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.

 

 

Sexy Side-Swept Bangs

After taking down the Christmas tree we took a short drive into the forest on another very gloomy, yet dry, day.

When, at Shirley Holms, I pointed my lens in her direction, a sexy Shetland pony mistook me for a hairdresser’s photographer and trotted over to display

her dishevelled side-swept bangs.

The ditches are all filling up now. A copper beech hedge reflected in one at Sandy Down caught my eye as we passed. My Chauffeuse kindly made a several points turn in the narrow lane so that I could photograph the scene, including one of the discarded drink containers. The second picture above is by the Assistant Photographer who also focussed on

me. This might have been the moment I was trying to tuck myself in to keep out of the way of oncoming vehicles passing our parked Modus. I wasn’t exactly between rock and a hard place – more on a soggy verge between muddy tarmac and a full ditch..

Mallards have taken up occupation in the very full Pilley lake. They create their own ripples on what would otherwise be a very still surface reflecting barely quivering images of

skeletal trees;

shaggy Shetland ponies;

and red brick houses.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy pork paprika; boiled potatoes, crunchy carrots and cauliflower with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Brouilly.

 

“Let’s Go Play With The Traffic”

Yesterday evening we watched the first episode of The Crown Series 2.

The morning began with suggestions of blue sky when Jackie popped out to photograph our new OLD POST HOUSE sign given to us for Christmas by Shelly and Ron, and

fixed to the back gate by Aaron on Sunday.

While she was down that end of the Back Drive she photographed daffodil spears pushing up early.

From far off in the Rose Garden she heard Nugget singing his heart out, so he became her next subject,

“Where’s Nugget?” (58)

Knowing that the rest of the day would be shrouded in drizzle we drove to

Mudeford harbour by mid-morning.

The waves were choppy and the currents contorted.

Walkers and joggers tracked the waves

or sped around the more sheltered harbour.

No-one was seated on the benches –

not even the mobile phone user.

Gulls gathered on the grass.

Dogs and children so love to scatter them,

sending them flashing against the dark indigo skies.

From Mudeford we headed inland, where, at Burley Manor the deer were busy grazing or resting by the shepherd’s hut.

Beside the fence stands an ancient hollow trunk, probably of an oak. I will spare my readers sight of the various unsavoury items tossed inside by visitors mistaking it for a refuse bin.

Outside Burley grazing New Forest ponies were reflected in rapidly filling ditches.

Nearby a pair of muddy-hoofed Shetland ponies did their bit for verge maintenance.

When a larger cousin joined them, one rather cheery creature proposed: “Let’s go play with the traffic.”

So off they went, intent

on causing mayhem.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s wholesome beef and mushroom pie; boiled potatoes; roast parsnips, onions, and peppers; crisp cauliflower, and tender cabbage, with which the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank Patrick Chodot Brouilly 2017.