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.

Avian Warfare

After a brief panic on the part of the deliveryman, we received a full tank of oil today. The operator couldn’t initially get his machine to work,

Oil delivery

so he spent some time, whilst we trembled in trepidation, tinkering with dials.

Before the rain set in, I cut the grass and Jackie carried on clearing and tidying the rest of the garden.

Netting on eaves

Having spotted that a number of birds have been tearing strips off our roofing insulation for nest building, she has netted up the entrances in continuing the avian warfare begun yesterday against the greenfinches.

Blocking starling nest

Whilst she was at it, she also blocked the route to last year’s starling nest.


She cleaned out the Waterboy feature and set it going again.

Back inside, as feared, we found the boiler wasn’t working. This, we discovered, seemed to be because Jackie had turned the living room wall thermostat to zero when we ran out of fuel. She turned it up. The light came on on the reset button. When it was depressed, as the instruction book suggested, we had lift-off. We will be having the device serviced anyway, just to be on the safe side.

This afternoon the rain desisted and we continued weeding and tidying.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s lemon chicken; sweet potatoes; and sautéed leeks, mushrooms, broccoli, and bacon; followed by apple strudel and custard. She drank Hoegaarden and I drank Reserve des Tuguets madiran 2012.