Reading

The storm winds roared throughout the night and did not lessen until late this afternoon when we took a short forest drive.’

Rather like me, Ellie is a reader of eclectic choices. Although her words are not yet fully clear, she knows what is being said to her, and can identify pictures and is indeed able to trace the written word with her fingers, saying, in her own way, the words she is apparently reading.

One of her current favourites is Jackie’s Gardener’s World. She can display an apple when she sees one.

Her favourite card is this one from Sue W, which she often carries around with her, tracing the words and pointing to the sheep, several times a day – this set was produced by Jackie.

Needless to say, her parents have brought her up with books from her very early days.

On our drive mushrooms pierced the verges of Church Road;

Mallards are still at home on Pilley lake;

Cormorants were at their posts on Hatchet Pond, where coots scooted beneath them.

Naked oaks were everywhere silhouetted against the sky.

Jackie also photographed the birds on Hatchet Pond;

the Christmas tree and visitors to Buckler’s Hard; and trees against

the sky shortly before sunset.

On our way home, I pictured the sunset over Southampton Road at Pennington.

For dinner this evening we all revisited Jackie’s still plentiful chicken and turkey stewp and fresh bread, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Fleurie.

Gold Rings

On a dull, dreary, yet dry, finger-tingling morning Jackie and took a forest drive.

Golden gorse extended across the otherwise brindled bracken-layered moorland traversed by a solitary dog walker and flanking the eroding tarmac of Holmsley Passage.

I entered the woodland alongside Bisterne Close, passing a lattice of branches against the sky; a wildlife tepee built for sheltering small fauna and insects; a recently uprooted mossy tree; scattered bones upon the ground, on my way to

commune with a distant equine group, one pair of which were engaged in mutual grooming.

Back on the Close we noticed a recently fallen, sawn, arboreal giant, its golden core rings and fresh sawdust betraying its recent sectioning. This gold will not take long to turn grey, but many years to gradually disintegrate and return to the dust of the earth, eventually nourishing the next generations of oaks or beeches.

This afternoon I watched the ITV transmissions of the Six Nations rugby matches between Wales and Italy, and between England and France.

Dinner this evening consisted of succulent roast pork; crisp roast potatoes and Yorkshire pudding; sage and onion stuffing; crunchy carrots; firm cauliflower and broccoli, and tasty gravy. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Frappato-Syrah.

Rippling, Reflecting, Pools

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The ground may still be wet, but at least the rain had ceased today.

Martin was able to make progress on widening the step in front of the French windows, and

planning the layout of the paving, some of which he will cut to shape and size.

Jackie and I took a short drive into the forest where there was little sign of wild life.

Field horses were mostly sporting muddy rugs as

they sloshed around like these two at their gate.

Trees rooted in scooped out basins beside Beaulieu Road stand in rippling, reflecting, pools as is customary for them in rainy seasons.

This evening we dined on a choice of tasty penne Bolognese or beef casserole, with firm broccoli and tender green beans. Jackie and I chose the Bolognese, Becky enjoyed a bit of both, Flo and Dillon will take theirs later. The Culinary Queen and our daughter drank Buck’s Fizz while I drank Calvet Prestige Côtes du Rhône Villages 2021, given to me for Christmas by Martin.

Like Minded Photography Enthusiasts

We drove through a deluge to shop at Lidl this morning. I began photographing raindrops on the car windows. Suddenly the skies cleared to make room for the sun, and while Jackie made the purchases I photographed the car park, and abandoned raindrops on windscreen.

Autumn leaves floated on the pools reflecting vehicles and overhead branches.

The now familiar fat raindrops, still dripping from the trees sent out their ever increasing circles on the surfaces of those deeper areas avoided by drivers

and passing shoppers pushing trolleys.

Rainwater streaked the trunks of ornamental trees.

This couple turned out to be Cherry and Rob, like-minded photography enthusiasts, with whom I enjoyed a delightful conversation swapping details of similar subjects we favour. Cherry had dropped one of her bags, which she had gathered up by the time

she reached a deeper pool.

Cloudy blue skies and the weak sun peeping through skeletal branches need only out of focus surface leaves to reveal their mirror images nature.

We had intended to follow with a forest drive, but I knew I had more than enough photographs in the Canon. As it is, I forced myself to cull 50%.

Along with the links to these pictures, SueW sent me one to

her straightened picture of my painting featured yesterday which I have added to that post.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s flavoursome chicken and vegetable stewp with fresh bread, followed by bread and butter pudding, with which she drank more of the Sauvignon Blanc and I drank more of the Malbec.

A Damp Drive

On another day of gales, gloom, and bursts of weak sunshine our brief forest drive took us along

Bisterne Close,

with its glistening autumn leaves soaking on soggy verges;

its mossy rooted and speckled lichen coated trees;

other one-eyed specimens with fanged exposed roots rising from ancient hedgerows;

a Magnum mushroom;

and bedraggled ponies wandering across into the woodland.

On the outskirts of Burley I disturbed a herd of fearful deer who didn’t know which way to run.

A so often when we dine beneath heavy rain beating on our Velux window overhead with gale force winds gusting outside, we blessed Barry for sealing our kitchen extension roof after several others had failed. Tonight’s meal consisted of pork spare ribs in sweet barbecue sauce with Jackie’s flavoursome savoury rice and tender green beans, accompanied by more of the Cabernet Sauvignon for her, and of the Bordeaux for me.

