Today’s guest picture(s) come from Dropscone’s highland holiday but were not taken by him. They are the work of his recorder playing daughter Susan, who made the montage, and show scenes from their visit to Dunrobin Castle, the falconry there, the seaside and a nearby broch.
We were once again the beneficiaries of a Scandinavian high pressure system which is keeping the moist Atlantic weather well away from us. Although not quite as sunny as yesterday, it was still a fine day and a welcome degree or two warmer.
I spent the period after breakfast getting myself mentally prepared for the arrival of the first scones for what seems like an age. Luckily when Dropscone arrived bearing the scones, they were well up to standard and my anticipation was fully rewarded. They went down well with some Honduras coffee.
After Dropscone left, I walked round the garden with Mrs Tootlepedal, sporadically doing some dead heading and lending a hand when she needed one but mostly looking at flowers and insects and snapping away.
The dahlias were attracting a varied clientèle at their pollen bars
Though it was possible to find some bee free blossoms.
I wandered into the vegetable garden to pick up some apple windfalls and eat a few raspberries. I had picked enough raspberries recently to make a couple of pots of jam yesterday so I was happy to see a few more still there today…
…but the runner beans and the courgettes are pretty well past it now. We have eaten a lot of both.
I was joined in the vegetable garden by Attila the Gardener who declared the the time of doom had come for the cardoons and tore them out of the ground. They have big seed heads.
Walking back through the flower gardens, I recorded three different varieties of potentilla.
They seem to flower endlessly.
While I was pondering on this and that, I was disturbed by some vigorous chattering from small birds and looking across the road at our neighbour Liz’s house, I saw a curious sight.
The noise came from a small flock of sparrows which were greatly excited and were sticking and unsticking themselves from the wall her house. There must have been something to eat there but what it was, I can’t imagine. I have never seen this behaviour before.
I left them to it and went off to mow the drying green and then went in to do the crossword and have lunch. I had hoped that my Mediterranean diet while I was in Marseille would have made my brain work better but there has been no noticeable effect so I had a sardine sandwich for lunch. I live in hope.
After lunch, I watched the birds for a while.
I refilled the fat ball feeder and this provoked a flurry of activity from the sparrows.
Mrs Tootlepedal went off in the car to visit a garden centre, get her eyes tested and then roam a retail outlet and I got the fairly speedy bike out and went off for another short ride.
The weather has been quite breezy lately so I have been trying to do a twenty mile ride each day rather than wait in hope of a calmer day and then do a long trip.
Today I did 22 miles to Gair and back. The way home has slightly more downhill than the way out but the easterly breeze evened matters out so I did the outward and return journeys in an almost identical time.
I stopped near Gair to take two contrasting views from the same spot.
In spite of the grey clouds, it was a pleasantly warm day for October and I enjoyed myself. I passed some men sticking blue topped stakes into the edges of the road and asked if this was windmill related activity. They told me that a windmill is due to be delivered to the Ewe Hill wind farm along this very road tomorrow morning. I am going to see if I can get up early enough to see the delivery as the towers for the windmills are enormous and should make a good picture. I am not betting any money on being able to get up early though.
Mrs Tootlepedal’s eyes passed her test and she returned in cheerful mood with many bags of soil improver for her flower beds and two bags of sand for the lawns when they get spiked.
While I was waiting for her return, I whiled away the time by looking at some regrettably uncivil behaviour in the sparrow world.
This was caused by the fact the the jackdaws had come while I was out cycling and nearly finished off the fat balls which I had put out before my ride so there wasn’t much left for the sparrows to share.
An evening meal of cauliflower cheese rounded off a very enjoyable day.
The flower of the day is a dahlia (and a busy bee)…
…and the flying bird of the day is a sparrow flapping its wings like mad in an effort to get to the feeder first.