Crossing The Stream

This afternoon we drove to Pilley where we collected Elizabeth to take her on a photographic trip to the north of the forest and return to our home for dinner.

As I stepped out of the car to photograph ponies in a stream at Ibsley I noticed a gentleman with the same aim in mind. Back in the car I noticed a couple of very heavy horses.

Elizabeth and I both communed with ponies at North Gorley. Once more I got my own back on Jackie as she photographed

my sister and me.

On the way up the hill to the common we disturbed a stag and his harem.

Elizabeth and I photographed a bucolic smoky scene.

I gained a smile from an equestrienne crossing the stream.

Elizabeth will e-mail me her pictures tomorrow.

The aforementioned dinner consisted of Jackie’s savoury rice topped with a thick omelette; prawns of the tempura and the hot and spicy varieties; and vegetable spring rolls. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden while Elizabeth and I drank Hacienda Don Hernan Rioja 2019.

As I publish this post Jackie is driving Elizabeth home.

Rippling Reflections

Dark, brooding, precipitating skies were occasionally brightened today by suddenly, briefly, escaping sunshine. The opposite was also true, on the trip we took into a waterlogged forest after purchasing three bags of compost at Ferndene Farm Shop.

I left the car when Jackie parked on the verge of the Thorney Hill end of Burley Road. My intention was to take a shot from the top of the hill of the waterlogged landscape stretching out below. A pair of siren mallards called me from a winterbourne lake some way down. Before I reached them the ducks had disappeared; dark indigo clouds loured overhead; pattering raindrops washed my hair; my woollen jacket took on the aroma of wet sheep; and I craved automatic wipers for my blurry specs.

As Magnus Magnusson on TV’s ‘Mastermind’ would have said, I thought, “I’ve started so I’ll finish”. I was wet, anyway. I failed to photograph the downhill expanse, but

I did capture raindrops sending ripples over the surface of the downhill running streams and the reflective pools that had been created by the recent days’ and last night’s storms. The forest fauna, more sensible than I, kept well under cover somewhere.

This afternoon Jackie planted a vast number of seedlings into nursery pots in the greenhouse and together we carried the

rusted Ace Reclaim bench to the concrete patio where it will provide a platform for larger planters.

This evening we dined on tangy lemon chicken; moist chilli-spiced ratatouille; tender green beans; and boiled new potatoes, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Recital.

Highland Games

Late this morning we visited Mum in Woodpeckers where she continues to thrive. This time she availed herself of the blanket provided.

Afterwards we drove into the forest for a picnic in the car.

The day was cooler and overcast. From the bridge on Rhinefield Road I obtained enough light to photograph reflections in the stream.

Still host to a small holly tree, the toppled ancient oak at Bramshaw has now been completely cleared away,

with the exception of fallen leaves now camouflaging foraging wagtails.

A pair of donkeys leaning beside a brick wall watched

a couple of Highland cattle pondering their next move. I have often photographed them before, but not until today have I been formally introduced to Splash and Blackie. They stood aloof while a young lady did the honours.

As I returned to the car they heaved their lumbering bulks onto the tarmac and with swaying gait set off in the direction of Furzley Common which was our destination. Fortunately Jackie was able to negotiate our way round them.

We parked beside a stream and settled into our lunch when

a regular clop of horses’ hooves alerted me to the approach of a carriage and four passing a herd of cattle who were themselves soon to feature in our story.

Having journeyed a lumbering mile from Bramshaw the two Highland cattle approached and set up a regular lowing. “I wonder if they are going to join those cattle over there?”, I mused.

They were, indeed. In Splash’s case somewhat vigorously. It is not just the local flora that are confused about the season.

As I was about to return to the car a quartet of portly porkers approached. I was forced to attempt to evade the attentions of the Gloucester Old Spot. Jackie’s cackles from within almost drowned the snorting slobbering of my new admirer as she raised her dripping snout for a kiss. I was scared of this, but even more scared of her feet as she rounded me beside the car door. Being trodden on by a creature weighing up to 280kg was no joke. In the circumstances I thought my Chauffeuse was a little harsh.

This evening we dined on crisply roasted chicken thighs, sage and onion stuffing, parsnips, and Yorkshire pudding; piquant cauliflower cheese; creamy mashed potatoes; firm carrots, peas, and Brussels sprouts, and tasty gravy, with which we shared the last of the Rioja.

Owl Envy

On another hot and humid sunny day we took an early drive into the forest.

Ponies and their foals clustered together in the lowest dip of Holmsley Passage, perhaps in hopes of evading the gathering flies.

