Repelling All Borders

The sparrows are back in their regular nest made from

an ineffective burglar alarm.

Mother takes her turn, but it is mainly father who stands guard from various vantage points and, looking this way and that, vociferously repels all boarders.

We lunched with Elizabeth and Mum at Woodpeckers. Mum enjoyed an omelette followed by apricots and ice cream. My sister and I chose an excellent steak and ale pie with creamed potatoes and vegetables; Jackie favoured mackerel and orange salad which she pronounced very good. We three guests all chose light and tasty date pudding and ice cream.

Afterwards leaving Brockenhurst by an unnamed narrow lane, Jackie and I continued further into the forest.

Three cyclists rested on a rail outside the village.

Until I approached too close we watched a group of deer among the trees at Boldrewood. Some of these creatures had lost their horns. I understand they will grow again.

On the road to Linwood I photographed ponies in the landscape,

and again on the hillside at Appleslade.

We simply dined this evening on beef and mustard sandwiches.

Number 32

One of Aaron’s tasks today was to reinforce the

wobbly posts on the entrance to the Rose Garden,

cerinthes have proliferated by self-seeding.

The Oval Path curves round the bed beyond that entrance.

Shadows fall across the Gazebo and Brick Paths.

The yellow and orange diurnal poppies are preparing for my daily dead-heading routine.

The rejuvenated red Japanese maple rescued first by me and then by Aaron a couple of years ago blends well with honesty and the background camellia.

The eucalyptus enhances a number of views.

A spreading white spirea graces the Palm Bed.

Honesty, bluebells, daffodils, and a variety of daffodils add their points of colour.

Bees busy themselves gathering pollen from the crab apple blossom.

This afternoon we all drove to The Beachcomber at Barton on Sea. This had clearly been a most popular idea. The café itself was virtually empty, but the garden was packed out. We managed to find a table and wait for our drinks. A rather wearied staff member would come out with a tray and call the relevant number of the order.

I watched one young gull preening on a rooftop, while

a black headed gull seemed taken aback by the sight of

a most glamorous dog-walker.

Smaller birds, such as sparrows, hoped to find crumbs on the tables.

Bolder starlings emptied the plates of left-overs. When they carried off their prey they were lucky if it was not snatched by the marauding gulls. This group was feasting on the scraps of number 32.

This evening we dined on succulent roast lamb; crisp roast potatoes and parsnips; multicoloured carrots; green beans; Yorkshire pudding; sage and onion stuffing; piquant cauliflower cheese; mint sauce; redcurrant jelly; and flavoursome gravy. Jackie and Becky drank Western Cape Chenin Blanc 2018, Ian drank Kronenbourg, Louis drank water, and I drank Moravista Merlot Bonarda 2018.

Bad Hair Day

This afternoon Jackie drove me to Eyeworth Pond and back to watch the birds.

Golden gorse glowed in the sunshine on Hinchelsea Moor and many others.

The deciduous trees, like this oak, are all filling with foliage.

Walkers along the Rhinefield Ornamental Drive

gave scale to the giant redwoods.

Mandarin ducks are not native to UK, but we now have a feral population which originates from escapees from collections. These two males brightened an otherwise dull Eyeworth Pond.

Birders tend to place nuts and other food on the posts of the gate to the woodland footpath. A moss-covered log has recently been added. The blue tits, a coal tit, a nuthatch, chaffinches and sparrows were extremely busy today swooping to pick up and dart off with nutriment for the babies in their nearby nests.

A pair of sparrows left a tardy chaffinch on the ground beneath the post upon which they filled their beaks, debating who should set off first. Although not up to his flying bird sequence the last of these pictures is a nod to Tootlepedal.

Alongside Cadnam Lane a couple of pigs have joined

the grazing ponies and recumbent cattle now fertilising the greens alongside Cadnam Lane

One pony demonstrated its ungainly rise from the ground;

a small Shetland was definitely having a bad hair day.

This evening we dined on succulent chicken Kiev; Lyonnaise potatoes with lashings of onions; red cabbage cooked with butter and red wine; and crunchy carrots and cauliflower. Jackie finished the Sauvignion Blanc, while I drank the last of the Carménere.

Jackie’s Post

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“The only time I can hear birdsong is when I’m sitting on the loo”.

