This morning I made a print of this photograph for Danni. I took it at Louisa’s fourth birthday party in May 1986, featuring Ella’s mother just seven months older than Ella is now.
Elizabeth, Danni, and Ella came to lunch, which is why I produced this picture.
Grandmother, mother, and daughter played on the sofa while we all chatted before tucking into the splendid array of cold meats, pies, cheeses, coleslaw, and salad produced by Jackie. The new generation of Keenan motherhood displays the same exploratory concentration as the previous one.
We took an early drive to the east of the forest this morning.
Having left Lymington we traversed Snooks Lane. The nature of this narrow, winding, road suggests that it is madness to reach the 40 m.p.h. limit marked on these lanes.
Despite the idyllic location and the recently completed cleaning of the Burrard Monument someone has tossed a coke can over the low wooden rail bordering the grounds.
The tide was out at Tanners Lane where a black headed gull foraged among the silt.
The Isle of Wight, The Needles, Hurst Castle, and the two lighthouses could be viewed through a certain amount of haze.
Our next stop was at Sowley Lane, where a pony grazed, a friendly gentleman trotted with his dog, a cyclist approached; and alongside which oilseed rape blazed through a field.
It was a sleeping baby on the opposite side of the road from his mother that had caused me to disembark. After a while he woke, awkwardly found his feet and wobbled across to the pony mare who, continuing to fuel herself, offered no assistance to her offspring who eventually, unaided, latched on to his source of nutriment.
Just as we were about to continue on our way, the Modus experienced a thudding sound and a gentle rocking. The foal was using it as a scratching post. While Jackie made these portraits our little friend even allowed her to stroke his nose.
We felt a bit stuck in place while the pony seemed stuck on us.
After a last lingering caress, he turned his head and bent it in the direction of his mother. This enabled us to take off, albeit slowly. Turning back in our direction he looked somewhat nonplussed as his image in my wing mirror gradually diminished. I swear he was thinking “where’s it gone?”.
For dinner this evening Jackie produced tandoori chicken; savoury and pilau rice; and fresh salad, with which I drank The Long Way Round reserve Carmenere 2018, another excellent selection from Ian’s Christmas case.
This being the second day of 50+ m.p.h. winds it seemed one to have a look at the waves on The Solent.
The sun lit the cliffs of the island and the waves on the skyline.
When I photographed the sea,
rocks, and spume on the sand
I was not alone;
one young woman, exhibiting enviable knee flexion, took a bird’s eye view.
When I grew tired of bracing myself against the gusts, we drove through Shirley Holms into the forest,
where, on Beachwood Lane, our new foal, still keeping close to her mother, and needing to suckle, looked more as if her legs belonged to her and could, to some extent, risk making our acquaintance.
Other ponies wandered about
and a group of cattle were accompanied by a young calf.
They soon wandered off down the lane in order to trim residents’ hedges.
Perhaps we were downwind of the deer which occasionally peered out from the distant undergrowth before gradually moving off under cover.
One of the fallen trees appeared to have been uprooted quite recently.
Our return journey took us along Bickley Common Road with its bluebells and cow parsley on the verges.
This evening we dined on roast chicken breasts; potatoes roasted with onions and mushrooms; and crisp carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli; followed by strawberries and cream. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Dragon Hills Pinot Noir 2017.
Overnight winds had been powerful enough to blow this planted up stone urn off its pedestal.
Early this morning Jackie drove me to our G.P. surgery at Milford on Sea to order a repeat prescription.
We were not surprised to learn on BBC News that, at 79 m.p.h., the strongest gusts in Britain had rushed through The Needles which still seemed borne on a bed of spray as we passed them. Our home is in a direct line from these rocks, and always shares their buffeting.
The foaming waves of the Solent rolled rapidly towards our coastline, flinging ragged curtains of ocean droplets skyward. A motorboat speeding across the surface, despite its rapid rate, seemed to be bobbing up and down as it appeared to be engulfed.
Gulls reflected in pools in the car parks.
Masts at the Yacht Club stood against the sky at Keyhaven, where a group of walkers of the third age passed a younger woman with a dog.
We continued along the coast road towards Hurst Spit on and around which walkers strode beneath a fretwork of cotton clouds and streaking jet trails.
