Walking Better

This morning I reduced the codeine element of my pain relief and toured the garden with my camera.

I was walking better as I wandered around making these images.

Much of the rest of the morning was occupied with mutually supportive family telephone conversations.

This afternoon we took a drive into the forest.

A chestnut pony cropping the verge at North Gorley had clearly been indulging in a mud bath.

Not far away, we passed a distant field of young stags,

on one side of which perched a watching raptor. I am relying on John Knifton to identify this bird. (See Quercus’s comment below – a buzzard)

I can identify the pair of mallards rooting on the soggy terrain beside grazing ponies.

This evening we dined on Mr Pink’s cod, chips, and pea fritter with Garner’s pickled onions.

Watch Out

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Setting the mood nicely, a sheet of heavy cloud leaked steady precipitation dripping down our windscreen all the way to New Hall Hospital for my appointment with Miss Melissa Davies, consultant urologist early this morning. Windscreen wipers swept across my vision. After an examination I’d rather not describe, and a full questionnaire I was able to leave with a certain amount of optimism signalled by the clearance of the skies and the emergence of sun separating the clouds. I do have to order a specific blood test and ask my GP to recommend a procedure involving a miniature camera and an anaesthetic.

Feeling rather hearty, we stopped at the charming village of Hale which I photographed without the need to numb my consciousness.

“You’re not photographing that are you?” asked the local resident who did not think the sculpture on the edge of the green looked much like  a pony and foal.

The tree behind the sculpture was planted in 1992 to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth II. The brass plaque explaining this is headed ‘Kinges Oak’.

A string of cyclists sped past the green,

on the other side of which a solitary equine representative stood before the school, the students of which will be playing where it stands once they return from the Summer break.

All post in the forest is delivered from little red vans, like the one driven by the postman enjoying a chat with a resident of one of the attractive thatched cottages.

The village is approached by narrow tree-lined lanes. I wondered whether the above brick built structure was the ice house once belonging to Hale House.

From the higher levels could be seen a patchwork quilt flung across the landscape,

above which patrolled a predatory raptor.

A herd of cows dined on the upper slopes.

 

The whole length of Roger Penny Way is punctuated by warning signs alerting drivers to the possibility of animals on the road. One is ‘Watch Out……’ pictured here. This flock had passed the sign when making their way across the road to this pasture. While I focussed on them a large bovine ambled down the centre of the minor road to my left to join its ovine cousins.

Afterwards we brunched at the Walkford Diner. Here we enjoyed huge traditional breakfasts cooked on a griddle. Black puddings and haggis, for example, are imported from Stornaway, and potato scones are just like the ones Mum used to make. Only when inside did we realise that the establishment was run by Ian, who had produced excellent meals at Molly’s Den. These were even better.

It will therefore come as no surprise that I could not join in the ladies’ enjoyment of Jackie’s beef in red wine dinner. (Mum is better and Elizabeth is back with us). I was, however, able to manage the Culinary Queen’s apple and apricot crumble and custard, and a couple more glasses of the Fleurie.

Flight Path

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Today, Jackie Jackie drove us to Louisa and Errol’s at Mapperley Top, a suburb of Nottingham. When I say today, I mean all day – all eight hours. Rather more than anticipated.

As we travelled along the A35 we imagined the autumn leaves may have all fallen by the time we returned three days ahead.

As we progressed along the M25 we were reminded that we were on the Heathrow flight path, as several planes passed overhead. In another sense the motorway itself was a flight path, being the thoroughfare through which so many people flee from London for the Cotswolds on a Friday

M1 hold-up

when the first of what were to be several queues began. The speeds shown above the traffic are those that will keep the traffic moving. The huge container vehicle shown on the left, having crossed over chevrons, was about to fill the gap between us and the car in front. The reason for the queues is that most drivers ignore the posted limits and continue until they have to stop. This is termed a standing wave.

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Soon we came to a standstill.

M1 jam

This was the first of many. They at least gave us the opportunity to look at the scenery.

Raptor

Periodically raptors hovered above.

Burger King

We stopped at Newport Pagnel Welcome Break Services for lunch at Burger King.

Davis Haulage van

Half an hour later we continued the journey which was to take another four hours. This is because we faced 17 miles of road works necessitating a lane closure. We spent more time studying the back of Davis Haulage van than we usually do studying ponies’ rear ends in The New Forest.

Traffic Officer van

It took a long time to reach a Traffic Officer

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warning traffic that a small van had broken down.

The further north we travelled the more wind turbines we saw.

Clouds over M1

Shortly before sunset the clouds darkened over the motorway.

Eventually we turned off at junction 26 and headed for Mapperley, as shown on the map. Then, like rats in a maze, we drove all over the place seeking something we recognised. We sought local guidance. Only then did we learn that there were two Mapperleys, and that our goal was on the other side of Nottingham. Errol phoned and advised us to go straight through the City Centre. We did that and I found familiar ground. It was dark by then.

We enjoyed a splendid evening with the family. Louisa cooked us a wonderful paella with garlic bread and salad. She and I drank Chateau de Grezels cahors, 2013. Jackie’s beverage was Fosters, and Errols, Stella.

To follow was watching Jessica and Imogen performing with Nottingham City Gymnastics Club for Children in Need TV.