When Jackie, delivering this sentence yesterday to her sisters in Milford’s Polly’s Pantry, became aware that she had raised her voice – as she told me this morning – she had hoped other customers had not heard this taken out of context. Having been beset by building works on one side of our garden and hedge-cutting on the other, that,  opening statement was indeed true. This is because baby sparrows in the nest in our extractor fan are currently clamouring for the food parents are bringing home. Even while the fan is operating, a clunk, as the meals on wings arrive, is followed by intense tweets that would put Mr Trump to shame. Two adults proceed in non-stop convoy throughout the day.

When we first arrived here four years ago the front garden trellis bore quite weedy specimens of pink and red rambling roses, clematises and honeysuckle. Heavy pruning and nurturing has resulted in a splendid floral wall. The roses, in particular, shelter the entrance to the nest from view.

As always, the birds do not fly straight to the nest, but perch somewhere nearby to recce the surroundings before diving in. Our foraging parents choose first to alight on the trellis foliage. This morning, Jackie watched the proceedings through the hall window and photographed the birds transporting wriggling beakfuls of juicy breakfast.

Now, I may have put all this together and added my twopenn’orth, but this is quite clearly Jackie’s post.

This evening we dined on beef burgers, onions, carrots, cabbage, and mashed potato with tasty gravy.

 

900 Years Of History

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Steady rain fell all morning. This, therefore, seemed to be the day to visit Lymington Hospital to subject myself to blood tests and x-rays at their walk-in facilities. Unfortunately everyone in the catchment area had the same idea. I was advised that the best process would be to take a ticket for the blood tests, running more than an hour behind, then pose for the x-rays and return to see if my number would come up. This turned out to be a sound wheeze. Fortunately my arms are strong enough to reach behind me on the bed and support myself while seated upright in order that impossibly straightened legs could be twisted, kept still, and photographed. Not something to be tried at home. There was still another 40 minutes or so before my blood test number came up. It seemed as if Tony Hancock’s “very nearly an armful” was required. This was done to the strains of Nancy Sinatra’s ‘These Boots are Made for Walking’, which a nurse informed me was being sung to me, personally, because I deserved it. The blood tests were intended to check my fitness to tolerate surgery on the knees should the x-rays reveal the necessity.

The sparrows have again taken up residence in the gabionage which forms part of the hospital walls.

Early this afternoon the rain desisted and the sun began to make sporadic appearances. We there therefore went for a drive in the forest.

The landscape opposite the Church of St John the Baptist, Boldre was somewhat waterlogged, although the sky had brightened.

Daffodils and primroses still sprawled down the bank and in the churchyard.

On our previous visits to this historic place of worship we have been unable to gain entrance. Today the door was open in welcome. Although the exact date is not certain, a charter of c1100 refers to Bolra Church with its chapel of Brokehurst, and it is accepted that a church was built at Boldre by William I in 1079. We can be sure that the list of incumbents posted on a wall almost opposite a displayed bible of 1613 is accurate.

Jackie studies a laminated information sheet in boxes pews furnished with embroidered runners. Norman arches are seen on the left. Behind her is the West End. The Barrel or Wagon roof with its carved bosses are typical of fourteenth century country craftsmen.

The stained glass West Window, depicting Faith, Hope, and Charity, was made by Ward and Hughes of London inserted in 1864 in memory of Charles Winston. Other windows, in order, are in memory of Rosemary Bradley, Louise Emily Bowes Read and her baby son, John Philip Burrard; and lastly, The Millennium Window, designed and engraved by Tracey Sheppard FGE, and installed in April 2000.

Much of the paved flooring consists of early gravestones.

On the north wall of the nave is the John Kempe Wall Tablet. The subject was MP for Lymington in 1640. This portrait is a rare survival of the attentions of the hammers of Oliver Cromwell’s Roundheads, or the New Model Army of the English Civil War of 1642 – 51.

Two more recent works of art are the lectern designed by Cresswell Hartley Desmond and carved by his sister Phoebe over a period of twenty years from two pieces of oak from Boldre Grange given to the church in 1952; and Richard Bent’s chandelier commemorating the 900th anniversary.

This treasure will require at least another visit to fill in the gaps Jackie and I have missed.

This evening we dined on the Culinary Queen’s superb cottage pie with perfectly cooked carrots and cabbage. I finished the Navarra.

 

Guided Tour Of Sturt Pond

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Despite the heat today, Jackie continued with planting and weeding. I cut up branches from a tree Aaron had begun removing yesterday, and stuffed them into orange bags,

Late this afternoon Giles collected me and drove me to the bird hide overlooking Sturt Pond at New Milton.

