As we sat in a queue at the Brockenhurst level crossing this morning I photographed the dry grasses alongside.
We were on our way to Streets, the shop which has everything. Jackie took this location photograph, whilst I
focussed on the windows when we parked outside it.
My more able bodied Chauffeuse also photographed the fungus decorating the oak tree shown above because that required a disembarkation.
Jackie was able to buy wasp foam and wasp powder; and surgical spirit, which may flummox our American readers as it did most of the staff of Streets until one said “isn’t that what they call rubbing alcohol?” “Yes”, replied Jackie who had begun by Googling “rubbing alcohol”, which had been what Dillon had requested.
Our now sparse open tracts of land, normally occupied by grazing ponies, are left empty, except for this one on the edge of Beachern Wood which hosts
just one mare and foal perhaps taking a chance on being able later to
squeeze among the others already clustered for shelter among the trees.
Others, like these in The Coppice at Brockenhurst, find individual shade.
Beside Beachern Wood ancient banks of high hedgerows enjoy diffused light.
On our way towards Wilverley a determined troop of ponies advanced, perhaps in search of their own refuge.
This afternoon I read another couple of chapters of Naipaul.
We dined this evening on Jackie’s well-filled beef pie; crisp fried potatoes; firm carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli, with meaty gravy. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegarden; I drank more of the Bordeaux; Flo and Dillon drank water.
First published in 1936, just three years before the outbreak of World War 2, “Eyeless in Gaza” is possibly Aldous Huxley’s most acclaimed work. His familiar themes of the tension between emotional and intellectual lives of his privileged hedonistic characters are explored in depth with his usual insightful knowledge of these self-centred human beings. He also deals with the conflict between warfare and pacifism in a far-sighted way which resonates uncannily with our modern conflict between self-seeking hate and generous love. Sexuality in this work is seldom generous, sometimes manipulative, and often short-lived.
The language and the dialogue is always fluent with much easy, poetic, description, and occasional adventurous episodes.
I finished reading my somewhat careworn first edition today.
The remnants of the green shield logo of Boots Book-lovers’ Library and what looks like a peel-resistant borrowers record inside the back one suggest that my copy began life as an item on those shelves.
The lending libraries were established within branches of Boots across the country, employing dedicated library staff whose training included examinations on both librarianship and literature. Boots’ libraries displayed books for browsing on open shelves at a time when many public libraries had closed access. A catalogue of the books available was first published in 1904.
Subscriptions were available in Classes A and B, the latter being restricted to borrowing books at least one year old, as well as a premium ‘On Demand’ subscription.Boots Booklovers Library edition of The Saint in Europe
Books carried the ‘green shield’ logo on the front and an eyelet at the top of the spine. Membership tokens were rectangles of ivorinewith a string similar to a Treasury tag; the string could be secured through the eyelet so that the token acted as a bookmark.
Boots also briefly reprinted classic books at the start of the 20th century under the imprint ‘Pelham Library’, named after the flagship Boots shop on Pelham Street in Nottingham, and later sold books as ‘Boots the Booksellers’.’
My mother was regularly taking my brother and me to Wimbledon Public Library from the late 1940s, (https://derrickjknight.com/2012/05/25/miss-downs/) so the 1964 Act mentioned above obviously had no effect on our town.
Like dogs marking their territory, previous readers had left deposits throughout the pages. The burn marks on page 17 we assumed had been left by a pipe smoker – they singed through three pages; other small greasy spots, about which it was best not to speculate too much, filtered through an equal number of pages; I wondered whether any of the numerous finger prints of varying hues had been held on any national data bases.
Nick began to make headway on the coloured walls in the sitting room, whilst adding coats to the white and to the ceiling.
We left him to it this afternoon and shopped at Ferndene Farm Shop where there was no queue, then took a short drive into the vicinity of Burley.
I wandered among the woodland on the outskirts. The tree fungus sprouts from the fallen tree. Roughly in the bottom centre of the last picture can be discerned
a bouncing squirrel on its way to climb a small holly carrying a chestnut which looked rather more than it could chew.
The spreading oak tree on the way down the hill into the village now wears a golden cape. The Queen’s Head is Covid-closed.
The pool on Forest Road has completely filled up now, and was reflecting nicely in the late afternoon sun.
Autumn leaves rested beneath the water.
On Bisterne Close a young foal was undertaking an apprenticeship in hedge clipping.
We have become Elizabeth’s bubble; she joined us for dinner which consisted of Jackie’s cheese-topped shepherd’s pie; crunchy cauliflower and carrots; firm green beans; and meaty gravy. Cherry pie and cream was to follow. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden while Elizabeth and I drank more of the Faugeres, which involved opening another bottle.
Heavy rain and violent winds raged throughout the night and until midday, after which the cloud canopy cracked revealing a range of skyscapes such as these over Beaulieu Heath on our forest drive this afternoon.
Before this we dumped the rest of our garden refuse in the Efford Recycling Centre and returned home with
two rusty obelisks which took up rather a lot of room in the car.
Having cleaned ourselves up a bit we continued on up South Sway Lane where, yesterday I had been unable to identify the mare at the far end of the field occupied earlier in the year by the horse we had named Gimlet.
The field had been empty and unkempt since before lockdown, but a new fence had been built around it. The mare and her foal were nearer my vantage point today.
