Picnicking

Even at 8.30 this morning garden watering was shirt-soaking weather without having gone anywhere near the sprinkler.

I also produced a few photographs. Jackie said I made life difficult for myself with the camera slung round my neck. As usual, the gallery can be accessed by clicking on any image, each of which may be enlarged. This may be useful to find the camouflaged bee in the last picture.

Later, we set off for a picnic lunch. I should have known that the cattle drinking from the stream crossed by Holmsley Passage would have been inquisitive enough to

leave by the time I extricated myself from the car, and proceed to block the road.

The usual string of ponies did the same with considerably more effect than the bovines. Jackie considered that the traffic problem had been exacerbated by “old man in the road”. Well, it was a little difficult for me to round the obstacles to meet up with my Chauffeuse who had moved on ahead.

Outside Hyde CE Primary School a donkey foal stopped during feeding time for a scratch while waiting to be enrolled into ‘The Family in the Forest’.

Eventually we found a shady car park in Godshill Wood. We hadn’t bought chairs and there were no benches, so we could not emulate other, better prepared, picnickers and stayed in the open-windowed car watching

a trio of ponies clustered together for protection against the myriad of flies they had diverted from our lunch.

Another equine pair took direct shelter beneath the trees.

Occasionally a combination of the carelessly parked grey car and the cluster of ponies presented drivers with difficulty. One young lady left her car and proceeded to push a pony in an attempt to shift the group. She was pushed in turn, declared that the pony was either too hot or too grumpy, and returned her transport which threw up dust as it sped off into the distance.

This evening we dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away’s excellent fare with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Malbec.

A Splendid Oak

On this hot, humid, and overcast morning our friend Giles visited for a tour of the garden he had not been able to enter since before the lockdown.

We enjoyed a pleasant catching up, continued over coffee inside.

This afternoon, after filling up with petrol, Jackie drove me to the north of the forest.

The ponies again gathered on Ringwood Road outside Burley, but largely stuck to the verges where they nibbled hedges and left deposits in driveways.

I disembarked at the Smugglers Road car park and climbed a well-trodden pony trail

so dry that it had partially turned to sand.

Various similar tracks wound across the arid moorland hillsides among the banks of purpling heather.

We drove along the lanes around Linwood where woodsmoke filled the air;

and along the cup de sac to Highwood where I aroused the curiosity of a pair of heavy field horses.

Just outside Ibsley a splendid oak stretched wide its arms.

This evening we dined on lean, slow roasted, brisket of beef; roast garlic potatoes; crisp Yorkshire pudding; crunchy carrots; and tender sweetheart cabbage, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Carles.

Exercising Their Right

As I sit at my computer early in the morning reading regular WP posts, I am treated to

the gently swaying delights of Stargazer lilies and fuchsia Delta’s Sarah in the front garden.

Unidentified lilies graced the dragon bed where,

observed by a basking ladybird,

I dug holes for two more roses set to climb the Head Gardener’s recently purchased arch. Hopefully they will soon rival the runner beans in the Palm Bed.

A trip to the compost bins revealed dahlias and a fuchsia blending nicely in the New Bed alongside what I think is a Meadow Brown butterfly drinking from a verbena bonariensis.

This afternoon we drove to Bisterne Close to deliver the print made yesterday and enjoyed a conversation with Jan and Steve.

Afterwards we turned into Forest Road where

this pony produced a natural silhouette.

Passing sunlit bracken by the roadside,

I followed a pair of grey ponies into

the more major Ringwood Road where they joined a group of cousins in exercising their right over the traffic leaving and entering Burley.

This evening we dined on tasty baked gammon; crisp roast potatoes; cheesy macaroni pie; crunchy carrots and broccoli; and tender runner beans with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Carles.

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.