The House That Jack Built

Heavy rain and gale force winds persisted overnight and into the day, although we were treated to

some sunshine in most changeable weather as the afternoon went on, following a trip to Pennington’s Morrison’s to buy bread and tea.

This horse rider acknowledged with a wave each driver of passing traffic who slowed and gave him a wide berth on Pitmore Lane,

which, like a number of roads retained waterlogged stretches through which motorists, crossing tentatively sprayed water, rippling the surfaces.

Cattle alongside Holmsley Camp Site off Forest Road, included the English Longhorn variety with their crumpled horns.

Here is the source of the title.

Along Beckley Common Road we scattered a flock of pheasants.

This evening we are on our way to dine at Britannia Thai Restaurant in Milford on Sea.

One For Las Vegas John

After another helpful Chiropractic session with Eloise at New Milton I met Jackie at The Quench for lunch.

Once again the Assistant Photographer used her camera to add further details to

Displays not pictured last time include a collection of coronation mugs and a tribute to Jonathan Livingston Seagull ;

and another set of quirky cruets.

This dog, quietly reflecting on the shiny floor, was allowed in because its humans were well behaved.

My blogging friend, John, having studied the menu published in the post mentioned above, had expressed his pleasure at seeing

American pancakes listed. Naturally I therefore chose and enjoyed them while Jackie was equally pleased with her cheese and onion toastie. The pancakes were served with maple sauce and rashers of bacon, which I found a delightfully intriguing mix.

This afternoon I made more progress with “The Charterhouse of Parma”.

Later, we all dined on further helpings of Jackie’s wholesome cottage pie, boiled potatoes, crunchy carrots, firm Brussels sprouts and broccoli, with which she drank Peroni, and I drank more of the Cabernet Sauvignon.

A More Pleasantly Changeable Day

This silence-still, sun-bright, blue-sky, scudding-cloud, dappled-forest, dripping-leaved, clattering-chestnuts, wet-roads, reflecting-gutters, swimming-sward, morning had turned overcast by the time we emerged, brunch-sated, from Lakeview Café on our return home.

Sun-flecked tarmac and tree trunks along wet-bracken-flanked Holmsley Passage heard whispering, dripping, earthbound leaves carpeting the forest floor alongside emerging mushrooms and bouncing sweet chestnut shells bursting with fruit.

With golfing apparently rained off, a group of ponies tended the lush greens of Burley golf course.

On the opposite side of the road a solitary pony worked over the outfield beside a cluster of further mushrooms.

Leaves slowly drifted into the reflecting verges of Forest Road;

on the sunny side of which a curly haired grazing foal cast its shadow;

further along a trio of darker equines suddenly decided to cross to the other side.

This evening we all dined on Jackie’s wholesome chicken and vegetable stewp with fresh crusty baguettes followed by orange trifle, with which she drank more of the Zesty and I drank more of the Côtes du Rhône.

Black Swans

Our friend, Paul Soren posted a picture yesterday that I said I thought would make a good screensaver.

This morning Jackie took me on a forest drive.

We began with the woodland alongside Bisterne Close where

the soft forest floor alongside contained

dry acorn cups,

fallen branches and crisp autumn leaves,

clustered beneath long decaying trunks and branches gradually returning to the soil.

The sculptural quality of an abandoned artefact was somewhat incongruous outside one of the houses.

One of the many pools that have spent much of the summer in a parched condition now reflects neighbouring gates.

Ponies perused our passing along Holmsley Passage.

Our friend mentioned above sent me an e-mail asking me to feel free to use his picture as my screensaver and sending me a jpg image of a black swan and cygnets somewhere outside Melbourne seen through his rain-splashed windscreen.

I now see a picture from the other side of the world every time I switch on my computer.

For dinner this evening we repeated yesterday’s fare and beverages.

‘A Muddy Golden Pond’

This morning I watched recordings of the Women’s rugby World Cup between Scotland and Australia, and between England and France.

Yesterday’s readers will know of my O2 saga. I did not receive the PAC code today, but I did receive two e-mails featuring a survey seeking to know about my satisfaction. Needless to say the scores were minimal, the questions bore no relevance to my leaving, they asked what the purpose of my conversation had been (when I had already detailed it a question or two before) etc., etc.

I made another attempt to transfer photos from my phone to my computer, and failed again so reverted to my tried and tested Canon EOS 5D for the forest drive we took this afternoon.

