120 Animal Casualties

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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.

 

 

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.

 

 

 

 

Lunch On The Green

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This morning was spent helping the garden recover from the battering winds. This involved gathering up broken branches; tying up plants, like the rose Summer Wine, that had come adrift; a certain amount of watering; and preparing ground for chrysanthemums and bulbs.

After lunch we deposited another orange bag of cuttings in the recycling centre, and drove along the coast road to Milton on Sea.

Isle of Wight and The Needles 2Isle of Wight and The Needles

When the sun emerged from the rapidly moving clouds The Isle of Wight and The Needles benefited from a bright clear light.

Waves

Waves still rolled thunderously onto the rocks at the water’s edge.

Crumbling cliff

The clifftop had experienced more erosion since my last venture up there a few months ago.

Crumbling cliffs 2

The bricks in the foreground of this image once formed part of a long-gone structure,

Clifftop

and the path shown here was set further away from the edge last year.

Men eating lunch

We may have finished our lunch, but a gentleman seated on a bench, mirrored by another eating a banana in his cab,

Man eating lunch

was still enjoying his.

Cyclists lunching 1Cyclists lunching 2Cyclists lunching 3

On the village green a group of elderly cyclists tucked into their own snacks.

Hit and Run Notice

I am occasionally asked about the safety of the free roaming animals. Continuing to the north of the forest we noticed this hit and run sign beside Roger Penny Way – not that unusual a phenomenon, particularly during the tourist season.

Bracket fungus

Were I ever to take it into my head to climb a tree again, I might choose this one bearing useful bracket fungus

Lane with pool

at the side of a somewhat waterlogged lane through farmland just to the north of Cadnam,

Sheep on road 1

where sheep wandered across the road.

Sheep on road 2

Initially inquisitive, these creatures, when I invaded too much of their space, turned tail and made for the field from which they had wandered.

Putting 1Puttng 2

We were soon aware of a golf course on our left. A putting session was in progress.

House building

On our return home, I photographed the Hordle Lane housing development from the rear.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s luscious liver casserole, mashed potato, green beans, and orange carrots. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden, and I finished the Fleurie.

An Early Post Box

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The Dragon Bed sign

A couple of days ago Jackie made a new sign for The Dragon Bed, and left a photograph on my camera.

Paul and Margery made a brief visit at lunchtime in order to deliver a birthday present ordered from their last exhibition. Both were looking in fine fettle.

Afterwards, Jackie drove us around the forest.

HeatherHeathland floor

Like many other plants this year, the heather seemed to be blooming early.

Ponies and heather 1Heather and poniesPonies and heather 2

Not that the ponies noticed.

Ponies and heather 3

They just kept their eyes on the grass.

Ladywell 1

On the outskirts of Burley we took a pot-holed drive down Tyrell’s Lane,

Ladywell 2

where I was struck by the topiary fronting a house called Ladywell. This reflected the thatched roofing

Peacock thatch

which bears a peacock motif on top.

Gunnera

Next door, Tyrell’s Way’s garden sports a magnificent gunnera.

Sheep

As I have occasionally mentioned, sheep are inquisitive creatures. This one in a field at the end of Tyrell’s drive, even lifted its head from its grazing at my approach.

Sheep models

This was in stark contrast to the low maintenance ovine mother and child occupying a garden in Furzley, who completely ignored me.

Shetland pony 1Shetland pony 2

Stony Cross Plain, just north of the A31, seems to be the province of Shetland ponies,

Shetland pony 3

one of which thought that a discarded tissue was not to be sniffed at.

Shetland pony foal 2

A recumbent foal

Shetland pony foal

occasionally stirred itself to stand. This creature has become accustomed to flies,

Pony and foal 1

which is more than can be said for its younger cousin at Nomansland, still skipping in confusion at the irritation.

Jackie at Powder Mill post box

A visit to Eyeworth Pond revealed nothing of interest, except for this post box near the Royal Oak, that we had not noticed before. Shultze gunpowder factory operated near the pond from the 1860s until the early 20th century. This receptacle was erected to make the postman’s life easier, in the days before delivery vans. It was recently restored by the Forestry Commission.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s roast chicken, savoury rice, breaded mushrooms, tempura vegetables, and salad. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the cabernet sauvignon/tempranillo.

Nelson’s Column

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Sam and Holly, Malachi and Orlaith arrived today to spend a few days towards the end of  their UK trip.

Malachi is a great reader, so his first visit was to the library from which I was happy to pass on to him a selection of books.

Sam and Malachi 1Sam and Malachi 2

Lexulous is the Scrabble-like game I play on line. He wanted to challenge me, so he and Sam needed to work out how to load it onto Sam’s device.

Sam and Malachi 3

First they operated together.

Malachi 1

Mal continued on his own.

Malachi 2

One of the advantages of having your opponent across the room is that you can give him the eye when you have him in trouble.

