Sylvan Ecology

This morning we shopped at

Setley Ridge Garden Centre for

a birthday present, and continued to Rhinefield Ornamental Drive where Jackie parked in Blackwater Car Park while I

followed a group of younger walkers,

who were soon out of sight,

into the forest,

which is strewn with arboreal detritus

in various stages of contribution to the sylvan ecological system.

Some of the giant conifers bear wrinkled leathern skins;

Bright green mosses cling to weathered stumps

and gnarled roots sprinkled with

last autumn’s fallen foliage,

some of which soaks into the wetter tracts rent by underground streams.

More recently toppled trees

still bear their shallow roots demonstrating what easy prey they are to heavy winds.

It may have been my conversation with a couple walking two small dogs that caused me to miss my mental milestone at which I intended to retrace my steps. I sailed on past it. This extended a 30 minute walk by 15 minutes. Too much for my knees.

As I staggered back into the Modus Jackie pointed to a Just Married message on the rear window of the vehicle alongside us. Wherever they were hiding, I hadn’t seen them.

On our return home we we unable to exit Vaggs Lane because there had clearly been an accident which had blocked the road. As far as we could tell before we turned around, a small car had managed to become sandwiched between a couple of OpenReach vans. A police car arrived while we were reversing.

After lunch we finished our shopping at Otter Nursery. Later, I succumbed to persuasion from various sources and we watched episodes 8 and 9 of series 2 of The Crown. I’m still not comfortable by the dubious intrusive nature of the presentation but I have to admit it is good drama and the history is like tracking back into our own lifetime.

This evening we dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away’s excellent fare with which Jackie finished the Suvignon Blanc and I finished the Cabernet Sauvignon.

 

Water Under The Bridge

The morning’s sunshine was correctly predicted to succumb to clouds by mid-day. We therefore took an early drive to Wooden House Lane in Pilley.

The lane peters out into a pitted gravel path currently peppered with pools. Jackie parked the car and contemplated how she was going to turn round and return to comparatively dry land while I wandered about with my camera.

Such landscapes as I could reach were inviting enough, although

this seat would be more accessible in dryer weather.

A bubbling stream

made its way

under a footbridge in one direction

and across the path in another.

Trees were reflected in the clear gravel pits

and in the swollen stream’s pools.

In an effort to reach the open moor beyond the bridge I risked sinking into

pony- and people-trampled muddy morass. Eventually I gave up and left the ground to the oak leaves.

The stream flowed fast enough to create bobbing bubbles bearing bursting reflections. (Biggify a few – you may spot me.)

A solitary twisted stump stands beside the bridge.

Back at home Nugget, somewhat perturbed, patiently paced as a group of long-tailed tits purloined part of his pendant provender outside the stable door. It is fascinating that robins are savage with their own species, yet most tolerant of other birds.

This evening we dined at The Wheel Inn where we both enjoyed tempura prawn starters which Jackie followed with scampi and chips and I chose Barnsley chop with creamy mashed potatoes and a selection of vegetables. I hadn’t eaten such a meal before. My choice was determined by James Braxton going on about it in The Antiques Road Trip earlier. Its as well cooked, but I wouldn’t repeat it. Jacke dranlk Kaltenberg and I drank Ringwood’s Best.

A Nature Lesson

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On another overcast morning Jackie and I tidied up the garden with secateurs and broom while Aaron and Sean completed the building of the log shelter. Later, Jackie did some more planting and pruning as I carted clippings and branches to the compost and dump bags.

This afternoon I returned to the scanning of the negatives of the 1985 holiday in Instow.

Stump and barbed wire 1985

A fine fossilised scarecrow in a field was revealed as a gnarled stump crossed by barbed wire.

Bees on kniphofia 1985

Bees congregated on kniphofia.

Roof repairs 1985

A roofer was hard at work in the August heat. This seemed to me to be some traditional method merging slate with other materials. Were they being refurbished or replaced altogether, like those next door? I would be happy to learn from anyone with knowledge of this.

Jessica and Louisa 1985 1Jessica and Louisa 2Jessica and Louisa 1985 3Jessiac and Louisa 4

Our holiday home was a short walk from these houses. Here, Jessica sits with Louisa on the wall featured yesterday, introducing her to the wonders of nature. Tall irises stand proud while yellow roses ramble along the stones.

Jessica and Sam 1985

Sam took his turn, too.

