The Persistent Suitor

This morning Jackie drove me to New Hall Hospital and back for follow-up visits to surgeon Mr Ivar Kask and to physiotherapist Vanessa. Both were happy with progress and neither needs to see me again.

We followed an unnamed narrow winding lane from Bodenham, just behind the hospital, to Charlton-All-Saints. Hoping we would not meet another vehicle along the way we first encountered a young woman so engrossed in her mobile phone that she was in danger of walking straight into us.

Ponies, as usual, grazed or lazed on and around the green at Hale,

where a group of donkeys presented a tableau before a thatched cottage. A solitary creature to the left of these pictures stepped across the grass leaving the two dozing on the right

to the attentions of this character who had been lurking out of shot. He made his way steadily towards the other two,

intent on making further acquaintance.

His sweet-faced intended simply walked away from beneath him as he pursued his suit. He returned in persuasive mood. She didn’t seem to mind his nuzzling up,

but drew the line at a further approach from the rear.

He had to settle for a consoling scratch.

Hatchett Lodge, being the 19th century lodge to Hale Park, is a Grade 2 listed building.

The village stands on land high enough to offer views of distant landscapes; bluebells now embellish banks; the bole of a gnarled oak tree commands attention.

Ponies and cattle co-exist happily on the green at Woodgreen, from where,

beyond an aged oak, one of its limbs propped by a makeshift chock, can be seen Braemore House, standing since the time of Queen Elizabeth I.

We lunched at The Green Dragon, Brook. My egg was not broken when it was delivered, but I had pierced it with the obligatory chip before deciding to record it for posterity. My meat was gammon. Jackie very much enjoyed her battered haloumi with mushy peas and French fries, which, of course demanded a dousing in the spicy dip. Jackie drank a flat white coffee while I drank Wadsworth’s 6X.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s substantial vegetable soup and fresh crusty bread with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Juicy Assemblage.

“That’s What I Call Home Delivery”

Early this morning Jackie drove me to New Hall Hospital for a Pre-Admission Assessment. The assessment was fine, but I was urged to chase up the urology photographic examination, otherwise it is extremely unlikely that the surgery date of 9th January will be met.


In the Wiltshire village of Braemore the Brakes of a container lorry had failed. It had clearly crossed the central reservation and

knocked on the door of the wonderful thatched house, Japonica.

BREAKING NEWS….BREAKING NEWS……BREAKING NEWS…..BREAKING NEWS……..

As I was drafting this I received a phone call in which I learned the name of the above mentioned examination. It is called a flexible cystoscopy. I am having one at 8.30 in the morning.

I left a message for my knee surgeon’s secretary informing her of this.

Now, where was I?

Ah, yes.

The lorry had demolished a bus shelter on the way to the house.

Shrubbery had been crushed.

A young man was clearing up the rubble.

Jackie’s observation on this incident was “that’s what I call home delivery”. After I photographed the scene we took a diversion through the forest where,

at Godshill, a velvety burnished chestnut pony tore at the holly beside a high-banked verge,

while a drowsy foal basked in the bracken.

As so often, ponies stood on the tarmac of Roger Penny Way, one stubby little individual stubbornly refusing to budge.

I stood for a while on Deadman Hill, admiring the sunlit landscape, with its distant ponies, nestling buildings, and ubiquitous trees.

Yesterday, my Canon 300 mm lens became stuck, making it impossible to adjust the focal length. We therefore took it into Wessex Photographic at Ringwood for them to send it away for repair. There will be a delay of a couple of months for an estimate, which gave me an excuse to buy a Sigma 600 mm lens as recommended by fellow blogger, Sherry Felix.

We then brunched in Café Aroma. This meant we didn’t need much more this evening. We all had sandwiches; the ladies enjoyed Jackie’s leek and potato soup. Elizabeth and I drank Como Sur Bicicleta Reserva Pinot Noir 2017. I confined myself to corned beef and Branston pickle sandwiches.

