A Crocodile Crossing

Jackie and I went for a drive in the forest this morning, while Elizabeth took it easy at home. Once again we were fortunate to have ventured out during the short spell of sunshine we were to experience today.

Even as noon approached shadows were long on the approach to Wilverley Plain.

The deciduous oaks still bear most of their golden foliage,

some of which, having floated down on the breeze. glowed among damp grasses rapidly

becoming waterlogged in parts, reflecting surrounding trees and skies.

The large pond beside the telephone box just outside Brockenhurst has been bone dry all summer. It has now filled up again, mirroring gnarled naked arboreal displays and nearby homes.

Three russet ponies kept down the grass near the local postbox propped up by a slightly slanting pedestal.

The two apparently sharing a patch of sward were not as close as it might appear. The darker haired individual, which momentarily lifted its head as I lifted my camera,

firmly nudged the other with its albeit velvety muzzle, indicating it should keep its distance. This was definitely not foreplay.

Having worked up a thirst they crossed the gravel drive to the houses, passed the telephone box, and fleetingly slaked their thirst.

Quite suddenly they turned away and wandered back into the forest.

At the entrance to the village we were held up by teaching staff shepherding a crocodile of children across the road.

We enjoyed an excellent lunch at Holmsley Old Station Tea Rooms. My meal consisted of a well-filled steak and ale pie containing slivers of rosemary, served with chips, fresh vegetables and tasty gravy; Jackie’s was a jacket potato with cheese and coleslaw accompanied by an excellent salad. She drank coffee and I drank sparkling water.

We thought it best to wait for an equestrienne struggling to contain a skittish trotting pony, mane flying, to emerge from Thatchers Lane before we entered that narrow track on our way home.

Later this afternoon Elizabeth returned to Pilley for further work on moving in. On her way back this evening she collected our dinner of cod and chips from Mr Pink’s. My sister and I ¬†finished the Cotes du Rhone and Jackie drank Hoegaarden.

 

 

No Madame Eglentyne

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This morning Jackie and I took a short drive into the forest.

We stopped for a while at East Boldre, where a pair of hungry donkeys lunched on cropped grass as they waited for a bus.

Even close to midday, neighbouring ponies cast elongated shadows.

The two less energetic greys, eventually rose awkwardly to their feet

and made a beeline to the summer-long dry ditch that is now filling up with drinking water.

Ponies lack the impeccable table manners of Madame Eglentyne, Geoffrey Chaucer’s Prioress, of whom he says ‘Hire over-lippe wyped she so clene That in hir coppe ther was no ferthyng sene’. (Her upper lip was always wiped so clean That on her cup no speck or spot was seen).

This afternoon Helen and Bill dropped in with the sisters’ late father’s train set. Although blessed with three beautiful daughters, Don Rivett had no son. He therefore had to build up an electric train set for himself. Helen has safeguarded the smaller models, while Shelly has the larger ones. Helen and Bill are soon to move house. Jackie and I have now offered Helen’s set a temporary home for a few weeks.

Having taken Mum to Southampton Eye Hospital for treatment this afternoon, Elizabeth stayed with her while Jacqueline went out for a meal. She will therefore be back here later. Jackie and I dined on Mr Pink’s fish and chips and Garner’s pickled onions, with which I finished the Minervois.

Chasing Their Shadows

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Jacqueline visited Mum again this afternoon and then returned to her own home in Boston, Lincolnshire. Elizabeth will be returning here from Edinburgh tomorrow. Late on another surprisingly warm, bright, cloudless afternoon, Jackie took us for a drive in the forest.

Some specimen oaks, like these on Warborne Lane, Portmore, are turning to gold somewhat ahead of others.

A little further along the road there was evidence that a flock of sheep had attempted to leap their boundary fence and hadn’t quite made it.

Ponies at Dibden seemed to be chasing their own shadows.

We watched the sun subside behind a copse beside the mirror that was Hatchet Pond.

A couple of photographers taking a different viewpoint on the far side of the lake were nicely reflected in silhouette.

As we would pass Walhampton Arms on our way home it seemed sensible to stop off there for their excellent carvery meal. So we did just that. I drank Razor Back while Jackie drank Amstel.

A Matter Of Scale

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In ‘What’s In The Folds?’ I featured an introduction to Solent Grange. We returned to the site this morning to develop the theme in better light.

Cyclists

The cyclists ahead of us on the lane from Keyhaven give an indication of the narrowness of the Solent Way where the development is situated;

Van and pillars

the small van in this picture has just passed the totally over the top entrance,

which, although beautifully crafted with skilled brickwork and well moulded statuary, is far too large for its position.

