Watch Out

SINGLE IMAGES CAN BE ENLARGED BY A CLICK WHICH MAY BE REPEATED. CLICKING ON ANY OF THOSE IN A GROUP ACCESSES ITS GALLERY, INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS OF WHICH CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE BY SCROLLING DOWN AND CHECKING BOX AT BOTTOM RIGHT

Setting the mood nicely, a sheet of heavy cloud leaked steady precipitation dripping down our windscreen all the way to New Hall Hospital for my appointment with Miss Melissa Davies, consultant urologist early this morning. Windscreen wipers swept across my vision. After an examination I’d rather not describe, and a full questionnaire I was able to leave with a certain amount of optimism signalled by the clearance of the skies and the emergence of sun separating the clouds. I do have to order a specific blood test and ask my GP to recommend a procedure involving a miniature camera and an anaesthetic.

Feeling rather hearty, we stopped at the charming village of Hale which I photographed without the need to numb my consciousness.

“You’re not photographing that are you?” asked the local resident who did not think the sculpture on the edge of the green looked much like  a pony and foal.

The tree behind the sculpture was planted in 1992 to commemorate the fortieth anniversary of the accession of Queen Elizabeth II. The brass plaque explaining this is headed ‘Kinges Oak’.

A string of cyclists sped past the green,

on the other side of which a solitary equine representative stood before the school, the students of which will be playing where it stands once they return from the Summer break.

All post in the forest is delivered from little red vans, like the one driven by the postman enjoying a chat with a resident of one of the attractive thatched cottages.

The village is approached by narrow tree-lined lanes. I wondered whether the above brick built structure was the ice house once belonging to Hale House.

From the higher levels could be seen a patchwork quilt flung across the landscape,

above which patrolled a predatory raptor.

A herd of cows dined on the upper slopes.

 

The whole length of Roger Penny Way is punctuated by warning signs alerting drivers to the possibility of animals on the road. One is ‘Watch Out……’ pictured here. This flock had passed the sign when making their way across the road to this pasture. While I focussed on them a large bovine ambled down the centre of the minor road to my left to join its ovine cousins.

Afterwards we brunched at the Walkford Diner. Here we enjoyed huge traditional breakfasts cooked on a griddle. Black puddings and haggis, for example, are imported from Stornaway, and potato scones are just like the ones Mum used to make. Only when inside did we realise that the establishment was run by Ian, who had produced excellent meals at Molly’s Den. These were even better.

It will therefore come as no surprise that I could not join in the ladies’ enjoyment of Jackie’s beef in red wine dinner. (Mum is better and Elizabeth is back with us). I was, however, able to manage the Culinary Queen’s apple and apricot crumble and custard, and a couple more glasses of the Fleurie.

Forgotten And Neglected

CLICK ON ANY IMAGE IN A GROUP TO ACCESS ITS GALLERY, INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS OF WHICH CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE BY SCROLLING DOWN AND CHECKING BOX AT BOTTOM RIGHT. SINGLE IMAGES CAN BE ENLARGED WITH A CLICK WHICH MAY BE REPEATED IF REQUIRED

Aaron

Aaron worked as hard as ever in the garden this morning. Lest it be imagined that he never takes a break, here is photographic evidence that we do allow him the statutory minimum.

It was not that long ago that I last photographed the garden from our bathroom window. This Wisteria was not then in bloom.

Our ubiquitous heucheras have now all sent up their flower stems.

Some of those are in the Rose Garden where the bushes are burgeoning, Roseraie de L’Hay bearing the first buds to open.

Numerous aquilegias are also standing proud;

one clump stands beside the shady path, still bestrewn with fallen camellia flowers.

The Viburnum Plicatum in the West Bed has also sprung to life in the last few days.

Sparrow on roof

Our resident sparrow still guards his family from the rooftop.

In order to prevent the risk of infection when, this coming Friday, my left knee joint is to be replaced by a man made model, I will have to wear new slippers. In search of a pair, we drove to Sainsbury’s at Christchurch this afternoon. Their sizes stop at 10, so we will need to try again when more shops are open tomorrow. We didn’t waste our trip out. Jackie set us off to the North of the Forest.

Leaving the A338 at Mockbeggar Lane, Ibsley, we were intrigued by a notice suggesting that what Jackie discovered to have been St Martin’s Church was having a Closing Down Sale. In fact, as Wikipedia tells us, the church itself has been deconsecrated. Following the listing the church became the art gallery which is having the sale. Jackie entered the shop and pronounced it a purveyor of artificial flowers, anything of good quality being over-priced.