P.S. For all those who expressed concern about the occupants of the house, this is a copy of a Facebook comment from a London friend: ‘Maureen Allen This is my friends house thank god they were not hurt but still a big shock xx’

 

As If There Were Not Enough Foals

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This afternoon Jackie drove me to New Hall Hospital for a session with Claire, the physiotherapist who was very pleased with my progress. The flexion in my left knee has been increased by 20 degrees in the last two weeks. She adjusted the height ofd my crutch handle because she noticed that I lurch sideways on it because it was a bit too low.

As usual we took a cross-country route back home.

Thatched cottage, pony

We passed a picturesque thatched cottage with roses round the door. It faced a green with strangely uneven terrain that was carpeted with

ponies and cattle

Black Baldy cattle

including Black Baldies.

Cow investigating garden

Further along the lane a cow investigated someone’s garden while the next door neighbour had difficulty driving into hers because another blocked her access.

The Fighting Cocks at Godshill was surrounded by even more donkeys and foals than usual. Some of the youngsters clung to their mothers’ flanks, others flopped on the grass. As if there were not enough foals littering the verges, one eager asinine gentleman attempted to participate in the creation of another. He was rebuffed, and brayed his displeasure.

Donkey and foal

When these two set off to cross back over Roger Penny Way, we were a little disconcerted. We needn’t have worried. Having slalomed around numerous equine cousins, all vehicles at this point progressed at a snail’s pace.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s splendid chicken jalfrezi served with boiled basmati rice.

 

 

I Hadn’t Seen Rahul

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This morning Jackie drove us to the GP surgery at Milford on Sea where we were given our flu jabs. There is nothing like joining the priority group above a certain age for letting us know where we belong.

Afterwards we travelled on for a short trip in the forest.

Gates CottageGates Cottage 2

Fence

Gates Cottage, with its attractive picket fences is nicely situated

Mead End Road

on a bend in Mead End Road near Lymington.

Cattle peering through hedge

Inquisitive as always, a pair of cattle, possibly Herefords, peered through a hedge alongside the driveway to Greenslade Farm opposite the thatched cottage.

Bracken

Bracken in the hedgerows wears its autumn hues.

Mead End Road continuation

We turned off into another lane,

ScaffoldingHousing development 2Housing development 3

and returned home via Hordle Lane where the new housing development

Housing Development 1

has changed forever the view from All Saints Parish Church,

Autumn leaves 2

the graveyard of which

Autumn leaves 1

is donning its autumn splendour.

This afternoon we returned to NatWest in Lymington where I collected the Australian dollars I am sending to Orlaith for her fifth birthday.

Jackie waited in the car for me at the bottom of the High Street while I wandered down photographing the seasonal displays.

St Thomas and All Saints graveyard 1St Thomas and All Saints graveyard 2St Thomas and All Saints graveyard 3

I began with the graveyard of St Thomas and All Saints church, containing some of the souls we remember this evening;

Holly berries

where holly berries proclaim the season.

Bunting Halloween

Like Pizza Express, we take the opportunity to amuse with spiders and ghouls carved from pumpkins featured on this bunting;

Pizza Express window

and scary creatures peering from their window.

Dogs Trust window

The Dogs Trust display also includes a discreet poppy.

Costa Coffee window

Inside Costa Coffee, a wandering pumpkin selects a snack from the cabinet.

English and Continental Chocolates window

English and Continental Chocolates’ cornucopia includes a number of witches of which Burley would be proud.

White Stuff Halloween display

Living up to the outlet’s name White Stuff displayed an albino pumpkin.

Save The Children shop window

The Save The Children shop favoured horror.

Lounges Coffee Shop and Rose Garden Crafts

Across the road Lounges Coffee Shop and Rose Garden Craftsstruck a lower key.

Drydock window

This crafted pumpkin is in drydock.

The Gilded Teapot window

It is probably appropriate that The Gilded Teapot’s window should show falling leaves.

Rahul in High Street 1

In common with a number of our towns and villages, Lymington remembers those souls who never came back from Flanders, by fixing a poppy to each lamp post.

Rahul in High Street 2

It wasn’t until I cropped and enlarged the two images that I realised that I had photographed Rahul, one of the delightful Lal Quilla waiters. He is on the left, speaking on his mobile phone. On his way back down the hill a little later he stopped for a chat, neither of us being aware that I had immortalised him. I will make some prints for our next visit to the restaurant.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy chilli con carne with wild rice and peas. I drank more of the Fronton.

