“That’s What Having A Horrible Daughter is Like”

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We spent the morning on garden maintenance tasks.

Jackie tidying Wedding Day roseDerrick tidying Wedding Day rose

Jackie, with minimal assistance from me, retrained the Wedding Day rose

Wedding Day rose on Agriframes Arch

on the Agriframes arch.

Japanese maple 1Japanese maple 2

We then reversed the process in that The Head Gardener weeded a route through to the red Japanese maple that was looking very poorly, if not somewhat wizened. She then stood ready for me to pass bits lopped or sawn off.

Japanese maple 3Japanese maple 4Japanese maple 5Japanese maple 6

The final result didn’t look too bad.

Urn on brick pillar

We then finished rebuilding the pillar for the urn in the Rose Garden.

View across grass from red tulips

Here is a view across the grass patch between tulips and the eucalyptus.

This afternoon we went for a drive in the forest.

Ford

A stream kept one of the Brockenhurst fords under water. That is probably one SLOW notice that is unlikely to be ignored.

Father, daughter, dog at ford 1Father, daughter, dog at ford 2

As I stood on the footbridge to take this shot, a family descended into view. Mother and son joined me on the bridge while father and daughter, dog in tow, entered into a coercive conversation. The dog appeared to want to go in the opposite direction.

Father, daughter, dog running through ford

It was not long before the reason for this became clear. These three dashed across the water filled ford. When I quipped “I didn’t get that. Could you do it again?”, Dad declined. However he did add “That’s what having a horrible daughter is like”. In the ensuing conversation I was given permission to post both the photographs and this statement.

Car driven through ford

An obliging motorist, without being asked, then drove his car through the water.

Child's shoe and socks

Further on, at Boundway, we spotted evidence that a child had left the woods sans socks and at least one shoe.

Woodland Shadows 1Tree shadows 2Tree shadows 3

The high sun cast shadows of the trees onto the undulating leafy terrain.

Brimstone butterfly in flight

A brimstone butterfly fluttered about. Can you spot it here?

Logs, gorse, trees 1LogsGorse

Loggers had been at work above the gorse laden hills overlooking Wilverly.

Cattle among gorse

I think the white figure here was one of a couple of cattle. They were a bit far away for me to be certain.

Wasps' nest 1Wasps' nest 2

Soon after we left this area, Jackie alerted me to a wasps’ nest on an outbuilding.

This evening we dined on Mr Chatty Man’s Chinese Take Away fare with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden while I drank more of the madiran.

Little Donkey

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We began this sunny day with a trip to the bank in New Milton, followed by one to Mole Country Stores just outside Lymington.

Tree shadows

The shadows of trees were cast on the woodland bank beside the store.

The woman serving us cautioned me to watch for the stampede of staff who, having heard Wendy’s horn, would be dashing out for cake from the popular mobile caterer. We hoped that the poison we were buying would prove as appetising to the rats still coming in from North Breeze, the empty house next door. Whatever is tearing a hole in the Rose Garden fence is of course rather larger than a rat. Either a badger or a fox. Later in the day we put down the bait in its specially designed containers.

Having made our purchase, we drove on to East End to see how the thatching by

New Forest Master Thatchers

was coming along.

I had a pleasant conversation whilst looking up at one of the men perched on his scaffolding. He remembered my having photographed the unloading of the reeds, and was more than happy to have their progress recorded on the blog.

The pair of donkeys across the road were today joined by a younger member of the family. They were liberally bedecked with petals of the blackthorn that lines the hedgerows and provides them with sustenance. The field of rape beyond the hedge failed to blind them to the task of trimming the hedges.

A little further up the road, near the chickens, a younger foal adhered to its mother

Donkey and foal on road 1

until she imparted its first instruction in the art of claiming the road

Donkey foal on road

and the game of disrupting the traffic.

It seemed as if the further we ventured the smaller became the little donkeys. At East Boldre mothers and babies clung together as somnolent fathers dozed along the winding road. One of the more venturesome foals was quick to trot to his mother at the sight of me and my camera.

Just like human babies these tiny tots can fall asleep anywhere in positions of which their parents may well be envious.

It is possible that this will remind anyone of a certain age of

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious lamb jalfrezi, savoury rice, vegetable samosas, and spicy paneer. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Bergerac.

Blue Ice Cream

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Forget-me-nots

Forget-me-nots are now blooming throughout the garden, especially, like these, springing up through the paths.

Our resident robin began the day in the shrubbery before taking up his station and serenading us in the weeping birch.

We spent a sunny morning that began quite chilly, but managed to reach temperatures in double figures, driving around the forest.

The first stop was

Whitten Pond sign

Given the restrictions applied to activities there I can only assume that the numerous muddy, rutted, tracks leading to it had been made by thirsty ponies.

Lying off Pound Lane on the way to Ringwood, this pond, with its choppy wavelets slapping and bubbling against the banks, looked attractive enough,

although the surrounding moorland was pretty wet.

Cyclists were out in their numbers speeding across the moorland roads and the winding lanes. Some, in large groups, switched from single file to two and three abreast in what seemed a rather aggressive attempt to hold drivers back. At one point the third in a trio headed straight for Jackie who, not speeding anyway, had already slowed down.

I wondered whether the man in the red jacket had noticed the ponies to his left.

This spot is not far from Burley at which we arrived before most shops had opened. The village’s pair of geese patrolled the rather empty car park.

Magpie Antiques

10 a.m. is the usual opening time. Magpie Antiques already welcomed visitors,

Jackie buying fudge

as had Burley Fudge which, after sampling the wares, Jackie patronised.

Ice cream tubs

In the forecourt of the antiques shop stands an ice cream stall. This photograph is for Maximus Octavian who likes blue ice cream.

