The Blue Coat

Suitably equipped for the fray

Jackie joined the queue at Tesco five minutes before opening time. She really felt for the woman in the blue coat.

The orderly social distancing exhibited outside the supermarket was somewhat belied by the few customers who reached past others to claim items they were afraid might disappear. Although we didn’t need any, Mrs Knight reported that toilet rolls were in stock.

Perhaps the fact that the fresh meat, fish, and deli counters were off limits enabled her to

feel relaxed about photographing sheep and lambs along Christchurch Road on her way home.

After watering the pots in the front garden this afternoon – the Head Gardener was to hose those at the back later – I took a trip to Honeylake Wood and back.

This involved walking along Christchurch Road past the closed Royal Oak pub, Downton Garage, Woods used car establishment, and a row of cottages, to the currently fallow field featuring a footpath to the wood.

Sandbags line the pub’s front porch, suggesting the management had not anticipated our current dry spell when the coronavirus closures were required.

This gentleman walking a couple of dogs

back to the kissing gate

was clearly complying with the request to keep canines under control.

Choosing to eschew the gate which others will have touched, I entered via a gap in the hedge beside the disused telephone box and the still active letter box.

I then walked along the edge of the field to the footpath.

Like most local fields this one is fenced by wind-sculpted trees.

The winding path through the wood

slopes down to a bridge over a stream. The photographs above indicate the fleeting nature of the shadow-casting sun. The bridge has been repaired since my last trip down here, but I did not lean on it for the same reason that I avoided the gate.

The banks of the stream were embroidered with gentle yellow primroses.

This evening we dined on chicken thighs of considerable size crisply roasted with potatoes and parsnips; Yorkshire puddings, carrots and spring greens, with which I drank Carinena El Zumbido Garnacha Syrah 2018. Jackie had finished her Hoegaarden while cooking.

Spilt Milk

Once again the sunniest part of the day was this morning. I am happy to say that the fault on our landline was successfully repaired while I stayed near the phone and Jackie continued weeding and planting.

Nugget and Lady were both in attendance, but his new partner tweeted that she was not ready for her close up.

Nugget, as always, was perfectly happy to pose.

Now, “Where’s Nugget?” (64)

Our blogging friend JoAnna was surprised to see yesterday’s dragons. Here is another, complete with appropriate legend, that The Assistant Photographer also photographed for her.

This afternoon we drove to Brockenhurst station to enquire about train times, then further into the forest. Much of our National Park is actually owned by the National Trust. In the interests of preservation, this charitable body bought up areas before the Park was declared free from further development.

Cadnam and Penn Commons are both in the Trust’s ownership. It is these that we explored today.

Although a dry day, the skies in mid-afternoon were draped in clouds, giving a gloomier appearance than we experienced in reality.

The undulating ground adds interest to the landscape with skeletal trees and perhaps a trig point.

A few cattle appeared to be waiting patiently outside a farm for their dinner.

One calf was less patient. Another waited patiently in vain. Look at the mother’s hoof –

so eager was her calf that

much milk was spilt in the process. This is not unusual.

Further along the road, grazed sheep, some like fluffy white balls

a couple of normal sized ponies

and a little Shetland.

We diverted onto the track leading to Shady Pool and more ponies.

Jackie photographed the landscape,

a determined donkey trying to take my place,

and me photographing the ponies.

This evening we dined on Mr Pink’s fish and chips with our own pickled onions and gherkins with which we both drank Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2018.

 

 

 

Raindrops

It was a shame that we were only due sunshine and lack of rain this morning, because I needed to be at home for the Openreach engineer engaged by BT. I won’t dwell on this, but, although the man turned up on time the problem is not resolved. It didn’t help that he hadn’t been told what Friday’s engineer had done and that he had been sent for an installation rather than a repair. Another technician is to attend tomorrow.

I did manage to wander round the garden before heavy rain set in for the afternoon.

We have numerous hellebores;

a prolific variety of camellias;

iris reticulatas;

and snowdrops coming into bloom throughout.

