Forest Fauna Forage

Before breakfast this morning Gay and Mick toured the garden,

where the light played with the eucalyptus bark.

Later Gay sent me some of her photographs.

After breakfast we led our inlaws on a search for New Forest wandering animals.

Donkeys at East End were out in force. The last of these images was sent to me by Gay.

Ponies and cattle shared the moor at East Boldre. Again the last of these pictures is by Gay.

A couple of foals accompanied a group of ponies, eventually joined by a few cattle, at Beaulieu Road.

Bringing two facing vans to a standstill, the cows drifted between them.

During yesterday evening’s conversation, Mick spoke of his keen interest in Australian avifauna, some of which he has taught to speak. I was therefore pleased to point out this wagtail which is different from those found in Perth.

Gay photographed Jackie and me together as, having directed the couple to the road to London, we parted company and saw them on their way.

This evening we dined on perfect roast beef; creamy mashed potato; crisp Yorkshire pudding; crunchy carrots, cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli; and tender runner beans. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Carmenere.

“Welcome To The World Of Flies”

Now I am going to throw a spanner in the works of selection. I have just remembered ‘The Drift’, the second half of which post contains a number of pictures which must be included. It is such a unique New Forest event. I don’t wish to impose more work on my readers, but any comments would be welcome.

I have culled the 5 least popular of my 19 and added the four above from The Drift. At least the shortlist is reduced by one.

When we visited Wessex Photo yesterday I was encouraged to enter that company’s own competition on the subject of Spring. This gave me the opportunity to submit

this jackdaw gathering nesting material from a cow’s hide, taken from my post of 3rd May. I had rejected it from my first selection for the Everton competition because it could have been taken anywhere.

A brief walk around the garden this afternoon gleaned

these diascia which have survived two winters outside in their pot;

these marvellously scented sweet peas having forced their way through paving beside the kitchen wall;

above the campanula and geraniums the red peonies first photographed in bud;

this velvety climbing rose now springing from the arch Aaron erected over the Shady Path;

and, in the Rose Garden Gloriana, For Your Eyes Only; Summer Wine and Madame Alfred Carriere above the entrance arch beside

Festive Jewel nudging me for a dead heading session.

Later we took a short drive into the forest. Warborne Lane, outside Lymington, is so narrow that we just coasted along in the wake of these two horse riders. The two cyclists lurking behind the hedge had no choice but to wait their turn for a place on the road. We waited for them, too.

On the moorland beside St Leonards Road cattle and ponies lazed or grazed.

So bright was the head of this wagtail darting about that it seemed to be wearing a daisy hat.

The twitching of his mother’s tail as she reacted to the troublesome flies made it difficult for her offspring to latch onto his milk supplier.

Eventually he set off on a frisky trot

soon returning to shelter behind his Mum.

The flies were getting to him too. Dropping to the ground he rolled and kicked around for a while,

then tried to nudge them away.

“Welcome to the world of flies” exclaimed Jackie as he gave up and rose to his feet again.

On our way home we stopped at Hordle Chinese Take Away for this evening’s dinner with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Carinena El Zumbido Garnacha Syrah 2017.

The Pony And The Wagtail

This afternoon Jackie drove to Hockey’s Farm Shop at South Gorley. She kindly allowed me to accompany her so I could take some photographs.

As always we patiently waited for a pony to amble across the road as we approached North Gorley, where

a pair of mallards fished on the soggy terrain beside

the usual number of somnolent or grazing ponies.

One patient creature received the attentions of a darting wagtail. Not until the bird was out of shot did the gentle pony relieve itself of the weight of its head.

A pair of donkeys, one possibly pregnant, purposefully crossed the road before we moved on.

Towards South Gorley a grey pony drank from the stream.

We stopped at Deadman Hill beside Roger Penny Way, where I photographed some hazy landscapes.

When, once they had ascended the slope, I showed this couple how they had enhanced some of my pictures, they were very pleased. The woman said she now needed an oxygen tent.

Another young woman and her frisky spaniel also admired the landscape below.

Jackie did not miss the opportunity to photograph the photographer. She also caught him in conversation. Note the pony’s reflective collar hanging from the post in The Assistant Photographer’s first image.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s tasty steak and mushroom pie; boiled potatoes, crunchy carrots and cauliflower, and tender cabbage. I drank more of the Garnache while Jackie drank sparkling water.

Two For Joy

This afternoon we collected repeat prescriptions from the Pharmacy at Milford on Sea.

The Needles and their lighthouse had transmogrified into a red-eyed sea monster.

As equally calm as the Solent was the surface of Hatchet Pond with its skimming waterfowl and shimmering landscape.

While a photographer peered into the sun a friendly gull stood guard on a disabled parking space.

This was useful because the waters of the lake had encroached on the overspill car park, and partially iced over providing looking glasses for the surrounding trees.

A pair of magpies – two for joy – and a nippy little wagtail foraged on the banks.

One chestnut pony at East Boldre cropped the verge while another mowed the lawn beside a stretch of winterbourne water.

Today’s sign of post-operative progress was being able to dine at the table where Jackie served a sweetly savoury sausage casserole containing pork chipolatas and larger varieties with caramelised onion. Also on the menu was creamy swede and potato mash; crunchy carrots and cauliflower; and curly kale.

Lymington Quay

On a wet, mild, morning, I inserted the penultimate section into the garden album, and printed the final batch of photographs.

This afternoon Jackie drove us to Lymington quay and back. She left me to find Dials Antique Clocks, recommended yesterday by Highcliff Watchmakers, while she went in search of Peacocks and baby clothes.

