He Doffed His Cap

This cloudless, sunny, day remained quite cool (13c tops). We took a drive into the forest this afternoon.

Holmesley Passage benefited from the sunlight streaming through the trees. The two vehicles in these pictures demonstrate how narrow is this lane.

Each of the above motors is approaching one of the two fords that cross the passage.

The woodland scenes that border the lane include a number of fallen tress making their contribution to the local ecology.

As we reached the lowest point of this passage across the moors, a pair of hopeful ponies thudded across the turf.

The splendid oak tree on the descent into Burley towards the Queen’s Head is coming into leaf

Today, hungry donkeys seemed to outnumber the ponies at North Gorley, where a 2017 finisher took his eager dog for a run.

While photographing horses in the landscape rising to Gorley Common, I noticed

a horse and trap approaching. After I had taken the last shot the friendly driver doffed his cap.

This stream with its reflections was one of many we passed.

Jackie’s meals are all very good. Occasionally, as with tonight’s delicious chicken jalfrezi, she excels herself and produces something that would make any self-respecting chef from the Indian sub-continent sit up and take notice. Her savoury rice was equally praiseworthy and was accompanied by vegetable samosas and a paratha. The Culinary Queen drank more of the Sauvignon Blanc and I drank more of the Carménere.

Speech Bubbles Are Invited


I trust my readers in the Philippines and the East Coast of America will forgive Jackie and me for choosing to visit the coast on a morning beset by winds of a mere 40 m.p.h.

Palms swayed in the wind at Milford on Sea; granite skies glowered over choppy waves; the Isle of Wight, The Needles, and the lighthouse were lent a translucent quality by the feeble, filtered, daylight and the misty sea-spray crashing on the rocks.

RunnerRunner approaching walkersRunnerRunner

An unperturbed young lady ran along the coastal paths at a respectable rate;

four hardy sailors clung to stays on one side of a red-sailed yacht in efforts to keep the mast upright as it skirted the Isle of Wight, The Needles, and the lighthouse.

I think this was an egret fishing at Keyhaven,

while a preening gull perched on a heap of seaweed.

Two gentlemen passed stacks of colourful boats in the sailing club yard.

Readers are invited to suggest speech bubbles for these two.

In the field opposite Solent Grange stands a large haystack that defied the wind.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s luscious beef pie; creamy mashed potato; and crunchy carrots, cauliflower and cabbage. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden; Elizabeth, Patrick Chodot’s Fleurie 2016, and I finished the same producer’s Brouilly.

Katie’s Wake

Storm Katie particularly selected our corner of Hampshire to belabour throughout the night with winds of up to 105 m.p.h. Having heeded the forecast our intrepid Head Gardener brought down many of her pots and protected other parts of the garden. Nevertheless, tears sprang to her eyes when she witnessed the devastation this morning.

Cold frames blown down

The cold frames built last autumn had been smashed to pieces and scattered around the side and front of the house.

Daffodils blown down

One pot of daffodils had been blown from its perch on the front Gardener’s Rest.

Arch blown down 2Arch blown down 1

Two arches have been uprooted;

Broken lamp

that in the front has destroyed a solar lamp.

Broken pot 1

Other breakages include plant pots that can no doubt be replaced from Efford Recycling Centre.

Chairs blown down


Plant stand blown down

and planters also took a dive.

The wind continued throughout the day, and rain interrupted the sunshine, so we decided to defer the recovery process until tomorrow, and drive out to see how the forest had fared.

Fallen tree 1StumpStump and fallen tree

This scene near Bolderwood demonstrated that the recent falls of forest giants will eventually merge into the landscape, just as their ancestors have done. Perhaps this rotting stump had been shattered by a wind as strong as that which had ripped the trunk off its neighbour.

Fallen tree 2Fallen tree 3

Fallen tree 5Fallen tree 4

Many other such corpses, recent, and ancient, litter the terrain.

Fallen tree clearance

The last of these trees had been cleared from the road that it had crossed.

Traffic on road

Variable traffic,

Runner on road

and a cheerful runner who had just seen a wonderful rainbow, enjoyed the bright light once the rain had stopped pelting down.

Donkeys 2

In Newtown, near Minstead, the dappled coats of donkeys blended with the sunlit tarmac.

Donkeys 1

When living there, we had watched the house in the centre of this picture being built.

Donkey baby

These two had left their basking baby while they wandered off.

Donkeys 3

Further on, we were obliged to stop and watch another trio able across the road they own.

Shattered tree

I have often photographed this tree, when whole, on Seamans Corner green;

Fallen branch

or this scene, further down the road, before Katie struck.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s choice chilli con carne and savoury rice. I drank more of the madiran, and The Cook didn’t.

