Pilley Pool Replenished

Slate grey skies; gloomy light; steady rain. These were the weather conditions during our drive into the forest this morning.

Just outside Lymington we were delayed by a warning of witches’ hats strung out round a bend in the lane, no doubt having been abandoned after Halloween.

A couple of cows cropped the grass at Pilley Street where

shallow roadside pools reflected rain-washed parked cars.

Jackie parked the Modus beside the occasional bus-stop at the fully replenished Pilley quarry pit pool while I wandered around the perimeter.


Glistening golden oak leaves lingered on

lichen covered limbs


and mossy trunks;

or, loosened by the stiff breeze, cascaded down the sloping banks

vanishing beneath the surface of the water

swirling with raindrop ripples

ruffling arboreal reflections.

Fallen branches rear from the depths or stretch in tangled skeins across the surface.

On the far side of the lake bedraggled ponies nuzzled what nutriment they could from the soggy terrain.

As my shoes struggled with the mud’s suction I spared a thought for the owner of this trainer that may have succumbed.

It is difficult to believe that on 21st September I walked across the bed of this lake photographing grazing ponies.

The frost patterns on the flanks of this damp donkey rather belied the warmth of the day.

Leaving the pool we visited Mum at Woodpeckers. Jackie took this photograph as my mother demonstrated her improving smile. She has suffered a chest infection requiring two series of antibiotics. She has recovered from this, but still has a cough. She doesn’t see too well, but has all her marbles.

Later, Nick Hayter visited to estimate for decorating the kitchen and sitting room.

This evening we dined on a rack of pork spare ribs served with Jackie’s flavoursome savoury rice topped with an omelette, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Scheiber Cabernet Franc 2015.

Was It Something In The Water?


This morning was spent Christmas shopping in New Milton and in Brockenhurst


Jackie parked the car in Butts Lane, Brockenhurs and I walked alongside the stream beside it.

Water level guage

At the far end a ford leads to Park Close. The water level gauge shows

Water level gauge and reflections

it is quite shallow at this point.

Ripples on stream

Vehicles are able to cross easily, and send ripples along the waterway.

Reflection in streamReflections in streamReflections in stream


Reflections in streamReflections in streamReflections in stream


Reflections in stream

and fences rippled in the water.

Rose hips

Wild rose hips wound over the wooden bridge rails.


A chaffinch took advantage of shrubbery camouflage,


spanning the stream.


This didn’t conceal a wood pigeon.

Feather on water

Perhaps this bird had lost a feather.


Jumping jackdaws scratched around on the bank.


Although I saw no birds in the stream, the pigeon had a bath in,


and the jackdaws drank from, a pool beside a house. Was it something in the water?

This evening we dined on barbecued pork spare ribs, prawn toasts, and Jackie’s exceedingly savoury rice. She drank more of the sauvignon blanc and I drank Mendoza Parra Alta malbec 2016.




After The Deluge 2

Yesterday evening Bill drove Helen, Jackie, and me to the Fuchi Chinese fusion restaurant in Totton. One of their favourites, this establishment is rather more up-market than Family House, which remains one of ours. The food was first class, and the service excellent, once we had struggled through the accent of our beautiful waitress with her very strong accent. This young lady understood us very well and spoke very good English once you could get your ears adjusted. It was quite fun really.

There was something of a pause between dishes, obviously the result of everything being freshly cooked. Helen chose a dish served in a hot stone pot with a fried egg on top of it. The man I took to be the young proprietor tossed this, mixing in the egg, and served it to Helen, informing her that it was enough for three people. We all had a share. It was good.

Jasmine teapotJasmine teapot 3Jasmine teapot 5The highlight came at the end of the meal. This was Helen’s jasmine tea. The hand-made clear glass teapot was perched on a stand of the same material. Now I know why tea lights, one of which was placed under the pot, are so called. A rounded teabag was undone. It contained what looked like a small walnut. This was dropped into the hot water, and we watched, fascinated, as a beautiful flower unfolded in the gradually darkening liquid reflected in the shiny black composite table. I don’t know what the tea tasted like.

Castle Malwood signA31

Pool & treeRipped branchSnatching sunshine between showers after another night of heavy rain, risking losing a shoe to the suction of the bog it now is, I wandered around the small section of forest that lies between our Upper Drive and the A31. It has taken a heavy toll in recent months.Fallen treeRoot & pool One huge branch has been ripped from its trunk. Deep pits, once dug for gravel, not yet filled by autumn leaves and other detritus, are now small lakes reflecting such surrounding trees that are still standing, and aiding the erosion of those that have fallen. Ponies visit for a drink and a meal of lichen and holly, now much more easily accessible.

Against the lightRipple & reflectionRipplePoolsReflection

Mossy trunkShadowsAs I walked out, raindrops from a recent shower, still sliding from branches overhead, dripped pattering onto last October’s leaves and forming ripples on the lakelets.

Bright emerald green moss contrasted with the soggy russet leaves on which the sun radiated long, strong, shadows.Telephone cableSawn trunk

The telephone cable brought down by the toppling, large, lichen-covered tree on 11th February still trails along the verge. It is itself undamaged.

WaterloggedWaterlogged 2

Much of the area is completely waterlogged.

Sun through treesbacklit reflection

Reflections seen against the light of the sun penetrating the trees are seen in silhouette.

On 28th February I observed that the evolution of what starts out as compost soup can be very varied. For today’s lunch this became chicken stoup (stew/soup). Added to the soup of that date was the remaining rich liquid from the evening’s sausage casserole and some freshly cooked further chunks of chicken. Superb.

Smoked cod, baked beans and chips accompanied by Roc Saint Vincent Sauvignon blanc 2012 provided our evening sustenance.