Orlaigh drawing 2Orlaigh drawing 1

Orlaith broke her arm falling from a climbing frame in Snowdonia, and has become a dab hand at working with just one. Take drawing for example. As she said,0 it was a good thing she hadn’t broken her drawing hand.

Sam and OrlaighOrlaigh 3Orlaigh 1Orlaigh 2

She was also able to take over the Lexulous game on Sam’s mobile phone.

Jackie and Malachi 1Jackie and Malachi 2Jackie and Malachi 3

Meanwhile Malachi was quick to learn the Bookworm game on Jackie’s p.c.

After this Sam took his son off to the library to practice his violin playing. The music was really very pleasant, as it drifted through the kitchen.

Orlaigh 6Orlaigh 4Orlaigh 5Orlaigh 5A

This left Jackie free to help Orlaith build a tower

Orlaigh and Nelson's columnOrlaigh 7

which, with the addition of the man himself in rodent form and black and white sheep as lions, she announced to be Nelson’s Column.

Desk with toys

If there are any glaring errors in this post, my excuse is that the tower, the mice, the sheep, and the numbers board were all transported to my desk where I was encouraged to play with them.

This evening we dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away fare, supplemented by fish fingers, cauliflower cheese, and strawberries and cream. Holly and I finished the malbec, Jackie drank Peroni, and Sam drank Doom Bar.

Baa

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Dawn

It wasn’t until early evening that the clarity of the dawn skies was to be repeated today.

Big Beast Barrier

Jackie discovered that the Big Beast had dug its way under her reinforced log last night, further trampled the cyclamen, and knocked over the obelisk. Undeterred, she put back the loose soil and buried more, lower, stakes around the wooden peg.

Bug on tulip

Elizabeth came for lunch which consisted of cold meats and salads. After this she and I photographed bugs on the diamond jubilee tulips. The first is mine with my Canon EOS 5D;

the next two with my Canon SX700;

Tulips Diamond Jubilee

and finally, Elizabeth’s with her i-Phone, by which time the bugs had fled.

Later, we took a drive to the north of the forest.

Horse, rider, cyclist, van

On Flexford Lane in Sway, we needed to wait on the verge for a horse and rider with a cycling escort, followed by a white van, to pass.

The gorse-covered hills below Abbot’s Well at Frogham glowed in the evening light.

Jackie and Elizabeth turned and spotted me photographing them as they stood in the car park.

The colourfully attired gentleman beside them obligingly took his own camera into the landscape, thus providing a foil to my photographs.

Pony in pool

As we left, a pony drank from a reflective pool.

As we approached the Cadnam roundabout near the end of Roger Penny Way, we noticed a flock of sheep blocking a turning to our left. As soon as she could Jackie turned around so we could see what was happening. The woolly animals were steadfastly making their way past our car to the aforementioned major road,

where they caused a total standstill.

Sheep on road 8

Looking back down the lane we saw what seemed like the final stragglers,

who picked up speed and galloped in panic after the main group.

In fact they were not the last. Two more had been left behind. We hoped they found their friends.

Further along this lane a very small sow snuffling against a wall, became excited by our presence, perhaps hoping for a chat.

Around the next bend a couple of ducks had taken possession of a watery verge.

Indian runner duck

One was an Indian runner. We didn’t recognise the other.

Chicken 1

Finally, a collection of chickens scampered from the verge when we stopped beside them.

This evening the three of us dined on Jackie’s splendid chilli con carne, savoury rice, and green beans. The ladies drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Malbec.

I Felt More Than Somewhat Queasy

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Today I continued the scanning of colour negatives made in Cumbria on 18th August 1992, and last mentioned in ‘Welcome To The World’.

Boats on lake 18.8.92

 We visited a popular boating lake,

on which Jessica rowed our friend Alison Barran.

I have occasionally mentioned my fear of heights. This is described in particular in ‘Vertigo’.

Jessica never gave up trying to get me up mountains. Place Fell, which we scaled on the day in question was a case in point.

A sparkling waterfall fairly near the bottom was not too scary. I could have settled for that.

Granite boulder on Place Fell 18.8.92

The cleft in this granite boulder was an example of the rugged nature of the terrain.

Others littered the sloping hillsides on which hikers had trodden a clear path along which Jessica fearlessly strode,

eventually reaching the summit. In order to avoid any misunderstanding I am honour bound to state that

Jessica on Place Fell 18.8.92 7

I may just about have managed to stand at a high point to depict her gazing across the lumpy terrain,

Jessica on Place Fell summit. 18.8.92

but there was no way it would have been perched alongside this marker cairn.

Indeed I felt more than somewhat queasy enough when taking some of these shots on the way up. Note the sheep in the second picture.

Unfortunately most of the compositions did not lend themselves to cropping out the unsightly date stamp.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s Post House Pie served with carrots, green beans, and cauliflower.  Dessert was lemon Swiss roll and vanilla ice cream. I finished the Bordeaux.