visit to the restaurant.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy chilli con carne with wild rice and peas. I drank more of the Fronton.

 

 

 

“A Lovely Autumny Day”

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Pumpkins and skulls

We began the day with a trip to Everton Nurseries to buy four more slabs of reconstituted stone for the new bench base. Sadly, artificial Halloween pumpkins and other scary things were being arrayed at the entrance. What has happened to the pleasure of making your own carving? Sadder still, I noticed a heap of dog turds in the car park. Someone had allowed their dog to dump where others may wish to tread. I informed a staff member who picked up the offending material with a plastic bag.

I soon cheered up as we drove through the forest.

Austin 7 being transported

Somewhere near Bramsgore an Austin 7 was being carried on a low trailer.

Tree bole 1Stump on hedgerow 1HedgerowIvy-bearing bole on hedgerow

We stopped on Charles’s Lane near Ringwood, where Jackie had noticed rows of gnarled boles of trees that had lived and died over centuries of accumulated hedgerow boundaries. I spent a pleasant time wandering up and down photographing these,

Shadows on forest floorForest trees 1Forest scene 1Forest fernsForest trees 2Forest scene 2

and the forest scenes beyond them. Leaves are just beginning to fall and ferns are turning brown.

I have been unable to discover any history of this lane, but we feel that, judging by the ancient hedgerows, it is a very early one.

Cyclist on Charles's Lane 1

One cyclist ascended the slight incline and disappeared round a bend in the road;

Cyclist on Charles's Lane 2

another whirred into sight and whizzed downhill.

Acorns

The rapid machine gun fire that was acorns spattering the tarmac had me ducking for cover.

Horse riding on Charles's Lane 1Horse riders on Charles's Lane 2

Soon, even this rattling was eclipsed by the clopping of horses’ hooves. I stood on the verge, expecting perhaps a couple of equestrian carriages to round the distant bend. What appeared were a group of riders who slowed as they approached,

Horse riders on Charles's LaneHorse riders on Charles's Lane 4

and thinned out to a string, the young lady bringing up the rear being led by a rope.

Horse riders on Charles's Lane 5Horse riders on Charles's Lane 6Horse riders on Charles's Lane 7

Having, I thought, exhausted photographic possibilities I returned to the car. On the way the familiar clip clop indicated that the riders were returning.

Horse rider on Charles's Lane

Their leader paused for a chat, a comment that it was “a lovely autumny day”, and a wave goodbye.

Horse riders on Charles's Lane 8

Off they returned, on past

Railway bridge arch 1Railway bridge arch 2

the walls of a now demolished railway bridge, an overgrown example of ‘Beechingisation’.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s excellent cottage pie, crunchy carrots and cauliflower, with most flavoursome first Brussels sprouts of the season. I finished the malbec.

What Would You Have Seen?

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I don’t really remember dreams much, but last night I relived my childhood when everything became smaller as I grew older. In particular, walls I couldn’t scramble up to walk along suddenly became manageable. Was this anything to do with the fact that Jackie needs the work surfaces in the new kitchen to be higher than standard? Especially as I was also working out how to pay for the project?

This morning we travelled by car to Kitchen Makers, discussed the fine details, and paid a deposit for work to commence after Christmas. We then drove on to Hockey’s Farm Shop to buy pork sausages and their splendid Pig ‘n’ Pickles Piccalilli. The sausages were essential because we were to dine on Jackie’s sausage casserole this evening and she had bought vegetarian sausages by mistake. We just had to have some meat ones to go with them.

Holmsley Passage 3

Holmsley Passage sweeps down

Holmsley Passage 1

across the moors from the A35 leaving Lyndhurst. I left the road at the top of the slope pictured above, and made my way

Heather, bracken, landscapeHeather, bracken, trees wide viewHeather and bracken wide viewBracken and treeLandscape 3Heather bracken, landscapeBracken and treesHeather, bracken, landscape 1Heather, bracken, treesHeather and bracken 1Heather, bracken and gorseHeather and bracken 2Heather, bracken, gorse 2Landscape 2

tripping through the heather, bracken and gorse to the lowest point where Jackie waited to take us onwards. I will let these eloquent landscapes tell their own story.

Mine comes later.

CloudsClouds 2Clouds 3

Changeable clouds constantly shifted overhead.

Alpacas, donkeys, sheep, horses

At Hockey’s, where we lunched, alpacas, donkeys, sheep, and horses are near neighbours.

Goose and duck

Ducks and geese roam in large pens,

Khaki Campbell ducks

from where they have access to a small pool, today occupied by Khaki Campbell ducks. The pale blue bills of some of these caught my attention.

