A Crocodile Crossing

Jackie and I went for a drive in the forest this morning, while Elizabeth took it easy at home. Once again we were fortunate to have ventured out during the short spell of sunshine we were to experience today.

Even as noon approached shadows were long on the approach to Wilverley Plain.

The deciduous oaks still bear most of their golden foliage,

some of which, having floated down on the breeze. glowed among damp grasses rapidly

becoming waterlogged in parts, reflecting surrounding trees and skies.

The large pond beside the telephone box just outside Brockenhurst has been bone dry all summer. It has now filled up again, mirroring gnarled naked arboreal displays and nearby homes.

Three russet ponies kept down the grass near the local postbox propped up by a slightly slanting pedestal.

The two apparently sharing a patch of sward were not as close as it might appear. The darker haired individual, which momentarily lifted its head as I lifted my camera,

firmly nudged the other with its albeit velvety muzzle, indicating it should keep its distance. This was definitely not foreplay.

Having worked up a thirst they crossed the gravel drive to the houses, passed the telephone box, and fleetingly slaked their thirst.

Quite suddenly they turned away and wandered back into the forest.

At the entrance to the village we were held up by teaching staff shepherding a crocodile of children across the road.

We enjoyed an excellent lunch at Holmsley Old Station Tea Rooms. My meal consisted of a well-filled steak and ale pie containing slivers of rosemary, served with chips, fresh vegetables and tasty gravy; Jackie’s was a jacket potato with cheese and coleslaw accompanied by an excellent salad. She drank coffee and I drank sparkling water.

We thought it best to wait for an equestrienne struggling to contain a skittish trotting pony, mane flying, to emerge from Thatchers Lane before we entered that narrow track on our way home.

Later this afternoon Elizabeth returned to Pilley for further work on moving in. On her way back this evening she collected our dinner of cod and chips from Mr Pink’s. My sister and I  finished the Cotes du Rhone and Jackie drank Hoegaarden.

 

 

None Of The Dogs

SINGLE PHOTOGRAPHS CAN BE ENLARGED WITH A CLICK OR TWO. CLICKING ON ANY IMAGE IN A GROUP ACCESSES ITS GALLERY, INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS OF WHICH CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE BY SCROLLING DOWN AND CHECKING BOX AT BOTTOM RIGHT

This morning Jackie delivered me to a bench on the corner of the green at Milford on Sea an hour before my appointment with Peter of Sears Barbers who cut my hair. Off she went shopping, leaving me to play with my cameras, and returned to collect me afterwards.

My vantage point allowed me to watch a variety of people crossing the road;

Boxes on barrow

One young man, passing The Smugglers Inn car park, toted a pile of boxes on a sack barrow.

Couple turning corner

A couple walked around the corner into Sea Road;

Biker and passenger

another took a similar route by motor bike.

The window of Biscuit House at 64 High Street attracted attention for some; others, more interested in their arms around each other, walked leisurely past.

Dogs were being walked;

one terrier in particular was content to be tied up outside Village Veg while its owners shopped inside. Afterwards a sparring partner was encountered.

Customers of Hurst On The Hill, with another dog, were happy to take their refreshments outside. Maybe they had obtained their cash from the ATM in Winkworth’s wall being passed by this couple. This building was once a bank, then a beauty parlour. The cash machine has been kept in service by each occupier.

Village VegConversation outside Village Charity ShopWalkers outside Village Charity Shop

Various conversations were held outside the small shops, one on a mobile phone as the family walked on.

There was an interesting juxtaposition of bikers and a cyclist, who, later pushed his steed up the hill.

CyclistCyclist tying up bikeCyclist with shoppingCyclist

Noticing another cyclist coming into view, I waited for her to pass a parked vehicle, not realising she would provide a little story. She swung round and came to a halt beside me, tying her transport to the railings at the crossing. It was some time later that she returned, and, sensibly clinging to the bottle, dropped all her purchases which she decanted into the pannier and set off back the way she had come.

Readers will by now be aware that there was not a great deal of road space either at this junction or up the hill between the green and shops. Imagine my surprise, then, at seeing a lorry carrying a LONG Salisbury static caravan up this route. One gentleman walked in front, shooed away vehicles such as an obdurate Land Rover, and guided the skilful driver through his obstacle course.