I, therefore, contented myself with a study of the surrounding graveyard. It seemed to me that the preponderance of dandelion clocks calling time on the neglected tombs of forgotten eighteenth and nineteenth century residents of the parish, was somewhat appropriate.

 https://www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/101350890-church-of-st-martins-ellingham-harbridge-and-ibsley#.Wvhu0i-ZNBw give us this information concerning its Grade 2 listing: ‘Parish church. 1832 by John Peniston surveyor, on site of old church. Brick with
some blue headers, east wall partly reused dressed stone, plain tile roof. Plan
of single cell chancel and nave with north and south porches and small west tower.
To east end Y-tracery window in chamfered opening; corner buttresses. To each side
of 6 bays, pointed lancet in chamfered opening,except to west,buttresses between
bays and at each end except between west of centre bays which have gabled porch
with pointed, chamfered opening. West end has small cross-section tower in centre
with similar window, and offset belfry stage with west and east bell opening and
gabled roof. Inside brass of 1599 on floor by altar, tablet to Mary Ann Gray 1757
in brick paviour central aisle. On south wall monument 1627 to John Constable of
2 large kneeling figures between 2 columns to wide open pediment, both hold vine
with busts of their children. C18 Perpendicular style font. On north wall tablet
1757 to Cray. At east end prayer boards, above west door Royal arms board.
Gallery at west end of timber with later screen under to form vestry.’

Jackie informs me that all the mentioned features are still there inside, covered by the gallery’s wares. What now, I wonder?

A small herd of deer grazed in their usual field at Ogdens. When I poked my lens in their direction, one doe pricked up her ears and gave me a stare, decided I was harmless, and returned to her dinner.

On our way home down Roger Penny Way we noticed an interesting vehicle pulling into the car park of The Green Dragon. This was a Morris Cowley bullnose, first produce in 1915. Before entering the pub the driver placed a chock beneath the near side front wheel. I surmised that the vehicle was possibly not fitted with a handbrake.

Cadnam Lane was littered with sheep and the occasional punk pig. One of the pigs masqueraded as an outsize sheep; others, occasionally raising a sleepy snout, snoozed by the wayside.

This evening we dined on roast pork with superb crackling, new potatoes, carrots, and broccoli, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Concha y Toro Malbec

 

 

 

 

“If I’d Known How Long They Lived I’d Never Have Married You”

CLICK ON ANY IMAGE IN A GROUP TO ACCESS ITS GALLERY, INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS OF WHICH CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE BY SCROLLING DOWN AND CHECKING BOX AT BOTTOM RIGHT.

This morning the warm sun shone from a cloudy sky; this evening, still warm, the sun shone from a clear blue sky; this afternoon the sky was overcast. There are no prizes for guessing when we took a drive into the forest.

The first troop of animals that occupy the road was of sheep at Bramshaw. All but one left the green pitted with their hoof prints, some of which were water-filled. I made the mistake of setting out across this poxy terrain. This, in my current wobbly condition, caused Jackie, waiting in the car,  some consternation.

I could really identify with one lame, bleating, creature, left alone to limp over to join its companions.

Further on, it was the turn of muddy cattle, cropping hedges, standing and staring on the winding, undulating, road, or wallowing in ditches, to disrupt the traffic.

Donkeys took up the baton at Frogham. Like yesterday’s pony a little white foal nudged its mother’s furry flanks,

took an inquisitive look at me, and had a good scratch. At this point I indulged in a pleasant conversation with a farmer who pointed out that the mother was in need of a good hoof trim. When the lady had married her husband she had owned six donkeys. Her husband had said that had he known how long they lived he would never have married her.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s splendid chicken jalfrezi and pilau rice. On the patio beforehand the Culinary Queen had drunk her Hoegaarden and I had finished the Paniza. I did, however, have a glass of Lellei 2015, a very quaffable Hungarian pinot noir from Lidl with my meal.

 

Where Was Little Boy Blue?

CLICK ON ANY IMAGE IN A GROUP TO ACCESS ITS GALLERY, INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS OF WHICH CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE BY SCROLLING DOWN AND CHECKING BOX AT BOTTOM RIGHT

Today was another very dull one, but at least the heavily overcast clouds only dropped a little rain, and we managed a dry run into the forest.

 

Alongside Sowley Lane a rape field, determined to outclass MacDonald’s Golden Arches, curved round a sheep field newly fenced off with planted saplings against the backdrop of the Isle of Wight.

 

A troop of cyclists weaved their way around cattle grazing on the verges of the lane, its pools of rainwater reflecting the surrounding trees and bovine browsers.

I know it is the wrong season, and the cows are on the verges, but I did wonder where was Little Boy Blue.