One of the occupants of the Dragon Bed cradles her egg;

another has recovered well after Aaron’s spinal surgery.

After lunch, with raindrops splattering on the roof of the car and slaloming down the windscreen, we took a drive into the forest.

The watery Black Lane, in the murk, lived up to its name.

Many of our roads are now irrigated by overflowing ditches and waterlogged fields.

Braggers Lane, with its

rippling reflective bubbling pools stretching alongside, is a good example.

 

Despite the banked verges, the fields are very generous with their excess water.

Woodland is a little meaner.

A group of horses, some wearing waterproof rugs, simply tolerated the downfall.

Further along, on Thatchers Lane, fallen. lichen-coated branches, recently at home on dry land, are reflected in their own pools. Drinks cans now bob beside them.

Long haired goats foraged in the grass alongside Fish Street. One inquisitive creature raised its head briefly before getting on with its late lunch.

Sheep sheltering on London Lane wondered why I was standing there getting wet.

At Avon thatchers seemed to have called it a day. It seemed a good idea, so we set off for home.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s nicely matured sausage casserole; crisp roast potatoes; firm Brussels sprouts; and tricolour carrots with which I finished the Malbec.

 

 

 

Mud-caked

I have to acknowledge that I seem to be out of step with more regular reviewers of The Favourite which we watched on Prime after dinner yesterday.

I am not competent to comment on the historical accuracy of this story of the last years of Queen Anne, a very sad eighteenth century English monarch; nor for the depiction of Court life of the period. But maybe that is not the point of the film which focusses on the battle between two women for the position of Royal Favourite.

The three stars of Yorgos Lanthimos’s alleged tragicomedy offer undoubtedly excellent performances. Olivia Colman and Rachel Weisz certainly deserved their awards. Emma Stone was also very good. Unfortunately, although one could sympathise with each of them in their own struggles I found it impossible to like any single character in the film.

It was an assault on the senses, not least for dirge-like banging music(?) and weird cinematography seemingly making use of a fish-eye lens and dizzying panning effects. Tragic, yes. Comic, not for me. Maybe I just don’t find it easy to laugh at people who are struggling.

Today was another of unceasing gloom.

This morning we each took our cameras into the garden at different times.

 

My pansies were photographed in the front garden, Jackie’s, somewhat nibbled, at the back;

Jackie photographed bright magenta cyclamen while I pictured the stone cherub reclining  against the tree trunk beside them;

the first two pelargonium images are Jackie’s;

two more are mine;

The Head Gardener produce her own photos of her pelargonium cuttings in the greenhouse;

she also photographed her stumpery, with watching owls and brown grasses;

vinca;

bergenia;

hebe;

viburnum;

mahonia;

cineraria;

 

euphorbias Silver edge and Rubra;

and primulas.

I contributed a range of camellias.

Soon after lunch we drove into the soggy forest, where the green at Bramshaw has been ploughed up by the hooves of

 

mucky sheep;

dismal donkeys;

and mud-caked cattle.

We each photographed a weather vane. Jackie’s bore Father Time,

mine a pair of geese.

A pair of riders road past.

Nearby a robin tweeted to one of a trio of

miniature be-rugged ponies.

Further on, approaching Newbridge we encountered

another herd of cattle. The second of these two photographs of Jackie’s includes a redwing and a crow, two of the avian entourage

accompanying the bovines.

Here is a redwing

and a wagtail.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy chicken Jalfrezi, savoury rice, vegetable samosas, and parathas with which I finished the Garnacha Syrah while the Culinary Queen abstained.

 

 

 

 

 

Fauna And Flora

This morning I watched the recorded Rugby World Cup quarter final match between England and Australia.

After lunch Jackie drove us into the forest where most of the free ranging animals were on display.

Donkeys with a foal basked in the sunshine at Bramshaw, where

another wandered up a lane towards the green occupied by

 

 

 

red brown and black Highland and other cattle.

