Nugget’s Family Needs Feeding

Yesterday evening Nugget and a blackbird who had discovered his feeders outside the stable door both emptied their larders while providing meals on wings for their respective nestlings. Jackie felt so bad at being so Mother Hubbard that she decided bird food, especially Nugget’s favourite suet pellets, were essential shopping in these times of restraint. This meant an early morning trip back to Ferndene Farm Shop.

I waited in the car facing the thatched house on Bashley Cross Road,

adjacent trees casting dappled shade; and alongside

a gentleman working from home.

Naturally the Head Gardener also bought more trays of plants and three bags of compost loaded into the car by a helpful staff member. We then took a circuitous route home through

largely empty lanes, some bordered by bluebells, silene, and stitchwort;

some boasting rather splendid gardens.

Ponies parleyed in a paddock on New Lane.

Jackie visited Tesco in Old Milton to purchase a few more essential items and parked

outside the Lotus Restaurant.whose enticing window notice failed to tempt us for this evening’s meal.

Our one previous visit there in December 2013 had been enough to last a lifetime. We thought the current pandemic situation was not one in which to reconsider. The Culinary Queen has nevertheless been hankering for a Chinese takeaway meal from Mr Chan at Hordle. We therefore travelled up

Stopples Lane to check whether he had been able to open. Sadly, he hadn’t.

On the way back home we passed a pair of cyclists we had seen earlier.

During a telephone conversation with Mum today she likened the coronavirus experience to that of the Second World War, in the middle of which I was, of course, born; in particular not being able to see people we are close to, and the possibility we may not do so again. I had spoken of how Ella had just grown able to wander around our house and knew where everything was. I wondered how much she would remember. This prompted my mother to describe the distress of a young child she had known at being introduced to the stranger who was her father when he returned home from the conflict.

Mum remains in good spirits and we had a few laughs, not the least when she reminded herself that I was on the phone, not actually present in her room. She had asked me whether I had had to knock on the front door to gain admittance.

Jackie reports that she has seen a couple of juvenile robins in the garden and is convinced that these will be from Nugget and Lady’s January brood; the current feeding is for a second clutch.

For this reason we enjoyed our pre-dinner drinks on the patio, waiting for Nugget. This was a little early for his arrival, but

he joined us later for dinner which, in our case, consisted of cheese centred haddock fish cakes; piquant cauliflower and broccoli cheese; boiled Jersey Royal potatoes; tender green beans, and firm orange carrots, with which I finished the Rheinhessen and Jackie drank more of the Sauvignon Blanc.

This was the Assistant Photographer’s attempt at pairing a blue tit and a robin.


  1. Oh, so they have a double clutch each year? I did not know that! No wonder poor old Nugget has been awol – good heavens that’s a tough ask for a little fellow! Love the photograph of you with camera slung about the neck, ready for any photographic opportunity that may present itself…… Very much the way I tend to think of you 🙂 And very nice pairing of the shiny blue tit and robin <3

  2. A lovely cheery post, Derrick. I am glad your mum is doing so well. Her life has given her a great sense of perspective.

    Your bluebells look lovely. The bulk of ours seem to be just three days or so off having their classic droop. I took my walk in their direction today so I could check on them.

  3. “Naturally the Head Gardener also bought more trays of plants and three bags of compost.” I would expect nothing less from Jackie. I love also that she insisted on venturing out for suet. We’ve got to take care of our birdies! I’ve been ordering our seed online. Your roads are so gorgeous…scary at time with how narrow, but so beautiful. You’re looking quite relaxed waiting for Nugget. Cheers!

  4. Somehow I missed that Nugget and his bride had had one family, much less that they have a second set. Exciting happenings at the Knights!
    I’m glad your mom is in good spirits and that you had such a pleasant phone call with her. I imagine it’s your delightful personality that made her think you were there with her.

  5. A beautiful day there and a lovely drive. I enjoyed all the photos, Derrick and Jackie! I am glad to hear your mother is doing well, Derrick, and also good to hear Nugget and his family are with you. 🙂

  6. What a delightful post, Derrick. Good news about Mum’s conditions, glad you can talk with her. Nugget deserves a special trip out. And your “portrait” in the chair is near perfect.

