Arboreal Destruction

Precipitation of varying velocity and winds of unwavering ferocity beset the day.

This morning we drove to the outskirts of Burley and back.

It is not unusual to be held up by tree cutters carrying out routine arboreal management. This is perhaps more frequent at the moment, as the unrelenting recent series of storms have taken their toll.

Here, on Holmsley Road, overhanging branches were being lopped . Especially in the pouring rain, I do sympathise with the men supporting the Stop/Go lollipops. I hope they take it in turns. Jackie let me out of the car when we were stopped and took the first photograph through the windscreen before passing the barrier. I walked, and took the second. The men were somewhat concerned that I might not stay on my feet.

The gentleman doing the lopping was happy to pose for a rear view.

Further along the road I wondered whether that team had earlier attended to this fallen tree

which attracted a trio of ponies seeking fresh nutriment from the lichen coated branches.

The last time I photographed this dead oak tree with its fungus and lichen on Bisterne Close it was standing firm.

It stands no more,

its shallow roots ripped into open air. This giant will now gradually take its part  in the maintenance of the forest ecology, feeding insects, plants, and soil for years to come.

Given its position on the verge it did well to fall away from the road.

The rain really hammered down on our return home. A group of stoic ponies alongside  Holmsley Passage simply stood and bore it.

This evening we dined on second helpings of Hordle Chinese Take Away’s excellent fare with which Jackie finished the Sauvignon Blanc and I finished the Shiraz.

 

Sylvan Ecology

This morning we shopped at

Setley Ridge Garden Centre for

a birthday present, and continued to Rhinefield Ornamental Drive where Jackie parked in Blackwater Car Park while I

followed a group of younger walkers,

who were soon out of sight,

into the forest,

which is strewn with arboreal detritus

in various stages of contribution to the sylvan ecological system.

Some of the giant conifers bear wrinkled leathern skins;

Bright green mosses cling to weathered stumps

and gnarled roots sprinkled with

last autumn’s fallen foliage,

some of which soaks into the wetter tracts rent by underground streams.

More recently toppled trees

still bear their shallow roots demonstrating what easy prey they are to heavy winds.

It may have been my conversation with a couple walking two small dogs that caused me to miss my mental milestone at which I intended to retrace my steps. I sailed on past it. This extended a 30 minute walk by 15 minutes. Too much for my knees.

As I staggered back into the Modus Jackie pointed to a Just Married message on the rear window of the vehicle alongside us. Wherever they were hiding, I hadn’t seen them.

On our return home we we unable to exit Vaggs Lane because there had clearly been an accident which had blocked the road. As far as we could tell before we turned around, a small car had managed to become sandwiched between a couple of OpenReach vans. A police car arrived while we were reversing.

After lunch we finished our shopping at Otter Nursery. Later, I succumbed to persuasion from various sources and we watched episodes 8 and 9 of series 2 of The Crown. I’m still not comfortable by the dubious intrusive nature of the presentation but I have to admit it is good drama and the history is like tracking back into our own lifetime.

This evening we dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away’s excellent fare with which Jackie finished the Suvignon Blanc and I finished the Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

The Equestrian Quartet

On another cold and bright morning we drove into the forest by way of Brockenhurst.

From the Hinchelsea car park I photographed a somewhat misty moorland landscape.

The winterbourne pool just outside the town had iced over,

as had some of the terrain

leading to further distant scenes.

Rhinefield Road,

where bracken provides burnished autumn colour,

crosses Ober Water with its clear reflections. Jackie parked nearby to enable me to wander around the

frosted banks. She moved on the the

Puttles Bridge

car park where she noticed a sign indicating the Ober Water Trail. Naturally I walked along this. It is marked by very helpful posts bearing colour coded strips – red for one and a half miles and yellow for one mile. I took the yellow option, giving me a two mile total. The track was mostly flat with occasional variety provided by

tree roots

and mud.

Along the way I enjoyed sunlit views of red-brown bracken and autumn leaves, some decorating sawn off stumps; fallen lumber logs; backlit foliage; and tree shadows stretching across the forest floor.

The trail clearly runs alongside the eponymous water, but one needed to go off piste to see it. I am not yet ready for that, since this was in itself my longest post-operative trek.

The yellow marker disappears from the post at a bridge crossing the now visible stream.

On reaching the bridge I noticed an equestrian quartet approaching.

Realising they would be crossing the river by this route, I crossed first and stood, poised, to one side,

ready to tracked their clattering over the planks and

gentle thudding off into the forest.

Leaning on the bridge, I took one last look at the water before retracing my steps.

The sight of Jackie’s Modus in the car park had a rather similar impact as that of Big Ben coming up to the end of a London marathon. Either is welcome, but you know you are going to be hard put to make it.

Those who have been concerned about Nugget’s apparent absence will be pleased to know that, although not photographed, he was about this morning. From the comfort of my passenger seat I did, however, spot

one of his relatives. Can you spot him?

This evening we dined on a second helping of the Chinese Takeaway with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Minervois.

 

 

Commandeering Cattle Go Unchallenged

Who cares whether we have followed the meteorologists into autumn or await the equinox on 21st of this month? This morning was bright, sunny, and warm. We took an early trip into the forest where I walked for half an hour along the Rhinefield Ornamental Drive.

There was still enough water to carry reflections in the now very shallow stream that is spanned by Rhinefield Road.

Shadows dappled the forest floor strewn with pine cones and gnarled roots of the giant Douglas firs morphed into stumbling stones along the footpath;

and leaving imprints on the trunks.

Bracken, mossy stumps, fallen trees, and fungus abound. Notice how the spears of grass pierce these Danish pastry lookalikes.

So silent was the air that voices of walkers on the other side of the road could be heard.

Most schoolchildren have now returned home, leaving the forest to me; to the above mentioned walkers; to couples with or without dogs; and of course,

to the returning ponies.

Highland cattle have now commandeered the almost dried-up paddling pond at Whitemoor. Here ponies adopt sensible discretion and leave the big horned beasties unchallenged.

Later I was due to have Peter cut my hair. I wondered whether my barber would fancy having a go at these creatures, flies and all.

Before keeping my appointment I printed this picture Jackie had taken on 19th July when I had my last one, and presented it to Peter.

When we arrived there was another Derrick sitting waiting. Apparently he and I sound the same on the phone. This gentleman’s appointment had been an hour earlier than mine anyway. To settle the confusion I stepped aside and rebooked for a couple of hours later. Jackie had visited the charity shop seeking another choice of teapot home for Nugget. I joined her there and explained what had happened. The shop volunteer joined in the conversation with the observation “what if you had been waiting for results and they had been given to him?”. “I only want him to cut my hair”, said I. The woman had, of course, thought we were talking about a medical appointment. And here was I thinking I look quite healthy now.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s sumptuous sausages in red wine; new potatoes sliced and roasted in their skins; crunchy carrots; and tender cabbage and runner beans from the garden. She drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Malbec.

“Are The Ponies Fat?”

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENHANCE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED.

This morning Jackie drove me to Sears Barbers in Milford on Sea, where the affable Peter cut my hair as well as usual. We then continued into the forest.

Woodland 1

 

Woodland 2

Strong overhead sunlight dappled the autumn leaves carpet of the forest floor,

Woodland 3fallen tree 1Fallen tree 3Fallen tree 2

giving a spectral air to fallen trees

Tree root

and their ripped out roots.

Woodland with can

Even here, on the outskirts of Brockenhurst, cans can be casually discarded.

Pony and foal 1

On the crossroads in the village itself two ponies and a foal deliberated which way to turn.

Pony and foal 2

I walked around them to obtain better light, and the little one sought comfort and succour from its mother.

Ponies and foal

A young North American visitor stopped to ask me the way to The New Forest. I informed him that he was in it. He wondered where he could go for a day’s hike. I gave him some suggestions, one of which was that he should buy a map in the main street to which I directed him. He then asked “Are the ponies fat? Or perhaps pregnant?”. I suggested that the one he was looking at was probably pregnant, but also explained that because we had experienced such a mild winter they had found plenty of forage and were not as thin as they often were when the weather had been severe.

Ponies, foals, and cattle 1Ponies and foals 2Ponies and foal 1

As we emerged from the village we saw a large group of ponies, foals,

Cattle 1Cattle 2

and cattle grazing, flopping, and vying for shelter under the spreading branches of a mature oak.

Pony and flies

Possibly in an effort to shake off the persistent flies

Ponies 1

some of the horses shook themselves and strode frantically across the grass.

Ponies on road

Other ponies disrupted the traffic as they sought shade by the roadside.