 

 

 

Stand-off

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Sunshine having returned, we took a drive in the forest this morning, and found ourselves centred on Brockenhurst, on the outskirts of which stands

The White Cottage

The White Cottage. I’m no expert, but this looks to me to be a relatively new building in keeping with its bucolic neighbourhood.

St Nicholas's Church Spire

When we last visited St. Nicholas’s Church with Jessie and Guru I concentrated on the New Zealand War Graves, also featured in ‘There Is Some Corner Of An English Churchyard’ which has a close-up of the fern sculpture in the bottom left of this picture.

Gates to St Nicholas's ChurchSt Nicholas's Church

Today I paid more attention to the church itself

Gravestones, St Nicholas Church 1Gravestones St Nicholas's Church 2Gravestones St Nicholas's Church 3Gravestones St Nicholas's Church 4Gravestones St Nicholas's Church 5Gravestones St Nicholas's Church 6Gravestones St Nicholas's Church 7Gravestones St Nicholas's Church 8Gravestones St Nicholas's Church 9

and to its older, tilting, more weathered, gravestones.

http://www.newforestexplorersguide.co.uk/heritage/brockenhurst/parish-church.html tells us this about this historic place of worship:

‘Brockenhurst Parish Church of St. Nicholas is located in beautifully peaceful surroundings just under 0.5 kilometres (1/4 mile) to the south-east of the village centre. It is considered to be the oldest church in the New Forest. Indeed, Brockenhurst is the only New Forest village for which a church was mentioned in the Domesday Book of 1086 AD – along here with 6 smallholders and 4 slaves with 2½ ploughs; and woodland at 20 pigs.

An earlier Saxon church was located on the same site as Brockenhurst Parish Church – Saxon herring-bone work can be seen in the south wall of the old Nave – and some consider that there may have also been a pagan temple or Romano-British church here, too, as the mound on which the church sits is thought to be at least part man-made.

Other elements of the current Parish Church structure date back to the 12th century, whilst the tower was added in the 18th century, and now blends well with the timeless surroundings.

This and other alterations were not, however, always so favourably viewed. John Wise, writing in the early 1860s, noted that: ‘The church has been sadly mutilated. A wretched brick tower has been patched on at the west end; and on the north side a new staring red brick aisle, which surpasses even the usual standard of ugliness of a dissenting chapel.’

Wise did go on say, though: ‘If the church, however, has been disfigured, the approach to it fortunately remains in all its beauty. For a piece of quiet English scenery nothing can exceed this. A deep lane, its banks a garden of ferns, its hedge matted with honeysuckle, and woven together with bryony, runs, winding along a side space of green, to the latch gate, guarded by an enormous oak, its limbs now fast decaying, its rough bark grey with the perpetual snow of lichens, and here and there burnished with soft streaks of russet-coloured moss; whilst behind it, in the churchyard, spreads the gloom of a yew, which, from the Conqueror’s day, to this hour, has darkened the graves of generations.’

And most of that remains true to this day, although the old oak tree no longer stands. The churchyard yew was, though, carbon dated in the mid-1980s, and found to be more than 1,000 years old. Its girth was 15 feet in 1793, 17 feet in the early 1860s, 18 feet 4 inches in 1915, and now, at 5 feet from the ground, it is more than 20 feet round.

Richardson, King and Driver on their late-18th century New Forest map show what is now the tarmac road leading to the church from the then turnpike, but give equal prominence to the green lane running north-south on the eastern side of the church.

Maybe in those days both were of similar status, and kept in a similar state of repair. But whatever, the green lane now offers quiet passage to and from the village, away from the small number of cars on the modern road. Overarched by coppiced hazels, and in places a very definite hollow-way with moss-clad banks, the lane in spring is bright with bluebells and pennywort. Here walkers can re-trace the footsteps of church-going travellers from many centuries ago.

