Flat out

Today’s guest picture was sent to me by Bruce and shows the modern equivalent of the wonderful Palm House at Kew which featured as guest picture a day or two ago.  Bruce and his wife were visiting the Eden Project in Cornwall.

Eden Project

I had a busy day today with three outings to keep me entertained.

Outing one: I had arranged to cycling with Dropscone after breakfast and when the time came to set out, it was raining.  Were we discouraged?   Well, to be frank, we were a bit discouraged but all the same we set off and as there was hardly any wind and the rain was light, the conditions weren’t too bad.

We did get really discouraged when Dropscone, under pressure from a passing car, ran over a sharp edge on a bodged road repair and got a puncture.  I carry a little aerosol which is supposed to mend punctures and re-inflate the tyre but he didn’t fancy that so we called the MTRS* instead and I left him walking back up the road while I completed the morning run.

I am sorry that he didn’t use the aerosol repair thingy as I would have liked to see if it actually works.  However, the MTRS* was obviously effective as he had been picked up by the time that I was on my way back and we met up for coffee and scones later on.

After all this excitement, I had time to walk round the garden….

The sawflies caterpillars are multiplying on the Solomon’s Seal. Here is one having a good meal.
summer colour
Summer colour

…paying special attention to the Special Grandma rose which is flourishing…

Special Grandma
Most appropriate with two special Grandmas in the house this week.

…before sitting down to an early lunch.  The lunch was early as Granny was going to have her hair washed and styled at a local hairdresser and while this was going on, I mowed the drying green and then Sandy appeared.  After some consultation, we decided that a visit to the sand martins at Canonbie would be a good idea and Sandy and I went off in his car to see them.

Outing two: We parked at the church….

Canonbie Church
It is illegal to pass the church without taking a picture.

…and walked past the sandstone cliffs of the Dead Neuk….

Deid neuk

….and along the bank of the Esk towards the spot where the sand martins nest.

They were very busy, flitting across the river and in and out of the holes on the bank.  They seem to be able to fly straight into and out of the nest holes without stopping and I took a tremendous number of pictures of nest holes into which a bird had just gone or out of which a bird had just flown.  Every now and again, a flying martin got into the picture by accident.

sand martins

It was great fun watching the martins even if I didn’t get any good pictures.  There were other things to look at too as we walked down and back.

bee on knapweed
Knapweed is very popular with insects.
two wagtails
Two wagtails on the rocks.
oyster catchers
A couple of noisy oyster catchers
And an inquisitive sheep.

If the weather is still good, we might make an effort and take our tripods and remote controls when we go down next time and try to get better sand martin shots.

We drove off over quiet back roads and stopped to take a picture of a tree with unusual fruits.

A good crop of crows.

We stopped again at Mrs Tootlepedal’s manure mine and walked through the wood along the Wauchope and back through the field.

The coniferous trees were living up to their name.

fir cones

Sandy in the field
Sandy exploring the field.

After the morning rain, the day had taken a turn for the better and the clouds were far from threatening.


Tucked into a little valley, with warm sunshine, virtually no wind and no one else around, we were in a truly peaceful place as we walked back to the car.  I was going to take a picture or two of a fine crop of knapweed when my eye was caught by an unusual colour….

knapweed rhagonycha fulva

Every flower head was alive with insects.

knapweed with insect

…but the majority were these orange beasties.

knapweed rhagonycha fulva
There should be more about soon.

There were several on most of the flowers.  My friend Mike Tinker, who was enjoying a cup of tea with Granny when we got home, tells me that these are Common Red Soldier Beetles or Rhagonycha Fulva.

Sandy and I joined the tea party and had some much needed refreshment as the day had got very warm in the sunshine.  After Sandy and Mike left, we were joined by two ex teachers, Ken and Anne who had come in search of a bit of Philadelphus for their garden.   Mrs Tootlepedal was happy to oblige.

After Ken and Anne left, I spent quite a lot of time looking through and discarding about 100 shots of sand martin nests with no sand martins nearby.

I went out to give credit to Crown Princess Margaretha’s splendid recovery from the recent wind and rain.

