Beside The Breakwater

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This morning I pulled up a chair for Eric Gill, with whom I was soon to part company.

The Four Gospels 1The Four Gospels 7

When, four days ago, we visited All Saints’ Church at Bransgore, I knew that I would present the parish with my Folio Society facsimile copy of the Golden Cockerel Press edition of The Four Gospels, designed and illustrated by Eric Gill. The original was published in 1931. The Folio facsimile, from 2007, comes with a companion volume of essays by John Dreyfus and Robert Gibbings. The reason for the chair is that the work is too large to fit into my scanner, so I had to use a camera to record the book. Gold leaf is applied to the cover, the spine, and the edges of the pages.

The Four Gospels 4The Four Gospels 5The Four Gospels 6

A church that houses Gill’s original stone carvings is surely a suitable home for this book, containing his bold illustrations and superb lettering. Enlarging these illustrations will show the texture of the paper.

The Four Gospels 3

Each of the four evangelists is introduced by his own page.

The Four Gospels 8

All is contained in a strong box bearing the craftsman’s trademark elegantly simple calligraphy.

In order for me to present the book Jackie drove me to the home of Ingrid Tomkins who had shown us round the church. She explained that it would be kept in a safe place to which interested visitors would be given access.

Landscape 1Landscape 2

Afterwards, Jackie and I took a trip into the forest. We drove through the moors towards Burley. Ponies could be seen across the landscape, also bearing the embers of controlled burning of gorse;

Landscape 3

and beside the roads stretching into the distance.

Landscape 4

One cyclist preferred to push his bike up the hill.

Landscape 5

Most of these roads have a limit of 40 m.p.h., reducing to 30 on the approach to villages. Even at 30 m.p.h. collision with a pony could be fatal.

Forest Leisure Cycling

The tourist season is not yet over for Forest Leisure Cycling in Burley,

Sows 1

where a quintet of grunting, snorting, snuffling, scampering young Gloucester Old Spot sows informed us that this year’s pannage had begun. They scratched backs, flanks, and bums against the bollards and street sign as they fell over each to enter Burley Lawn.

Sows 2

Their elegant turns of leg belied their ungainly appearance as they raced to the next possible source of food

Sows 3

upon which, like seething maggots, they all seized at once.

Forest trees

 

We travelled along the Rhinefield Ornamental Drive

Bracken 1Bracken 2

where the bracken is browning

Needles of arboretum 1Needles of arboretum 2

and fallen needles carpeting their tree roots.

Drink can on grass

During the hundred or so metres along the forest verge I ventured, I counted upwards of a dozen discarded drink containers and other detritus;

Stream 1Stream 2

and lobbed into an otherwise picturesque stream

Special Brew cans 1Special Brew cans 2

were more than that number of Carling Special Brew cans.

From here we continued to Kitchen Makers at Sway where Ann took us through two different proposals, both of which look exciting, but one of which is probably ruled out by the shallowness of our drainage system. We are to consider these two options. I told Ann that we have very good reports of her firm from Geoff Le Pard, whose mother had used them twice. Ann had fond memories of Mrs. Le Pard.

We brunched at The Beach Hut Café at Friar’s Cliff. Readers may remember that on a recent visit I chose a meal described as pulled pork burger with chips and salad, and pointed out that this was not what I had been given. My observation was accepted and an undertaking to change what was written on the board was promised. The specials board now features a quarter pound burger topped with pulled pork. There is no mention of salad. I expressed my appreciation of this, which went down well.

Couple on beach beside breakwater

The sea was rather wilder today. There was just one couple on the beach, basking beside a breakwater.

It will come as no surprise that, after Beach Hut big breakfasts, pizza and salad sufficed for our evening meal.

 

 

 

Free Ice Creams

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We spent a sweltering morning on garden tasks. Jackie prepared an area in the West Bed from which Aaron had removed an ancient, unproductive, rose yesterday for a replacement yet to be acquired. I occupied myself dead-heading and clearing up.

This afternoon we drove into the forest. Jackie did her best to avoid the bank holiday visitors, many of whom were beginning their slow trek home.

Landscape 1Landscape 2Landscape 3

We found ourselves at Thorney Hill where the views down the slopes were uninterrupted; the bracken is beginning to adopt its autumn colouring;

Blackberries

and blackberries sprawled over the hedgerows.

Cyclist

The occasional car, and one sole cyclist occupied Braggers Lane,

Horses 1Horses 2

further along which we stopped to observe horses in a paddock. Some wore fly masks.

Shadows

The fencing cast criss-crossed shadows.

As we were about to leave, Heather and her companion drove up. Despite her Scots accent, this delightful woman owned one of the horses. Another belonged to her friend. Heather was enjoying an ice-cream. She offered us each a Magnum, for which we were suitably grateful.

