“All Over In A Flash”

This morning’s sun shone blindingly bright in clear skies; the temperature was finger- tingling chilly. Because the meteorologists had predicted rain this afternoon we drove out early to Mudeford Quay.

I had never seen the normally tranquil harbour water as choppy as it was today.

The high tide surged back and forth over the shore line leaving bubbles clinging to driftwood;

gulls bobbed among the undulating surface oscillations,

occasionally taking to the air

and settling on the grass

until scattered by hastening motors.

Leaving a pair of brisk joggers to their exertions I walked over to the quayside with its

rougher seas and bouncing buoys.

A solitary jogger trotted past two women progressing at a gentler pace, while

an eager dog towed its owner along the pool sprinkled promenade.

From a safe distance an animated baby seated in a buggy was being shown

waves battering the sea wall.

Jackie photographed me

 photographing her. How’s that Pauline?

As we prepared to move on the Assistant Photographer showed me an image she had produced of

yacht masts and a bench, and related the story of the day.

Before my Chauffeuse had moved over to the quayside a young woman had emptied a carrier bag full of food onto the grass in front of Jackie’s car. Within seconds

a squabble of seagulls swooped seeking sustenance and set about each other scavenging insatiably.

It was all over in a flash.

At Avon the eponymous river had spread itself across the neighbouring fields,

encroaching upon calves’ feeding area.

We continued on to Hockey’s Farm shop for brunch, where we were disappointed to discover that the café was closed because a new floor was being laid.

The straggly-damp alpacas in the pasture might have appreciated their own new floor.

A thatcher’s pig has flown up onto the roof of the cottage repaired last summer.

The hair of a group of ponies at South Gorley may have been dry, but now it needed a good shampoo.

Others a little further on seemed to have had one already.

We returned to the excellent Café Aroma in Ringwood for our plentiful brunch, then travelled home facing oncoming driving sleet.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s watercress soup and rolls with which I finished the Costiere de Nimes.

 

 

 

Ripples And Reflections

On another afternoon of heavy rain we took a drive into the forest.

Over Lymington Road the sun attempted unsuccessfully to penetrate the brimming cloud canopy. The oak in the third picture has been remodelled by the sea air. The highest groping fingers never bear leaves.

Almost the only wildlife we saw while the rain hammered down was a pair of deer crossing Holmsley Passage ahead of us. As usual my camera missed the first one and we waited for the expected companion.

The two fords along this route are filling with rippling water.

The moors on either side of this much nibbled winding lane offered misty landscapes,

lichen covered trees,

gorse and bracken managing to look cheerful in the conditions.

Along Forest Road I stepped out to photograph a recent winterbourne pool. The Assistant Photographer was on hand to portray my progress and the whole scene because she knew I would take a closer look.

She was right.

Here is a mossy tuft;

weed, lichen,

ripples and reflections.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s watercress soup, followed by smoked haddock; creamy mashed potatoes; piquant cauliflower cheese; crunchy carrots, and tender runner beans, with which I drank more of the Costieres de Nimes.

In The Rough

This morning we received an e-mail from our good blogging friend Lavinia Ross attaching a photograph of the cedar tree (Calocedrus decurrens) she has planted in remembrance of my son Michael. We are very touched by this.

Jackie nipped out to photograph the evidence of last night’s sub-zero temperature.

We have light frost on various leaves;

and thin ice on the Frond pond – well, cistern actually.

Plants like primulas

and wallflower Sugar Rush Purple Bicolour seem unscathed.

After lunch Jackie turned her lens on the front garden foragers. in the process discovering

a dunnock and

a second robin happily coexisting with Ron. Robins are notoriously territorial, the males fighting to the death to repel invaders. Two companionable examples must therefore be one male and one female. When Ron first came on the scene we did speculate that the bird could in fact be a Ronette. We now have a real identification problem.

Is this Ron or Ronette waiting for the sparrows to finish feeding;

and which is sharing pickings with the pigeon?

Later this afternoon we took a drive into the forest.

The sun was quite low over the Burley Golf Course where one couple were nicely silhouetted;

another apparently caught in the rough;

and ponies,

one of which lethargically turned to observe me, dozing or grazing.

On the opposite side of Burley Road trees, like Narcissus, admired themselves on the surface of a deepening pool.

