Playing On Ober Water

For Christmas Danni and Andy gave us a self assembly natty little copper and brass soap holder.

Aaron of A,P, Maintenance, with some trepidation because he had never drilled through tiles before, assembled and fixed it for us. As he said, “You never know what you can do until you try”.

We think it was for Christmas 2006 that I gave each of my sons a framed set of photographs of each of the male line from my grandfather John Francis Cecil Knight. The idea was that I would include each of us at about the age Grandpa Knight was in a photograph that Elizabeth had pointed out looked very like my youngest son, Sam.

Here, accompanied by Oliver and Alice, Michael is opening the present.

On this one, although he was much younger than the rest of us, I included Oliver. I am especially pleased at this because he now has it and treasures it. From left to right we have my grandfather, my Dad, me, Michael, and Oliver. I called it ‘The Knights’ Tail’. Heidi e-mailed these two images today.

Jackie watched Nugget quietly tolerating the long-tailed tits snaffling his food.

“Where’s Nugget?” (61)

The weather was bright and cold, with clear blue skies and some ice on the overnight precipitation. This afternoon Jackie drove me out to

Ober Water.

A week or so ago I had walked the Ober Water trail’s one mile section and back. This was a level gravelled path out of sight of the actual water. I had the idea that there may be one on the other side which would allow me to follow the river. I therefore crossed Puttle’s Bridge to discover that there was no such path, but that others had clearly

wandered along the banks.

I contemplated the soggy terrain, turned around and looked back from the bridge towards the other side. My resolve to return to the Ober Water trail and do the sensible thing didn’t last long. I was soon clambering over

tree roots, their soli severely eroded, surrounded by pools of indeterminate depths;

and swollen, reflective, streams etched across my intended route.

The river of course presented many of its own reflections.

After forty minutes of this I hadn’t progressed very far and thought it best to retrace my steps.

At the outset I had photographed a rope swing

which later proved irresistible to a brother and sister who took it in turns to swing over the river.

This provided me with an opportunity to ask their willing father to haul me out of a particularly deep gouge in the bank of a recently established tributary.

Delighted dogs dashed around all over the place. Some kept their owners reasonably close;

others crouched ready to pounce

for a play fight,

clearly beneath a serious-minded spaniel.

One exuberant creature made the water its element.

This evening we dined on the other half of Jackie’s prime beef and mushroom pie; roast potatoes and butternut squash; with firm Brussels sprouts, carrots, and broccoli, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Fronton 2017.

 

“I’m Going To Get My Mum”

This morning Jackie ironed my last four shirts which is a double result: firstly I didn’t have to do it and secondly she does it better.

The wind eased through the morning and the afternoon was bright and sunny for us to take a drive into the forest.

Much water lay on the roads and their verges. The terrain on either side of Holmsley Road was waterlogged,

but did not deter dog walkers.

Bubbling pools,

where a month or so back the land was dry, now reflected trees and sky.

As we crossed the Burley Road into an unnamed lane approaching Bisterne Close I noticed a group of ponies foraging among fallen trees that were in various stages of decay. Jackie parked on the verge and I rustled my way down slopes

of fallen leaves,

past reflecting pools of various expanses,

and negotiating stumps and fallen trees,

to mingle with the ponies

who bore the dregsof the recent deluge.

Although one of last year’s late foals this dishevelled creature, larger than any adult Shetland,

after enjoying a scratch against a branch of convenient height, sounded heavy thuds as, with a shrill whinny roughly translated as “I’m going to get my Mum”, it sped past me

in full flight

and, sure enough, returned with its mother

who gave me the eye made all the more alarming by the bright white centre of the black marking encircling its left orb.

Despite appearances she allowed me to continue as she got on with the serious business of eating.

I bid this family farewell and we made our way towards

Burley where the verges were full of reflecting water,

and to Bisterne Close where ponies shared the road with dog walkers,

and the woodland with each other.

Lime green catkins now swing in the trees, contrasting with autumn’s red berries.

On our way home we diverted to Wootton Bridge where the fast flowing stream has burst its banks

and waterlogged the surrounding sward.

