The East End Arms


Today was still humid, but cooler and overcast. We spent the morning dead-heading, weeding, cutting back shrubs and other plants, generally tidying up, and adding to the compost heap and orange bags for the dump.

IKEA Wardrobe bitsThis afternoon two trips to the dump were required to dispose of the contents of two orange bags and a collection of bits of IKEA wardrobes. This laminate-clad chipboard has served many a useful purpose in the three years we have occupied our Downton home. Much of it was now surplus to requirements and was broken into manageable pieces for recycling. Once more the trusty Modus was enlisted into transport service.

Afterwards we visited Everton Garden Centre to buy a birthday present, then on the WG Hibbs at New Milton to order stone, sand, and cement for Aaron to lay a base for the greenhouse.

We then drove on to Norley Wood where we hoped to find water lilies. There were none, but Jackie spotted

Straw horse on rooftop

one straw horse on top of a thatched roof,

Horses weather vane

and two metal ones on a weather vane decorating ridge tiles.

We back-tracked to The East End Arms for a cool drink of Amstel. The inn had a very warm and friendly atmosphere and unusually pleasant toilets for a hostelry.

Bee on blackberry blossom

Whilst waiting five minutes for opening time I watched bees swarming over blackberry blossom.

It is 25 years since the popular band Dire Straits finished performing together. The locals in this bar were keen to inform us that their pub was owned by John Illsley, that group’s bass player and vocalist. John is still performing with his own band.


This evening we dined on roast lamb, roast potatoes, sage and onion stuffing, cauliflower, carrots, and green beans. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Doom Bar.


  1. It must be nearing dinner time here in Canada – the broken up bits of IKEA furniture look like chocolate coated graham crackers in the thumbnail version of the image!

  2. A good day had by all. And loved that horse on the thatched roof Derrick.. An idyllic setting, and loved the addition of the music.. Love and Blessings my friend, Enjoy a perfect Friday and lovely weekend. šŸ™‚

  3. I’ve never seen a straw horse on a ridgetop. Loved it–although it looked a bit like a fox. That bee shot on the blackberry is very nice Derrick. You caught the saddle bags of pollen beautifully.

      1. I do. I have a rather blurry memory of being based there when running a scout operation. Not exactly what we were meant t o do..

  4. Twenty-five years since Dire Straits stopped touring? Oh, dear. Time surely does fly. How cool that you were at a pub that Illsley owned. Those who know say the Wembley concert was the best of the Brothers In Arms tour in 1985, but I got to see them in Houston during that same tour, and it was brilliant. Their live “Alchemy” version of “Sultans of Swing” still just knocks me out. Thanks for stirring all those memories!

  5. Okay, now you’re making me feel old, Derrick. I saw Dire Straits in college…seems like yesterday. They were amazing live! Your bumble bee shot is fantastic!

  6. I enjoyed that video you included – I didn’t know he was still performing and the Dire Straits sound lives on in him too! And the loo must have been impressive to get a mention šŸ™‚ Love the horse on the ridge – that must have been quite an accomplishment for the craftsman – first the creation then the balancing! Aren’t people clever!! <3 And my goodness Derrick – that bee shot is simply wonderful!

  7. I love the close up of the bee. Recycling broken flatpack furniture is a hobby of mine too šŸ™‚ That stuff outlives its use by date very quickly.

  8. I loved Dire Straits. Glad to know the players play on. Sultans of Swing and Romeo and Juliet bring back memories! As for that horse on that beautiful roof! Wow. I like that bee as well.

  9. I’m glad you found the toilets pleasant,nothing worse than unpleasant toilets I feel. šŸ™„
    What I can’t understand is how the hell do weeds get a chance to grow in your garden, The domestic help is forever out there working!, When not cooking !
    You seem to have a thing for Doom Bar, tempting fate perhaps?

  10. I love the straw horse on the roof and the bumblebee photo is wonderful. It sounds like a great day–I’m glad the toilets were pleasant. šŸ™‚

  11. I really can’t add to anything that has already been written, but in brief: Dire Straits was one of my favorite bands, and that straw horse, wow! I, too, thought it was a fox when I first looked at the picture. But fox or horse, it is pretty darned cool.

      1. Right! Special, whatever it is. Given the area, a horse would make more sense.

  12. The bee image is what drew me to this post. Really great shot! I think they carry their pollen in their legs, right? Glad I stumbled upon your blog, thanks.

    1. Thanks very much, Raw. I’ve never produced a back view before, but it does show the ‘saddlebags’ – a phrase for which I have Brenda’s comment to thank.

  13. Loved the weathervanes and the imagery. What a pleasant place you have to roam. Our hellebores were beautiful this year. Hydrangeas, all 58, are full of blossoms and some have started to bloom.

  14. I loved the horse decorations on roofs; great eye, Jackie! ? ?
    My brother Randy and I have danced to several Dire Straits songs. Nice song link! John Illsley has a warm, gravelly voice. The beat and haunting guitar rifts were lovely.

    I am always pleased when I find out somewhere I go, or even frequent, has a famous connection. Our past Family Music Center here in Delaware was often a place to see Eric Clapton who liked the owner and fair prices. My guy friend, who can play a wide variety of stringed instruments used to shoot the breeze. This location called Barley Hopsters now serves fresh brews, ales and beverages with sidewalk cafe setting outdoors and a large bar and leather chairs indoors. šŸ™‚
    The past owner sadly said online music products “outsourced his business.”

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