Pool At Sunset

Enough steady rain fell throughout the morning for Jackie to join a line of drivers playing water sports spraying each other as they drove through pools speeding out from the verges along Christchurch Road as she drove me to Birchfield dental practice for a hygienist session with Bronya.

By mid afternoon bright sunshine shone on our forest drive.

The Wootton Road post box now carries a crocheted Remembrance Day tribute. This actually stands in Tiptoe. Further along the thoroughfare enters woodland and becomes

Tiptoe Road, which, today was awash. Naturally I stepped out and photographed cars splashing through the pool streaming across the moorland and down into the opposite field. Naturally Jackie photographed me in action and a van from her driving seat.

She also pictured mushrooms and autumn leaves on the ground and leaves on their branches against the clear blue sky.

A young pedestrian was forced to cross the bridge by the Forest Road ford where the water doesn’t usually rise so high.

At first along Bisterne Close, our paths kept crossing with a dog walker at impressively far apart locations.

Despite the continuing comparatively mild weather the woodland alongside the Close looks definitely autumnal.

Jackie produced images of fall’s red-gold ferns and squirrels perhaps stocking up their larders.

Finally the Assistant Photographer caught the sun slip sliding away sunset and me failing to do so.

This evening we all dined on Jackie’s stupendous chicken and vegetable stewp and cheesy pizza with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Hacienda Uvanis Garnacha Old Vines 2022.

Orchard Lakes

Readers of this morning’s earlier post will not be surprised to learn that, despite having sensibly skipped lunch, no further sustenance was needed until 

today’s brunch taken at Lakeview Café. All tasty items in these generous platefuls were provided by the nearby Ferndene Farm Shop. Jackie, who photographed them has one each of tomatoes, bacon rashers, sausages, hash browns, and portions of mushrooms and baked beans. I enjoyed two of everything. Also included in the set meals were slices of toast and large mugs of tea, for me, and coffee for Jackie.

From the café we could see 

the lakes with their still, silent, fishermen, and one old dog which heaved itself to its feet and mustered the energy to bark at me.

Strategically placed lifebelts were hung on a number of posts.

Before returning home we took a turn round Bisterne Close where 

a squirrel sat on the tarmac finishing its own brunch, and

a number of ponies took theirs in the woodland.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s wholesome chicken and vegetable stewp and fresh bread and butter.

A Surfeit Of Foals

This afternoon Jackie drove me into the forest. She spotted a possibly sleeping foal on the verge of Wilverley Road and parked the car so I could walk back to find the prone animal.

As I reached it it clambered to its feet and sought

the comfort of its mother who twitched her tail, perhaps wishing to deter the suckler and necessitating a hoof-scratch.

On my return to the car I photographed the woodland landscape,

followed by that at Wilverley Pit which accommodated its own scattered herd.

The South Weirs telephone box just outside Brockenhurst has now become a public book exchange as have so many now surplus to requirements because no-one uses them any more.

Another foal on the opposite side of the road from the box took great interest in the roadside furniture, essentially traffic calming devices such as the narrowing of the access negotiated by this

Vintage Hot Rod Society member.

Another foal lay among other ponies on the outskirts of Beachern Wood,

where a squirrel stop-start jerked its way across a five-barred gate.

Ober Water is a little fuller than on our last visit, and reflects the surrounding trees, many of the roots of which have been exposed by decades of rivulets.

Some of those roots even span arms of the stream.

I reached the stage where there were so many foals about that I stopped photographing them.

This exceptional group, planted on a bend in the road and consequently causing traffic to make a very wide berth warranted further attention.

This evening we dined on more of the baked gammon; plump chicken thighs; macaroni cheese; crunchy carrots; tender runner beans; and tangy red cabbage, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Faugères.


I begin with this picture of Jackie’s, down the Brick Path, which I unfortunately omitted yesterday. Mea culpa.

We received a fair bit of rain overnight, but today was dry, if pretty cool, with intermittent sunny periods blown along by stiff breezes.

Our morning began with a trip to Tesco where Jackie carried out the shopping, then wheeled it to the car in a trolley, and I helped unload it into the Modus, after having read a little more of David Copperfield. I then unloaded it at home before my Chauffeuse took us on a forest drive.

During one of the duller spells we drove down Lower Pennington Lane where fresh cow parsley; burgeoning blackberry blossom; and carpets of yellow flowers dotted the fields and hedgerows beneath lowering skies. An inquisitive goat peered through a farm fence.

Looking across to the Isle of Wight we could see Hurst lighthouse and castle, distant walkers, and hang gliders welcoming the wind.

As we pulled into Longslade Bottom car park I was intrigued by voices emanating from the undergrowth. Upon inspection I met three friendly women seated on folding chairs enjoying the shelter.

Dog walkers shared the grassy slopes with ponies. By and large they were respectful of each other.

Then along came a gentleman with two dogs on leads. A small brown one barked a lot. It was loosed. It carried on barking at the ponies. Fortunately they ignored it.

