On their beam ends

Today’s guest picture wings its way over from Barcelona where my eldest sister and younger brother are having a jaunt.  My brother tells me that these are the museum steps.

Barcelona Museum Steps

It was fine when we got up but Dropscone and I had had a look at the weather forecast and decided to give the morning run a miss.  This turned out it be a good decision as it didn’t take long for the heavens to open and we would have got very wet in a really strong wind if we had been out in the bikes.

I was just looking out of the kitchen window before the rain started, when my attention was caught by the sight of two cats at the far end of the lawn.


They were sitting quite still and looked very peaceful but it soon became clear that they were having a cat staring competition.  The black one seemed to be the one most ill at ease and started moving very gingerly round the other cat.

_DSC3558 (2)

It was literally tip toeing and moving one foot very cautiously about every twenty seconds or more.


The marmalade cat sat stock still and fixed its eyes on its opponent.  The scene was both comic and deadly serious at the same time.  The black cat circled right round the marmalade cat…


…still moving at a snail’s pace, until it got to the very edge of the lawn…


…leaving the marmalade cat sternly in control of the field.


At this stage, because I don’t like any bird eating cats in the garden, let alone two, I appeared at the back door and said, “Shoo.”

Interestingly, as the marmalade cat made off to the right at speed, the black cat reappeared from the left, going even faster and there was a great caterwauling as it caught the other cat up in the back border.  Neither Mrs Tootlepedal or had had ever witnessed such a scene before.  It is my hope that both cats will have had such a bad experience that neither will come back to eat any more of my birds.  Let them eat cake, I say.

In spite of the rain…


…five siskins appeared as the morning went on…


…and claimed the feeder for themselves.  Later the chaffinches got back in business.


I put on my great big waterproof boots and my great big waterproof hat and went to see how the bridge builders on Gaskell’s Walk  were getting on.

bridge builders

They were moving two huge hardwood beams towards the crossing.    The next stage involved going down a steep and slippery slope and round a corner and there was a good deal of sizing up the job going on.  In spite of the cold wind, the pouring rain and the difficulty of the task, the men were in very cheerful mood.  I left them to it as I didn’t want to get the camera wet and walked home, stopping only to photograph yet another plant in the park wall.

I take it that this is a fern.

I spent a fair bit of time putting another choir song into the computer for practice purposes until Mrs Tootlepedal returned from some visits that she had been making.  The rain had stopped so after lunch she suggested a quick walk to look at the bridge from the other side before the rain started again.

We walked along the road and back along Gaskells.  Amazingly the hardy men had got both beams safely down the slippery slope and under the supervision of their boss, were engaged in the tricky task of sliding them across the gap.


There was quite a bit more head scratching which was not surprising because the little gorge they are crossing is remarkably deep.  We left them to it and walked back the way that we had come, pausing to take two photos as we went.

Becks Burn
This is the Becks Burn joining the Wauchope at a perfect right angle.
And Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that this is a fungal growth on a dead tree.

We looked back across the river at the gully as we walked round Pool Corner.


We had a look round the garden when we got back and I tried to get a picture of the mass frog army that has invaded the pond.


There were a lot more than these when I first approached the pond but they sneaked under water as I crept up on them.

We also saw the first stick of rhubarb of the new year.  Rhubarb crumble to come.rhubarb

In the evening, we went to our local choir and had a well organised and fruitful practice.  Hooray.  Well done the committee for getting things in hand.

The flying bird of the day is a feeble effort in very poor light.

flying chaffinch




Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

29 thoughts on “On their beam ends

  1. That orange cat had the most angry, sourpuss face I’ve seen in ages. Whew, wouldn’t want to cross him. Happy your birds are safe. ~SueBee
    PS: the fungal growth on the dead tree that your wife found looks like ice – very lacy!

  2. Hopefully the cats weren’t engaged in a turf war for the rights to your garden.

    You have had many bridge photos but I think this is the first example of one germinating.

    1. That’s a sobering thought about the cats. We had a sequence of pictures a few months ago about the development of a new road bridge not far away.

  3. Enjoyed the cat drama with its excellent pictures.
    The bridge builders seem to be doing well in spite of the adverse conditions.;

  4. I toddled off to bed last night leaving the slooow dialup connected, hoping that the photos would eventually download – and they did. Oh joy! I understand why you don’t want them in your garden at all, but I have to say the cat sequence was hilarious.

    The construction series gave me a clearer idea of the landscape Thereabouts. It is full of surprising features that make no allowance for woolgathering. Of course you don’t have bears and wolves, so I suppose that’s all right then.

    If all those frogs are there, can herons be far behind?

    1. Good question about the heron. It doesn’t appear at all often so maybe it thinks our pond is too small for it. I enjoyed the cat watching a lot.

  5. I wish you luck with the cats. I can get them to leave when I’m around but I know the rest of the time at least one probably will spend half her day in my yard, come spring. Then on the weekend she will look at me before she takes off as if to say “what are YOU doing here?” Great pictures even with the difficult light.

    1. It’s having to run out into the garden and say, “Boo!” which I find tedious and as you say, when the bird watcher’s away, the cats will play.

  6. I quite like cats and have kept a few as pets over the years, not to mention Fluffy our neighbours cat who thinks she lives with us. They do seem to have a very complex social structure and can be fun to watch but I wish they wouldn’t kill things. Still I suppose that is just nature in action. One thing they don’t like very much at all is citronella. We had a problem with cats using our gravel path as a toilet a few years back. I mixed some citronella oil with water and sprayed it liberally about. You could see the cats turning their noses up as soon as they caught a whiff of it and none have ever done the same since. They seem to have long memories. Might be worth a try 🙂

    1. I might try that. It is more feasible than some suggestions. I don’t mind cats at all as cats I should add, just not in Mrs Tootlepedal’s garden.

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