Infernal cheek

Today’s picture shows Granny in our garden.  It was taken by Mrs Tootlepedal using Granny’s iPad.  Granny has been video conferencing with her son in the Scilly Isles today.   Even the harshest judge would have to admit that she looks and acts pretty sprightly for 96.


The weather was as cheerful as Granny today with another healthy dose of sunshine.  I am still feeling a bit tired so I used a vigorous wind as my excuse for not cycling although it wasn’t actually very strong at all.  I did manage to pedal as far as the nuthatches. Before I left, I had a quick scout round for new flowers.

The garden was looking lovely in the early sunshine.  The first of the Icelandic poppies glowed gently.

icelandic poppy

And one of the last of the tulips was also resplendent.

refulgent tulip

When I got to the nuthatch nest, the sun went behind a cloud.  At the first nest site, the parents were busy feeding the young and I had plenty to watch.

nuthatch at thenest
A beakful of food.
nuthatch at thenest
Before and after visiting the nest.  The one on the right was checking up on me below.

I visited the second nest site but only saw one nuthatch and it didn’t go into the nest opening.  I wonder if there is a nest there this year.

On my way home I visited our monthly producers’ market and purchased some fish and cheese.  As soon as I got home, the sun came out.

More glowing flowers.

The first of many alliums
A frankly decadent rhododendron

During the day, I took two more general garden shots as I realise that it quite easy to get addicted to flower close ups and I have neglected my role as recorder of the passing garden seasons.



Generally things are looking quite fresh at the moment and we are enjoying a good spell of weathe  New seeds are being grown in the greenhouse.

greenhouse seedlings

Mrs Tootlepedal reports that the beetroot and carrot seedlings are growing well under cloches.  In fact she was so excited by this that when we went off with Granny to visit a garden centre, she bought two more  packets of seeds.   I bought some lawn care products, a tomato plant, some fat balls for the birds and a new fatball feeder.   We had a light lunch at the garden centre and drove home admiring the green hedges and trees bordering the roads.

I have tried growing tomatoes a few times but they have only done well once.  Maybe this will be the year that I can grow enough to give some away which is what keen tomato growers do.

The new fat ball feeder was duly installed inside the fat ball fortress and almost immediately it attracted the attention of birds.

fatball feeder
House sparrow……………………… great tit………………………. blue tit

I hope this trend continues as we need some different birds in the garden for variety.  There were several visits from blue and great tits during the day to the fatballs and the sunflower hearts.

great tits
Great tit(s)

blue tits

The great rush of finches has eased off a lot making catching a flying bird much more difficult but somehow the sunflower hearts are still disappearing at a great rate.  I can only assume that each bird is eating more.

As I was putting up the new feeder, I noticed a new aquilegia poking up through the slats of a garden bench.


I went into the kitchen at some time in the afternoon and Mrs Tootlepedal informed me that she had seen the sparrowhawk pay a flying visit and that she just been watching a most exciting brawl between two redpolls, one of which had got the other on its back on the ground.  This was bad enough but then Gavin took the trouble to actually ring me up to tell me that he was on the suspension bridge watching a heron eating an eel.  “It’ll be gone by the time you could get get here, I suppose,” he added.  Dante didn’t know the half it.  There is a special circle in the Inferno (circle 12a) reserved for people who tell photographers  about photo opportunities that they have missed.  It is near to the circle (13b) reserved for cyclists who don’t acknowledge your cheery greeting when they pass you.

In the end, I got on my bike and pedalled down to the bridge just to see if the heron was still nibbling on a morsel of eel.  Gavin was long gone but the heron was still there, standing on a rock, stock still.  I got out the camera just to take a consolation shot when with a swift movement, the heron struck.

heron with fish

It wasn’t an eel but a young fish.  Experts will be able to tell me what sort it is.

heron with fish
Getting the fish the right way round in the beak.
Heron with fish
Down it goes
Fed up

Leaving the heron to digest its meal, I pedalled along the bank of the river to see if I could see our resident pair of oyster catchers because I had been told by a dog walker when I was nuthatch watching that they had brought their young down to the river bank where they would be at risk from the heron.

The parents were very much in evidence, keeping an eye on things, squawking warnings….

oyster catcher parents

…and the youngsters were there too.  Walking up and down the water’s edge.

young oyster catchers

So in the end, perhaps Gavin has escaped the Inferno.

When I had got home, I decided that this was the moment to apply liquid weed and feed to the middle lawn.  The signs were auspicious.  The wind had died down, the day was warm, the grass and weeds were growing and the sky was clear.  I had just finished this tedious task when to my amazement and chagrin, it started to rain.  I was open mouthed in astonishment.  After quarter of an hour, just enough to make my task a waste of time, the rain stopped and the sun came out again.  That really was infernal cheek on the part of the weather gods.  We haven’t had any rain since Monday and we are not getting any for the next few days either so this unfortunate coincidence was hard to bear.

I cheered myself up with a picture of the lilac tree.


Like the heron, we had fish for out tea and very tasty it was too.   After tea, I discharged two writing tasks which had been preying on my mind so that in spite of the mean rain shower, the day went firmly down on the credit side of the ledger.

I had to leave the garden to find a flying bird.  It is a black headed gull on the river.

black headed gull















Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

30 thoughts on “Infernal cheek

  1. Great shots! I notice your heron did not pierce, like in my shots. So they are a both / and kind of bird, I suppose.

    I may have to plan a trip to Scotland just to visit your garden. Edinburgh? Oh, no dear, we must see the Tootlepedal’s garden!

    Granny is not 96. She is lieing about her age. I-pad? That’s awesome! I couldn’t get my mum to come into the computer age even at 80–and even if it meant Skyping and seeing my jolly face!

  2. Hats off to Granny! What amazing world events her life has included, and such changes wrought by technology (which she is, clearly, adapting to quite nicely!).

  3. Delighted to know I have escaped the inferno. My apologies for phoning you about the Heron and the eel. It had difficulty swallowing it so it went and washed it in the river and then immediately swallowed it in one go.

    1. I don’t know the answer to the fish consumption question but there are always people feeding the ducks on the Kilngreen and the heron gets a share of that.

  4. Since Gavin escaped the inferno, I suggest that you reserve that spot for the heron, eating perfectly good brown trout like that! I know fishermen that would shoot the heron for that crime. That got me so upset that I nearly forgot to compliment you on the flower photos, the tulip and allium are especially breathtaking!

    1. I come down on the side of the tulip just because there are going to many more allium opportunities and that is just about the last tulip shot for a year.

  5. Excellent picture of granny, most impressed with her technical skills too.
    Great heron pictures among a lot of other winners.

    1. I’ve watched the heron many times without seeing it catch a fish before so I was very pleased to be in the right place at the right time for once.

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