According to Wikipedia

‘The Khaki Campbell (Anas platyrhynchos domesticus[1] or Anas platyrhynchos Linnaeus[2]) is a breed of domesticated duck that originated in England and is kept for its high level of egg production. The breed was developed by Mrs. Adel Campbell [3] of Uley, Gloucestershire, England at the turn of the 20th century. The “Campbell Duck” being introduced in 1898 [4] and the ‘Khaki’ variety introduced to the public in 1901.[5]

Adult Campbell ducks weigh approximately 3-5 pounds. Campbells can come in three color varieties: khaki, dark and white. They are a cross between Mallard, Rouen and Runner ducks. The Khaki Campbell drake is mostly khaki colored with a darker head usually olive green lacking the white ring of its Mallard ancestors. The Khaki Campbell duck has a more modest plumage of Khaki covering the entirety of the body. Despite popular misconceptions of skittish or flightly behavior Campbells are a very gentle, passive and friendly breed when raised by hand until maturity. They are a good breed for young families and children to raise.

The egg production of the Campbell breed can exceed even the most efficient of egg laying domestic chickens, with the breed laying an average of 300 eggs a year. When provided a moderate “duck conscious” environment to live in they will lay a more than modest number of eggs per week.

Khaki Campbells become mature at approximately 7 months. Khaki Campbell ducks seldom hatch out others’ young; however, in very communal situations do hatch large broods together. Most brooding behavior has been sacrificed in exchange for prolific egg laying ability in this breed. The ducks, when raised by hand, are not usually defensive of their eggs or nests, making collection of eggs very easy. Mechanical incubators or broody chickens are used to hatch out Khaki Campbell ducklings when ducks are not present in the process. Incubation takes approximately 23 to 28 days for a Khaki Campbell duckling to hatch and eggs need to be inspected for ducklings that have not emerged from their egg completely.’

Pumpkins

Pumpkins were on sale at the shop.

Roger Penny way stretches for 7 miles between Godshill and Cadnam. For the New Forest it is a comparatively straight, wide, road on which you are permitted to drive at 40 m.p.h. Even if you are adhering to this limit, which many people do not, contact with an animal would do neither creature nor vehicle much good.

Animal Casualties Notice

Having seen the second Hit and Run notice concerning a dead donkey in under a week, we passed this self evident sign just outside The Fighting Cocks inn. There are warning signs at regular intervals along this unlit thoroughfare.

Cow on road

Not much further along the road we encountered a black cow. Imagine this in the dark.

With a theme gestating in my brain, we spotted, on the brow of a hill, blending nicely with a tree on the verge, a black and grey dappled pony. Had this creature, facing us, not lifted its head, we would not have seen it. This was the very subject I had been looking for. There was nowhere to stop or turn at this point, and, anyway, we had a convoy. Thinking we had probably missed the moment, my driver found a spot at which to turn around, came back to the spot, and stopped a little further on on the opposite verge.

Ponies by roadside

As I approached my prey I noticed that it now had companions.

Ponies crossing road 1

Suddenly a black one stepped out onto the road.

Ponies crossing road 2

The dappled grey followed.

Ponies crossing road 3

The most visible of all was not to be left behind.

As is evident, these animals were in no hurry. Now, imagine it is after sunset. What would you have seen?

Pony crossing road

The animals have no road sense, and will step out at any moment. Not always in clear sunlight giving bright colours a glow. This last pony emerged from the trees to join the others.

From the first photograph of the three – or was it four? – among the trees, to the colourful chestnut, the time elapsed was no more that a minute.

With this evening’s superb casserole Jackie produced crunchy carrots and cabbage with creamy mash. She drank Hoegaarden and I finished the madiran.

The Witch Hunt

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This morning Jackie drove us to Burley in search of witches.

The landscape across the moors early in the morning offered misty slate layers  in the distance.

On the approach to Burley, the leaves on the trees were turning the rich colours of autumn

Landscape

The car park in the village was largely occupied by ponies who had generously left a few spaces for the traffic.

Pony and child in pushchair

One little lad in a buggy  wasn’t all that sure about the attention he received.

We soon realised that we had missed the real Halloween event which had been on Saturday, two days ago. Our witch hunt was therefore fruitless. We had to settle for carved pumpkins, including the winning mouse, and ghastly ghouls sporting sheets.

Some sorceresses had abandoned their hats in the form of traffic cones that had found their way into the landscape. In the first of these two photographs the bicycle attached to the railing was probably left by a witch as she switched to here broom. In the second, Jackie converses with a garrulous goose.

Its companion practiced its contortions and they both enjoyed a good preen.

A communal field on the edge of the village contained examples of agricultural machinery and artifacts of a bygone age;

Shepherd's hut

a shepherd’s hut;

and the parked up Burley Wagon Rides conveyance with a nearby pitched tent.

We had been told that a herd of red deer could often be seen on the far side of the field. Like the witches, the deer had flown, but the evidence of their presence was shown by the pruned lower branches of the trees they had pruned.

Trees and bonfire

A bonfire, surprisingly swarming with wasps, was being prepared for the next celebration event, namely fireworks night on the 5th of November, commemorating the failure of the Gunpowder Plot of 1605. Foiled by betrayal, this was a Catholic attempt to blow up the House of Lords and kill King James I. Instead, Guido (Guy) Fawkes was hung, drawn, and quartered. (See  LordBeariofBow’s comment below). This involves taking down a hanged victim before death, cutting out living vital organs and quartering the body. It was a common punishment for treachery in those days.

