Frisky Cattle, Somnolent Ponies

Hot, flyblown, weather has returned.This afternoon we took a short drive into the forest.

Cattle at East Boldre were surprisingly energetic in the humid heat. They travelled quickly across the moorland, interrupting their grazing with a mounting amount of head-butting.

More somnolent ponies took what shelter they could from the East Boldre bus hut. One prone grey looked as if it might be in need of the defibrillator now occupying the redundant telephone box.

The burning sun cast sharp shadows as the ponies clustered together

twitching tails as protection against

irritating insects.

Once I had returned to the car, this mare above chose to plant herself behind it. Slowly Jackie reversed to nudge her out of the way. The pony ambled round to the driver’s side and Jackie rapidly closed her window before the animal could make her objections known.

Later I listened to more of the Ashes Test match.

This evening Jackie and I joined Elizabeth and Jacqueline for dinner at The Fleur de Lys in Pilley. My starter consisted of crab and smoked mackerel; steak medallions formed the basis of my main course; treacle tart and ice cream was to follow. The service was excellent and the food as superb as ever. Elizabeth and I shared an excellent bottle of Malbec. I am past caring what anyone else consumed.

After The Drift

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED.

When Aaron and Sean cleared space for the promised greenhouse, they stacked the cut branches at the end of the Back Drive.

Branches

I chopped or broke them into manageable sizes and filled two of our large orange containers with them. There is still enough for two more bags. Jackie and I took them to the dump and returned with a very large saucer for a big planter tub.

Bee and small wihite butterfly, verbena bonarensis and fuchsia

Bee on verbena bonarensisWhile I worked, big black bees and Small White butterflies were equally busy alongside me among the fuchsias and the verbena bonarensises in the New Bed.

From the recycling centre we went on a driveabout.

Ponies

At Sway we came across a group of ponies bearing the identification marks showing that they had experienced The Drift.

Pony 1

When I featured this annual event, I explained that tails were clipped, collars replaced, and branding applied. This animal displays all three.

Pony 2

It was actually quite difficult to show the cuts on the tails because they were constantly being used as fly whisks.

Pony 4

Wherever the creature had rolled in the mud, it had besmirched its nice new collar;

Pony 3

whilst this one’s bath had obscured its brand.

We visited Milford on Sea to investigate the fortunes of Mr Pink’s Fish and Chips since its recent fire. Unfortunately it is closed until further notice.

Hurst Point Lighthouse

The shingle and the rocks along the coastline were well populated, as can be seen by this shot of Hurst Point Lighthouse, the story of which can be seen here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hurst_Point_Lighthouse

Bathers

Others were bathing in the water,

Couple on shingle

seated on folding chairs,

People on beach

reading newspapers, or flashing tattoos.

This evening we dined on duck breasts in plum sauce; roast new potatoes in their jackets and peppers in chillies and herbs; and crisp carrots and green beans. I finished the Fleurie.

Synchronicity

Cherry blossom

Pausing to admire one of the freshly flowering cherries in the front garden, we took an early morning drive through forest to Eyeworth Pond and back.

Pony behind burnt stalks

Sometimes the heathland, after the burning of the gorse, can appear like a Paul Nash landscape. So it was today. As we approached Burley, I spotted a pony appearing to be boxed in behind the stalk stubble.

The Driver obligingly turned round and drove into a carpark we had just passed, so I could  walk back and take the photograph.

Horse, Fynn in box

In the carpark stood a horse box. Peering through its barred window was a far more elegant relative of the pony. It was clearly his portrait on the side of the transport vehicle.

This was Fynn, representing the first piece of synchronicity afforded by this pit stop. He was also involved in the second, which follows:

An exchange between Bruce, Paul, and me, following my ‘Down The Lane’ post, concerning why a gentleman might have changed his trousers, reminded me of the story of the catch, another occurrence in a cricket match which I featured in ‘Six Leg Byes’. What happened was that Keith Boyce, a phenomenal West Indian Test player, hit a skier (a ball going straight up in the air) off my bowling. Everyone stood in anticipation, watching the poor man standing underneath it, as the ball began its rapid descent. The fielder safely took the catch, then turned in my direction and cried ‘can I change my trousers now?’. Neither of us could have imagined that I would recycle that joke fifty years later.

Now, what has this to do with Fynn?

Horse, Fynn amd mare 1

Well, this superbly turned out thoroughbred animal had a plaited tail of which Judy Garland would have been proud.

Mare

His companion mare’s appendage sported an attractive binding.

One of the two very friendly women about to ride out across the moor explained the plait. This was in order that her steed did not discolour his tail if he pooped in the van. I can only assume that the mare’s different precaution was either because she was more genteel, or because she possessed a less contrasting colour.

Horses and riders 1Horses and riders 2

Before taking their farewell of us, the ladies removed the constraints so the horses’ fly whisks could still be employed.

Landscape 1Landscape 2

The undulating slopes on the road up to Fritham present typically idyllic New Forest landscapes, seen at their best on such a spring morning.

Eyeworth Pond

Eyeworth Pond lies at the top of the hill, past The Royal Oak pub.

Never before had we had it to ourselves, but here, we were alone with the stillness and the birds, whose continuous sweet song and occasional less musical honks and quacks, filled the air.

Chaffinch

Small birds, such as chaffinches,

Nuthatch

and nuthatches flitted to and fro, occasionally perching long enough for me to photograph them.

Canada goose

No British stretch of water is now without its Canada geese;

Muscovy Duck

I have, however, never seen Muscovy duck before, yet here was one, gliding about in stately fashion.

Mallards on Eyeworth Pond

Mallards

Mallards, on the other hand, are ubiquitous. It was Jackie who noticed that only the drakes were abroad, and wondered where all the ladies were.

Mallards three

Suddenly a pair appeared, and, it seemed, every drake on the lake set off in pursuit, until the quarry escaped sharpish.

On our way home we called at Mole Country Supplies where we purchased three more bags of Landscape Bark, some rat bait and a tube in which to place it. We have always known there were rats in the abandoned garden, but it was not until last night that we watched a gang of them scampering in staccato mood past our kitchen window.

This afternoon we set the application.

Jackie’s super sausage casserole, new potatoes, runner beans, carrots and cauliflower, followed by lemon meringue pie constituted our dinner this evening. The Cook drank water, and I drank La Croix des Celestins fleurie 2014.