Ponies In Motion

Today the sun shone and the temperature was comparatively mild.

Jackie helped her avian familiar plant an astilbe

and thin out a lamium.

“Where’s Nugget?” (45)

Afterwards my Chauffeuse drove me to Undershore, along which I walked for half an hour until she picked me up.

Undershore, the narrower lane, should not be confused with Undershore Road. Leaving Lymington by the level crossing the former runs left along the reed beds while the latter takes a right turn beside the Lymington River.

The woodland on Undershore’s left hand side in today’s direction of travel stands on soggy, pool strewn, terrain.

Reflecting puddles spread across the tarmac

collecting fallen oak leaves at the verges.

Fungus decorates fallen logs.

In time we will see it sprouting from this recently sawn hollow trunk, branches of which lies on the other side of road across which they probably crashed during the recent gales.

Brambles cast their shadows on larger leaves.

To the right of the lane autumnal oaks gracing the horizon came into view by courtesy of a five barred gate breaking the hedge line.

I have spared my readers the sight of discarded detritus but for this dumped carpet.

A fallen tree gripped by thick ivy tendrils lay across the bridleway entrance. A horse could no doubt have jumped it. Not that I’ve ever seen one taking this route. I couldn’t risk stepping over. Maybe next year.

Shortly after I reached this point my chariot arrived. This was the view from my passenger seat looking across to Pilley Hill.

Returning home via Shirley Holms we paused to take in another autumn landscape,

proceeding past this woodland scene

to the car park area where I disembarked to photograph ponies in the landscape. While some turned their backs on me one chestnut-coloured one remained inquisitive until it turned about and in the usual ungainly manner

flopped to its knees

vaguely watching the trio in the first picture demonstrate the motion of walking horses, until it needed to attend to an itch.

This evening we dined on a meaty rack of pork ribs; prawn toasts, spring rolls, and Jackie’s vegetable-packed savoury rice with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Cotes du Bourg.

 

Wetter Than Expected

My plan this morning was to walk along Bisterne Close for half an hour after which Jackie, having dropped me at one end, would follow and pick me up. In gloomy morning light and light drizzle we set off.

The War Memorial in Everton Road, Hordle, had been prepared for tomorrow’s Armistice Day.

The commemorative bench bears stylised pale red poppies and pure white doves of peace.

More poppies grace fences and

freshly mown grass.

By the time we reached Holmsley Passage the drizzle had increased to light rain which

gave ponies a somewhat more than bedraggled look.

Soon the rain had developed deluge dimensions. My readers will know by now that I don’t know when to give up, so we continued to

Bisterne Close.

 

Listening to the increasingly tympanic pattering of raindrops drumming onto the trees, dripping off the leaves, and thudding onto the shoulders of my porous allegedly damp-proof raincoat; peering through specs lacking windscreen wipers, through which I couldn’t clearly see my viewfinder I captured what woodland scenes I could.

Autumn leaves, above

or below, glistened with precipitation.

I resisted the temptation to ask a horse chomping hay for the loan of its cheerful rug.

Here, as on much of the forest terrain, pools were appearing.

Autumn leaves submerged beneath the water where raindrops floated on muddy surfaces until bursting into spiralling increasing circles. I stuffed my specs into my pocket and attempted to employ my dampened eyelashes to provide clear vision.

Fallen trees and their branches, both recent

and longer-lying, settled into their task of maintaining the ancient forest ecology.

while others, now dead, did their bit while still standing.

Some trees sent tentacles in search of rooting soil.

Such bracken as had not yet gathered a fully autumnal appearance was turning nicely.

Well fed birds have not yet been tempted to strip the hollies of their berries.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy pork paprika, savoury vegetable rice, and tender runner beans with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Cotes du Rhone.

 

 

La Chouette

Jackie was able to confirm the neighbourly status of our two resident robins. As she worked on the New Bed Nugget pottered around unconcernedly while his rival quietly chirped from the larch along the back drive.

An owl, strictly une chouette, or perhaps un hibou, now stands on the retaining breeze block wall. Some years ago, Mum began sticking labels beneath gifts she had received stating the name of the donor who would receive them when she departs this earth. Not so long ago I told her I wouldn’t give her anything I did not want back when the time came. Now she lives in Woodpeckers Care Home in Brockenhurst and her own bungalow is being cleared for sale to fund her care, we are receiving these presents prematurely. I bought la chouette de ma mere in France a few years ago.

At about 10 a.m. we set off in the direction of Eyeworth Pond, but became diverted en route.

Jackie pulled over onto the verge of Roger Penny Way so that I could photograph

a small Shetland pony blending in with the autumn palette.

Within just a few yards from this cropping creature I focussed on three discarded drink containers nestling among the fallen leaves. I could have captured more.

From the opposite side of the road I noticed a pair of golfers apparently oblivious of the pony.

