Confusing Exchange

Upper Drive bent tree

Here is one I made earlier.

I forgot to post this Upper Drive shot yesterday. Trees in the New Forest don’t just fall down. They grow into all kinds of unusual shapes, such as this one forming a perfect arch through which one can glimpse the A31.

Last night I began reading Nathaniel Hawthorne’s novel ‘The House of the Seven Gables’.

After an early lunch today Jackie drove me to Donna-Marie’s in Poulner where I was given my quarterly haircut. Fortunately the weather is a little warmer at the moment. We then went on to Lidl in Totton for a shop. As is not unusual, although we had only gone there for milk, a trolley was requested. We managed to fill it.

As is well known a coin is required to free the supermarket trolley from its chain of companions. Inserting your £1 into the slot pushes out the locking key and you may take your wheeled contraption into the store. Having made your purchases and loaded your car you push your key into the last trolley in the line, out pops your £1, and the key remains in the other basket on wheels until someone else inserts another £1, and so on ad infinitum. Until, that is, one customer has difficulty understanding what he must do to obtain his trolley, consequently holds up the proceedings, and the person waiting to return his and collect £1, decides to confuse the issue even more, by suggesting that he swaps his trolley for the other gentleman’s £1.

Today, I was that helpful stranger. It seemed quite straightforward to me. But not to the struggling newcomer. He grasped my trolley, clearly wondering what was in the transaction for my benefit. Perhaps this was because he was more than reluctant to hand over his coin. There he was, one fist wrapped around the trolley handle, and the fingers and thumb of his other hand gripping £1 as if he had a wrench attached to his arm.

His companion, who had readily agreed to the exchange, tactfully informed me that he would not be happy until I tried to put the £1 he had given me into the slot occupied by my original coin. Of course it wouldn’t budge. I think it then became clear to him that what we were actually doing was swapping coins and when he had finished shopping, he would be able to receive his part of the bargain and collect my £1. Whether or not this was so, he released the coin he had been hanging on to, and allowed me to dash off with it before he changed his mind.

Just writing this out is doing my head in. Goodness knows what the encounter did to his. Or the reading to yours.

On our return down Upper Drive we witnessed the unusual sight of three donkeys foraging where I had wandered yesterday. Donkey 3Donkey 2Donkey 1Even ponies and deer are rare visitors to this small section of forest, so it was quite a surprise to see donkeys there.

Early this evening I took a clamber around the outside perimeter of the grounds. I have written before that the garden is surrounded by its own trees and shrubbery merged into the forest and bounded by a strong wire fence. The house having been built high up on the site of an Iron Age hill fort, the land beyond the fence drops sharply. I followed a path trodden by surer footed creatures than me, who did not have to travel hand over hand clinging to the fence on the left or leaning on a tree to the right taking a clockwise direction. Only once did I slither, slide, and career down the bank coming to an abrupt halt as my outstretched palms eagerly slapped into a welcome forest giant.

Reaching a point from which I could progress no further, I discovered where the deer gain ingress and egress. Broken fenceOvergrown rhododendrons and fallen trees have brought the boundary wire down to a level which perhaps I could, in my distant days as a second row forward, have leapt. When we next enjoy a clear morning light, I will make a photo shoot.Castle Malwood Lodge at dusk Finishing by circumperambulating the lawns I watched the sun sink behind the building. DaffodilsThe first daffodils are coming into bloom.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious chicken jalfrezi (recipe), with spicy wild rice (turmeric, green cardamoms, cloves, cinnamon  and garam masala added to the boiled version). I drank Wolf Blass cabernet sauvignon 2013 and the chef didn’t.

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