Not up to much

Peterborough Cathedral

Today’s guest picture comes from visit my brother Andrew paid to Peterborough Cathedral last month.

Peterborough Cathedral

Whatever the opposite of the saying, “Every cloud has a silver lining,” is applied to us today.  After a very grey day yesterday, we woke to brilliant sunshine but unfortunately it was accompanied by a brisk and very chilly north wind. It was brisk and chilly enough to keep me off the bike in a cowardly sort of way for the whole day but I did try to do some other things instead.

I started off by going to the producers’ market in the Buccleuch Centre and topping up on meat, fish, cheese, honey and beetroot. The cheese this month was particularly delicious.

When I got back, I had a check on the garden flowers.

daisy, astrantia, yarrow, marigold, crocosmia and nasturtium
There is still some colour left.

Then I set about finishing the turning of Bin B into Bin C and starting the turning of Bin A into Bin B.  I am touching all the wood that I can see as I write this but my back must be in unusually good condition as I have been able to shift the compost much more quickly than normal on this occasion without any bad effects (so far).

The strong and cold winds affected the number of birds coming into the garden to quite an extent and even those that did come in seemed happier perching in the plum tree than eating seeds.

greenfinch, blue tit and chaffinch

There was hardly a goldfinch to be seen which suggests that perhaps they live quite far way and the journey wasn’t considered worthwhile today.

The birds did come out of the plum tree in the end and a lone goldfinch joined them.

goldfinch, greenfinch and chaffinch

They seemed to be rather jittery though so perhaps there were cats or a sparrowhawk around loitering with intent.

chaffinch and blue tit
No one stayed long at the feeder.

I had a good crossword to do which kept me entertained until lunchtime.  It was very annoying though as it was the sort where you solve 26 clues starting with the letters from a to z  and then fit the solutions in to a grid with no clue numbers wherever they will go and I just couldn’t get my answers to fit the grid.  In the end I gave up and went for a walk.

This was a gentle three mile walk past the Kilngreen, along the Lodge walks, up through the wood and then back to the North Lodge and home via the pheasant hatchery and the Duchess Bridge.  It was designed to keep me out of the wind for as much time as possible and in  that respect, it worked very well.

As I went past the church on my way down to the river, I had another look at the tree stump and fungus by the wall across the Wauchope.  It is hard to miss the fungi.

tree stump with fungus

I looked up the Esk from the Meeting of the Waters when I got there and reflected that winter is definitely on its way now.


The sun was already low in the sky and brown is getting to be a predominate colour.

I caught a gull flying past a bit of the remaining autumn colour.

black headed gull
The camera couldn’t quite believe what it was seeing.

Then I walked on up the Lodge Walks….

Lodge Walks
With almost as many leaves on the ground as on the trees

…before heading up through the woods to the track along the top.

track to North Lodge

On my way round, I saw several patches of fungus and  I have put some of them in a frame.


I saw some other things which interested me too.

odd things

As I walked back along the side of the pheasant hatchery towards the Duchess Bridge, although I was in deep shade, I was able to look across the field and enjoy the views.

Trees on castleholm
Trees neatly trimmed at exactly cattle height
Larches on Castle Hill
Blazing larches in the last of the sunshine on Castle Hill

The river was so low that I was pleased to be able to scramble down the bank after I had crossed the Duchess Bridge and look back up at the bridge.  It is an elegant structure.

Duchess Bridge

As you can see from the picture, the river banks are quite steep here so I was even  more pleased to be able to scramble back up again and continue my walk to the Jubilee Bridge…

Jubilee Bridge

…which is not quite so elegant.

I don’t think that the river can often have been as low in early November as it is at present.  We have been really lucky with the rain over recent weeks.

When I got home, I finished shifting the compost from Bin A into Bin B and we are now ready for Attila the Gardener to beginning filling Bin A again and starting the whole process off once more.

compost bins
Bins A to D from left to right as we look. Functional rather than stylish.

Sceptics might think that the compost would still rot down well enough if I just left it alone and didn’t bother with all this heaving and shifting and sieving but then what would I do for fun?

I had to ring up my sister Mary and get her help to finish that tricky crossword.

In the evening, apple fritters made a return by popular demand and they rounded the day off nicely.

The flower of the day is a defiant poppy….


…and the flying bird of the day is a pheasant.  This type of pheasant shooting is less noisy than using a gun.

flying phaesant

I noticed when I came to look at my pictures in the evening that although it was cold and windy outside and the days are getting a lot shorter, I still managed to take 110 pictures today.  I must try to get out less.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

34 thoughts on “Not up to much

  1. You’re very lucky to still have so many flowers blooming. Even asters and goldenrods are sleeping here and now the only color comes from lichens, mosses, fungi and foliage.
    I’m finding a few fungi now that we’ve had some rain but nothing like your finds. That’s quite an assortment; one looks like a giant puffball.
    The larches on the hillside are spectacular, and so is that flying pheasant. I’m surprised that it didn’t have its wings clipped.
    All that shifting of compost is one reason your garden is as beautiful as it is. There isn’t much you can add to soil that’s better.

    1. The single morning of frost was quite enough to finish the garden off. There are still of lot of leaves on the walnut tree.
      The pheasants have to fly otherwise the shooters would be able to shoot them. Sensible pheasants learn to stay on the ground.

      The combination of compost and Mrs Tootlepedal’s manure mine pays dividends.

  2. I enjoy those type of crossword and feel extremely pleased with myself if I can fit the words in. Wonderful selection of fungi, beautiful larches and a handsome FBotD.

  3. I hope that you don’t get out less, although with winter coming, I’m sure that it will happen.

    Loved the flying pheasant, what a great catch! The bridges and flowers were also a welcome sight, but seeing the compost piles may have been too exciting for some people. 😉

    1. I hadn’t worried about snakes until now. Our bins are so much more scruffy than your neat ones so maybe snakes will turn up their noises at them.

  4. No mention of Bonfire Night but those autumn colours give plenty of sparkle instead! I’ve always wondered who does those crosswords that are fiendishly tricky…now I know! Lovely photos of the pheasant, poppy and gull and all the rest too.

  5. A lovely collection of photos as always, but your Flying Pheasant of the Day is exceptional.

    I quite trying to have compost bins here, and just pile it up now. Seems to work well for starting new garden beds inside of straw bale boundaries. It rains so much here and there are so many slugs, it is all broken down by spring. When the boundaries rot down, I push them inward and spread them over the top like mulch. A top dressing of fresh soil in spring and all is good to go. I do use a mycorrhizal fungi-fertilizer mix when transplanting residents into the new beds. I like Ruth Stout’s approach to gardening.

    1. The no dig approach has it merits and Mrs Tootlepedal does a lot of heaped mulch in the vegetable garden but it has disadvantages when you want neat flower beds. We would like to have enough room for the traditional compost heap but I enjoy turning the bins so I don’t mind.

  6. Every time I see pheasants I’m reminded of the Roald Dahl story, Danny, Champion of the World, where he saves all the pheasants during a pleasant shoot. Quite an amusing tale. It’s an excellent FBOTD. That glorious red poppy appears as though it is magically suspended in the air and what a feast of fungi for my eyes. I do think your autumn colours very pretty although I know they herald some very unpleasant weather to come.

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: