A Cervine Spectre

Jackie was up in the dark this morning, in time to photograph

our first smattering of snow before the rain washed it away.

This afternoon we drove to Crestwood in Lymington to complete the paperwork and pay a deposit on our new sitting room flooring which will be laid after Christmas. We continued on to the north of the forest by way of

Roger Penny Way where

the gloom could not conceal the burnished gold of bracken

and autumn leaves.

Among the fallen trees

a skeletal cervine spectre remained tethered beside a moss-coated log.

Blissford Hill was not the only thoroughfare becoming waterlogged enough for arboreal reflection.

The pannage season has been extended. Pigs dashed towards us on

Hyde Hill where Jackie parked the Modus ahead of the

billowing sounder, too fast for me to keep up with.

Suddenly they dashed off piste and disappeared into a soggy field.

I needed to wade through sucking mud to reach the gate.

A somewhat perplexed freckled Shetland pony, sharing its field with

two be-rugged horses and an oak tree, observed the porcine proceedings.

Many thatched cottages, like this one at North Gorley, were able to admire their coiffure in their weedy green pools.

Since our dinner was being slow-roasted while we were out, I had no qualms that I might have been eating the shoulder of one today’s snuffling pigs with crispy crackling, Yorkshire pudding, creamy mashed potatoes, crunchy carrots, and tender cabbage with most tasty gravy. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Fleurie.

 

 

No Passenger Seat Was Vacated

This morning Jackie drove me to the GP surgery in Milford on Sea where I was relieved to learn that my lingering symptoms are probably due to stress – I can certainly agree with that, and just continue to take it easy.

This afternoon my Chauffeuse took me on a trip to the north of the forest.

A motley array of pigeons set off flying from the colourful tiles of the roof of Moyles Court School as we travelled through Rockford.

In a field across the road the more delicate domestic horses still sported their rugs as protection against the cold nights.

The sturdier New Forest breeds have no need of such raiment.

I closed my window before this chestnut at South Gorley could stick its nose through it.

As always, a pair of mallards took up occupation in a pool at North Gorley.

Donkeys lined the verges at Ibsley and on the Gorley Road,

where deer lounged in the sunshine, also frisking beneath Abbots Well Road,

where grazing ponies enhanced the landscape.

It is normally impossible to stop the car on Roger Penny Way. Today was the exception that enabled me to snatch this shot before following traffic arrived.

No passenger seat was vacated in the making of this post.

This evening we dined on excellent chicken shaslick, salad, and paratha from Forest Tandoori, followed by ginger ice cream.

The Weather

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Early this morning we attended to bits of my body.

First, Jackie drove us to the GP surgery in Milford on Sea where I set in motion a long overdue referral for an orthopaedic assessment of my knees, and learned that I am on a list for a cataract adjustment to my left eye. I should be fully bionic soon. Next was a visit to our dental hygienist for a routine treatment.

We then returned to Hockey’s Farm Shop for a box of eggs we had left on the table yesterday.

Today the weather was decidedly soggy with occasional rain. Just one pony appeared to have ventured out. As it struggled to find nourishment along the verges of Holmsley Road it must have regretted the lack of

one of the rugs its more pampered field residents were still wore. They didn’t all even have to find their own food.

These latter animals were kept at South Gorley, so let us here return to Holmsley Road, the forest floors on either side of which are now full of temporary pools covering the terrain and reflecting branches, trunks, and mossy roots.

Crossing the A35 we come to Holmsley Passage, bordered with its own pools of precipitation and wind-blasted branches.

A woman with a dog strode down the hill and across the swollen ford just in time to enhance my photographs.

At Gorley Lynch, light rain seeped from silver-grey skies, supplementing ditchwater flowing across the crumbling road, and brightening moss on the thatch of the house alongside the farm café. This was in stark contrast to the cerulean canvas that had covered the building the day before. Note the mistletoe in the tree. There is much of it about the forest.

This evening we dined on Hockey’s Farm hot and spicy pickled onions accompanying Mr Pink’s fish and chips, and pineapple fritters in Lyle’s golden syrup. I drank Don Lotario gran reserva Navarra 2009.

