Vichyssoise Pour Les Poneys

Although it was to brighten up in the evening, the skies were overcast when we went for a drive in the forest this afternoon.

We stopped at East Boldre to watch this chestnut pony slaking its thirst, as we thought, at one of the pools formed over waterlogged vegetation. This was taking some time. Slowly it dawned on me that the animal was in fact dining on its favourite vegetation. Occasionally coming up for air, liquid streamed from its muzzle as it chomped on the green stuff. This, it seemed, was vichyssoise for the ponies.

Opposite the corner of the East Boldre road and St Leonards Road stands what looks like a refurbished historic thatched house. In fact, Tom Whiteley Bespoke Homes has spent just a few months building this from scratch. We thought the brick extension, contemporary with the rest of the job, was a stroke of genius.

The corner opposite this house also bears an extensive covering of water. Another bay enjoyed its own helping of the soup.

Elizabeth joined us for dinner which consisted of Jackie’s delicious sausage casserole; creamy mashed potatoes; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; and tender green beans. Before that we enjoyed her vegetable soup with croutons. Elizabeth drank Beck’s Blue; Jackie drank Hoegaarden; and I drank Juicy Assemblage 2017.

Angel Lane

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This morning Jackie drove me to the GP surgery at Milford on Sea to collect a blood test result which, along with a questionnaire I then posted, in the pillar box featured yesterday, to UCH Hospital in London. The material is part of a follow-up survey after my metal-on-metal hip replacement nine years ago. Problems have surfaced from this method. I have none. The blood test is normal and requires no action.

Because of the number of comments I have received complimenting the work of the Milford WI, and in order to show the ladies yesterday’s post, I visited the Community Centre in search of a member to whom I could give a blog card. The volunteer running the café this morning was ‘Tricia, who had helped set up the exhibition at 7 a.m. on Saturday morning. Naturally we had an enjoyable conversation and she asked for four cards which I was happy to hand over.

We chose the somewhat circuitous Angel Lane route to Milford. The sunlight streamed across the narrow, steeply undulating lane, which made for several interesting head-on encounters, mostly with commercial vehicles in a hurry.

Bluebells, cow parsley, and other wild flowers lined the verges; to the left lay private fields, some carpeted with buttercups, one warning us to keep out; to the right a public footpath had been barred off – not an unusual sight in this area.

Bedding plants

We then drove to Hockey’s Farm Café for brunch and returned via Ferndene Farm Shop where Jackie filled the boot of the car with bedding plants mostly destined for her hanging baskets.

Billy

This afternoon I paid the car tax fee over the phone and made an A4 print of this photograph taken 3 days ago for Helen.

This evening we dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away fare with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Médoc.

 

Her First Baby Donkey

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Although the rain has stopped, we are still enduring gale force winds. This involved us picking up branches and various other bits of debris.

Elizabeth came for the afternoon. After lunch Jackie drove us all to Hockey’s Farm at Ibsley, where the ladies enjoyed cream teas and I drank sparkling water.

Donkey and Alpaca

At the farm, larger than average donkeys shared a field with the alpacas.

Hockey's Farm house 1Hockey's Farm house 2

Part of the complex is an attractive thatched house,

Ploughshare 1Window and ploughshare

by the side of which lie a pair of antique ploughshares.

Woman and dog conversing in front of thatched house

Seated at one of the tables whilst her companion visited the café, a woman engaged in conversation with her dog.

Ploughshare and window from café doorway

The back door of the café looked out onto the scene.

Derrick by Elizabeth 3.8.17

Elizabeth photographed me at our table. Later we cropped it to produce an up-to-date WP profile picture.

Mushrooms

A Milky Way of mushrooms outside Hyde

Puffball by Elizabeth

prompted Elizabeth later to photograph a puffball growing in the gravel of our Shady Path.

Donkey and foal 1

At Frogham, my sister was delighted to encounter her ‘first baby donkey’,

Donkey and foal blackberrying

seen blackberrying with its mother.

Donkey by Elizabeth

Something was making the foal itch. Elizabeth created this image.

Back home we dined on Jackie’s perfect pasta arrabbiata with sugar snaps. Elizabeth and I finished the malbec, whilst Jackie drank Hoegaarden.

Afterwards, Elizabeth and I examined our photographs.

P.S. See Paol’s comment below for correct information on the old ploughs

Spectral Ponies

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This morning we brunched in a very crowded Otter Nurseries restaurant before driving to Emery Down, Bolderwood, and back home.

Thatched house

As with many New Forest villages, the approach to Emery Down from Swan Green is quintessentially English.

Thatched house

We have a row of tiny thatched cottages in which I could not stand upright, and a larger thatched house, opposite the green

Emery Down approach

flanking the uphill stretch of an undulating road, one of the warning signs of which bears the image of a pony. Level with the gate in this picture is a cattle grid. Both gate and grid are designed to keep those ponies on the far side.

Thatched house garden

The garden of the house benefits from our Indian summer;

no self-respecting one in this area, except, that is, for ours, is without its bank of nerines,

Roses and nerines

not all accompanied by pink shrub roses.

