It Has To Go

As she toured the garden this morning Jackie was struck by the contrast between the number of survivors from spring and summer still blooming –

including clematis Niobe;

fuchsias Delta’s Sarah

and Mrs. Popple;

hebes;

hot lips;

bidens;

pelargoniums;

pansies;

campanulas;

and roses in the Rose Garden –

and the harbingers of spring to come, such as the budding rhododendrons;

the new shoots of Michaelmas daisies;

and the burgeoning mimuluses.

One of Aaron’s tasks was to clear dragons, hanging baskets, and other vulnerable artefacts from beneath the

rather brittle cypress that continually sheds dead branches and therefore has to go. It will be removed later in the week.

As we were planning to venture into the forest this afternoon the skies darkened, the previously still air produced gusts of more than fifty miles an hour, torrential rains fell, and the birds left the front garden feeders. Within half an hour tranquility returned.

Blue tits returned to the suet balls.This bird tried to masquerade as one;

and Ron, as we have named the front garden robin, was able to head for his seed feeder before the sparrows returned to dispossess him. It is almost impossible to distinguish between male and female robins. Should Ron turn out to be a female I guess she will be a Ronette. https://youtu.be/FXlsWB1UMcE

We then did drive into to forest.

Ponies at Norleywood had calmly weathered the storm that had added to

the pool at the corner of St. Leonards Road,

along which, like cannon-shot, clouds sped across the sky,

against which oak tree branches groped gnarled fingers.

It was not yet sunset when we passed St Leonards Grange and the ruins of its ancient grain barn.

Another winterbourne pool on which oak leaves floated reflected  the tree limbs and trunks;

a cheerful young girl running down the road was overtaken by a passing car;

and a pheasant was framed by a Star of David.

We drove on past Bucklers Hard, then retuned along St Leonards Road to catch

sunset both at the Grange

and a little further along the road.

This evening we dined on fish pie with Jackie’s succulent ratatouille; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; and tender cabbage, with which we both drank Barefoot Sauvignon Blanc 2016.

 

 

‘My Way’s Cloudy’

This was a much milder day – the consequence of a wet, overcast morning. In anticipation of a possible break in the weather, we drove to Cadnam in ever-increasing rain. By the time we reached

Wittensford Lane the rain had ceased, clouds were on the move, and the sun took an occasional peek onto the landscape.

The stream flowed across the ford.

I watched Jackie sending spray either side of the Modus as she crossed the water,

and followed by way of the footbridge.

Reflections and oak leaves lay on and under the pools in the gutter

and the forded overflow.

We turned left into Kewlake Lane,

where, in order to focus on the landscape I stepped gingerly over fallen oak leaves covering lichen coated branches and barbed wire broken from a fence guarding

this scene.

Another roadside pool reflected overhead

naked oak branches set against the variable sky

which gave the landscape a light that belied the time of mid-afternoon.

Occasional flocks like these gulls speckled the skies.

While still on Kewlake Lane we approached silhouettes of sheep on a darkened ridge.

Nearer home, Sway Tower was just visible.

It must have been London’s Piccadilly Theatre in which I saw the musical show Black Nativity and bought the vinyl recording in 1962. Wikipedia tells us about the exhilarating   production which had come to London the year after its opening on Broadway. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Nativity

This memorable song ran through my head as I gazed up at these clouds.

Here is a “Where’s Nugget?” (51) Jackie made earlier. Biggifying the image is recommended as our resident robin attempts to hide behind an honesty seedpod.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious cottage pie; crunchy carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli; and tender cabbage with tasty gravy. The Culinary Queen drank Blue Moon and I drank Patrick Chodot Fleurie 2018.

 

 

Whispering Leaves

The light today was bright; the skies clear; and the temperature cold. This morning we drove into the forest via

 

Holmsley Passage,

with its splendid autumn colour burnishing both woodland trees

and bracken-carpeted moorland.

The moon, not yet having retired, nestled in the crook between two sunlit tree.

Golfers in their retirement putted balls on the Burley course. Biggification of the second above image will reveal three of the little white orbs, one of which has just been struck by the gentleman assuming the position. His shot didn’t quite have the legs.

Alongside Forest Road I left the car to photograph more flaming trees,

and wandered among trees opposite.

Fallen leaves whispered softly as I

gingerly swept the sun-streaked forest floor,

with its moss-coated roots and trunks,

broken branches,

and prehistoric skulls.

Lingering leaves traced companionable shadows;

while backlit ponies cast longer ones even in the late morning.

Pools, dry for many a month, like this one on the Burley Road, are filling up and reflecting the season.