Further scale is provided by this couple walking their dogs. We chatted for a while. Their view of the pretentiousness of these structures was similar to mine. The woman had had a knee replacement a year ago and was very well now. The further sets of pillars to the right are those that on the day of our last visit bore a pair of white lions equal in stature to the sculptures on either side of the entrance which, according to the developers, is to be gated.

https://www.royalelife.com/milford-view describes ‘Solent Grange by Royale [a]s a fabulously-located luxury bungalow development for the over 45’s.

Later this afternoon we took to the forest. On such a hot day, ponies, like these just outside Brockenhurst, cluster for shelter beneath trees. Foals tend to lie sprawled panting on the grass. It was Jackie who noticed that in this group it was the grey, happy to cast a shadow, that didn’t mind the sun.

In a garden across a green some distance from the road at East Boldre can be seen a rather spectacular verdigris coated sculptured fountain devoid of water. Given the surrounding space the proportions do not offend. It is, perhaps, all a matter of scale.

My choice of Tesco prepared meals this evening was beef lasagna. Jackie, who also provided good helpings of fresh salad, chose ham and mushroom tagliatelle

 

 

 

 

 

“It’s Their Road, Not Mine”

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Eucalyptus shadow

We enjoyed another splendidly sunny summer’s day. In the garden the eucalyptus cast its welcome shadow across the grass;

while tulips, daffodils, wallflowers, and cowslips glowed in the sunshine.

At lunchtime I received a date for my first knee replacement. It is 18th May. I have never heard of anything so fast. This afternoon I undertook the blood test for the hip replacement check. Jackie having driven me to Lymington Hospital for the latter, we continued into the forest.

The primrose bank alongside the stream in Royden Lane was also streaked with shadows. A pair of cyclists happily rode by at an opportune moment.

Horses in field

I imagine the hay heaped in the field opposite was essential food for the horses a week or so ago. Now the grass is coming through again.

This land may have dried out now, but parts of the forest, like this area outside Brockenhurst, were still waterlogged. Instead of shadows we were treated to reflections of trees, some of which had fallen. After such wet periods as the terrain has recently endured, there are always more fallen trees. Often the roots rot and the giants topple.

Two ponies, dozing under a railway arch may, perhaps, two or three weeks ago have used this shelter as an umbrella; today it was a parasol. A pair of cyclists skirted the animals in order not to disturb them. “It’s their road, not mine”, said the leading woman.

Orange berberis flamed in the hedgerows outside Exbury Gardens, while white wood anemones, yellow celandines, and little violets festooned the banks of a dry ditch opposite.

This evening we dined at The Royal Oak. Jackie enjoyed a huge portion of chicken tandoori, while I tucked into an excellent rib eye steak cooked exactly as I asked. Jackie’s drink was Amstell, mine was a rather good Argentinian Malbec.

 

 

Expect Equine Visitors

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With yesterday’s snow now but a memory, today held a real promise of spring.

The Culinary Queen made us a picnic lunch,

half of which we consumed in Whitemoor Pool car park, which, in common with all other such New Forest facilities offers a really rocky ride from the road, riddled as it is with murky pothole pools. Ponies had been there before us.

On our way to the moors, we had enjoyed the drive along Lower Sandy Down where primroses, daisies, and crocuses thrust through the cropped sward on the shadow-striated banks of its clear, flowing, stream. One garden contained a huge fallen tree.

Runner and dog

Just outside Brockenhurst, I hoped the stains streaking the backs of the legs of a runner towing his dog was mud thrown up by his trainers from the soggy terrain.

As opined by Jackie, if you live in a New Forest village you must expect equine visitors to you garden or any patch of grass outside. So it is with Brockenhurst, where ponies basked in the welcome sunshine.

Back home, a wander around the garden with its own early afternoon shadows, made clear that our plants have all survived.

We dined this evening on Jackie’s succulent pork chops flavoured with mustard and topped with almonds; crispy roasted potatoes; crunchy carrots and broccoli; and red cabbage, peppers and onions in red wine, with which I finished the Chateauneuf.

We Have Survived

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Saucepans

This morning we unpacked a set of complimentary pans that came with the hob.

The garden has perked up after the snow. Sap is rising in no longer flaccid daffodils, hellebores, irises, and primulas; the first sunshine warms the beds, casting striking shadows.

A couple of days ago we thought it would be impossible for Aaron of A.P. Maintenance to work today, yet, here he was, pruning roses.

Meanwhile, Richard completed the kitchen. The cupboard doors were finished;

one he had made for the under stairs cupboard that had only had a curtain before;

having smoothed over yesterday’s plastering, new power points were fitted everywhere. Notice how Pauline’s light catcher bestows her blessings on the proceedings,

Smiley saucepan face

and a saucepan’s seal of approval is presented in a smiley face.

After a long day’s work, Richard carefully and patiently gave us tutorials on how to operate the scarily complex equipment. Tomorrow I will feature the total tour de force.

This evening, in our new dining area, we enjoyed a takeaway meal provided by Mr Chan at Hordle. I drank Concha y Toro Casillero del Diablo reserva 2016.