“The Royal Stump”

This morning I e-mailed two more entries to the Wessex Photo Spring competition. These are entitled ‘A Paddle’ and ‘The Hind Leg’. (A paddle is the collective noun for ducks in the water; a garrulous person could be said to talk the hind leg off a donkey – with Jackie’s assistance I couldn’t help myself).

Later I photographed the roses on the front garden trellis.

After lunch Jackie drove me to that photographic outlet in Ringwood to collect some paper I had ordered. We then travelled on into the forest and stopped at the recently opened bird hide at Blashford Lakes.

When I entered the building a man inside mouthed “lapwing” and pointed to the window. As I approached it flew away. I observed that I had that effect on birds. He replied that he had had that effect since he was eighteen. Quick to pick up the innuendo I gesticulated in the direction of the two attractive women in his company and offered the opinion that something must have improved. This was met with hilarity. The said waterfowl was decent enough to return for a forage.

I was informed that two somnolent birds bobbing on the water were great crested grebes.

A pair of ducks sharing a spit with a black headed gull soon took to the water. I trust one of my birding blogging friends will help me with identification. (The consensus seems to be Tufted Ducks – see arlingwoman and John Knifton’s comments)

We stopped for a drink at The Royal Oak, North Gorley where the avian propensity for taking flight at the sight of my lens did rather pay off. Two jackdaws perched on the chimney pot were possibly protecting a nest. One decided to decant to the TV aerial when I was in mid-click.

Since we last visited the eponymous Quercus has had to be felled. The pub landlord quipped that they should now be called “The Royal Stump”. Jackie suggested that the slice might attract the attention of a dendrochronologist.

This evening we enjoyed our second sitting of Hordle Chinese Take Away fare with which Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank more of the Garnacha Syrah.



There was so much snow and ice around on Friday 2nd March, that we were unable to leave the house. It was, however, fifty years since Jackie and I first married. In our circumstances we are uncertain whether this date or that of our second wedding last year takes precedence. We couldn’t really let it pass unnoticed as we chomped our sandwiches in the evening, and I decided to buy a token present today. Jackie therefore drove me into New Milton where I bought some Givenchy Organza perfume which made her even more fragrant.

This afternoon we drove into the forest. Although the snow had largely disappeared there were a few pockets in the more sheltered spots.

More trees, like those on Boldrewood Drive, had been shattered by the winds of Storm Emma, requiring their limbs to be cut up, and left to join the relics of previous arboreal casualties, retained for ecological purposes.

The two small ponies seen foraging by the roadside were perhaps last year’s later foals. One, in particular, decorated its mane at tail with crisp bracken and leaves.

We stopped for a drink at The Royal Oak, North Gorley. Jackie, reflected in a pool on the road outside the pub, sports her own ponytail.

We then returned home just in time to receive a call from Richard of Kitchen Makers who came to fit the front of one of the drawers that had not been delivered to him before; and to change an existing power point so that it would match the new ones he had installed. Such is his attention to detail.

Pasta arrabbiata

Having mastered the hobs, this evening Jackie fed us on her spicy pasta arrabbiata. She had stocked up on her frozen delicacies. The bulk of this meal was heated up and more pasta cooked on the induction hobs. The Culinary Queen drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon.