Short but sweet

Today’s picture is another from the eclectic collection which my brother-in-law Huseyin has sent to me.  This one shows his wife, my sister Caroline, enjoying some blossom this time last year at Hillier’s Arboretum in Hampshire, England.

Caroline at Hilliers Arboretum_2

Mrs Tootlepedal and I had a leisurely breakfast which, thanks to reading the Saturday newspapers, merged seamlessly into morning coffee and excellent ginger biscuits (courtesy of Mrs Tinker).

Rousing ourselves from our torpor, we went out to face the brisk wind on our bicycles.  I had a check with my natural rain gauge as we got near to Wauchope School and it showed that it had rained quite heavily overnight.


The roads were pretty dry but the combination of the brisk wind and a few drops of rain persuaded us that a six mile ride would be quite sufficient for the moment.  I liked the contrasting colour  combination of these trees by the waterside as we pedalled home and resolved to take a closer look at them when a convenient moment came.


The rain had stopped by the time we got home and we walked round the garden.

colourful corner
This is Mrs Tootlepedal’s favourite colourful corner at present

She likes it so much that I took it (under instruction) from another angle.

colourful corner

In the foreground of the picture above, you can see a Rodgersia.  I thought that it was worth a solo appearance.

A striking leaf

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to an Embroiderers’ Guild meeting and I got out the speedy bike and had another short ride.  This one started with a second climb up the hill to the White Yett.  I managed it a bit more quickly than my last effort and this could have been from one of three reasons: a) not having having cycled 12 miles before I got to the bottom of the hill; b) natural talent and determination;  or c) the favourably brisk wind behind me.  I incline to suggestion c).

I cycled back down the hill and then went up to Wauchope School to stretch my legs after the climb.  I was going to look at those interesting trees on my way but I realised that I hadn’t got my camera with me so I left them for another occasion.

That occasion came sooner than I expected as Mrs Tootlepedal returned from her sewing group and eagerly took up the suggestion of a trip to see the trees again.  This was because she could combine it with a visit to her manure mine.  We drove up in the car as cycling with two buckets of manure on the handlebars is not recommended. One misjudgement and you could really be in…..difficulties.

As Mrs Tootlepedal filled her buckets, I walked down to the trees.  The green ones were larches, showing their spring clothing…

Larch in spring

…and the ones sprinkled with colour were spruces (I think).  They were liberally festooned with flowers.


A close up.


I don’t recall seeing them as richly covered as this but Mrs Tootlepedal suspects that this is because I haven’t bothered to look at them properly before.  She may be right but I still think that they are quite a bit richer than usual.

After the trees had been inspected and the buckets filled, we walked through one of my favourite gates….

gate at manure mine

…down to the river and walked along the bank of the Wauchope.  We went a little way upstream first, battling through brambles and fallen trees.

The Wauchope in busy mood
And, a few yards away, in a more relaxed mood.

Then we turned back downstream and came upon a delightful woodland path.

Woodland path by wauchope

A movement on the ground ahead made me think of rabbits but it was a less common animal altogether.

red squirrel
It is a rare treat to see a red squirrel

It didn’t let me get close enough for a good picture but scampered off up the tree. It was curious about us though and stopped halfway up to see what we were up to.

red squirrel

It got our measure and disappeared into the canopy and started to throw things at us, chattering crossly.  It was answered from another tree nearby.  I will have to go back and sit quietly.

We walked on a short way to the end of the path which was at a beautiful spot.


The sun, which had appeared intermittently, had sadly gone off in a sulk by the time we got here.

I was impressed by the sticking power of this tree on its own little island.

The river goes into a narrow gorge here so we returned to the field through another fine gate…

gate at wauchope

…and then I rushed back to the car as the rain started to come down heavily and drove along to pick Mrs Tootlepedal up further down the road.  I doubt that we had walked more than half a mile but it will be well worth another visit when the sunshine is more reliable.

By the time that we had done a bit of food shopping and Mrs Tootlepedal had suitably disposed of the manure in the garden and I had taken a photo of the first Icelandic poppy to appear so far this year….

icelandic poppy

… was time to start cooking tea.  This was just as well because the rain had had enough of equivocation and started to pour down in earnest.

The flying bird of the day is one of our siskins.  By coincidence ‘siskin’ appeared as a solution in today’s crossword..





Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

37 thoughts on “Short but sweet

  1. Lovely pix as always Tootle but I must say the second picture of the squirrel is great. He looks positively manic!

  2. Tom, your country side is so beautiful and colorful I wish I could be there and smell the air. ( But not wen you’re carrying the buckets of compost!) 🙂

  3. I went shopping for flowers today to plant in my yard. I was looking for Icelandic poppies and couldn’t find them anywhere. Naturally, I was really sad about that. And then in your post you have that beautiful Icelandic poppy photo. You absolutely made my day!

  4. I’m just a casual reader of your blog, but have to say that your manic red squirrel photo is amazing. Also loved the visual of cycling with manure buckets. Not for the timid, for sure.

    1. Casual readers are very welcome, especially ones who take the time and trouble to comment. I am glad that you enjoyed the squirrel. It was a great treat for us too.

  5. That squirrel made me laugh. I didn’t know that they were so rare there. The landscape photos are beautiful as always.
    The Rodgersia is an unusual and interesting plant. I’m looking forward to seeing what it does over time.

    1. In large parts of the country to our south, they are not to be seen at all. The grey squirrels have taken over. We occasionally see grey squirrels here but strenuous efforts are being made to keep them out.

  6. How lucky to have red squirrels where you are. The last time I saw one in these parts was when I was a teenager in the seventies. The photographs of the wonderful countryside around your home are so good.

  7. What can I say, I loved all the photos again today! And once again, please pass on my compliments to Mrs. T on her lovely garden, her love for gardening is reflected in how beautiful it is.

  8. I liked the bit about the sticking power of that tree, sadly that’s not always true, for yet another tree, that’s the third this year, has come down alongside my favourite waterfall, here in the Neath valley. I know it is the nature of things, but it seems so sad them strewn across the torrent. Great post, cheers.

  9. Excellent pictures of Mrs. T’s colourful corner.
    Glad you managed to get the red squirrel on film before it scurried off.

  10. Oh my, where can I possibly begin?! What a wonderful post, I enjoyed every single word and photo. That up-close picture of the spruce – truly superb! I admire your ability to take great photos of river and landscapes – you manage a wonderful depth that transports me to the place you have been. Your little run-in with the red squirrel made me smile. We have quite a few red squirrels in northern Michigan, they are cute but very destructive and can wreak havoc with wiring and such if they manage to get inside an attic or RV.

  11. The last time I visited Hilliers was with my late Mother in Law so it was nice to see the photo. I’ve never seen a red squirrel and you did well to catch one. As ever, the garden looks lovely.

  12. I am sorry the squirrel threw things at you but glad to know I am not the only person to endure this insult. Wonderful photos all, so very green where you are.

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