An icy wind held this beautiful day in its grasp and ensured that my morning walk to Lyndhurst and back remained freezing. Even by one o’clock when I returned, much of the terrain was frozen, ice covered the pools, and a thin layer of snow remained in parts.
Misty and her mistress were dressed for the conditions. This whippet’s owner was pleasantly impressed when I complimented her on the colour coordination they were displaying. I don’t see how I could have missed it as their fluorescent glow gleamed in my direction from way down the road.
Tall pines sighed unceasingly when beset by the howling Easterly. The shorter hollies creaked, and flustered clusters of swaying ivy lent life to those deciduous trees that remained leafless. Serried rows of last autumn’s bronzed beech leaves wobbled a bit, but clung stubbornly, upside down, to their perches. Blackbirds, undeterred, went about their business in the hedgerows and ditches. Such a good job had been done of clearing the ditches (see 7th March) outside Sinefield that I doubt there would be much there to interest these foragers.
As I approached Emery Down, a group of barely visible deer scampered deeper into the forest.
The smoking chimney of The New Forest Inn was even more inviting than usual on this cold day.
Just as I had climbed up past Saint Michael and All Angels church on the way back, Jackie rang me to ask me to buy some carrots. It may have been cold enough for Christmas, but they can’t have been for Santa’s reindeer in March. I didn’t fancy trooping back down to Budgen’s where I had just done our shopping, so we agreed I’d divert to the Village shop to see if they had any. This meant using the church footpath, which is now just as muddy as ever. My reward for this was the sight of daffodils now joining the crocuses in bloom among the gravestones.
Having walked approximately eight undulating miles, as I passed the telephone box I wasn’t looking forward to the steep climb up Running Hill – so named for the number of streams it harbours – when Castle Malwood came to my rescue. An electrician asked me for directions to this conference centre which lies around the corner from us and has a very dangerous entrance onto the A31. He clearly needed a guide. So he had to give me a lift. Which was just as well because his Satnav was attempting to send him up a badly made up road that had no access to the building. And because I was a bit tired.
After lunch there was another job lined up for me. Jackie had had a wonderful idea for an Easter Egg hunt for Malachi when he comes tomorrow. Anyone familiar with these games will know that the searcher is presented with a clue that leads to the first egg which lies with the next clue, and so on until the end. The clues could not be in writing because my grandson is not quite four. When Flo was little Jackie had made drawings for the clues. But I now have a digital camera and a shiny new iMac. I expect you saw that coming.
Fourteen photographic prints of bits of household objects or equipment, all at four year old height level, were required. I expected this to take all afternoon. The photo-shoot was simple enough. Loading the results into the computer was now easy-peasy. Cropping and other adjustments that would have taken hours with Photoshop, could not have been quicker or simpler. The printer was already plugged in. Ah. The first problem was that I had not selected the printer or synchronised it with the Mac. Now where was the CD for the software? A box asked me if I wanted to download the software. I ‘accentuated the positive’. In four minutes the software was downloaded. No CD required. Fourteen prints took even less time. I think I love my iMac.
With this success I got rather trigger-happy and pressed ‘Publish’ instead of ‘Save Draft’ too early for those who like to know what we had for dinner. So now I’m having to ‘Update’ this post. Well, it’s going to be roast chicken. I will drink some more of the Cepa Lebrel, and Jackie will have some Hoegaarden.