In the vicinity of Nomansland we drove down a lane in Deazle Woods, up and down which a pair of walkers walked several times. Our paths continued to cross as we continued towards Newbridge. Each time I left the car with a camera they were there.

Here are some scenes of the woodland I wandered through.

Returning to the road from Nomansland we encountered a couple of sows with two piglets snuffling among the mud in search of mast.

One little piggy let out a fearful squeal as its mother butted it out of reach of one tasty morsel she wanted for herself.

Another donkey foal sat in the road as we approached Newbridge.

Sheep and cattle shared pasturage here.

One mother suckled her hungry calf. There was a certain amount of avid spillage.

A young lady speeding astride a sturdy steed seemed amused to scatter the sheep.

Just outside the village a small Shetland pony kindly enhanced my view of a backlit autumnal tree,

while a larger animal gave a demonstration of how to cross a dry ditch.

Back at home I watched the rugby quarter final match between New Zealand and Ireland, while Jackie planted more pansies and snakehead fritillaries and cleared more beds.

She photographed fuchsias Army Nurse and Display, heuchera leaves, phlox, and a  Japanese anemone.

Nugget was, of course, in attendance,

and wishes it known that he does feature in this garden image, perched above the central hanging basket. We considered that this was too difficult an example for the “Where’s Nugget?” game,

and made him settle for this “Where’s Nugget?” (38).

This evening we dined on Jackie’s wholesome cottage pie, the mash topped with fried potatoes; piquant cauliflower cheese; and crunchy broccoli and carrots with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Parra Alta Malbec 2018.

 

More Than She Could Chew

Aaron works in all weathers. This morning, however warm enough, was even too wet for him. He visited anyway and we enjoyed a pleasant conversation over tea, coffee, and biscuits.

Afterwards I watched England’s World Cup Rugby match against Tonga.

Although this afternoon the skies remained overcast, the steady rain let up; Jackie worked on cuttings in the greenhouse; and I tried to photograph

Nugget without his getting too much under my feet as he darted back and forth after prey.

“Where’s Nugget?” (28)

Rosa Glauca hips and pelargoniums are just two examples of wearers of glistening pearls;

Virginia creeper perspired precipitation,

which weighed down one solitary bedraggled wasp’s antennae.

We have never before had so many nuts dropping from our copper beech. They have to be swept up daily, the husks making good mulch.

Later, with the sun made fairly regular appearances, we drove out into the forest.

One flock of sheep occupied the green at Bramshaw

while another streamed out onto a side lane.

A lone pony was carrying out lawn mowing duties at Nomansland.

Pigs, such as these at Landford, sought out mast;

we wondered what this one at Fritham had caught. soon we realised that

she had trapped a rat

and that she had bitten off more than she could chew. Jackie exclaimed that this sight had permanently put her off pannage pork.

We took the lane leading from Fritham down to Eyeworth Pond where

small birds flitted to and from the trees and the peanuts birders had left on the posts.

An inquisitive cow raised its head in the woodland,

and ponies enhanced the moorland landscape.

This evening we dined on fish pie and a medley of carrots, cauliflower, greens, and runner beans, all perfectly cooked al dente. We both drank Albarino 2017.

The Borrowers’ House

On https://derrickjknight.com/2019/06/16/mutual-grooming/ I featured a photograph taken at Oxton in May 1999 which I had e-mailed to Louisa.

Today, while listening to the men’s Cricket World Cup match between England and Australia, I scanned the rest of a batch of prints I had retained from that trip to Oxton taken with Michael and his family on one of their holidays at Lindum House.

Our walk took us along a path through fields of barley.

Emily sped ahead.

An undulating sheep field led to

more open landscape

above which Emily and Oliver took a rest.

We travelled on to Halam where Emily was delighted to find The Borrowers’ House.

This evening Jackie and I dined on succulent pork chops roasted with onions and sage; new potatoes sautéed with leeks and peppers; and crisp broccoli with which the Culinary Queen drank Blue Moon and I drank more of the Squinizano.