I disembarked along Bisterne Close and wandered into the dappled woodland, now devoid of ponies which could normally be expected to enhance these views; it then occurred to me that the animals on these Sultry Days are mostly seen to be gathering near possible sources of water.

This was confirmed at the corner of Forest Road where these fly-pestered ponies sheltered from the heat beside

the shallow dregs of a normally fast flowing stream.

We turned off Beechwood Lane into Church Road,

where Jackie experienced the acute pangs of owl envy when she had to bear the sight of a large carved example on someone else’s dead tree. Briefly she speculated about whether Aaron could be asked to wield his chainsaw to emulate this artwork on our recently lopped cypress.

A rowan tree here was just one of many producing very early berries.

Further verification of my horses to water theory was provided on our way back through Holmsley Passage. The first group of ponies had been within whinnying distance of the stream in which another, apparently knackered, string were slaking their thirst. This shot had to be taken through the windscreen because we had a car behind us.

With or without bigification readers will see no pony pictures lacking flies today.

This evening we dined on a second sitting of Mr Chan’s excellent Chinese Take Away dishes, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Fleurie.

I Wish I’d Brought A Carrot.

Last night we watched the first episode of series 3 of The Crown. Apart from the political aspects of the Wilson premiership I well  remember the death of Winston Churchill in 1965.

At the time I was working close to Westminster Bridge and photographed the queue of thousands waiting to pay their respects to his lying in state. These pictures feature in this post: https://derrickjknight.com/2012/05/22/the-scent-of-a-squirrel/

This morning I printed a set of photographs for Aaron of the gate he finished building on 2nd February.

Storm Dennis wept all over our area today, but he dropped his wind this afternoon. We therefore decided to go for a drive.

Racing rivulets like this one in Angel Lane ran down the gutters and verges,

rushing round into roads like Christchurch Road which is the main thoroughfare between Lymington and New Milton.

Sometimes vehicles took a wide berth with awkward consequences when they met oncoming traffic. This could result in a bucketload of water hitting windscreens in seconds. We know. It happened to us.

In order to produce these images I needed to hoist up my trouser legs and paddle through the muddy water to the sodden verge. My shoes were a little damp when I returned to the car.

 

Our next stop was on Barrows Lane where Jackie settled the Modus among the heavily pitted reflective gravel pools while I crossed

Sway Road to photograph a flooded field alongside

the equally waterlogged Lower Mead End Road.

 

Further flowing fields flooded Flexford Lane.

The junction with South Sway Lane looked so impassable that Jackie refused to turn left to investigate the circumstances of our gimlet eyed equine friend whose home would now surely be under water. She preferred to turn round and drive uphill to approach the field from the more elevated end of the lane.

As we passed Sway Tower, we noticed that streaks of blue sky stretched above.

Back down South Sway Lane we found our equine quarry, his eye now so baleful that I felt really bad that I had not brought a carrot. Anything.

Far less field, and what there was was muddy. Shaggy sodden coat and looking in need of comfort.

Pitmore Lane was also waterlogged. You can imagine what happened to me when I perched on the verge trying to merge into the fences to take these pictures.

Around the corner on Sway Road someone had thought to spread some cones along a soggy bend.

Further back we had passed a field containing a fallen tree.

Hordle Lane is perhaps 100 yards on the opposite side of Christchurch Road to our house. In a number of locations the ditches are now flowing across the road.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s luscious lemon chicken and scrumptious vegetable savoury rice with which she drank Peroni and I drank more of the Cahors.

 

 

Decidedly Reluctant To Test The Water

Blackbirds are now in the process of stripping our crab apple trees of fruit.

After a quick look around,

they tear off an apple then make their way back to their homes across the road.

We can just make out others, like this sparrow, about to leave the runway over there.

Raindrops kept the food moist between bouts of sunshine.

We spent some time making Christmas cards before and after lunch. By the time we drove to Everton Post Office to send them on their way the rain had ceased and the sky cleared somewhat.

Sunset beckoned as we approached Shirley Holms afterwards.

Pools developing on the soggy terrain.

A car drew up and parked in puddles.

The owner decanted two dogs. The animal with the thinner coat appeared decidedly reluctant to test the water.

Running streams were being gouged into the stony moorland,

and flowing over the lane.

Pastel cloudscapes resembled cotton billows.

Ponies would continue chomping grass well into the night.

Further along Shirley Holms Road unusually silent starlings gathered on an oak,

equally silently took to flight.

