Today’s picture, in the absence of any contributions from readers, is a reminder that the sun once shone on our garden.

It certainly didn’t shine today.  Another gloomy day greeted us as we woke up.  At least it wasn’t raining although we were promised that it would quite soon.   Mrs Tootlepedal went off to a choir practice and I peered hopefully out of the window.   There were plenty of birds about even if there wasn’t much light to see them with.

Two starlings feast on the fat balls
goldfinch and siskins
a goldfinch watches some siskins eating his seed.
brambling and chaffinch
In the gloom it was hard to tell a brambling and a chaffinch apart.
feeder action
A good bird mixture

I wasn’t really watching birds at all.  What I was actually doing was waiting for these people to turn up.


They arrived a little later than scheduled because they mistakenly thought that just because it was on the map and is the shortest route, the road from Lockerbie to Langholm would be a good way to come here from the M74.  They know better now.

They were looking up into our walnut tree ready to catch a falling branch or, possibly, their boss who was up the tree attached to a piece of string.


He had come down from north of Glasgow to give our walnut tree a safety prune as it was looming over our neighbour’s house and had some dead branches among the crowded middle of the tree.

He whizzed up and down the tree in the pouring rain, whoch had started soon after his arrival.  He used a hand saw and then a chain saw.

chain saw wizard

Considering that the branches were exceedingly slippery, it was just as well that he was well tied on.  Even so, he suffered from one slip.  We knew this had happened because we heard his men laughing uproariously in the way that only men do when someone that they know has had an accident.  However, he suffered no ill effects and soon had the tree trimmed while his men took away the branches to their trailer.

tree men at work

They kindly sawed up the larger branches and we now have a trim tree and plenty of logs for the fire in the front room.  Here is a before and after look at the walnut tree.

walnut tree before trimming
walnut tree after trimming

Gregg, the tree surgeon reckons that three will be safer from strong winds now and it should also grow well from the pruned branches.  He was pleased to have worked on a walnut tree because they are not at all common in southern Scotland.

All this was completed in good time and the crew tidied up so well that you would hardly know that they had been here.  A job well done.  We are grateful to our friend, the clarinet playing gardener Elizabeth for recommending him to us.  She is also Maisie’s aunt so scores well on every front.

The continued rain made the prospect of cycling very unattractive and I put in some more work on my impending speech instead.  At present I have a hundred ideas and no structure.  I expect that it will take the terror of a looming deadline to force me to put my thoughts in some sort of order.  I also prepared and printed out some words and music of a hymn in a useful form for Mrs Tootlepedal’s choir so I felt very virtuous.

In the evening my flute pupil Luke came and showed that he had found some time to practise during the festive season.  We are embarking on playing some more interesting music which will mean hard work for him.   After he had gone, I got myself organised and went off to play some trios with Isabel and Mike which were as enjoyable as ever.  I could do with some serious practice myself as it turned out.

There seems to be going to be no let up in the gloomy weather so at least I should have plenty of time to read my camera manual and try to get to grips with all the possibilities it offers.  On the plus side, the days are getting longer by more than two minutes every day and we can almost see the light of spring at the end of the tunnel.

Here’s a pair of fuzzy feathered friends doing their best as flying birds of the day.  Quiz question:  which bird is at the back?







Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

19 thoughts on “Walnutty

    1. We thought that he had done a good job and when we stood under it today, we were impressed by how much he has taken out of the middle of the tree.

  1. I feebly pass on your quiz question. Interesting to see the men at work on your tree, the after picture looks very neat.

  2. Interesting post, as usual, like you looming deadlines are the only way I get my nose to the grindstone, I should know better at my age. That walnut tree of yours does it produce walnuts?

  3. A nice trim. I have had a good amount of work done in my yard and am always impressed at the workmen’s ability to scamper about the trees and bring down very large branches (and sometimes entire trees) with great efficiency.

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