Traffic jams are a rarity in The New Forest. This summer we can expect many more on account of Covid-induced staycations. We learned this on our way to Helen and Bill’s at Fordingbridge this morning as we took the direct route through Ringwood to give Bill his birthday presents. We stayed and chatted for a while with sister and brother-in-law and our niece Rachel before returning home through the forest where we spent an equally lengthy period driving in circles around bewildering diversions.

As a bonus Helen and Bill gave me my birthday presents that they had not yet been able to deliver.

Soon after leaving Walkford on the Ringwood Road, queuing to cross the A35, I had plenty of opportunity to photograph the roadside verges. It was clear that vast numbers were travelling between Bournemouth and Southampton. This was underlined when it took 45 minutes to traverse the major roundabout feeding the A31 – ten times what would normally be expected. Much impatient graunching of handbrakes and honking of horns rent the air. Once more I enjoyed leisure to focus on the

varied verge-flora, discarded food packaging, municipal hanging baskets, and streaming traffic. Once past the roundabout we experienced a smooth run to our destination whilst pitying drivers “creeping like snail unwillingly” to the blockage from the Salisbury direction.

On our return journey we found ourselves fairly frequently at the top of Blissford Hill, where outside The Foresters Arms donkeys gathered as they often do.

Three proud mothers guarded their foals; another’s time had not yet come. Another relied on vehicles to skirt her offspring occupying the tarmac.

Ponies at North Gorley grazed among buttercups.

In order to avoid Lyndhurst we took a lane through Midhurst, along which I had regularly walked miles in my more able-bodied days.

This evening we dined on another excellent takeaway meal from Red Chilli. My choice was Tandoori King Prawn Naga, special fried rice, and plain paratha, accompanied by Paarl Shiraz 2020; Jackie’s was sag chicken, sag bhaji, and sag ponir, with which she finished the Sauvignon Blanc.


  1. Having been away for a week I have caught up at last – what a busy time you both have had, entertainment, gifts, pretty flowers, animals, and a traffic jam of note.

  2. Adorable scenery hopefully made your journey more pleasant than it would otherwise have been. Our carretera road around the lake can become like this on weekends. Maddening, and no baby burros.

  3. I would say that the donkeys were the highlight of your trip. (That traffic looks just dreadful.) The donkey who looks about to deliver must pretty uncomfortable.

    1. We see a lot of those uncomfortable donkeys at the moment, Liz. Until I saw the donkeys the traffic jams would have been the highlight! Thanks very much.

  4. Wonderful to see the greens and warmth of summer and yes the crowds here too in some spaces…sending you joy Derrick for another wonderful day ~ smiles hedy ☺️?

  5. Oh wow Derrick, your header photo is sensational, and this definitely going my “Derrick Photo File” … and thanks Derrick, I never have to worry about running out of ideas for my poems, .. I will always have your wonderful photos to inspire me …

  6. As public transport will be viewed with suspicion for some time, I expect that more and more traffic jams lie ahead of you. A very fine set of donkey pictures today.

  7. If you came to visit, I could show you some proper traffic! Highway and bridge construction is our issue: my usual route to work usually took fifteen minutes, but now it’s utterly unpredictable, and a great way to develop patience. Forty-five minutes isn’t unusual. I wish I had some of those delightful foals to look at as I wait!

  8. I’d worry about the baby donkey in the road and would be tempted to intervene. That header photo is quite lovely. I also like the ponies among the buttercups.

  9. traffic the world over – especially when it’s a holiday time. We will be regaled of the traffic leaving the city here – both those going North and those off down South. Many people either have holiday homes, or they are camping. And then there will be the caravan which apparently holds everyone up!
    But then only Derrick would start photographing the verges πŸ™‚

  10. Oh, those sweet baby donkeys and their attentive mothers! Best wishes to the one who will have a baby soon! πŸ™‚
    Ponies and buttercups! So lovely! πŸ™‚
    Makes one forget all about the traffic jams. πŸ˜‰
    (((HUGS))) πŸ™‚
    “Buttercups, bright eyed and bold, hold their chalices of gold to catch the sunshine and the dew.
    – Julia Caroline Dorr

  11. “in my more able-bodied days” Alas, mine are gone for ever too. Just like my Dad, I used to walk miles round the countryside on nice days. I’ll never do that again.

  12. How lovely to have your birthday extended by a late present, Derrick!
    It must be a relief for all the hospitality businesses that they’re clearly doing so well again – a hot day for the drivers and their passengers to be jammed up in tin cans though!
    The foals are so pretty – but then, so are their mothers… just like humans (if only!!!)

  13. That’s a shame and frustrating about the traffic, but at least you had donkeys and buttercups to look at. Those little donkey foals are so sweet. I particularly like the header shot.

    I had a dream a few nights ago that we had some sort of stuffed paratha–something I’ve never had–but it was delicious in my dream. ?

  14. It seems strange having you talk about such traffic. In the past, your main obstacle has been an oversized truck or slow moving creature. You two do handle it well though.

  15. Making what might have been an uneventful journey quite interesting, the beautiful donkeys quite a treat. Enjoy a relaxing Sunday afternoon Derrick, we here in Ireland for once have continental weather, thermometer is up to near 30C, very happy!

  16. Love all the photos, especially the donkeys. Your patient waiting in traffic reminded me of the days of shopping with my daughter. We loved a slow moving line so we could lolligag and visit before heading back to our Saturday chores.

  17. Wonderful header image, Derrick. And oh the discomfort of traffic jams. The interstate outside our town is under some kind of construction so the normal two lanes worth of traffic is squeezed into one lane in both directions. Thankfully we know the country roads…

  18. The donkey foals are adorable, and best wishes for the mother-to-be. <3

    That is some traffic jam there. The images of a summer day with its sunlit greens and gold are so beautiful though!

  19. Ah, the double-edged sword of living in a beauty spot! Better luck for future trips. I actually liked the photo of the chocolate wrapper as a photograph, even though I am annoyed by the behaviour that put it there.

  20. I love those donkey photos. And oh, that one who is so pregnant! I’m glad you were able to find an alternate route to get out of the melee of horns and impatience!

  21. yes, I think we’ll be in for some traffic this year, what with people driving to destinations rather than flying. Saw some of that myself on the way back from Illinois. I do love all the donkey pictures and the little ones are sweet. I feel as though you live in England’s version of Chincoteague, though that’s ponies and not donkeys…

  22. OMGeeee, they are so sweet. The little one, with her head on the road is a bit worrisome. Hopefully drivers go slow. The drivers here are oblivious to their surroundings and drive way too fast. Do they like to be petted or are they aloof? I follow an Instagram account that’s all Donkey videos. They have happy personalities, I love that xK

    1. Thanks very much, Kelly. Most drivers are aware and careful – some do drive too fast. The donkeys like to be petted but it is not advised because they can put themselves in danger seeking it; and some carry harmful ticks

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