The Fleur de Lys, Pilley

We were warmly greeted by Ben at this 11th century pub on Pilley Street, despite the fact that, because they were hosting a wedding this evening, they were not serving full meals this lunchtime. We were offered starters, which was in fact all we needed today.

We were familiar with this excellent venue from our early days in the New Forest. It has, however, had a chequered life since the managers from that period had closed up , leaving the current chef to seek employment elsewhere. Eventually he had set up in Lymington, but returned here last May having learned that the historic building was again available. It was unsurprising to learn that they have been thereafter very busy.

We were the only people customers present. Ben took our order, served me Doom Bar and Jackie Amstell beer and

lit the log fire.

Jackie was free to photograph the interior with its charming accessories.

and ancient paving. The late Queen’s model operates, by solar power, a waving hand.

On that same window sill there is an interesting display of books which our photographer of the day spent a good time enjoying.

I have this one at home in perfect condition with a jacket, so I know its worth.

Oh, yes, the food. Jackie chose the monkfish scampi starter and I chose the sticky slow cooked duck. The complex blends of intricate flavours were delightful. I told the chef we would be back for our mains and desserts.

Jackie left her phone behind. The icing on the cake was that when I phoned to see if it was there the staff were just leaving. They searched and found it and waited behind for the rather more than Assistant Photographer to collect it.