Dials antique clocks

We were both successful. Dials has a most picturesque location at the corner of Quay Street. The clock repairer was happy to tackle a traditional clock bought by Michael for Jessica and me about 35 years ago. He didn’t do battery operated digital clocks like Mum’s carriage clock that had become so corroded that, when Elizabeth cleaned it, the contacts fell off. When I explained that it was one I had bought my mother many years ago, and bore my name as part of her identification of presents to be returned to the donor when the time comes, he changed his mind, although warned me of the cost., which is really not a factor. I have, incidentally, told Mum that I don’t any longer give her a present I wouldn’t want back at a later date.

Lymington Quay 1

I left the clocks at the shop and wandered back to the still water.

Boats 1Boats 2Boats 3

The only real sign of life, where the boats were all moored, was of the sea birds.

Gull and smaller bird

A wagtail bravely advances towards a gull.

Pigeon

Speaking of gulls, surely this mongrel pigeon has at least dual heritage.

Swan preening

Swans were busy preening,

Mallards 2

and a pair of sleepy mallards dozed to the rippling sway of their rowing boat.

For our dinner this evening Jackie produced her delicious lamb jalfrezi, chicken tikka, onion and mushroom rice, and an onion bhaji. I drank Old Crafty Hen and The Cook chose sparkling water.

Our Shrinking World

On a drowsy Sunday morning the birds were our main focus of attention. Pied wagtailWagtails are always on the lawns, but in recent days, attracted by the mealworms, they have ventured onto the feeder, much to the chagrin of the robins, who are quite vicious in their suggestion that this is their territory.  The visitors’ tail feathers are ever at the ready for take-off. These timid newcomers to the feeder spend so little time there that I was unable to photograph them until Matthew stood in hiding to the right of the window, watching a wagtail crossing the lawn in flight to the mealworm tray and warning me of its approach.  I stood poised on the other side, and just managed to take the photograph.  At least one robin regularly scuttles under the box hedge.  To a nest, perhaps.  Nuthatches and various tits took their turns to feed.  Visible high above the distant forest trees, a buzzard glided overhead.  Over lunch, a wren, wings fanning like a hummingbird, seemed to be stripping moss from the underside of the balcony above, no doubt for home building.

The day remained dull and heavy, yet cold.  As I waited until our son and Oddie left for his home, after a very relaxing and enjoyable time with us, it was late in the afternoon before I walked the ford loop via the footpath to All Saints church.  At the stream opposite the Study Centre I met a black labrador with its owner on a lead.  I wondered why the owner, Sarah, was wearing Wellies, and soon found out the answer as the dog dragged her into the water to investigate a couple of apple cores. Bog Arum and Labrador As I stepped down to engage the woman in conversation, we both noticed, perched on the dried mud bank, a Bog Arum lily, otherwise known as a Yellow Skunk Cabbage.  Neither of us had seen one before.  The labrador had to be dissuaded from giving the plant a closer examination.

Sheep and lambs

The lambs in the field by the church path are growing well.  This evening they were more interested in feeding with their dams than in frisking and frolicking about.

In the later Newark years I took to using ‘the smoking shed’.  This had nothing to do with kippers.  My pipe was becoming less popular indoors, so, for a smoke and a session of creativity, I set myself up in a brick-built outhouse.  This had electric light and a power point into which I plugged an oil-filled radiator.  The roof was of slate.  I sat at a long work-bench which sufficed for a desk, and my reference library sat on shelves which had once held tins of screws and nails, and other assorted stuff in jars. Derrick c 1995 The marvellously atmospheric black and white photograph that is number 16 in ‘Derrick through the ages’, was taken through the window by Elizabeth, as I worked on a crossword, in about 2002.

Dining on Jackie’s lamb curry and savoury rice, followed by bread and butter pudding, we reflected on how much and how recently rapidly our world has shrunk since the Portuguese were a world power.  Here we were, eating one of this country’s favourite foods, imported from the Indian subcontinent, which is renowned for its use of the chilli, itself transhipped to India from Mexico in the very early sixteenth century by the countrymen of Vasco da Gama.  I drank Kingfisher, an Indian lager and Jackie had Hoegaarden, a Belgian beer.

After The Deluge 1

Forest floor 12.12

A bright, crisp, frosty morning ushered in a respite from the deluge for the saturated forest. I walked the ford ampersand, the term coined on 17th.  New Lake, upper drive 12.12 The new lakes alongside our upper drive are beginning to merge into one. Rainwater foam 12.12 Water still streamed down the hills into Minstead, creating candy floss foam as it descended into ditches.  Whilst dazzled by the low direct sun as I walked down the steep hill I heard the stirring of hooves in the verge just in front of me.  This prevented me from walking into a facing pony.  I stopped and spoke to her, asking if she preferred today’s weather to yesterday’s.

The recently thatched house now masquerades as Chad.Thatched Chad 12.12  For those not familiar with him, Chad is a graffito character, the British equivalent of the American Kilroy, who was likely to turn up in all sorts of places during the second world war.  A drawing, rather like this house, would be left as a joke, with the legend ‘Chad was here’, or more likely ‘woz ‘ere’.

The coned off pool above the ford was unchanged except that the wreckage of one of the cones lay scattered and submerged in its depths.  Further along the road a number of car tyres distributed at more or less regular intervals are either evidence of flytipping or they are serving some purpose of which I am ignorant.  On my return a woman was riding a horse up the steep incline leading up from the ford, whilst on the other side of it another was leading hers.

After lunch we drove to Ringwood for a final Christmas food shop.  A largely white wagtail, completely oblivious of car wheels inches from its toes, flitted about earning its name; yet whenever I got near enough to take its photograph it came over all camera shy and flew off, just far enough to be out of range.

This evening we dined at Passage to India in Lyndhurst.  Draft Kingfisher accompanied our meals.