What Are His Chances?


Derrick with napkin holderNapkin clip

Jackie tells me that Becky spent months searching for a silver napkin clip, and, just in time for my birthday, found one by James Dixon & Sons Ltd from 1962/3. Presented to me by our daughter and Ian in the restaurant yesterday evening, this is intended to protect my shirts from spillage when I am watching Bargain Hunt on TV at lunchtime.

After said lunch today, I slept through most of the antiques programme and the news. Later Jackie drove us through the forest.

The fly-ravaged ponies and their foals sought shade from the heat wherever  they could. This group of two mares and their foals at the corner of Burley Lawn sheltered in silence. The adults could not open their infested eyes, and their infants clung to the mothers’ flanks, seeking the breeze and screen created by  the parental twitching tails.

At Chapel Haye, where a young girl brought out water, another group spilled across the road.

Ponies and foals drank from the dregs of the dried bed of  Latchmere Stream at Furze Hill, and foraged on the sun-dappled banks.

Donkey foal on Roger Penny Way

The animal death count on this seven mile stretch of Roger Penny Way exceeded 120 last year. What, we wondered, were the chances of this little chap not making the list. Donkeys are apparently impervious to the heat, so he was quite comfortable on the tarmac.

This evening we dined on succulent roast chicken; herby sage & onion stuffing: Yorkshire pudding; mashed potato; Chantenay carrots; chestnut mushrooms; and runner beans. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I finished the Newboy.



  1. I never heard of a napkin clip–certainly a unique gift!
    The eyes of those ponies–it made me sad to see them. That little donkey is adorable. I hope he/she survives.

  2. I’d be looking to put some traffic cones around the little fellow on the road – and probably get hit by a car speeding by while doing so 🙂 Love the napkin clip – what a good idea!!

  3. Kudos to Becky on scoring the perfect gift! That donkey is so cute…his head looks large for his little body. I guess it’s like driving an obstacle course. 🙂

    1. Thanks very much, Jill. It certainly is an obstacle course – at least that road is a wide one – but it does enable people to go faster – the 40 mph permitted would kill

  4. Happiest of happy birthdays to you. The napkin clip is a brilliant present and you have inadvertently prompted me to thinking about a story I should recant which might actually mean some activity on my own blog at long last (threat or promise? You make your own mind up!). The little donk is adorable but my heavens that is not at all a sensible place to lie. I do hope he survives.

  5. What a sensible and elegant gift. Happy Birthday, Derrick J. Knight.

    My heart breaks for the thirsty creatures. May rain soon come and relieve them and gardens, too.

  6. Oh, I hope the little donkey on the tarmac is not going to one of those stats. I adored all of your photos today, thank you Derrick.

  7. Maybe some motorist will stop and shake their fist at him and move him off the road. Unless there’s some silly by-law concerning things like that.

  8. The little one is cuteness personified. I hope he does well and grows up whipping away a zillion flies in his lifetime.

    Your silver napkin pin is a classic. Is it the gift that bestows a princely look upon you?

  9. What a wonderful, beautiful birthday gift from Becky!

    Oh, Derrick, you look healthy and happy and handsome! Continued best wishes for your recovery!

    Those poor ponies and their moms, and the donkeys! The heat is cruel! I hope they can find some relief…shade, water, no flies! Now I am worried about them! 🙁
    HUGS to you and Jackie!!! 🙂
    PS…Have you seen Russell Crow lately?
    PPS…your delicious meal reminds me…I need to go by some more mushrooms!

    1. Thank you very much Carolyn. Uncomfortable as the ponies are, they are very tough survivors. Russell took off while Jackie was away. She is most relieved really. X

  10. Great present idea, looks like an antique too!
    I felt so bad seeing the poor ponies and flies, is there nothing that can be done? And that small donkey – no one cares enough to stop and get him to move?

    1. At that particular spot, GP, there are many animals on the road. Drivers must just be careful. I, too felt very bad about the flies. The field horses do have masks, but not the wanderers. Many thanks

  11. Hey – many happy returns, Derrick! The cheque’s in the post… Glad to see the photos out and about…sorry I’ve not visited for a little while; I just can’t keep up!

  12. Happy Birthday, Derrick! I have never heard of a napkin clip–until now. I think my husband will be getting one for our anniversary, if I can find one:) Hoping the little donkey skedaddles out of the way. It would be a shame for him to be hit, such a beautiful creature.

  13. I must see about getting one of those fabulous clips. I tend to tuck mine into my collar … and ignore those folk who place them delicately on their laps. I mean, what earthly good are they going to do there? 😀

    1. What was funny was that I did just that in the restaurant before Becky gave me the present. That pleased her greatly. She said “Ooh look. He’s tucked it in like common people”. Thanks very much, Widders

      1. A thin friend of mine tells me thin people put napkins on their lap because that’s where the food falls. Those of us with fuller figures catch it all on our shirts. Apart from those of us with beards.

          1. Julia is trying to stop me watching antiques programmes because I shout at the contestants and in summer I can be heard through the open windows.

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