Our journey began in calm, encouraging, sunshine; gradually the clouds became dark and brooding, large soft raindrops caressed the windscreen, and acorn pistol shots ricocheted from the Modus body.

At the corner of Ringwood Road where overhead trees were reflected in pools along the verges,

another photographer, like me, had disembarked, leaving his Chauffeuse at the wheel, in order to photograph

a string of dripping donkeys

beyond which cows sheltering beneath other trees drew me across the road where

I disturbed a deer which took a good look at me before departing in haste.

As I negotiated the verge to reembark I photographed these acorns and oak leaves floating in ‘a muddy golden pond’ borrowed from

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent cottage pie; fried potatoes and onions, crunchy carrots, and tender runner beans, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Terra Calda Puglia Primitivo 2019. Flo and Dillon ate later.

Now for the good news. This post has been published without any glitches just as I had almost forgotten was normal

Defender And Donkeys

While sitting on the loo this morning I had a brainwave. Having struggled yesterday to upload four pages of illustrations into my WP post, but found it not possible to put titles and descriptions into the gallery, I decided to attempt this on my MacBook Pro laptop. First the titles went on smoothly. This left the descriptions. I moved to the new iMac for these. The task was impossible. I returned to the laptop and immediately performed the job. To my mind this proves that the problem is in the iMac.

Later I posted

This afternoon of another much warmer day than usual at this time of the year, we took a forest drive. Each time we travel along Tiptoe Road when a particular vehicle is parked there we admire its rusted beauty. Today the truck followed us from Hordle until reaching its normal spot. I disembarked from the Modus and spoke to the proud owner. This was Mr M. Rickman who had designed and built

his working pickup.The wheelbase is from a Land Rover Defender; other body parts and number plates are from America; the rear boxed container, Mr Rickman made from wood and iron. Except for the last two pandemic blocked years he shows his creation at the Dorset Steam Fair. He was perfectly happy for me to photograph the vehicle. He said “everyone else does”.

I walked along Cadnam Lane for a while, photographing a woodland bank and

a couple of donkeys negotiating a water filled reflective ford.

When we last visited this spot on 3rd of this month I reported that the handrail on the wooden bridge was dangerously wobbly. It has now been taped off. Here were two more asses who, like those at Ibsley a week ago, had more sense than to walk through the water.

When these hopeful creatures approached me for a treat Jackie photographed me explaining that I didn’t have anything for them. In fact I was too warm in that jacket. The donkeys turned tail, crossed the bridge, and made do with prickly shrubs.

Further along I met another trio of donkeys, one a foal, and another, still young, grooming its forelegs.

This evening we dined on Mr Chan’s excellent Hordle Chinese Take Away fare with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Montepulciano.

Ready For Her Close Up

This morning we drove Jan, Bob, and DeAna to New Milton station for the next stage of their journey to Switzerland. Jan e-mailed me three photographs taken on the platform for Waterloo.

Jackie and Jan by De;

Jan and Derrick by De;

and Bob and De by Jan.

A brief inspection of further storm damage revealed that Jackie’s favourite view from the stable door has been ruined by

a wind-blown lurch of the Wisteria Arbour.

Jackie had laid down the chairs on the decking, but simply closed up the parasol which had been lifted clear of the table through the centre of which it normally stands, and gently placed against the fence.

Plenty of flowers have, however, happily survived.

This afternoon we took a forest drive, intending to take the route to Pilley via Undershore.

A large tree had, however, been thrown across the now puddly path, so a reverse sweep was required on a lane requiring a numerous point turn.

As can be seen the day began with strong sunshine. This rapidly deteriorated into one of bright, brief, sunny spells forcing their way between dark, heavy, showers pattering on the car roof; spreading racing, rippling, rivulets such that the wipers could not keep pace to provide clear vision; and turning my T-shirt into a wet dishcloth when I stepped out at Pilley lake to photograph its current condition.

The water was now filling up, so that the lone pig which had a couple of weeks ago been part of a group that had frolicked over the dry bed must have been disappointed as it

stood on the surrounding landscape.

Rain now pelted where porkers had pootled.

On Cadnam Lane ponies reflected on pools; sheltered from the rain; or failed to dry their hair after another downpour.

Pigs were unperturbed by the elements, one was certainly ready for her close up.

This evening we sat at our lonely table and raised our glasses, containing more of the Sauvignon Blanc, and Chevalier de Fauvert Comté Tolosan Rouge 2019, to absent friends while reprising last night’s repast of sausages in red wine.

