The tree surgeon told me three things about the hornets: 'there must be a nest nearby', 'you're lucky really, they're quite rare', and 'they're much more docile than wasps.' I wasn't sure, looking at the massive insects hoovering up the sap from the stump of the felled eucalyptus, that I found any of these statements particularly pleasing. I find wasps beautiful, so the hornets, being merely bigger (the 5p is included in the photo for size) ought to arouse similar aesthetic pleasure, but they are unexpectedly big if you're not used to them. I have bad dreams about things like this.
A visitor the garden the other evening was less threatening. I am occasionally visited by hedgehogs (by two, not long ago), but it's rare to have one sniffling around in daylight. In fact this one was on the small side so I wondered whether it was not in the best of health. I had some chicken leftovers from lunch and put them in the back yard, and it leapt on them with a gusto that belied any sense of fragility. It kept circling around the yard for about half an hour, returning to the chicken as though it had just discovered it for the first time, before finally turning down the path and heading off into the ivy at such a rate that I think it must have been pretty healthy after all.
Finally, this lovely white flower flecked with deep pink is an annual visitor. I have no idea what it is, but I'm pleased to see two this year.
PS. It's nothing more exotic than a peony! Shows how much I know about cultivated flowers.