Two days ago I mentioned that our reception at The Fishers Pond had been so insulting that we left without a meal. A rather more generous complaint than mine would have been is detailed here in a copy of my sister Elizabeth’s e-mail received today:

‘After a recent visit when I was so well received and looked after by  the staff team and enjoyed a really delightful meal I was eager to introduce my brother and his partner to what I had hoped would be another lovely evening and a new venue for them to try.
Unfortunately I was really shocked by the contrasting experience at reception. I had rung ahead and was told that a table would be made up for us right away and 20 minutes later we arrived at the venue. We waited a very considerable time at the reception area and eventually my brother’s partner walked around to the seating area and raised a menu to draw attention of the waitresses who on seeing her turned away ignoring her.
After some considerable time the member of reception staff arrived and when I gave my name and said that I had a table reserved, he abruptly said that we were early and we would have to wait for a table to be made up. I replied that we were not early and at the same time two other people arrived saying that they had a table booked. Without responding to me, or any other acknowledgement  he spoke with the new arrivals, rudely speaking right across our little group and took the couple to their table leaving us standing open mouthed in surprise..
I am afraid this rudeness after already having been kept standing for some considerable time at the greeting area was too much for my guests and we therefore left without having a meal.
Even if there had been a delay in making up our table there were plenty of empty tables and at the very least we could have been appropriately greeted and offered somewhere to sit and wait.
Thank you for taking the time to read this complaint.’
This morning, we noticed a greenfinch pair pecking prize primulas in the front garden. Faster than it is possible to repeat that, The Head Gardener was out there investigating. She found that
Primula heads
 the plants had been decapitated. Naturally she found a use for them.
Brick path 1Brick path 2
 Aaron almost finished weeding the brick paths, while Jackie continued clearing and planting the borders of the back drive. We are really quite ahead of spring this year.
Ted_Hughes.jpgThis afternoon I finished reading Lupercal, being the second collection of the poems of Ted Hughes (1930-1998), one of our greatest modern poets, who served as Poet Laureate from 1984 until his death.
The poems are mainly about the animal life he would have known in his native Yorkshire. His muscular language and powerful imagery, presented with supreme poetic skill, depicts the violence of nature, shrieking of the harsh landscape with which he would have been familiar. Just as he would have wrested his verbal sculpture from the world about him, we must wrestle with it fully to understand his work. I can’t say I totally succeeded, but I responded viscerally to the experience.
The final offering is Lupercalia.
Wikipedia tells us that ‘The Lupercalia festival was partly in honor of Lupa, the she-wolf who suckled the infant orphans, Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, explaining the name of the festival, Lupercalia, or “Wolf Festival.” The festival was celebrated near the cave of Lupercal on the Palatine Hill (the central hill where Rome was traditionally founded[8]), to expiate and purify new life in the Spring. A known Lupercalia festival of 44 BC attests to the continuity of the festival but the Lupercal cave may have fallen into disrepair, and was later rebuilt by Augustus. It has been tentatively identified with a cavern discovered in 2007, 50 feet (15 m) below the remains of Augustus’ palace.’
This evening we dined at Dynasty in Brockenhurst. The food and service was, as usual, top quality. My main course was chicken chilli garlic, and Jackie’s was chicken tawa. We shared special fried rice, an onion bhaji, and an egg paratha; and both drank Kingfisher.


  1. I guess, decapitators or not, you should be lucky to have greenfinches in your garden! They were one of the first arrivals when i used to hang peanuts out in a garden feeder, but they’ve been noticeable for their absence in the past 30 or so years.

    1. Have to say that I could do without the Greenfinches, their constant screaming call is most unpleasant and now to cap it all to discover this apparently pointless vandalism towards my flowers makes me feel less than warm towards the little beasts. I used to get so excited to see them in the garden. They have apparently been suffering from a disease recently that has reduced their numbers considerably. I went on a forum that was discussing this strange behaviour by greenfinches and they decided that it was the yellow plants they favoured, as you can see, not so with my primroses! They had the lot!

  2. I have not read Ted Hughes for some time. I was touched by what he wrote about Sylvia but I was more influenced by her when I used to write poems. Can’t remember when I wrote the last one now.

    Bad service should be held up as such. We must not put up with it or we deserve it.

    The garden looks inviting. Brace yourselves.

  3. Wonderful that the garden is back to its beautiful self pre-destruction. The pathways look so perfectly groomed. Kudos to both of you for maintaining it so immaculate yet with the feel of true nature

  4. It’s unbelievable that the staff of a restaurant would be that rude. I hope your sister receives a suitable response. I would think the managers of a restaurant would be very concerned to know customers were treated so rudely.

    I believe Lupercalia is associated with Valentine’s Day, too.

  5. I am glad that your sister wrote that articulate letter, Derrick. This was very rude and confusing. Why would anyone risk being so directly rude? I have worked in many (more than 20) restaurants and sometimes one person, a hostess, a server or a cook may be this way but several people were directly disrespectful. I hope a gift card and reassurance that someone got disciplined or take to.
    The garden path and surroundings are so beautiful and inviting. The meal out at Dynasty sounds delicious and pleasant atmosphere to be counted on. 🙂

  6. Mr. Hughes looks like Robert De Niro to me. Never heard of a greenfinch before. We have yellow finches here. I wonder why they did that to your flowers…

  7. I was a bit of a fan of Sylvia Plath and so I eagerly read Hughes poem “Last Letter” which was, of course, about her. I think I must go back and read him again. Thanks for the post. And good for your sister. People shouldn’t get away with that sort of behaviour.

  8. I agree that people shouldn’t get away with that sort of behavior. Your garden looks wonderful! No sign that those high winds ripped through and caused damage.

  9. The garden is looking good, You seem to have put it to rights. Thanks for the little information on Ted Hughes. He’s not one of those poets that one automatically picks up when in the mood to read poetry.

  10. The garden is looking so good Derrick – excellent photos. You have reminded me nicely of Ted Hughes ‘s poetry which I haven’t read in a while – thanks! I will be doing so tomorrow! 🙂

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