Vitamin D overdose

View of Magdalen College from the gardens

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who was visiting the Botanical Gardens in Oxford.  She could see Magdalen College in the distance.

View of Magdalen College from the gardens
View of Magdalen College from the gardens

We had the third day in a row of welcome sunshine today and flowers and insects greeted it with the same enthusiasm that we did.

poppy and bee

I am suffering from a little saddle soreness at the moment so I was quite happy that Mrs Tootlepedal had a joint task for us to do in the garden and I gave the bicycle and my posterior a rest.

Before we started on the task, I had a walk round the garden to do some dead heading and have a look at what was going on.

The first Michaelmas daisy and a pair of ripening plums made sure we remembered that in spite of the sunny day, autumn is creeping ever closer.

Michaelmas daisy and plums

The garden was full of buzzing noises and I enjoyed watching insects approach a poppy in their own way.  The hoverfly dances in daintily while the bee hurls itself in sideways and squirms round in circles battering the middle of the flower to bits.

poppy and insects

Then it was time for the task.

A  prunus tree on the hedge with our neighbour was in poor condition and needed to be cut down before it fell over.  This involved stepladders, long loppers, a stout rope and a bow saw but with the assistance of our other neighbour Liz and her grandson, who fortunately dropped in to see what all the fun was about, we got the tree cut down in quick time and with no injuries to the participants.

Shortly afterwards, the branches had been trimmed for sawing up, the twigs stacked for disposal and it was time for coffee.  All this might have been the subject of a photo story if I had remembered to photograph any of it but I didn’t so it isn’t.

After coffee, I took some Archive Group postcards up to the new base of the tourist information volunteers.  It is bang in the middle of the Market Place and as a result, there have been more visitors and more sales of cards.  While I was on the High Street, I ordered some more supplies of coffee.

When I got home, I had another look round.

The buddleia is still drawing butterflies…

rred admiral and peacock butterflies

…though they didn’t always pose prettily for me.


I never thought of butterflies as being whiskery until I got a camera.

red admirtal and tortoiseshell butterflies

Then I mowed the middle lawn before it got too warm to work.

I was quite happy to have a reason to go into the cool house after that.  It is the Canonbie Flower Show on Saturday and it has a well supported photography section so I sat down to pick out and print thirteen pictures to enter in some of the many classes it offers.

This simple sounding process literally takes hours.  I have far too many pictures in my files to sift through quickly and my printer, like the wheels of justice, grinds extremely slowly.  Still, I got it done in the end and, for once, I am pretty pleased with my choices.  This probably means that I won’t catch the eye of the judge at all this year but it is taking part and not winning that is the important thing….so they tell me.

I went out into the garden and saw the young robin again so I popped back inside and took my first ‘through the kitchen window’ shot for some time.


It was such a lovely evening that when we had had a cup of tea, Mrs Tootlepedal joined me on a walk.

We are not the only ones having trouble with sick trees.  We saw this one beside the river with  no leaves left on it….

sick tree

…and with the tell tale fungus at its roots.  Not long for this world.

We crossed the Kilngreen where the gulls resolutely refused to take wing and walked ver the Sawmill Bridge and onto the Lodge walks.  More poorly trees were to be seen there.  Two of the signature beech trees which line the walks have been condemned to be felled and have been trimmed off in preparation and several conifers in the woods beside the road are for the chop as well.  They are all big trees…

trees for fellin

…and the beeches in particular will be sadly missed.

Several trees blew down in the winter gales this year and the estate must have been rightly worried about the chances of more sick trees falling on passers by if the gales return this winter.

We walked across the Castleholm and kept an eye out for signs of the season.  They were to be seen both on a large scale…

Leaves turning
The first hints of leaves turning

…and in smaller things.

oak, hazel and lime
These are oak, hazel and lime

I was intrigued by what seemed to me to be an unusual spider’s web on the Jubilee Bridge.

Spiders web

They looked liked two little baskets prepared to catch things rather than the standard network.  Perhaps they were not made by a spider.  A knowledgeable reader may be able to help me out here.

We saw what we took for crab apples in the Clinthead Garden on our way out and some snow berries beside the Esk as we passed the school on our way home.

crab apple and snow berry

When we got home, in another sign of the times, the starlings were back on our electricity wires.


There was no flying bird on our walk so a stationary butterfly will have to do instead.


They say that we have one more day of good weather to go before the rain returns and the temperature drops.  It was good while it lasted.  I hope the butterflies survive.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

27 thoughts on “Vitamin D overdose

  1. It’s too bad to lose the trees but it happens quite regularly here, and I’m always amazed by how many I see have fallen. I haven’t seen any changing here yet though. It’s early.
    The butterflies really do love that buddleia.
    The hoverfly and bee on the pink poppy are beautiful shots.

    1. Do the powers that be plant replacements for the trees they fell? The trees at the back of the Homestead are slowly disappearing; the victims of unwise planting position back in the day. The noise regarding the choice of replacement continues…thankfully I’m not learned enough to take part.

  2. Such beauty and loved your pictures of the butterflies. I too noticed yesterday when my daughter and I took a drive that there’s a hint of Fall color beginning on the trees. I love the seasons, but each year it is always so difficult to give up gardening, until the following Spring… Great Post… Take care, from Laura

  3. “I never thought of butterflies as being whiskery until I got a camera” is so true, it’s amazing what we can see with the aid of a camera!

    I’m not an expert on spiders, but I believe that spiders did create the baskets that you saw. I see similar webs built around here, and scientists classify spiders by the type of web that they weave, such as orb weavers.

    Good luck in the photo competition!

    It’s great to see so many butterflies in your posts recently, they’re so beautiful.

  4. Love the butterflies and the bees in the pink poppies- actually on looking again one is a bumble bee…I think…but the other? Good luck with your competition.

  5. Always hate to see trees die off. Beeches I don’t see here, but remember them well from back east.

    I have been told by one tree farmer friend that Douglas fir will not survive here in Oregon in another 20 to 30 years due to changing climate, and tree farmers will be forced to plant new species. He says he is caught in a bind. His current crop will die off before it is ready to harvest, and he is too old to start growing other species for which the climate is still too cool to do so today.

  6. Best of luck with the competition. I am sorry you are losing the beeches from the Lodge Walks; such majestic trees will be noticeable by their absence. I see you have photographed a Small Tortoiseshell butterfly; I haven’t seen any this year.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: