All My Ducks In A Row

On a bright, fresh, and crisp morning we took a drive into the forest. Slanting sunshine set the thawing frost glistening and lengthened shadows.

We tried a visit to Tanner’s Lane. This meant driving between rows of parked vehicles with no turning space. I walked while Jackie turned back.

We had imagined this little hidden beach would be safe enough. No such luck.

This was the only group keeping some distance from others on the sand and shingle.

There were other dogs, one in the water with three hardy humans.

I was not inclined to linger.

We continued to Sowley Lane where I was next decanted.

Some oak leaves dallied on gnarled limbs; others, grounded, glistened with dew drops; holly prickles had broken one’s fall.

Two men in a boat discussed their best fishing spot.

We stopped for a look at Buckler’s Hard,

where a robin drew our attention to the parking restrictions.

As we passed Beaulieu Mill Pond I spotted a pair of long necked log peacocks on the far bank.

Jackie parked and I walked back past the border of reeds to photograph them.

On the way there I managed to get all my ducks in a row.

Down a bank along Lymington Road a solitary donkey enjoyed a breakfast of spiky thistles.

Ponies preferred grass

or languorous cogitation of the thawing frost in the hazy sunshine.

In her Modus Jackie aroused the attention of an inquisitive field horse which she photographed along with

golden silver birches and glistening white terrain.

This evening we dined on Mr Chan’s Hordle Chinese Take Away’s fine fare with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Coonawarra which involved opening another bottle.


On another overcast afternoon we meandered in the Modus.

On the Beaulieu Abbey lake teal ( see John Knifton’s comment below) paddled among the reed beds;

black headed gulls quietly reflected;

stately swans sailed sedately, sometimes safely splash landing.

One conversed with a little boy in a buggy.

In a field across the road cock pheasants competed with crows for forage.

Cattle claimed the road at East Boldre.

This evening we dined on our second helpings of Hordle Chinese Take Away’s excellent fare.


Aaron 1

AaronAaron came today to continue completing my work on the back drive. He was as quick, efficient, and neat as usual. This young man certainly gets through a phenomenal amount of work in a day.

Jackie had a better memory of our ‘Engagement’ outing. I appended her Facebook comment as an informative P.S. to that post.

I then spent the morning scanning 36 colour slides from our four day honeymoon in March 1968. In ‘Tales From The Window Sills’ and ‘The Watchers Watched’ I have described and illustrated aspects of this holiday in Ockley. The first of these mentions the deserted house, and the second the fire.

Jackie 3.68 006


Jackie 3.68 001Jackie 3.68 016 - Version 2Jackie 3.68 010 - Version 2Jackie and cow byre 3.68Tiled wall  3.68Jackie 3.68 011Jackie's legs and driftwood 3.68reeds 3.68The King’s Arms, where we stayed, is a 16th century coaching inn with attractive beamed walls and ceilings. We took all our meals at the hostelry and spent the days exploring the environment, the farms, the fields, a lake, and the churchyard.Ockley Church 3.68 002Ockley Church 3.68

We wonder what has happened to the deserted house that fascinated us so much.Deserted house 3.68Window of deserted house 3.68Jackie 3.68 018

The one event that seemed to draw out the whole village, streaming past the derelict home, from which it was visible, was the exciting fire which, at first, seemed to be engulfing a rather grand house, but transpired to be burning a shed.Fire 3.68 002Fire 3.68 001

The fire brigade were called and dealt with it quite swiftly.

Fire Brigade 3.68

This afternoon I watched England beat Italy 47-17 and Ireland beat France 18-11 in the Six Nations rugby tournament.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s classic chicken jalfrezi and savoury rice, followed by apple crumble and custard. We both drank Kingfisher, neither of us finishing a bottle. Never mind, we both continue to improve.

P.S. Update on the deserted house, from Jackie’s Facebook comment:  ‘Having driven fairly regularly past this house over the years, I can report that altho’ it has lost some of it’s character, it still exists, and houses on this prestigious Surrey village green cost an absolute fortune (close to £1,000000!). It was a distant village in 1968, but with rail and road connections so improved, it is now considered to be within working distance of London so commands premium prices. It is a shame really as the whole village is now full of very rich people and does not have the character of the 1968 village we knew. Even the wonderful village store, that sold everything (even leather boot laces for farmers’ boots) has been converted into a very posh dwelling.’