Garden view from kitchen

By the time we sat down to our evening meal, the sun shone across our garden view. We dined on Tesco’s finest fish pie accompanying Jackie’s finestest colourful ratatouille, runner beans, and cauliflower. I drank Casillero del Diablo Reserva Merlot 2017 and the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden

Snowponies

CLICK ON ANY IMAGE IN A GROUP TO ACCESS ENLARGED GALLERIES THAT CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE BY SCROLLING DOWN THEIR PAGES AND CHECKING BOXES AT BOTTOM RIGHT

I was banned from the kitchen this morning in order to allow Richard to catch up on his largely snowbound day yesterday.

Rain and a slight rise in temperature had brought about the beginnings of a thaw, so Jackie drove us into the forest on roads that were no longer icy.

They were rather more slushy;

ditches, like this one with a birch perched on its bank, were still iced over;

and snow, still lying beneath trees, streaked the moors.

Rain falling from a leaden sky made heavier the coats of drooping ponies trudging across the roads.

Ponies, snow, bracken, gorsePonies, snow, bracken, gorsePony, snow, bracken, gorsePony, snow, bracken, gorse

A pair of grey snowponies, hoping for cosy scarves and carrots, had not yet begun to melt.

Steak and pizza

At Bransgore we lunched at The Crown Inn, of the Vintage Inn chain. We both enjoyed our meals. Jackie’s was pizza diablo with chips; mine, also with chips, was rib eye steak with peppercorn sauce, tomato, onion rings, and green salad. Jackie drank Amstel and I drank Razor Back, still known as Ringwood’s Best.

Outside Bransgore, on our way home, we noticed a sheep trying to supplement its wool with a straw shawl, whilst neighbouring alpacas grazed.

Richard had not been idle. He had fitted most of the cupboard doors,

continuing with them and adding the hob before leaving a little later. The dishwasher door display is projected onto the floor.

This evening’s meal consisted of instant minestrone, chicken tikka, and tomatoes.

On The Turn

CLICK ON ANY IMAGE IN A GROUP TO ACCESS ENLARGED GALLERIES

Anyone who had imagined that the long-running saga of the British Gas electricity bill had reached its conclusion will have been under the same misapprehension as me. Here is a brief recap. I had paid the delayed bill over the phone on 11th January. On 21st I received the next bill, including the paid amount. I was told the payment hadn’t gone through because of a problem in their system. I paid it again. Today I received a reminder for the first amount. I telephoned once more; said I knew my views would make no difference, but that they would make me feel better; then gave my views.

Afterwards I continued my scanning of the colour negatives from Henley to Newark trip of July 2003.

Grasses and wild flowers still covered the footpaths, and I was treated to what I believe was my first sight of a damselfly.

Sheep and fields of grass occupied the landscape on the opposite bank of the Oxford Canal,

Garden with 4X4 and phone box 7.03

which seemed an unlikely resting place for an iconic red telephone box.

 

I caught up with Pacific Pete at the Braunston Turn Bridges. theoxfordcanal.co.uk website informs me that this section of the waterway, which shares its route with the Grand Union Canal Main Line as far as Napton Junction, is ‘one of the few places on the entire stretch of the Oxford Canal where there is narrow boat access to another river or canal. It is worth noting from the point of view of use by cyclists and walkers that the towpath really deteriorates very soon after Braunston Turn Bridges. In fact this section of the canal has hardly any towpath in some places and is a real mess suffering from collapse, potholes, mud, nettles and brambles. It can be all but impassable in places if there has been any sort of recent wet weather.’

Unfortunately, I didn’t know this.

According to Wikipedia, ‘The Horseley Ironworks (sometimes spelled Horsley and Iron Works) was a major ironworks in the Tipton area in the county of Staffordshire, now the West Midlands, England.

Founded by Aaron Manby,[1] it is most famous for constructing the first iron steamer, The Aaron Manby, in 1821.[2][3] The boat was assembled at Rotherhithe. She was only the first of a number of steamboats built on the “knock-down” principle. The ironworks have also been responsible for the manufacture of numerous canal and railway bridges of the 19th century.

