Mirrors For Ponies

With the weather milder and drier, after a brief splash through the streets of the New Forest, Jackie and I enjoyed another excellent lunch at Camellia’s restaurant in Everton Nursery.

Primroses, like these on a Boldre bank, are now appearing everywhere.

Many streets like these at Pilley still bear pools that most drivers would prefer to avoid;

greens there also provide mirrors for ponies,

some of whom find damp grass to lie on.

We were slow enough entering Lymington for me to snatch this shot through the windscreen.

Becky and Ian returned home to Southbourne this afternoon, and were therefore unable to partake of this evening’s sustenance consisting of our usual variety of prawn preparations and Jackie’s savoury rice with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Nero d’Avala

Harbingers Of Spring

With a weak sun periodically lifting the grey of the day, after a shop at Tesco Jackie and I drove into the forest, where we found reflecting pools continuing along the lanes and verges,

such as those of Bisterne Close;

Forest Road, where one rather bewildered gull looked bemused as a flock of others took off when we arrived;

and Beckley Common Road, along which the worst potholes have actually recently been filled.

This latter road also harbours discarded wheelbarrows beside mossy roots like those on the bank at the other end of

Bennets Lane from

The White Buck pub.

Another wrecked van has been dumped on the path to a house off Molsley Passage. I hope the residents take comfort from the

golden gorse landscape they can look out on.

Currently the ubiquitous blackthorn rivals the splendour of the gorse.

Although we are certainly seeing harbingers of spring, ponies like this one on Bisterne Close are retaining their shaggy winter coats.

This evening we all dined on Jackie’s tasty penne Bolognese with Parmesan cheese. I added Scotch Bonnet sauce to mine. The Culinary Queen and Ian both drank Blue Moon and I drank more of the Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Bees Awake

The forecast overnight heavy rain persisted, clattering on the kitchen Velux window until shortly before dawn. Slowly, sheepishly, the sun crept into the skies, warming the garden enough for me to walk around in shirtsleeves, looking at the difference in the light from yesterday.

The gelatinous liquid aiding temporary hibernation of the bees was now running freely, for most had left their roosts.

One tottered tentatively around its berberis berth.

This evening we all dined on succulent roast breast of lamb; crisp roast potatoes and Yorkshire pudding; al dente carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli, chopped cauliflower leaves, and tasty gravy with mint and cranberry sauce. Jackie, Becky, Ian, and I drank Sacchetto rosé.

Swollen Pools

Today’s brighter and dry morning greyed over during our afternoon forest drive, as the rain set in again.

Swans and gulls took advantage of the swollen pond on Hatchet Moor. The last two swans and the gull in this gallery are Jackie’s work.

Coots foraged on the bank.

Mallards occupied this reflecting pool at East Boldre. The last of this set is Jackie’s.

She also produced these images of the reflected lichen covered branch and last year’s blackberries, while I focussed on

ponies among burnt bracken.

This evening we all dined on Jackie’s penne Bolognaise sprinkled with Parmesan cheese; she drank more of the Malvasia and I finished the Shiraz.

Late Afternoon

Today the weather was bright, sunny, and somewhat cooler.

Jackie and I took a late afternoon forest drive.

A pair of mallards perched on the branches reflected in the first of these images from Pilley lake jumped off as I arrived, while a toy cow waited patiently for a bus.

A group of donkeys wandered along Jordans Lane

On a hill up Beaulieu Road a pony became silhouetted against the traffic.

Ponies cropped the moorland grass alongside Holmsley Road.

Later, I posted

This evening we all dined on Jackie’s tasty lemon chicken, sautéed potatoes and mixed veg; and crisp broccoli with which she drank Puglia Fiano 2021 and I drank Réserve Pierre Merlot 2021.

Fading Light

In the drizzling gloom on the already fading light of late afternoon we drove to Milford on Sea Pharmacy for repeat medication before continuing into the forest.

The decorated post box on Pilley Street now has a Christmas theme.

Further along a small van sprayed some of the pool crossing the road. An oncoming car let this vehicle pass in order to avoid trying the deeper level.

Mallards now own the fully filled and

reflecting lake alongside Jordans Lane.

The thatched Corner Cottage at Norley Wood has an outside decorated Christmas tree.

On our way home the lights decorating the lamp posts on the outskirts of Lymington were coming into their own.

This evening we all dined on Jackie’s savoury rice with tempura and salt and pepper prawn preparations and spring rolls, with which the Culinary Queen finished the white Zinfandel and I drank more of the shiraz

A Period Of Reflection

During a deceptive spell of sunshine between lashing gales sending floodwater pools from fields and moorland flowing across verges and resurfacing tarmac now streaming car headlights we drove to Ferndene Farm Shop to purchase items for tonight’s dinner.

Early on, bare branches stretched out against a deceptive sky.

