A helping hand (and brush)

Today’s picture shows the fine waterfall going over the Ashley Bank garden wall and onto the road during the rain yesterday.  It was taken (I think) by my recorder playing friend Susan and sent to me by Dropscone.

Ashley Bank waterfall

The rain gave us a break today but it still had a mean twist and gave us a little shower just as our B&B cyclists were leaving.

Dan and Janice
Dan and Janice setting out.

After their good fortune with the weather yesterday, they got the worst of it today with the rain shower and a stiff northerly breeze in their faces as they set off.

As Dropscone and I were setting out for the morning run at the same time, we had to contend with the rain and wind too.  The rain didn’t last long but the wind stayed up and the ride back from Canonbie to Langholm was hard work.  My legs were on strike when it came to cycling uphill and into the wind so we took seven minutes more compared with our last effort.

Still, we got round and the 20 miles took me over 300 miles for the month.  That represents my best month since April when I was ordered to cut down the mileage.  The scones were good too.

When Dropscone left, I was able to walk round the garden in brilliant sunshine.  The northerly wind meant that it wasn’t as warm as it looked as though it should be but it was very pleasant all the same.

The yellow dahlia is unfolding more each sunny day.  It is my favourite flower of the moment.

This is a photo taken in the garden in bright sunshine. I may have tampered with the background a bit in my photo editor.

The purple phlox hasn’t lasted as well as the white variety and this is almost its last gasp.


An astilbe and a clematis offered contrasting reds.


On the other side of the garden, Mrs Tootlepedal has been disappointed with one of the dahlias which she bought this year.  It has not filled out very well.  Whether this is the fault of the plant or the weather is hard to tell.  The individual flowers are very pretty, if not quite what I would expect from a dahlia.

little dahlia

She has been cutting the large seed heads off the sunflowers as they have gone over and this has encouraged smaller side shoots to burst into action.  Where there was one big flower on this pant, there are now five smaller ones with more to come.

small sunflowers

While I was counting sunflowers, a man in a van drove up.

AM Decor van

Last week Mrs Tootlepedal went to Glasgow to paint a bathroom for our number two son and this week our number one son has come down from Edinburgh to paint our new kitchen.  Fair exchange.

He knows what he is doing and he can not only make things look good but do them at a wondrous speed. He had the whole new kitchen wrapped up in plastic in moments after his arrival.


He enrolled Mrs Tootlepedal as his apprentice and they set to work with a will.  I offered encouragement from the sidelines.  They took a break from time to time to let things dry and Mrs Tootlepedal came round the garden with me in one of the breaks.

We were surprised to see a primula which has got so confused by the weather that it thinks that it is springtime.


She told me that she is intending to move a rhododendron across the back path ready for next year so that we will get a better view of its flowers.


It’s the far one on the left. It’s quite a big bush but nothing deters her once she has a pickaxe in her hand.  She may need to move these arum lilies which are on the other side of the path.

arum lilies


While the painting was going on, I updated the Making the Most of the Moorland  website.  They have some interesting data on the flights of young hen harriers which can be found on their blog.

Because of the van, it wasn’t a good day for bird photos and the the oddest birds in the garden were Tony and his apprentice stopping for a fag break.

Tony and apprentice
Tony had the cigarette, his apprentice made do with a cup of tea.

I did catch a fleeting glimpse of a chaffinch flying over the rooftop.


And there were plenty of white butterflies about.

white butterfly

Otherwise I was limited to a few bold siskins and a blue tit who braved the van to visit the feeder….

siskins and blue tit

…and one or two birds sitting rather puzzled in the plum tree.

chaffinch and siskin


When the workers went back inside, I mowed the front lawn and clipped a little more off the back hedge.  I would have sieved some compost too but it was too soggy to sieve properly.  I had a sit down instead.

Because the kitchen was out of action, I was sent off to the chip shop to get our tea and as a result I enjoyed the very rare treat of haggis and chips with a tub of curry sauce.  I haven’t had that for many years.  I’ll have to find and excuse to do it again sometime because I really enjoyed it and it made a nice change from mince and tatties.

It was a lovely day and I went out into the street to take picture of two of Langholm’s four hills in the evening sunshine just to show that it doesn’t always rain here.

Whita Hill with grazing sheep scattered on its slopes.
Castle Hill
Castle Hill

Tony and Mrs Tootlepedal have done a vast amount of work and the painting will be finished tomorrow.  Tony is going to hospital for a hernia operation on Saturday so we got him just in time.  There is some work to do on the old cupboards but we are nearly there now.

After tea I went up to the Archive Centre for a short while by myself to do a little this and that but I came home and put a week of the index into the database in the comfort of my own front room.

I did find a flying bird of the day but its identity is a dark mystery. It certainly isn’t a chaffinch.

flying dark bird









Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

13 thoughts on “A helping hand (and brush)

  1. Your Castle Hill is quite lovely. I’m sure you’ll have lots of flying birds once things settle down a bit.

  2. I really like the photo of the puzzled birds. I am also pretty crazy about Mrs Tootlepedal and I aspire to be more like her – she is, as they say these days, awesome!

  3. Looking forward to seeing your beautifully painted kitchen once finished. Hope Tony’s hernia operation goes well.
    Delighted to see you had some sunshine. We have got some today.

  4. I cannot imagine what haggis, chips and a tub of curry sauce tastes like but I bet it was interesting!

    All the best to Tony for his operation, it was nice to see his photograph in the garden.

  5. Flying bird is a jackdaw.. have you seen much up at feeding station recently.. hoping to do some ringing soon if this rain lets up.

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