I was also let loose on Bisterne Close where I photographed the woodland and its trees, lichen, moss, and fresh ferns.

A squirrel, racing between trees froze, listened, then sped on. It was so kind of it to pause for the photographer.

A young buck in a field of yellow flowers was quite unfazed by my presence.

More ponies stood among the gorse in the moorland alongside Holmsley Passage.

This evening we dined on a rack of ribs in barbecue sauce; Jackie’s delicious egg-fried rice; and tender green beans, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Rioja.

Woodland Denizens

The weather temperature has plummeted. Early this morning Jackie photographed ice on the new water features.

Beginning mid-morning I wasted four hours and my frayed nerve ends wrestling with an on line banking problem arising from a regular heating fuel supplier who had changed their bank details, and a system which could not adequately cope with the change. I will bore neither myself nor my readers by elaborating on this issue.

This afternoon Jackie successfully restored my equilibrium by offering to take me for a forest drive, with the proviso that she wafted past Ferndene Farm Shop en route. I accepted with the generous suggestion that she could shop there if she so desired. The ensuing shopping was a very smooth operation.

I wandered among the woodland alongside Bisterne Close, photographing isolated ponies; general scenes including fallen branches, gorse, and mossy roots; the serpentine stretched limbs of a giant oak; and the dried autumn leaves I crunched underfoot to create the only sounds in the otherwise silent forest. There was not even any birdsong.

Jackie, meanwhile had pictured some trees, one of which was a holly with pony tooth marks on the trunk, prompting the realisation that all such scores are borne by hollies on which we have noticed these equines’ marks over the winter. She also captured


and a resident squirrel.

While I drafted this post two separate falls of snow streaked, and drifted, past my window. None settled.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s splendid egg fried rice with a rack of spare ribs marinaded in plum sauce. The Culinary Queen drank Peroni and I drank more of the Cotes du Rhone.

Head To Head

On a bright, crisp, afternoon Jackie drove us to Bisterne Close,

where she parked and sat in the car while I wandered into the forest with my camera, rustling the dried autumn leaves, across which the low sun cast long shadows. One lone cow wandered off into the distance. Golden gorse glowed; a few beech and oak leaves lingered on the branches; some fallen limbs bore lichen and fungus; holly berries shone for Christmas.

Jackie photographed a bouncing squirrel

and a pedestrian me.

Ponies were mostly waiting expectantly at the far end of close. What for was unclear.

This evening we dined on well roasted gammon and parsnips; creamy mashed potatoes; piquant cauliflower cheese; firm carrots; and tender green beans, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Comté Tolosan.

More Than It Could Chew

First published in 1936, just three years before the outbreak of World War 2, “Eyeless in Gaza” is possibly Aldous Huxley’s most acclaimed work. His familiar themes of the tension between emotional and intellectual lives of his privileged hedonistic characters are explored in depth with his usual insightful knowledge of these self-centred human beings. He also deals with the conflict between warfare and pacifism in a far-sighted way which resonates uncannily with our modern conflict between self-seeking hate and generous love. Sexuality in this work is seldom generous, sometimes manipulative, and often short-lived.

The language and the dialogue is always fluent with much easy, poetic, description, and occasional adventurous episodes.

I finished reading my somewhat careworn first edition today.

The remnants of the green shield logo of Boots Book-lovers’ Library and what looks like a peel-resistant borrowers record inside the back one suggest that my copy began life as an item on those shelves.

Wikipedia tells us that:

Boots Book-Lovers’ Library was a circulating library run by Boots the Chemist, a chain of pharmacies in the United Kingdom. It began in 1898, at the instigation of Jesse Boot‘s wife Florence, and closed in 1966, following the passage of the Public Libraries and Museums Act 1964, which required councils to provide free public libraries.

The lending libraries were established within branches of Boots across the country, employing dedicated library staff whose training included examinations on both librarianship and literature.[2] Boots’ libraries displayed books for browsing on open shelves[3] at a time when many public libraries had closed access. A catalogue of the books available was first published in 1904.

Subscriptions were available in Classes A and B, the latter being restricted to borrowing books at least one year old, as well as a premium ‘On Demand’ subscription.[4]Boots Booklovers Library edition of The Saint in Europe

Books carried the ‘green shield’ logo on the front and an eyelet at the top of the spine.[5] Membership tokens were rectangles of ivorine[6]with a string similar to a Treasury tag; the string could be secured through the eyelet so that the token acted as a bookmark.[7]

Boots also briefly reprinted classic books at the start of the 20th century under the imprint ‘Pelham Library’,[8] named after the flagship Boots shop on Pelham Street in Nottingham,[9] and later sold books as ‘Boots the Booksellers’.’

My mother was regularly taking my brother and me to Wimbledon Public Library from the late 1940s, (https://derrickjknight.com/2012/05/25/miss-downs/) so the 1964 Act mentioned above obviously had no effect on our town.

