Drying Up

It is normal practice for someone from New Forest District Council to mark areas of the tarmac for repair with white corner lines. These sometimes stay so long that they can be erased by traffic.

A BBC News item of 17th May concerning Lymington and its environment begins with “Potholes in neighbouring towns have been daubed with penis images in an apparent attempt to speed up repairs.

Hampshire County Council said the graffiti in Lymington and Milford-on-Sea would be removed when engineers assessed the holes.” (https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-65623391#)

Varying opinions are viewed in the article.

Today I photographed one in Ramley Road.

This was at the start of a forest drive after a successful hygienist clean of my elderly gnashers.

Dappled lanes enlivened our chosen route;

sunlight splashed the banked verges of South Sway Lane, while

the dribble of the drying stream beneath the ford on Holmsley Passage scarcely rippled what surface remained, and

Healthy grasses elegantly bent their heads beside it.

Cattle cropped the verges of Holmsley Road.

Shadows stretched across Bisterne Close, where the yellow flag irises and white water buttercups were now rooted in a dried up pool on the bed of which I stood to produce the third photograph in this gallery.

While we were out a veritable proliferation of foals had sprouted on Wotton Common. I wandered among them at will but only photographed a sample.

This evening we all dined on Jackie’s classic cottage pie topped with potato slices baked with the mince; piquant cauliflower cheese; firm Brussels sprouts, and tasty gravy; followed by Flo’s moist and well textured mango cake and custard, with which the Culinary Queen drank more of the Asahi, and I drank more of the Malbec.

The Eye Of Gimlet

This morning I converted the following two posts, celebrating Louisa’s mountain adventure in 2014, from Classic to Block edits:

Early this afternoon we left the house to embark upon a forest drive. Then we spent the next couple of hours looking for the car keys, until Becky found them in a flower bed.

Jackie had unlocked the car early this morning, then, keys in hand, had removed her flags put out for the coronation. We scoured everywhere possible, including the fridge.

When Becky, who had been out herself with the young family, returned home, she had the idea of searching under the largest union flag. There, nestling among the plant leaves, were the keys to the Modus.

We therefore kept our trip out short.

Some three years ago, I had befriended a pony in a field in South Sway Lane that I had named Gimlet on account of her one piercing blue eye. She became pregnant, disappeared, and returned with a foal for a short time.

Since then the field has been empty and received a new fence. Today

I noticed two equines in a buttercup meadow behind the fence.

Was that a blue eye on the smaller pony? I aimed my lens through the bars of the fence and found that it was.

Was that the offspring of Gimlet?

Further on past Sway we spotted a new colt and his mother.

(Were it possible, I would post a picture of the parent Gimlet for reference. The relevant posts have lost all their images and I have no more time today for recovery. I will attempt that when I am in the mood).

P.S. https://derrickjknight.com/2020/10/08/back-with-foal/ This post is OK

This evening Jackie and I drove to The Red Lion at Pilley to meet Elizabeth, Jacqueline, and Frances for dinner. The others enjoyed roast beef and all the trimmings; Jackie chose excellent fish, chips, peas, and onion rings; my pick was plentiful pork tenderloin and various vegetables. Ice cream, for three of us; coffee for Fances; and vegan cherry pie with non-vegan cream for Elizabeth were to follow. Jackie drank Diet Coke while the rest of us shared an excellent Malbec.

“Not Where You Want To Meet Something Coming Round The Next Bend”

Quite early this morning we drove along

Mount Pleasant Lane beside which

sweeping landscaped fields harboured horses, some sporting fly-protection masks.

Our original destination was South Sway Lane, along which

free manure is usually on offer. All that is required from people helping themselves to this gardeners’ gold is that we leave replacement empty bags for those

that we load into our cars. As always, this morning a quantity of flying livestock came with the horse droppings, so as soon as we arrived home I transported this lot to the compost bins.

Before that we drove around for a while, pausing at Longslade Bottom where I wandered among

ponies, a foal, and walkers with or without dogs. The crowds had not yet built up.

Approaching a bend in Church Lane on the way to Pilley Jackie observed that this was “not where you want to meet something coming round the next bend”.

Very soon she found herself backing round that same corner.

On arrival at Pilley we encountered another group of assorted ponies. I explained to a couple of European visitors that the lake bed on which some of the larger animals were grazing was not normally so dry. The tourists were quite alarmed at the violence with which the smaller ones were butted out of the way by the bigger variety.

A solitary bay fronted the thatched cottages beside the green..

