More Showers Than Sunshine

This morning I posted

Today we received more showers than sunshine and I spent more of the morning reading Church’s “The Voyage Home”.

The sun played cat and mouse with me this afternoon.

Every time it tempted me to go out with the camera it would play the hiding part of peepo!

I therefore nipped out between showers and tried my luck.

Eventually we drove out into the forest in the rain, which soon desisted.

Curious sheep at Portmore risked garrotting themselves to investigate us through their wire fence.

Suddenly they all took off to the corner. I knew where they would be heading and walked back along the narrow lane to their gate.

Sure enough the farmer, assisted by his silent sheepdog, had filled their trough.

He invited me to come into the field for a better photographic opportunity. I gratefully availed myself of his friendly generosity. He left the gate open for me to close when I left. Unfortunately I forgot to ask him the breed and could not confidently identify them later.

The lake at Pilley is now filled to the brim, with clear reflections lit by the fickle sun reflected in a muddy pool and casting shadows across this and the bank.

This evening we all dined on racks of pork ribs and tender runner beans on a bed of Jackie’s savoury rice with which she drank more of the Lieblich and I finished the Garnacha.

Great Great Grandma’s Mug

Steady rain fell outside throughout the day.

Almost 50 years ago, when we lived in Soho, and Becky and Matthew spent weekends with us, we often shopped in Gerard Street in the heart of Chinatown. Perhaps I was putting this shoe on in July 1974, for one such a trip.

In June 2008, Becky took her daughter, Flo, on a tour of her old haunts, and sent me this photograph by e-mail.

Regular readers will know that my own mother, who lived until 15th September 2021, had adopted the practice of labelling items with the names, usually of those who had given them as presents, of those to whom she wished to bequeath them.

One which came to me was a Chinese mug and teapot set bought in Gerard street about the time Jessica produced the header picture. Not wishing for her to have to wait as long as I did, I gave this to Becky, who decided to keep it here for when she visits.

This morning my Mum’s great-great-granddaughter took a shine to her Gram-Gram’s mug.

Peering through racing windscreen wipers barely keeping pace with streams of precipitation coursing across the window, on a decidedly cold and wet midsummer afternoon, Jackie and I spied bubbles bouncing from tarmac streaked with reflected headlights as we set out on a forest drive.

Damp sheep huddled where they could beside the road at Bramshaw.

Moorland along Roger Penny Way was barely visible

Venturing across Deadman Hill for this view, ice tipped javelins pierced my skin; I could not see what I was pointing at; and I returned to the car soaked to the skin.

Moorland along the way was scarcely visible.

The first ponies we saw were disrupting the traffic at North Gorley.

Along Gorley Road donkeys dripped; reflecting headlights starred; raindrops bubbled and splashed.

This evening we all dined on Fire Pit beef burgers; fried onions; plentiful salad with Becky’s dressing, and various tasty sauces. Jackie drank Diet Coke and I finished the Merlot.


There was no further rain here today, which remained warm and humid enough to induce drowsiness in

ponies and foals along Holmsley Road as we began our forest drive this morning. The miniature Highland cow wandering along the verge held us up a little as

she decided to cross the road, taking her past Jackie’s open window.

The trunk of a large tree had clearly, until sawn and cleared, spanned Wittensford Lane, the luxuriant hedgerows of which bore

an abundance of eglantine roses, elegant fingers of foxgloves, and hands of honeysuckle.

Half grown piglets pausing, paddling, to partake of muddy gazpacho soup somewhat replenished by yesterday’s rain,

dashed along the verges of Kewlake Lane.

Even one recently shorn sheep along Furzley Lane suffered the panting somnolence exhibited by the ponies earlier.

This evening we dined on racks of pork spare ribs in Maple barbecue sauce on a bed of Jackie’s colourful vegetable rice topped with a thick omelette, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Tesco finest Mendoza Malbec 2020.

Why Did The Lambs Cross The Road?

After continuous heavy rain yesterday and overnight, this morning was largely overcast but dry when Jackie and I took an early forest drive.

While we queued at the Brockenhurst level crossing we were able to

see to our left evidence of a recently felled wide arboreal casualty.

Having driven under the A31 to Newbridge Jackie was forced to pull over to the verge as we came face to face with a hay bale carried by a

tractor on the narrow lane ahead.

