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.

A Windy Day


This morning I sat in the dentist’s waiting room whilst Jackie kept an appointment.

During this time I finished reading Bruce Goodman’s ‘Bits of a Boy’. Given the amazing number of spurious dental appointments young Bruce wangled, this was probably quite appropriate. This autobiographical work must have been hidden away for at least half a century. No-one could possibly take us right into the mind of a boy at various stages of life unless he was that boy – then. Read it. On line. Or downloaded. It is a must for entertainment, for history, and for atmosphere. Oh, the memories it stirred in me.

After lunch Jackie drove us to Lepe and back.

Attracted by a group of tiny ponies we stopped at Norley Wood where Jackie waited in the car for me to photograph the creatures.

Other cameras and mobile phones came into play. One woman took her photos through an open car window;

another group walked up to, and petted the animals.

They fully understood why I named this windswept pony Donald.

I have mentioned before that gorse in the forest is regularly thinned out by controlled burning. For this reason an unusually great number of larger ponies grazed on the left hand side of the road outside Beaulieu.

A few, more reluctant, after the land had cooled, to leave their  familiar territory had returned to the other side, sometimes, ghostlike, reaching up into the remaining charred bushes, sometimes foraging on the grass.

There are still a large number of waterlogged trees in pools around the forest, offering, like these near Exbury, many arboreal reflections.

How did these tyres come to be in the water?

Mallards on pool

As usual, mallards, had occupied another recent pool.

So windy was it at Lepe that the waves were extremely choppy.

Yacht without sail

One yacht made its way without sail;

others, against the backdrop of the Isle of Wight, leaned at an impressive angle;

and a sailboarder skimmed across from the island and back in the blink of an eye.

Clifftop landscape

Gorse bushes and rugged trees on the clifftop bent with the wind;

Daffodils and Watch House 1

and daffodils lit the bank above the Watch House.

This evening we dined at Daniel’s Fish and Chips restaurant in Highcliffe. Jackie added onion rings to her cod and chips. My supplements were mushy peas and a roll and butter. I drank tea, and Jackie didn’t.