Reflecting pools in the shop carpark evidenced the heavy rainfall;

cut chrysanthemums, packed kindling wood and seasoned logs, bulbs potted for planting, and above all

Christmas trees fast being scooped up indicated the time of year at the popular Ferndene Farm Shop. Wet surfaces did not deter shoppers enjoying the comparatively warm and dry moments, yet these people were soon dashing to there cars, as was Jackie, emerging with her shopping beneath heavy precipitation with the force of sleet which

bounced off the road surface as we left the outlet. This was to continue until we arrived home, when it eased enough for us to dash in with our purchases.

Even at mid-morning headlights were necessary, if only to highlight the deeper pools to avoid, given that we could not now be sure how deep were the proliferating potholes which would set our vehicles shuddering as we showered others.

Ponies, like these alongside Brockenhurst Road, ignored the rain, relied on towelling hide to keep their innards dry, and continued tugging the soggy sward.

Further along the road floodwater erased division of moorland and road. Notice the half-submerged gate to a path across the common. Both the approaching vehicles avoided the deeper section. I made sure I kept well back from this point when

I stepped out for a period of reflection.

Rain continued as we waited for traffic lights at the end of Hordle Lane,

and even hammered down on this tree surgeon in Everton Road who would not give up.

This evening we all dined on Ferndale’s meaty pork and garlic sausages; creamy mashed potatoes; crunchy carrots; tasty mac and cheese; tender cabbage and green beans, and substantial gravy with which I drank Calvet Prestige Côtes du Rhône Villages 2022.

Back To Autumn

Overnight rain had desisted by this morning, leaving the roads once more waterlogged, yet there was no frost and we were treated to cotton clouds scudding speedily across cerulean skies while splashing our way to Ferndene Farm Shop to buy provisions and a Christmas tree for which Jackie had to return later because there was not room for both me and a seven foot tree in the car.

From Ferndene we continued into the forest via Beckley Common Road.

A trio of ponies dozed unblinking on the verge of Forest Road, further along which the winterbourne stream has filled up again, bearing grasses and reflections on it surface. The low sun lit hummocks and cast shadows across the opposite verges.

Off the Thorney Hill bend of the road,

a few fine fungi had pierced a layer of fallen autumn leaves at the wooded corner of Valley Lane.

The sun penetrated the cover of leafless branches occasionally lighting the foliage yet to fall among the browned bracken, and printed reflections on muddy pools.

During the afternoon the rain beat down once more and the winds shook the garden foliage.

The day was warmer than of late. Could autumn have returned?

This afternoon we dined on pork/apple and pork/chives sausages; creamy mashed potatoes of the the white and the sweet varieties, fried onions, crunchy carrots, tender runner beans and meaty gravy with which Jackie drank more of the Pinot Grigio and I drank Le P’tite Pierre red wine 2022.

Defensive Cycling

Jackie finished the ironing this morning.

We then needed to scrape ice off the car windows, for the first time this year, before setting off for a forest drive.

Hardy rowers were out early on Lymington River.

Frosted leaves lay on the pavement beneath my feet as I took these pictures.

The pool spreading across the crossroads at the East Boldre corner of St Leonard’s Road reflected the crisp, clear, cerulean skies of the day and the surrounding shrubbery as grasses bent along the still surface.

Long shadows streaked the lengthy St Leonard’s Road, its partly frosted verges, its fallen golden brown leaves and the reflecting surfaces of filled ditches awaiting the addition of foliage yet to slowly swing down from branches overhead; one sawn trunk has been uprooted in a recent storm;

a parliament of rooks took heir seats to debate the absence of green issues.

Sunlight filtered through woodland like this lining Brockenhurst Road.

As usual at weekends we encountered numerous examples of what we understand as defensive cycling such as these in Walhampton Road, in St Leonard’s Road and in Brockenhurst Road.

A good explanation of this practice is given in https://www.edinburghbicycle.com/blog/what-is-defensive-cycling

This evening we all dined on succulent roast lamb; crisp Yorkshire pudding and roast potatoes, including softer sweet ones; crunchy carrots; firm cauliflower and broccoli, meaty gravy, mint sauce, and redcurrant jelly with which Jackie and I had more of yesterday’s wines.

Muted Colour

Grey ponies beside Whitemoor Pond on our morning forest drive

blended perfectly with the colour of the day.

Even the autumn leaves and bracken looked washed out,

and the rippling reflections on the surface above the rust-coloured bed of Ober Water, were not exactly scintillating.

Ponies and a foal foraged alongside

Rhinefield Road.

A herd of deer could be seen in the distance from Lower Sandy Down.

We lunched at Fleur de Lys, photographed here on a much brighter day, after which I drafted a review for Secret Diners, of which this is a copy: https://derrickjknight.com/?p=205521&preview=true which may require some editorial editing.

This evening we all dined on further portions of yesterday’s pasta meal with the addition of plentiful spinach, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Malbec.