Reflections Of Pilley

Knowing that this morning’s dry weather was due to turn wet – which it did – Jackie and I took a forest drive that needed to extend no further than Pilley where rich photographic pickings were to be found.

As we clanked and clattered across the cattle grid into the village we found a veritable herd of shaggy haired donkeys foraging, sleeping, and scratching around the green at Pilley Street and May Lane

Some sprawled somnolently, their hooves tucked beneath them;

a small group surrounded a car attempting to drive down the lane;

others tore and crunched at prickly bushes;

one adventurous animal investigated a parked truck.

Some of those not using low scratching posts engaged in mutual grooming. The last of this group of pictures was obtained through the passenger window glass. I would the window down, saying I wonder whether I could get a clearer shot through the opening. “You won’t” said Jackie. An instant later the eye of a donkey appeared in my viewfinder. The hopeful animal had obscured my sight as it attempted to enter the Modus.

We wondered whether to take home to Dillon a baseball cap left on a post.

Further on, we witnessed much reflective activity on Pilley’s lake,

including that of Canada geese,

a pair of mallards,

and the ripples beneath an inactive set of branches.

Opposite the bus stop a grey pony enjoyed a lunch of cold soup. The last six of these pictures are Jackie’s.

Later, I continued the tedious task of facilitating enlargement of the pictures in the following posts from the Classic Editor period:

This evening we all dined on tender roast beef, crisp roast potatoes, parsnips, and Yorkshire pudding, with firm carrots and Brussels sprouts, and meaty gravy. Ellie enjoyed her squashed vegetables with gravy and horseradish sauce. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Shiraz.

Many Sightings Of Roe Deer

After lunch today Jackie drove us all to Hockey’s Farm Shop where we left the young family to explore while we took a short drive in the near vicinity.

A veritable herd of donkeys in the road outside the shop were engaged in their favourite leisurely game of disruption of the traffic. One attempted to join me in the passenger seat when I returned to the car. The greens at Ibsley, although the waters had receded somewhat, continued to offer

waterlogged reflections of trees above,

and a paddling pool for ponies,

one of whom was in sight of cousins casting shadows on the other side of the road.

Two gentlemen sat atop Rockford Sandpit;

their voices reached me at the bottom, whence I photographed the scene

and its surrounding woodland.

From Ellingham Drove, where we spotted one of our many sightings of roe deer in the shade, we drove to the main road where we filled up with petrol and returned to Hockey’s to collect the others.

Later, following the advice of SueW, I recovered the pictures from the following posts:

This evening we all dined on more of Jackie’s tasty pasta Bolognese, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Valle Central Reserva Privada Syrah, 2021.


After picking up medication from Milford on Sea Pharmacy late this morning we took a forest walk.

At Keyhaven Harbour the slate-grey sky merged with the vanishing horizon beyond which we could barely discern walkers on the spit; boats buoys and moorings rested on mirrored glass reflecting all in gentle monochrome ripples.

From the harbour we drove along damp Saltgrass Lane tracking a gentleman following the coastal path to

the shallows alongside Hurst Spit, where we spotted Turnstones, a Godwit, and a Raven among others.

Much of the recent ice has now melted, although the day was still chilly enough for these patterns along Sowley Lane,

where its lake reflected mallards and other waterbirds.

Through the mist across Beaulieu River we glimpsed a gulp of cormorants.

I have chosen not to brighten any of these images so that readers may see how misty the day was.

When we returned we found a message from Elaine at Tom Sutton Heating to say that it is only one part of an immersion heater that needs replacing and it will be fitted on Tuesday. I do believe she was even more delighted to convey this news than I was to receive it.

This evening we dined on succulent roast pork with crisp crackling, crisp roast potatoes laced with garlic, crisp Yorkshire pudding, crunchy carrots, tender green beans, and firm broccoli, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Merlot brought back from the pub yesterday.

Fire And Ice

Early this afternoon we received a further oil-fired radiator from Amazon. This had kept us in until 4 p.m. when we ventured out into another cold-blue-sky day in search of a forest sunset.

We drove up Holmsley Passage turning right into Clay Hill at the top.

There the golden disc flirted with trees and clouds,

burnishing the trees above their reflections in the pool home to mallards,

past which a solitary grey pony emerged from the dingy dusk.

Along Bisterne Close the fiery sun slowly slipped into indigo clouds above icy, reflecting, recently filled concavities.

Further verges along the close contained some of the many lingering ice patterns in the woods and moorland, featuring leaves above and below them.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s wholesome chicken stewp with fresh crusty bread. She drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Shiraz.

Stretching For Holly

Ronan of Tom Sutton Heating spent the morning fixing the boiler problem which turned out to be water in the oil; it seems it was not the drop in temperature which had stopped it working, but the very heavy rain which has got in somewhere. To be more sure Jackie has ordered a tank drier bag from Amazon.

The rain having desisted, much of the floodwater has receded and the icicles melted, although , on this still chilly but dry day ice not reached by the low, weak, sun remains, as we discovered on a forest drive.

Boldre Bridge overlooked a rippling stream, still bearing ice, and reflecting trees and fenceposts.

Nearby, Rodlease Lane still bore arboreal images in pools disturbed by passing vehicles.

Long shadows of a woman and a donkey stretched across the banks of Hatchet Pond and the potholed drive to it;

gulls admired their reflections in the remnants of its ice, while a paddling coot looked on.

The drift paddock on Furzey Lane reflected on the icy pool surrounding it, where

patterns remained unthawed.