Miniature Highland cattle made use of the landscape’s camouflage outside The Rising Sun at Bashley.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s most flavoursome mixed grill casserole; bright green broccoli, traffic light orange carrots, and creamy mashed potato with which I drank Saint-Chinian 2016 and the Culinary Queen abstained.

 

Encounter With Robin Hood

I spent the afternoon listening to the men’s Cricket World Cup match between West Indies and Bangladesh while scanning a set of prints from a trip to Sherwood Forest on 31st October 1999.

Jessica was a great fungi forager. I think she must have been carrying her trug for the purpose.

Emily enjoyed exploring the forest and its tree forms;

Until a later encounter Oliver was largely satisfied with his own bow and arrow.

He clutched them as Jessica helped him into a tree cave.

Bright sunshine set the forest alight.

Louisa took a turn at carrying Alice in a sling.

Here she leads the group with Michael.

Following Heidi, I also carried the sling for a while.

Different groupings wandered freely.

Here Michael and Emily take the lead.

Eventually the speculation about whether or not we would meet Robin Hood was satisfied by a lone archer whose bows Oliver was allowed to grasp.

Finally we met a cow masquerading as a tree trunk.

This evening we dined on toothsome Tai Fish cakes; creamy potatoes, butternut squash, and swede mash medley; crunchy carrots; tender runner beans; and succulent ratatouille, with which Jackie drank Blue Moon and I drank more of the Galodoro.

Godwits Galore

This morning we drove to Ferndene Farm Shop for three bags of all Purpose compost.

Jackie explored the rows of plants on sale as she also bought some trailing lobelias, and

found time to encourage one of the resident pigs, which was labouring somewhat, to step up to the trough for a drink.

On our way home we took a short diversion through the forest. Like the New Forest itself it has been some time since the title ‘new’ was applicable to the first of these lanes; the second avoids the problem of nomenclature by not having any.

Ponies dotted around the moors en route to Burley.

As in the lanes above the foliage of Holmsley Passage bore an almost luminescent glow.

Late this afternoon Giles picked me up at home and drove me to the bird hide at Milford on Sea where we spent a pleasant hour in a very crowded cabin watching the birds.

One black headed gull was fascinated by his reflection in the shallow water;

others shared Hurst Pond with shelducks and swans.

For serious birders the highlight was 31 black tailed godwits, their long legs beneath the surface.

We think this might be a snipe, but it had its back to us so we could not discern the length of its beak.

A pied wagtail trotted along much nearer the hide.

Giles stayed on for dinner which consisted of roast lamb; mashed potato and swede; Yorkshire pudding; crunchy carrots; firm cauliflower; and tender runner beans, with rich gravy. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and our friend and I chose Mora Vista Merlot Bonarda 2018.

Don’t Fence Me In

On a bright afternoon of sunshine and showers Jackie and I took a spin in the forest.

Various flocks of birds in different locations skimmed the clouds in the changing skies, taking rests atop the naked trees.

Cattle in a field alongside Bockhampton Road stood in a muddy, waterlogged field. As I watched

one, with the backing of another three, began a gentle crooning rendering of

Reflecting on the fact that there is no speed limit on Harpway Lane and other similar roads, Jackie pointed out that on a speed awareness course she had learned that this was because they had never had an accident. That was a little comforting to hear.

Beyond the hedge it was apparent that a farmer was branching out into a new kind of livestock.

Someone must have been talking about sheep in London Lane, Ripley, for their ears were burning.

This bank at Moyles Court School was just one example of a drift of snowdrops.

Ponies, as usual, occupied the green at South Gorley.

When these two made for my open window I decided to wind it up.

We continued on to Gorley Lynch where donkeys

and ponies kept the shrubberies in check;

and, until they heard the click of my shutter, there were a number of vantage points for observing distant deer.

The stream visible in the last of the deer shots flowed across one drive and reflected its bordering trees.

There is often limited passing space on the forest lanes. On the way up from the ford at Frogham we just sat and waited for this woman and her dog.

Back at home we dined on more of our Hordle Chinese Take Away meal from trays on our laps while we watched the recorded Six Nations rugby match between England and France.

The Last Of The Snow

Our weather is predicted to turn much milder overnight. We can expect some days of warmer temperatures and overcast skies. Today continued cold and bright. A drive into the forest was therefore in order.

Snow lingered on the landscape on either side of Holmsley Passage,

where an unfortunate young biker had landed in a ditch. Another biker and a couple from a car had stopped to render assistance, which, given that I was unable to leave the car, was fortunate.

The banks of this pool on the road to the right of the passage were also dusted with sugar icing.

The New Forest ponies are a tough breed and seem oblivious to the hardened terrain as they carry on grazing regardless.

This evening we dined on spicy pizza and plentiful fresh salad.