There was already a stream flowing under a road bridge alongside Furzley Common, but today it was overflowing and bubbling as it splashed over a mossy bank that revealed exposed tree roots having received water’s erosive force for many years. The fifth, portrait, image in the gallery demonstrates a broken tree’s determination to regenerate. New ferns find themselves growing in water.

Marsh marigolds, otherwise known as kingcups, blended with yellow flag irises.

I was surprised that sheep grazing on the common, normally such inquisitive creatures, did a runner when I squelched across the soggy sward past long term decaying stumps in order to make their portraits.

Soon afterwards we encountered a foal attached to assorted shapes and sizes of ponies. It enjoyed licking the tarmac and scratching an itch, although hadn’t yet learned the technique of using a hoof for such relief.

Jackie photographed me in action, the various ponies, including the foal who wanted to enter the Modus, and another with its Dam further along the road.

Frisky lambs nipped across the road at Bramshaw to join an adult on the other side who

soon crossed back to where they had come from;

naturally they followed suit.

Here are Jackie’s three pictures of the sheep.

This evening we all dined on Jackie’s spicy penne pasta arrabbiata with parmesan cheese and tender green beans, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Bardolino.

A Frantic Baaing

The day began in fairly bright sunshine and gradually deteriorated in afternoon rain which didn’t bother me because I was watching the BBC transmission of the Six Nations rugby match between Scotland and Ireland.

Before then Jackie and I took a forest drive.

Suggesting that they may have heard the weather forecast, most ponies appeared to be staying safely hidden until we arrived at

Charles’s Lane and its accompanying woodland, where, accompanied by sweet birdsong sometimes competing with the clanking roar of cars crossing a cattle grid; the graunching of gear changes when suddenly encountering animals on the road; the whirring of bicycle wheels; the thudding of hooves on the turf or their clanking on the tarmac, a small group foraged until, as we left the vicinity, they decided to meander off ahead of us.

When Jackie parked the Modus against the entrance to a farm field so that I could photograph

daffodils on the verge of Beckley Common Road

the air was rent by a frantic baaing as a flock of sheep dashed from the far side of their pasture towards the restraining wire, no doubt in the disappointed expectation of feeding time.

After the match, I recovered the pictures and provided headers for the following posts featuring our arrival at Old Post House in April 2014:

It has been long on my mind to add a category entitled Garden. This will involve renaming some Uncategorised posts, this being the first.

The garden is mentioned in this one, yet it is far more about the practicalities of the move, so its category remains unchanged.

Although the header picture is from the garden, the main thrust of the post is the same as the one above, so there is no change of category.

This evening we all dined on oven fish and chips, onion rings, garden peas, pickled onions and gherkins, with which Jackie and I both drank Poggio Civitelle Orvieto 2021.

All To Herself

Acorns clattering alarmingly on the roof and windows of the Modus as Jackie drove us along Lower Ashley Road made us regret that that area was not likely to feature loose pigs for pannage.

We had stopped among the blustering winds for me to photograph a thatching owl and

sheep on a sloping hillside,

where three sheltered from the gusts beside a World War Two pillbox.

A very large Gloucester Old Spot had the green at Pilley,

where she dug a long furrow and chased me around, all to herself.

Yesterday I had wondered whether to lift up the patio chairs, and decided against. When we returned home at midday we discovered that the wind had done it for us.

This afternoon we enjoyed a magnificent afternoon tea at Rosie Lea. Not wishing to push my luck today, because my WordPress problems are by no means resolved, I will attempt to feature that tomorrow.

Pigs Can Fly

This morning was again sunless, but this time rainless, as Jackie and I once more filled our Modus with soggy garden refuse which we unloaded at Efford Recycling Centre (otherwise known as the dump) and continued on a forest drive.

We turned left off Camden Lane into

another, which soon ran alongside private woodland. Clearly we were lucky to have progressed along this route, for a large tree had recently fallen across it.

Some pig farmers, responding to the early fall of acorns, had already loosed their animals in order, snuffling and snorting, to root them up.

Seven gleeful piglets dashed across the green, snouts to the ground.

The Gloucester Old Spot intent on dogging my heels must have been their mother.

