Going through the mill

No guest picture today I am afraid as no one has sent me one.  Instead, here is an eye popping colour combination of peony and azalea.

azalea and peony

The weather turned out to be a lot better than the forecast and we had a fine sunny day with warm temperatures and a gentle wind.  It would have been ideal for cycling if I could have overcome my feeling that it was going to rain soon and actually gone out pedalling.  As it was. I managed to find little things to do all day which kept me off the bike.

I had a bit of business to catch up on after breakfast and then the joys of mowing grass and turning compost took over.  These day, each of these harmless activities is accompanied by a good deal of sitting down and recovering afterwards which I enjoy almost as much as the activity.  By the afternoon, I had got the message that my body simply wasn’t interested in cycling today so I gave up pretending that I was just about to go out and spent any spare time wandering about the garden with camera in hand.

It was insect day.  This little fellow got so excited by the Icelandic poppy that it fell over and lay on its back waggling its legs in the air.  Not something that you often see.

icelandic poppy

The bees where everywhere during the day.

iris and bees
On the Irises
dicentras and bees
On the Dicentras of course
beans and bees
But also on the broad bean flowers
And getting tucked into the Geranium macrorrhizum
azalea and bees
And, unusually, there was even one on an Azalea

I thought that the broad bean flowers were so pretty that they deserved a picture to themselves.

broad beans
Plus an appearance of Mrs Tootlepedal’s garden string which I didn’t notice when I was taking the shot.

A pale geranium was one of the few bee free flowers of the day.


It was a very nice day to be pottering about the garden and Mrs Tootlepedal made the most of it by being active in potting and planting and tidying and all those other things she has to do to keep the garden looking good.

The best time to look at a mown lawn is in the evening.

front lawn

I gave the middle lawn a little boost and I will give this one some help too as it is looking rather paler than it should be.  Another few warm days will help as well.

My flute pupil Luke came in the evening and gladdened my heart by playing very well as we got to grips with a well known bourée by Handel.

After tea, we had a real treat. We had had a phone call earlier on the day from a lady Sandy and I had met while out on a walk at the Hollows recently.  I must have mentioned  in passing while talking to her that Mrs Tootlepedal has a simple metal detector which she uses in our garden for fun.  She told us that a friend of her son had dropped his wedding ring while helping with the lambing on their farm and they wondered if Mrs Tootlepedal could come and run the detector over the floor of the lambing shed to see if the ring was there.

Mrs Tootlepedal agreed with alacrity and I was very keen to come to as Craig had offered to let me look over his working water mill while Mrs Tootlepedal searched for gold.

When we got there, Mrs Tootlepedal set to work….

Looking for a needle in a haystack
Looking for the ring in the deep straw of the lambing shed.  It was rather like looking for a needle in a haystack

…while I went down to the mill.

Hollows Mill
Hollows Mill on the banks of the Esk

The mill is used for cleaning and grading grain rather than milling flour.  Unfortunately for me the water wheel is undershot and inside the building and as a result, it is very hard to get a good picture of the wheel at work.  I took some pictures of the wheel at rest.

Hollows Mill

Hollows Mill

The present wheel is twenty years old and should last for another twenty years at least.  There is a grand collection of gears, belts and miscellaneous machinery to look at in the mill.

Hollows Mill

Outside you can see the sluice that controls the flow into the wheelhouse, a grand commemorative plaque for the restored wheel and caul and yet another belt driven device.

Hollows Mill

The mill is set in a lovely spot…

Esk at Hollows Mill
Looking up river to the caul for the mill stream
Esk at Hollows Mill
Looking down river to Hollows Bridge

I went back up to the lambing shed to see how Mrs Tootlepedal was getting on.  I wasn’t the only interested spectator.

Swallows kept flying into the shed to see what was going on.

Sadly, although Mrs Tootlepedal’s machine gave some hopeful buzzes, none of them turned out to be a lost wedding ring.

Craig is very proud of the history of the mill where his family have been tenants since the nineteenth century but also has an eye to the future and has installed some solar PV cells on the roof of one of his large sheds and is working on adding some modern water powered machinery to his arsenal as well.

We had a very interesting time talking to him and will hope to visit again.

The non flying flower of the day is an anemone, hand painted by nature.





Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

27 thoughts on “Going through the mill

  1. That anemone is one of the most beautiful cultivated flowers I’ve seen in a while. Mrs. T sure knows how to pick them.
    It isn’t often you get to see a working water mill these days. It must have been an interesting visit.
    I’m happy to see all the bees. I hope they have plenty of offspring.

  2. All those bees and flowers were both interesting and beautiful to look at, what colours nature gets up to . Thoroughly enjoyed your tour round the mill, what splendid work that young man is doing.

  3. I loved the blue geranium – one of my favourite flowers. I love mills too. We visit them whenever we get the opportunity. This was a virtual visit I was pleased to take part in.

  4. Fascinating photos of the mill and gears; enjoyed reading about it as well. Glad to read the owner’s solar plan. Smart! Of course, I thoroughly enjoyed the bees, and colorful garden. Too bad about the ring. Mrs T should come along the beach here with her metal detector- I’ll bet she’d strike it rich! ~SueBee

  5. The mill was interesting and good to know it’s still being used when many are just for decoration these days. What a shame the wedding ring didn’t turn up though.

    1. Mrs Tootlepedal’s metal detector is of the ‘hobby’ variety and perhaps a more expensive piece of kit was needed. They are not entirely sure where the ring was dropped though so perhaps she would have found it if it was there.

  6. Glad to see so many bees in your garden – we hear a lot here in the U.S. about the bees dying off, endangering pollination. That mill looks very interesting! The anemone is gorgeous!

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