Before we left home I had remembered that Elizabeth had given me a long walker’s stick for my birthday last year. This is intended to aid balance. I therefore decided to keep it in the car. I was tempted to leave the road at Bisterne Close and walk into the woods. As I set off Jackie reminded me of the stick. Well, at least I had got it into the car without prompting.

It was a great help in traversing the undulating forest floor with its soggy, shoe sucking, areas, yet lacking yesterday’s booby traps.

Moss-covered raised roots were easier to negotiate than yesterday’s bare snaking ones.

Winter’s long shadows stretched over the terrain

much of which was reasonably dry underfoot.

There were, of course, more reflective pools.

One long-limbed mighty oak needed only a wildcat steed to present a passing semblance of the Hindu goddess Durga.

Somehow she has retained her mighty arms whilst another lost one of hers some time ago.

Back in the car and further down the road, even at 3.30 p.m. ice shone on the waterlogged verge.

This evening we dined at The Smugglers Inn at Milford on Sea where Jackie enjoyed spinach and ricotta cannelloni followed by sticky toffee pudding and ice cream. I would have enjoyed my otherwise good sirloin steak, chips, onion rings, and fresh salad more had my steak knife been thrown away. My great and butter pudding and custard dessert was excellent. The service was friendly, speedy, and efficient. Mrs Knight drank Hop House Lager while I drank Doom Bar.

Playing On Ober Water

For Christmas Danni and Andy gave us a self assembly natty little copper and brass soap holder.

Aaron of A,P, Maintenance, with some trepidation because he had never drilled through tiles before, assembled and fixed it for us. As he said, “You never know what you can do until you try”.

We think it was for Christmas 2006 that I gave each of my sons a framed set of photographs of each of the male line from my grandfather John Francis Cecil Knight. The idea was that I would include each of us at about the age Grandpa Knight was in a photograph that Elizabeth had pointed out looked very like my youngest son, Sam.

Here, accompanied by Oliver and Alice, Michael is opening the present.

On this one, although he was much younger than the rest of us, I included Oliver. I am especially pleased at this because he now has it and treasures it. From left to right we have my grandfather, my Dad, me, Michael, and Oliver. I called it ‘The Knights’ Tail’. Heidi e-mailed these two images today.

Jackie watched Nugget quietly tolerating the long-tailed tits snaffling his food.

“Where’s Nugget?” (61)

The weather was bright and cold, with clear blue skies and some ice on the overnight precipitation. This afternoon Jackie drove me out to

Ober Water.

A week or so ago I had walked the Ober Water trail’s one mile section and back. This was a level gravelled path out of sight of the actual water. I had the idea that there may be one on the other side which would allow me to follow the river. I therefore crossed Puttle’s Bridge to discover that there was no such path, but that others had clearly

wandered along the banks.

I contemplated the soggy terrain, turned around and looked back from the bridge towards the other side. My resolve to return to the Ober Water trail and do the sensible thing didn’t last long. I was soon clambering over

tree roots, their soli severely eroded, surrounded by pools of indeterminate depths;

and swollen, reflective, streams etched across my intended route.

The river of course presented many of its own reflections.

After forty minutes of this I hadn’t progressed very far and thought it best to retrace my steps.

At the outset I had photographed a rope swing

which later proved irresistible to a brother and sister who took it in turns to swing over the river.

This provided me with an opportunity to ask their willing father to haul me out of a particularly deep gouge in the bank of a recently established tributary.

Delighted dogs dashed around all over the place. Some kept their owners reasonably close;

others crouched ready to pounce

for a play fight,

clearly beneath a serious-minded spaniel.

One exuberant creature made the water its element.

This evening we dined on the other half of Jackie’s prime beef and mushroom pie; roast potatoes and butternut squash; with firm Brussels sprouts, carrots, and broccoli, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Fronton 2017.

 

“I’m Going To Get My Mum”

This morning Jackie ironed my last four shirts which is a double result: firstly I didn’t have to do it and secondly she does it better.

The wind eased through the morning and the afternoon was bright and sunny for us to take a drive into the forest.

Much water lay on the roads and their verges. The terrain on either side of Holmsley Road was waterlogged,

but did not deter dog walkers.

Bubbling pools,

where a month or so back the land was dry, now reflected trees and sky.

