Top and tail

fairy ring

Today’s guest picture comes from Mrs Tootlepedal.  She found a very prominent fairy ring on her brother’s lawn.

fairy ring

Mrs Tootlepedal is still away visiting her mother, whose hundred and first birthday is imminent.  This means that I am having to make up my mind for myself here with no assistance and this is quite wearing.  On top of this, I am getting rather fat because every time I wander into the kitchen to share an interesting thought with Mrs Tootlepedal, she isn’t there and I eat something instead.  Luckily she will be back next week and all will be well.

The forecast offered a dry morning and a wet afternoon so in an ideal world, I would get up promptly and go for a cycle ride and then do useful things indoors in the afternoon.

It turned out to be an ideal world.

I didn’t waste any time in the garden but got on the bike after breakfast and did thirty miles.  I stopped for one picture….

Esk at Hollows

…just to prove that I had been out.  The wind was lighter than of late but the sky was grey so it was not a day for views.

I did notice when I got home that I had a serious outbreak of helmet hair which I have decided to share.  Nervous readers should look away now.

helmet hair

I flattened my hair down and mowed the greenhouse grass, did some poppy dead heading, cut down some plants which were beyond their sell by date and had a walk round the garden.

The poppies had appreciated the dry morning.


This was my favourite poppy of the day.


The should be a mixture of poppies and cornflowers growing round the front lawn but they are both taking their time thanks to the cool weather. Still, there are a few cornflowers about.


As I walked between the flowers and the compost bins during my tidying up, I couldn’t help but enjoy the jumble of white clematis and red rose on the arch through to the veg garden…

clematis and rose

…and the clematis growing along the fence too.


If every flower has the same number of petals, there must be three different clematis growing there as I can see flowers with six, five and four petals in the picture.

I am always interested in fruits and berries and so are the birds.  I am keeping an eye on the plums and the blackbirds are keeping an eye on the rowan berries.

plum and rowan

Those rowan berries are in a neighbour’s garden.  Ours aren’t quite as ripe yet.

My neighbour Liz kindly took a surplus turnip off my hands and I picked some more carrots and beetroot. I am eating the beetroot at golf ball size and they are absolutely delicious as snacks.

After lunch, the forecasters’ predictions arrived in the form of a persistent spell of rain which lasted several hours.   I caught up on my correspondence and packed up the camera lens which I am trading in, having been offered a very fair price by the company which will sell me my new lens.  I then braved the rain and took the parcel up to the post office only to find the that post office was closed.

I brought the parcel home again and did some muttering.

Then I did some ironing …and a bit more muttering until getting a bit of advice from the ‘Call Mrs Tootlepedal Hotline’.

I had corned beef hash for my tea and was pleasantly surprised to find that our new potatoes taste very good when mashed and fried.

Recently I have had a choir to go to on a Wednesday night but that has finished now so finding that the rain had stopped, I filled in the time by wandering aimlessly about.

The bed at the end of the drive gave me a cheerful farewell as I left the garden.

pot marigolds and nasturtiums

For some reason, the rather grey light seem to suit the church so I stopped being aimless and pointed the camera at it as I passed.

Langholm Parish Church

Our usual mallards have been joined by several darker ducks with bright white breasts this summer.

darker duck

A little research tells me that they are probably mallard hybrids rather than anything more exotic.

I exchanged a few words with Mr Grumpy as I walked down to the Kilngeen…


…and thought that a bunch of ragwort on the bank of the Esk just above the Meeting of the Waters added a nice touch to the scene.


I was pleased to find that there was still a banded snail or two on the stump of one of felled trees along the Lodge Walks.


Although the evening was fundamentally grey and it looked as though it might well rain, every now and again a shaft of sunshine illuminated the scene….but always a little bit away from where I was.

sunshine behind trees
Like behind a tree….
sunshine on the Esk
…or round a bend in the river…
…or on top of a hill.

But I got round dry and saw a most unusual thing on my way.

A ragwort plant with no insects on it.

It was nearly seven o’clock by this time so perhaps all the insects had gone home to bed.

My last picture was a pleasing tangle of grasses.