Brusher Mills (1840-1905), the celebrated New Forest snake-catcher, is buried in the churchyard – the ornate headstone shows Brusher outside his woodland hut, holding up a tangle of snakes.

Here also can be found the graves of more than one hundred New Zealand, Indian and other soldiers who died in Brockenhurst field hospitals during and immediately after the First World War. An annual service, attended by a representative of the New Zealand High Commission and of the New Zealand Forces, is held on the Sunday next to Anzac Day.’

References:
Domesday Book, Hampshire: General Editor, John Morris
The New Forest: Its History and Scenery: John R. Wise
A Guide to the New Forest: Heywood Sumner
Churches of the New Forest: Barry and Georgina Peckham
Brockenhurst New Forest Hampshire: http://www.brockenhurst-newforest.org.uk/churches.html

Pigs at pannage 1Pigs at pannage 2

Further on Jackie spotted a sounder of swine snuffling after fallen mast.

Ponies and pigs 1Ponies and pigs 2

Suddenly one of the saddlebacks began tearing around the trees out from which trotted three ponies who then stood off, at a safe distance, watching the pigs that had ousted them from their pasturage.

Ponies and saddleback

Eventually the horses gingerly returned, but, occasionally offering an irritated kick, still kept the pigs at leg’s length.

Ponies and pigs 3

Perhaps they were talking about this one. At any rate, its ears were apparently burning.

Pigs at pannage 3Pigs at pannage 4Pigs at pannage 5

The standoff was eventually acceptable to both parties, and we went home to lunch.

Later this afternoon we will set off for Emsworth where we will visit Nicolino’s restaurant for Ian’s birthday meal.

 

 

 

After The Rain 2

On a crisp, bright morning with a cloudless blue sky, we took a drive around the New Forest.

Lacking a leaf canopy, the treetop roof, like our kitchen skylight, leaked onto the forest floor.

Reflections in pool 1Reflections on pool 2Reflections in pool 3Reflections in pool 4Reflections in pools 6Reflections on pool 8Reflections in pool 8

These scenes, photographed at Brownhills near Wootton Heath, were repeated throughout our journey. Branches are traced on the surface of pools reflecting various hues of blue contrasting with the seepage from the reddened soil and the

Forest floor 2

fallen leaves. It was possible to ignore the soggy refuse littered about.

Redlands stones

Redlands house name on stone was also reflected in nature’s mirror.

Ponies generally remain deeper in the forest during heavy rain. Today they were everywhere in the forest and on the heathland.

Ponies 2Ponies 3

On Whitefield Moor two members of a basking group appeared to lack the energy to support the weight of their heads. The most likely explanation is that these creatures, usually pretty scrawny by this time of the year, have been eating as if it were Christmas for some months now.

Pony preening

A giant, preening, swan, upon closer inspection turned out to be an itchy pony

Ponies 1

that tail-twitched off after gaining some relief.

Firs 1

The magnificent upright redwood firs of the Rhinefield arboretum burned in the sunlight.

Cattle on road 1Cattle on road 2Cattle on road 3Cattle on road 4

A group of mud-caked, yellow-tagged, curly haired cattle, as they ambled along the road hugging the wall of a thatched cottage at East Boldre, successfully delayed traffic for a while.

The yellow tags on these creatures’ ears denote ownership by the commoners who are entitled to allow their animals to roam free. I have never seen these beasts released from their byres this early in the year.

This evening we dined at Dynasty in Brockenhurst. I enjoyed a king prawn jalfrezi; Jackie’s choice was paneer chaslick ; we shared an egg paratha, special fried rice, and sag paneer; and both drank Kingfisher.

Every One A Winner

Morning gloriesI photographed on commission this morning.  Jackie would like to make a card depicting a trio of Morning Glories.  She has several plants, but just one produced the required threesome today.

Cottagers Lane in Hordle is a gorgeous tree-lined road, today dappled in the sunlight.  A house we had seen on a website led us there.  Still in the forest, at a pinch this thatched beauty could be affordable.  Our usual external viewing didn’t disappoint. Cottagers Lane house In tip-top condition, with a newly thatched roof, as evidenced by the still golden decoy pheasant up above, this was an attractive prospect, with additional (library) accommodation in the garden.  That side of the road backs onto open fields. Cottagers Lane As I took a selection of photographs, a female group, with horse, and dog in tow, ambled past.

