The start of dark evenings.

Annie's hanging basket

Today’s guest picture comes from my daughter Annie.  She would like to take all the credit for this fine hanging basket in her garden but has to admit that she purchased it from B&Q.

Annie's hanging basket

The clocks went back an hour in the middle of the night so in theory, I could have enjoyed an extra hour in bed in the morning.  Things didn’t work out like that though.  I had resolved to make good use of the extra hour of light in the morning by getting up early and going for a cycle ride before breakfast.  Much to my satisfaction and Mrs Tootlepedal’s outright astonishment, I did just that.

I didn’t quite get up as early as I hoped but I was still out before Mrs Tootlepedal was awake and I completed my twenty mile round trip to Canonbie before she had gone off to sing in the church choir.

It was grey and the roads were damp but with the temperature just below 50F and with very light winds, it made a good start to the dark months.

It was too gloomy for pictures so I had to wait until I was home before I got a camera out.

The feeder was busy…


..until a jackdaw arrived and scared everyone off.


With the fat ball feeder enclosed in a cage and the seed feeder too finicky for its big feet, it didn’t stay long though and the greenfinches, chaffinches and sparrows were soon heading back to the feeder.

sparrow, greenfinch and chaffinch

Mrs Tootlepedal came back from church and after a cup of coffee, set about clearing the dahlias from the second of the flower beds along the drive so that she could plant more tulips.

I spent a little time practising songs for our Carlisle choir and then went out into the garden too.  I did some shredding of defunct dahlias, some sieving of serviceable compost and some wandering about with a camera.

anemone, dahlia, daisy and poppy
In the white corner: anemone, dahlia, daisy and poppy
sabius, dahlia, poppy and poppy
In the red corner: scabius, dahlia, poppy and poppy
marigold and nasturtium
In the orange corner: marigolds and nasturtium (showing that with the right disguise even a gas meter cover can look quite good)

I have sieved all the compost in Bin D and Mrs Tootlepedal tells that the rough compost that is left can easily be used for a winter mulch so it will soon be time to start the process of turning the bins again.

I made a pan of very plain and dull soup for my lunch and ate it with some freshly made bread and two varieties of cheese, which mitigated the dullness a bit.

After lunch, there was time for a little more gardening and bird watching.

chaffinch and greenfinch
Some displayed neat flying skills near the feeder
goldfinches in plum tree
Others gathered in the plum tree

Greenfinches played the tough guy.

A top grade snarling competition.
Perch bagging

Soon the new flower bed was planted and raked.

flower bed

Mrs Tootlepedal was happy.

There was no time for a walk today as we had to set off for Carlisle for our regular Sunday Carlisle Community Choir practice.

Our excellent conductor was unable to come today but he had sent down a very adequate substitute and we had a useful and hard working session.  We were in full Christmas mode as our next engagement will be our Christmas concert.  Even though I had practised earlier in the day, the many mistakes that I managed to make showed that it is by no means too early to start work on the concert pieces.

They may well write on my gravestone, “More practice required,” and they will be right.

Now that the clocks have gone back, it was fully dark when we drove home and so there were no more chances to take pictures.

I had another plate of the dull soup for my tea in the hope that some resting time in the pan and another few minutes cooking might have enlivened it….but it hadn’t.  Luckily there was still good bread and cheese to go with it.  I followed it up with some stewed apples and custard.  I mistakenly thought that my custard skills were up to being able to dispense with any accurate measuring of quantities and ended up eating apples and concrete.  It has not been my finest cooking day.

The flower of the day is one of the surviving dahlias….


…and the flying bird is a chaffinch.


Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

17 thoughts on “The start of dark evenings.

  1. I think most soups are supposed to be good for us even when they are dull, but maybe not. I don’t suppose water is very nutritious.
    The white, red and orange flowers are still beautiful even this late in the season.
    I’ve often thought that being a bird might be fun but probably not if it comes with all that bickering.

  2. Still a nice selection of flower photos, beautifully framed as always. And a good crowd of birds. “Perch bagging” – I’ll have to remember that one!

    The clocks don’t go back until November 6th here. I have often wished they would just leave the clocks on Standard Time.

  3. I think of you a a very good cook, regardless of the day’s menu.
    Congratulations on your early ride, and to Mrs T for all her hard work in the garden.
    The hanging basket looks splendid.

  4. With all of the delicious food that you’ve described to us in the past, I suppose that there has to be an off day from time to time.

    I loved the white flowers, you out did yourself with these! Of course, all of the flower photos are great, but white is a difficult color to photograph well.

  5. Good ol’ B&Q! Love the arrangement of the flower photos into colours and the bird antics just get better and better! Custard making can be tricky- practice makes perfect.

    1. The goldfinches picture is one of those that I really wish I had taken more care when I taking it as it is not quite as well focussed as I would like but it is a nice composition.

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