Nearby rocks have become rippling watercourses.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s piri-piri mango and lime chicken served with her splendidly savoury rice topped with omelette and with green beans on the side. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank El Zimbido Garnacha Syrah 2018 given to me for Christmas by Ian.

 

 

“Let’s Go Play With The Traffic”

Yesterday evening we watched the first episode of The Crown Series 2.

The morning began with suggestions of blue sky when Jackie popped out to photograph our new OLD POST HOUSE sign given to us for Christmas by Shelly and Ron, and

fixed to the back gate by Aaron on Sunday.

While she was down that end of the Back Drive she photographed daffodil spears pushing up early.

From far off in the Rose Garden she heard Nugget singing his heart out, so he became her next subject,

“Where’s Nugget?” (58)

Knowing that the rest of the day would be shrouded in drizzle we drove to

Mudeford harbour by mid-morning.

The waves were choppy and the currents contorted.

Walkers and joggers tracked the waves

or sped around the more sheltered harbour.

No-one was seated on the benches –

not even the mobile phone user.

Gulls gathered on the grass.

Dogs and children so love to scatter them,

sending them flashing against the dark indigo skies.

From Mudeford we headed inland, where, at Burley Manor the deer were busy grazing or resting by the shepherd’s hut.

Beside the fence stands an ancient hollow trunk, probably of an oak. I will spare my readers sight of the various unsavoury items tossed inside by visitors mistaking it for a refuse bin.

Outside Burley grazing New Forest ponies were reflected in rapidly filling ditches.

Nearby a pair of muddy-hoofed Shetland ponies did their bit for verge maintenance.

When a larger cousin joined them, one rather cheery creature proposed: “Let’s go play with the traffic.”

So off they went, intent

on causing mayhem.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s wholesome beef and mushroom pie; boiled potatoes; roast parsnips, onions, and peppers; crisp cauliflower, and tender cabbage, with which the Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I drank Patrick Chodot Brouilly 2017.

From Dawn To Sunset

Dawn came knocking early this morning just giving me time to grab my dressing gown and hasten downstairs for my camera.

I was permitted a very few minutes in which to photograph her delights

before her soft pinks and magenta blushes succumbed to deep indigo blues.

silhouetting the oscillating tresses of the Weeping Birch.

Late this afternoon it was touch and go whether the cloud blanket would be lifted enough for us to view more rosy tints.

Hope was revealed along Lymington Road en route to Highcliffe

where pink fingers traced their way between the cloud blankets;

a spaniel tugged at its lead on the promenade;

and Jackie photographed the photographer while sun still lit the bench.

As we left Highcliffe the house and street lighting was strung across the bay.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s piquant cauliflower cheese; flavoursome fish pie; sautéed leeks; and bright orange crunchy carrots, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Saint-Chinian.

Lacework

Early this morning Jackie ventured into the garden with her camera to

sweep some cobwebs. Lingering raindrops reveal the arachnid lacework and the length of their funambulist ropes.

The Assistant Photographer also photographed colourful coreopsis in Margery’s Bed;

vibrant Virginia creeper draping the Westbrook Arbour;

and the moisture-laden Rose Garden with its backcloth of mist.

Later in the morning we drove to Milford on Sea pharmacy for a repeat prescription, then to Wessex Photographic in Lymington for a spare ink cartridge.

Shortly before noon we continued to Beaulieu Heath, atop a small hillock on which stood three walkers.

It must have been a relative of Nugget’s perched on a prickly spire because we had left him at home.

There was sprinkling of assorted mushrooms among the browned heather, the spiky gorse, the rough grass and the trailing brambles.

Jackie also photographed a model plane enthusiast with his aircraft.

 

 

A pair of ponies, one chestnut and one grey, blended and contrasted with the russet bracken.

As they each ambled across the road, passing the 40 m.p.h. sign painted on the tarmac, I reflected as so often that impact from a vehicle travelling at this speed would surely result in fatal injury.

Some quite large foals, like this one at East End, are still being suckled by their mothers.

Early morning mist usually results in sunny afternoons. So it was today when Nugget supervised Jackie’s planting of tulips.

