A Bit Steep

Nugget and Lady were together in evidence this morning, as was Ron or Ronette.

“Where’s Nugget?” (69) by Jackie.

Storm Jorge treated us to a bright, albeit windy, day with very little rain.

Leaving the family’s cockapoos Geri

and her daughter Coco behind with Jackie

I accompanied Louisa, Errol, Jessica, and Imogen as tour guide to Lyndhurst. We began at the Museum and Heritage Centre where we admired exhibits such as

‘Forestry then and now’ comparing the axe-wielding earlier woodman with today’s chain-saw carrying forester;

and ‘Mr Burt a commoner’ who, like his modern descendants, held the rights to pasture his animals in The New Forest.

Shops visited included Pages with its wide range of gifts; Lyndhurst Antiques Centre where the visitors were intrigued by Elizabeth’s well-stocked cabinet; and Down to the Wood where Errol bought a wooden solitaire board complete with glass marbles.

By the time of my son-in-law’s purchase, apart from a brief respite for cold ice creams in the warmth of the Tea Rooms, we had walked for more than an hour up and down the town’s steeply sloping high street.

Knowing that a set of gravestone steps led down from the church of Saint Michael and all Angels to the car park I thought I could just about, with the aid of the handrails, manage the necessary descent after showing the young ladies the grave of Mrs Alice Hargreaves, better known as Alice in Wonderland.

Unfortunately it had beenĀ 7 years since I produced the above photograph and there were now no steps. Instead, having been replaced by a circuitous serpentine tarmacked path, the stones that had formed them were stacked on the edge of the lawn.

In more ways than one this seemed a bit steep. Clearly I had no option but to overdo it.

Aaron, in the meantime had passed the Agriframes challenge by assembling and erecting their Bower without recourse to their destructions.

Jackie laid on her usual spread for lunch, after which the Nottingham family set off for home in order for Errol to watch the F.A. Cup Final featuring his beloved Aston Villa.

This evening we ate more of the luncheon fare of cold meats and plentiful fresh salad with which I drank Valle Central Syrah reserve privacy 2019 and Jackie drank Hoegaarden.




Gangsta Granny

Concerned followers have been asking where’s Nugget?

He has been keeping out of the rain, but during the fine early morning today he emerged as Jackie filled his food tray.

Here is her picture of “Where’s Nugget?” (68)

Louisa, Errol, Jessica, and Imogen, staying for the weekend, arrived in time for lunch. This afternoon Danni, Andy, Ella, Elizabeth, and Jacqueline joined us and organised chaos ensued.

Imogen had a school project to undertake. This involved creating a potato dressed as a favourite book character. General debate arrived at Gangsta Granny. A number of those present contributed suggestions and Jackie provided pieces of jewellery to be dripping out of the swag bag. Jessica, incidentally informed me that swag now means cool.

Here is Granny in her various stages of development,

Finally Imogen added a bejewelled handbag, a black skirt, and a handwritten label.

Jessica meanwhile worked on a poster about World War Two.

Somehow I seem to have posted this prematurely. We are about to dine on Jackie’s piquant cauliflower cheese; smoked haddock, fishcakes, mashed potato, carrots and runner beans. I expect there will be some imbibing.

Comparatively Unscathed

Jackie produced a few photographs of dawn this morning.

Although the skies would darken with rain squalls and the windspeed increase at intervals after lunch the morning was brighter and the speed 45 m.p.h.

I toured the garden investigating what turned out to be very little damage.

The patio planters in front of the French windows were unscathed;

a few pots, like this one on the Kitchen Path,

and this beneath the clematis Cirrhosa Freckles, had toppled;

a few slender branches had been ripped from the copper beech and the weeping birch;

the already disintegrating rose arch had lost a piece of its top;

the back drive gate had shed some of its screen;

empty compost bags had been blown about a bit;

but many areas, such as the Shady Path were unscathed.

Nugget’s Wisteria Arbour was intact. “Where’s Nugget?” (67)

This afternoon the weather alternated between dark sleet showers and bursts of sunshine during which

darting blue tits took what opportunities they could to grab a peck

between those squabbling sparrow trapeze artists swinging on the swaying feeders

from which they spilled more than they consumed.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy pasta arrabbiata plentifully packed with peppers, mushrooms, onions and garlic. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Cabernet Sauvignon.

The Still Before The Storm

This morning, fearing for the garden during the very heavy storm we are due to experience tomorrow, Jackie wandered around our plot with her camera in order to record such an unusual array of blooms for this time of the year.

First, she had to pander to Nugget who was convinced that his fans would like to admire his back view.

Tete-a-tetes and irises were doing well,

as were snowdrops, primulas, and bergenias.

We hope a variety of camellias will survive.

The autumn sculpture has sprouted lichen curls to blend with his mottled skin.

Dragons and hellebores are hoping for the best.