This evening we dined on second helpings of Forest Tandoori’s excellent takeaway fare with which I finished the Malbec and Jackie abstained.

Working On The Rose Garden

Today, the hottest day of the year, was fine and sunny.

While Jackie swept, weeded, pruned, and watered the Rose Garden. (This picture is not an official “Where’s Nugget?”, but on reading the blog and doubly enlarging it The Head Gardener identified our familiar robin clearly silhouetted above the central bloom of clematis Warsaw Nike in the right foreground.)

I pruned roses and photographed various scenes there and elsewhere.

The Mum in a Million rose chaperoned by gladioli and foxgloves to the left of the third picture above is now in her prime.

In the first scene Jackie attends the gazebo which hosts Crown Princess Margareta and Zephirine Drouhin each exuding strong sweet scents.

This pink climber scales an obelisk

beside Margaret Merrill.

Ballerina dances elegantly

and another nameless climber, a deeper pink, soars above the arbour.

The views from the Cryptomeria Bed and the Concrete Patio lead on to the Rose Garden. The above picture contains one of the

plethora of poppies we now enjoy.

These stand against a red rhododendron.


As these bushes are nearing the end of their flowering, a different colour combination comes into its own.

This can be seen above the bench beside the Heligan Path

Back in the Rose Garden our little goldcrest continued its reflected courtship. He wasn’t fazed by us, but Jackie has now covered the mirror to reduce tantalisation.

Nugget kept us intermittent company. “Where’s Nugget?” (79).

Another view from the Cryptomeria Bed takes us towards the house, passing an unseen

arch sporting this purple clematis.

This stunning non-hardy pelargonium has survived the entire winter in a pot beside the kitchen window.

More small alliums live in the Pond Bed opposite.

The Chilean lantern tree is now quite loaded.

From the patio we have a view along the Dead End Path.

This view looks south from the Gazebo Path.

Looking in the same direction along the Brick Path we see that Wedding Day is burgeoning on the Agriframes Arch.

The roses along the Back Drive borders will also soon cover the stumps.

Irises Reticulata are cropping up everywhere.

A few days ago we visited South Sway Lane

to check on Gimlet, our carrot-loving equine friend. His field was empty, as it remained today when we came back to collect more horse manure from the house opposite. It was all gone, although it had been there on our previous trip.

Undaunted, Jackie continued to Ferndene Farm shop where there was no queue and she was able to buy several items. Still on Sway Lane,

I disembarked to photograph some backlit grey horses. The immediately trotted over to their gate so I had to be satisfied with this shot, which biggifies quite well.

This evening we repeated yesterday’s meal, except that the potatoes were old and sprouting a few roots. Our alcoholic accompaniments were the same.


Yesterday’s dinner consisted of Jackie’s superb shepherd’s pie; crisp carrots, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Rioja.

We will have more of this this evening, including the same beverages. The vegetables may be different. I am just going to prepare whatever the Culinary Queen bought in Tesco this morning, where she was very much in the minority wearing a face mask.

This was not the case with field horses on South Sway Lane when we began a brief foray into the forest. Readers will be aware that the masks are for the animals’ protection against flies.

We had not been here since the beginning of the lockdown when the trees were bare;


buttercups had not arrived, dandelion clocks were young blooms;

and moon daisies

and cow parsley were simply seeds that had not yet germinated.

Horseshoe Bottom was quite crowded with grazing ponies having no need to maintain social distance

and walkers who did.

A group of red deer outside Sway seem to have relaxed their timidity during the months without humans.


Ever-Changing Skies


Fence and compost bins

Aaron of A.P. Maintenance has recently completed the last section of fencing, and reorganised the compost bins. Today, he and his nephew Rory took away some of the resultant rubbish. This photograph is one of the few that I was able to take today in sunshine and with a dry camera.

During the rest of the day I was in and out to the garden attempting a few photographs of plants enjoying the sunshine and the showers. Perhaps only the duck and the frog were really in their element. The rain bejewelled primulas, daffodils, camellias, clematis cirrhosa, hellebores, iris, pulmonaria, and faux poppy sat for me quite nicely.

By mid-afternoon I conceded victory to the wind which enforced such rapid changes in the skies that all this last batch of pictures were produced within minutes during which rain fell continuously. Clouds rolled rapidly across the Heavens, sometimes concealing, sometimes revealing the sun

Holly trunk

throwing its glowing light on this holly trunk against a sludgy bank of cloud.

This evening we dined on minced beef pie, creamy mashed potato and swede, red cabbage, crunchy carrots, leeks, and onions. I finished the merlot.