An Act Of Love


Knowing that the clear morning would turn overcast as the day went on, Jackie drove me to Beaulieu and back for a photo session.

We began at Hatchet Pond where a couple of well-wrapped-up silhouetted walkers, observed by swans in the icy water, passed

a pair of chomping ponies, one freckle-faced.


After a while they turned and headed back for the car park.

Ponies 5

A number of other ponies unsuccessfully attempted to merge in with the bare branches of the trees.


Even this duck appeared to be huddled against the chilly weather;

despite being blue with cold, the more playful gulls swooped, skidded, and skated along their improvised ice floe landing strip.

Pony 2

There is always at least one pony lurking around the cars in the hopes of drivers donating delicacies.

Pony's eye

This one mistook my attention for intention to feed, and peered hopefully through the windscreen as I returned to the car.

Both the large pond and the tidal Beaulieu river bore shards of ice on their banks.


I was unaware that there was risk of flooding, but the owners of Abbeygate Cottage, opposite the river, had reinforced their gateway with sandbags, so I imagine there must be one.

Ponies very rarely either make a sound or break into a trot. I was therefore surprised to hear one whinnying at a pace up and down the bank.

Pony 5

It was only when it took its place among the traffic that it slowed down and kept silent.

Man walking river bed

Another surprise was to see gentleman with a long stick, carrying a Waitrose ‘bag for life’ across the still wet river bed. He strode purposefully until his goal became apparent.

Quietly, patiently, the swans lined up for the treats he carried. There was none of the usual clamour as these elegant creatures craned to take food from his fingers. Even the non-squabbling gulls awaited their turn. They knew this man who loved them.

Ponies on road 1

On our return, seeking a place to turn, we were assisted by two ponies blocking the road.

They were licking the salt from the tarmac.

This evening we dined on cottage pie, boiled potatoes, carrots and green beans. Jackie drank sparkling water, and I finished the barolo.

76 responses to “An Act Of Love”

  1. I rather think the same swan feeder was on the scene when we were there. He also carried a bag. You were luckier with ponies than we were, though. Not many appeared on roads we have often seen plenty before. Love the hopeful eye, but can’t quite work out the purpose of those sandbags โ€” other than to deny access! Water would surely flow freely under the fence.

    • I agree about the sand bags, as that is where I was parked waiting for D to return, and I too wondered about the point of them. They did however block a gap in the soil that was banked up the other side of the fence. They were working on the edge of the river bank opposite renewing the wooden piles I believe they were predicting a tidal surge a few days ago, and this is a tidal river. Still all a bit pathetic as a protection.

  2. I’m TERRIFIED of swans after an assault while kayaking. I was chased down the river by a HUGE swam who swam much faster than I could paddle. Eventually, he stopped, I presume because I was far enough away from what might have been a nest I unknowingly got too close for his comfort.

  3. Like everyone else, I love those photos of the man feeding the swans, and how he wasn’t mobbed. I also liked the freckled pony. One thing puzzled me though–those sand bags at the gate didn’t look very useful. Water would go in through the rest of the fence, no? Maybe they just didn’t want the gate opened…

  4. Google says that horses can get stressed out, but they’re not smart enough to get bored. I’m guessing birds don’t get bored, either. Sometimes it sucks to be smart. Enjoyed the photos, as always, which I guess I couldn’t do if I was a horse or a bird. ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. These are fabulous pictures Derrick.. And it has certainly been very cold.. today our pond also had ice.. We have been regular topping up the bird baths with fresh water which have been frozen..
    So good to see the man with the bag for life feeding the swans.. And so lovely to see ponies roaming free.. Stay warm, and watch your step both of you.. its been icy underfoot.

    Love and Hugs and enjoy the rest of your Sunday Evening..
    Sue ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. What a lovely way to start again my tour of the blogs to read what I have not read in a while. A beautiful series of photographs, such a treat! Glad to see that both of you are doing well and you are putting up new beautiful photography. I can’t choose from these as each series has its own beauty but I think I will keep revisiting this one and magnifying the images to see them properly again.

  7. The act of love in being a regular to feed them was really touching by your pointing out this man brought out their good manners by taking turns!
    The photograph of the brown horse with shiny coat was pretty, the same horse’s eye was very curious. Great captures, all of these! ๐Ÿ™‚

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