The More Hardy

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After a night of heavy rain of which, I am happy to say, I was oblivious, Jackie drove us around the lanes of Sway and Tiptoe.

Wild golden daffodils and pale yellow primroses proliferate on the verges and the banks of ditches.

When I disembarked to photograph some of these in Flexford Lane, a whinny from the field beyond them, and the thud of hoofs alerted me to the arrival of a hopeful horse which was brought to a reluctant standstill at an inner fence. Like most of the more domesticated animals this one still wore a rug to protect it from the cold, especially as the temperature drops to around freezing overnight.

The recent snow and ice has increased the number of potholes and crumbling edges of the tarmac. Many of the lanes are awash with water, some of which runs off the fields. It is the job of the ditches to absorb this, but their capacity is not always sufficient to contain it all. Barrows Lane was particularly damaged. Imagine driving along there in the dark without a depth gauge. The traffic cones are a necessary warning.

Field-kept horses are far more inquisitive than the more nonchalant New Forest ponies. One be-rugged example, as eager as its cousin in Flexford Lane, rushed silently over to the five-barred gate before I had been able to photograph it in the process of grazing. The creature had competition from its smaller, bridled, companion.

Both fixed me with a persuasive, pleading, gaze until the larger animal tossed its head in disgust. I wonder whether the smaller creature could be a forest pony in the process of being backed, which is the term for breaking in for riders. This might make sense of both the bridle, the application of which it would resist, and the lack of a rug. New Forest ponies are definitely the more hardy.

This evening we dined on a plentiful second helping of Hordle Chinese Take Away set meal for two with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Azinhaga Portuguese red.

“They Aren’t Going To Fly Away”

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This morning we took a trip back to Gordleton Barn to measure a door I had photographed on our last trip in the hope that it might be suitable to replace our inner front door I don’t like. It was too thick.

The amount of rain that has fallen in the last 48 hours let up only briefly this morning, but we went for a forest drive anyway.

Ponies in mist

Damp ponies, such as these at Wootton, continued to feed on the misty moors,

Pool and reflection

Whilst I was engrossed in photographing the soggy terrain,

Pony in bushes

I glimpsed something among the trees that looked a different brown than the bracken.

It turned out to be a pony brunching on holly.

Lunches

This gave us the idea of lunching at Holmsley Old Station Tea Rooms. My choice was steak and ale pie, chips, Savoy cabbage, carrots and peas. Just look at that gravy; and the wedges supplied with Jackie’s macaroni cheese, bacon, and salad.

Gents

I visited the gents which was, of course, situated at the end of the platform.

Lion sculpture

The harmless looking lions atop the entrance pillars wore lichen masks.

It was in Braggers Lane at Thorney Hill that I became rather mean to a string of be-rugged horses. Stopping to photograph pools leading to a five-barred gate, I noticed these animals far away beside distance trees. Seeing me lean on the gate they scrambled over to me, no doubt expecting to be fed.

Horse in rug

There was no such luck, and they looked somewhat forlorn as they watched me return to the car.

Cattle

Cattle in a field alongside Thatchers Lane at Sopley melded rather well with the subdued landscape.

Heron

There is a deep ditch along this road. It is now well topped up, and clearly held much attraction for the heron that burst from it every time we approached, flew a bit further, and disappeared down below. Despite keen tracking, I was unable to get a decent shot in. eventually it took off across a field and dropped from sight. We then passed a stream flowing at right angles to the ditch. Sure enough, some distance ahead, was our happy quarry. Alongside the stream ran a footpath. I took it. At last the bird sprang out from the undergrowth and presented me with my final opportunity. This was it. Jackie’s message to my readers is: “That took a lot of effort.”

We crossed from Thatchers Lane into Fish Street at Avon. After a while, Jackie stopped suddenly, backed up a bit, then came to a halt. “They aren’t going to fly away”, she exclaimed. “What is that?”, I asked, peering at a grey mass behind a thorn hedge. “An emu” she replied. These birds, of course, cannot fly. Never having seen one before, I was intrigued by the motion of their necks, as they mimicked the movement of a snake charmer’s cobra, curling low in an arc then stretching upright and repeating the dance.