There was no mistaking those gimlet eyes or the rear white socks, although they had been decidedly grey during the muddy season. This was indeed our equine friend
back home with a foal whose eyes left no doubt about its parentage.
Further along the lane I noticed an unusual fungus decorating an oak tree.
We returned home via Rodlease Lane
and East Boldre where a group of ponies seemed to be debating how to spring a cousin enclosed beyond a second gate at the end of a mowed stretch of ground.
One of the East End llamas was trying out a mudpack.
This evening we dined on Hordle Chinese Take Away’s excellent fare with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Shiraz.
“Where’s Nugget?” (78), Jackie produced a series of photographs.
She was fascinated by the hairy borage
and a spiky caterpillar masquerading as a cactus.
Clematis Star of India occupies the wisteria arbour
through which is framed her favourite view of the garden. Left of centre, the Chilean lantern tree was lit by the evening sun.
Late this afternoon today, following the relaxed lockdown rules Jackie drove me to Bisterne Close along which I walked for 40 minutes before she picked me up and we returned home.
Unbeknown to each of us The Assistant Photographer and I focussed on the same subjects
Here we have tree fungus -Jackie’s
To the right of this young female jogger stands a tree marked
for foresters’ attention, as in my photographs.
This would be too late for fallen (mine)
or broken (Jackie’s) trees.
One runner was exercising himself and his dog;
other people took a more leisurely pace.
I enjoyed a pleasant conversation with the friendly woman who kept the required distance from the runner and his pooch shown above.
There was much blooming rhododendron Ponticum along the lane.
Casting its shadow, a dark brown pony left a group ahead of me.
These wallowed in what, when we were last here, was a waterlogged verge.
Our final coincidental subject was the last of these ponies who, by the time Jackie approached was reaching for drier fodder.
We passed another pony on our way back along Bennetts Lane.
Golfers are now free to play on the Burley Course.
More ponies frequent the moors of Holmsley Passage.
This evening, along with her exquisite savoury rice, Jackie produced a variety of prawns: tempura; salt and pepper; and hot and spicy; and small vegetable spring rolls. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the El Zumbido Garnacha Syrah.
The earlier third of the day was overcast but warm.
On my way through the garden to set out on a walk down
I photographed several newly opened tulips,
one of which bore a sleepy bee.
Even 30 m.p.h. on our eponymous winding lane is probably too fast at any time, yet it seems necessary to reinforce the limit with plenty of notices along the way.
and buttery celandines bear out Susan Hill’s view of spring as ‘the yellow season’ expressed in ‘The Magic Apple Tree’.
Along with hardy white daisies
and rambling purple vinca, they decorate the burgeoning verges,
while bristling blackthorn
adorns the hedgerows.
A felled tree hosts ageing tree fungus.
The downward stretch of Downton Lane is a mostly manageable gently sloping descent.
I turned back at the steepest bend
and made my way home.
A pair of friendly cyclists, two abreast, had at least crossed to the other side as they passed me but I did wonder whether I should carry an estate agent’s snazzy measuring device to ensure a safe distance in these self-isolating times.
On 27th March Jackie had begun revamping the Oval Bed which she photographed.
Later this afternoon she produced images of her finished work.
She also photographed these leaves of crocosmia and day lilies,
and aroused bronze fennel setting off to soar above prize primroses and primulas.
This evening we dined on roasted sausages and new potatoes served on a bed of fried onions; a soft melange of cabbage and leeks; tender runner beans; and crunchy carrots with tasty gravy. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Benguela Bay Shiraz 2018.
Jackie’s having to add a little oil to the sausages because they held no fat reminded us of the gristly and cereal-filled apologies that had put us off bangers for life when we were young. Walls offerings were the anathema of our childhood. It was in France that I first experienced sausages with sufficient meat content.
Precipitation of varying velocity and winds of unwavering ferocity beset the day.
This morning we drove to the outskirts of Burley and back.
It is not unusual to be held up by tree cutters carrying out routine arboreal management. This is perhaps more frequent at the moment, as the unrelenting recent series of storms have taken their toll.
Here, on Holmsley Road, overhanging branches were being lopped . Especially in the pouring rain, I do sympathise with the men supporting the Stop/Go lollipops. I hope they take it in turns. Jackie let me out of the car when we were stopped and took the first photograph through the windscreen before passing the barrier. I walked, and took the second. The men were somewhat concerned that I might not stay on my feet.
The gentleman doing the lopping was happy to pose for a rear view.
Further along the road I wondered whether that team had earlier attended to this fallen tree
which attracted a trio of ponies seeking fresh nutriment from the lichen coated branches.
The last time I photographed this dead oak tree with its fungus and lichen on Bisterne Close it was standing firm.
It stands no more,
its shallow roots ripped into open air. This giant will now gradually take its part in the maintenance of the forest ecology, feeding insects, plants, and soil for years to come.
Given its position on the verge it did well to fall away from the road.
The rain really hammered down on our return home. A group of stoic ponies alongside Holmsley Passage simply stood and bore it.
This evening we dined on second helpings of Hordle Chinese Take Away’s excellent fare with which Jackie finished the Sauvignon Blanc and I finished the Shiraz.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
The recent strong winds and heavy rain have desisted, but the day remained overcast until this evening when the sun returned.
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.