A pony reaching up for holly in Ran’s Wood was lit by the lowering sun, which had

set by the time we arrived at Milford on Sea..

Later we dined on Cook’s very tasty vegetarian lasagna brought by Elizabeth last week, and Jackie’s equally flavoursome Chicken and vegetable stewp with delicious garlic bread brought by our sister from the same source. I drank more of the Shiraz and no-one else did.

In Need Of Milking

Martin’s cementing material was frozen in the bags this morning which he consequently spent

cutting out the shapes he would not be able to firmly set in place until Sunday.

Note the ice chips on the covered paving.

Ellie, who has now mastered the art of hand to mouth coordination,

was mesmerised by the open fire.

Martin told me that the roadsides were festooned with icicles formed by the showers of spray thrown up by vehicles during Monday’s deluge. Jackie and I therefore took a trip to investigate.

Some years ago now, a teenage girl was killed in a car crash along Hordle Lane.

Some soft toys still linger in the trees in her memory. One had fallen among the icicles by the roadside.

Further icicles and ice patterns decorated the corner of Woodcock Lane and Silver Street

along which these wintry decorations dangled from trees, draped verges along which they were reflected in the gutters, and rose from grasses on stumps.

We drove along Bashley Cross Road to Ferndene Farm shop to buy some eggs. A fallen branch bore dripping icicles.

Sway Road hosted various ice sculptures reflected in the gutters,

some dripping from a fence post like the udders of a cow in need of milking.

Further along this road autumn red-gold merged with winter’s snow-white.

This evening we dined on bangers and mash; fried bacon, tomatoes and mushrooms; boiled carrots, Brussels sprouts, and cauliflower, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Coonawarra Shiraz 2020.

Fire And Flood

Once again coinciding with a drop in outside temperature our boiler ceased functioning yesterday. We have a service booked for Thursday, 19th. and will manage until then.

With no Christmas decorations now wishing to remain undisturbed all round the fireplace and mantelpiece, we decided to light

the open fire in the sitting room.

We therefore drove to Streets in Brockenhurst to purchase coal, logs, firelighters, and two hot water bottles.

After a long spell of overnight rain there is normally a narrow puddle in the gutter outside our front entrance. Today this almost reached the middle of Christchurch Road and a long way down it.

As we watched other vehicles sailing past, and dodged their spray while waiting for a gap for us to enter the road and turn right, little did we know how much further flooding we would encounter.

The rest of the A337 stimulated spray waves at numerous locations.

For the first time in our decade here, the ford at Brockenhust was closed to traffic, the stream presumably being too deep for safety.

The lawn beside Meerut Road had become a reflective lake;

as had Balmer Lawn because its stretch of Highland Water

had burst both banks, its fast-moving currents sending squirming logs on their way until caught by other obstacles.

This evening we dined on barbecue spare ribs with Jackie’s flavoursome savoury rice. I drank more of the Syrah. The others didn’t.

A Windblown Neck Scarf

After a morning shop in Tesco we took a brief forest drive.

The dryer day fanned by a gentler breeze was illuminated by, albeit short, sunny spells.

For about three months, along a stretch of Christchurch Road where it is impossible to stop the car without causing chaos, we have hoped to photograph two lengths of corrugated iron. Today Jackie parked on the drive beside a closed farm gate and I was able to look back to a

long piece wrapped round the branch of a tree like a neck scarf blown by one of our gale force winds; the other is buried in a hedge and out of sight from this viewpoint.

The rippling, reflective, and effervescent stream at Wootton Bridge now flows fast

and laps the bases of mossy-rooted trees.

Ponies, like these at Bisterne Close, have ventured out into the woodland since the recent deluge.

This evening we dined on tender roast lamb; boiled new potatoes; cheese vegetable bake; firm Brussels sprouts and carrots, and meaty gravy, with which I drank more of the Shiraz and Jackie drank Montes Reserva Chardonnay 2020.

Rippling, Reflecting, Pools

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The ground may still be wet, but at least the rain had ceased today.

Martin was able to make progress on widening the step in front of the French windows, and

planning the layout of the paving, some of which he will cut to shape and size.

Jackie and I took a short drive into the forest where there was little sign of wild life.

Field horses were mostly sporting muddy rugs as

they sloshed around like these two at their gate.

Trees rooted in scooped out basins beside Beaulieu Road stand in rippling, reflecting, pools as is customary for them in rainy seasons.

This evening we dined on a choice of tasty penne Bolognese or beef casserole, with firm broccoli and tender green beans. Jackie and I chose the Bolognese, Becky enjoyed a bit of both, Flo and Dillon will take theirs later. The Culinary Queen and our daughter drank Buck’s Fizz while I drank Calvet Prestige Côtes du Rhône Villages 2021, given to me for Christmas by Martin.

Veritable Lakes

This being New Year’s Day there were very few vehicles on the road when we set off into the forest. The temperature was cooler, but the gloom was at least dry, which is more than can be said for the moorland and woodland, such as that alongside

Holmsley Road, which had become a veritable lake reflecting now naked trees, where, despite the stillness of the air, ripples quivered spasmodically into a life of their own.

Gorseacre’s Private Driveway sign now functioned as a water level gauge, while posts placed to deter parking floated away.

Groups of competitors pushed their trolleys across the somewhat drier Burley golf course.

Damp ponies

were reflected in scooped out basins alongside Burley Road.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent cottage pie; firm carrots, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts; and tasty grav, with which I finished the Kruger Elements.