“Are The Ponies Fat?”

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This morning Jackie drove me to Sears Barbers in Milford on Sea, where the affable Peter cut my hair as well as usual. We then continued into the forest.

Woodland 1

 

Woodland 2

Strong overhead sunlight dappled the autumn leaves carpet of the forest floor,

Woodland 3fallen tree 1Fallen tree 3Fallen tree 2

giving a spectral air to fallen trees

Tree root

and their ripped out roots.

Woodland with can

Even here, on the outskirts of Brockenhurst, cans can be casually discarded.

Pony and foal 1

On the crossroads in the village itself two ponies and a foal deliberated which way to turn.

Pony and foal 2

I walked around them to obtain better light, and the little one sought comfort and succour from its mother.

Ponies and foal

A young North American visitor stopped to ask me the way to The New Forest. I informed him that he was in it. He wondered where he could go for a day’s hike. I gave him some suggestions, one of which was that he should buy a map in the main street to which I directed him. He then asked “Are the ponies fat? Or perhaps pregnant?”. I suggested that the one he was looking at was probably pregnant, but also explained that because we had experienced such a mild winter they had found plenty of forage and were not as thin as they often were when the weather had been severe.

Ponies, foals, and cattle 1Ponies and foals 2Ponies and foal 1

As we emerged from the village we saw a large group of ponies, foals,

Cattle 1Cattle 2

and cattle grazing, flopping, and vying for shelter under the spreading branches of a mature oak.

Pony and flies

Possibly in an effort to shake off the persistent flies

Ponies 1

some of the horses shook themselves and strode frantically across the grass.

Ponies on road

Other ponies disrupted the traffic as they sought shade by the roadside.

Concrete mixers

On Hordle Lane as we made our way home we had the pleasure of watching two concrete mixers negotiating a safe passage before we could continue on our own. I expect the drivers knew there was a ditch on the left-hand side.

Elizabeth came to lunch and Jackie plied us with a plentiful array of cold meats, cheeses, and salads, with which I drank more of the malbec and the ladies drank sparkling water.

Cake counterCream tea 1

After this, we visited Braxton Gardens and scoffed scone cream teas.

It should come as no surprise that further sustenance later on was surplus to requirements.

Whilst we were sitting in the garden we received a telephone call from Matthew to say that he, Tess, and Poppy would be arriving later tonight so that they can be with us on my 75th birthday tomorrow.

“That’s What Having A Horrible Daughter is Like”

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We spent the morning on garden maintenance tasks.

Jackie tidying Wedding Day roseDerrick tidying Wedding Day rose

Jackie, with minimal assistance from me, retrained the Wedding Day rose

Wedding Day rose on Agriframes Arch

on the Agriframes arch.

Japanese maple 1Japanese maple 2

We then reversed the process in that The Head Gardener weeded a route through to the red Japanese maple that was looking very poorly, if not somewhat wizened. She then stood ready for me to pass bits lopped or sawn off.

Japanese maple 3Japanese maple 4Japanese maple 5Japanese maple 6

The final result didn’t look too bad.

Urn on brick pillar

We then finished rebuilding the pillar for the urn in the Rose Garden.

View across grass from red tulips

Here is a view across the grass patch between tulips and the eucalyptus.

This afternoon we went for a drive in the forest.

Ford

A stream kept one of the Brockenhurst fords under water. That is probably one SLOW notice that is unlikely to be ignored.

Father, daughter, dog at ford 1Father, daughter, dog at ford 2

As I stood on the footbridge to take this shot, a family descended into view. Mother and son joined me on the bridge while father and daughter, dog in tow, entered into a coercive conversation. The dog appeared to want to go in the opposite direction.

Father, daughter, dog running through ford

It was not long before the reason for this became clear. These three dashed across the water filled ford. When I quipped “I didn’t get that. Could you do it again?”, Dad declined. However he did add “That’s what having a horrible daughter is like”. In the ensuing conversation I was given permission to post both the photographs and this statement.

