Fill Your Boots


Early this morning Jackie drove me to New Hall Hospital for a Pre-Admission Clinical appointment. This was a most thorough and efficient physical check involving all the usual blood tests, etc., including an ECG. I seem to have passed. There followed various questionnaires for which Jackie was invited to participate. Next, we were introduced to the Head Physiotherapist who explained what we were to expect before and after surgery. I was, incidentally told that I was “a lucky man” in my allocated surgeon.

The off-white tarpaulin covering the skies developed a leak in the afternoon, so I was fortunate in managing to produce a few photographs before lunch.

Rape fields

On the road through Salisbury’s Downton, fields of oil seed rape blazed in the murk.


A cluster of white-faced cattle huddled in the corner of a field


beribboned by tributaries of the River Avon near the mill at Woodgreen. (See Paol Soren’s comment below for important information about these creatures)

Thatched roof

Having been attracted by the recently patched thatched roof of

Thatched roof

Surma Valley Indian restaurant at Burgate,

Surma Valley restaurant

we just had to have lunch in this 16th century building set in 3/4 of an acre of grounds. We were not disappointed. Service was friendly and efficient and the food was first rate. Jackie enjoyed her sheek kebab starter followed by prawn buna and aromatic pilau rice; as I did my mulligatawny soup, lamb tikka gowchi, and special egg rice. We both drank Kingfisher.


We have an expression, “fill your boots”, originating from early naval times, when a mug was called a boot and this was an encouragement to get quite drunk. Now we use it to mean eat so much that your boots are also full. We didn’t exactly do that, but Jackie brought some of hers home in a doggy bag for this evening. An earlier visitor to the restaurant avoided doing so by leaving his boots outside.

My laptop died some time ago. Later this afternoon we collected a replacement – a MacBook – from Peacock computers and I did my head in trying to load all my various accounts, like this one, onto it.


75 responses to “Fill Your Boots”

  1. I’m not sure what I enjoyed more, the pattern of the huddled-up white-faced cattle or the thatch patch. They have a certain similarity, actually!

  2. Fortunately you succeeded in getting everything loaded onto the new computer! Your being ‘a lucky man’ in your allocated surgeon rather makes me wonder what happens to the other folk, the unlucky ones…….

  3. Derrick, those cattle are a story in themselves. In Australia they are called Black Baldies. In Nth America they call them Black White face. They are produced by mating Hereford cows with an Aberdeen Angus bull. The calf from that mating is smaller than a calf from a Hereford/Hereford mating and so the problems of a difficult birthing is minimised. Many farmers will make sure that a Hereford heifer is always mated with an Angus but then, after her first calf she will be mated with a Hereford bull. However they are so popular that many farmers only use Angus bulls. The Black Baldy is a very good mother and some butchers also prefer them as a meat producer. And they look magnificent. Thanks for the photographs .

  4. Glad to hear the appointment went well! The pictures are gorgeous as always! Love the fields of yellow! We should ask people to submit their yellow fields from around the world haha

  5. What a neat collection of photos, especially that field of yellow, and those white faces. What I’d really like to do is eat in that centuries old building!

  6. I so enjoy the photos of the areas surrounding your home. Thanks for sharing these with us. I pray that your surgery goes as well as mine did and that you are up and able to be moving around very soon. Connecting with you has been a real pleasure Derrick and I wish you all the luck in the world in this and in all things. Love and hugs, Natalie 🙂 <3 xoxoxoxoxo

  7. I’ve filled my boots past capacity this past month. Might split the seams. I’m glad to hear you’ve drawn a well-respected surgeon. Eases our minds a bit. Do everything post-surgery by the book. We know several people who’ve experienced infections following knee replacement and it wasn’t fun at all.

  8. That is a very refreshing chapter on your blog. Rape seed fields are a childhood fixation, denoting holidays, freedom and better times. I wish you the best for the surgery.

    ‘Surma’ is a very Indian name meaning galant. Is that the name of the restaurant or does it borrow that moniker from a valley so called? The thatched structure has given it an ancient aura. Paolsoren’s deposition is remarkable.

    • Thanks very much Uma. The restaurant makes a point of describing the valley in their menus. You will like tonight’s post to remind you of your childhood. Paol has given a great addition

  9. Enjoyed both your story of the day and your photos Derrick. Wishing you a full and fast recovery of your op. I guess you will be back to that Indian restaurant yet and so would I. Take care.

  10. So pleased you’re heading for your knee-fix soon! Great you’re clear on all the pre-op testing- bodes well for your recuperation! 😊
    Fantastic pics, once more.👍

  11. Somehow I missed this post earlier. I’m glad the checkup went well. That restaurant setting is wonderful. I’m not surprised you felt compelled to eat there–and I’m glad the meal was good enough so that you filled your boots. 🙂

    Interesting info about the white-faced cattle, too.

  12. Not sure what the surgery is Derrick, but best wishes for a great outcome, being late in responding to your post it must be all over by now, all the best mate.

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