Building Materials


Today’s sky was cloudless, the sun shone, and the temperature was hot enough for summer.

Most of our tulips are now fully opened.

The mirrors, like these beside camellias, now have blooms to reflect.

Heucheras and forget-me-nots

Heucheras and forget-me-nots are enlivening the rose garden edges.

Comma butterfly

Butterflies, including commas, freely flit about.

Cherry blossom

Now that the winter flowering cherry is thinking about shedding its blossom, others are coming into full bloom.

Naturally, we took a drive into the forest.

For most of the stretch of road between Burley and Bransgore we were treated to a generous display of shiny MAMIL backsides. It was difficult to construe the occasional cyclist’s veering across the centre of the road other than as designed to prevent any thoughts of overtaking the crocodile.

Horse and rider

By contrast, the equestrian on the horribly pock-marked Snails Lane had the good sense to tuck in her steed and wait as we approached.

Perched on the backs of long-suffering donkeys at Ibsley, a clattering of jackdaws filled their beaks with the creatures’ soft, flexible, hairs pecked out for use in nest building. As I approached the scene, the birds flew off. Uncomplaining, silent, and motionless, this forlorn creature fixed me with a baleful eye.

Donkeys shared the road with cattle at Gorley Lynch,

but at Hyde they were reluctant even to share it with motor vehicles.

We lunched at The Hyde Out Café then collected a blood test referral form from our GP. This is for a post-hip-replacement follow up. There are no problems but I have been asked for this and the completion of a questionnaire because, in the years since my operation, involving a metal on metal replacement, it has emerged that that method has led to later difficulties for some people. My knees are nothing to do with that.

Paul popped in for a visit this afternoon, and we enjoyed our customary pleasant conversation. Modern life and its geography means that this is something that doesn’t happen very often now, and it is our loss.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s splendid chicken jalfrezi and aromatic pilau rice with which I finished the Shiraz



  1. True. Dropping by was the way we caught up with each other and it was lovely and uncomplicated…spontaneous. Now appointments are necessary…busy , busy, busy.

  2. Do you think the donkeys really do hate it, or maybe they don’t mind the attention–
    May I use one of your photos of donkey and jackdaws to accompany a poem?

    1. IT’s difficult to know about the donkeys. They never complain. I’d be very honoured if you would use a photo for that purpose, Pleasant. Many thanks

      1. Agree with John’s comment above. They’re hard to confuse with anything else British, at least until the autumn when other varieties begin to look the worse for wear.

  3. It looks like spring has truly sprung there! It is bright and sunny here today, but still colder than usual.
    That poor donkey! He certainly looks forlorn. I can’t believe the jackdaws just pulled hair right from him.

      1. I wonder if maybe they eat bugs, as well? Maybe it’s just me trying to look on the good side, but I’d prefer to think that the birds are helping out.

  4. Poor little donkey – perhaps he’s a little unwell – maybe that’s why the jackdaws could be so very cheeky? Nice to hear warmth has arrived, it’s back here too 🙂

  5. I looked up “heucheras” and, as I thought, they are what I call coral bells. I love them so much, and so do the hummingbirds. Your garden is coming into itself. Looking forward to this year’s show.

  6. The poor donkey. It looked pretty unhappy. Your garden, however, looks its usual well-cared for self and the butterfly was no doubt enjoying it. As for your hip, goodness, there are complications in modern medicine. I hope all remains well.

  7. I didn’t know the jackdaws fleeced soft fur for their nests from poor, decrepit ponies. That’s cruel to say the least. Perhaps we need to steel ourselves for the ways of the world. At least a hip or a pair of knees…

  8. Oh, that donkey! Poor creature. I don’t suppose there is anything the donkey can do to stop the birds from plucking. Lovely, lovely flowers. So cheering as the landscape in central Maine is utterly dismal. I think Spring has forgotten us. Is it something we said, I wonder?

  9. “Jackie’s splendid chicken jalfrezi and aromatic pilau rice”: so THAT’s what I could smell when I arrived (note to self: must arrive later next time I call in at short notice… ) We discussed the jackdaw/donkey ‘symbiosis’ (if that’s what it is): other posters’ comments have led me to wonder if the birds indeed have picked on a weak or ill animal that doesn’t have the strength to shake them off. The ability of more predatory species than these to pick off the sickly and weakened from a herd or flock is widespread across Nature, so it may not be as “you-scratch-my-back-&-I’ll-scratch-yours” as it looks.

  10. Just catching up again, Derrick and Jackie. The gardens look like they are coming along nicely.

    The poor donkey! I’ve never seen birds plucking them directly for nest material before.

    1. Always welcome, Lavinia. We have seen birds pecking at donkeys before, and assumed they were taking off bugs. This is the first time we have seen them flying off with the fluff. A local driver confirmed they were using it for nest building

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