No Sensible Pony

On another warm day of clear blue skies we accompanied Matthew and Poppy to Everton Garden Centre to buy a birthday present, then lunched in their Camellia’s Café.

The very well cooked, plentiful, meals set us up for the day. Mine consisted of chicken and ham pie, new potatoes, and vegetables; Mat’s was roast duck; Jackie’s jacket potato; and Poppy’s roast beef.

Later, our son and granddaughter left to return home, breaking the journey with a visit to Becky and Ian, while we drove into the forest,

taking the Lower Sandy Down route and enjoying the sun-dappled environment, with its

reflections in the stream crossed by Church Lane,

where blackberries ripen

and lichen coats the beams of the fence to Heywood Mill House.

We caused a group of walkers on Rodlease Lane to hug the verges.

I have often thought of photographing this very rickety building on Pilley Street before it falls down. It is Tootlepedal who prompted me to actually do it. An elderly gentleman often sits on the chair leaning to our left of the structure. Is he, I wonder, selling the eggs?

Further along the road, a number of ponies continue to thud down from the road and the field opposite into the dry quarry pit lake. It is almost as if, like us walking fast down a slope, run away with ourselves until we can straighten up on the level.

Not that this pitted terrain is level. The myriad of grassy mounds and dips created by the animals’ hooves at wetter times are now rock hard. I wandered over them taking shots that would not normally be possible without thigh-length waders.

No sensible pony would eat the acorns that are strewn about, for they are poisonous to them.

While we took our pre-dinner drinks in the Rose Garden we grew of the opinion that our little robin, Nugget, is now engaged in courting. He still cries from his various vantage points, but is answered more gently. On one occasion he darted across the the sky from our Weeping Birch to a neighbour’s false acacia, after which all was quiet for a while.

We dined on huntsman’s pie and salad with which which I finished the Saint-Chinian.

Commandeering Cattle Go Unchallenged

Who cares whether we have followed the meteorologists into autumn or await the equinox on 21st of this month? This morning was bright, sunny, and warm. We took an early trip into the forest where I walked for half an hour along the Rhinefield Ornamental Drive.

There was still enough water to carry reflections in the now very shallow stream that is spanned by Rhinefield Road.

Shadows dappled the forest floor strewn with pine cones and gnarled roots of the giant Douglas firs morphed into stumbling stones along the footpath;

and leaving imprints on the trunks.

Bracken, mossy stumps, fallen trees, and fungus abound. Notice how the spears of grass pierce these Danish pastry lookalikes.

So silent was the air that voices of walkers on the other side of the road could be heard.

Most schoolchildren have now returned home, leaving the forest to me; to the above mentioned walkers; to couples with or without dogs; and of course,

to the returning ponies.

Highland cattle have now commandeered the almost dried-up paddling pond at Whitemoor. Here ponies adopt sensible discretion and leave the big horned beasties unchallenged.

Later I was due to have Peter cut my hair. I wondered whether my barber would fancy having a go at these creatures, flies and all.

Before keeping my appointment I printed this picture Jackie had taken on 19th July when I had my last one, and presented it to Peter.

When we arrived there was another Derrick sitting waiting. Apparently he and I sound the same on the phone. This gentleman’s appointment had been an hour earlier than mine anyway. To settle the confusion I stepped aside and rebooked for a couple of hours later. Jackie had visited the charity shop seeking another choice of teapot home for Nugget. I joined her there and explained what had happened. The shop volunteer joined in the conversation with the observation “what if you had been waiting for results and they had been given to him?”. “I only want him to cut my hair”, said I. The woman had, of course, thought we were talking about a medical appointment. And here was I thinking I look quite healthy now.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s sumptuous sausages in red wine; new potatoes sliced and roasted in their skins; crunchy carrots; and tender cabbage and runner beans from the garden. She drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Malbec.

Ice Cream Or Cream Tea?

Today we enjoyed lunch at Woodpeckers with Mum, Elizabeth, Danni and Ella.

Three of us chose roast chicken with all the trimmings; Elizabeth went for nut roast;

and some of her parents’ liquidised spaghetti bolognese found its way into Ella’s mouth. Danni’s delightful photograph demonstrates that her daughter still has to learn to feed herself while the infant’s great grandmother continues to manage the task. The four youngest adults chose pineapple and almond sponge with ice cream for dessert. Mum settled for the ice cream.

After the meal Jackie had a squeeze;

then G-Ma Elizabeth held Ella while Great G-Ma played ball with her.

I was pleased that Danni e-mailed the photographs.

Later, Jackie and I drove to Annie’s in Barton on Sea to drop in a print of a photograph I had taken of her with Frances a couple of years ago. We travelled on to Waterstones in Lymington to collect a book, and I took the opportunity to photograph some street scenes.

There was much evidence of mobile phones being implemented for conversations of which

others took place in person.

Shoppers passed up and down the street;

some had difficulty crossing the road in charge of a buggy;

one young woman appeared to be contemplating that she may have made the wrong choice between ice cream and a cream tea.

