Ice Art

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With most of the rest of the country under snow, our little micro-climate had none, and was just minus two degrees when Jackie drove me out to the forest this morning.

Around Wootton and Wilverley Plain, the terrain and its pools felt freezing frosty fingers;

frigid ferns flickered;

fallen leaves lit and unlit lay lambent or shaded.

Trees, bracken, and lichen brightened as the sun rose above larger arboreal screens.

Dog walkers strode across the plain.

Steam spiralled from nostrils of cattle and ponies.

A fret saw had been applied to the small patches of frozen water scattered among layers of leaves and pebbles, producing delicate ice art.

The way we live now means that friends and relatives dropping in on spec is largely a thing of the past. That our niece, Danni does this periodically is therefore doubly pleasurable, because she is, of course, delightful company, and knows a thing or two about the use of computers.

We enjoyed convivial company for an hour or two and she was able to confirm that I wasn’t doing anything wrong in trying to search out receipt of a recorded delivery letter I had sent to a partner of O’Neill Patient, the solicitors who had provided such appalling service over the remortgage. Almost a month after sending the letter I had received no reply, so, this morning sent a rather shirty e-mail. The response was that they had never received the letter.

After spending the best part of half an hour on the phone to Royal Mail, I learned that the letter had never been delivered, and had neither been kept by them nor returned to me. Apologies were profuse. I then sent another e-mail apologising for the tone of my first, sending a copy of the letter, and stating that, when the recipient had read it, he would understand why I had assumed that it had been received but not reached his desk.

Later this afternoon I collected the currency from the bank and posted it to Australia.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s famed chicken jalfrezi and pilau rice. My wife drank Hoegaarden and I drank Mendoza Parra Alta Malbec 2016.

“You Can’t Keep A Good Brit Down”

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This morning we drove to New Milton to buy Jackie a bag to carry her overnight stay requirements for our trip to Bicester tomorrow. We then continued to Friars Cliff where we brunched in the Beach Hut Café.

Beach huts

There are two rows of beach huts there – one on the promenade above the beach level, and the other further down. These colourful buildings brighten such areas.

Dog walker at Friars CliffThis dog walker had probably made his way from Avon beach, curving away in the distance..

Silhouettes and shadows

Long shadows were evident even just before midday.

Clouds, sea, gull

A gull perched on a post catching what warmth there was from the sun piercing the clouds.

dog on beach

Dogs frolicked

Walkers and dog on beach

and their owners

Dog walkers on beach

crossed each other’s paths

Dog walkers on beach

on the sand.

Beach huts, women outside one

At one end of the lower level of beach huts

Women at beach hut

sat a couple of women, so well insulated from the chill air that Jackie cried “You can’t keep a good Brit down”, which they appreciated.

Gulls in shallows

On the way home .we diverted to Mudeford

Mudeford harbour

where gulls paddled in the shallows at low tide.

Boats, one overturned

Of the several boats

Beached boat, another overturned

tethered or grounded

Boats, one overturned

in the harbour one was overturned.

Rowing boat and yachts

Others fronted the moored yachts

Sky, Mudeford, boat

and the quayside buildings.

Twig on sand

Branches were spectacles on the sand.

Starlings on crab pots

On the sea front’,

Starlings, crab pots, buoys

having missed the boat that was stocking crabs on the van for Brixham,

Starling on crab pot

hopeful

Starling on crab pot

young starlings,

Starlings on crab pots

gathered

Starling on crab pot

for possible treats;

they would have enjoyed the great slabs of Spanish omelette that Jackie conjured from the seemingly entire contents of a greengrocer’s stall bound by the massed clutches of multiple brooding hens. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the malbec.

 

 

It Wouldn’t Go Away

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Sitting room shadows 1

A glance at the sitting room floor this morning

Sitting room shadows 2

set me chasing shadows, there;

Kitchen table shadows

across the kitchen table

Kitchen floor shadows

and floor;

Garden rocker shadow

on the patio;

Gazebo path shadow

along the Gazebo Path;

Cryptomeria Bed shadows

beside the Cryptomeria Bed;

Chimney pot shadow

across the grass;

Side entrance shadow and steam

beside the outlet for the heating system steam;

Head Gardener's Walk shadows

along the Head Gardener’s Walk,

Brick Path shadows

and the Brick Path.

