The sharpest cut

Table Mountain

Today’s guest picture comes from Tom in South Africa.  He was in a position to see the famous Table Mountain but found it covered by the cloud known as the Table Cloth.

Table Mountain

We had another dry and cloudy day here today.  In theory it was quite warm but in practice a real chill in the wind made it feel decidedly parky and it was a day for keeping a coat on if you were outside.

Mrs Tootlepdal went off to Hawick after breakfast on embroidery business and I entertained Dropscone to a cup of coffee (accompanied by some of his traditional Friday treacle scones, still warm from the stove).

After he left, I went out and did some grass cutting and compost sieving.  I am trying to get Bin D emptied so that I can start the process of turning the other bins.  I am getting two new bins made to replace Bin A and Bin B which are showing the same signs of dilapidation as their owner so I need a bit of space to get the new bins into position.

They should be here next week so I am quite excited.

I found a moment or two to watch the birds. They are still in deep discussion about the merits of Brexit and the Trump administration.

chaffinch and goldfinch

Sometimes things get heated….

siskin and redpoll

…and there are signs of a hard landing…


…but other birds are anxious to join in the debate…

Goldfinch leaving plum tree

….it was rare but sometimes harmony broke out and birds flew side by side instead of straight into each other.

side by side flying

The chilly, sunless weather over the past few days has put flower development on hold for the most part but the daffodils are still looking good…


…and a marsh marigold has appeared in the pond.

marsh marigold

Mrs Tootlepedal returned from Hawick in time for a bowl of red soup for a late lunch and when she had finished, she went out into the garden to take advantage of the dry spell.  I made a loaf of bread in the bread machine and got the fairly speedy bike out and set off to do the same 20 mile ride as yesterday.

I did stop for a photo or two today.  The interesting cow at Canonbie was resting…

Canonbie cow

…but it had arranged for a substitute to be available for passing photographers.

Canonbie cow

I stopped near Irvine House for a banana and a drink of water and fortunately chose an flourishing piece of wall to lean my bike against.

It was the wall that had everything.

moss and lichen on wall
It was mostly covered with moss…
…but where a stone was exposed, it was covered with lichen….
canonbie lichen
….of varying colour…
Canonbie wall
…and varieties.

The wind was cold but not unhelpful and after grinding into it up the hill for the first five miles at a snail’s pace, I did the last 15 miles in well under an hour.  Interestingly (to me at least) I ended up doing the ride in the same time as yesterday to within a minute.   I may be slow but I am consistent.

When I got back, I had a look at the yew topiary in the middle of the garden and signs of nibbling made me feel that Attila the Gardener might have been at work….

yew bush

…and a look round the other side, showed that drastic surgery had indeed been undertaken.

In my role as  Onegesius, Attila’s loyal assistant, I lent a hand in sawing off the ball on top of the bush, clipping a bit here and there…


yew bush

… and soon the bush was transformed.  I then helped in tidying up the debris and in no time, everything looked quite calm again.

yew bush

Mrs Tootlepedal gave the ravaged bush some TLC and we have every hope that the side that has been trimmed savagely will soon start to grow again.

It was getting too tall for us to clip easily and it was also encroaching on the path to the bridge over the pond so action had to be taken.

Mrs Tootlepedal had purchased some mutton chops from a traditional butcher in Hawick and she cooked these for our tea.  They were very good.

In the evening, Mike and Alison Tinker came round and Alison and I had one of those hours of playing where we were definitely better than the last time we played the same pieces. It is always enjoyable to play good music but it is more enjoyable if you play better than the week before so this rounded off the day very well.

We are promised a little sunshine tomorrow which will be very welcome.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

flying chaffinch


Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

21 thoughts on “The sharpest cut

  1. There are also reindeer lichens on that wall. They are the whitish, spiky ones.
    Mrs. T obviously has no fear when it comes to shrubbery. That’s an excellent pruning / trimming job considering how much came off.
    The black cow looks much more tense than the brown.

  2. If only we could have the harmony of those birds flying side by side. I see our world as becoming more like the ones flying into each other day by day. The pictures of your garden brightened me up!
    I’m curious about Irvine House. Is it a public house? I work in the city of Irvine and the most interesting thing in that city is determining which shade of beige on the dull office buildings and housing tracts is most predominate.

  3. Great photos of your garden birds. How exciting getting new compost bins-with all the gardening that goes on they’ll get filled very quickly. The gardeners at the garden I volunteer in have just trimmed all their yew trees down to their main trunks too. It will be good to watch how your bush regrows.

  4. I do enjoy photos of the cattle in your area – the variety of hair-dos is always interesting. And hokey-dinah Mrs. T. – that bush must have cowered when it saw you coming with your shears!

  5. Interesting shots, especially the fungi. My neighbor gave me a recumbent bike to nowhere, so if I expect to get any pleasant miles, I will have to look at beautiful places like Scotland on my computer while I peddle. The benefit will be no attacking dogs or broken ribs.

  6. Thank you for posting the marsh marigold. I haven’t seen one in years, and I remember them fondly.

    The bird feeder debate was also quite enjoyable, especially the harmonized flying. One can only hope. I don’t enjoy listening to the news over here.

  7. I’d love to see a photo later on of that yew greening up again. Impressive job.

    I enjoyed the birds’ political discussion. I tend to surround myself with people who share my point of view. That can be a bit lazy and doesn’t change anyone’s mind.

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