The still, crystal clear lake at Pilley produce mirror images,

while sunset’s pink and indigo fingers streaked the underlying pale blue skies.

 

“Don’t Get Me In Your Picture”

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Our friend Sheila Knight died last week. She had been ill for some time. We will be unable to attend the funeral, but I had been asked to write a tribute. I did so this morning and e-mailed it. It will be entered in a book and read out at the service.

At midday Jackie drove me to Milford on Sea for Peter at Sears Barbers to cut my hair.

Keith Mitchel refurbishing phone box

Opposite the hairdressers Keith Mitchel was refurbishing the telephone box. He told me that the Parish Council had bought it for £1 from the telephone company and were seeking local views on the purpose to which it should be put.

Sun on Solent, Isle of Wight & The Needles

We then travelled along the coast road. Sun sparkled on the Solent. The Isle of Wight and The Needles were nicely silhouetted against a streaky sky;

Speedboat

a speedboat sped across the surface of the sea,

Boys throwing rocks

into which three boys lobbed rocks.

We lunched at Sails café in Barton on Sea.

Reflections in streamReflections in stream 2Stream bed and reflectionsStream and reflections

Travelling north past Ringwood we paused beside Linbrook Lake, and watched reflections in a stream that feeds it.

Woodland brackenBracken

Browning bracken curled in the woodland;

Bracken and spider web

spiders span their webs therein.

Landscape with marina

As we rose to higher land we spied a marina down below,

Landscape with deer

and a sunbathed landscape with deer.

Cattle 1Cattle 2

On a bend entering Ibsley a herd of cattle, mainly Herefords (identified by Bruce in his comments below), sprawled on the leaf-strewn sward.

Cattle 3

The majority of these creatures sported identical black eyes;

Cattle 4

the odd chestnut brown made the exception;

CowCattle tag

all were tagged with their owner’s details.

Boy and dog reflectedWoman, children and dog reflected

Families frolicked in the nearby stream;

Group with shadows

rounding the bend past the cattle visitors were greeted by

Ice creams 1

a van selling a variety of ice creams, some of what this gentleman called “come and buy me colour”.

Cattle on road 1Cattle on road 2

Cattle at Gorley Lynch made their leisurely way along the road. So, perforce, did we.

Pigs 1Pigs 2Pigs 3Pig 1Pigs 4Pig 2Pigs 6Pigs 7Pigs 9Pigs 5

High ground at Ogdens swarmed with snorting, snuffling, mast-seeking pigs.

Woman entering picture

As I aimed to photograph a gentleman jogging past some porkers, a woman opened her car door, crying “don’t get me in your photograph”. Recognising the humour in her voice, I pointed out that she had pushed her way into it. She and her two young girls had stopped to admire the animals which they photographed very well on their tablets. We enjoyed a pleasant conversation during which she expressed satisfaction with her portrait.

Donkey and dog walker

Our way at Frogham was blocked by a donkey, fast homing on on which was a dog walker with a number of charges.

This evening we returned for another excellent Indian meal at Bartlett’s restaurant in the Church Hall at Bransgore. We took our own drinks. Jackie’s was Hoegaarden and mine  Graves.

P.S. See Paol’s comment below for good further information on Herefords

 

‘Wait For Me, Mum’

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This morning I tidied up after some of Jackie’s cutting back yesterday, and was then rewarded by delicious scents from the roses as I dead-headed them.

Elizabeth came to lunch and dinner. This afternoon the three of us drove out to Hyde where we enjoyed refreshments in the café, and the ladies bought plants from the farm shop.

Ford 3
Ford 1
Ford 2

 We drove on for a while, crossing the ford at Frogham. The stream under the road was as shallow as we have ever seen it.

Tractor wheels
Tractor wheel

The rusting tractor parts up on the bank were in no danger of inundation,

Pony mare and foal

and a pony mare and foal set off to find refreshment elsewhere.

Mare and foal crossing road 1

On Roger Penny Way, bringing the traffic to a halt, another pony led her offspring across the road.

Foal running across road after mother

As she bent down to chomp the grass a cry of ‘Wait of me, Mum’ rent the air and the little foal began frantically running after its oblivious parent. I have never seen a foal run before.

Foal hiding under mother

Further on, having similarly crossed the road, another little pony took refuge under its mother, producing a rather deceptive image.

Elizabeth photographing

Before returning home we took a diversion to Bank, near Lyndhurst, where Elizabeth and I took some photographs.

Lane

My sister and Rob had lived here when they were young adults, and she took us on a nostalgic wander along the lanes

Forest scene 1
Stream 2
Stream 3
Stream 1

and into the forest with its somewhat depleted stream.