Derrick's shadow

Normally I work hard to exclude my own shadow, but it wouldn’t go away.

Late this afternoon we drove out to Mudeford, where

Isle of Wight and The Needles

the Isle of Wight and The Needles benefited from the clear light,

Beach huts

as did holiday homes and beach huts.

Beaching boat

Two gentlemen wheeled their boat onto dry land.

Rain clouds

Distant rain clouds released their precipitation,

Clouds and gull

while those over the harbour displayed silver linings.

Sheep

We motored on into the forest. Sheep in a field alongside Snails Lane, Ringwood, basked in the last rays of the sun.

Clouds

By the time we reached Abbotswell

Trees and clouds

dusk had arrived

Trees and clouds

bringing a pink trim

Clouds

to soft mink clouds.

This evening we dined on succulent pork chops served with tasty Lincolnshire pork sausages on a bed of mushrooms, peppers, and mushrooms; cauliflower in cheese sauce; mashed potato and swede; and green beans. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the malbec.

 

 

 

 

A Pannage Extension

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED This morning we visited Lyndhurst in order to buy a couple of presents. Shirley Holms 3

In order to benefit from the gorgeous autumn light, we took a diversion

Shirley Holms 1

down Shirley Holms.

House in landscape

Across fields to our left we admired the situation of a house nestling on the hill

Horse and autumn leaves

and a chestnut horse blending into surrounding trees.

Cyclists and autumn leaves

A pair of cyclists rounding a bend,

Cyclist in Shirley Holms

soon to be followed by a solo rider, laboured up the undulating tarmac. Note the speed limit.

Forest floor

Long shadows were cast across the

Autumn leaves 2

forest floor

Trees in autumn 1

fast receiving

Autumn leaves 1

autumn leaves,

Autumn leaves 6

some of which clung to shady banks,

Autumn leaf

and stood proud at intervals.

Autumn leaves 4  

Ornamental trees animated a

Autumn leaves 5

splendid garden.

Having made successful purchases in Lyndhurst, we lunched there on Bertie’s excellent fish, chips, and mushy peas. We both drank tea which, rather unfortunately, resembled a dishcloth that needed boiling.

The Private Ear Clinic, this afternoon was based at Lymington Hospital. Our next visit was to this establishment where my left ear was relieved of the remains of its stubborn wax.

Trees in autumn 2

We then returned to the forest where, just outside Bramshaw,

Pigs 1

we came across a sounder of swine slobbering

Pig 3

among ditches

Pig 2

leaves

Pig 4

and mud.

Pigs on road 1

Occasionally with a loud snort they would trot across the road

Pigs on road 2

to investigate the pickings on the other side. The pigs are revelling in a month’s extension of the pannage, possibly because of our stretch of mild weather.

Pony on road 1

This particular spot was doubly hazardous for drivers, because ponies

Ponies on road

played the same leisurely game.

Pony on road 2

The speed limit in the forest is generally 40 m.p.h., but you would be well advised to reduce this on the serpentine roads. You never know what is around the next bend.

This evening we dined at Bartlett’s in the Church Hall at Bransgore. Jackie’s main meal was chicken tikka masala; mine was lamb madras. We take our own drinks. Jackie’s was Hoegaarden. I finished the madiran (WordPress, how many times must I tell you this is one word?).

Reflecting Autumn

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This morning Paul and Margery delivered the nicely mounted signed painting that John created on 21st September.

We brunched at Hockey’s Farm Shop.

Donkey close-up

In the lane outside a donkey rushed to our open car window in search of treats. No-one had told it that Halloween was over.

Donkey and ponies

Its cousins in the farm field, having no need to cadge, could afford to ignore me.

Donkeys and horse

They also took no notice of horses in the neighbouring paddock.

Donkey and poniesPony

They shared their own grass with very small ponies

Pony and alpacaAlpacas

and with alpacas.

Autumn leaves

Autumn leaves

Tree reflections

adorned trees over the Ibsley forded stream

Autumn leaves and reflectionAutumn reflected in stream

in which their reflections swayed in dance.