The ironworks were built near the Toll End Communication Canal[4] on the Horseley estate, which had been sold by their owner at the turn of the 19th century[5] due to demand from engineers wishing to profit on the construction of the BCN Main Line through the estate. The date when the ironworks were constructed is unknown but is believed to have been by 1815.[5] Industry in the area prospered and the location retained the name of the Horseley estate as shown in an 1822 survey of the area.[6]

With the increasing popularity of canals, the ironworks quickly became popular for manufacturing canal bridges, mainly in the local vicinity.[7]Canal bridges made by the ironworks include the Engine Arm Aqueduct (1825), two roving bridges at Smethwick Junction (1828),[8][9] Galton Bridge (1829), and Braunston Towpath Bridges (1830).[10][11] By the end of the canal construction era, Horseley Ironworks had emerged as one of the most prolific manufacturers of canal bridges in the West Midlands region,[5] especially in Birmingham.[12] This was a result of their signature bridge design which had become popular amongst canal constructors. The design has been replicated more recently, for example in Birmingham during the regeneration of Gas Street Basin where Worcester Bar is linked to Gas Street.[13]

Horseley Ironworks were also responsible for manufacturing in the railway industry. Railway bridges constructed included that of the viaduct for the London and Birmingham to Holyhead railway at Shifnal, Shropshire which was cast in 1848.[14] As well as manufacturing bridges, they also produced locomotives.[15]

The company also manufactued construction steelwork for the pier of Ryde, the Palace Theatre in London, Rugby railway station, a seaplane hangar in Las Palmas and the Dome of Discovery at the 1951 Festival of Britain.[16]

People who have worked for the iron foundry include Charles Manby, the son of Aaron Manby, James Thomson,[17] William Johnson[18]and Richard Roberts.[19]

The firm moved in 1865 to a site on the now defunct Dixon’s Branch, off the BCN New Main Line (Island Line), near the South Staffordshire Railway line. The factory survived under a succession of owners until 1991, when it was closed down and subsequently redeveloped as a housing estate.[4]

I managed to keep up with Sam and James in the boat whilst, having passed under the elegant bridge from the time of Queen Victoria’s predecessor, King William IV, they negotiated their way through a narrowboat-congested area to the next flight of locks. As can be seen, there was barely room for the lengthy ocean-going oars.

Sam rowing

Eventually the rower was once more under way.

After this, I had to find my way up and down various hilly areas, where I was surprised in the darkness by the only badger I have ever seen alive. I was amazed at how fast it could run. It was fortunate that the creature took off in the opposite direction, because running anywhere, by that time, was quite beyond me.

This evening we dined on Mr Pink’s perky cod, parsley flavoured fish cakes and crisp chips plated up with pickled Freshona gherkins and Garner’s onions. We both drank Pedro Jimenez Coquimbo 2016.

 

120 Animal Casualties

CLICK ON ANY IMAGE IN A GROUP TO ACCESS ITS ENLARGED GALLERY

This morning a couple of administrative problems fell into place. Although I couldn’t get through to Lymington Hospital on the subject of my ophthalmic appointment, my GP’s secretary managed to confirm that the date for later this month still stands. I also received a new contract and a bill for the last five months electricity supply from British Gas. I still needed to phone them to clarify the figures which seemed to be at odds with the contract. I paid the amount shown.

Despite the day being overcast, we went for a drive in the forest.

Daffodils

Very early blooming daffodils had pierced the sward on a green outside Winkton.

Low grunts and high-pitched squeals alerted us  to an extensive pig farm alongside

Anna Lane

the frighteningly narrow and winding Anna Lane,

on the other side of which lay a field of muted stubble.

Pool

Much of the roadside land at North Gorley – and elsewhere – was waterlogged and nurturing pondweed.

Hyde Lane outside Ringwood is home to a fascinating old barn that is probably not as ancient as it looks. To my mind its structure simply follows the timbering and brickwork of several centuries earlier. But then, I am no expert.

Sheep in field

Further down the lane sheep grazed in a field.

Greenfinch on hedge

A flash of green before she landed on the hedge surrounding the pasturage suggested to us that we were observing a female greenfinch. If you can spot it, do you think we are right?

In Ringwood where I purchased some paper and batteries from Wessex photographic, and we lunched at the excellent Aroma café.

Outside The Fighting Cocks pub at Godshill, we noted that the total for animal casualties in 2017 was 120.

Pony on road

A few yards further on, we encountered a nonchalant pony making its leisurely way towards us.

Pony crossing road

Others crossed the road at will. The headlights of the car on the hill demonstrate how murky was the afternoon.

Landscape 1

We stopped for me to photograph this effect from the top of Deadman Hill.

Ponies 1Ponies 2Ponies 3Ponies 4

I crossed to the other side of the road and experienced a pulsating, thudding, reverberation, emanating from the turf. Suddenly a string of very frisky ponies came tearing up the slope and into sight. Now, these animals are very rarely seen on the move, as they spend their days dozing and eating grass. I don’t mind admitting I was a little disconcerted. I didn’t really want a hoof with all the tonnage it supports landing on my foot.

Pony on Deadman Hill

It was something of a relief when the leader came to a standstill and calmly surveyed the valley below.

Chicken and black bean sauce

This evening we dined on Jackie’s choice chicken and black bean sauce with vegetable won ton starters. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Malbec.