Jolly First Monday of a New Year!

Well, it’s finally here … that year we all couldn’t wait to see replace the past one and now that it’s here, we’re already talking about the next.  There’s something flawed about humans and their concept of time … but that is a topic for another day.  Today is a day to relieve our angst a bit and find a reason to smile!

A friend sent me something last night that lit my heart up like a flame, and I immediately thought … Jolly Monday!  Well, no, that’s not quite right … I immediately thought “awwwww”.  And then, I thought it was perfect for today’s post.  First, though, I have a special treat for a young man, Benjamin, who turns five years old today!  Benjamin is friend Ellen’s grandson and a special young reader on Mondays and Saturdays, so I made a special cake out of sprinkled donuts, Benjamin’s favourite!

birthday-donuts

Happy 5th Birthday, Benjamin!  From Miss Jill and Jolly

And of course, can’t forget our coffee, tea and more …

juice boxcoffeeMonday-coffee-potcuppa teaAnd now, grab a piece of  birthday cake, a drink, and prepare for one of the most heart-warming things to start your year!

simon dell


Simon Dell is a nature photographer who has done some marvelous, whimsical work, but today I want to focus on one project that, in addition to providing us with some beautiful pictures, tells us the story behind the pictures, and I was enchanted … I hope you will be too!


Recently, photographer Simon Dell stumbled upon a family of mice running around his garden. Instead of reaching for the traps, however, he took out his tools. Dell built the mice a miniature village and they repaid him by posing in front of his camera.mice-1.jpg“I was out one day just taking photos of the birds in the garden and having just cut the grass I noticed something moving on the ground,” Simon told Bored Panda. “I pointed my camera at the ground and was shocked but very happy to see a very cute little house mouse standing up just like a meerkat in the fresh cut grass.”mice-2.jpg“I knew instantly he was a star and ran back inside to get a couple of peanuts to put down for him. Sitting there, waiting, it was only minutes before he came back out for the treats.”mice-3.jpg“It was at that point I thought I would give him a little shelter and safe place to hide and feed.”mice-4.jpg“I had a bit of experience taking photos of wildlife and mice as I also had another mouse that used to live in my garden shed and only come out after dark. He was a wood mouse and we named him Stuart.”mice-5.jpg“He was once a single mouse but he left at the start of spring 2018, maybe to find a mate. Hoping he comes back this winter and maybe he could get to know the new mice in the garden.”mice-6.jpg“We get all kinds of wildlife in the garden. Many types of birds, such as starlings, house sparrows, blackbirds, robins, and more. Even a grey heron who has taken most of the goldfish from my ponds.”mice-7.jpg“We also have a fox that visits every night and a lot of hedgehogs and squirrels.”mice-8.jpg“At first there was just the one mouse. He had a cut in his ear and we called him George. I piled some small logs around a box as a home for the mouse and covered it with moss and straw to give him a little shelter.”mice-9.jpg“I could see the cats sitting just feet away at the other side of a fence so the log pile also gave him a bit more safety.”mice-10.jpg“I then put up some wire fencing along the fence so there was no way the cats could get to the mouse. I also have a small Jack Russell Terrier dog so the cats know not to come in the garden and the dog pays the mice no attention.”mice-11.jpg“A couple of days later, I noticed there could be more than one mouse inside the log pile and it was not long ’till they both came out for a bit of food.”mice-12.jpg“I decided to build them a home as I wanted to give them a safe place in the garden and not fall prey to cats or other animals. Also, as I was feeding the mice it was the right thing to do as I would feel it was my fault getting them to come out if they became prey. Being a wildlife photographer, I wanted to create a nice looking habitat for any pictures I would take.”mice-13.jpg“The first stage of the log pile was very easy and only took an hour or so to make. As more mice came the following days, however, I made changes, adding more rooms. The inside of the box structure has 2-3 ways in and out, so they can escape if need be. Over the weeks and months, the log pile village has been steadily growing.”mice-14.jpg“I added more space and made it ready for a cold winter, giving the mice the best chance possible to survive. I have counted around 5 or more mice and the female, Mildred, is looking very pregnant so hoping we will have a large litter of baby mice around Christmas.”mice-15.jpg“Knowing mice can have up to 14 babies, I could be building many more log pile rooms. But I have space and don’t mind living alongside such cute and very photogenic little critters.”mice-16.jpg“The mice seem to love the log pile homes and wasted no time in moving in. They are wild animals so they still run if I get too close or move too fast but often I manage to sit down just a few feet away with a zoom lens and they seem happy to pop in and out for nuts a seed.”mice-17.jpg“The food I give them is usually all natural. I pick or collect berries, nuts, and fruits that grow wild just over the road in the Shire Brook Valley Local Nature Reserve. I also give them the same mix of seeds that I put on the bird tables along with sunflower seeds and other hazel or walnuts. As a treat, I give them a couple of dry mealworms and some suet pellets but do try and stick to a natural healthy food.”mice-18.jpg“I have always liked photography but have only owned a DSLR for around 3 years now, slowly building up my kit and upgrading cameras to improve my skills and also help get better images of wildlife.”mice-19“A better kit and a good lens help but nothing beats learning how to control the camera understand the settings and learn to understand the wildlife you are taking photos of. To help get closer or know where and when to find your subjects.”mice-20.jpg“The mice are still here and living a very happy life. It is winter now, so the days are shorter and they come out less often. Once it gets dark, it can be hard to see them. However, I see them come out in the day for food and it is always all gone by the next morning. I also give them handfuls of feathers from an old pillow and they take that to line their beds inside and keep them warm on these cold UK winter nights.”