Man with walking aid

I really admire some of the ageing residents who manage with all manner of walking aids.

Couple at bench, phone box, pillar box

On an earlier visit to my barbers I had watched the telephone box, now taken over by the community, being restored. I wondered what it would be used for. In fact it contains racks for Dementia Information. At the moment they are empty.

Walkers along High Street

Across the road, indicated by its red and white striped pole, is the barbers.

Pointing boy

None of the dogs on leads tugged at their owners. That could not be said of this little boy.

This afternoon I watched the Wimbledon tennis match between Serena Williams and Evgeniya Rodina.

This evening we enjoyed two excellent meals at The Royal Oak. Mine was smoked pork rib, French fries, coleslaw, and fresh, well-dressed salad. Jackie’s was a burger in a brioche, with French fries. The fries were presented in large bowls, the coleslaw in a smaller one. Each meal was served on a large wooden platter with a handle. Jackie drank Amstell and I drank Malbec.

 

 

On The Turn

CLICK ON ANY IMAGE IN A GROUP TO ACCESS ENLARGED GALLERIES

Anyone who had imagined that the long-running saga of the British Gas electricity bill had reached its conclusion will have been under the same misapprehension as me. Here is a brief recap. I had paid the delayed bill over the phone on 11th January. On 21st I received the next bill, including the paid amount. I was told the payment hadn’t gone through because of a problem in their system. I paid it again. Today I received a reminder for the first amount. I telephoned once more; said I knew my views would make no difference, but that they would make me feel better; then gave my views.

Afterwards I continued my scanning of the colour negatives from Henley to Newark trip of July 2003.

Grasses and wild flowers still covered the footpaths, and I was treated to what I believe was my first sight of a damselfly.

Sheep and fields of grass occupied the landscape on the opposite bank of the Oxford Canal,

Garden with 4X4 and phone box 7.03

which seemed an unlikely resting place for an iconic red telephone box.

 

I caught up with Pacific Pete at the Braunston Turn Bridges. theoxfordcanal.co.uk website informs me that this section of the waterway, which shares its route with the Grand Union Canal Main Line as far as Napton Junction, is ‘one of the few places on the entire stretch of the Oxford Canal where there is narrow boat access to another river or canal. It is worth noting from the point of view of use by cyclists and walkers that the towpath really deteriorates very soon after Braunston Turn Bridges. In fact this section of the canal has hardly any towpath in some places and is a real mess suffering from collapse, potholes, mud, nettles and brambles. It can be all but impassable in places if there has been any sort of recent wet weather.’

Unfortunately, I didn’t know this.

According to Wikipedia, ‘The Horseley Ironworks (sometimes spelled Horsley and Iron Works) was a major ironworks in the Tipton area in the county of Staffordshire, now the West Midlands, England.

Founded by Aaron Manby,[1] it is most famous for constructing the first iron steamer, The Aaron Manby, in 1821.[2][3] The boat was assembled at Rotherhithe. She was only the first of a number of steamboats built on the “knock-down” principle. The ironworks have also been responsible for the manufacture of numerous canal and railway bridges of the 19th century.

The ironworks were built near the Toll End Communication Canal[4] on the Horseley estate, which had been sold by their owner at the turn of the 19th century[5] due to demand from engineers wishing to profit on the construction of the BCN Main Line through the estate. The date when the ironworks were constructed is unknown but is believed to have been by 1815.[5] Industry in the area prospered and the location retained the name of the Horseley estate as shown in an 1822 survey of the area.[6]

With the increasing popularity of canals, the ironworks quickly became popular for manufacturing canal bridges, mainly in the local vicinity.[7]Canal bridges made by the ironworks include the Engine Arm Aqueduct (1825), two roving bridges at Smethwick Junction (1828),[8][9] Galton Bridge (1829), and Braunston Towpath Bridges (1830).[10][11] By the end of the canal construction era, Horseley Ironworks had emerged as one of the most prolific manufacturers of canal bridges in the West Midlands region,[5] especially in Birmingham.[12] This was a result of their signature bridge design which had become popular amongst canal constructors. The design has been replicated more recently, for example in Birmingham during the regeneration of Gas Street Basin where Worcester Bar is linked to Gas Street.[13]

