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.

 

A Wintry Morning

Another splendid pastel sunrise heralded a cold, bright, morning, which sent us into the forest early.

We pulled into the entrance to The Joinery Barn, a short distance along our Christchurch Road,

so that I could photograph the sun-misted landscape alongside.

Since there is no real verge I needed to perch on a little bank at the entrance to the field gate.

Gaps in traffic along this road are in short supply, so I had to employ considerable concentration to nip across. The Assistant Photographer was on hand to catch me.

In search of Christmas gifts, we visited Setley Ridge garden centre. It should not be difficult to discern that we did not come away empty handed.

From there we continued along Sandy Down where trees shadows striated sunbeams.

Jackie parked alongside the nibbled tarmac of Church Lane while I wandered back to photograph

cattle in a still misty field,

and fallen trees with reflections in the old mill stream.

Jackie, meanwhile photographed the garden beside her, including its bench and its stream, complete with ducks.

Further up the lane a pair of pampered ponied chomped on heaps of hay.

One took great interest in us as we focussed on

the garden next door, with its dying bonfire

and boxing hares exchanging fisticuffs on the sloping lawn.

A grazing pony could be glimpsed beyond a bend in Undershore on our way home.

Our wood pigeons mate for life and grieve for days when, as a day or so ago, their mate is slain by a predatory raptor scattering feathers.

Nugget, however, is still going strong. He had just left his feeder when Jackie produced “Where’s Nugget?” (50)

This evening we dined on Jackie’s wholesome cottage pie; crunchy carrots and broccoli; and tender cabbage with tasty gravy. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Minervois.

 

 

 

 

 

A Significant Birthday

Today was far wetter and more windy that yesterday.

Jackie drove us to Setley Ridge Garden Centre to find a birthday present for Elizabeth. The paths were so pock marked and filled with water that it seemed sensible for my wife to recce the joint before I left the car.

I waited for a reasonable length of time watching rain streaming down the windows, until I though she had been in there long enough to think that we would be able to find something suitable.

I didn’t linger over the outside displays

before entering the internal arrangements of ornaments old and new laid out with the various plants for sale.

We settled on a nicely rusted cast iron garden snail, and also bought a card which we carried off to Elizabeth’s.

Ella had also been informed that this was her grandmother’s special day, because she had brought her mother, Danni, over for lunch.

At one point, Ella, sleeping on the sofa, briefly woke with a start and let out a distressed cry. Danni, simultaneously, on the other side of the room, had banged her head on the sharp corner of a shelf. She herself made no sound but rubbed her head in pain. Had there been some symbiotic communication?

While we were there Elizabeth’s friend Franz phoned her to wish her Happy Birthday from Manchester. She was, of course, able to see him on her mobile device.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s choice cottage pie, crisp carrots and cauliflower, and tender spring greens.