What a shower

Today’s guest picture is another stunner from one of my sister Mary’s visits to Regent’s park in London.

Regent's Park

I had an up and down experience with the weather and the weather forecast today.  Last night, when Dropscone and I were considering a morning run today, the forecast painted a picture of unrelieved gloom with heavy rain and brisk winds so we decided to give the cycling a miss and stick to scones and coffee.

Mrs Tootlepedal was up early as she was catching the train to Edinburgh to visit Matilda and it was raining when I woke up.  After Mrs Tootlepedal left, I decided that this would be a good moment for a long hot bath to try to soak some of the aches and pains away.  I was rather upset when I got out of the bath to find  that the sun was shining, the wind had dropped and it would have been a fine morning for a pedal.  The quality of the next day forecast, which is usually quite reliable,  is very variable at the moment and I can only suppose that the present run of weather doesn’t fit the Met Office computer models very well.

I went out to have a look round the garden.  The New Testament instructs us to consider the lilies of the field but I turned my attention to the lily of the valley instead.

Lily of the valley

The hostas come in various styles.


Our lilac and a neighbour’s cherry made a fine sight, swaying in the breeze.

lilac and cherry

My weather related grumpiness was assuaged by the walk round the garden and the arrival of Dropscone with a large supply of drop scones.  I demolished my share of these with the aid of some home made raspberry jam and the world looked a better place.

Sandy came round just as Dropscone was leaving.  He is not feeling much better at all and is having to go off for more hospital tests next week as a precaution.  We are hoping for a bright spell tomorrow so at least we can have a short walk.

As Sandy left, it started to rain quite heavily so I gave up thoughts of cycling and  settled for indoor tasks.  Bird staring was one of them.

The siskins are very messy eaters at the seed feeder and drop seeds all over the place but here a starling shows how it should be done.


There was plenty of action in the rain.

goldfinches and siskin
A goldfinch makes for safety rather than be the jam in a bird sandwich
The ringed redpoll gets as near the seeds as a fierce siskin will allow
A goldfinches charges head first into a sitting tenant.

Not all behaviour was bad.

chaffinch and greenfinch
A chaffinch politely acknowledges a green finch with a casual wave.

I made a bowl of lentil soup for my lunch and then thought of going for a nuthatch hunt.  The sun shone, I got ready, it started to rain.

I went back in.

The sun shone came out, I got ready, it started to rain.  It was that sort of day.

In the end the sun and I got our act together and I went off on the slow bike to the Castleholm.  I stopped at the Kilngreen on my way.  Two matched ducks were snoozing…


….and Mr Grumpy was practising a comedy dance routine.

It should be a hit.

Down in the river, a wagtail obligingly hopped close enough for me to get it in the picture.


I pedalled on to the Castleholm and parked the bike near the Jubilee Bridge.  I got myself in position to watch the nuthatch nest site….

nuthatch nest

…and it started to rain.

Fortunately there were enough leaves in the tree canopy to keep me almost completely dry while disgruntled and sodden walkers passed me by cursing the weather.

I was distracted by a charming blackbird which perched nervously a few feet away from me….


…and out of the corner of my eye, I saw a nuthatch fly straight into the nest before I could get the camera pointed.  I felt that it was going to be one of those days but I persevered as I wasn’t getting too wet for the camera’s safety.

After a good while of nothing happening, I set myself another five minutes before going home.  It was too gloomy for good shots anyway.  The five minutes were up just as the second nuthatch appeared.

It looked as though it was carrying nest material

After looking around for a moment, it knocked on the door.


It’s delivery was accepted and it flew off, followed a moment later by the other bird from the nest.

As it had stopped raining, I thought that this was the moment to go home.  I will return.

When I got home, I was having another go at making some better ginger biscuits when my eye was caught by movement on the lawn outside.  Horror!  It was Mrs Tootlepedal’s worst fear.


I dashed out and chased it out of the garden.  Sadly, it is a regular visitor and a pest to the gardener.

The ginger biscuits were an improvement on the first go but were far from perfect, suffering from a little overcooking round the edges.  They tasted all right but as Mrs Tinker sagely said when she looked at them later in the evening, they wouldn’t win a prize in a show.  Practice makes perfect though so I will have another go when I have eaten all this batch.  Actually, I will have to eat some more biscuits as well because Alison kindly brought a packet of’ hand made’ but shop bought ginger biscuits round when she came for our music session, having read of my disappointing first effort.  You can’t have too many ginger biscuits in the house so they will all find a good home.

While I was having my tea, I could hear the beat of the bass drum in the street outside and was reminded that it is the day when the townspeople of Langholm elect a young man to be the cornet who will carry the town standard round the marches on Common Riding Day in July. I went out to see the bands go past on their way to the hall where the election takes place.

pipe and town bands
Langholm has a both a pipe band and a brass band.

I used to vote regularly in the election but now I feel out of the swing of things and leave it to the younger folk to express their opinion on the merits of the candidates.

Mrs Tootlepedal returned safely from Edinburgh just before Mike and Alison arrived for our usual Friday evening music and conversation.  She  had had a fine grandmotherly time but sadly with no cute pictures to show for it.

I will have to make do with a flying goldfinch in the rain.

flying goldfinch



Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

31 thoughts on “What a shower

  1. You contrive to make even a quiet day, by your standards, interesting to the reader. I loved the wagtail and Mr. Grumpy. Sorry you didn’t have a picture of Matilda to show us, next time perhaps.

  2. Your hostas are gorgeous. I’m very fond of hostas. Mine still haven’t poked their noses above the soil yet, so a peek of yours is much appreciated!

  3. Well done for catching the rabbit in mid-hop. Lovely picture of lily of the valley. Glad Mrs T’s visit to Edinburgh went well.

  4. Your sister’s photo really well composed. I loved all yours too – no slug damage on the hostas!!! Mr Grumpy’s a star and I liked the photos of the bands and the Common Riding Day info.

  5. Wonderful guest picture from your sister. The weather is the same here; in or out? sun or rain? but you still manage to produce a wonderful crop of photos. Langholm rocks!

  6. Mr Grumpy made me laugh with his dance and the nuthatches are an interesting prospect for the future. A rabbit in the garden is not good but there’s not a lot you can do to keep them out.

  7. I wish you’d send some of that rain over. We have had an early bout of very high temps, and wind-driven wild fires already. This coming week is to be in the 90’s again, ugh. ~SueBee PS: Mr Grumpy is quite clever!

  8. Lily of the Valley and Lilacs in one post – my two most favorite flowers! Thank you! (I will pretend you did it just for me, 🙂 ) I also enjoyed Mr. Grumpy’s comedy routine – what a great photo! So glad you caught sight of the nuthatches. Your post describes quite a wonderful day despite the iffyness of the weather.

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