Honey Lane

Honey Lane in Burley Street is as enticing as ever.

Horses in the corner field to the right of the entrance still wear their winter rugs.

At Bramshaw donkeys shared the task of cropping the grass verges with ponies of differing sizes.

Magnolia

Magnolias are blooming throughout the villages. This one near these animals is rather splendid.

We took a diversion around the bottleneck that is Lyndhurst during the holiday seasons.

Along Bolderwood Road I debarked and wandered among the trees, crunching on the dry leaves underfoot, admiring the long shadows, and examining the fallen trees and crumbling stumps.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious lamb jalfrezi, special fried rice and vegetable samosas; followed by apple pie and custard. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Beaujolais.

Food And Drink In The Same Location

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It really felt like a spring day as we drove out to the forest this morning.

A pair of cyclists led us along the Rhinefield Ornamental Drive.

At intervals I left the car and photographed the forest scenes.

The usual amount of fallen trees festooned the floor. I have mentioned before, that, apart from some which is sold to be fashioned into something artistic or useful, the timber is left to rot where it falls, as an aid to ecology.

Some of the stumps in particular have disintegrated before our eyes during the few years we have lived here.

Even close to midday, the sun is still low enough in the sky to cast long shadows across the carpet of dry autumn leaves.

Last year’s bracken has not yet shrunk in the presence of Spring’s burgeoning coils.

Beyond Boldre an arrogant cock pheasant strutted erect through the heather.

Further on, a group of ponies were celebrating the fact that, courtesy of the recent rain their food and drink were both available at the same location.

An apparently dead tree would seem to have fallen into the water. Actually the water had fallen around the tree, beyond which the white pony guzzled the gorse.

On our return home we took our main meal of the day at Holmsley Old Station Tea Rooms. I chose steak and ale pie with short crust pastry, carrots, peas, and chips. Jackie’s pick was Stationmaster’s Rarebit. She drank cappuccino. I drank sparkling water.

The Water Bed

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This morning we drove to New Milton to register with the Birchfield Dental Practice, then do business at the bank and the post office. Afterwards we visited Streets Ironmongers in Brockenhurst where we exchanged our Swan’s Basket for a more suitable grate for the new fireplace, and a bag of coal. As we left the shop, the car thermometer registered 19 degrees. we’ll hardly need a fire. Someone up there is having a laugh.

The land around the Balmer Lawn section of Highland Water has dried out enough for the flooded area, bearing strong shadows from the overhead sun, to contain discrete pools reflecting the trees and the skies.

Shadows and roots 1

Some of the shadows criss-crossed the roots exposed by receding waters.

Clear water flowed over the glowing Highland Water bed.

The river itself sparkled in the sunlight.

As I wandered along the banks a pony seemed to move across the landscape. Actually it remained stationary. It was I who changed my position.

Cyclists were reflected beneath the bridge, over which a walker proceeded in the direction of Brockenhurst,

Water under bridge

and under which the river streamed.

Other ponies had reclaimed their pasturage. This one set off past the car park towards the river, thought better of it, and, eyes open, went to sleep.

Perhaps it had decided to leave the watering hole to the donkeys,

who, thirst slaked, went off for a scratch

followed by a necking session.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s sublime chicken jalfrezi and mushroom rice, with onion bahji and samosa starters and a side dish of dal makhani and paneer. Jackie finished the Vernaccia di San Gimignano and I finished the carmenère.

Indigo, Sepia, Lightning

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Isle of Wight and The Needles

The four of us brunched today at Beachcomber cafe on the cliff top at Barton on Sea, within sight of The Isle of Wight and The Needles.

The day’s ever-changing light laid a haze over the ponies on Barton Common. Although these animals roam freely like any other New Forest pony, for their own protection, they are fenced along the road through to the coast.

Various walkers cast their shadows across the beach.

I am not sure of the purpose of the stationary working boat that rested on the sun-slashed ocean surface beneath the indigo skies.

The Beachcomber was as well patronised as usual; the food was good, and the service efficient and friendly.

Skyscape

Shortly before sunset  I walked down Downton Lane and along the path through Roger’s fields. The sky bore a strangely sepia hue,

until the lowering sun set the cottages and fields alight,

and sent lightning flashes overhead.

This evening we dined on perfectly roasted lamb and potatoes; stuffing; crunchy cauliflower, carrots, and runner beans; gravy with lots of goodies, and mint sauce; followed by spicy pumpkin pie and cheesecake. Ian drank Peroni; the ladies, Australian white wine; and I finished the rioja.

Brunch

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Late this bright, sunny, and chilly, morning, Becky and Ian, Jackie and I, motored to Steamer Point for brunch in The Friars Cliff Cafe.

Blue sky and cotton clouds reflected their hues in ocean stripes against the backcloth of the Isle of Wight and The Needles, as walkers strode out along the steps of Friars Cliff beach.

Woman on bench

People basked in the sunshine, which was surprisingly warm;

enough for the cafe tables on the promenade to be well patronised.

Smaller beings slalomed their way among feet and shadows.

Becky led Scooby down to look at the water, but his attention became diverted by an elegant, waving, tail.

Even when seated at the outside tables many people discarded their coats, like a couple of boys who hung theirs on their scooters, equally superfluous to requirements on the shingle.

Group on beach

The group in the background of the picture containing the mobile phone user was just one of many at the water’s edge.

This evening the four of us dined on Jackie’s luscious sausage casserole, mashed potato and swede; crunchy carrots and Brussels sprouts; followed by the most appetising pumpkin pie I have ever tasted. The Culinary Queen attributes the success to an extra egg, evaporated milk, nutmeg, and cinnamon. She and Becky finished the sauvignon blanc, Ian chose Peroni, and I drank El Pinsapo gran seleccion rioja, 2011.