As we crossed the Burley Road into an unnamed lane approaching Bisterne Close I noticed a group of ponies foraging among fallen trees that were in various stages of decay. Jackie parked on the verge and I rustled my way down slopes

of fallen leaves,

past reflecting pools of various expanses,

and negotiating stumps and fallen trees,

to mingle with the ponies

who bore the dregsof the recent deluge.

Although one of last year’s late foals this dishevelled creature, larger than any adult Shetland,

after enjoying a scratch against a branch of convenient height, sounded heavy thuds as, with a shrill whinny roughly translated as “I’m going to get my Mum”, it sped past me

in full flight

and, sure enough, returned with its mother

who gave me the eye made all the more alarming by the bright white centre of the black marking encircling its left orb.

Despite appearances she allowed me to continue as she got on with the serious business of eating.

I bid this family farewell and we made our way towards

Burley where the verges were full of reflecting water,

and to Bisterne Close where ponies shared the road with dog walkers,

and the woodland with each other.

Lime green catkins now swing in the trees, contrasting with autumn’s red berries.

On our way home we diverted to Wootton Bridge where the fast flowing stream has burst its banks

and waterlogged the surrounding sward.

Nearby rocks have become rippling watercourses.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s piri-piri mango and lime chicken served with her splendidly savoury rice topped with omelette and with green beans on the side. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank El Zimbido Garnacha Syrah 2018 given to me for Christmas by Ian.

 

 

Water Under The Bridge

The morning’s sunshine was correctly predicted to succumb to clouds by mid-day. We therefore took an early drive to Wooden House Lane in Pilley.

The lane peters out into a pitted gravel path currently peppered with pools. Jackie parked the car and contemplated how she was going to turn round and return to comparatively dry land while I wandered about with my camera.

Such landscapes as I could reach were inviting enough, although

this seat would be more accessible in dryer weather.

A bubbling stream

made its way

under a footbridge in one direction

and across the path in another.

Trees were reflected in the clear gravel pits

and in the swollen stream’s pools.

In an effort to reach the open moor beyond the bridge I risked sinking into

pony- and people-trampled muddy morass. Eventually I gave up and left the ground to the oak leaves.

The stream flowed fast enough to create bobbing bubbles bearing bursting reflections. (Biggify a few – you may spot me.)

A solitary twisted stump stands beside the bridge.

Back at home Nugget, somewhat perturbed, patiently paced as a group of long-tailed tits purloined part of his pendant provender outside the stable door. It is fascinating that robins are savage with their own species, yet most tolerant of other birds.

This evening we dined at The Wheel Inn where we both enjoyed tempura prawn starters which Jackie followed with scampi and chips and I chose Barnsley chop with creamy mashed potatoes and a selection of vegetables. I hadn’t eaten such a meal before. My choice was determined by James Braxton going on about it in The Antiques Road Trip earlier. Its as well cooked, but I wouldn’t repeat it. Jacke dranlk Kaltenberg and I drank Ringwood’s Best.

Planes Of Boats And Trains

The morning was bright and sunny; the afternoon began with a deluge and ended in photogenic light.

Nugget can regularly be seen from the kitchen window. Jackie photographed him from there, where his own personal feeder hangs.

“Where’s Nugget?” (59)

At the dry end of the afternoon we drove to Lymington Harbour where the Assistant Photographer photographed the general scene;

a view of the monument;

and me making my own efforts.

I only saw one gull – or was it a cormorant?

and very view people on the wet quayside.

A solitary rower brought his boat into harbour past all the moored yachts.

The planes of boats and trains formed geometric artwork with the upright moored masts and surrounding buildings.

Barely a ripple disturbed steady reflections.

Before the street lamps ignited

wisps of grey smoke drifted against the pink sky presaging a sunset that disappeared behind lowering clouds.

The bandstand was nicely silhouetted with its mast guard.

In a vain attempt to catch the sundown we drove on to Lymington and Keyhaven Nature Reserve from where

Jackie photographed clouds over the wetlands;

pools along a gravel footpath;

and distant Hurst Castle with its lighthouse.

I focussed on a gaggle of Canada geese.

For dinner this evening Jackie produced Hunter’s Chicken; crisp duchesse potatoes; and tender runner beans, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Domaine de Sareval Valréas 2016.