Concrete mixers

On Hordle Lane as we made our way home we had the pleasure of watching two concrete mixers negotiating a safe passage before we could continue on our own. I expect the drivers knew there was a ditch on the left-hand side.

Elizabeth came to lunch and Jackie plied us with a plentiful array of cold meats, cheeses, and salads, with which I drank more of the malbec and the ladies drank sparkling water.

Cake counterCream tea 1

After this, we visited Braxton Gardens and scoffed scone cream teas.

It should come as no surprise that further sustenance later on was surplus to requirements.

Whilst we were sitting in the garden we received a telephone call from Matthew to say that he, Tess, and Poppy would be arriving later tonight so that they can be with us on my 75th birthday tomorrow.

Before And After: The Patio

Once more, wet and warm described the day’s weather.

Although we have created a gravelled patio at the south end of the garden, there always was a designed one alongside the back of the house. This, in April 2014 was full of weeds and the surrounding areas were overgrown. Our project is a continuing one, so will no doubt evolve still further, but The Patio is the final section, prepared today, for the garden album.

Photinia

On 7th May 2014 the area was dominated by next door’s photinia and lonicera hedge; and our own ficus and poplar.

Patio

By 13th, we had weeded the cracks between the paving stones, but not yet disguised the blue painted Butler sink;

Rose, fig, and unidentified tree all trimmed

by 27th, our trees were trimmed;

Patio corner

and by 28th the sink was surrounded by rocks on shingle, and we had refurbished the boundary with our neighbours, using a length of ornamental wrought iron and a useless door from inside the house.

Scooby in patioScooby on the prowl

This corner was festooned with flowers on 14th August when Scooby had a look round, then went on the prowl.

Mum and Elizabeth with Derrick reflected

After an unusually cold August, it wasn’t until September 14th that we enjoyed afternoon tea there with Mum and Elizabeth. Note that the side gate is still fixed and covered with trellis.

Rat 8Rat 1

The rocks around the sink, on 1st January 2015, provided useful cover for a rat attracted by the bird food.

Ficus roots 18.9.15

We tried to maintain the ficus with heavy pruning, but eventually decided it had to go. I finally removed its roots on 18th September.

Jackie planting pansies 19.9.15Pansies in patio

The next day Jackie planted up the vacant space in which pansies were blooming on 12th October.

This afternoon I printed and pasted the Gazebo Path section into the album.

Chicken thighs baked in West Indian chili sauce; special fried rice; and mange touts, cob corn, and carrots were produced by Jackie for our dinner this evening. A selection of Tesco’s cream cakes was to follow. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and I drank Reserve des Tugets Madiran 2012.

70 Years On

Jackie planting pansies

Jackie spent the morning planting the pansies and spring bulbs in place of the ficus.

Bamboo roots

The bamboo in the Oval Bed tends to send tentacles under the rock border and into the gravel path. At the first sign of a sucker piercing the shingle, excavation has to be carried out. This was my task.

This afternoon, Jackie drove us to Walkford for Daphne and Ray Salinger’s Platinum Anniversary party. Apart from one picture, I recorded the event in Black and White, which seemed appropriate.

Ray looking at album

Here, Ray examines the album Ron had made up largely from the prints I had produced.

Daphne and Ray 1

He then posed with his wife.

Daphne, Ray and Donna

Over lunch They both looked again at the historic photos, the album here held by Donna.

Lunch

The best way of approaching the splendidly plentiful buffet was to heap your plate with those selections you could fit onto it, then return for seconds of the other dishes.Seated group1

Ben guitarist

The day was warm and sunny enough for many guests, entertained by Ben, a professional guitarist, to sit outside.

Group with Great great niece

The couple’s great niece, her husband, her father-in-law and a great great niece enjoyed the sunshine,

Great granddaughter

whilst Helen enjoyed great granddaughter Imogen.

Ron speech

Ron made a speech in honour of his parents,

Ray speech

and Ray gave a witty reply.

Daphne and Ray cutting cake

He and Daphne then cut the cake made by Shelly,

Daphne and Shelly slicing cake

who helped her mother-in-law slice it.

Group 4Group 1Group 2Group 3

Finally, all assembled for group photographs.

And the one colour picture?

Queen's greeting

Here it is.

This evening I watched the second half of the South Africa v. Japan World Cup rugby match, and the whole of France v. Italy. In deference to anyone yet to watch a recorded version, I will not give the results, but I will say that the last five minutes of the first of these games was as thrilling as any finish I have seen.