Disaster Averted

This morning Jesus beamed down on the Isle of Wight and The Needles as we drove to Milford on Sea to collect repeat prescriptions.

A black crow menaced a pair of white gulls settled on the wet tarmac of Paddy’s Gap car park.

We continued to Keyhaven and ignored the initial Road Closed sign at the entrance to Saltgrass Lane because we knew that at high tide this narrow, winding, thoroughfare is always

closed, because the road is often awash.

This was a shame today because I couldn’t approach the kite surfers who were enjoying

their acrobatics fuelled by the blustering winds.

Overwintering Brent Geese gathering in a field were intermittently joined by

flying couples

and straggly skeins clearing Hurst Castle

and its lighthouse.

As I photographed these two views and yachts risen to the surface on the tide

Jackie photographed the whole stretch,

and me.

Venturing further inland we found Undershore decidedly damp – reflecting pools stretched from side to side and mud washed down from the verges threaded longitudinal serpentine streaks down the centre.

Even as we neared midday the sun was very low in the sky, and most dazzling as we ascended the steep incline of the narrow Holmsley Passage with its eroded tarmac. When a cluster of two abreast silhouetted cyclists emerged at speed over the brow of the hill there seemed no way they could possibly avoid splatting lycra across the bonnet of our Modus. At best, their brakes would send them into a spin beneath our wheels.

Fortunately I am often observing that simple self preservation would prevent me from speeding around bends and down hills in the way that many of these enthusiasts do. “How could they possibly stop?” is my mantra. And even more fortunately Jackie is an excellent driver with sensible reflexes. She knows to anticipate such menaces.

Even so, had she simply applied her brakes and stopped, collisions would have been inevitable. She did the only thing she could. She took the car off the road.

The main bunch of riders continued down the hill and Jackie’s axle crunched the eroded road surface as her off side wheels dropped into the lowered lacuna.

The two following cyclists stopped and came back to help. Of course the car had needed to be relieved of my weight. This had not ceased the terrifying crunching sound. The driver of an oncoming car added his observations, but without the two cyclists we would have been in real trouble. The gentleman crouched on his hands and knees to see what was happening and to guide a reversing manoeuvre. Jackie felt relieved that she had not been standing behind our lycra clad samaritan as he adopted that position.

Eventually we were on the road and the oncoming vehicle reversed to allow our passage.

Back home, as we entered the porch, we rejoiced in a pink climbing rose,

cheerful pansies in a hanging basket,

and nasturtiums still scaling the garage door trellis All was well.

This evening, for our dinner, Jackie produced succulent lamb steaks; crisp roast potatoes, parsnips and onions; with crunchy carrots and Brussel’s sprouts with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank more wof the red Bordeaux.

 

A Wintry Morning

Another splendid pastel sunrise heralded a cold, bright, morning, which sent us into the forest early.

We pulled into the entrance to The Joinery Barn, a short distance along our Christchurch Road,

so that I could photograph the sun-misted landscape alongside.

Since there is no real verge I needed to perch on a little bank at the entrance to the field gate.

Gaps in traffic along this road are in short supply, so I had to employ considerable concentration to nip across. The Assistant Photographer was on hand to catch me.

In search of Christmas gifts, we visited Setley Ridge garden centre. It should not be difficult to discern that we did not come away empty handed.

From there we continued along Sandy Down where trees shadows striated sunbeams.

Jackie parked alongside the nibbled tarmac of Church Lane while I wandered back to photograph

cattle in a still misty field,

and fallen trees with reflections in the old mill stream.

Jackie, meanwhile photographed the garden beside her, including its bench and its stream, complete with ducks.

Further up the lane a pair of pampered ponied chomped on heaps of hay.

One took great interest in us as we focussed on

the garden next door, with its dying bonfire

and boxing hares exchanging fisticuffs on the sloping lawn.

A grazing pony could be glimpsed beyond a bend in Undershore on our way home.

Our wood pigeons mate for life and grieve for days when, as a day or so ago, their mate is slain by a predatory raptor scattering feathers.

Nugget, however, is still going strong. He had just left his feeder when Jackie produced “Where’s Nugget?” (50)

This evening we dined on Jackie’s wholesome cottage pie; crunchy carrots and broccoli; and tender cabbage with tasty gravy. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Minervois.

 

 

 

 

 

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.

 

The Freedom Of Their Cousins

Early this morning we took a drive into the forest. 

From Lymington we entered the sun-dappled narrow, winding, Undershore towards Pilley,

finding glimpses of autumn foliage there and in Lodge Road, across which

a pair of female pheasants trotted.

A group of somnolent ponies occupied Bull Hill.

What. I often wonder, do the field horses make of the freedom of their equine cousins?

This afternoon I watched recordings of the Rugby World Cup matches between Argentina and Tonga; between Japan and Ireland; and between South Africa and Namibia.

Our dinner this evening consisted of Jackie’s wholesome cottage pie; crunchy carrots, cauliflower, and broccoli; tender cabbage and leeks, with sumptuous gravy. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Shiraz.

Nesting Teapots

Before visiting Otter Nurseries for compost this morning we took a drive into the forest.

We met two different large vans on Undershore. This was the widest, straightest, end of this narrow sinuous lane.

A solitary pony made its way past a row of old thatched cottages facing the green at Pilley.

On the outskirts of the village, a group of ponies on the road revealed the freshly cut tails clearly received during a recent Drift.

I don’t think any of them would have tossed this can onto the verge.

Overlooked by a pigeon atop a dying tree

fine islands of water lilies float on a section of Hatchet Pond,

where an eager moorhen went blackberrying.

A slender barefoot woman walked over the shingle at low tide on Tanners Lane beach; rolled up her jeans; and joined her frisky dog splashing and paddling.

I spent the afternoon listening to the second day of the fourth Ashes Test match.

Jackie presented two teapots for Nugget’s consideration.

One is hidden on the trunk of the copper beech;

another in the ivy against the south fence of the Rose Garden.

“Where’s Nugget?” (15)

The Head Gardener also photographed these views.

This evening we dined on a splendid meal at Faros in Milford on Sea. Jackie chose Zucchini fritters followed by lamb giouvetsi with plentiful fresh salad; my selection was baked meatballs and beef stilfado with chips. Mrs Knight drank half of a Toast while I drank Xinomavro.

An Illusion Of Road Sense

In order to enjoy what might be our last day of autumn sunshine Jackie drove us into the forest this afternoon. We took the Undershore route to Pilley and beyond. Fallen leaves glowed on the passing spaces necessary on this narrow lane, and on pools and the footpath alongside Lymington reed beds.

As we passed a field along Church Lane, Boldre, I glimpsed working horses within it. In order to create these images it was necessary to poke my camera lens through spiky hedges and spikier still barbed wire. Some of the animals wore their winter rugs. I assumed those without such protection were the hardier forest ponies. I’m not sure what they made of my  protuberance. One stood and stared; others wandered away.

Burnished bracken spoke to golden oaks at Puttocks Bridge car park where

the lowering sun caused chestnut ponies’ pelts to metamorphose into rich velvet pile.

The mother of one foal crossed the road and ventured into the woodland on the other side. At first the youngster remained with its older companion;

then ambled across the road and nosed around among the fallen leaves.

The road here runs over the stream also spanned by the eponymous bridge, where a small family paddled in the shallows

while I admired the reflected trees, leaves, and skies.

Apples worthy of tempting Eve hung enticingly just out of reach of

the pony on the pavement initially fooling me into thinking it had developed road sense.

No such luck. Suddenly the creature stepped out in front of a car brought to an abrupt halt, and dawdled off along the tarmac. (The reason there are two sets here is revealed below)

Another adult led another youngster into the road. The skittish foal rushed along the pavement on the other side, 

chasing the chestnut before veering off to the left, presumably having spotted something more interesting.

Following elmediat’s helpful advice in his comments on yesterday’s post I have had one more try at enabling these images to be enlarged by readers. One amendment I noticed after drafting all this was that my images were cropped for alignment in the galleries, so, for example, the picture of the pony stepping in front of the car lost the all-important glimpse of the vehicle. Without cropping the shapes are also altered. I have left the very first set cropped, in order to check whether this is how they are presented, or whether the random selection we previously enjoyed is shown.

I still receive the ‘somewhat embarrassing’ message when I try to look at a preview, so I can’t check whether the enlarged viewing is possible before posting. If it is not, I will revert to the old system until the new is forced upon us. I am sure you will continue to let me know.

This evening we dined on roast chicken; sage and onion stuffing; Yorkshire pudding; roast potatoes and parsnips; tasty Brussels sprouts; and rainbow carrots; and gravy with meaty bits in it. This was followed by mixed fruit crumble and vanilla ice cream. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Madiran.

Ponies At The Door

CLICK ON ANY IMAGE TO ENLARGE IT. THIS MAY BE REPEATED FOR MORE DETAIL

After an exchange of e-mails this morning, I had sufficient information to make the bank transfer of payment for the unexpected French land tax demand. Jackie drove me to the bank at Lymington where I completed the process.

We then took a brief drive into the forest. Seeking colour under a sunless granite sky was a little optimistic, but the unusually warm temperature was pleasant enough.

Undershore, popular with intrepid pedestrians

links land alongside Lymington Reed Beds with Pilley Hill. A footpath signed before a picket fence follows the side of Lymington River. Road closures in Pilley, where we wanted to book a table at the Fleur de Lys for tomorrow night, meant we retraced our wheels to take this route.

Two of the usual hopefuls waited at the door of Greatham House at Brockenhurst for pony treats.

This evening Jackie and I dined at Lal Quilla. Jackie chose chicken sag as her main course; mine was chicken jaljala; we shared special fried rice and an egg paratha; we both drank Kingfisher. Jackie was given two large carrier bags full of chillis – enough to see us out. I hope there is enough room in the freezer.