How many people would go to all that time and trouble to protect a few mice?  Most people I know would be putting out poison instead of berries! simon dell calendarMr. Dell has even made a calendar of his pictures and it is for sale on his Facebook page for only £15.00 ($19 USD)!  I am ordering one!

jollyWell, it’s off to work for some of you … the first full week for a while.  Try to have a happy week, keep a smile on your face and most importantly, share that smile with others, for these are tough times and we could all use a bit of good cheer.  Keep safe and have a great week!  Love ‘n hugs from Filosofa and Jolly!!!

37 thoughts on “Jolly First Monday of a New Year!

  1. When I lived in Canada, we got mice living in our walls. Attracted by the food on a bird feeder near a window, they made a tunnel under the snow to reach it so they had a nice little run to the supermarket. Unfortunately, mice are destructive and it wasn’t long before we noticed marks on our ceilings from Mouse pee. Then they decided to make a nest or something under the flooring underneath our bed. The scratching and chewing noises during the night became unbearable. So my ex decided to live trap them. It was easy, as the mice had become blasé about their habits. They were released into the garden by my ex as soon as a thaw started. But the mice kept coming… I finally went to look at what my ex was doing each morning and laughed. The same mice were coming straight back in… They obviously thought it a great game eating the tasty treats in our trap, wait for release and then go home for a sleep before the next night of treat hunting. We managed to live trap most of the mice which I relocated to an old derelict barn 3 miles away. Perhaps not the best thing to do to mice that had been pretty much given a constant food supply, but I did drop bird food there for a while so they could adjust.

    But one mouse refused to come to the trap and my ex decided to bait it with poison. Sadly, the mouse died in the ceiling above our dining room table. Just to spite my ex, the smell and the stain it left was quite atrocious. It didn’t go away for six months.

    I removed the bird feeder in the spring and left only water for the birds. The winter feast had brought possums, groundhogs, voles and musk rats into the garden. Muskrat and Groundhog holes had appeared. My ex wasn’t happy. I decided that his feeders had to go when one day, a bird of prey came down and snatched a feeding sparrow. The blood and feathers all over the snow looked like a much bigger carnage scene.

    Having wildlife is great to watch, but not advisable if you value a pristine lawn, safe wiring and intact infrastructure in your house. The bird bath watering hole still brought loads of birds into the garden, but the rest of our guests moved out. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is true that they can be greedy and destructive little critters … but … hmmmm 🤔 … sounds like another species of which I am, against my will, a part of! Are mice really any more destructive than humans? Hmmmm … 🤔 … my on-board computer has researched this and concluded that the answer is … NO! Humans destroy because they are lazy and greedy, whereas mice, rodents, and other critters destroy only for survival — ie., food, shelter, etc.

