Ferndene Farm Shop Is Open

This morning I received an e-mail from our brother-in-law, Ron Salinger, attaching this photograph of a ship’s boiler exposed on Highcliffe beach last Thursday, 9th April, at the town’s lowest tide of the year. It is probably from Grampus, a tug wrecked in the 1920s.

Today the air was still hazy shortly before 9 a.m. when we drove to Milford on Sea hoping to find the fruit and vegetable shop open.

On the way there I photographed walkers and their dogs heading east along the cliff top.

Jackie photographed me against The Needles

from outside the empty car park. Note the closed sign on the money machine.

The view looking west towards Hurst Castle was layered in haze. The Isle of Wight image is another from Jackie.

Ever since we arrived here seven years ago I have chronicled crumbling clifftops. April is dubbed the month for showers. We have had none this year.

Consequently cracks clearly indicate the next rocky chunk to cascade down below.

Milford’s fruit and veg shop remains closed. We next tried Ferndene Farm shop where,

while I remained in the Modus, Jackie joined an orderly queue maintaining its two metre gaps as it turned a right angle at the corner of the main building. The occasional shopper exhibited some confusion and was given advice and explanation by vigilant staff including

a charming young man

who was on hand to dispense sanitiser for those not wearing gloves.

The system worked smoothly on a one out and one in basis. This gentleman concentrated hard on his boxes of eggs.

The plants outside were in excellent condition, although it was less easy for buyers to observe the requisite distance.

The Head Gardener was overjoyed as she returned to the car clutching crates of plants and robin food.

The ponies outside The Rising Sun at Bashley on our return home needed neither to queue for their sustenance

nor to keep social distancing.

A couple of weeks ago Jackie began tidying the patio.

On Sunday Aaron replaced the blue wooden furniture, and yesterday The Head Gardener photographed the area’s current condition.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s delicious cottage pie; crunchy carrots and cauliflower, and tender runner beans, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I drank Mezquiriz reserva Navarra 2013.


  1. That piece of the shipwreck is fascinating to me. A nice feeling was prompted seeing the (close to) normal shopping at the Farm Store. Glad you were able to take advantage of the business being open. Your patio looks so inviting. Would that Sher and I could join you and Jackie there for a relaxing chat…

  2. Derrick I stared at that boiler for moments (in a creative way) seeing a nose. It made me feel a little uncomfortable until i read it was a ship’s boiler.
    Lovely photo as always.

  3. Glad to see the ponies can roam and feed at will. I don’t think they’d understand social distancing.
    I’ll bet Jackie was thrilled to see the market still open. What sort of plants did she buy?

  4. We have had no rain for several weeks now. Only April and I am watering the garden.
    We have a very good farm shop which is well stocked. I have promised to use it even after the crisis has passed.

  5. How pleasant it must be to get out and about in beautiful sunshine. We had to give the grocery shops a skip this afternoon as they queues were far too long at all of them. I have become fairly innovative in the kitchen during this lockdown period: two more weeks to go!

        1. I knew you were kidding, but I didn’t know whether you folks had the same views about socks and sandals – some people in UK don’t. I’m relieved to know that you do πŸ™‚

  6. Oh the joy in your missus face! This little spree was a while coming and must have been like one of those moments in a musical when everyone bursts into song and the high notes are hit and the dancers pirouette furiously πŸ™‚

  7. I enjoyed the photos, Derrick and Jackie! She looks quite pleased with all the treasures from the farm shop! April is proving to be drier than normal here, too. A dry April does not bode well for summer’s annual drought.

  8. The Head Gardener looks so happy in that photo, as if all her Xmases had come at once. No doubt it was because she could finally buy some plants.

      1. The Head Gardener and my late mother would have bonded over gardening. My mum used to have the same look on her face on returning from the garden centre.

  9. Lots of goodies in here. Both Derrick and Jackie and the boiler. A lovely shop. Beautiful landscapes. Does no one wear masks?