Turning left in Emery Down the forest road goes through Bolderwood. On its verges Jackie parked with her puzzle book whilst I wandered among the trees,

the leaves of which were beginning to turn rich gold and deep red.

Mushroom

This is also the season for mushrooms to force their way through the forest floor.

Throughout the woods can be seen shattered trunks and hollowed sawn logs from fallen trees.

At Bolderwood silent spectral ponies emerged from the shadows to graze their way across to the greener grass on the other side.

Sunlight played on the road on our return.

This evening we dined on spicy pizza and salad, followed by profiterols. I drank Basson shiraz 2014.

Afternoon In The Forest

This morning Aaron made a start on decorating the stairs and landing.

Afterwards Becky drove me, Jackie, and Ian to Abbot’s Well at Frogham, where we lunched in The Foresters’ Arms.

This was another comparatively mild day of rather more sunshine than showers, making for constantly changing light. Our accommodating daughter complied with my various requests for photography stops.

Reflections in pools 1Reflections in pool 2

Roger Penny Way runs from Cadnam roundabout to Godshill and beyond. The first stop was to record arboreal reflections in recently formed forest pools.

Ponies reflected in pool 2

Ponies reflected in pool 1Pony reflected in field 1

At Godshill, ponies were reduced to grazing around the edges of more pools that now covered their grass patch.

Landscape 1Landscape 2Tree in landscape 1

Soon after Godshill we turned left and drove up to Abbots Well where we disembarked and wandered around for a while.

Walker in heathland

Other walkers soaked up the landscape.

Ian in landscape

Ian can be seen emerging from the bushes here,

Fungus on tree

where bright yellow fungus was to be found.

We lunched in The Foresters’ Arms, where the already excellent food has gone up several notches in quality since our last visit more than a year ago. My burger stack with quite the best onion rings I have ever tasted, superb chunky chips, coleslaw and salad was plentiful enough to suffice for the day’s sustenance. I drank Wadsworth’s 6X. Ian had the same opinion about the same choice of meal, and drank Kronenberg. Jackie also enjoyed her scampi and chips (small appetite size), and Becky her roast beef (kid’s portion). The two ladies shared coffee and coke.

Ponies in field

On our return, on the way down to the ford from the pub, we passed a field containing horses that are not wild. That they were not wearing rugs is a reflection on the mild weather.

Thatched house

Road

On a corner of the road stands a typically thatched house.

Pony 1Pony 2Ponies 1Ponies

This time, when we passed Godshill the ponies were feeding in full sunshine.

West Kennet Long Barrow

Drawn by the extravagant breakdance being performed outside our sitting room window by the unidentified peach rose, clearly far more resilient than plastic greenhouses, I ventured outside into the wild, weirdly warming, winds with my camera.

Rose peach 1

The rose surged backwards and forwards, defying my efforts at focussing;

Rose Summertime

those in their dedicated garden, where Summertime still has a presence, were more sheltered.

Rose Margaret Merrill

Margaret Merrill, lives up to her top autumn rose billing,

Rose Kent

and carpet rose Kent rivals the fallen beech leaves for ground cover.

With a warning of frost and maybe snow in a week’s time, it was probably apt that the batch of colour slides from December 1976 should contain snow scenes. That was a very cold winter following an extremely hot summer.

Jessica, Michael and I were staying with her parents in their beamed and thatched house in Wootton Rivers, Wiltshire.

Wootton Rivers

Wootton Rivers (Mark)

Mark Pearson, who, had he lived, would have been my father-in-law stands here in front of his home.

Snow on ironwork 12.76

The snow was not deep at this time, but there was enough to turn simple ironwork into bejewelled necklaces;

Snow on trees

to transform branches of trees into festive yule logs;

Snowscape

and ploughed fields, along which Jessica and Michel walk, into scenic Christmas cake icing.

Snow on Wiltshire Downs

Piper joins them in this picture. The boy to the left could be Jessica’s nephew, Tim Draper.

Michael on West Kennet longbarrow

Here, Michael trudges on after the others.

West Kennet longbarrow

We had, then unbeknown to me, found ourselves atop West Kennet Long Barrow.

The West Kennet Long Barrow is a prehistoric burial mound near Avebury. It is one of the largest and best-preserved monuments of its kind in Britain. Only the East Kennet Barrow is longer than this one’s 100 meters. Although we did not do so, visitors,can enter the barrow and explore five empty stone chambers in which humans were buried from 3700 to 2000 BC.

In all, the bones of about 46 individuals have been found in the chambers of the barrow. It appears that bodies were buried in social groups: the west chamber was mainly for adult males; the northeast and northwest chambers for mixed adults; the southeast for the old and the southwest chamber for children.

The tombs contained numerous grave goods, including pottery of various kinds (fragments of 250 different vessels were discovered); beads made of bone, stone and shells; flint tools; and animal bones. The pottery spans a long range of time, from the Earlier to Late Neolithic periods.

I didn’t know the amount of history that lay beneath us.

This evening we dined on the last of the shepherd’s pie; extra mashed potato, a steamed cauliflower and Brussel’s sprouts, all flavour retained. Apple and raisin cake with cream was to follow.