For dinner this evening, Jackie produced lemon chicken with chilli and garlic; swede and potato mash; broccoli; and sautéed leeks, peppers, mushrooms and courgettes. This was followed by rhubarb pastries and ice cream. The Culinary Queen drank a blend of Bavaria and Hoegaarden, and I drank Foremost Hawke’s Bay syrah 2015.

Tourist Time

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On a much brighter morning, Jackie and I transported two more large bags of garden refuse to the recycling centre. This time we returned with yet another garden bench. All we have to do now is find a space for it.

We then drove around the forest, parking at Burley where we both wandered around among the crowds of tourists, most of whom were foreigners who spoke good enough English to make us feel honoured.

Witchcraft

Witches in window

When I published Witchcraft on 22nd June 2013, I gave the history of this New Forest village’s spurious historic association with the practice which draws visitors by the car and coach load. The two young men in the first picture, obscure the witches in the window as they make a beeline for the shop doorway.

Crowd 1

The narrow alley beside the shop leads to the public car park. It is always filled with people, many wearing colourful backpacks, at this time of year.

Crowd 2Crowd 3

Ice cream cones and mobile phones are very much in evidence. The children in the bottom right of these last two pictures are trying out the produce of Face the Music;

Girl with ice crem and mobile phone

this young lady was soon going to have to choose between phone and cornet.

Woman eating ice cream

This woman,

Little girl eating ice cream

and this little girl had clearly made their choices.

Bike rack

Forest Leisure Cycling drew quite a bit of custom;

Wagon Ride 1

and for those who preferred more leisurely transport, there were Wagon Rides. After checking out the form and the cost,

Wagon Ride 2

this little family took their seats.

Horses

When the horses had been adequately watered they were ready to step it out.

Chidren as witches 1

Children as witches 2

There was an opportunity for children to pose as witches by sticking their heads through holes in a suitably painted board. After the eldest of this flaxen haired trio had arranged her siblings to her satisfaction, she joined in the fun. The girls knew they were meant to be malevolent; their brother preferred the angelic look.

Girls on stump 1

 After I had taken the first shot of a sextet of girls on a stump, I pointed out that some of them had their back to me.

Girls on stump 2

They consequently obliged by posing beautifully.

Having shown them the pictures, I wandered off. Soon one of my models ran after me and asked if she could copy this last image into her iPhone. Thinking this would require some technique that was beyond me I asked her if she knew how to do it. She did indeed. She photographed my photograph from the image on my screen.

This evening we dined on second helpings of Hordle Chinese Take Away food with treacle tart and ice cream to follow. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Reserve des Tuguets 2012.

Before And After: The Dead End Path

Becky’s August Birthday meal was twice postponed through illness, as was Ian’s earlier in October. Everyone was fit for Ian’s daughter Heather’s recent one. That is why we drove to Emsworth last night. As far as Becky was concerned, she was just going to Nicolino’s Italian restaurant across the road from their flat with Heather and her husband, Chris. She was open-mouthed when the other four arrived in the restaurant to see Jackie and me sitting there. We enjoyed a very pleasant evening with excellent food and service. My choice was minestrone soup followed by spaghetti Al Pescatore. I had no room for dessert. Valpolicella was my beverage.

 

Quay Street 25.7.15Stump 4Jackie 7.67 002 - Version 2Today was a very wet one. I began by making my final selection of three prints for The First Gallery Christmas exhibition. We need to take them to Paul for framing, and will do that in the next day or two to meet the submissions deadline.

 

These images have all appeared in previous posts. I have chosen them for variety. The first is of Quay Street, Lymington, this July. The walkers are Danni and Andy. The next, a stump, was from our garden on 24th January this year. Finally, we have a portrait of Jackie in July 1967, heavily cropped and converted to black and white

I continued with the production of the next sequence for the garden progress album. This is The Dead End Path.

Garden 7.5.14

 

This shot of the garden on 7th May 2014, shows why the path has its name. Behind the blue painted Butler sink is a low wall separating the path from the patio. In the bottom left hand corner, incidentally can be seen the start of a collection of rubbish from inside the house. This was destined for the dump.

Sinks in path

The above-mentioned sink had two companions on the path leading from the brick path behind it. We moved them on 17th May. I had to empty them before being able to move them at all. A couple of thyme plants therein now thrive on the patio.

Path to sinks

I managed to shift them as far as the low wall, but definitely needed the assistance of Jackie and a lever to lift them onto the wall.

Boundary and sinks

What on earth do you do with two hefty lumps of white stoneware covered in peeling blue paint? Disguise seemed the only option.