Daphne odorata marginata,

wood anemones,



and euphorbias all add their splashes of colour which we hope will not be watered down.

For lunch we joined Mum and Elizabeth at Woodpeckers, Colton Care home.

It is my sister’s birthday.

She complimented our mother on

enjoying lasagna which is ‘foreign food’ to someone of her generation. The others also chose lasagna; my choice was cod in parsley sauce. We all enjoyed lemon tart with cream or ice cream.

After the meal Elizabeth drove Mum on a trip into the forest while we

left the birthday present on the Pilley doorstep.

A little later the two ladies arrived at our house to finish the afternoon with tea and Victoria sponge.

Jackie and I dined this evening from bowls of Hordle Chinese Take Away’s delicious fare on trays on our laps while watching recordings of the afternoon’s Six Nations rugby Internationals between Wales and Ireland and between England and Scotland. The second match took place in swirling gales and lashing rain such that neither side deserved to lose. It is a wonder that anyone could play at all. I drank Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon 2018.



Spilt Milk

Once again the sunniest part of the day was this morning. I am happy to say that the fault on our landline was successfully repaired while I stayed near the phone and Jackie continued weeding and planting.

Nugget and Lady were both in attendance, but his new partner tweeted that she was not ready for her close up.

Nugget, as always, was perfectly happy to pose.

Now, “Where’s Nugget?” (64)

Our blogging friend JoAnna was surprised to see yesterday’s dragons. Here is another, complete with appropriate legend, that The Assistant Photographer also photographed for her.

This afternoon we drove to Brockenhurst station to enquire about train times, then further into the forest. Much of our National Park is actually owned by the National Trust. In the interests of preservation, this charitable body bought up areas before the Park was declared free from further development.

Cadnam and Penn Commons are both in the Trust’s ownership. It is these that we explored today.

Although a dry day, the skies in mid-afternoon were draped in clouds, giving a gloomier appearance than we experienced in reality.

The undulating ground adds interest to the landscape with skeletal trees and perhaps a trig point.

A few cattle appeared to be waiting patiently outside a farm for their dinner.

One calf was less patient. Another waited patiently in vain. Look at the mother’s hoof –

so eager was her calf that

much milk was spilt in the process. This is not unusual.

Further along the road, grazed sheep, some like fluffy white balls

a couple of normal sized ponies

and a little Shetland.

We diverted onto the track leading to Shady Pool and more ponies.

Jackie photographed the landscape,

a determined donkey trying to take my place,

and me photographing the ponies.

This evening we dined on Mr Pink’s fish and chips with our own pickled onions and gherkins with which we both drank Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2018.




On A Hillside

Today was sunny and warmer than yesterday.

Jackie entered the garden for a weeding session. Within seconds Nugget was in attendance, taking time out from his under-gardener role to tweet sweet nothings to Lady, who kept out of sight.

“Where’s Nugget?” (63)

Ron continued sweeping up underneath his front garden feeder.

Jackie also photographed



and Daphne Odorata Marginata.

Since it was another sunny, somewhat warmer, day, and knowing that Hockey’s would be open today we brunched there to make up for yesterday’s disappointment.

Ponies were back on the moors alongside Holmsley Passage,

and in the Bisterne Close woodland,

where a lowing cow wandered down the lane and vanished into the shadows.

On a bracken covered hillside outside Burley

stood what seemed a somnolent quartet of grey ponies. I fact there was a bay among them, visible only to my camera.

On our return, just north of Ringwood we diverted along an unnamed lane which is in effect a cul-de-sac,

alongside which gnarled knuckles of mossy tree roots caught the sunlight.

A pair horses could be seen at the bottom of a field,

a gate to which bore an Alergy Alert.

This evening we dined on scrambled egg liberally laced with chopped spring onion; fresh salad, and toast.

The Birthday Cake Candle

Jackie took an early morning walk around the garden with her camera.

First she produced general frosted garden scenes;

then focussed on various similarly coated leaves;

not forgetting Camellia blooms;

or Nugget in his thermal vest. “Where’s Nugget?” (62)

Late this afternoon we drove to Elizabeth’s house at Pilley where we joined her, Danni, Andy and Ella for the infant’s first birthday celebration. Elizabeth produced an excellent spaghetti Bolognese with fresh salad and garlic bread. This was followed by a most moist carrot birthday cake. Jacki drank Hoegaarden; the rest of us various red wines. Ella abstained.

For the second time today Jackie took all the photographs.

Ella continues to be a great pointer. In the second of these pictures she is clearly aiming for the camera.

She is gaining confidence in furniture walking even though the process gets a bit tight at times;

sometimes she forgets she is meant to hold on.

The one-year old enjoyed opening her cards

and presents;

the wrapping paper bearing various animals was equally attractive to her.

Her birthday cake candle especially delighted both her and her mother,


In truth she was past caring when it was time to eat the cake.