Emulating The Squirrel

The first couple of hours this morning were bright and breezy. After that the skies clouded over and the atmosphere gained weight. Later in the afternoon rain resumed its descent.

We therefore drove out to the forest soon after 10 a.m., First visiting

the pony, Gimlet who left off chewing his breakfast hay to crunch the carrot I offered.

She was quite impressed that I had successfully employed the Sue W. flat hand technique.

Before leaving home I had printed a couple of large copies of the photographs of Anne and her steed taken a few days ago. We delivered these to her place of work at Kitchen Makers. She was very pleased.

We continued on to Pilley Hill, the verges of which were awash with several varieties of daffodil.

The 11th century pub Fleur de Lys is in the background of this image.

The owners of a recently sold house at Norley Wood had engaged a group of asinine hedge clippers.

Richard Adams, in ‘Watership Down’ describes how rabbits become road kill when they freeze in the glare of car headlights.

Fortunately for this creature cutting the grass it was daytime and our headlights were extinguished.

Other examples of small creatures meeting their death on the country roads are pheasants who seem to wait for vehicles to arrive then dash across in a game of chicken.

Young squirrels, who can’t possibly reach maturity will leg it in front of the car in an effort to outrun it.

Ponies and donkeys, not usually the most energetic animals, normally just stand stolidly in the road. Today we met a group attempting to emulate the squirrel.

As we turned from Norley Wood Road down the hill towards East End, a trio of ponies ambled out of Broomhill and trotted off towards a drove of donkeys already in occupation.

After taking a slight diversion to see how the neighbouring alpacas were doing

these animals picked up their heels and set a pace which had their smaller cousins racing on ahead.

A pair of more nonchalant donkeys emerged from the field on the left. They simply stepped aside for us.

Others kept up the pace

despite oncoming traffic. Eventually we managed to pass them without a collision.

This afternoon, while photographing Nugget at his trough,

Jackie became concerned about an apparently ailing blue tit curled up,

gasping, clinging to a feeder for upwards of half an hour.

Eventually it raised its head and seized a suet pellet.

Soon it decanted to the wisteria, from which it subsequently disappeared.

This evening we dined on succulent roast duck breasts, boiled potatoes, crisp Yorkshire pudding, crunchy carrots, cauliflower, and Brussels sprouts, with tender runner beans. Jackie drank Hoegaarden and I drank Lacaze Cabernet-Carmenere 2017.





  1. Sadly, I can’t really help you about the blue tit. Perhaps he had something stuck in his throat or he may have just flown into one of your windows ( that would leave a mark on the glass, perhaps, looking like pollen or flour). Perhaps he was in shock after being seized by a cat or a sparrowhawk.
    My best guess would be the window!

  2. Maybe the little blue tit had knocked into a window. Sometimes they’ll sit for a while to get their bearings. Nugget is looking quiet demure. Spring has sprung!

  3. I must ask, is it free and open range for the horses and asses? Do they of an evening return to their rightful farms for supplemental feeding? I also wonder if the equines enjoy munching on daffodils. Wonder montage of photos.

  4. Thank you for sharing more of those wonderful daffodils. Today I was emailing with a colleague who also works remotely, and when she remarked that she was watching three donkeys near her house, I immediately thought of you.

  5. One of the most realistic and hilarious cartoons I’ve seen involved a mother squirrel instructing her babies on how to deal with traffic. “Remember,” she said. “When you see a car coming, be sure to run both ways.”

  6. Sharing your space with so many animals might be a challenge for some, but a slower pace would be good for many of us. The daffodils are lovely.

  7. Beautiful photos from your day, Derrick and Jackie, especially the forest drive and its cast of characters, including Gimlet.

    Good to see Nugget at his trough. I hope that poor blue tit at the suet feeder was not sick.

  8. Those are outstanding landscape photographs. What you have said about the squirrels is sadly so true! Out here, we have stray cattle emulating the squirrels to a deadly effect.

      1. The idea has compounded the problem, especially in the rains. The cattle find the highways dry and tractable and flock to occupy patches. The isolated members get jittery and pose existential questions to the motorists.

  9. It is so annoying when the animals in front start running away in front of you. All you want is for them to give way.
    As a New York cabbie once said, when it was pointed out that he had ‘right-of-way’, Right of way is not something you’ve got it’s something that’s given to you. And if it’s not given to you, you ain’t got it.

  10. You two bring such joy to so many! Joy to human-beans, to feathered-friends, to furry-friends, etc! Thank you, Jackie and Derrick! πŸ™‚
    So good to see Mr. Nugget looking fit and happy! πŸ™‚
    Glad Gimlet got a carrot! πŸ™‚
    It is very sad when creatures are just doing their thing and end up hurt or dead after encountering a vehicle. πŸ™

  11. I can’t help but smile at all the animals on the road yesterday! Thank you for remembering a carrot for Gimlet – you’ve got a new friend there!!

  12. I think it’s so amazing that all those animals walk freely on the roads.
    This is unthinkable in Belgium, perhaps maybe in a remote little village in the ardennes.
    Would love to explore your region.
    Greetings from Lieve in Flanders

  13. Such a wonderful set of photos. I love daffodils, and it always brightens my spirits to see them.
    The series of photos with more and more animals joining the journey–adventure? Pilgrimage?
    Jackie’s series of bird photos are wonderful–I like the framing through the branches and parts of the trough.

  14. Lovely, lovely photos. I really must get over to the New Forest again! What a splendid place you live in! ….. and this time of year is so prettily rural. A world away from the old days in Wimbledon. Sheila.

  15. We had a hobby hawk hit our balcony glass and look decidedly unwell. We put it in a big cardboard box overnight, wrapped in rags. Didn’t look hopeful. In the morning, we took it to a nearby woody patch and turned the box on its side. After a time of getting its bearings, it emerged, blinked about, and took off. Fingers crossed for your blue tit.

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