Exercising Her Priority

Soon after lunch today we set out on a forest drive.

A pair of ponies with their foals occupied corner of the bank of Beaulieu River. One rose to its feet and trotted off for a feed.

On our way into Brockenhurst several cattle stretched above a fence to crop garden shrubs; while a photographer examined her mobile phone to investigate the pictures she had produced of two ponies at the crossroads by the bank.

More ponies with their offspring wandered over the moorland at South Weirs. The last of my pictures in this set is of the prone foal lifting its head when startled by the sudden cough of a passing cyclist; Jackie’s are the last five images including the suckling foal and the last image of the pony exercising her right to priority over oncoming vehicles.

When driving home through Lyndhurst Jackie parked the car and photographed donkeys attracting attention on the opposite pavement.

A cow guided her calf across the road outside The Rising Sun, while

around the corner in Tiptoe Road, another mare and foal grazed on the verges.

This evening we dined on roast breast of lamb; boiled new potatoes; firm carrots; and tender green beans with which I finished the Cahors.

Running To The Comfort Of His Mum

I have often made chicken stock from bones – usually when preparing a curry – but never as tasty as Becky’s.

This morning I followed her suggestions.

After lunch Jackie and I took a forest drive before visiting the Milford pharmacy to collect medication.

Along Tiptoe Road a group of ponies and foals slept, lolled, suckled or grazed among the buttercups and daisies.

Others we saw sought shade from the excessive heat in the usual places like Burley Lawn

and Forest Road, where we had plenty of time to peruse the back of Pests, Birds, and Bugs van, as it crawled along. The first witticism was having the company’s Limited in full therefore offering a pun; the next was the number plate; and finally one of the pests in the list.

We eventually realised that the vehicle had been following a foal up the road

lined with the exposed roots normally found along such ancient hedgerows.

The little chap had wandered into the woodland where her own offspring was attached to a grey who wasn’t interested in him. Thudding hooves behind me

and a piercing neighing brought the stray running to the comfort of his Mum.

The pair soon left this spot to join others

clustered in dappling shade.

It would have been a waste to have used this morning’s stock on a curry, so Becky made one of her flavoursome chicken risotto’s with it. There was a side of green beans. The cook drank Zesty, Jackie drank Hoegaarden, Ian drank Peroni, and I drank more of the Shiraz.

No Deep End

Late this morning Jackie drove me to Birchfield Dental Practice in New Milton for a routine check. Mr Hefferen pronounced no treatment required. We continued on to brunch at Hockey’s Farm Shop. There is always a bit of a wait there, but everything is cooked from scratch and is of very good quality. And we are seldom in a hurry.

These donkeys dozing in the shade at South Gorley were not thinking of going anywhere fast.

The Fighting Cocks on Roger Penny Way at Godshill enjoyed its usual entourage of asinine attractions

for visitors with an array of cameras.

After a series of strokes one foal found a little grooming was in order.

This little chap had been performing the cartwheels that seem to be necessary for new babies, but steadfastly refused to repeat it for my camera.

Another was more interested in lunch, until becoming unplugged when sated.

Probably the youngest new arrival

flopped not far from its mother who was hungry herself.

This creature vainly sought shelter in a rather narrow gap.

Many forest pools, like this one across the road from the pub are drying up in this prolonged warm spell of weather.

Having stepped out of the car to photograph the area around the pub, I decided to walk along this rather uneven terrain for approximately half an hour. Despite the numerous warning signs along this road there is still hit and run appeal for witnesses involving a pony fatality further along.

Taking paths trampled by the animals,

I made a few diversions into the surrounding woodlands,

where a Red Bull can nestled among the buttercups.

When I’d just about had enough, the Modus in the car park of The Fighting Cocks still seemed far off. I became somewhat slower. Eventually I looked up and spotted Jackie in the car on the opposite side of the road. She revealed that she had had her binoculars on me and had liked the look of neither my gait nor my face. I was certainly pleased to see her.

Continuing the journey along Roger Penny Way by car, as usual we were wary of ponies stepping out. The group at the bottom of the hill would be bound to be followed by others. They were.

In order to avoid the bottleneck that is Lyndhurst, we took the Minstead route where sunlight illuminated these ferns.

Cattle and ponies, one suckling, shared pasturage at Boldrewood,

until the bovines decided the grass was greener on the other side.

This intrigued an approaching family of cyclists.

A solitary deer had no competition along Rhinefield Road.

The mother of this foal sporting a typical Mohican foraged behind the ferns, while her offspring was being photographed by a gentleman behind a tree, and another from a car window.

Ponies sharing the sheltered pool outside Brockenhurst with Highland cattle clearly see it as politic to allow the larger, hairy, beasts first paddle while they patiently wait their turn in the shade.

One poor unfortunate was not having a good day. Attempting to take a drink, it had been butted away by another equine, only to find itself nose to nose with a Volkswagen.

Normally reasonably full, this animal paddling pool currently has no deep end.

This evening we dined on Forest Tandoori Lamb jalfrezi, chicken shashlik, and pilau rice; Tesco’s vegetable wontons; and paratha fried in oil from a little shop in New Milton. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank an excellent Angelica Sur Malbec 2016 given to me for my birthday by Shelly and Ron.

He Lent His Hat

This morning Aaron, with his usual concentrated accuracy, assembled and installed

a new flat packed wooden arch across the Shady Path. This was to replace a cheap metal one that had collapsed.

As the morning warmed up he lent his hat to Florence sculpture who remained in the shade,

Camellias continue to splash colour across the eucalyptus framed garden canvas,

as do numerous narcissi,

primulas and bergenias.

Proud tulips begin to open.

Ladybirds were spotted, along with tiny hoverflies investigating ipheions.

On a gloriously sunny spring afternoon we went driveabout. We began at Mudeford Quay which was so crowded that we had nowhere to park. We then aimed for the forest.

A calf suckling at Holmesley spilled much of the milk on the ground, jumping back as we arrived, leaving a white strand swaying in the breeze;

Ponies practiced topiary by the roadside;

two more grazed among pine cones at Bisterne.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s scrumptious cottage pie; crunchy carrots; tender green beans and peas.