Horseley Ironworks were also responsible for manufacturing in the railway industry. Railway bridges constructed included that of the viaduct for the London and Birmingham to Holyhead railway at Shifnal, Shropshire which was cast in 1848.[14] As well as manufacturing bridges, they also produced locomotives.[15]

The company also manufactued construction steelwork for the pier of Ryde, the Palace Theatre in London, Rugby railway station, a seaplane hangar in Las Palmas and the Dome of Discovery at the 1951 Festival of Britain.[16]

People who have worked for the iron foundry include Charles Manby, the son of Aaron Manby, James Thomson,[17] William Johnson[18]and Richard Roberts.[19]

The firm moved in 1865 to a site on the now defunct Dixon’s Branch, off the BCN New Main Line (Island Line), near the South Staffordshire Railway line. The factory survived under a succession of owners until 1991, when it was closed down and subsequently redeveloped as a housing estate.[4]

I managed to keep up with Sam and James in the boat whilst, having passed under the elegant bridge from the time of Queen Victoria’s predecessor, King William IV, they negotiated their way through a narrowboat-congested area to the next flight of locks. As can be seen, there was barely room for the lengthy ocean-going oars.

Sam rowing

Eventually the rower was once more under way.

After this, I had to find my way up and down various hilly areas, where I was surprised in the darkness by the only badger I have ever seen alive. I was amazed at how fast it could run. It was fortunate that the creature took off in the opposite direction, because running anywhere, by that time, was quite beyond me.

This evening we dined on Mr Pink’s perky cod, parsley flavoured fish cakes and crisp chips plated up with pickled Freshona gherkins and Garner’s onions. We both drank Pedro Jimenez Coquimbo 2016.

 

“Don’t Get Me In Your Picture”

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED

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

 

Checking Out The Venue

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED.

Canna lily

Late this morning sunlight burst onto the canna lily given to us by Helen Keenan.

Bee on dahlia

The garden beyond was alive with the buzzing of bees

Small White butterfly on hanging basket

and fluttering butterflies like this Small White three quarters of the way up the lines of a hanging basket

Comma butterfly 1Comma butterfly 2

or this Comma hiding in the shadows.

Dahlia 1

The dahlia in the first picture is one of those

Patio plants

supported by the white pedestal in the patio.

Dappled stable door

Dappled starlight seemed to brighten the Stable Door.

Marguerites, petunias, bidens

Marguerites, petunias, and bidens continue to bloom on the edge of the Dragon Bed;

Petunias

deep violet petunias spill from the Iron Urn;

Geraniums and petunias

while pale pink striped ones accompany similar hued geraniums on the

Cryptomeria Bed

Cryptomeria Bed also sporting Hot Lips salvias.

Dahlia 2

More dahlias continue to bloom alongside the Dead End Path,

New Bed

and in the New Bed.

Ginger lily

A Canna lily lifts its flaming torch over the Palm Bed;

Rose Garden

Blue Ming Marvellous campanula once more lives up to its punning name in the Rose Garden;

Rudbeckia, New Zealand flax, grass

New Zealand flax, rudbeckia, and the remains of a crocosmia Lucifer still provide a sinuous sweep in the Palm Bed;

Clematis Comtesse de Bouchard

and clematis Comtesse de Bouchard flounces once more over the gazebo.

Sedum and fuchsia

Sedum, fuchsias

Herbaceous Border 1Herbaceous Border 2

and asters parade along the herbaceous border.

Weeping Birch

An orange begonia hangs before the Weeping Birch, the leaves of which appear to confirm that summer really is thinking about departing.

This afternoon we drove out to the other Downton, near Salisbury in Wiltshire, in order to checkout the route to the venues for Rachel and Gareth’s wedding on Saturday. The service is to be held at Timberley Lane, Redlynch, which was our first stop. From there we travelled to Barford Park Farm, where the reception is booked.

Cattle

Cattle grazed in the field

Cattle, Barford Park Farm entrance

on one side of the entrance drive.

Landscape 1Landscape 2Landscape 3

The fields on the opposite side of Barford Lane basked in the warm sunshine. What a shame that the forecast for this area on the wedding day is continual rain.

