Put out to grass

Today’s guest picture is another from the Menger family’s Highland meander.  It shows the daughter of the house holding a cushion starfish which they met on on a fishing trip they took from Islonia, an island kingdom near Gairloch.

cushion starfish

For the second day running, I was acting as a relief feeder filler for the Moorland Feeders as for the second day running, the designated feeder filler had made a break for Edinburgh. The astute reader may notice a pattern here and it is probably connected with the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

Mrs Tootlepedal came up with me today and for the second day running, the bird hide was occupied when I got here. Fortunately on this occasion, the family left the hide shortly after I had finished filling the feeders and I was able to settle down to watch the birds while Mrs Tootlepedal scanned the skies for raptors from the comfort of the car.

She saw one bird of prey briefly but I saw a lot of small birds.  Among them were…

A chaffinch
four siskins
Four siskins
Great tit and robin
A great tit and a robin
blue tit
A blue tit (which came and went at speed)
tits on feeder
Two great tits and a coal tit
A pheasant
And a woodpecker

In fact for almost the whole time that we were there, there was at least one woodpecker on each side of the clearing.


The only time when I wasn’t watching birds was when Mrs Tootlepedal’s raptor flew over the clearing and the small birds cleared off.  They soon came back though.

We got home just in time for coffee but the rest of the morning was wasted on the phone as a result of an email from my internet provider telling me that they were “upgrading my service by removing my email provision”.  Some one should be arrested for this act of violence against the English language.

However, several phone calls later, I got my email account reinstated for a price which means that I will reluctantly after many years as a loyal customer move to another provider.  The nice lady on the phone assured me that the decision to remove my email facility without notice had been a commercial one.  What a surprise.

After an early lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to Edinburgh to visit Matilda and her parents and I made and ate some potato soup for my lunch.  Then I settled down to some work in the garden.

I started with a little compost sieving to warm up and followed up by mowing the drying green, the greenhouse grass, the middle lawn and the front lawn in that order.  In actual mowing time, this is not a long job but once getting out the different mowers required, pausing for heavy breathing, sitting down for a rest and just standing at the end of a row and looking around vacantly have been factored in, the job took most of the afternoon.

I did find time for a shopping trip to the High Street to acquire more coffee beans and two nectarines.

Mrs Tootlepedal and I had considered the poppies in the garden during the day and we were struck by how various they are in colour and design.




Although they may look superficially alike, a closer look reveals all sorts of subtle differences.

The Rosa Wren is doing very well and comes up with a fresh replacement as each bloom fades.  It is hard to believe that these two flowers are from the same stem.

Rosa Wren

I made a visit to our corner shop after I had finished the mowing and purchased a smoked sausage, a pepper and some mushrooms and then with the help of an onion from the garden made them into a risotto for my tea.  It went down well.

In the evening, Susan appeared and gave me a lift to our recorder group in Carlisle for our first play for several weeks.  Considering that we were all a bit rusty, we played well and enjoyed a varied selection of music from Hindemith and Gershwin to Palestrina and Farnaby with others in between.

Susan got us back to Langholm at exactly the same time as Mrs Tootlepedal returned from Edinburgh and as she had enjoyed her visit a lot, we sat down to watch the highlights of another interesting stage of the Vuelta in a very good mood.

The light in the morning wasn’t good enough to let me catch a flying bird at the Moorland feeders so once again, a flower of the day is all I have to offer.  But what a flower it is.

pink poppy

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

37 thoughts on “Put out to grass

  1. I have say, your threatened withdrawal of email facility sounded like a scam to me, something to be deleted and ignored. Astonishing that it was genuine! Are you prepared to reveal which provider please?

    1. I did ring up to ask if it was a scam but they assured that it wasn’t. My internet provider is a firm called Demon which has always been very good and utterly reliable. They also answer the phone with real people when you have an infrequent query. After having been taken over by various companies but retaining their identity, they were recently acquired by Vodaphone who, I assume, are responsible for this cost squeezing measure.

  2. I’ve never heard of a cushion starfish. It’s really unusual.
    Your photos of the pheasants make me wish I had one as a pet. It’s a pretty bird that I can’t imagine anyone wanting to shoot.
    The differences in the poppies is amazing and the one at the end is beautiful.

    1. The pheasants are extremely tame as they have been hand reared and tend to push you around while you get the seed out of the bins. You would have no problem keeping one as a pet. Several people have tame pheasants in their gardens.

  3. I am shocked at the cavalier way your internet provider has treated you, a long-term customer.
    I was pleased to see all the small bird photos especially the juvenile woodpecker on the right. The poppies are lovely and varied and your flower of the day is a real beauty.

    1. You were not as shocked as I was. They are quite an expensive provider but do offer an excellent and reliable service so it was a blow. Of course the original company has been taken over by a larger company (Vodaphone) which has been responsible for this so it was only to be expected.

      1. That’s exactly what was decided here, as well. It was partly implemented, we had an election and a change of government, and now we’re waiting to see if door to door delivery will continue. Such excitement.

  4. lovely photos and you are educational as well providing the names of the birds for duffers like me. isnt nature wonderful. Flowers as are like people, no two the same. thank you

  5. Loved all the detail on the poppies. What a dirty trick to play, removing your email like that, hope it is not too much of a hassle to change providers.

  6. The poppies are astounding different, your internet provider astoundingly arrogant, and the joy our new, purpose-made soil sieve is giving us (after years of heavy home made ones) is just astounding.

  7. Cute picture of the robin. Glad the hide allowed you to see all those different varieties of birds

  8. Seeing the photos of the birds from the Moorland feeders was like visiting old friends that I haven’t seen in a while. Still, the images of the various poppies are standouts that you should be very proud of.

    The sad part of your experience with your email provider is that it has become so common, companies routinely break promises and contracts for higher profits.

    1. It is quite true that companies need to make a profit to survive but you cannot but wonder about the huge salaries the bosses pay to themselves while claiming that times are so hard that they have to chisel the customers.

  9. A very interesting starfish to start the post, followed by lovely photos of favourite birds and ending with fascinating ‘spot the difference’ poppies- altogether an enjoyable read except for your problem with your email provider…he that knows patience knows peace…he that writes blogs stays calm!

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