Finding Their Feet

We began this morning’s forest drive by delivering loaned oil filled radiators to Elizabeth – we took three; she told us she had only lent us two and now was our own. That came back with us and was deposited in our garden shed at the end of our trip.

We were pleased to find that the post box on Pilley Hill was once more decorated with skilful yarn work.

The usual pair of swans glided along Hatchet Pond,

bringing their seven offspring into the mooring bay, in preparation for

a lesson in walking up a slippery slope. Father led the way with arguably the four fittest; followed by mother with three slower cygnets.

Parents periodically paused to preen,

as did this year’s progeny.

In any group there is always a straggler. So it was with this one.

Leaving Dad at the summit with siblings

Mum stepped back down to offer encouragement to the one who had had enough. We moved off before we learned whether or not she was successful,

looked at the waterlilies,

and continued to Ran’s Wood, where

the stream at the bottom of the slope is now drying up.

The roaring and lowing of cattle disappearing behind shrubbery along its path seemed in protest at the paucity of refreshment. Although I could not see them their sound shattered the sweet birdsong, the drone of an overhead aircraft, and the call of a cuckoo.

I settled for shots of ponies on the opposite hillside.

Along Furzey Lane a seated shaggy donkey and a couple of cows basked in the sunshine. In fact, apart from those on the move above, all the cattle we saw were lying down.

Another donkey still sporting winter wear enjoyed a good scratch at East Boldre until

joined by a friendly foal of the other equine kind.

This evening we all dined on tasty baked gammon; piquant cauliflower and broccoli cheese; boiled new potatoes; and crunchy carrots, with which Jackie finished the Viognier and I drank Trivento Mendoza Malbec 2021.


  1. It is good news that the oil heaters can be returned after all your travails of the winter. The cygnets finding their feet, as you put it, remind me of baby elephants learning to use their trunks πŸ™‚

  2. Looks like a thoroughly enchanting day. Hope you don’t have to use the heaters again. Your donkey reminded me of Vroman, the newest donkey foal.

  3. The Pilley Hill knitter always has something interesting, I love that! The cygnets are so cute! you always have beautiful photos to share, Derrick, thank you! ☺️????????

    1. Thank you very much, Liz. I don’t think I’ve seen such little ones out of the water before

  4. Got to smile with these knitters! You captured mother nature at her nurturing best. Thank you for lifting spirits and moods today ????

  5. Wonderful Derrick … a lovely pick-me-up for me this morning … swans, cygnets, ponies, foals, donkeys, and waterlilies … just what the doctor ordered

  6. One year, w
    e had an apartment near Hyde Park in London to spend a month or so of summer. The most impressive Wedge of swans I saw was at the pond/lake in Hyde Park, all flying at the same time. OMG! It was truly a kodak moment.

    1. Thank you very much, Zakiah. Our paths may have crossed when I lived near there at various times from the ’70s to the ’00s

  7. It seems there always is a straggler, but I’ve yet to see one left behind — although I have seen a few get so far behind I swear I could sense impatience in the mama.

  8. It sounds like a thoroughly enjoyable day, Derrick and Jackie. I especially enjoyed the series of swans and their cygnets. I hope the straggler found enough energy to make it up the hill.

  9. The waterlilies are gorgeous!
    The shaggy donkey makes me grin!
    The baby cygnets! Oh! I can already see the beginnings of their grace, beauty, and majesty!
    Mamas and papas in every species have to have patience.
    PS… “…Where the water-lilies go To and fro Rocking in the ripples of the water…” – A. A. Milne

  10. Wow. That first photo is amazing..Would you believe I have never seen a baby swan before? Adorable, but the huddle is graceful and beautiful.

  11. I particularly liked the photos of the swans and their large brood. I never see swans around here– though our geese parents seem very similar in the care they take with their offspring.

  12. Such wonderful pictures today, Derrick! I can’t believe how close the swans let you get – and for a long time to get such fabulous shots. I do hope that littlest one is soon up to speed. Glad Mum was with him.

    And that sweet donkey was so kind to the curious baby. So glad you were able to capture that sequence.

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