Steady progress

Today’s guest picture was sent to me by Mrs Tootlepedal’s mother who has popped down to the south of France to visit her younger daughter and has found a new friend.


We woke to a pleasant sunny day only marred by a brisk north wind.

grass in wind
Grass bows before the wind

The garden was bright enough though and things continue to go well in the continued absence of a morning frost.

This was an unusual sight as most of the bees are gone.
pond snails
The pond is very well stocked with snails.
A positive clump of roses
A positive clump of roses
The fuchsia makes a continued mockery of the thought that we might have to dig it up and start again which seemed likely earlier in the season
Icelandic poppies
Unlike the grass, the Icelandic poppies sway but refuse to bend in the wind.

I spent the morning mounting and framing more of Dropscone’s sister’s excellent paintings.   Luckily my cold had definitely relented and my brain was working a little better than of late.  This meant that I was able to correct all of the inevitable errors of measurement before I did any cutting.  Mrs Tootlepedal’s motto, both as a dressmaker and as a joiner and cabinet maker, is “measure twice, cut once”.  Sound advice which I took today.

I did think about a cycle ride but the strong wind persuaded me that a walk would be better so Sandy and I drove a few miles south after lunch and we took a stroll along the fishermen’s path beside the Esk up to Irvine House.

The Esk
The path runs along the west bank of the river.

After the sunshine of the morning, it was probably inevitable that as soon as we decided to go out, the sun would go in.  Our walk was still very enjoyable but the photo opportunities were not quite what we would have wished.  We saw a heron, a pair of dippers and some fleeting wagtails but only one of the dippers stopped long enough for a portrait and it was perched on a rock in the middle of the river.


The river twists and turns round Irvine House.


I had hoped to pick some late brambles while we were there but they were over with only one or two ripe fruits left to show what a treat we had missed.

The fishermen’s path is in good condition and makes for a easy stroll.  Many little bridges and steps are provided to work round any difficult points.  Here is Sandy standing on the biggest bridge.

Sandy on a bridge

At irvine House, we got our only glimpse of colour in the trees.

Irvine House

The house is empty at the moment and the grounds are somewhat neglected but it must have been a grand place in years gone by to judge by this flight of steps down to the river from the garden.

Steps at Irvine House

We didn’t stop long as the brisk north wind made sitting on the fishermen’s benches a chilly business so we made our way back to the car and the enjoyments of a nice cup of tea at home.

Mrs Tootlepedal wasn’t in the garden when we got back as I had expected and she turned out to have gone off on an adventurous 11 mile cycle ride over road and rough hill tracks.  She was very perky when she got back and I envied her get up and go.

I took some time off from picture framing in the morning to watch the birds.  The robin was back again.


It was almost outshone by a chaffinch in some strong sunlight.


The chaffinches were in frisky mood, bickering balletically in flight….


…and putting the boot in with dispassionate efficiency.

Not standing on ceremony

In the evening, Liz came round to check on the framing of her paintings and expressed satisfaction with the results.  I have only got two left to do now.

I also spent some time picking out three prints and three digital pictures for our camera club’s first competition of the new season. It meets tomorrow.   I haven’t had enough time to put my mind to the task seriously so I don’t expect to trouble the judges but I am resolved to try to get some really competent entries for the next competition in a month with no excuses.

The flying bird of the day is a very determined looking chaffinch.








Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

18 thoughts on “Steady progress

  1. Today Daniel and I were having a discussion about distances. How far is the South of France from your mother-in-laws abode? In America we don’t seem to appreciate that which is Europe.

  2. Such beautiful photos of the river Esk and especially that little Dipper on it’s rock. Love the flying and sitting birds as well. You inspire me with your gorgeous photos.

  3. Enjoyed following your day through your pictures, the robin and the fuchsia were my favourites. Glad your cold is improving at last.

  4. A good walk along the river always makes me feel better. I’d like to send you some of the sun from Lanzarote but I’m hoping I can bring some back home with me 🙂

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