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Sunday, 28 December 2008


Somewhere in the New Forest at about GR225025 on mapOL22, there are two strange trees on the horizon. We went out this morning to take advantage of the amazingly fine sunny weather. It has been going on for three days now. On Christmas Day we walked the beach, on Boxing Day we climbed St Catherine's Hill north of Christchurch in Dorset and admired the views of the Avon Valley and out to sea and today we walked a small section of footpaths in the New Forest National Park. The New Forest is an ancient area of heathland, grassy patches, mixed woodland, some plantations, some hamlets and fenced farmland. This is all inhabited by hundreds of New Forest Ponies and occasional deer. The cars take care to stop for the ponies which cross the road with complete disregard for other road users.

We crossed Goatspen Plain, greeted ponies in Clayhill Bottom and climbed Clayhill to return to the car via the lane and came across these.

Incredible mobile phone towers, designed to mimic the local mixed woodland. Of course, they do not look like trees close up but from a distance they blend very well and are a great improvement on the urban ones I have seen. Scroll back to the first pic and see if you can pick them out.
Has anyone seen any more of these? I'm wondering if they are a special initiative for National Parks. If so they get my vote.

The ponies are very placid and we crossed the paths of a few as we walked. They amble out of the way just as you get to them.
In order to undertake this sojourn south for Christmas and the New Year, Tigger has been installed in the Cat Hilton at Gainsford, otherwise known as Whinfield Cattery. It is a wonderful place and I feel content that she is being well cared for even though I'm sure that is not her viewpoint and she will let me know all the way home to the new cottage. We still have a walled garden, albeit much smaller, but hope to get to work on it in the spring and fill the window boxes on all the front, south-facing window sills with blossoming plants.

Happy New Year to all,
Cheers Gillian and Tigger


A couple of weeks before Christmas my back yard looked like this! The snow lasted well over a week and freezing temperatures reminded us of the winters "we used to have". The cat was amazed by her footprints in the snow and the snow-ploughs and gritters were out twenty four hours a day keeping the roads clear. The weather gradually warmed up and by Christmas we realised that unless we lived at the top of the Pennines or in north west Scotland, we would not have a white one.

We still wore the clothes we had prepared in expectation as we walked on the beach at Highcliffe on Boxing Day.

The crowds had gathered to watch the hardy souls swim in the freezing Solent for charity. People of all ages bathed for sponsorship money and smiling faces collected extra from observers such as ourselves. A collection for Cancer research always gets a good donation from me. These intrepid souls were still rubbing themselves dry as we passed on our walk along the beach path and back via the cliff top.

If you look back from the cliff path you can just see the western tip of the Isle of Wight and the Needles. We had a gloriously sunny day and a bit of a haze prevents you from seeing them in a glance but they can just be identified.
A wonderful Christmas has been enjoyed by many people in this part of Dorset and particularly within this household, which my sister and brother-in-law run with open hospitality, love, great food and drinks and the best seasonal fun. Much thanks to them for the best Christmas I have had for a long time.

I'm hoping to tell you all more about how things are going very soon.

Cheers Gillian