On a lane leading to Church Lane, Boldre raiding group ahead of us – in particular one young lady on a very frisky animal – were demonstrating excellent control of their horses. They pulled over to allow us to pass and I waited on Church Lane to take these shots.

Once more they paused to allow us to pass, and we stopped for me to photograph cattle, a horse, and a red plastic trug in a field of ragwort.

They soon caught up with us and I felt the need to claim that I wasn’t stalking them.

Even the normally full flowing stream beneath the road bridge seen above is looking rather shallow.

This evening we dined on scrambled egg on toast with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Malbec.

On Eyeworth Pond

Much of this very hot day was taken up with dead heading and watering.

Soon after 4 p.m. Jackie drove us to Eyeworth Pond and back.

At this time, ponies and cattle, although they did emerge later, made use of what shade they could find. These were spotted en route to Fritham,

where other cattle lay down in their field.

Foals are growing up fast. On a green above the pond this one manages its own grooming.

Water lilies are now beginning to bloom on the pond,

where a few ducks paddled.

Most of these birds, however,

occupied a dormitory on the bank.

Bright sunlight produces abstract reflections on the surface.

Motley cattle grazed on the hillside as we drove back up to Fritham and, via Hordle Chinese Take Away, to home.

With our usual excellent fare from Mr Chan, we both drank Tsing Tao beer this evening.

Reflective Mood

It wasn’t until about 4 p.m. the afternoon that I realised on glancing through the window beside my desk that the sun had made a fleeting appearance as,

against the still indigo skies, it lit the pink rambling rose rising from the front trellis.

Its deeper pink companion soared above the porch, and the first of the Félicité Perpétue blooms which will drape themselves over the opposite fence has opened out.

I had spent the morning reading and responding to the letters of condolences it has taken me three months to complete. We posted these from Everton Post Office and drove on further into the forest.

Royden Lane took us to

Lower Sandy Down. On the left hand side of this shot stands

a large oak tree the bole of which is home to ferns, ivy, and mosses.

An unusual number of ponies grazed around Hatchet Pond, normally the realm of donkeys.

Stately swans disturbed the surface of the lake which mirrored their images.

A black headed gull was in an equally reflective mood.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s perfect pork paprika; boiled new potatoes; breaded mushrooms; and green beans. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Carmenere.

Aquatic Surface Cover

The morning rain was forecast to last all day. In fact, this afternoon blue sky and sunshine relieved the rolling clouds and we went for a short forest drive.

We left Lymington via the long, winding, undulating, and varied Mount Pleasant Lane which offers views of Sway Tower beyond fields alongside.

Kings Hyde is a turning off it.

A small group of ponies on the moors bordering Forest Road was quite suddenly enlarged by a purposeful string we watched dice with death from the other side of the road and further up the hill. We observed them galloping down a slope and hoped that speeding traffic would be aware that they were intent on dashing out to join the others. The first four or five made it through the traffic from both directions. They were then followed by the inevitable straggler who took more of an amble. All remained unscathed and still strode out past their more sedate cousins.

We have noticed on almost all the forest pools carpets of small white flowers offering considerable surface cover. More were in evidence in this area. I can’t be sure what they are called.

Cattle shared grazing further along the road

with more ponies,

among whom another foal kept close to its mother.

This evening we dined on succulent roast beef; crisp Yorkshire pudding; roast potatoes and parsnips; broccoli, carrots and cabbage. Jackie drank Hoegaarden while I drank Marcelo Bocardo Malbec 2018 brought by Elizabeth on Sunday.

Midges

We took a morning drive into the forest,

through Holmsley Passage where low gravel strips border the crumbling tarmac, a woman follows her dog , and unconcerned ponies continue with the important business of the day,

In order for me to photograph Ringwood Road, Burley, Jackie parked the car at the junction with

Honey Lane.

A number of lanes in the New Forest. This one is an example. It leads to Highwood and comes to a dead end.

A brook runs roughly alongside the wandering, undulating, track. As I stood watching the sun’s rays casting shadows on the reflecting waters I noticed floating, swooping, midges flashing in the beams.

Just a minute. Midges? Surely not in 12 degrees centigrade?

Well, no.

Closer inspection revealed Lilliputian parachutists seeking a safe landing after being prised from their perforated perch –

or seeds from a dandelion clock.

The dwellings along this lane are beautiful houses with a quantity of land generally accommodating a horse or two.

On our return journey, at South Gorley, we had the opportunity for a staring match with ponies laying claim to the road.

Back at home I noticed that a pink climbing rose is mingling with potted pansies in the porch.

Elizabeth joined us for dinner. Jackie produced beef roasted long and low; roast potatoes, including sweet ones, and parsnips; crisp carrots, cauliflower and broccoli; and tender runner beans with tasty gravy, followed by apple crumble and custard. My sister and I finished the Merlot Bonarda and Jackie drank Hoegaarden.