This evening Jackie produced an excellent meal of poached haddock; swede, parsnip, and potato mash; piquant cauliflower cheese, carrots, and  runner beans. Jackie and I both drank Bergerac blanc sec 2016, and Elizabeth chose Louis de Camponac cabernet sauvignon 2016.

P.S. See wfdec’s comment below. He has identified the ‘tractor parts’ as a timber jinker. Many thanks to John.

Message In A Bottle?

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This morning I tidied up the Head Gardener’s Walk. It was becoming a little overgrown.

This was the result.

Apart from a brief spell of sunshine when I was carrying out this task, today was very dull and overcast. It was not the afternoon to go in search of a field of bluebells – especially as we didn’t find it.

Ballard Water Meadow 1

We understood that it was part of Ballard Water Meadow and Woodland.

So dry has been our month of April, that the streams that cross the area are all but dried up.

Conservation has been in progress for some years. A footpath, logging, and cutting back of undergrowth beside the main ditch provide evidence of industry.

A handful of small black cattle sat around chewing the cud as I left Jackie sitting on a bench and went off on a bluebell hunt. The beasts contributed plentiful pats as their contribution to the ecology.

Cow 1

The cows quietly tolerated the flies crawling around their eyes.

Dog walker, buggy, cattle

Many dog walkers availed themselves of the pet-emptying facility.

Bluebells

I continued in search of the elusive bluebell field, and settled for the odd clump of the English variety – not the Spanish Armada.

Reflections in lake

I reached a man-made lake with its share of water fowl and reflections of nearby buildings.

Oasis wrapper

Unfortunately there was a smattering of litter in the surrounding woodland,

Maltesers in lake

and in the lake itself.

The Maltesers container lay at the edge. A couple of bottles stood up in the water. Was there a message in this?

On my return the cattle had risen to their feet and started foraging.

This evening we dined at The Crown Inn at Everton. I chose well-filled steak and kidney pudding with carrots and swede wrapped in a cabbage leaf, chips and gravy. Jackie chose duck with noodles, stir-fry vegetables and hoisin sauce. Desserts were respectively bread and butter pudding with pomegranate seeds floating in creme Anglaise, and sticky toffee pudding with vanilla ice cream. Jackie drank draught Becks, and I began with a glass of Brown Brothers Everton Red, which was accurately described as having the flavours of the hedgerow. My second glass was the well-tried Mendoza Argentinian Malbec.

The Classic Country Yokel

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Today was sunny and crisp, with a chill wind and blue skies. This morning we took a drive up to the north of the forest.

Ditches and streams run alongside many lanes in the New Forest. People dwelling on Crow Lane, just beyond Ringwood, access their homes by means of bridges across clear running water.

Gabled rooftops

Further on, at Linwood, we were attracted by the rather splendid houses near the lake. This gabled rooftop presents a pleasing example.

Stream 1

The stream continues here, and

‘golden daffodils’, like Wordsworth’s ‘host’, ‘beside the lake, beneath the trees’ were ‘fluttering and dancing in the breeze’.

Rubbish

Even here, people dump rubbish. I didn’t investigate what I took to be a discarded dog poop bag.

Ponies 1

On the approach to North Gorley we stopped to admire three ponies backlit by the morning sun. I could not photograph the scene because, as so often, forcing themselves between a tree and barbed wire, the animals assailed me with curiosity.

They then tracked us along the lane. Or were we tracking them?.

Ponies 2

We stopped to take in the picture of ponies mowing the lawn outside a thatched cottage at Furze Hill.

Pony on road

Inevitably, one of the horses kept us stopped, as it crossed the road,

Pony 4

ambling through the trees,

to take a drink at a stream, and

Ponies 4

have a good scratch against a flexible young tree,

Ponies 3

where it was joined by its companions, who all took their turn.

One of these emulated Mark Williams’s Jesse from The Fast show,

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h-z5T8meC84&w=560&h=315]

a T.V. series in which the classic country yokel would emerge from his shed and announce what, that week, he had ‘been mostly eating’. The traditional yokel always chewed a straw.

From the top of Furze Hill we looked down on a herd of basking deer. Protected by a single stag and the antlered silhouettes of lopped trees behind them, they were simply curious until another passing car brought them to their cloven hooves. Large black birds always seem to surround basking ungulates.

This evening we dined on minced beef pie; mashed potato and swede; boiled cauliflower; and carrots, onions, and leeks with garlic. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the merlot.