Car driven through ford

An obliging motorist, without being asked, then drove his car through the water.

Child's shoe and socks

Further on, at Boundway, we spotted evidence that a child had left the woods sans socks and at least one shoe.

Woodland Shadows 1Tree shadows 2Tree shadows 3

The high sun cast shadows of the trees onto the undulating leafy terrain.

Brimstone butterfly in flight

A brimstone butterfly fluttered about. Can you spot it here?

Logs, gorse, trees 1LogsGorse

Loggers had been at work above the gorse laden hills overlooking Wilverly.

Cattle among gorse

I think the white figure here was one of a couple of cattle. They were a bit far away for me to be certain.

Wasps' nest 1Wasps' nest 2

Soon after we left this area, Jackie alerted me to a wasps’ nest on an outbuilding.

This evening we dined on Mr Chatty Man’s Chinese Take Away fare with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden while I drank more of the madiran.

Raising The Roof

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Threatened with an early disappearance of the sun that shone through the mist at dawn this morning, we took a drive soon afterwards. I have to confess that Jackie was the only person out of bed early enough to produce these two photographs.

Our first stop was at Norleywood where the land alongside a stream was very waterlogged;

and primroses and celandines sprawled over the slopes and beside the stream.

Blackthorn 1

Prolific blackthorn also bloomed.

Llamas, two of which reconstructed Doctor Dolittle’s Pushmepullyou, grazed in a field further along the road;

Cattle and blackthorn

cattle opposite had freedom to roam;

Chickens

while neighbouring chickens certainly enjoyed free range.

At East End, an interesting problem for motorists was presented by the unloading of a lorryload of thatcher’s reeds at the same time as two huge vehicles were parked outside the house next door where heavy landscaping seemed to be in progress. We watched the reeds lifted by crane, carried over the hedge, and lowered into position for the imminent task of re-thatching an impressively proportioned house.

Mimosa

A rather splendid mimosa grew in a garden on the opposite side of the road.

Low tide on flats

It was so misty beyond Tanners Lane beach that neither the Isle of Wight

Shore in mist

nor Lymington harbour was visible.

Photographer

After I had taken this very pleasant woman’s photograph we had an enjoyable conversation, beginning with our lack of complete understanding of the cameras we were using.

Primroses, violets, ditch

More pale yellow primroses shared the banks of the ditch along the lane with little violets.

This evening we dined on Set Meal B at Imperial China in Lyndhurst, both drinking Tiger beer.

Ready For Bed

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It is almost a truism that when I aim my camera at a bird, it flies away. I therefore focussed on this thrush through the window. This time it gave me a chance. Not until it turned and looked at me did it flee from its shrubbery hide.

This afternoon I printed the last set of Poppy pictures to be entered in the album that Jackie is keeping.

I then scanned the last few of the 1985 black and white negatives.

Here are two scenes of the countryside, in the form of fence and woodland;

two of Sam with the children’s adopted dog, and one Louisa showing all the signs of being ready for bed.

Back home we spent Christmas Day at my parents’ home in Rougemont Avenue, Morden. Here are Dad and my brother Joseph;

Auntie Gwen Christmas 1985

Auntie Gwen;

and Louisa and Sam with Jessica in the background.

The rest of that Christmas visit was filmed in colour.

This evening Jackie collected our usual delicious meal for two from Mister Chatty Man Chan at Hordle Chinese Take Away, and, as is the norm, we consumed half of it. I drank more of the cabernet sauvignon.

Blackberrying

 

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Today, I scanned another batch of black and white negatives from 1985.

Garden of gite 1985

Here is a view of the garden of the gite,

Jessica 1985

where Jessica basked in the evening sun.

Matthew, Sam, Louisa, farmyard fowl 1985

Here Matthew introduces Sam and Louisa to farmyard fowl,

Matthew, Sam, Louisa, cattle and farmyard fowl

soon attracting the usually inquisitive cattle.