Crown Princess Margaretha

I have been picking currants off our blackcurrant bush as they ripen because the bush is not netted and Mrs Tootlepedal came out to help me to get enough to make it worthwhile to make some jelly.  When I weighed them, I found that we had a couple of pounds so I put them on to simmer and went back to the pictures for a moment or two.  My mind must have wandered because the mixture was boiling merrily by the time I came back.  I have put the resultant goo into our jelly bag to drain but I fear that the jelly won’t be of very good quality.

Outing three:  The third outing of the day was to the Douglas Hotel where Granny very kindly stood us an excellent meal.  I have been losing weight in a well controlled and satisfactory way recently but the meal tonight might have set the programme back a bit.

The flying bird of the day was one of those noisy oyster catchers at Canonbie.

oyster catcher

*MTRS: a note:  The Mrs Tootlepedal Rescue Service has always been a valuable locally owned resource  but recently I understand that it has been sold to a private equity firm which has in turn sold it on to a shadowy corporation with a tax domicile in Luxemburg and a head office in the Turks and Caicos Islands.   I intend always to carry a spare tube.

For those with a strong constitution, Dropscone emailed me the picture from my youth that appeared on the telly last night.  He cleverly took it from his TV.  It was taken in 1967.  I am on the left and the distinguished politician to whom we owe the survival of the picture is next to me.  You can see that they didn’t waste a lot of money on sets in those days.

Univesity Challenge










Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

32 thoughts on “Flat out

  1. Beautiful photos as always but a particularly interesting shot today was of that very good-looking young man on the left!!

    1. The sandstone cliff is one of my favourite spots. I was thinking, looking at the photo, that I might have put on a couple of pounds here and there.

  2. Really enjoyed seeing the crow fruit, and the fellow on the left! But the enterprise of mrs tootlepedal is most impressive. Please forgive any typos. Having difficulty with smart phone keyboard. Ordered new laptop. Hope setup is manageable once it arrives! ~suebee

  3. I try to have two things to do each day in retirement – your three outing day is making me feel quite lazy!

    Too bad you didn’t use your aerosol repair kit – would be interesting to see how it works. I once tried a similar product for an emergency car tire “repair”, which didn’t stop the tire from blowing shortly afterwards and dripping the goo all over me as I changed the tire (as I should have in the first place!).

    1. I tried one a few years ago but the puncture was caused by a big piece of glass and we didn’t follow the instructions properly so the sealant just came straight out through the gash in the tyre.

    1. I am glad to have been quite satisfactory. I am amazed that you have any time to look at other people’s posts when you have so many pictures to look through yourself. Well done.

  4. Your comment on MTRS made me laugh and laugh! Well done Dropscone for taking that picture, I missed the programme the other night alas.

    So much to enjoy in this post, I haven’t got the energy to enumerate it all.

  5. great university challenge picture.. did you win? It was Oliver’s ambition to do that when he was at Edinburgh but sadly didn’t make the team.

  6. What a most enjoyable post to read and wonderful photos!! Loved all of it. I have a question for you — I really love how you put several photos in a gallery and it’s framed in. Is this an effect you do on wordpress or is it something you do on your computer and then upload? I have done galleries a few times but I never see an option for the frames like you do, and I love how it looks. Been curious. After more than a year I am still rather a dunce at most of the technical aspects of blogging.

    1. I don’t use the WordPress gallery function so I don’t what it is capable of. I put the frames on the photos using Photoshop. I have created a couple of actions, one to join two or three pictures together on a canvas and the other to put a frame round them so that I can make the finished framed pictures quite quickly with just two clicks.

      I don’t know if you use a photo editing program but if you do, an internet search for making frames with it should produce a result. I f you would like a more detailed answer, let me know and I will do what I can to help.

      1. That’s very helpful information, thank you!!! I really like the way you do it, it’s very pleasing to the eye. I had a feeling it was something you did separately from wordpress.

  7. Really enjoyable post with so many good photos – thank-you! I love the oyster-catcher pictures because I love oyster-catchers. They are noisy, but it is a sound I love as it reminds me of happy times on remote beaches.

  8. Three outings in one day is slightly greedy but there were some lovely photos. The insects on the knapp weed are my favourites although the handsome young man on the left of the a University Challenge photo was good too. Mrs T has very good taste.

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