“Where’s It Gone?”

We took an early drive to the east of the forest this morning.

Having left Lymington we traversed Snooks Lane. The nature of this narrow, winding, road suggests that it is madness to reach the 40 m.p.h. limit marked on these lanes.

Despite the idyllic location and the recently completed cleaning of the Burrard Monument someone has tossed a coke can over the low wooden rail bordering the grounds.

The tide was out at Tanners Lane where a black headed gull foraged among the silt.

The Isle of Wight, The Needles, Hurst Castle, and the two lighthouses could be viewed through a certain amount of haze.

Our next stop was at Sowley Lane, where a pony grazed, a friendly gentleman trotted with his dog, a cyclist approached; and alongside which oilseed rape blazed through a field.

It was a sleeping baby on the opposite side of the road from his mother that had caused me to disembark. After a while he woke, awkwardly found his feet and wobbled across to the pony mare who, continuing to fuel herself, offered no assistance to her offspring who eventually, unaided, latched on to his source of nutriment.

Just as we were about to continue on our way, the Modus experienced a thudding sound and a gentle rocking. The foal was using it as a scratching post. While Jackie made these portraits our little friend even allowed her to stroke his nose.

We felt a bit stuck in place while the pony seemed stuck on us.

After a last lingering caress, he turned his head and bent it in the direction of his mother. This enabled us to take off, albeit slowly. Turning back in our direction he looked somewhat nonplussed as his image in my wing mirror gradually diminished. I swear he was thinking “where’s it gone?”.

For dinner this evening Jackie produced tandoori chicken; savoury and pilau rice; and fresh salad, with which I drank The Long Way Round reserve Carmenere 2018, another excellent selection from Ian’s Christmas case.

Dougal

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This afternoon Jackie and I took a drive around the East of the forest.

Out of Lymington we turned into Snooks Lane, where we passed a white field horse.

Naturally we explored Pilley a little more. This time a couple of cows showing a partiality for stinging nettles occupied Holly Lane. A cyclist drew up alongside our waiting car. She managed to negotiate her way past the bovine blockage.

The buttressing and thatched roof suggested some age to the white houses on the far side  of the green beside the lake I have often featured.

The surrounding woodland adds to the charm of the scene.

Passing another field accommodating a very sturdy working horse, we back-tracked to photograph the back-lit animal in a bucolic scene. As so often, as soon as my intended subject spied me leaning on a five-barred gate he trotted over to make my acquaintance, coming to rest against a possibly electrified barrier. We settled for a portrait.

It was at Shirley Holms that we met Magic Roundabout’s Dougal masquerading as a Thelwell pony.

Dougal wears a reflective collar intended to alert motorists at night should he venture on to the road. Someone had hung one of these on a post at the cattle grid at the end of this road. Drivers in the dark may imagine the post is our little character. I hope the neckwear’s  owner has not met an untimely end.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s superb beef pie; luscious gravy; new potatoes; crisp carrots; Brussels sprouts; and red cabbage. Jackie drank Hoegaarden; Elizabeth, Marlborough Pinot Noir 2017; and I finished the Malbec.

 

I Am A Spider

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On quite a misty morning, we went out for a drive in such a direction as the spirit moved us.

We crossed the Lymington River and turned right along Undershore Road, giving us an atmospheric view of the level crossing we had just passed over.

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Just to the left of my vantage point, a duck led her paddle of ducklings onto the water from the muddy bank.

Woman walking saluki

Originally heading for Hatchet Pond we diverted to Tanners Lane, along which was walking a blonde woman with her equally  slender and elegant saluki, who were soon to join us on the beach,

Jackie and skull

where Jackie found the skull of the spirit that had led us there,

and I photographed the sun, the sea, birds overhead, the shingle, the invisible Isle of Wight, a beached boat, and a ferry.

Pony

We travelled on in the vicinity of Sowley where the obligatory pony stood hopefully in the middle of the road

and pheasants sped across a field.

Snooks Lane

Snooks Lane near Portmore led us back to Lymington and home.

I have not dwelt on my daily continuing wrestling with uploading my pictures. Suffice it to say that James Peacock made another visit, bringing his own Apple laptop to try that. The problems were the same, leading us both to the conclusion that the problem lies in the BT internet connection. James is to investigate the possibility of getting this improved.

When we made our first visit to the New Zealand graves at Brockenhurst, I bought two books on the subject. I finished reading the first, Clare Church’s “New Zealand Graves at Brockenhurst”, this afternoon.

This is a well researched and beautifully produced A4 size laminated paperback. In tracing the antecedents of these young men who died in WW1, the conflict that was supposed to end all wars, we learn much about the early European settlement of New Zealand. It was only in 1840 that the first British immigrants came to join the Maoris who had come from Polynesia before the 14th. century.

It was only in 1909 that the New Zealand Army was formed, yet it sent more than its fair share to join the 1914-18 conflict, and to die in foreign fields, and in the New Zealand General Hospital No. 1 in Brockenhurst. Almost as many succumbed to illness as to wounds. A proportion of the men were Maoris.

Those of European origin mostly emanated from parts of the UK, notably Scotland. We learn their civilian occupations, and those of their antecedents. As one would expect there was a preponderance of farmers and craftsmen.

The agonies of the men and of their bereaved families are apparent in their factually related stories.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious liver casserole, served with saute potatoes on a bed of peppers, leaks, garlic, and mushrooms. Dessert was cherry crumble and custard. I drank Abbot Ale.

Spider

Having spent far too many hours attempting to load today’s photographs onto WordPress, and feeling like the spider of the legend of the Scots king Robert I, I am forced to leave gaps above, which I hope to fill in due course.

Education Scotland’s website,  http://www.educationscotland.gov.uk/scotlandshistory/…/robertbruce

explains: “It is said that in the early days of Bruce’s reign he was defeated by the English and driven into exile. He was on the run – a hunted man. He sought refuge in a small dark cave and sat and watched a little spider trying to make a web.

Time and time again the spider would fall and then climb slowly back up to try again.

If at first you don’t succeed – try, try again.

Finally, as the Bruce looked on, the spider managed to stick a strand of silk to the cave wall and began to weave a web. Robert the Bruce was inspired by the spider and went on to defeat the English at the Battle of Bannockburn.

The legend as it is now told was first published by Sir Walter Scott in ‘Tales of a Grandfather’ in 1828, more than 500 years after the Battle of Bannockburn. It is thought that Scott may have adapted a story told about Sir James Douglas.

Caves across Scotland and Ireland are said to be legendary cave of Bruce and the spider: the King’s Cave at Drumadoon on Arran; King Robert the Bruce’s Cave in Kirkpatrick Fleming near Lockerbie; Bruce’s Cave – Uamh-an-Righ, Balquhidder Glen; Bruce’s Cave on Rathlin Island…”

Early the next morning I managed to load the rest of the pictures.