Birds on Sturt Pond and static caravans

There we were able to observe the birdlife on the water between us and the static caravans opposite.

Swans taking off and landing 1Swans taking off and landing 2

This tranquil scene was soon to be disturbed by a pair of swans playing ducks and drakes.

Common tern on rock 1Common tern on rock 2

My friend and I employed quite an interesting arrangement. Giles would spot something of interest through his binoculars. I relied on the naked eye and had to be guided so I could point and click at something I couldn’t see. Take, for example, the common tern on the rock. Starting from the pale blue parasol to the right of the caravans, I would be expected to drop down to the reflected gull immediately below this and turn left at right angles to the next bird along.

Common tern on rock 3

My trust in Giles was rewarded.

The Bill Smith Tern Raft

The Bill Smith Tern Raft floats in the pond. After a ten-year development stage, the Milford Conservation Volunteers (MCV) finally launched the Bill Smith Tern Raft at Sturt Pond and the very first bird to land on it was a common tern, which also determinedly removed a herring gull who also took up temporary residence on the craft. Keith Metcalf, Conservation Manager, stated “Bill, with his band of volunteers, was a stalwart for maintaining the Solent Way footpath and this small tribute to Bill will be a lasting memorial to the services he gave so readily to the local community”. Today the raft belonged to the gulls. (See Paul Clarke’s comment below – the bird to the left is a tern)

Sparrows

A pair of young sparrows had popped over from the village in the hope that someone may have filled the empty bird feeders.

Shelducks

In the bottom left corner of this photograph are a pair of shelducks.

Sturt Pond and Hurst Castle

Across the pond lies Hurst Castle with its lighthouse.

Sturt Pond's birds

We left the hide and walked round to the bank of the pond.

Oystercatcher

An oystercatcher,

Oystercatcher in flight

finding nothing tasty, took flight.

Little terns and black-headed gull 1

Two little terns shared a rock, whilst, behind them a common tern searched for prey;

Little terns and gulls

another gull studiously ignored them;

Little terns and black headed gull 2

and one more went fishing,

Little terns and black headed gull 3

prompting one of the terns to nip off and bring back a fish for his mate.

Cormorants and black tailed godwit 3Cormorants and black tailed godwit 1

Black tailed godwit

With a pair of cormorants on a rail in the background, we watched a black tailed godwit scavenging along the shore. Giles observed that this specimen had been left behind when all its companions had left our waters because it had an injured right leg.

(Any errors of identification are entirely the responsibility of the author.)

This evening we dined on Jackie’s tasty chicken tikka, onion and mushroom rice, and salad. She drank Hoegaarden, and I drank more of Jessie’s superb chablis.

 

Smiling For The Cameras

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Waterboy Pool 1

We have several sparrows’ nests in the garden. They, along with various other small birds, take their ablutions in the Waterboy’s pool, as they did this morning.

Sparrows - one on waterboy's head, another on pool edge

Sparrows - one on waterboy's head, one flying

Sometimes they await their turn for a dip on the little lad’s head, flying off after they are done.

Sparrow on hook 1Sparrow on hook 2

Other perches also come in useful.

I carried out an administrative task in relation to our friend Wolf’s executorship, after which Jackie drove me to the Hordle Post Office.

Crane transporter 1

We were narrowly beaten to Hordle Lane by a crane transporter. This held us up somewhat,

Crane transporter 2

since it took up most of the tarmac, and anyone coming from the other side of the road had to risk driving into the ditch.

Crane transporter 3

There were quite a few of these because it was school run time.

Mount Pleasant Lane

After I had eventually posted some missives, we travelled on to Brockenhurst via Mount Pleasant Lane which rather lived up to its name.

Heron

At Highland Water a heron strode purposefully along the shallow stream,

Ponies

on the other side of which a group of small ponies mowed the lawns.

Pony and family 1

One of their number had remained on our side and attached itself to a small family.

Pony and bare feet

The father collected up the picnic and took it to a safer place,

Mother and two boys

while the boys watched with some consternation the pony snuffling the bicycle.

Pony and shoe

With teeth

Pony scratching and family

and hoof, the animal sought to relieve its itching,

Pony and family 2

reporting progress to the mother and her younger son

Pony and photographer

as the father crouched down with his camera.

Pony and photographers

While other photographers thronged to the scene the model began smiling for the cameras.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s superb lamb jalfrezi, her rice with peas, and her sag ponir, with which we both drank Kingfisher.