  7. Wow! I am amazed at how early nesting begins in the south!
    I’m not sure of all, but many up here in the north seem to have just begun nest building, unless I,ve just not noticed. I did notice a couple of birds happily mating on my kitchen patio just a couple of weeks ago.
    Ponies parleyed in a paddock – oh, I love that line.
    I am delighted to hear about your mum’s good spirits, long may they continue.
    Hopefully, you will be indulging in Zoom or FaceTime or perhaps something similar to keep,up with your family and to keep Ella’s memories to the fore..

  8. Well, so glad to hear that you and your mom are still laughing. That’s what my mom and I do, too.
    And I am SO excited to hear that Nugget is a daddy – not once but twice! That’s super exciting. That picture of you with the camera against the lovely reds and blues and greens of your garden is just wonderful! Great job, Jackie!

  9. Oh, the places you’ll see because you’re friends with a little robin! What great photos, especially that one of you with your wine at the ready. Glad you got out.

  10. Jackie is also the Head Birder of the dominion. How sweet for her to travel the extra mile to collect provisions for Mr Nugget and his family! Going all the way to Mr Chan’s and finding his establishment closed reminds me of the adventures in Enchanted Wood (by Enid Blyton)!

      1. ‘Faraway Tree’ is a wonderful series of books for children by Enid Blyton, in which three children move to live in the countryside with their parents. They discover a magical place called Enchanted Wood, also the name of the first book.

  11. Nugget is lucky to experience a beautiful garden.
    Such a lovely day and lovely photos.
    You and Jackie have a great weekend and God bless your family

  12. I am so happy to see Nugget again! I have been worried about him. He still looks like a kid, though. Is he for sure a poppa? I heard a rumor, but, waiting to see the kids…

          1. Your own reality show, Derrick! That’s what I love about nature. We can be as voyeuristic as we wish and they don’t object so long as we don’t get too close.

  13. I had been wondering about you mum, Derrick. I am glad she was able to feel you with her when you spoke on the phone.

    The final photo made me smile ?

      1. Thanks for reply, Derrick. This week something funny seems to have been going on: comments I’ve been making on many people’s posts were going unanswered, so I wondering whether there was something wrong with my WP account.

          1. I hope so too, although the fact that you are able to see and respond now suggests it has been resolved.
            Yours isn’t the only site where I noticed this. It was most of the blogs I commented on including Quercuscommunity and GardeningNirvana, both of whom I know you follow, too.

  14. On the bird front, there has been a White Tailed Eagle doing a tour of England, which has included north Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire. Last weekend it did a lap of honour around the coastal areas of the Isle of Wight and by now it may be back on the mainland. If you do see it it’s unmistakeably big. A Yorkshire birdwatcher famously described one as “a sack of coal with doors for wings.” It’s not very likely, but you never know. They certainly prefer wooded areas.

  15. YAY on the Baby Nuggets! Congrats to the whole family!
    And, Jackie, thank you so much for caring for and feeding this beautiful family! 🙂

    I’m glad your Mum is well! I’ve been thinking a lot about the generations who lived through the World Wars, etc. They are examples to us that we can endure, adapt, and come out on the other side stronger.

    The photo of the cute ceramic little birdy-pair makes me so happy! 🙂
    (((HUGS))) 🙂

  16. That’s a fine portrait of you, Derrick: really, very nice. And despite being charmed by the tales of the gluttonous Nugget, et. al, I especially liked that last photo. I have a friend who collects salt and pepper shakers, but she doesn’t have a pair as handsome as that.

  17. Always a pleasure to vicariously experience your day, Derrick. Thanks for taking us along. I’m with Jackie: a Chinese takeaway meal from Mr Chan at Hordle would be my choice, too! Congratulations to Nugget. I look forward to being able to see the little ones. <3 <3

  18. I am listening to Pied Piper by Nevil Shute in Audibles, it is set during the second world war. Life now is so much like it was then. Glad you shared your mother’s words. Take care.

  19. Nugget has sure been busy! I’m glad your Mum is doing okay and has such clear and helpful memories. Ella will probably remember much about your home even if it takes a few minutes.

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