Last of the summer whine

Today’s picture from my sister Mary shows Regent’s Park in London looking very fine.regents park

It was the last day of our mini summer today. From tomorrow, temperatures are going to drop and we will get the more seasonally appropriate rain and wind. All the same, these three lovely days will linger in the memory to keep us warm.

I was having a cup of coffee sitting out with my neighbour Liz when she noticed a jackdaw having a little difficulty in its nest building efforts in our unused chimney.


It never did work out how to get the twig in. While I was looking at the jackdaw, I saw this sparrow lying in the gutter.


You may think it was the victim of careless driving but in fact it was enjoying a great dust bath and got up and flew away a moment later. Another sparrow was watching the jackdaw’s efforts rather quizzically.


Although I caught a glimpse of two goldfinches as I got up, they soon disappeared and the feeders were largely unused all day. The nesting jackdaws like the peanuts and a couple of starlings are hanging around as well. The large flock of chaffinches has finally dispersed although one or two are still about.


The birds may have deserted us but the fine weather brought out the neighbours and this is my friend Bruce passing the garden by in his way home.


…and our next door neighbour Billy was enjoying a well earned sit down in the morning sunshine.


You can see that he is old enough to appreciate the value of a sensible hat in these conditions.

Since the other birds have left, the sparrows are making themselves at home and I have moved the suet ball feeder nearer to the house so that I can photograph them more easily.


After a light lunch, I went out on the slow bike for a gentle spin. My legs were a little tired from the two previous rides so this was as much to take photographs as anything else. Unfortunately, taking or trying to take pictures of bird life away from the feeders is quite difficult. I stopped at a place where there is usually a buzzard flying around and sure enough it was there. But would it fly on the right side of the road so that it wasn’t into the sunlight? No it wouldn’t. Two curlews flew across in front of me. Did they pause for a moment so that I could adjust the focus? No they didn’t. I am short of the necessary patience to be a proper photographer so I put the camera back in the bag and cycled on. Birds of every description promptly circled the bike giving mocking cries but I ignored them.

The forecast had promised very light winds but the breeze was fairly strong and I struggled to get up any speed as I headed over Callister and down towards Falford and Gair. This was part of the Tour of Britain bike race route last year. Near Hottsbridge, I saw a flock of birds that looked like swallows but it seems too early to be them. I managed to get a shot of one in flight.


..and here is a closer effort.


Perhaps some knowledgeable reader can help me with the identification.

After I got on to the road to Langholm at Chapelknowe, the wind was behind me and I picked up a little speed. I didn’t need to stop for scenic views because the dust is still obscuring the horizon so I was soon back in Langholm. When I had completed the 26 mile round trip, I wandered round the garden with the camera in hand.


The grape hyacinths are coming along well. I read that they are an important source of early pollen for bees and there certainly are bees in the garden this year unlike last year so I am hoping for better pollination of our fruit this season.

The shrub below is Mrs Tootlepedal’s favourite at this time of year because of the blaze of colour from the foliage.


Until the return tomorrow evening of the gardener, it will have to remain unnamed as will the fine white flowers below.


For my tea, I had a second helping of home-made pizza. I had put half the dough into the fridge last night and I wondered how it would go today. In the end it rose like a dream and was better than the first batch. I had kept back some sauce from yesterday too so that made for easy cooking. I followed it with some stewed rhubarb and ice cream and then watched the Masters Golf until the final shot had been played.

It has been a wonderful weekend despite the absence of Mrs Tootlepedal but I look forward warmly to welcoming her home tomorrow. Her mother is making steady but slow progress. She is happy to be back in her own home.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

3 thoughts on “Last of the summer whine

  1. Liked your heading for this blog. How clever to make your own pizza dough, even with the help of a machine – it sounds delicious.

    Glad Mrs Tootlepedal will be home today and hope she had a smooth journey.

  2. Glad you had such lovely weather, as we did too, down South. Splendid garden pictures and a very good shot of the jackdaw! Pleased to hear Mrs Tootlepedal’s mother is making progress.

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