Heather's horseHeather and horses 1Heather and horses 2

The two horses were eager to be tackled up for a ride. Their noses appeared over the barred gate, and I do believe that, as they were petted, they sampled Heather’s ice-cream cone.

Once my driver had consumed her choc ice on a stick, we waved farewell and continued on our way.

Ponies 1

Ponies at Furze Hill cropped the grass

Ponies at pool 1Pony and foal at pool

beside a stream

Foal at pool 2Foal at pool 1Foal at pool 3

into which one of this year’s foals ventured

Foal at pool 4

for a paddle while it chomped on blackberries.

Pony 1

Possibly it was this creature’s parent that pounded down the slope and across the pool to the far end; slaked its thirst, then clambered past me to the road. I thought it best to move out of the way. It looked quite heavy.

I had made my way down to the pebbly bed of the stream, so, when a passing cyclist called to her companion to look at the baby down there, it took me a second or two to realise she was referring to the young pony.

After this we enjoyed a drink in the Foresters Arms at Frogham, and returned home.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s wonderful beef in red wine; creamy mashed potato; and crunchy carrots, runner beans, and broccoli. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Fleurie.

The North/South Divide

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Today was another dull one with little sun after 10 a.m. This morning we took a motorised stroll through the forest

Breakfast

and brunched at Hyde-Out Café where I enjoyed a tastefully presented full English.

Cyclists on road 1

Just outside Bashley the first bunch of cyclists began disrupting the traffic.

Rubbish in stream

Someone had recently lobbed food packaging into the stream crossing Holmsley Passage, along which we passed the resident of

Modern House

the modern house that was once the site of the crossing keeper’s cottage.

Ponies on outfield 1Ponies on outfield 4

At Burley ponies had been engaged to mow the outfield of the cricket green.

Ponies on outfield 3

Some took a break,

Ponies on outfield 2

and, for one, the task had become all too exhausting.

Braggers Lane

It being the grockle season, only the narrower lanes like Braggers were free of cyclists and other cars designed to send drivers onto the verges.

Cyclists on road 2Cyclists on road 3Cyclists on road 4

More common were crocodiles like these escorted children wobbling along

Irises 3

opposite the irises blooming in Whitemoor Pond.

Foxgloves 1Foxgloves 2Foxgloves 3

Mauve foxgloves stood proudly erect all over the forest.

Orchids and ferns 1Orchids and ferns 2Orchids and ferns 3

On the slopes on other side of the road leading into Bolderwood, where the first two of these pictures were taken, wild orchids clustered among the curling ferns.

Orchids, ferns, and bottleBottle in ferns

Someone had lobbed a bottle into this lovely landscape.

Tree stump

Logging had been carried out in the vicinity of this stump with its moss-covered exposed roots.

Foal and ponies

The A31, that bisected the forest into North and South, spans the road through Bolderwood, bringing the modern world into stark contrast with the historic home of this equine family whose ancestors grazed the forest floors for centuries.

Horse riders

One of two riders crossing the heath on the other side of the main thoroughfare gave me a pleasant smile, after which we exchanged waves.

For our dinner this evening Jackie produced tasty chicken thighs marinaded in lemon and herbs and roasted with peppers; boiled potatoes, carrots, and green beans.

 

 

 

Petrified By Ponies

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This afternoon we visited Otter Nurseries in order to buy rambling roses to supplement the planting Jackie carried out this morning.

Jackie in discussion ablout companulas

The Head Gardener was soon into a discussion about campanulas with a another customer seeking information.

I wandered around the plentiful displays while Jackie selected Perennial Blush and Super Elfin ramblers. A bee flitted from lavender to lavender.

Walkers on road

As we parked for me to investigate the Heywood Mill stream, a family group wandered, chatting, down the road.

Stream

The stream itself was unhindered one side of the road bridge,

and bore the reflections of a fallen tree on the other.

Deer

As we drove away, I spotted a deer. This necessitated by driver screeching to a halt and , heart in mouth, reversing back along the narrow, winding, lane until I could poke my lens into the hedgerow. The creature did not hang around.

English bluebells lined the verges and

Bluebells in wood 1

carpeted woodlands.

Ponies - one pregnant

Tempted by the sight of two white ponies, one of which was very pregnant, we drove down an even narrower lane.

Horse and rider

Further on we encountered a horse and rider, requiring us to stop for them to edge on by.

Next came the penned-in horned sheep. One of these woolly animals was particularly inquisitive.

Ponies on road

There were so many ponies on the road near Pilley, that a young driver was unable to move on. Jackie had to drive round her. She apologies, saying that she was petrified by the ponies. It was only when the horses thinned out a bit that she was able to get back into gear.