Back home in London we paid one of our regular visits to Covent Garden, where Jessica, Sam, and Louisa enjoyed the Punch and Judy show. Sam entered gleefully into the spirit of the occasion, whereas Louisa found it all a little tiring.

On another occasion we walked around the corner from our Gracedale Road home for a blackberrying expedition on Tooting Bec Common. Sam, as evidenced by the purple smear across his cheeks, adhered to the normal custom of eating as much of the fruit as found its way into his container.

This evening we dined at Lymington’s Royal China, where we enjoyed our usual warm welcome and excellent meal. We both drank Tsingtao beer.

Boldre Bridge

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At 16 degrees, our incredibly mild period continues. It was therefore strange today to begin the winter clearing whilst we continue to enjoy blooms from spring and summer. We did so in rather desultory fashion.

It is difficult to think of winter when you can admire

roses Margaret Merrill, Penny Lane, Mamma Mia, and especially Summer Time;

or fuchsias, geraniums, dahlias, gauras and poppies, one of which harbours a hoverfly; and many more.

With the sun shining, we set off for brunch at The Friars Cliff Cafe. Unfortunately this was in everyone else’s minds. The car park at Steamer Point was crammed full, and shoals of humanity floundered on the beach. There was no doubt the cafe would be full to bursting like me after the Olympics breakfast. We therefore turned back and aimed for Calshot. We hadn’t travelled very far before the sky clouded over. It didn’t look very conducive to photography, so we brunched at Otter Nurseries. Only when I had chosen a liver casserole did Jackie tell me that was what she had planned for this evening. She happily did a rethink.

The walls at Otter contain some rather well-executed paintings for sale. One of these was Boldre Bridge. We wondered why we hadn’t seen the bridge, and realised that would be because we had always driven over it. So we went to look for it. I passed through a five-barred gate and descended a bank to find something approximating the painter’s vantage point.

I was intrigued to notice that the architect had made it possible to feature the Christian fish symbol. The five-spanned bridge, which dates from at least the 18th century is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) 1990, as amended,  for its architectural or historic interest.

A tree had fallen across the river, on which autumn leaves floated over reflections of broken, reeds, and still grey sky.

Just before we drove on, the sun began to light up the foliage on Rodlease Lane.

En route to Sway, I wandered into the forest, taking advantage of the light streaming through the trees, and exchanging greetings with a family of riders.

Forest scene 3

As I ventured further in, attracted by pinpoints of light in the distance, I was rewarded by this dramatic view across the moorland featuring

House in moorland

  a single dwelling in an idyllic setting.

Driving through Hordle on our return, Jackie spotted a cautionary notice for any witches inclined to take to the skies tomorrow night, and a cry for help from an underground prison.

Jackie’s rethink for tonight’s meal involved lemon-flavoured chicken Kiev, French fries, and baked beans, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Reserve des Tuguets madiran 2012.

Heard On The Telegraph

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Many of the negatives from the French holiday of 1985 are in black and white Ilford film. This was my favourite in the dark ages of the early 1980s when I printed my own work in monochrome with chemicals in the blacked out kitchen makeshift darkroom. I scanned another batch today.

A useful prop in the garden of the gite, were the cartwheels.

Sam stirring water 1985

They worked on their own, or as a backdrop for Sam’s poking about in the water.

The nearby woodlands offered contrasting light,

and lengthening shadows across the roads.

blackbird

During the process of producing this post, I realised, on gazing out of the window, that a jackdaw had heard on the telegraph that I was working in black and white, and helpfully posed, perching on a pole, cocking its head to make sure that it had heard aright.

Anyone who has followed my technical problems ever since I uploaded Mac’s new operating system will be relieved to learn that this work was done on that machine. This morning, I received an update from Apple which seems to have ironed out a few problems. Don’t get too excited, but do watch this space.

This evening we dined at Lal Qilla in Lymington. We received the usual very warm welcome, excellent food, and friendly, attentive, service. My meal was king prawn Ceylon and Jackie’s chicken Haryali. We shared a naan, special fried rice, and a caulliflower bahji, and both drank Kingfisher.