Garden

By 16th June, all three of the sinks were suitably clad, at least on the patio side. It is the Gazebo Path that trails away on the left hand side of the photograph.

View along dead end path

The new planting was established by 18th September 2015, but the Dead End Path side still exposes its peeling paint. The Compassion rose to the left has benefited from clearing out the undergrowth which had choked it.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s superb sausage casserole, mashed potato and swede, piquant cauliflower cheese, and boiled carrots, cabbage, and mange touts. She drank sparkling water, and i quaffed Castilo San Lorenzo rioja reserva 2010.

A Remarkable Year For Flora

UnknownEarly this morning we kept a GP appointment in Milford on Sea. I was given a referral for my Dupuytren’s contracture. This photograph from the internet best shows the stage mine has reached. I know it looks unseemly, but it is awkward rather than painful. I cannot straighten the finger.

Afterwards, on this exceedingly mild day I took a stroll round the garden. Apart from the cyclamens, pansies and other flowers normally blooming at this time, we have mahonias, hellebores, roses, and bidens.CyclamenPansyMahoniaHelleboreRoseRose CompassionbidensCamellia budNasturtium

More camellias are budding, and even nasturtiums have survived. This really has been a remarkable year for flora.

Stump

A pig with a ring through its nose winked and smiled out of one of the multicoloured stumps on the back drive.

Paul and Margery came for a visit at midday and brought back unsold framed photographs from the Ruby exhibition. Our friend is pleased to have become a dab hand at the difficult task of leaving our front drive and emerging into Christchurch Road.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious lamb jafrezi (recipe) and savoury rice with egg custard to follow. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I consumed a little more of the cabernet sauvignon.

A Statuesque Beauty

Jackie dropped me at Silver Street again this morning. This time I walked along this road, which, like many local ones has no pavement. I the turned right into Woodcock Lane and crossed Everton Road into Hordle Lane and, eventually, home.

Peterson’s Folly is visible from our front bedroom windows, but there was a much clearer Peterson's Folly 1Peterson's Folly 2view from Silver Street, where moon daises were still blooming.Moon daisy

The ditch in Woodcock Lane, that is liable to flooding, is beginning to fill up.DitchRoad liable to flooding

A creature appears to have taken up residence in a dead tree stump.Stump

Ponies, some wearing jackets, could be seen through a hedge. Their owner, a young Pony 2woman, noticing me poking my lens through the shrubbery, politely enquired as to whether I might be recceing the joint with the intention of returning to steal the ‘rugs’, which I took to mean the jackets. Apparently this is a common occurrence. We had a long, enjoyable conversation in which she told me that the horses were all foresters, and became very Pony 1inquisitive and advanced on watchers, thus alerting her to their presence. She pointed out the unclad grey, which she thought the most beautiful.Sheep

Further along, sheep in a field were colourfully stained, perhaps decorated for Christmas.

Footpath blockedStilePony 3A public footpath on Hordle Lane, where I met another inquisitive pony, has been blocked with barbed wire. Perhaps the doggie poo bag had been tossed beside it to indicate what a rambler thought of this.

This afternoon we visited New Milton for some banking and postage stamps. After this we went on to Milford on Sea to make an appointment at the GP’s. On my left hand I have a Dupuytren’s contracture which has been progressing nicely for about five years, and is now becoming a little awkward, so I need a referral to a surgeon. Patient.co.uk has this to say about it:

‘Dupuytren’s contracture causes thickening of tissues in the palm. If it progresses, one or more fingers bend (contract) into the palm and you cannot straighten the finger. The cause is not known. In many cases it remains mild and does not require treatment. If the condition becomes more severe or the function of the hand becomes affected then a specialist may recommend treatment.’

Jackie’s sister Helen has discovered an early postcard photograph of their mother and her friend, Sheila. My lady volunteered my services for producing a set of prints for Sheila’s daughter Margaret and various family members. I scanned the original and, after a considerable

Mum Rivett & Margaret c 1940amount of retouching, made six copies. This photograph was probably taken around 1939/40 when Veronica Rivett, my delightful late mother-in-law, the statuesque beauty to the viewer’s left, would have been about eighteen.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s scrumptious cottage pie; roast parsnips; crisp carrots, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts; followed by bread and butter pudding and custard for me, evap for her. She imbibed Black Tower B rose, whilst I did the same with Longhorn Valley cabernet sauvignin 2012.