Woodland Ponies

On this first dry day for a while I was able to tramp among ponies

reappearing in the woodland, through which the sun occasionally filtered, dappling the trees. Recent rains have kept the mossy roots shining bright. The tepees of branches are human structures for the benefit of insects and other wildlife.

This evening we all dined on racks of spare ribs in barbecue sauce on a bed of Jackie’s colourful savoury rice, with tender runner beans, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the shiraz.

A Dappled Day

Yesterday morning Jackie was startled by a thud on the sitting room French windows. Knowing it would have been a bird she investigated and found a

stunned young thrush on the other side of the panes. After a while it flew off to the squawking of alarmed parents who could spot Mrs Knight inches away. They presumably could not see the glass either.

This morning a carried out a stint of dead-heading before we went trawling for a lunch venue. Our local cafés were packed out or impossible to park at, so we set off for The Green Dragon at Brook.

Service here was of variable quality. We were led to our table and served drinks by someone who was either not very well or would rather she or we were somewhere else. After a lengthy wait a much more friendly personality took our food order, giving us the useful and accurate advice when we each ordered sides of onion rings that one portion would be enough for both of us.

My choice was haddock, chips, and peas with Wadworth’s 6X beer; Jackie’s was beef burger and chips with Diet Coke. The peas were served chopped up, possibly without cooking, and so strongly minted that I chose not to eat them all. My Culinary Queen agreed with me.

Along the woodland lane at Bramshaw we encountered two donkeys with their foals grazing and suckling among the dappled sunlight,

which also cast shadows across healthy living trees and dead and broken trunks lining the route on the way to Nomansland,

where ponies seemed intent on blocking the road.

One mare and foal took their differing sustenance on the moorland beside Roger Penny Way where, as in many such a location,

ponies and foals clustered to shelter from heat and flies in their own dappled shade.

This evening we repeated yesterday’s dessert of fruit, cheesecake and cream with which I drank another glass of the guv’nor.

Close Encounter Of The Covid Kind

On an unseasonably mild morning of sunshine and showers we drove into the deserted forest where Jackie decanted me at a few unpopulated points where I wandered with my camera.

Had we been in a hurry down Beckley Road we might have had a closer than comfortable encounter with an approaching van.

Fortunately Jackie had parked on a verge while I photographed autumnal woodland with its yellowing leaves fallen on soggy ground and clinging to dripping trees.

Our next stop was along Rhinefield Road where I rustled leaves underfoot while seeking further fall images.

Passing under the A31 and pausing on Linwood Road I walked back to photograph

reflections in a recently replenished pool, whilst taking in

pleasantly hazy landscapes,

one of which camouflaged a pair of grazing ponies.

Cattle hunkered down among the gorse.

We continued through Appleslade where

the glowing hillsides whispered to the sunlit trees opposite a naked windswept silhouette.

From our high vantage point I watched a close encounter as a pair of horse riders approached and, hopefully keeping social distance, crossed paths with a pedestrian couple. Perhaps they passed the time of day.

On the road above Ibsley ford as I photographed

sunlit woodland we could hear cries of children playing in the grounds of Moyles Court School, like others, currently being kept open. This is not so for pubs, which must be disappointing for the staff of

Elm Tree on Hightown Road who have installed a magnificent poppy display in the now closed garden.

Nick has continued painting woodwork in the sitting room

and wrestling with preparation in the kitchen.

This evening we dined on a second sitting of Hordle Chinese Take Away’s fine fare, with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Malbec.

Pirates Of The Caribbean

Aaron finished painting the landing doors this rainy morning, whilst I, through the medium of scanning further colour slides from March 2004, took a virtual trip to sunny Barbados.

Beginning with a continuation of my perambulations along the sheltered coastline in the vicinity of Port St Charles,

Sandpipers 2Sandpipers 3

there was a fling of what I think we decided were some kind of sandpiper.


The golden shoreline blended well with the blue sea, over which a solitary gull flew low.

Tree trunk weathered 1Tree trunks on beach 1

Tree trunks on beach 2Tree trunks on beach 3

Penetrating the sands, levitating, long-dead, lizard-like limbs defied gravity.

The bridge at top left of the second and third of these pictures is one that Sam had navigated when he arrived in Barbados a few days earlier. I wish I could remember what the factory was. Perhaps a cane sugar plant?

Pirate ship 1Pirate ship 2

On a sailing trip on one of the race organisers’ yachts, we observed a shipload of piratical tourists. I rather hoped that all those in the water before the black flag set off for the open sea, had been picked up to enjoy the rest of their trip.

Jackie, over dinner, observed that the onions in the savoury rice that accompanied her delicious chili carne were very finely chopped. That made me feel rather chuffed. She drank Hoegaarden and I finished the graves.