Rudolph

Martin spent the whole day working in the garden. Jackie and I left him to it later this afternoon, but I will need to photograph his results tomorrow, because soon after we came home from an afternoon’s drive heavy rain hammered down.

Before lunch Shelly visited for a coffee and catch up after Covid in both families. All is well now.

My camera today found plenty of subjects along Beachern Wood.

A solitary pony cropped the verges beside the car park where

a horse being led from its box attracted visitors’ attention.

Various ponies dotted the landscape as we approached

the waking woodland, walked by people of all ages.

Alpacas basked on a hill opposite the trees;

cyclists and riders ambled down the road;

ungainly gaited crows trotted around the banks of

the rippling Ober Water, which reflected the surrounding trees,

one of which still bore Christmas decorations.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s omelette-topped savoury rice served with three preparations of prawns, namely tempura, hot and spicy and salt and pepper with which the Culinary Queen and I drank Valle de Casablanca Sauvignon Blanc 2021, while Flo didn’t.

Atmospheric

Early this morning Jackie wandered around the garden photographing

the overnight frost

and misty garden views.

Later we shopped at both Tesco and Lidl, by which time the mist and intermittent periods of sunshine had both lessened. We continued into the forest in search of more atmospheric scenes.

Grey ponies dotted the hazy moorland landscapes flanking Burley Road, where

skeletal trees were silhouetted against the rapidly changing cloudscapes.

The ancient steep viridescent verges alongside the hollowed out Charles’s Lane gathered bright green moss and ivy. Tall trees slipped into the

periodically descending mist, and the sun was once more a graven orb.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s spicy paprika pork and savoury rice with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Fleurie.

Decaying Forestation

On this third afternoon of continuous blue sky and bright sunshine the waxing

moon looked down early over Christchurch Road as we left home on a forest drive, and over Rhinefield Ornamental Drive as we made for home.

Wilverley Plain’s gorse-laden landscape and ponies already bore the touch of the approaching sunset.

A group of Shetland ponies wandered to and fro across the road approaching Brockenhurst. The grey crossing the waterlogged area stepped around the pool in search of a suitable section.

Whenever the sunlight pierced the tall forestation it burnished branches, bracken, and ponies.

As the afternoon drew on Jackie pictured a crow atop a tree; tall trees; and Derrick on Rhinefield Drive.

This evening we dined on more of Jackie’s paprika pork meal with the same accompanying beverages.

Greys And Greens

We had booked to see Mum in the garden today, but it was too cold (11C), so we reverted to the Screen room. My mother was on good form, and able to hear me rather better.

After lunch Jackie drove us to New Milton where she deposited some clothes in Whites dry cleaners and, after a very positive eye test, I ordered some new specs.

The weather was wild, wet and windy when we drove on to Milford on Sea where,

buffeted by blustery winds and unable to see what I was pointing at, I photographed swathes of sweeping storm-tossed waves; billowing salt-spray; resilient rocks; sturdy breakwaters; and Hurst lighthouse. Checking my results really was rather a lucky dip.

Just one grey pony stood out among the varied layered greens of the mushroomed leaves now clothing the distant trees seen as we looked down over Wootton.

After a visit to Ferndene Farm Shop we retuned home.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s well-filled beef pie; boiled potatoes; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; tender runner beans; and spicy ratatouille, with which the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Malbec.

Seeking A Suitable Location

Our very good friend John, who blogs as Paol Soren, has recently suggested to me that it might be a good idea to register the changing nature of our environment by photographing one particular scene or tree at regular intervals during the year. This set me thinking about a suitable location. Water should, I thought, be involved; certainly trees and other flora; and seasonal wildlife. The old quarry lake at Pilley seemed a likely candidate. Jackie and the same idea. On a sunny morning we set off there quite early.

This took us up Pilley Hill where the decorated post box now bears crocheted birds and their nesting boxes.

Significant signs of this early May in my pictures, are the unusually low water levels in the lake; the proliferation of water crowfoots floating on it; and the fresh leaves on the trees.

Long shadows were cast by the early sun, and the clear light offered crisp reflections.

Throughout my circumambulation of the lake the regular honking of a Canada goose tenant set up a marching rhythm, only to cease when

a grey pony descended the receding bank to drink. The bird then flew away.

I walked around the perimeter photographing whatever caught my eye. The images may or may not contain that with which to start my project. I would appreciate readers’ comments on whether or not this is the right area, and whether any spot would bear repeating on a regular basis. Accessing the galleries will provide titles for which choosers may opt.

The above gallery offers the general scene.

The crowfoots and these fallen branches are not contenders for the regular location, but they do add to today’s atmosphere.

The trees and their shadows will change with the seasons and their accompanying light.

There are plenty more suitable sites should this not be a popular choice.

On our return I began digging out an hibiscus planted by our predecessors too close to the Brick Path. I was soon sent inside by a heavy shower. The rain stopped before lunch, enabling me to finish the job.

If this is a fledgling robin perhaps Jackie has encountered and photographed a third generation Nugget

Our morning was the best time for an outing. Frequent precipitations throughout the afternoon included both rain and hail.

I am happy to say that this evening’s meal was a repeat of yesterday’s jalfrezi with the addition of vegetable samosas. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Fleurie.