As we approached the bridge over the stream we became aware of a frenzied, shrieking, squabble of seagulls. What, we wondered, had provoked this activity?
A gentleman carefully placing muzzles on his pair of Dalmatians had spotted the answer.
He wasn’t prepared to risk a conflict between his dogs and the swans being fed from the bridge.
A string of Brent geese had found their own food in a field opposite.
Outside Solent Grange a store of stone sculptures awaited installation on the so pretentious walls.
This evening we dined on Jackie’s comforting cottage pie; crunchy carrots of virus hues; tender runner beans and cabbage.
This afternoon we collected repeat prescriptions from the Pharmacy at Milford on Sea.
The Needles and their lighthouse had transmogrified into a red-eyed sea monster.
As equally calm as the Solent was the surface of Hatchet Pond with its skimming waterfowl and shimmering landscape.
While a photographer peered into the sun a friendly gull stood guard on a disabled parking space.
This was useful because the waters of the lake had encroached on the overspill car park, and partially iced over providing looking glasses for the surrounding trees.
A pair of magpies – two for joy – and a nippy little wagtail foraged on the banks.
One chestnut pony at East Boldre cropped the verge while another mowed the lawn beside a stretch of winterbourne water.
Today’s sign of post-operative progress was being able to dine at the table where Jackie served a sweetly savoury sausage casserole containing pork chipolatas and larger varieties with caramelised onion. Also on the menu was creamy swede and potato mash; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; and curly kale.
Today was bright and sunny, although strong winds brought something of a chill factor. We took a trip out to view the seafront at Milford on Sea, and the delights of the New Forest – in my case through a lens poked out of the open passenger window.
Against the backdrop of the iconic Isle of Wight Needles we, and other visitors, watched the spray-tipped waves known as white horses. I reflected that normally I would have been standing on the clifftop, legs spread wide to brace myself against the sharply stinging spray and the piercing winds. Necessity had provided me with a far more comfortable vantage point.
It wasn’t until shortly before sunset on Penn Common that we encountered any forest fauna. Here, the lowering rays enhanced
glowing outlines of free roaming cattle,
and grazing sheep, bearing the mark of a ram;
while nearby penned donkeys displayed their usual inquisitiveness.
At Bramshaw, the usual motley groups of cattle continued their ploughing of the village green.
A leisurely peacock wandered across the road, causing a watching cow to swivel her neck, keeping pace with the colourful bird.
Dusk was well under way when we drove along South Sway Lane watching pink and gold clouds streaking a still cerulean sky above the darkly silhouetted tree line.
This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy pasta arrabbiata and tender green beans.
Early this morning we visited our GP practice for our flu vaccines. This, known as the flu jab, is a process of injecting protection from strains of influenza. Those over a certain age are urged to avail themselves of this each year. I was a bit reluctant to get going this morning, especially as I thought this was a ploy on Jackie’s behalf to have me washed and dressed before midday. The procedure was quick and painless.
Along the coast road, the monochrome Isle of Wight, with its own Needles, emerged from filmy vapour.
We visited Elizabeth at Pilley once more. I stayed in the car while Jackie delivered some mail, including a parcel of equipment from B.T. who, despite having engineers frequently visiting Burnt House Lane, continue to despatch items to our home.
‘Bulling is a behaviour seen in cattle when one mounts another, usually when one or the other is a female in oestrus (on heat); “bulling” is commonly used as a term for a female in oestrus. Female cattle in oestrus may mount any adult cattle, especially a bull (fertile male) if one is present, but they will also mount castrated males or other females. A bulling female will often also be mounted by other cattle, both male and female (only fertile males are usually capable of mating). A dominant bull will defend the bulling female from being mounted by other cattle.
Bulling is used by farmers to recognise oestrus, which is important to determine the fertile period when cows may be artificially inseminated. Care is needed to identify whether the animal in oestrus is the one mounting or being mounted, and of course sometimes both animals may be in oestrus.
Mounting behaviour is also sometimes seen between adult cattle in the absence of a female in oestrus.’
I have added this as a P.S. to the original post.
This evening Jackie produced a most toothsome dinner consisting of her tasty steak and mushroom pie; new potatoes; crunchy carrots, green beans, cauliflower, and curly kale.