Driving through:

Lover sign

Telephone Box Book Box

on our way home, we noticed that the village public telephone box has now been converted to a book exchange.

Books 1Books 2

Naturally we rummaged for romantic novels.

Jackie's choice of book

Jackie all but made off with her favourite find.

Ponies

The cricket season has ended, but ponies still carry out groundsmen’s duties on the outfield at Nomansland.

The Green Dragon 1The Green Dragon 2The Green Dragon pub sign

We stopped for a drink at The Green Dragon, Brook, then continued on home.

This evening we dined on smoked haddock, piquant cauliflower cheese, crunchy carrots, new potatoes, and runner beans. I drank more of the malbec.

Shade

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. REPEAT IF REQUIRED.

In order to use the services of the Post Office whilst Jackie was visiting the Birchfield Dental Practice, this morning I parcelled up some items the Australian branch of the family had left behind; wrote a cheque for the water bill in Sigoules; and packed up the various documents required for my tax return. I then posted everything.

Afterwards, Jackie took us on a drive through the forest.

Ponies 1

The unfortunate ponies struggled to find relief from the overhead sun, and clustered where they could under trees offering inadequate cover.

Tormented by flies, one of this group scratched against the tree trunks;

the others just bore their discomfort in silence. The beastly insects crawled over these wretched creatures’ eyes, noses, and mouths.

Lane

We could at least benefit from the car’s air conditioning, and choose to venture into shady lanes, three of which are featured for Jill’s benefit.

The domesticated horses enjoyed better shade,

even when grazing.

Ponies 3

Outside the shop at Pilley one string of ponies queued for the phone box

Pony 2

While others kept down the grass in front of the houses. This smaller animal, despite its leopard skin coat, was bullied by one of the larger ones when it ventured away from the gate.

Foal following mother

Foals are becoming big enough for their mothers to leave them to their own devices. One white mare attempted to escape the attentions of her little one, who was having none of it, and, on spindly legs, quickly trotted after her.

Foals

The little ones are still learning to tolerate flies, and twitch about in vain.

Foal 1

The lonely male just went to sleep.

Foal and mare 1

Sadly, juvenile tails are no use as fly whisks,

Foal and mare 2

so our little limpet clung to Mum,

Foal and mare 3

keeping within the sweep of hers.

Beach

We visited Tanners Lane on our way home. Despite the low tide, the appearance of water, against the backcloth of the Isle of Wight, gave the illusion of coolness.

Women and chidren on beach 1Women and children on beachWomen and children on beach 3Women and children on beach 4

Two women and children searching among the shallows, skirted

Boat on low tide beach

a rowing boat

Mooring chain

 chained to the stony shore.

House

This is the last house on the lane.

We had seen dog roses in the hedgerows at Boldre;

Small Heath butterflies

Those on Tanners Lane mingled with blackberry blossom among which Small Heath butterflies flitted. There are two in this picture.

Our evening meal consisted of cold meats, hard-boiled egg, salad, and cheeses.

Now we are going to drink beer on the patio.

 

 

 

Half Term

CLICK ON IMAGES TO ENLARGE. THOSE IN GROUPS ACCESS GALLERIES THAT CAN BE VIEWED FULL SIZE.

Storm Doris had blown about the bag of twigs gathered up a couple of days ago, and dumped more on the beds and paths in the garden.

The Shady Path, with its Camellia shrubs didn’t look too bad, except for the chair blown over on the decking.

We picked up a few more bits of tree and went for a drive in the forest.

Beautifully situated among daffodils on the village green at Portmore is another Telephone Box book exchange.

Jogger

I exchanged greetings with a friendly jogger running along the verge of the road between Beaulieu and Dibden Purlieu,

as I was walking back a short way into the forest, to the opposite side of the road, where numerous temporary pools reflected the trees they surrounded.

Friars Cliff Café was full to bursting as children, taking advantage of half-term in Hampshire’s schools, had fun on the beach before taking refreshments. We enjoyed a brunch there.

This evening I made prints of Sam and Louisa in the skip from Ratty, the post of two days ago; and two little girls doing handstands and running on the sand. Louisa’s picture was by request. The others were for the mother of the other children who preferred not to have the pictures posted here.

Later we dined on pizza and salad with which I finished the merlot opened three days ago.