Burley Manor Hotel

Beyond the field could be seen Burley Manor Hotel. The original manor house dated from the twelfth century. In 1852 the building was demolished to make way for this Victorian replacement which has been an hotel since 1935.

Dew on leaf

Dew continued to bejewel grass and fallen leaves when we left to return home.

Charles Lane

Charles Lane, Bagnum is just one of the sun-streaked  roads that rushes towards us as we travel through the forest.

Hugh Pym and witch shadow

It wasn’t until, watching the 1 p.m. BBC News, I looked beyond Hugh Pym, that I realised the destination of at least one of the Burley witches.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s lovely liver and bacon casserole which was far more tender and tasty than that I had eaten yesterday at Otter Nurseries. It came with new potatoes and perfect Brussels sprouts and runner beans. Lemon and lime merangue pie was to follow. I finished the madiran.

Feeding The Birds

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Mat arrived with Poppy this morning. Our granddaughter was walking about and talking scribble. She was straight into toys.

She likes playing with the mice;

but was soon absorbed with the seal box and its fish contents, making lots of cooing noises.

Halloween Table

Stopping for beverages at Beaulieu Farm Shop, where there was an Halloween table on display

Gulls

we took a packed lunch to Hatchet Pond so Poppy could see the gulls,

which Jackie began to feed with the stock of seed that Matthew had supplied.

It wasn’t long before the hopeful donkeys came over for what they saw as their share. They were even more interested when our lunch appeared. Matthew  correctly observed that that was why we were discouraged from feeding the asses..

Poppy wandered around clutching her food, which, naturally, was liberally smeared around her mouth.

Mushroom

A rather large fungus mushroomed through the turf.

Matthew feeding swan

Matthew used an interesting method of feeding the swans;

then took his daughter to look at the water.

He and Jackie then began a swinging game which had to be constantly repeated.

Thinking Poppy might like the tyre swing on Tanners Lane beach, we made that the next visit. She wasn’t happy with this swing, which was a little too advanced for her, but she was quite content to wobble about the shingle.

Yachts across Tanners Lane beach

Across The Solent we could see a string of yachts passing the Isle of Wight.

After our offspring had returned home, Jackie and I dined on her perfect pork paprika with wild rice, followed by chocolate eclairs. She drank Hoegaarden and I finished the shiraz.

Pumpkins And Pizzas

Wollaton Hall

Wollaton Hall is an Elizabethan country house of the 1580s standing on a small but prominent hill in Wollaton Park, Nottingham, England. The house is now Nottingham Natural History Museum, with Nottingham Industrial Museum in the out-buildings. Its additional interest for us is that Noel Gervis Pearson, a great great grandfather of Louisa’s two children donated a butterfly collection to the museum sometime in the early twentieth century.

Wollaton Deer Park 1Wollaton Deer Park 2

Louisa, Jessica, Imogen, and I spent a gloriously mild and sunny morning and early afternoon wandering the deer park and visiting the house.

Louisa, Jessica, and Imogen

StagDeer (1)

Noticing the stags basking in the sunshine, and the does caring for their offspring under the trees, Louisa observed, in a telling fashion, that they were carrying out traditional male and female roles.

Louisa, Jessica, and Imogen (2)

In our attempts to approach the young cervine family, we reached a very boggy stretch. The girls thought it would be quite fun to see Grandpa clambering along the logs. Grandpa didn’t think so. He wasn’t wearing sensible footwear. He took the long way round.

Water birds

There has to be a lake in a country house garden. This one attracted many water fowl.

Photographing stagStanding stag 1Standing stag 2Standing stag 3

On the approach to the house, a large, grazing, stag attracted numerous lenses.

In the building, the girls spent a pleasant time hunting out exhibits and completing a linked Halloween quiz. I thought expecting them to work out an anagram of CAULDRON was a bit tough. Easy peasy for Mordred, of course.

Jessica and Imogen carving pumpkinsImogen carving pumpkin 1Jessica carving pumpkinJessica carving pumpkin 2Imogen's hands

After lunch, it was time to carve the pumpkins. Using templates from a book, Jessica produced a more than creditable ghost, but Imogen’s went ‘a bit wrong’. She had a most impressive stab at an ancient mummy, the most complex design of all; then recognising that she had bitten off more than she could chew, she made her own drawing for the other side of the pumpkin. This time, Louisa cut out the necessary sections.

Pumpkins

For dinner, we travelled by bus to Pizza Express in Nottingham. This outlet has come on apace since the first one was opened in Soho’s Wardour Street in 1965. There were a number of entertaining activities for the children to complete whist waiting for their food. One of these was the creation of their own Halloween masks.

Jessica and Imogen maskedDerrick and Louisa masked

After Jessica and Imogen were photographed wearing theirs, Louisa and I had to borrow them.

Pizza

My choice of pizza was American Hottest Romana.

On leaving the restaurant, we discovered there was a 25 minute wait for the next bus, so we caught a cab back. This impressed Imogen who kept saying she had never been in a taxi before.