At the End of the Day


The Hoopoes at Number 37 are back. These birds are like a cross between an 18th century dandy  and a 20th century punk. And it seems the Hoopoe is the only extant species in the family Upupidae – which sounds terribly learnéd, but is merely the onomatopoeic derivation of its birdcall, oo-poop-eo.


mesnipIn fact, I now have three breeding couples here: they’re not rare, and if they carry on multiplying like this I’ll soon have a housing problem. But it’ll be a nice problem to have, because in flight they’re a joy to watch…the leaping and floating is reminiscent of swallow-tail butterflies.

The really exciting brand new kid on the block is a large reddish-brown burrowing rodent who has taken up residence in the wine cellar. That’s to say, it dug under the door – making a hole big enough to house an eight-centimetre pipe – and was spotted a month ago lolloping around the garden in the manner of a labrador puppy. I have not the faintest idea what it is: too rust-coloured for a coypu, too big for a stoat. This is the nearest I can get to it:


….but nothing I can find has his rusty-red colouring. All suggestions gratefully accepted.

What was, following the installation of Elfen Safety septic tanks 18 months ago, a whopping great lump of earth at the bottom of the west garden is now looking a lot more like something colourful, as opposed to A Thing where people arrive and ask uncertaintly, “And what’s that going to be?”


This is a close up of the east end, and now here comes the slightly more gaudy West End – no change there then:


walkway1I love gardens with naturally constructed walkways, and arches suggesting something else just beyond. This one to the left is sort of work in progress.

Turn left at the end, and you go down a slope towards a seating area; turn right and there’s a long tunnel between the boundary hedge and The Mound I was talking about above. I’m currently in the process of attaching hedge to Mound at a height of about eight feet. There will then be a hidden open part at the far end that can be either a suntrap or a snoozecranny, depending on one’s mood and the time of day.

Hidden from view in this shot is the discreetly located rotating washing hanger thingy. I’ve had several goes at mending it. When I hang the washing, sometimes I look like Jacques Tati trying to open a deckchair: the bloody thing has a mind of its own. I call it Erdogan….then when I hit the thing from time to time, I feel slightly less frustrated.

On the other side of the hedge is the back garden of the Gite; this is the view one gets of the main house:


The trees are huge now, which is why I had to have the satellite dish mounted on the high point of the gite in the end, as every time a leaf moved outside, the picture would go ‘clack!’ and disappear. It seemed crucially important to get this fixed before yesterday’s Cup Final, but it was such a deadly-dull affair – 3 minutes of great excitement in 120 – I began to wonder why I’d bothered. It is one of the bitter ironies of a world being run by anti-Christs like Murdoch that he has turned UK football into overpaid hooligan monkeys cheating in every way possible….and controlled the means of broadcasting it.

We tend more and more to think of field flowers as weeds, but this close-up of a sort of wild geranium show the delicate subtlety that whispers rather than shouts….


and very few cultured flowers can match the colour or scent of pyramid orchids:


However, love in the mist remains my favourite:



Recently at The Slog: Darn the Pub

30 thoughts on “At the End of the Day

  1. As Sue remarked your garden, it looks idyllic. Bet the grandchildren enjoy roaming it.
    Sue may be right about your visitor being a European pine marten, but it doesn’t seem to have enough of a white yellowish bib? I believe they’re about the size of a domestic cat.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. First heard of Hoopoes at the tender and impressionable age of eight when completing a collection of ciggie cards; the hoopoe was No. 1, and therefore on top of the tightly elastic-banded set, as I recall. This memory laid dormant until last year when I arrived early at the archery range near where I was staying in Turkey and was witness to an entirely private display as one of these wonderful birds paddled into view and began pecking about in the lanes between the shooting line and the targets. As the group of international archers arrived – Russian, German, Romanian, Georgian – I shushed them and we stood in mute and multiculturally ornithological wonder as the bird carried on about its business. It was a special moment … They probably thought, quite rightly, that I was a daft Englishman and best treated with a degree of circumspection.

    btw – agree with Sue ref. the Pine Marten. Great fun to watch!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Thank you John for bringing some stunning colour into my day. The best things in life are still free the beauty of nature, and your beautiful garden in priceless

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’d say its a mink.
    Depending on your standpoint could make a nice tie
    and a possible slow cooked casserole (same recipe as fox stew).


  5. It’s a fouine – a stone marten, very common, very vicious and will soon fill it’s living space with rotting remains of its victims. You’re lucky it hasn’t eaten its way through your eaves into an attic – so far. Best get the local Chasse in to shoot it. Sorry to spoil your rural idyll for your readers but that’s the reality. Always nice to see hoopoes though. We even get them up here in northern Limousin.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. It’s a feral mink.
    Released from fur farms by half wit “animal rights activists”.
    They come in many specially bred colours.
    Very destructive to the environment, you should kill it.


  7. These stone martens sounds remarkably like the currency markets when they turn on a country.

    Britain’s government deficit is approaching 8% with no return to normality in sight… when the markets realize there is more money to be made by trashing Sterling, their viciousness will leave blood splashed all over the hallowed halls of Whitehall. Like all the investments that were made in Greece in the 90s and 00s, that money should have been invested: the rules are the same for Britain.

    That is to say, sort yourselves out whilst the markets are being nice to you. Or expect the stone marten treatment.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Gemma

    Luvvie, you have got a saw head this morning. Was its the brandie or the hrt tablets, or are you just short on some l u r v i n g .
    Prably the latter.
    Of corse you are rong gain. Try again sweetpie.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Once a year I see a hoopoe here, on the road, at more or less the same place. As I drive towards it, it flies off and that’s the last I see of any hoopoe until the same time next year. Kind of odd, really.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Beaver or marmotte sound like good suggestions, although this thing’s tail is wrong for a beaver. The colour however IS ginger side of brown.
    Forget the pine marten theory: I had them as residents for years, and they’re smaller.
    Could be a Mossad agent of course; but they tend to live down rabbit holes….

    Liked by 1 person

  11. This seems a good website to consult. Interesting comments re the Fouine:-://


  12. After years of watching and admiring the hoopoe feeding in the garden and hearing the two, three or four hooters it was only a couple of days ago that I saw one on a neighbour’s roof doing The Call and saw how it bowed or nodded it’s head with the hoots. Real pretty bird.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Johnson

    I know there is little mention of the government deficit in the Mainstream news, but that does not mean it’s not happening. It only means that most people are blissfully unaware of it.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Gemma

    When you own your own currency – which you do not – it simply doesn’t matter.
    So stop banging ON AND ON ABOUT IT.


  15. Johnson, aren’t you making something of an assumption about the power of the British government to set its own rates?

    I mean, I know it’s not in the mainstream news, but there have been Stirling panics in the past… when interest rates soared…

    I know that I bang on about it, but then, most people have pretty short memories.

    Which they don’t like being reminded about – especially when Britain has control of its own currency…


  16. Gemma
    We don’t worry like you do. What’s panic? ?
    Try upping your testostyrone by 150% and getting some libido back in your life


  17. Maybe a Groundhog? They are very like Beaver, but without the flattened tail. I am ex UK, now living in America, and had not seen a Groundhog before. When I first saw one I was baffled. Try googling Groundhog for a picture

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Johnson

    “We don’t worry like you do. What’s panic? ?
    Try upping your testostyrone by 150% and getting some libido back in your life”

    Now, now! Little boys need testosterone. As for panic, you should be old enough to remember Lawson. Now that was a panic.

    And the markets did a little jig too.

    Maybe you’re too old to need testosterone, and need to remember things instead.


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