The forest scenes,

including those featuring fallen roots

and branches making their own ecological contribution, set me on an impromptu

fungal foray. As I squelched among uneven damp terrain, ducked prickly holly limbs, and, like the fungi, clambered over arboreal refuse, I considered that, piercing the fallen foliage carpet; nibbled by forest fauna; scaling severed ivy still clinging to living trees, these natural overnight miracles had far more to offer that detritus lobbed from vehicles.

These delectable morsels made me savour the thought of poached eggs for breakfast. As I am no mycologist I wasn’t tempted to take them home.

We didn’t proceed to Eyeworth, but returned home for lunch.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy hot pasta arrabbiata with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Barossa Valley Shiraz, 2016.

 

 

Only After Mum Had Enjoyed A Good Scratch

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

This afternoon Jackie and I took a drive into the forest.

Skyscape

The recent strong winds and heavy rain have desisted, but the day remained overcast until this evening when the sun returned.

Tree fungus

This bright orange tree fungus at Boldrewood seems to have benefited from its liquid refreshment.

Water is trickling back into the pools, such as this one again attracting ponies.

After having slaked their thirst in a shallow ditch, two families of donkeys trooped along the road at Norley Wood.

Our way was hampered on Holly Lane, Pilley, by a group of ponies, one simultaneously suckling a foal and catching her tail on brambles. I attempted to weave my way between the hind legs of  mares on either side of the narrow lane in order to take a shot from a different angle. This didn’t work, because the mother simply led her offspring further along the road. The manoeuvre did, however, have the benefit of clearing enough space for the Modus. Only after Mum had enjoyed a good scratch.

Elizabeth is spending a couple of days with friends at West End. This evening Jackie and I dined on the carvery at the Walhampton Arms. The service was friendly and efficient and the food unbelievably good value. For £7 a head we were offered a choice of beef, pork, turkey, or a little of each. Three large slices were served with Yorkshire pudding. We then loaded our good sized plates with sage and onion stuffing,  roast and new potatoes, parsnips, carrots, swede, cauliflower, leeks, and runner beans. Gravy was available, as was the appropriate sauces for the meats. My choice was beef; Jackie’s was pork, each perfectly cooked. Jackie drank Amstel and I drank Razor Back.

Villages Of Oxford And Cambridge Shires

I walked my normal route to Milford on Sea and back this morning. Waves buffeting the Group on beachbeach were choppy and the wind blustery, but that did not deter families settling on the shingle, along which couples perambulated.

Fallen footpathPart of the footpath that I had, only two days ago, described as safe, has tumbled down the cliff and been bordered by a protective fence.

On the cliff top I met a man walking his dog, who was amused at himself for having forgotten to put his clocks back last night, the end of British Summer Time. He was impressed by how many jobs he had managed to do after having risen so early, but he thought the day ahead would be a long one.

In the Nature Reserve an elderly gentleman tipped his hat to me as we exchanged greetings.

Leaves on streamWatching fallen leaves sailing sedately on the surface of the stream, I was reminded of Still Glides The StreamFlora Thompson’s book. My copy of this classic portrait of a nineteenth century Oxfordshire village is illustrated by Lynton Lamb.

Birdseed on tree fungusAt intervals along the trail, birdseed had been heaped upon tree fungus. Perhaps Hansel had been returning the favour of the white feathers.

Boy on swingTo a certain amount of trepidation by his mother, a small boy was having great fun on the swing I had noticed previously. She had not, fortunately, seen the first episode of ‘Grantchester’, in which a snapped rope bearing a similar swing gives James Norton, playing a charismatic Cambridgeshire village clergyman, an opportunity to emulate Colin Firth’s wet shirt scene in ‘Pride and Prejudice’. Based on the detective novels of James Runcie, ‘Grantchester’ is now a major ITV television series. Norton’s Sidney Chambers develops an unofficial  partnership with Robson Green’s Geordie police sergeant.

Flora Thompson’s story was published in 1948, and the detective series is set in the 1950s, so they are contemporaneous in period, if not in authorship.

Later, we watched the second episode of Grantchester. Well, we had to, didn’t we?

15-8-13a-031_290Although we ate it in the evening, Jackie produced a superb traditional Sunday lunch. Slow roasted beef was accompanied by roast potatoes, parsnips, and Yorkshire pudding; thick gravy jam-packed with juices from the meat; brussels sprouts, carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli. After this we could just manage a custard tart. Jackie drank Hoegaarden, and I drank Castillo San Lorenzo reserva 2008 rioja. As is often the case when enjoying such a meal, we spoke of our mothers’ roast dinners of our childhoods in the ’40s and ’50s, which we converted to cottage pies on Mondays with the aid of a National or a Spong hand-operated mincer that was clipped to a tabletop. You put the pieces of left-over joint into the bowl at the top, turned the handle, and the minced meat was forced through a circular grill, and dropped out of the spout into a waiting container. Jackie, herself, used one when we were first married in 1968.