“Where’s Nugget?” (36).

This evening we dined on Jackie’s succulent sausages in red wine; creamy mashed potatoes; crunchy carrots and cauliflower, with which she drank Blue Moon and I drank more of the Fleurie.

 

No Sensible Pony

On another warm day of clear blue skies we accompanied Matthew and Poppy to Everton Garden Centre to buy a birthday present, then lunched in their Camellia’s Café.

The very well cooked, plentiful, meals set us up for the day. Mine consisted of chicken and ham pie, new potatoes, and vegetables; Mat’s was roast duck; Jackie’s jacket potato; and Poppy’s roast beef.

Later, our son and granddaughter left to return home, breaking the journey with a visit to Becky and Ian, while we drove into the forest,

taking the Lower Sandy Down route and enjoying the sun-dappled environment, with its

reflections in the stream crossed by Church Lane,

where blackberries ripen

and lichen coats the beams of the fence to Heywood Mill House.

We caused a group of walkers on Rodlease Lane to hug the verges.

I have often thought of photographing this very rickety building on Pilley Street before it falls down. It is Tootlepedal who prompted me to actually do it. An elderly gentleman often sits on the chair leaning to our left of the structure. Is he, I wonder, selling the eggs?

Further along the road, a number of ponies continue to thud down from the road and the field opposite into the dry quarry pit lake. It is almost as if, like us walking fast down a slope, run away with ourselves until we can straighten up on the level.

Not that this pitted terrain is level. The myriad of grassy mounds and dips created by the animals’ hooves at wetter times are now rock hard. I wandered over them taking shots that would not normally be possible without thigh-length waders.

No sensible pony would eat the acorns that are strewn about, for they are poisonous to them.

While we took our pre-dinner drinks in the Rose Garden we grew of the opinion that our little robin, Nugget, is now engaged in courting. He still cries from his various vantage points, but is answered more gently. On one occasion he darted across the the sky from our Weeping Birch to a neighbour’s false acacia, after which all was quiet for a while.

We dined on huntsman’s pie and salad with which which I finished the Saint-Chinian.

Commandeering Cattle Go Unchallenged

Who cares whether we have followed the meteorologists into autumn or await the equinox on 21st of this month? This morning was bright, sunny, and warm. We took an early trip into the forest where I walked for half an hour along the Rhinefield Ornamental Drive.

There was still enough water to carry reflections in the now very shallow stream that is spanned by Rhinefield Road.

Shadows dappled the forest floor strewn with pine cones and gnarled roots of the giant Douglas firs morphed into stumbling stones along the footpath;

and leaving imprints on the trunks.

Bracken, mossy stumps, fallen trees, and fungus abound. Notice how the spears of grass pierce these Danish pastry lookalikes.

So silent was the air that voices of walkers on the other side of the road could be heard.

Most schoolchildren have now returned home, leaving the forest to me; to the above mentioned walkers; to couples with or without dogs; and of course,

to the returning ponies.

Highland cattle have now commandeered the almost dried-up paddling pond at Whitemoor. Here ponies adopt sensible discretion and leave the big horned beasties unchallenged.

Later I was due to have Peter cut my hair. I wondered whether my barber would fancy having a go at these creatures, flies and all.

Before keeping my appointment I printed this picture Jackie had taken on 19th July when I had my last one, and presented it to Peter.

When we arrived there was another Derrick sitting waiting. Apparently he and I sound the same on the phone. This gentleman’s appointment had been an hour earlier than mine anyway. To settle the confusion I stepped aside and rebooked for a couple of hours later. Jackie had visited the charity shop seeking another choice of teapot home for Nugget. I joined her there and explained what had happened. The shop volunteer joined in the conversation with the observation “what if you had been waiting for results and they had been given to him?”. “I only want him to cut my hair”, said I. The woman had, of course, thought we were talking about a medical appointment. And here was I thinking I look quite healthy now.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s sumptuous sausages in red wine; new potatoes sliced and roasted in their skins; crunchy carrots; and tender cabbage and runner beans from the garden. She drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Malbec.