    1. Yes , I thought that, too. They must be behind us in this Pandemic curve thing. We here in New Jersey, USA were told we weren’t allowed anywhere without a mask on April 6th or so.

    2. They are in short supply. One woman had a scarf wrapped around her – and Jackie says she got in everyone’s way inside the shop. Jackie left her mask in the car because otherwise distance was so well kept. Thanks very much, Luanne.

      1. OK, I yelled at the gardener today about his mask. And in front of people :). He sheepishly put it on, but that is what we need to do. Wear those stupid masks. Unsolicited advice over. Over and out.

  10. I have not been anywhere where there was a greeter with sanitizer. What a great idea, instead of everyone touching the same pump as they have here. And he was adorable.

    Love that Jackie got a load of happiness and robin food and plants!

  11. What a great morning you had.
    Oh, I love the part of the shipwreck!
    There is a farm shop a few minutes away that also had a garden centre. I know the shop is open but assumed the garden centre would be closed. I must ask a family member to investigate! On the other hand I could just ring them! πŸ˜€

  12. Jackie’s bright beautiful smile made my day! πŸ™‚
    I’m so glad the FF shop is open and orderly! Love that young man’s smile, too! πŸ™‚
    YAY for plants and Nugget food! πŸ™‚ Jackie has her priorities straight! πŸ˜‰
    Your photos of the layers of nature are beautiful! Even the haze is beautiful! πŸ™‚
    Hope you have many days of sun so you can sit in the blue chairs and enjoy the garden-treasures surrounding you! πŸ™‚
    We’ve had some April rain, but today is sunny. πŸ™‚

    (((HUGS))) and keep your piggies warm! πŸ‘£ HA! πŸ˜€

    1. Hi Chrissy, recipes not really my thing but I believe that you have to cook the low fat beef mince for a long time in beef stock, making sure it is soft, then drain off most of the liquid for gravy. Thicken the meat filling, and add onions and mushrooms that you have fried separately. The mash must have plenty of seasoning and butter. Sometimes I like to add grated cheese on the top before putting it in the oven on 180 deg. until top begins to brown. That’s sort of my way of doing it! sorry I can’t be more precise.

          1. Thanks. I figured that out while preparing the mash.

            OK. It was quite nice but I can improve on the texture next attempted.

            I didn’t add mushrooms because hubby acts like a spoiled child when I use mushrooms. πŸ˜‰ I put grated cheese on top before placing it in the oven and served it with peas and the gravy.


      1. In Los Angeles County, we are now required to use face masks whenever we leave our homes. Supermarkets and other essential businesses still attending the public can now refuse us service if we’re not using a face mask. What a new world! We have to find new ways of sharing a smile.

  13. I was more than delighted to see Jackie’s delight. I’ve felt so badly for people who can’t find seeds or plants. I don’t know how our garden centers are doing on their stock, but the best one around is open with slightly shortened hours and limitations on the number of customers who can roam at one time. Good enough, I’d say.

    What did she get for Nugget? I’ve found that dried mealworms make my mockingbirds and wrens very happy — I’d think they would do for a robin, too.

    1. Thanks very much, Linda. Ferndene is supplied by one of the biggest centres six miles away. The mealworms are recommended for robins, but Nugget prefers suet pellets which is what she got – Burt also goes for those.

  14. You look like an extension to The Needles.

    The post with its orderly shoppers is a chronicle of the times. Jackie is one passionate gardener!

  15. All your photos are so beautiful Derrick and they show that so much is happening around us, we just have to observe them. Thank you and take care, you and your family.

  16. Jackie looks very happy with her haul, and I’m glad you found an open shop. I had wondered like other commenters about the masks. We’re required to wear them here now in public places. I think we’re getting your April showers! But despite your lack of rain, your garden still looks lovely. I would love to sit with you on the patio.

  17. The sea-bed ship relic is very curious – there will be a story behind it somewhere. We are certainly getting well practised at our great British queues …. now with the requisite distance between us, of course! The farm shop looks like it was doing a great trade that day.

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