      But the really big question is this: If I had the choice to spend an hour locked in a room with either a) Donald Trump, or b) one of the mice in Mr. Dell’s garden, which would I choose? Can you guess? 😀

      Liked by 1 person

        • Ah, Jinxie baby, long time no hear from you. Too bad you never meant it, except for the food variety. Pixie’s and Dixie’s lives would have been much safer had you loved them truly, and unconditionally. But, yes, I know, cats gotta eat too. I just think it is time you come with built-in can-openers…

          Liked by 2 people

            • Actually, Colette, like Jill I am very much a cat person. We are proudly owned by 5 cats. My partner hates mice, and spiders. I try not to hate anyone, but I have a mind block when it comes to ultra-conservative orange poo-heads and their ilk. They are breeding like bacteria (my apologies to bacteria) since their new God told them it is okay to hate in 2016. Canada has become a cesspool of poo-heads in just two short years. People who practise Islam should all be sent back to the Middle East and Africa, and people with original American blood, such as myself, should not be allowed off the reservation. They forget they stole this continent from us, and how they stole it. They are all perfect people now, and everyone else is pond scum (my apologies to the pond scum).
              And my apologies to you, Colette, and anyone else (Jill) who reads this drivel. Seems like I might be working up to something…

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  2. Dear Jill,

    Those mice look adorable in the photos. I’m find impressive any man who would build little log homes for these critters. Those photos would bring a smile to all but the most hardened of souls.

    It’s a shame that I’d be the first one screaming if one skittered across my floor.

    It looks like Benjamin must be your youngest fan. It looks like he had a great birthday.

    Hugs, Gronda

    Liked by 1 person

    • Agreed … I think it speaks of the heart of the man who would take the time and effort to do that for the mice.

      Ha ha … I’m picturing you skitting across the floor from the mouse, while I would be on hands and knees talking to him in a soft voice with a piece of cheese held out as a peace offering!

      I actually have one fan who is only 3, so Benjamin is the 2nd youngest! All the little ones are only allowed to view my Jolly Monday and Saturday Surprise posts however, and then after their parents have proof-read them in case I got a bit carried away with my language 😉

      Hugs!!!

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Benjamin is positively ecstatic about his “Birthday Blog from my friends, Miss Jill and Jolly!” Of course, being 5, he thinks the whole thing is about and for him…a point of view that I did not discourage today. The sprinkled donut cake and candle demanded my poor rendition of “Happy Birthday to you”! He loves the mice and the calendar too. Simon Dell possess many talents, those little houses are exquisite and the photos entice one to love these creatures, even me. If I had not already purchased the 2019 Geert Weggen Squirrel calendar, I would be tempted to add one more calendar to my walls, although the charm of the mice might dwindle before the next twelve months would pass. Benjamin insists that I tell Miss Jill to watch his new favorite movie, the 1982 movie “The Snowman” based on the eponymous 1978 book by Raymond Briggs, an Englishman. I’ve had the book since my girls were tots, but never knew of the movie until this December. A bit of background seems indicated here. As I have often stated, I am a follower of numerous blogs and one of them is by a Canadian gentleman named Colin and features his dog Ray, among other things. On Saturday, he always has a music post. Just before Christmas, he featured a Celtic Woman song titled “Floating in the Air” that I love. I was quite surprised when he noted it is in this movie, sung by a young boy. After finding the movie on YouTube and showing it to Benjamin (he already loved the book and had decided that young boy is himself), he is convinced that the boy is indeed himself…and it is his most watched movie ever since. An interesting fact about the movie is that the original 1982 version was introduced by Briggs, but a later version that was pitched to the US audience was introduced by David Bowie (big names sell product) and it is worth watching for him alone. Therefore, Benjamin wants “Miss Jill to watch him!” Benjamin also wants me to tell Miss Jill and Jolly that “I love you and thank-you!” Thank-you x 2!! P.S. Since you have indulged my propensity for loquacity and my music requests so sweetly, I will not ask you to play this Celtic Woman song…but, it is beautiful! P.P.S. If you have not noticed…my P for L goal is still yet, not met!