An Arboreal Charnel House

Although still breezy and somewhat nippy, our morning’s weather was much brighter.

Accompanied by chirruping small birds, the screeching of the greenfinch, the cooing of doves, the repeated mating plea of a wood pigeon, and the gentle buzzing of the bees,

Jackie continued her various plantings such as those in tubs, stone urns, box containers and hanging baskets;

I picked up fallen debris then went round the bend, almost completing the task of clearing the Heligan Path of weeds.

My next task will be recovering the overgrown footpath leading to the chair in the Weeping Birch Bed. I assure you there is one there.

At one point the Head Gardener popped out to Ferndene Farm Shop and returned with more compost. This enabled her to replace some older material

and use it, to the consternation of a few owls – one of which was given a dry shampoo – to refresh the soil-leaking stumpery.

After lunch we took a trip to the north of the forest.

We stopped on Cadnam Lane to admire the group of Shetland ponies with their big grey companion. By the time I had changed my lens and emerged from the car, they were all setting off into the distance. They were not going to play ball today.

The soft toys attached to a gate and railings are looking pretty soggy now.

Further along we encountered a trio of what Jackie termed “deliciously disgusting” sows.

Wherever we drive in the New Forest at the moment it increasingly bears the look of an arboreal charnel house.

On the approach to Bramshaw I disembarked and made some images that could have been found almost anywhere in our National Park, committed as its management is to maintaining the natural ecology.

The most recently sawn trunk and branches had clearly fallen across the road, for its trunk and branches have been cut up on opposite sides.

A sturdy oak supports another tree that has been ripped asunder.

One decaying trunk has taken on the persona of an almost toothless old man of the woods.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s flavoursome sausage casserole; boiled potatoes; firm carrots; and tender runner beans, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Shiraz.

Girls Also Need Sticks

This morning I almost completed my draft of tomorrow’s scheduled post.

This afternoon Jackie drove me to Rans Wood where I walked for 35 minutes. The wood lies at the end of Furzey Lodge which is a continuation of Furzey Lane near Beaulieu.

First we needed to negotiate our way through the narrow lodge lane which was blocked by a group of self-appointed equine guardians including a foal.

Passing a landscape viewed from the entrance to the car park I reproduced a number of woodland scenes.

Watching cyclists struggling up the slope I descended gave me an idea of the effort I would require on the ascent, but in the event it wasn’t too arduous.

Some bicyclists paused to chat with walkers, as did

this mother forced to carry her daughter’s stick. I told her I had only yesterday been debating (with Jackie) whether or not it was only boys who needed sticks with which to bash and poke things. Apparently not.

Other pedestrians caught my eye along the way;

it was the gleeful sounds of children which led me to one friendly family group with whom I chatted before they set off back up the path.

A dry ditch runs alongside the slope. Without this diversion I would not have seen the dregs of the stream that it would no doubt feed in wetter periods.

In addition to those happy cries, subdued chirping of birds, the faint thuds of early acorns thumping the turf, and the gentle soughing of the wind in the trees produced a potential symphony requiring a more competent musician than I to compose.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy pasta arrabbiata with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Montepulciano.

Like The Pool, Reflecting

One of Aaron’s tasks this morning was to embed into the soil of the front garden this previously potted Hot Chocolate rose,

near which is a planter containing last autumn’s petunias, pansies, and pelargonium, alongside a euphorbia. Similar survivors of our mild winter are the clematis, nasturtiums, pansies, and solanum adorning the garage door trellis.

This afternoon we took a short drive into a rather crowded forest. We encountered far more cars, cyclists, and walkers than of late. By and large social distancing was being observed, but in the village of Burley, for example, this wasn’t really possible.

A bovine mother and babies group was meeting in what is normally an unoccupied field alongside Hordle Lane. As always with these creatures my presence engendered a certain amount of curiosity.

Soon after we entered Forest Road we saw two herons trying their luck in what is now a rather shallow pool. Jackie parked as soon as she could and I walked back to photograph them standing in the water. A cyclist shot round the corner and spooked them. They took flight. I panned them and hoped for the best; almost immediately I was left, like the pool, reflecting.

Further along the road

assorted foraging ponies were strewn across the landscape.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s well filled, flavoursome, beef and mushroom pie; boiled new potatoes, crunchy carrots and broccoli, with tasty, meaty, gravy. The Culinary Queen drank Becks and I drank Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2018.