A ray of metaphorical sunshine

Al and Clare's hedge

Today’s guest picture comes from my son Alistair and shows what Attila the Gardener can do when she visits her granddaughter with a pair of shears in her handbag.

Al and Clare's hedge

We had another grey and generally rainy morning today and I was happy to stay inside and prepare a lamb stew for the slow cooker while Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing in the church choir.  What made me even happier was that I was able to use the first onion of the year from the garden and one of the little white turnips in the cooking.

The gloomy weather made me think that an indoor picture might be good insurance in case going out was not going to be suitable for flower shots.

sweet pea in kitchen

The sweet pea was in the kitchen and outside the window, the feeder aerial ballet was relentless…


…and the sparrows and siskins had emptied the feeder before Mrs Tootlepedal had returned from church.

Happily, the rain eased off and I was able to go out.  The packets of dahlia seeds have produced a good variety of shape and colour in their flowers.


Various lilies are doing well in spite of the cool damp weather.


I visited the vegetable garden and admired the flourishing main crop potato plants.


The trouble with potatoes of course is that you never know how good they are, no matter how good they look, until you dig them up.  The proof of the pudding is in the eating as they say.  (Not that we use potatoes in puddings.)

As it stayed dry, I shifted a bit more compost from Bin C into Bin D and might have completed the job if Mrs Tootlepedal, back from church and needing coffee, and a heavy shower of rain hadn’t arrived at the same time.

I went in and prepared the bread maker to make a dozen rolls.

After lunch I had intended to go across to the Castleholm and watch some horse racing there but a persistent drizzle and a severe lack of light for action shots persuaded me that watching another potentially exciting stage of the Tour de France followed (hopefully) by the end of Andy Murray’s triumph at Wimbledon might be a better bet.

This was a good decision.

The cyclists had an interesting day of weather starting with searing heat at 30°C and ending up pedalling up a mountain at 10° in a torrential hailstorm.  They seemed very cheerful afterwards in spite of it all.

Andy Murray won without giving his supporters a heart attack, a very rare event.

After the tennis was over, I looked out of the window and seeing that the rain had stopped, I went off for a short walk.

The Sweet Williams made a gloomy day look very cheerful as I left the house.

Sweet William

There was plenty of water in the Wauchope as I went past the caul at Pool Corner….

Pool Corner

…and plenty to look at as I went round Gaskell’s Walk.

capillaris smooth hawksbeard

If I had paid more attention on our recent wild flower field day, I might know what this is.  There was a lot of it about and I am going to plump for Crepis  capillaris or smooth hawks-beard.  Our lecturer at Maryport told us that he had once given a well attended whole day class purely on ‘little yellow flowers that look like dandelions’ so I don’t feel too bad about not being certain.

As usual, it paid to give the flowers a close look.

insects on flowers

The Umbellifer on the left has a tiny insect on nearly every other flower when you look carefully.  The flower on the right is meadowsweet.

The umbellifer below had more than tiny insects on it.

umbellifer with hoverfly and red soldier beetles
I was pleased to see that there should be plenty more red beetles for me to photograph in the future.

Some things were easier to spot.


And I could even see the Monument today as the clouds lifted.


The weather seemed to be quite good for the moment so I dawdled along taking anything that caught my eye…

stubholm gate

…until I got back down to the Esk at the park.

The wet weather after the warm and sunny month before has ensured that everything is growing at full belt.

I disturbed a family of ducks who paddled off rather crossly…

ducks on Esk

…before getting home just in time to take a picture of Mrs Tootlepedal’s latest poppy….

Yes, it is a poppy and not a peony. Mrs Tootlepedal doesn’t like it much. I had to hold its head up.

…before dashing indoors as another heavy shower of rain arrived.

The weather is set to look up in the week ahead so a couple of quiet days won’t do me any harm as long as I can get out on my bike again soon.

The (wild) flower of the day is a ragwort which I met on my walk.


And the flying bird is one of the seed demolishing siskins in the light drizzle.

flying siskin

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

26 thoughts on “A ray of metaphorical sunshine

  1. A chuckle over your potato comment, a smile over the lovely dahlias, Sweet William, lilies and poppy and an aah over the siskins – a lovely day again.

  2. One of the siskins at the feeder appears to have a leg band. Beautiful photos with much going on in your area. The beetles to seem to be enjoying their day on the umbellifer. There should be plenty more to photograph in the future. 🙂

    So that is a poppy and not a peony! I have noted that problem with double-bloomed daffodils. Beautiful to behold, but are not well supported on their stems.

    Our weather is like yours at the moment. Cool and rainy, in the 50s and mid 60s. Unusual for this time of year, but I do not have to water the trees or gardens, so am counting my blessings. The heat will come later.

    1. The siskin has been ringed, you are quite right. Some were ringed in our garden a year or two ago so it would be nice to think it was one of those.

  3. You probably mentioned it before, but I didn’t know that you could grow dahlia from seeds, however Mrs T got them started, they’re gorgeous!

    I don’t know how many small yellow flowers that look like dandelions that there are in total, but the number has to be staggering. I can understand why the lecturer at Maryport would have to give such a whole day class on them.

  4. The hedge is a good example of plant rejuvenation and in the future it will look great. I used to do it to various shrubs and hedges all the time.
    The sweet Williams’s are perfect beside a front walk and I wish I could smell them as I’m sure your visitors must.
    The dahlia on the far right looks a little oddly shaped but I like its color.
    I’m not crazy about that poppy either. It does look like a peony but if I wanted a flower that looked like it I’d just grow a peony.

  5. I’m with Mrs. T. re. the poppy – it does look rather like a peony that’s on its way out. Wonderful pictures of the insects – I would imagine it’s very hard to get a sharp shot.

  6. Very fine sweet william – and some interesting close-ups of the insects. Missed the tennis, but it must have been an exciting match.

  7. The Tour has certainly had its exciting moments. Here in Australia we are getting a little sleep deprived watching it! 🙂 I enjoyed your description of Mrs T (or was it the other grandma) as Attila the Gardener. I doubt many women carry shears in their handbags! Thanks for bringing another smile to my face with your pictures and words, Tom.

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