Spilt Milk

Once again the sunniest part of the day was this morning. I am happy to say that the fault on our landline was successfully repaired while I stayed near the phone and Jackie continued weeding and planting.

Nugget and Lady were both in attendance, but his new partner tweeted that she was not ready for her close up.

Nugget, as always, was perfectly happy to pose.

Now, “Where’s Nugget?” (64)

Our blogging friend JoAnna was surprised to see yesterday’s dragons. Here is another, complete with appropriate legend, that The Assistant Photographer also photographed for her.

This afternoon we drove to Brockenhurst station to enquire about train times, then further into the forest. Much of our National Park is actually owned by the National Trust. In the interests of preservation, this charitable body bought up areas before the Park was declared free from further development.

Cadnam and Penn Commons are both in the Trust’s ownership. It is these that we explored today.

Although a dry day, the skies in mid-afternoon were draped in clouds, giving a gloomier appearance than we experienced in reality.

The undulating ground adds interest to the landscape with skeletal trees and perhaps a trig point.

A few cattle appeared to be waiting patiently outside a farm for their dinner.

One calf was less patient. Another waited patiently in vain. Look at the mother’s hoof –

so eager was her calf that

much milk was spilt in the process. This is not unusual.

Further along the road, grazed sheep, some like fluffy white balls

a couple of normal sized ponies

and a little Shetland.

We diverted onto the track leading to Shady Pool and more ponies.

Jackie photographed the landscape,

a determined donkey trying to take my place,

and me photographing the ponies.

This evening we dined on Mr Pink’s fish and chips with our own pickled onions and gherkins with which we both drank Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2018.

 

 

 

A Bracken Ribbon

This morning we shopped at Everton nurseries for composts, seeds, bulbs, and some potted primulas; then drove on into the forest.

Sunlit landscapes were in sharp contrast to yesterday’s murky views. These were seen from

Lower Sandy Down, one of our narrow undulating winding lanes where we would not relish meeting oncoming traffic careering down the slope.

Long shadows streaked the terrain

littered with last autumn’s fallen leaves;

snowdrops scaled steep verges,

some of which reflected sunlit trees above.

Giving me a quizzical look a be-rugged horse chomped on the contents of its hanging hay bag.

Although still mud-caked ponies were much more in evidence on the moors outside Brockenhurst;

a bay leisurely ambling across the road

permitted itself a smug grin as it hampered a group of cheery cyclists.

Settling into foraging on the other side

it sported a nice new bracken ribbon decorating its tail.

We followed a rather splendid vintage vehicle for some way on the road home

hoping it would turn off left so I could obtain a side-on view.  The driver eventually obliged.

Sway Tower was also basking in the sunshine.

This afternoon, admittedly fuelled by a bottle of Doom Bar, I dozed through the Six Nations rugby match between Wales and Italy. The later contest between Scotland and Ireland held my complete attention.

For our dinner this evening Jackie produced her tasty liver and bacon casserole; creamy mashed potatoes, firm Brussels sprouts and carrots in three colours. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank San Juan Argentine Malbec 2019.

“Legged It”

When Jackie looked out of our bedroom window this morning she was surprised to see a police car backing past our house and no other cars on the road.

Naturally she investigated.

The telegraph pole bearing necessary cables and the only street lamp on our stretch of Christchurch Road had been seriously sent awry,

the crossroads was blocked off and

a barrier sealed off the road in the Lymington direction.

With these photographs the Assistant Photographer brought the story. Apparently two “drunk young lads” at 2 a.m. had crashed their car into the post, left the vehicle in the ditch, and “legged it”. The lads and the car were known to the local constabulary.

Aaron, knowing that we wanted a second garden gate at the side of the house, acquired one with suitable posts which he brought to us. He began fixing it in place this morning.

While we were having lunch we were informed that we would have no power at all for four hours while the repair works were being carried out.

We decided to drive into the forest just as the afternoon’s heavy rain began.

Since we had neither heating nor light this seemed the best option, even when the torrential rain beat a tattoo on the car and made me a bit soggy each time I left the car in the interests of photography.

At Sowley Lane donkeys chomped on grass and thorns.

One enjoyed a good scratch.

A fine blanket of snowdrops bloomed on a bank along South Baddesley Road.

This was definitely a day for cars in ditches. One being towed out of its predicament blocked our path to the beach at Tanners Lane, where

wind surfing was under way.

One energetic gentleman

wound up in the water.

From the shelter of our car, having recognised him as “One For The Ladies”, Jackie photographed him as he left the sea. Strangely enough, I hadn’t realised who he was.

Jackie also focussed on me photographing the young man

and getting wet.

Ponies at East Boldre,

where the landscape glistened were also getting wet.

We still had a couple of hours to kill at this point, so stopped at Holmsley Old Station Tea Rooms for a cream tea.

There followed two more hours reading by torchlight before our electricity returned.

We then dined on Jackie’s flavoursome chicken jalfrezi, savoury rice, and parathas with which I drank Costieres de Nimes 2018.

 

A Cervine Spectre

Jackie was up in the dark this morning, in time to photograph

our first smattering of snow before the rain washed it away.

This afternoon we drove to Crestwood in Lymington to complete the paperwork and pay a deposit on our new sitting room flooring which will be laid after Christmas. We continued on to the north of the forest by way of

Roger Penny Way where

the gloom could not conceal the burnished gold of bracken

and autumn leaves.

