Avian Pairs

Today was bright and sunny, if a little chilly.

Because this was the weekend, there was a little more humanity on the forest roads, mainly in the form of

family groups of walkers like these on St Leonards Road,

and cyclists in pairs or singly, like this one on Sowley Lane.

We had planned to visit the beach at the end of Tanners Lane, but thought better of it when we met a row of parked cars near the entrance. Clearly the shingle would be crowded. Jackie backed up a long way before reaching a turning space.

The narrow track leading solely to the beach beside the Solent is one of our ancient thoroughfares that is bordered by

high banks and deep ditches, centuries of erosion having exposed gnarled roots. This verge is on the side edged by fields;

the opposite side flanks gardens, like this one, the top of which is fenced against the road above, from which we can look down on the cottage below.

Blackthorn blossom blooms beneath the bank.


Donkeys dined in ditches,

along the verges,

and up the banks.

Sometimes, like the man with the red flag during the early years of motor traffic, they kept the speed down by leading from the front. The passenger in this car was doing what I do, and photographing the donkey.

Sowley Lane is flanked by fields, one of which bears the first coat of bright yellow pigment that will develop into oil seed rape.

A pheasant courtship was taking place in the next field.

I turned my attention to ponies on the verges, one of which animals bore uncomfortable looking red eyes.

A pair of mallards waddled past as I approached another along the dappled road.

A cyclist approached as the two ducks neared the original pony now being joined by another.

The drake and his mate crossed the road as I attempted to come a bit closer.

They slipped into the water-filled ditch. As I pointed my lens they took flight. I just about managed to catch one of them.

One pony crossed back across the road and left its companion to

have an energetic scratch.

We returned home via Lisle Court Road which featured a sun-spotted thatched cottage,

with a neighbouring iconic red telephone box having undergone a makeover.

This evening we dined on Jackie’s classic chicken jalfrezi; savoury rice, palak paneer, onion bahjis, and plain paratha, with which she drank Hoegaarden and I finished the El Zumbido Garnacha, Syrah.


  1. Oooh I like the telephone box makeover. When I was last in the UK and telephone boxes were still being used there was a woman who kept the one outside her cottage spic and span. She had hung curtains and put a mat down. There was a little framed photo attached to the phone box itself and always fresh flowers in a nice vase. To my knowledge it was never vandalised and I was so impressed!!

  2. Derrick, I’m sorry but you’re going to have a word with those donkeys about social distancing – a minimum of 6ft please!

    1. Thanks very much, Cindy. I was pleased to get that one. I prided myself in cooking curries until we got together again – now it’s no contest. πŸ™‚

  3. The man in the car: β€œI’m on my way honey but there is a big ass in my way. What? No! I didn’t say you were an ass.. look! It’s a real ass!”

    Excuse my language.. but you know what I meant.

    Loved taking this journey with you.

  4. I greatly enjoyed this excursion. The red eyed pony is an interesting color. And the telephone box was a real treat! I’d be tempted to peer inside just out of curiosity.

  5. Beautiful photos from your forest drive, Derrick and Jackie. It is nice to see pictures of ongoing life on a sunny spring day. The news over here is getting worse.

  6. A poetic sojourn that is a treat to watch and read. Alliterations pop up like fields of daffodils and pair well with the tranquil trot of equidae.

  7. Oh, all the beautiful animals and birds are out in full force! Life goes on for them!
    “Donkeys dined in ditches…” Delightful, Derrick! Ha! πŸ˜€
    OOH! A pheasant courtship! Plucky pheasants! πŸ˜‰ πŸ˜€
    Maybe the ponies need some eye drops?! Or maybe they are crying for the world right now. πŸ™
    Love the phone box! The blue is a beautiful change of color! πŸ™‚
    We dined on homemade potato soup! We added lots of yummy ingredients to the taters and it was a hearty, comfort-food meal!
    HUGS and <3 to you and Jackie and all of your family! πŸ™‚

  8. Thank you for taking me on your outing into the forest, I enjoyed it very much.
    To avoid others, perhaps you’ll need to take a leaf out of my Sophie’s book and go out early.

    Little Evie woke up early yesterday and asked ”Can we go to the park today?” so, at only half-past seven Sophie put on her disposable gloves and took Evie to the park around the corner. Not exactly the social isolation she’s supposed to be doing but she didn’t see a soul!

  9. Those donkeys are adorable. What purpose do the serve on the farms by you? Is that phone booth a novelty or does it actually work?

    1. The donkeys don’t serve the farms – they live freely roaming the forest – although they tend to stay in their particular locations – like the ponies, they are owned by commoner with pasturage rights and a mission to retain centuries old traditions. The phone box once worked as a public facility – almost all redundant they are being acquired by individuals and communities as garden novelties or converted to other uses, like book exchanges and defibrillators. The one featured is in fact quite empty. As far as I know the only ones still in operation are in London. Thanks a lot, GP

  10. Buy telephone boxes here – https://www.x2connect.com/

    They are based in Newark.

    The Hull Telephone Company uses cream boxes – there were still some about a few years ago when I visited.

    In Downham, at the foot of Pendle Hill they used to have grey boxes with red detailing, but they have gone back to red so people can see them.

Leave a Reply