No flying bird of the day but there is a very badly painted blackbird and a splashy sparrow.


sparrow splashing
There were plenty of puddles to choose from.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

48 thoughts on “Top and tail

  1. The pink poppy just glows and you can’t beat the blue of a cornflower. I wish we had ragwort here but I never see it.
    I’ve never seen banded snail either. It has a pretty shell.
    Mr. Grumpy must have been having a very bad day. He looks even grumpier than usual.

  2. Loved the helmet hair! Okay, not really. I did love the cornflower and the images that you shot while on your walk though. I agree with Allen, Mr. Grumpy looks more grumpy than usual, but he’s still striking.

  3. British weather is predictably unpredictable a lot of the time. I try not to travel Predictability Road too often, Tom. I am thinking seriously about taking a recently resurfaced road to Chaos and Confusion: a new kind of retirement village nearby, which I’m led to believe offers exciting views, shorter straights, moderate hills, and attracts the better class of cyclist. The publicity leaflet States: “For those yearning adventure on the road to the great unknown.”

    1. I am for once, lost for words, Mike.


      Oh, there you go, I have found some. I never yearn for adventure fortunately and obviously Chaos and Confusion is not the place for me as I am not a better class of cyclist. I will continue to dwell in the land of Mumble and Mutter, the spot for the mildly distressed.

      1. I was referring to a direction I might be taking, Tom. I believe different strategies apply north of the border, although the outcome
        may well be similar all over the globe. It might only be the length of a journey and the degree of complexity that differ. Chaos and confusion is likely to reign at the end. Chaos and confusion might be a hardwired brain system that enables us to complete our final journey.

        Maybe Mumbo and Mutter Land is similar to Worcestershire’s Chaos and Confusion Retirement Home.

  4. Mr G, though a little ruffled, looks quite philosophical about the so-called summer weather. Glad you had a blink of sunshine, we had nothing but rain and strong wind.

    1. The persistent heavy rain showers are making things quite soggy for the first time for months but as long as there is an hour or two of dry weather here and there, it is not too bad.

  5. Your helmet hair brought Vivian from The Young Ones to mind. Mr Grumpy looks like he is an accomplished mutterer…those unpredictable Post Office hours!!

  6. Seeing your helmet hair made me laugh out loud. Oh, you should see what Clif and I look like after a bike ride. Pretty silly! Happy, happy birthday to Mrs. Tootlepedal’s mother.

      1. We now have a stunning shot of our helmet heads. If you would like it, email me, and I’ll send the picture. (You should have my email address attached to any one of my comments. If not, let me know, and I will send it to you.)

      2. I sent you a picture and then a separate email with a bit of info. Hope you got them both.

  7. On the subject of mumbo-jumbo, ragwort (pronounced ragwurt) is indeed injurious to animals and humans alike; however, its bitter taste usually stops most sentient beings from eating it – cinnabar caterpillars are the exception. If animals have nothing else to eat, they might munch on it. I believe ragwort looses some of its bitter taste when cut and baled, but it remains poisonous: check hay bales. The marsh cattle won’t knowingly eat it, but there is always an exception to any rule. The marsh cattle eat giant hogweed, which is a very injurious plant, without any apparent discomfort or injury.

    The marsh cattle also live surrounded by badgers without any injurious affect, so I’m against culling badgers in an attempt to reduce the spread of TB. There is much mumbo-jumbo talked.

      1. There is a lot of ragwort on the north marsh and the plants are covered in cinnabar caterpillars. There are around 30 different species of insects reliant on ragwort.

    1. I was informed by a ragwort enthusiast that horses and cattle will ignore it; the problem does indeed arise when it is cut with grass and fed to them. I also agree with you about the Bovine Tb issue, it is far more complicated and nuanced than the Gov. will accept and persecuting wildlife is not the answer.

  8. Love the pink poppy and cornflower solo photos and the bunch of bright ragwort. Birthday greetings to M rs Tootlepedal’s mum.

  9. Got here a day late, but it was worth the wait, as I laughed out loud at your commentary more than once! The shell part of the banded snail is lovely – the snail part, well, not quite lovely.

  10. Our high temperatures were mitigated somewhat, and stayed around 102 today. Smoke from forest fires has darkened the skies a bit, saving us from 107 degrees as predicted. I watered the garden early today, but some plants still looked a bit stressed this evening.

    I love these cool, wet and green photos in your post. All the flowers are lovely, and the birds enjoying good bathing puddles. The banded snail is particularly beautiful.

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