    Liked by 3 people

    • I always put a period after each letter in PS and PPS and I am not sure if it is correct or not…a conundrum for sure, for me at least! At any rate, Benjamin insisted after I had read this lengthy comment to him that I had forgotten some important parts. This, then, requires a P.P.P.S. or PPPS (post, post, postscript)! From Benjamin : “A neckbuster hug and Namaste!”

      Liked by 1 person

      • According to the Cambridge Dictionary, both letters should be capitalized and a period after each. 😉

        Awwww … I LOVE the neckbuster hug (owwww) and Namaste … please tell Benjamin that I send the same to him! What an adorable young man! He brightens my day.

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    • The Snowman has been shown every Christmas on television in Britain since it was made and ‘Walking in the Air’ known by everyone. One boy trebble sung it for the cartoon, but another Welsh boy trebble, Aled Jones, recorded it and became famous; he made lots of recordings and had a wonderful voice. He is now a radio and television presenter. All children seem to love The Snowman.

      Liked by 2 people

    • I’m so glad that young Benjamin enjoyed his birthday treat!!! Yes, the post was for him (and a few others, but hey …). Interestingly, when I Googled “the snowman movie”, the initial result said, “British psychological crime horror thriller film …” Now, I was pretty sure that 5-year-old Benjamin had not seen such a film, so I proceeded on down the list, and finally added the word ‘kids’ to my search criteria, and then found the animated one. Tell Benjamin that I will watch it as soon as I can and I’ll think of him as I watch it!

      Ah, so you’re friends with Colin & Ray too! I’ve followed him for two years or so, though I don’t get over to his blog very often for a lack of time, but I also follow him on Twitter and see his tweets almost daily!

      Ha ha … and I am thankful that you haven’t met your P for L goal yet, for you brought me good cheer today … you and Benjamin! Tell him that Jolly and I love him! Have a happy week, my friend!

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      • Benjamin is a follower of Colin and Ray too. He always kisses Ray’s nose in the photos posted by Colin. The same thing happened to me when I Googled ‘The Snowman” and I knew that could not possibly be right, searching by refining it to “The Snowman 1982” was the way I finally found this delightful little film that has captured Benjamin’s heart. Total aside, but eldest daughter admits to having watched the first movie…not me, never! Colin is the author of “Who Said I Was Up For Adoption?” and I highly recommend it along with his book of poetry “Just Thinking”. He has also co-authored with another blogger, Carolyn Shelton, a book of children’s stories that Benjamin loves (especially the character Jaxon the Jackalope) titled “The Odessa Chronicles”. I’m bragging here, but Benjamin’s input during the writing is noted in the book. Benjamin and I have found many friends amidst you gifted bloggers. He would love to tell you all about one that he calls “My Jodi” (another story in itself)…a watercolor artist, children’s book author, baker and chef, among other talents and all around one of the “bestest” people. Then there is “Mr. Mike”, the extremely talented nature photographer and “Miss Chatter” of the most enchanting art, wit and wisdom ever. I could go on and on. WE are the FOLLOWERS and we love the places that we are led into by each and everyone of you! We have learned, we have laughed and we have shared some of our happiest moments exploring blogs and treasure the gifts of friendship that we have made. “You are a piece of the puzzle of someone’s life. You may never know where you fit. But, someone’s life may never be complete without you in it.” – Bonnie Arbor. Thank-you to one of those puzzle pieces, we love YOU! P.S. P for L strikes again!!

        Liked by 1 person

        • Ha ha … I’m with your daughter and would likely be inclined to watch the first one … if only I had time!

          I read and reviewed Colin’s book a few years back … whenever it was that I discovered his blog … it was long before I got so busy with my own. In fact, at one time Colin followed my blog, but I got a bit too political for him, and he stopped reading it quite some time ago. I did not know of The Odessa Chronicles, however, but will have to check it out, especially now that I know Benjamin is mentioned!

