Avian Pairs

Today was bright and sunny, if a little chilly.

Because this was the weekend, there was a little more humanity on the forest roads, mainly in the form of

family groups of walkers like these on St Leonards Road,

and cyclists in pairs or singly, like this one on Sowley Lane.

We had planned to visit the beach at the end of Tanners Lane, but thought better of it when we met a row of parked cars near the entrance. Clearly the shingle would be crowded. Jackie backed up a long way before reaching a turning space.

The narrow track leading solely to the beach beside the Solent is one of our ancient thoroughfares that is bordered by

high banks and deep ditches, centuries of erosion having exposed gnarled roots. This verge is on the side edged by fields;

the opposite side flanks gardens, like this one, the top of which is fenced against the road above, from which we can look down on the cottage below.

Blackthorn blossom blooms beneath the bank.

 

Donkeys dined in ditches,

along the verges,

and up the banks.

Sometimes, like the man with the red flag during the early years of motor traffic, they kept the speed down by leading from the front. The passenger in this car was doing what I do, and photographing the donkey.

Sowley Lane is flanked by fields, one of which bears the first coat of bright yellow pigment that will develop into oil seed rape.

A pheasant courtship was taking place in the next field.

I turned my attention to ponies on the verges, one of which animals bore uncomfortable looking red eyes.

A pair of mallards waddled past as I approached another along the dappled road.

A cyclist approached as the two ducks neared the original pony now being joined by another.

The drake and his mate crossed the road as I attempted to come a bit closer.

They slipped into the water-filled ditch. As I pointed my lens they took flight. I just about managed to catch one of them.

One pony crossed back across the road and left its companion to

have an energetic scratch.

We returned home via Lisle Court Road which featured a sun-spotted thatched cottage,

with a neighbouring iconic red telephone box having undergone a makeover.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s classic chicken jalfrezi; savoury rice, palak paneer, onion bahjis, and plain paratha, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the El Zumbido Garnacha, Syrah.

“Alice’s Last Day”

On this bright and chilly morning, Nugget was torn away from his perch on the lip of

 

Jackie’s tulip planting pot

by Muggle’s war cries, which, proudly puffed up, he was required to reciprocate from a higher viewpoint.

“Where’s Nugget?” (49).

Later, we drove into the forest, taking School Lane out of Milford on Sea.

Tanners Lane was to produce two very enjoyable conversations.

The first was with Ed and Alice who were enjoying “Alice’s last day” in Lymington before travelling up to London for an interview for a job in Marylebone which, of course, I knew very well. I wished her luck and gave them a blog card.

The second was with a painter working on number 7.

Jackie and I must have been watching the renovation work in progress for a good two years now.

First there was the roofing of master thatcher A. D. Smith, with renovations by New Forest Oak Buildings

 

The painter confirmed my observation that the different materials in the walls are being matched and preserved.

Soon work will commence inside. Maybe I will have further opportunities to enter the historic building.

My informant told me that he had been delayed coming to work yesterday because the Beaulieu River had burst its banks. We therefore headed off in that direction.

Cattle basked on the moorland at East End

and grazed on the hillside above

St Leonards Road, for much of the length of which we were required to track a string of veteran cyclists.

For variety in the game of “Where’s Nugget”, I can offer “Where’s the pheasant”, camouflaged in the verge side bracken.

Beaulieu Lake, presumably at high tide

was certainly fuller than usual,

providing a splendidly smooth cygnet paddling pool.

Rowing boats left on the soggy bank of the

now still river must have been put into service during the spate.

Today, another group of cyclists were able to gather round a wooden seat for relaxation, refreshment, and reflection.

I am not quite sure how this post has been published early, that is before we have dined on Mr. Pink’s Fish and chips, drunk Hoegaarden, and finished the Cabernet Franc.

 

A Cervine Spectre

Jackie was up in the dark this morning, in time to photograph

our first smattering of snow before the rain washed it away.

This afternoon we drove to Crestwood in Lymington to complete the paperwork and pay a deposit on our new sitting room flooring which will be laid after Christmas. We continued on to the north of the forest by way of

Roger Penny Way where

the gloom could not conceal the burnished gold of bracken

and autumn leaves.

Among the fallen trees

a skeletal cervine spectre remained tethered beside a moss-coated log.

Blissford Hill was not the only thoroughfare becoming waterlogged enough for arboreal reflection.

The pannage season has been extended. Pigs dashed towards us on

Hyde Hill where Jackie parked the Modus ahead of the

billowing sounder, too fast for me to keep up with.

Suddenly they dashed off piste and disappeared into a soggy field.

I needed to wade through sucking mud to reach the gate.

A somewhat perplexed freckled Shetland pony, sharing its field with

two be-rugged horses and an oak tree, observed the porcine proceedings.

Many thatched cottages, like this one at North Gorley, were able to admire their coiffure in their weedy green pools.

Since our dinner was being slow-roasted while we were out, I had no qualms that I might have been eating the shoulder of one today’s snuffling pigs with crispy crackling, Yorkshire pudding, creamy mashed potatoes, crunchy carrots, and tender cabbage with most tasty gravy. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Fleurie.

 

 

Shared Pasturage

Although it was to brighten a little before we finished our trip into the forest this afternoon, it began very dull and overcast.

At Braggers Lane I disembarked from the Modus to focus on distant landscapes. The last two images include All Saints Church, featured in an earlier post.

Nascent bracken now towered above bluebells on the verge.

Horses grazed in the field opposite. One already wore an eye mask as protection against flies.

Generous assorted sheep and their little black lambs shared their pasturage with emus, ducks, and chickens in a field beside Fish Street. (Note Lwbut’s comment below. The large birds are Rheas)

While I focussed on the field, Jackie photographed the field behind me. at the far end of her vision two cows left their watering hole. One showed no interest, but its companion appeared to display some curiosity. The Assistant Photographer also created an image of the occupants of the field through a gap in trees beside the stream. The thatched cottage stands opposite the gate to the sheep field.

The road bridge provides a link between Fish Street and London Lane, alongside which whiter lambs were penned. This lane, along with many others, was permeated with the heavy, sweet, scent of oil seed rape seen in the distance in the first of the above pictures.

This evening we dined on Mr Pink’s fish and chips, pea fritters, and pickled onions. Jackie drank Peroni and I finished the Merlot Bonarda.

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 Caf√© 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

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

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.