Woodland scene 3Woodland scene 1Woodland scene 5Woodland scene 2Shadows on leaves by streamWoodland scene 6

Sunlight dappled the woodland alongside. If you do enlarge this last one, please ignore the litter.

Fallen tree

As with all safely fallen forest trees, this one will remain where it lies, in the interests of ecology.

Coach and horses

An antique coach with rather younger hitched trace-horses was parked outside the Alice Lisle pub near Ringwood.

Horses heads in harness

The horses were in harness,

Horse without part of harness 1

although one looked rather smug,

Horse with dangling harness

as part of its equipage dangled free.

Coach wheels 1

The smaller wheels stood at rest below the cab, while the the coachmen presumably enjoyed a glass of porter in the pub.

Coach rear 1

Hopefully neither the learner nor his or her instructor will have imbibed too much.

This evening we dined on a pepperoni pizza and salad, with which Jackie drank sparkling water and I finished the Fronton.

 

 

 

Your Choice

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This morning, including material from ‘Oiling The Lion’, and from ‘The Hornby Train Set’, I continued writing ‘A Knight’s Tale’.

This afternoon, Jackie drove me to Lymington to visit the bank. This is now the nearest NatWest branch remaining open. My chauffeur parked outside and I joined a small queue. We spent quite some time listening to the lone cashier negotiating with a woman about whether or not she should withdraw £10 before Saturday. The problem was compounded by another woman having difficulty in operating the rapid deposit machine. Eventually it was my turn to be attended to. I needed to order some Australian dollars to send to Orlaith for her fifth birthday. This involved putting my bank card into a machine. It was then that I was informed that I was in Lloyd’s Bank and that NatWest was next door. I turned and entered the next building. All went smoothly after that.

We continued on to a forest drive.

Pony on heathPony 1Pony and shadow

At Brockenhurst, grazing ponies,

Ponies and cyclist on heath

leisurely cyclists,

Trees, walkers, pony

and eager walkers,

Walkers, dogs, pony

some with dogs, enjoyed the late afternoon sun

Autumn leaves

that lit the autumn leaves,

Sun streaks

and was a little lower by the time we reached Rhinefield Ornamental Drive, and stretched even longer shadows.

Ponies 2Ponies 3Pony 2

A group of ponies hovered on one verge, contemplating crossing to the other side.

Trees over stream

trees stretched over

Reflections in stream

streams that flowed under the road, and, like Narcissus, admired their reflections.

Forest scene 4Forest scene 5Forest scene 6Forest scene 7Forest scene 8

In photographing the forest scenes I occupied myself deciding whether to offer images in colour

TreesForest scene 2Forest scene

or to convert them to black and white.

Forest scene 3

For this image, colour,

Forest scene 3 Version 2

or black and white?  It is your choice.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious chilli con carne with peas and rice. I drank Arboresque Fronton 2016.

None So Brazen

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Autumn tidying in the garden produced enough clippings to warrant a trip to the Efford Recycling Centre. In exchange for two bags of these and £4 we returned with four firm chair cushions for raising the front passenger seat, and a plinth for the owl in the new arbour.

Hatchet Pond 1Hatchet Pond 2

Towards the end of the afternoon we drove through the forest and stopped at Hatchet Pond

Gulls over Hatchet Pond

where gulls occasionally took off after food,

Donkey being petted 2

and donkeys attempted to share visitors’ refreshments.

Donkey being petted 1

When I asked the group in a camper van if they minded the photographs, the gentleman, beaming, replied: “I don’t mind. It’s not my donkey”.

Highland Water 1

Approaching Brockenhurst on our way home, we deviated to that extension of Highland Water that flows under the A337.

Trees and shadows

Shadows were cast beneath the trees.

Family at Highland Water 1

A family and a couple lingered, enjoying the last rays of sunshine.

Tree roots and family at Highland Water

Tried not to trip over tree roots, probably laid bare when the stream has been in spate.

Please take your litter home

The usual samples of litter had been left behind, none so brazen as this.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s luscious lamb cobbler, new potatoes, carrots, and Brussels sprouts.  The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Graves.