          I picture you and Benjamin sitting in front of the computer, reading our blogs, smiling and laughing. At this rate, I think Benjamin will have his own blog soon! I am so thrilled that you and he discovered my blog, for you have added something of value to my days. Thank YOU!!!

          P.S. Love the quote!!!

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          • One last multiple P’s-P.S. I must admit that yours is the only political blog that I comment on, although I do follow several. I never mention politics on those blogs that avoid the topic, although at times they seem to me to be oblivious of the world around them…though in truth they probably want to stay out of the cesspool of current politics and promote positive subjects (maybe to avoid offending a diverse audience) and that is much needed these days too! There are times when one just wants to be entertained and ignore the sorry state that we are forced to live in and those blogs beautifully fill that need. I find that your blog has a nice balance of harsh reality that provokes thinking and purely fun entertainment that delights…Thank-YOU!

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  4. I love mice, I love mice more than cats, when I was ten we had forty whie mice, but that’s another story… I have seen these pictures before, but you can never have too many mice. They also make me laugh because they are the antidote to serious wild life photographers, but what is real and wild? Some realistic scenes are set up in a studio, while Simon’s mice are wild and free, just lucky to be treated as royalty. If a mouse does come in your house you can get humane traps and release them in the garden.

    Liked by 1 person

    • 40!!! You must tell us that story someday! I had one pet mouse when I was a child. My mother hated it, but it rode happily on my shoulder or sometimes my head. I came home from school one day and found it had died … I always suspected my mother of murdering it! But you are right … well, I like cats too … I better, since we have 6 of them and have had as many as 10! (Note, they are all rescue kitties … it isn’t as if we go looking for them 😉 ) Anyway, glad to find a fellow-mouse-lover!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Love the pictures and thanks for sharing!.. 🙂

    “I wish you a Great start for Mon, Love for Tues, Peace for Wed, No worries for Thurs, Fun for Fri, Joy for Sat, Happiness for Sun. Have a wonderful week.”

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A cute post, Jill. I’ve had some bad experiences with mice but can still appreciate how cute they can be. We lived near a cornfield once and they ate their way into the houses in that area. We also lived in a farmhouse in the mountains here in India having moved from the U.S. It was a house owned by my husband’s friend and didn’t have screens on the windows. Mice came by the droves and ate into cartons of our stuff from the U.S. I had there. By the time we moved and also moved our cartons, they’d made a real mess. I had to toss some stuff. Still, these are cute pictures. 🙂 — Suzanne

    Liked by 3 people

    • Thanks Suzanne! They can definitely be destructive, but I’ve never feared them. If I found one in the house … what am I saying? With six cats, no way a mouse is going to even venture into this house! The crickets have learned their lesson! 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Great pics, great story, although when I try to show them to Gail she will probably scream at me. She fears mice above all things. I tell her mice are people too, and these pictures show that. Mr. Dell is a great “peopleist.” And a pretty good photographer too, lol. I wish more humans could appreciate their little cousons as Mr. Dell obviously does.

    Liked by 2 people

  8. Yessssss….. school started again today, so my duties to wake up the boys, make them breakfast, fill their lunchboxes started too. And I don’t have to mention that during the break, we all got into the habit of staying up late and sleep in … so I am not at my best this morning… yaaawn! Plus it is typical Dutch winter weather at the moment: grey and mild – not bad compared to the snow chaos in Austria, mind you, but not very exciting either. Sigh. So I managed the usual Monday morning chores (revolving around filling the fridge with groceries, filling the washing machine with laundry)… and now I am sitting here with a cup of tea … and apparently even my fingers are still tired: typos galore. Well, at least I have not typed them into a knot … yet. – So, a good Monday morning to you too, thanks for the cute pics … and no please excuse me, my teacup is empty … (and my mind too….)

    Liked by 1 person

    • 🤣 You have made me laugh on this Monday morning … er, afternoon! I remember those days of trying to get back into the routine after a long break and I don’t envy you. But take heart … before the end of the week, it will all somehow seem normal again! Maybe. Hopefully. Our weather is also cold and dreary … no snow, but clouds and rain. The sun has shone exactly one day so far this year. Blech. Have a great week, my friend, and please … help yourself to a refill on the tea!

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