It will come no surprise to anyone who has seen our lunch that all we required this evening was a small slice of pizza with which I drank a little more Shiraz.

Dawn Over The Isle Of Wight

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This morning my muse woke me with a start and uttered something about catching Dawn. What had Dawn done? I wondered. And who was she, anyway? Then it dawned on me. This was an invitation to watch a pink sky over the Isle of Wight. I prised myself out of bed, staggered into some clothes, and joined Jackie who was engaged in defrosting the car windscreen.

Down Downton Lane we hurtled, and came to an abrupt halt in the nearest coastal car park. I kept my eyes open long enough to operate the camera and totter back into the car.

The single baleful eye of The Needles lighthouse gave the impression that the Loch Ness Monster had moved house, and a solitary gull was up early.

This afternoon we shopped at Odd Spot in Burley

Forest road

then went on driveabout. The oaks

Longmead farm

opposite Longmead Farm have all but lost their leaves now.

Horses in rugs

Horses in the field now wear their rugs,

Sow

and a vast snuffling sow wandered out to investigate my activities.

Our return trip took us along Rhinefield Ornamental Drive.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s classic liver casserole, mashed potatoes,  crunchy carrots and green beans. I drank water, and Jackie didn’t.

A Statuesque Beauty

Jackie dropped me at Silver Street again this morning. This time I walked along this road, which, like many local ones has no pavement. I the turned right into Woodcock Lane and crossed Everton Road into Hordle Lane and, eventually, home.

Peterson’s Folly is visible from our front bedroom windows, but there was a much clearer Peterson's Folly 1Peterson's Folly 2view from Silver Street, where moon daises were still blooming.Moon daisy

The ditch in Woodcock Lane, that is liable to flooding, is beginning to fill up.DitchRoad liable to flooding

A creature appears to have taken up residence in a dead tree stump.Stump

Ponies, some wearing jackets, could be seen through a hedge. Their owner, a young Pony 2woman, noticing me poking my lens through the shrubbery, politely enquired as to whether I might be recceing the joint with the intention of returning to steal the ‘rugs’, which I took to mean the jackets. Apparently this is a common occurrence. We had a long, enjoyable conversation in which she told me that the horses were all foresters, and became very Pony 1inquisitive and advanced on watchers, thus alerting her to their presence. She pointed out the unclad grey, which she thought the most beautiful.Sheep

Further along, sheep in a field were colourfully stained, perhaps decorated for Christmas.

Footpath blockedStilePony 3A public footpath on Hordle Lane, where I met another inquisitive pony, has been blocked with barbed wire. Perhaps the doggie poo bag had been tossed beside it to indicate what a rambler thought of this.

This afternoon we visited New Milton for some banking and postage stamps. After this we went on to Milford on Sea to make an appointment at the GP’s. On my left hand I have a Dupuytren’s contracture which has been progressing nicely for about five years, and is now becoming a little awkward, so I need a referral to a surgeon. Patient.co.uk has this to say about it:

‘Dupuytren’s contracture causes thickening of tissues in the palm. If it progresses, one or more fingers bend (contract) into the palm and you cannot straighten the finger. The cause is not known. In many cases it remains mild and does not require treatment. If the condition becomes more severe or the function of the hand becomes affected then a specialist may recommend treatment.’

Jackie’s sister Helen has discovered an early postcard photograph of their mother and her friend, Sheila. My lady volunteered my services for producing a set of prints for Sheila’s daughter Margaret and various family members. I scanned the original and, after a considerable

Mum Rivett & Margaret c 1940amount of retouching, made six copies. This photograph was probably taken around 1939/40 when Veronica Rivett, my delightful late mother-in-law, the statuesque beauty to the viewer’s left, would have been about eighteen.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s scrumptious cottage pie; roast parsnips; crisp carrots, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts; followed by bread and butter pudding and custard for me, evap for her. She imbibed Black Tower B rose, whilst I did the same with Longhorn Valley cabernet sauvignin 2012.