Like dogs marking their territory, previous readers had left deposits throughout the pages. The burn marks on page 17 we assumed had been left by a pipe smoker – they singed through three pages; other small greasy spots, about which it was best not to speculate too much, filtered through an equal number of pages; I wondered whether any of the numerous finger prints of varying hues had been held on any national data bases.

Nick began to make headway on the coloured walls in the sitting room, whilst adding coats to the white and to the ceiling.

We left him to it this afternoon and shopped at Ferndene Farm Shop where there was no queue, then took a short drive into the vicinity of Burley.

I wandered among the woodland on the outskirts. The tree fungus sprouts from the fallen tree. Roughly in the bottom centre of the last picture can be discerned

a bouncing squirrel on its way to climb a small holly carrying a chestnut which looked rather more than it could chew.

The spreading oak tree on the way down the hill into the village now wears a golden cape. The Queen’s Head is Covid-closed.

The pool on Forest Road has completely filled up now, and was reflecting nicely in the late afternoon sun.

Autumn leaves rested beneath the water.

On Bisterne Close a young foal was undertaking an apprenticeship in hedge clipping.

We have become Elizabeth’s bubble; she joined us for dinner which consisted of Jackie’s cheese-topped shepherd’s pie; crunchy cauliflower and carrots; firm green beans; and meaty gravy. Cherry pie and cream was to follow. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden while Elizabeth and I drank more of the Faugeres, which involved opening another bottle.

Reflective Collars

Late this morning Barry, our chimney sweep and roofer, visited to look at our leaking kitchen roof. He is very busy but, a good friend, will fit us in as soon as he can.

After lunch, with violent winds still blowing, we moved the now covered patio chairs to a more sheltered position beside the house.

This afternoon we enjoyed longer bouts of sunshine between the heavy showers.

Jackie parked beside Holmsley Passage up which I wandered for a while, photographing

the autumnal landscapes.

Jackie made two contributions. The second is “Where’s Derrick” (3).

As it is half-term for schools we have been visited by a number of cyclists, some of whom, with walkers

made use of the footpaths which are all that remains of the railway line axed by Dr Beeching

We continued to Bisterne Close where again Jackie parked and I wandered.

It was the dead birch against the deep indigo sky that tempted me out of the car to photograph additional trees and shadows; bright beech leaves; and old gold bracken.

From her car the Assistant Photographer watched a squirrel, its head drilling rapidly as it gripped the snack it was enjoying.

On our return through Holmsley Passage I communed with ponies in the woodland where

the low sunlight piercing the shadows demonstrated the efficacy of the reflective collars some of these creatures wear to increase their night-time visibility. Notice which of these do not have them fitted. In this age of Covid 19 we rarely see an infant wearing a mask. So it appears to be with foals and collars.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s wholesome chicken and vegetable stoup, toast, and spicy pizza, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Trigales.

Impact On The Horizon

I spent a couple of hours this afternoon reading “The Mystery of Edwin Drood”, and, as yet, like its author, I have not finished it. I will feature it when I do.

Later, we drove into the forest where

Jackie parked beside Ran’s wood and I rambled with my camera.

A febrile squirrel periodically caught my eye.

While I concentrated on nearby chickens at Beaulieu Jackie focussed on distant egrets.

Fawley Power Station’s lesser impact on the horizon is to disappear when it has been demolished for housing development. It is represented by the unlit tower to the far right of the broader view. The Refinery pictured here continues, and is the largest in Europe.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s toothsome sausage casserole; creamy mashed potatoes; firm carrots and broccoli; and tender runner beans, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank 2107 Corbieres.

View From The Pillbox

The briefest glimpse of the weak sun effecting a halo on the silhouetted lonely pigeon in the copper beech that Jackie photographed this morning was its only appearance on this otherwise grimly dismal day.

She had left the house from the stable door in order to sweep beneath the wisteria arbour.

Nugget, immediately perching on her long-handled dustpan, had other ideas.

The Head Gardener decided to use her other broom. Her robin was onto that, too, so

she simply photographed him, on the ground, on the broom, and on the coiled wisteria, until he suddenly took off

( “Where’s Nugget?” (54) )

to sing war cries to Muggle. Now “Where’s Nugget” (55).

Sway Tower from South Sway Lane emerged into view from the murk as we drove into the forest this gloomy afternoon.


Through the five-barred gate pillbox slit the red deer herd were seen stepping elegantly across the lawns of Burley Manor.

On the outskirts of the village a sudden rapid jerky movement alerted us to the presence of a squirrel among a pile of logs awaiting the decomposition that would return them to the soil.

Further on the sodden terrain contained pools reflecting trees;

fresh reflecting streams bubbling along;

and loosened shallow roots of toppling trees. It is not simply the gusting winds that bring down these forest residents.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s wholesome shepherds pie; crunchy carrots, cauliflower, and Brussel’s sprouts with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Bordeaux.