One of this group was a foal, still very wobbly on its legs.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s sublime cottage pie, served with carrots and Brussels sprouts. I finished the Vacqueyras. Jackie didn’t imbibe further as she had drunk her Hoegaarden on the patio beforehand.

Don’t Frighten The Humans

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Today was largely overcast, but it brightened up a little in Brockenhurst.

We spent the morning mostly tidying and composting the Oval and Elizabeth’s Beds. Jackie continued with this work after we went for a drive this afternoon. I can report that there has been no evidence of Big Beast activity for 48 hours.

Many of the verges in Sandy Down seem to have been tended by the residents. Particularly attractive was that outside Cranford Cottage, where cultivated rhododendrons grow alongside gorse.

Cattle were out in force on the verges and in the woods of Brockenhurst. The mottled black group, perhaps jealous of the attention given to the Highland creatures, wandered into the road to claim their own share.

I became a bovine expert when I explained to a number of visitors that these were Highland Cattle rather a long way from their natural environment.

Stream

Venturing into the woodland in order to photograph one particular grazer, I discovered an inviting fern-bound stream, alongside which

my quarry chomped on grass and other undergrowth.

Further along the road a pair of ponies performed their own interpretation of Oscar Wilde’s aphorism. What they were doing was acceptable as long as they didn’t frighten the humans.

This evening we dined on chicken casserole, sage and onion stuffing, roast potatoes, Yorkshire pudding, carrots, Brussels sprouts, and runner beans. I drank more of the shiraz.

Raising The Roof

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Threatened with an early disappearance of the sun that shone through the mist at dawn this morning, we took a drive soon afterwards. I have to confess that Jackie was the only person out of bed early enough to produce these two photographs.

Our first stop was at Norleywood where the land alongside a stream was very waterlogged;

and primroses and celandines sprawled over the slopes and beside the stream.

Blackthorn 1

Prolific blackthorn also bloomed.

Llamas, two of which reconstructed Doctor Dolittle’s Pushmepullyou, grazed in a field further along the road;

Cattle and blackthorn

cattle opposite had freedom to roam;

Chickens

while neighbouring chickens certainly enjoyed free range.

At East End, an interesting problem for motorists was presented by the unloading of a lorryload of thatcher’s reeds at the same time as two huge vehicles were parked outside the house next door where heavy landscaping seemed to be in progress. We watched the reeds lifted by crane, carried over the hedge, and lowered into position for the imminent task of re-thatching an impressively proportioned house.

Mimosa

A rather splendid mimosa grew in a garden on the opposite side of the road.

Low tide on flats

It was so misty beyond Tanners Lane beach that neither the Isle of Wight

Shore in mist

nor Lymington harbour was visible.

Photographer

After I had taken this very pleasant woman’s photograph we had an enjoyable conversation, beginning with our lack of complete understanding of the cameras we were using.

Primroses, violets, ditch

More pale yellow primroses shared the banks of the ditch along the lane with little violets.

This evening we dined on Set Meal B at Imperial China in Lyndhurst, both drinking Tiger beer.

Playing Gooseberry

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This morning we continued Spring clearing in the garden. My task was dead heading the hydrangeas.

One of Jackie’s was to clean out the Waterboy’s pond. He nodded his approval.

The Head Gardener was extremely excited about her corydalis flexuosa ‘China Blue’ which is apparently hard to grow.

Another euphorbia is flowering in the front garden,

where the winter flowering cherry has blushed continuously since September.

Sitting on the Castle Bench when I had finished my gardening I engaged in a game of peep-bo with a collared dove in a shrub that has become a tree. This creature kept lowering its head out of sight, then popping up briefly.

Collared doves 3

At least, that is what I thought I was playing. But, hang on a minute. What was this?

Collared doves 2

Do you see?

Yes. There were two. I had been playing gooseberry.

Collared dove 2

Sussed.

This afternoon we went for a drive in the forest.

Pool, gorse, reflection

The Shirley Holms corner beyond Sway is still pretty waterlogged.

Ponies

These young ponies found a dry patch to have a lie down;

Pony rising to its feet

although my attention prompted the larger one, looking almost as awkward as I would, to rise to its feet.

Pigeons in flight

As I returned to the car, two pigeons took off into the skies.

Primroses decorated the bank of a stream by the roadside at Sandy Down,

Horse eating hay

where horses in a field chewed hay,

and snake’s head fritillaries shared berths with daffodils and more primrose.

Magnolia stellata

Steff’s Kitchen is attached to Fairweather’s Garden Centre in Beaulieu. We took coffee and water there, where a magnificent magnolia stellata shed confetti over the tables and the grounds.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s beef, peppers, mushrooms and onions cooked in a rich red wine sauce and served with new potatoes, carrots, and Yorkshire pudding. I drank more of the shiraz.