Dinner Deferred

After a visit to the pharmacy in Milford on Sea, Jackie and I took a forest drive.

As we entered the narrow Shotts Lane at a point at which it has no passing space we approached a cyclist speaking with two pedestrians standing across the centre strip which doubles as a grass and weed bed because any vehicle’s wheels have perforce to span it. The bicycle and the three people hugged the hedgerow in order for is to wave as we passed by.

Further along, Jackie sat in the car on someone’s drive while I walked back to take this shot. Twice I needed to follow the example of this trio as I squeezed myself against the shrubbery.

Then the original cyclist, offering a second photo opportunity, whizzed smiling past me.

Cud-chewing camouflaged cattle and calves blended with Bull Hill’s browning bracken.

As it is Dillon’s birthday today we wished to surprise him with a meal at Pilley’s

historic Fleur de Lys. I therefore entered the 11th century pub to make a booking. Unfortunately they do not offer food on Sunday night so this wasn’t possible. I also learned the very sad news that the comparatively new management who took over just as the first Covid lockdown was imposed, and are now faced with the current catastrophic cost of living crisis, will be leaving after about two months. Consequently we will have to postpone our grandson-in-law’s introduction.

Tonight’s dinner was deferred.

Photographing Forest Fauna

From late morning Jackie drove our visitors and me around the forest. De had walked down to the coast at Milford where we joined her.

Jan photographed De seated beneath an umbrella, where their daughter was joined first by her father and then by her mother.

Choppy waves threw up creamy spray before sliding up and slipping back down the crunching shingle beach.

The trio walked along the clifftop promenade and down the steps toe the sea level.

Pannage pigs at Pilley snuffled and snorted their way around the verges.

We stopped for a drink at the Fleur de Lys, to find that it had been under new management for just a week. This prompted us to book a table for this evening.

Jan photographed and conversed with donkeys beside Beaulieu Lake, the banks of which

a preening swan and cygnets shared with gulls,

while one of the young swans reflected on the surface over which a crow took to the air.

At East Boldre we stepped out to photograph ponies casting shadows as the sun emerged.

This evening’s meal at the Fleur de Lys was excellent. We shared starters of Thai Fish Cakes and Belly of Pork; Jackie and I enjoyed Burger mains; I am not sure what the others chose; we all finished with sticky toffee pudding. We shared a bottle of Pinot Grigio and a Mendoza Argentine Malbec. I completed the meal with a Bailey’s, Jackie abstained and the others drank varieties of gin.

Changing Prints

Today the constantly leaking skies remained grizzling throughout.
This afternoon, in the drizzle, Jackie and I transported a superfluous chair to the Oakhaven  Hospice Shop in Highcliffe. They were pleased to receive it.
Nicki and Andrew were conveying more of Elizabeth’s belongings from storage to her new house. We drove on to Pilley for a drink with these three in the Fleur de Lys. We enjoyed a pleasant conversation before the others set about their work and we returned home.
In speaking about how I came by my Warwinter book of drawings, I was reminded that I had not changed the display print for some time.
Our downstairs loo is entitled The Print Room because it is decorated with a random collection of prints, some of which, like the above-mentioned set are intended constantly to make way for others.
I put this right later today, replacing



These stark black and white illustrations convey the reality of that terrible winter of occupation.

This is the top section of one of the walls. Beneath the Warwinter picture is a signed print number 51/90 of Hidden Depths by Chris Noble. Alongside hangs a framed set of Chapter Headings to Suzannah Whatman’s Housekeeping Book, being the signed prints by Frank Martin decorating the Geoffrey Bles publication of 1956. This is number 13 priced at 1 guinea each.

Elizabeth returned to spend a few more days with us until her new home is sufficiently habitable. This evening we drove back over to The Fleur de Lys for a celebration meal. The ladies shared a fish platter starter, while my choice was cream of tomato soup with fresh, crusty, bread. Elizabeth and I both chose chicken and ham pie with mashed potato and perfect mange touts and curly kale; Jackie thoroughly enjoyed  vegetable open ravioli. My wife and sister both chose a peanut butter parfait dessert with lots of other delicacies, such as chocolate. I chose the excellently flavoured brioche a marmalade budding with custard and vanilla ice cream. Jackie drank Blue Moon while Elizabeth and I drank El Volquita Tempranillo 2017. The service was as friendly and efficient as always, and the food exquisite.


Ronan and Mark of Tom Sutton Heating arrived promptly this morning and began work on installing our new central heating system.

This being Mum’s birthday, Elizabeth drove off to collect her from her home in West End. Jackie and I met them for lunch at the Fleur de Lys at Pilley where we enjoyed the usual superb cuisine. Mum’s choice of main course was chicken and ham pie, mashed potato and greens; mine was halibut, crab, vegetables and French fries; Jackie’s, ham and cheese toastie with salad and posh chips; Elizabeth’s a fish platter. My sister’s meal like the desserts were all on the slate, by which I don’t mean we didn’t have to pay for them today. Mum waived a sweet; Jackie chose an ice cream selection; I favoured treacle tart and ice cream with an ice floe perched on top; Elizabeth’s pick was creme brûlée, ice cream and chocolate brownies. I drank merlot; Elizabeth, Amstel; Mum apple juice; and Jackie, coffee.

We then drove past Elizabeth’s new house in order for Mum to take a peek at it.

The next stop was at Pyrford Gardens, Lymington to view a prospective new home for Mum. This is a bungalow in a quiet development in a cul-de-sac built in the grounds of a rather grander house. By the time we arrived there our mother was very tired and found it difficult to engage with the exercise. The rest of us were impressed, but more thought must be given to what is in fact Mum’s idea. The house is leasehold. There is a reasonable service charge which covers well kept communal gardens and limited on call support from a manager who lives within the complex. Her independent living could be maintained as long as necessary.
Elizabeth returned Mum to West End and rejoined us later.
A slice of pizza with a little salad sufficed for our evening meal.