Among the fallen trees

a skeletal cervine spectre remained tethered beside a moss-coated log.

Blissford Hill was not the only thoroughfare becoming waterlogged enough for arboreal reflection.

The pannage season has been extended. Pigs dashed towards us on

Hyde Hill where Jackie parked the Modus ahead of the

billowing sounder, too fast for me to keep up with.

Suddenly they dashed off piste and disappeared into a soggy field.

I needed to wade through sucking mud to reach the gate.

A somewhat perplexed freckled Shetland pony, sharing its field with

two be-rugged horses and an oak tree, observed the porcine proceedings.

Many thatched cottages, like this one at North Gorley, were able to admire their coiffure in their weedy green pools.

Since our dinner was being slow-roasted while we were out, I had no qualms that I might have been eating the shoulder of one today’s snuffling pigs with crispy crackling, Yorkshire pudding, creamy mashed potatoes, crunchy carrots, and tender cabbage with most tasty gravy. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Fleurie.

 

 

Lovey Dovey

Last night I watched a recording of yesterday’s Rugby World Cup match between Wales and Fiji, and this afternoon that between Argentina and USA.

This morning we took a short drive into the forest.

The leaves of deciduous trees viewed before Sway Tower from South Sway Lane are just trying on autumnal tinges, and some of the field horses now wear their warming rugs in preparation for the colder nights which they have so far been spared.

Known as Peterson’s Folly this iconic edifice is situated on Flexford Lane, on the opposite side of which Judge Peterson built a trial of the building in order to demonstrate the construction capacity of concrete.

The prototype now appears to be a boarded up dovecote

visited by the odd pigeon,

one of which attracted the attention of its white cousin cruising up for

companionable canoodling.

Maybe the dove admiring itself in the conservatory window reflection was considering entering the fray.

While I watched the match Jackie helped Nugget to plant some bulbs.

“Where’s Nugget?” (35).

He allowed her to plant this row of festuca glauca in honour of Mick O’Neill and Bluegrass Parkway. 

This evening we dined on old gold smoked haddock; creamy mashed potatoes; piquant cauliflower cheese; crunchy bright orange carrots; and tender green runner beans with which Jackie drank Blue Moon and I drank more of the Malbec.

As Happy As A Pig In The Proverbial

Earlier today I watched recordings of the rugby World Cup matches between Australia and Uruguay and between England and Argentina.

After lunch we took a drive up to the north of the forest.

Pigs are free for the next six weeks or so to enjoy searching for acorns and other forest fruits, known as mast, that litter the roads and woods.

 

 

 

 

This sow led her troop along the verges of North Gorley. She was not averse to leading them across the road.

Sometimes a straggler, snuffling, snorting, and squeaking among the terrain, would wake up to the fact that the others had moved on, and take off like a porcine Exocet to catch up.

As one car speeded on, having passed the main group, one of these creatures darted from the undergrowth straight across its path. Fortunately I saw this coming and held up my hand in warning.

Horse chestnuts, known as conkers, are not, as far as I know, among the forest fruits favoured by the pigs. They were ignoring those that had fallen from a tree in someone’s garden.

Ponies foraging along the Gorley Road ignored

another group of small pigs on the road ahead.

For the first time we followed a No Through Road to Ogdens North. This took us along a somewhat pitted road through rugged landscape and terminating in a

gravelly stream,

in which were reflected leaves above.

Mushrooms in the grass,

and lingering lichen coating a rotting branch, lay on the soggy banks.

I thought it best for my sandalled feet not to cross the muddy footbridge.

As we left a pair of determined ponies steadily approached from the woods, to join

another grazing on the open ground.

This evening we dined on prawn fishcakes topped with sweet chilli sauce, Jackie’s superb savoury rice, and ratatouille so liberally containing chillis as to make them much more appealing to me than to the Culinary Queen, who drank Hoegaarden while I drank Patrick Chodot Brouilly 2017.

 

Lunch At Woodpeckers

On yet another warm and sunny day

Nugget offered the Head Gardener his usual unhelpful assistance, before we joined Mum, Elizabeth, Danni, and Ella for lunch at Woodpeckers.

We all toasted Mum who was on very good form. Everyone enjoyed fish, chips, mushy peas, and tomatoes – except that Mum donated her mushy peas, her tomato, and most of her chips to me, and Elizabeth gave Jackie her tomato. Red and white wine, water, and orange juice was provided, and roses from the garden stood in a central vase. Of the choice of desserts mine was pineapple sponge and caramel ice cream. Teas and coffees completed the meal.

As Jackie and I escorted Mum back to her room I was greatly relieved that my wife had been a professional in the task of transfer from seat to wheelchair and vice-versa.

Regular longer term readers will have seen my 1989 photocopy of the pastel portrait of Dad I made for the anniversary of his death over the night of 25th/26th December 1988 and the story that goes with it. The original hangs on our mother’s bedroom wall.

After saying goodbye to Mum, Jackie and I continued further into the forest concentrating on

Rhinefield Road and the Ornamental Drive.

This sunlit scene blazed from the forest on the way to Emery Down.

Matthew and Poppy arrived this evening and will spend the night. We dined on spicy mushroom pizza and plentiful salad with which I drank more of the Saint-Chinian and Jackie drank M & S Belgian Wheat Beer.