I am not sure what she did to one youngster when their nose-rings clashed on one apparently tasty morsel, but the youngster leapt with a squeal in the air and swiftly trotted to a safe distance.

Its face made clear its shocked innocence.

Further on a Saddleback sow scavenged for mast.

Nearby it seemed clear that pigs could fly – up a tree at least.

The lane narrowed as we left the farm section and tracked the woodland. Suddenly I exclaimed “There is something red in there. I don’t know what it is but it might have legs”. We had by now passed it. My long-suffering Chauffeuse reversed with some difficulty until we reached the small gap in the hedge.

The “something red” had moved behind branches but it did have legs. Was it a young red deer? It unexpectedly displayed the curiosity of

these two usually inquisitive sheep.

This afternoon I posted

This evening we dined on well cooked roast lamb, roast potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli, followed by moist bread and butter pudding. Jackie drank more of the Sauvignon Blanc, I finished the Burgundy, and Dillon and Flo drank fruit cordial.

Mind The Sheep

This afternoon we drove Flo to her parents’ flat at Southbourne where she is to spend a few days.

On our return we drove up Roger Penny Way from Cadnam roundabout and back home via North Gorley.

Brook Cottage, standing beside the Green Dragon pub on Roger Penny Way, is of a standard New Forest Design.

I forget the name of the thatched cottage across the road that has a team of what I think are horned sheep (maybe Wiltshire breed)

keeping the grass down.

Three of these nonchalantly test the drivers of vehicles coming round the bend.

Further along the road towards Godshill ponies and foals graze the verges. Opposite these a crow is reflected in a still pond.

I stepped out at Ashley Walk car park to remind myself of my having strode over these moors not so very long ago.

Donkeys at Godshill Cricket ground are busy shedding their winter coats, possibly because they have heard we are due a heat wave next week.

This evening we snacked on scrambled egg on toast. I’m still trying to get over Monday’s ultimate mixed grill.

Time To Let The Cattle Loose

On a largely overcast yet dry day Jackie donated some property to one Charity Shop in Highcliffe before lunch and we both did the same with two small filing cabinets to the Oakhaven Hospice shop in the afternoon.

We then took a drive into the forest.

On the first green at Bramshaw a couple of donkeys shared their pasturage

with a sheep and two lambs.

I photographed Jackie’s attempt to catch me focussing on the most inquisitive of the donkeys which, when I left them for the sheep, stuck its head through Jackie’s window.

Further along the road was claimed by cattle including our old friends Splash and Blackie the Highland Bulls. Jackie produced the close-ups of these two fearsome beasts.

A solitary pony perched precariously on the slope of the verge.

Another bovine group trampling the woodland at Furzley reminded us that this is about the time that cattle who have been kept under shelter during the winter are generally released to roam.

This evening we dined on succulent fillet steaks; chips, roast tomatoes, and garden peas with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Bordeaux.

In The Nursery Field

Yesterday I received an e-mail stating that the probate grant application has been approved and I should receive it in 10 working days.

This morning I scanned six more of Charles Keeping’s excellent illustrations to my Folio Society edition of ‘Bleak House’.

‘Mrs Jellyby, in the midst of a voluminous correspondence’

‘She sat on a chair holding his hand’

In ‘Jo brought into the little drawing-room by Guster’ Keeping indicates he distance between elements of the scene by separating them with a little text.

‘Mr Squod catches him up, chair and all’

‘A street of little shops’

‘Miss Volumnia and the cousinship of the Nobodys’

This afternoon Becky and Flo went shopping and Jackie and I took a forest drive.

Sheep occupy a field about a mile along Christchurch Road heading west.

Newborn lambs suckle, frolic, and head butt in the nursery fields opposite. Today there were a number of twins, bearing the same identifying digits as their mothers.

It was quite a contrast to see two of the most massive porkers we’ve ever seen housed on Harpway Lane at Winkton.

Ponies grazed on the terrain outside Holmsley Walk Car Park;

the grey had just given the bay a resounding head bash before I took this shot.

Early this evening Flo burnt more slender twigs in the rusty incinerator.

This evening we dined on tender roast chicken; crisp roast potatoes and Yorkshire pudding; crunchy carrots ; firm Brussels sprouts, and tasty gravy, with which Jackie, Becky, and I drank the same beverages as yesterday and Flo drank elderflower cordial.