Louisa, Errol, Jessica and Imogen and I made an early start as Errol drove us to Ocknell camping and caravan site near Fritham, so they could investigate the facilities. They have bought a tent and intend to start camping. We went out along Roger Penney Way, where I thought we might see donkeys, cattle, and even pigs, to complement the ponies. We did see a few, but more were to come.
The nearest we got to pigs were the Peppa Pig brochures which the girls studied avidly as their parents sought information at the site’s reception office. They had, of course enjoyed a trip to Peppa Pig World with Jackie and me on 3rd November last year.
On our return, I suggested a drive through Fritham, where we were treated to prolonged close-ups of both donkeys and cattle who were in no hurry as they ambled up the road. There can be no more ungainly gait than that of hoofed animals on tarmac. Even the new calves show signs of their parents’ awkwardness. The donkeys showed us their rear views. The cattle ambled towards us aiming, no doubt, for their sheds at the junction leading to The Royal Oak. When we turned back after coming to the end of the road, they had clearly been in no hurry, so we had to follow their rears as well. On Stoney Cross Plain there were a number of forest pony foals to be seen.
It was not yet 10 a.m. when we returned to the Lodge. We had already had one diversionary trip to stop Jessica and Imogen from waking Eleanor’s household. Eleanor is ten years old and my granddaughters were itching for her to join them in the den. But the curtains were drawn in her flat and it was Sunday morning. I therefore stood in for the young lady until our very early lunch, necessitated by the family’s long journey back to Nottingham.
The den is within the spreading limbs of an enormous rhododendron which provide an excellent climbing frame. Paving of various materials, some of which have been decorated with charcoal from a bonfire; a little fabricated gate; a patch in which carrots are being grown; a set of wind chimes; various plaster ornaments on a bird-feeder; and a wooden seat straddling the almost horizontal branches, are all features of this creation. With immaculate timing Eleanor came in to view just at the point of lunch. As quick as a flash the girls were off to join her. Imogen took her cucumber-filled crusty roll off with her, and returned a few minutes later for earth to be scraped off the filling. Naturally she was given fresh ingredients.
This evening I received a photograph from Errol that he had taken yesterday. Strangely enough, I was walking in the wrong direction (I am indebted to Becky for this interpretation of the picture, which is more apt than my original).
We were also grateful to Errol for providing the drinks that went with our evening meal tonight. Jackie drank a can of Stella he had left in the fridge, and I finished a bottle of a French wine he had bought at the village shop. This beverage trips off the tongue as well as it slid onto it. It is Lazy Lizard Shiraz 2011. We ate oven fish and chips followed by Jackie’s rice pudding and Sainsbury’s profiteroles.