King Canute

Barton on SeaUnstable cliff signCliff and beach hutsDogs

Runner 1Runner 2After a shopping trip to Lidl in Old Milton this morning, Jackie deposited me alongside the Beachcomber Cafe. Leaving the flat green open space at Barton on Sea, where romped dogs, including two who found an even smaller one to play with, I walked back along the crumbling and undulating cliff top which severely tested the declining flexibility of my lower limbs.

Crumbling footpathCyclist and walkersCyclist 1Cyclist 2Walker

At one time I might have joined the runners along this route, but never the cyclists. Even some of the walkers went where I would fear to tread.

In 2011, according to Kathryn Westcott on BBC News, ‘MP Frank Field warned David Cameron to “stop being King Canute” if he wanted to avoid being “overwhelmed by the incoming tide of local authority cuts”.’ This able, eleventh century Danish King of England is as misquoted as Topsy, which I explained on September 5th, 2012. He is believed to have been so proud that he thought his command could hold back the tide.

According to J.P. Somerville: ‘this story was first recorded in Henry of Huntingdon’s twelfth-century Chronicle of the history of England. In fact, Henry’s account was rather a testimony to Canute’s good sense and Christian humility – not his vainglory.’

Henry wrote: ‘he commanded that his chair should be set on the shore, when the tide began to rise. And then he spoke to the rising sea saying “You are part of my dominion, and the ground that I am seated upon is mine, nor has anyone disobeyed my orders with impunity. Therefore, I order you not to rise onto my land, nor to wet the clothes or body of your Lord”. But the sea carried on rising as usual without any reverence for his person, and soaked his feet and legs. Then he moving away said:  “All the inhabitants of the world should know that the power of kings is vain and trivial, and that none is worthy the name of king but He whose command the heaven, earth and sea obey by eternal laws”. Therefore King Cnut never afterwards placed the crown on his head, but above a picture of the Lord nailed to the cross, turning it forever into a means to praise God, the great king.  By whose mercy may the soul of King Cnut enjoy peace’.

Ground investigation sign

It is not the tide that New Forest District Council is attempting to stem, but the effects of the wind and the rain which are slowly eroding the cliff along this part of the Hampshire coast. The results of the ground investigation and monitoring project, it seems to me, may result in the golf course and adjacent farmers parting with some of their terrain if we are to retain a footpath into the next century.

This evening we enjoyed Sunday Roasts at The Plough Inn, Tiptoe. My choice was lamb; Jackie’s was pork. She drank Becks and I drank Doom Bar. As so often the case there, neither of us needed a dessert.

Charge The Battery

Taking my normal route this morning to Hordle Cliff, I then turned right and walked to Barton on Sea. From there I took a steeply undulating footpath, initially gravelled then turning to mud. Emerging at Barton Lodge Care Home I took another two right turns into Milford Road, passing Taddiford Farm and picking up the footpath across a fallow field, alongside the wood, through Roger’s fields, into Downton Lane, and home.
Cliff top path 2Cliff top pathThe path to Barton comes close enough to the crumbling cliff edge to remind me of my frightening walk with Paul. CyclistAt one point I stepped aside for a cyclist wobbling towards me. She continued towards the safety of the made up path to Milford.Jogger
A courageous runner was unperturbed by the proximity of the drop into the ocean.mushroom 1mushroom 2
A variety of mushrooms had pushed their way up through the undergrowth on the borders of the track.
Unfortunately I missed a number of good shots on this walk because my camera battery ran out of juice. There was just enough to fuel a message that read ‘charge the battery’. Barton on Sea Golf Club was having some new landscaping undertaken, and figures were happily silhouetted on the hilly slopes. The gravelled path ran alongside this course, and walkers were warned that on rare occasions miss-hit balls could possibly come whanging their way. As a muddy track took over, and ran through bracken and gorse, we were asked to keep to the footpath and not feed the animals. The only sign of such creatures were what looked like pony droppings and hoof prints on the path. There were some picturesque views out to sea from a number of memorial seats nestling in appropriate vantage points.
On Milford Road I found a small purple rubber duck with a spiky hair-do, that I thought our
Rubber duckwater boy might like to play with. This unstable little creature tipped upside down, so Jackie sat it on the side of the water feature’s shell. Once the battery was charged, I could photograph the toy.
If I can summon up the courage to hug the cliff top, to run the gauntlet of golf balls, and to tackle the speeding traffic on Milford Road, I must take that route again, in similarly enticing light, when I have a fully charged battery.
Dinner this evening consisted of chicken breasts marinaded in piri-piri sauce, roast potatoes and other vegetables, and boiled peas and carrots. For afters we enjoyed egg custards. Jackie drank Hoegaarden from what she said was a good year. My wine was Lion’s Gate cabernet sauvigon shiraz 2013.