The Frys Lane house in Everton, previously under offer, is back on the market, so we had another look at that too.

Preserves and CakesVegetablesAfter an errant drive back we visited the Minstead Flowers, Fruit, and Vegetables Show at the Village Hall.  According to Oz, whom we met there, the event was a major success, having attracted far more entries than for many years.  Collection of salad vegetablesEvery kind of produce imaginable was carefully and artistically displayed with explanatory labels, some indicating the award of prizes.  We didn’t stay for the presentation of these latter, but there was a vast assembly of silver trophies shinily filling a table on the stage.

When paying our 50p each for admission we were enjoined to assist in the final judging.Floral display  If I understood Steve Cattel correctly this was the selection of some kind of Victor Ludorum for the floral displays.  I suggested getting us to do this was a cop out.  He said it was.  We had to place our ticket in the tumbler of our choice.  Mine had already won first prize as a novice exhibit. There weren’t many other tickets in the cup.

Basket of vegetables etc.Basket of vegetables and eggsAs well as the eponymous flowers, fruit, and vegetables, a table was laid with preserves and cakes to make your mouth water;Eggs another of cracked eggshells alongside their contents; models made by children; and novelties like the weirdest vegetables.  One pair of prize-winning vegetables also looked pretty weird to me.  That is why I photographed the turnips.  As I raised the camera, a hand slid across the image in the viewfinder and was abruptly withdrawn.  Its owner apologised for spoiling the shot.  ‘I didn’t take it’, I said. Two turnips ‘Please put your hand there again.  It will make the picture.  It looks as if you are snaffling the turnips’.Weirdest vegetable  Who knows?  Maybe that is what she had been doing. Dahlias etc. She was happy to humour me, but was inevitably somewhat tentative, and looked a little less like a child grasping for sweets.

I was particularly intrigued by the ‘Tray for a Royal Christening’ displays.  These required baking and flower arranging skills; a suitable choice of tray, china and cutlery; and an artistic presentation.  As Jackie pointed out, the bootees on the winning fairy cakes perhaps influenced the judges’ choice of number one, but they were all noteworthy entries. Tray for a royal christening first prize Tray for a royal christeningPersonally, I think anyone who has the courage to enter such a potentially disappointing competition, relying on the somewhat arbitrary judgement of others, deserves a prize.  Jackie was incensed that the vase of roses she had thought best hadn’t even been placed.  Unfortunately that’s not how life works.

Athletics at school wasn’t my thing.  I always wanted at least a ball, if not a bat, and I was no sprinter or jumper.  And if I were going to be a sweater, I wanted it to be in a game.  We had an annual sports day and everyone was expected to enter three events. I wasn’t going to enter the hundred yards race; and I hadn’t developed my Fosbury flop. What could I do?  Well there was a javelin, a discus, and a shot.  It didn’t seem to require much effort to stand there and chuck them, especially as no-one else fancied their chances and there were never more than three entrants, so I was assured of at least bronze.  I have to admit to being rather dangerous for any peripheral spectators when it came to the javelin.  It would also have helped my points rating had I thrown it straight.

I’m not sure if I mentioned at home that a gold medal gained in the discus one year required less than even my normal desultory effort, for there were no other competitors.

Jackie once went to a show similar to today’s at Minstead.  She admired a cake that had won second prize.  Searching for the winner of the gold, she realised there wasn’t one.  There had only been one entry not adjudged good enough for the prime accolade.  When she told me this I considered myself fortunate that my schoolmasters had not been inclined to take the same stance.

No matter how many entries there had been for tonight’s chicken jalfrezi contest, Jackie, with her delicious offering, would have won hands down.  Any self-respecting Bangladeshi chef would have been proud of it.  Particularly appreciated were the delicate aromas of her pilau rice garnished with toasted almonds.  Although the meal didn’t really need it, I spiced mine up with Naga relish given to me either by Danni or Shelly.  I finished the Ogio merlot, myself.