Two surprises; one bad, one good

Helmet heads

Today’s guest picture of helmet hair was sent to me by my Maine correspondent.  She had been for a 13 mile cycle ride and tells me that she, Laurie is in the picture  with her husband Clif . They live in Winthrop, Maine, and that picture was taken at Norcross Point, which is by Maranacook Lake in Winthrop.

Helmet heads

There was  no chance of me getting a helmet hair shot today as I woke up with a very bad back and struggled to walk let alone cycle.   I have had long standing back problems but today’s trouble was a nasty surprise as I have been quite pain free and flexible for some time.  It was probably caused by something as simple as sitting in an unaccustomed chair and will soon go away with careful use.  Still, it wasted a genuinely warm and sunny day which was a pity.


I staggered out into the garden after breakfast just to record the sunshine.

I really liked this crumpled paper poppy with a bee flying in.


That completed my activity for the morning.

The other surprise of the day was a triumph of good service.

A few days ago I decided to take advantage of a part exchange offer from WEX, a photographic supplier.  I sent off the details of the the lens I wanted to exchange and got a very good offer which I accepted. The firm sent me prepaid labels and I posted off my lens on the understanding that they might well alter their offer when they had examined the lens closely.

I thought that the offer was a bit too good to be true and wondered whether my description of the lens as ‘lightly used’ might be a bit optimistic.  The firm rang me and told me that their examiner had indeed downgraded my view of the state of the lens by a grade and naturally, I feared the worst.  Would the offer be halved?  It had seemed too good to be true.  I held my breath.

The price will have to be reduced they said.  Then they told me by how much and I breathed out.  Since the reduction was only about 8% of the total this was but a trifle and I accepted the new valuation with alacrity.

When I rang up the sales team half an hour later, my trade in was safely credited to my account and I was able to purchase not only the new lens that I wanted but a new photo printer to go with it.

This was yesterday.  The printer and the lens arrived today! I don’t believe that I have ever received such prompt, fair and reliable service.

To add to my happiness, the printer was soon set up and worked well.

As far as the lens went, Mrs Tootlepedal drove me up to the Moorland Feeders and I pointed it at some birds.  It is early days but it looks quite promising to me.  Here is a selection of the results.

blue titcoal titcoal titgreat titblue tittree creeperwoodpeckerwoodpeckergreefinchchaffinch

For the technically minded, the new lens is a Sigma 150-600mm and it should let me improve the quality of my bird pictures when I have mastered it.

On our way home, Mrs Tootlepedal first stopped to buy a battery for a humane cat scarer which she recently purchased as she is fed up with cats making a mess of her flower and vegetable beds and then stopped again at the Kilngreen.

I was hoping for a flying gull to test the new lens but instead I found Mr Grumpy sitting down, a most unusual sight indeed.


Perhaps he had a bad back too.

When  we got home, my back was eased enough to let me mow the middle and front lawns although my mower pushing style was a bit inelegant.

Then I took a picture or two.

Cat scarer
The cat scarer in position. It works with ultrasonic noise.

The handbook says darkly that it doesn’t work at all on deaf cats….or white cats…or very old cats…or perhaps any cats.  They offer no guarantees.  We shall see.

Mrs Tootlepedal was hanging the onions up to dry in the greenhouse.


The last of the rambler roses.

rambler rose

Then I went in and sat down for the rest of the day.

There have been quite enough birds already in the post so no flying bird of the day in any shape or form.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

54 thoughts on “Two surprises; one bad, one good

  1. I like the photos with the new lens. Hope your back gets better soon. I used to have a cat scarer in the form of an old boot which I used to throw at the cats never thinking I would hit them until one day I did. The cat was OK but has never been seen in my garden again.

  2. Ouch I hope your back is better soon. The paper poppy is quite peculiar, I don’t think I knew such a flower existed. The lens looks magnificent on it’s trial run. Sounds heavy though!

  3. I’m glad your bad back didn’t prevent you from enjoying your new toy. May it give you years of pleasure – or anyway until you decide you’d like to upgrade again. How lovely to see a greenfinch. I saw a solitary one, once, in my garden months ago – perhaps it was even last year.

  4. Sorry to hear about your back. I’ve had a lifetime of issues with mine and I’ve found that the best medicine is simply walking it off. If you can walk, that is.

    I’ve never seen such a crumpled poppy and I’ve never seen a heron sitting down like that. I suppose they must do it all the time when they’re nesting though.

    I used to keep cats out of gardens with brush lightly piled along the rows. It seemed to be enough of a bother to make them go somewhere else.

  5. I’m sorry to hear of your back troubles, on a day when you received a new lens too. I’ve heard good things about that lens, and it seems to do a wonderful job so far.

    I’ve looked into trading some of my older camera gear in on new, the place I checked offered me ten cents on the dollar that I paid for the items to begin with. For that little, I decided to keep the old stuff as back-ups to my newer stuff.

    1. I got an offer that I couldn’t refuse. I was very pleasantly surprised. Ten cents on the dollar is not a good offer but your equipment must be always pretty well used. I hadn’t used my lens very much which was why I was happy to swap it.

  6. What could be worse than back pain on the day when you’ve received a new lens? The new lens looks to work quite well, I hope that it does for years to come. Loved the crumpled paper poppy also.

  7. Sorry your back sabotaged you, but very happy to hear your story of such excellent service. A rare thing indeed. The crumpled paper poppy is remarkable! If the cat scarer thingy doesn’t work out, you could always get a dog!

  8. I’m sorry about your bad back. I hope you get well soon. Congratulations on your new lens! I use a Sigma 150-500 for my birds, you’re already familiar with the results. Your samples photos look very good. 🙂

  9. Up close and personal, the new lens seems a good buy. The crumpled flower and bee is indeed a good shot. Hope the back is better soon and all the best with the cat scarer.

  10. Sorry about your back; such a nuisance! Still the new lens and being the recipient of such wonderful service offers a little light.
    Wonderful photos today. Mr Grumpy looks decidedly guilty

  11. Hope your back is on the mend soon. I’ve used WEX many times and always been impressed with their customer service. Enjoy your new lens!

  12. Clif and i do our country proud with our extremely messy helmet heads. Good luck with the cat scarer, and I hope your back feels better soon.

  13. That’s a fine example of helmet hair. I would send you a picture of mine, but I fear I may be disqualified by lack of a helmet and a sparsity of hair.

    Hope the back continues to improve. The lens seems good, though I think the birds could have smartened themselves up a bit. 🙂

  14. Very impressed with the new lens, looking forward to seeing more examples with it.
    Be interested to see how you get on with the cat scarer. Looks very like one we tried some time ago, the local cats used it as a scratching post.
    Hope the back is better soon.

  15. Gosh everyone above has said just what I was going to write! Pleased you found a firm that gave such great service, hope your back gets better soon, love the poppy and really love the photos with the new lens. We have two cats and litter trays indoors and we too have other cats messing our garden…it’s not fair! I wonder if the scarer will work on rabbits that are eating my plants.

  16. The crumpled poppy is an interesting photo! Mr. Grumpy looks quite perplexed sitting down like that, but I imagine even he gets tired.

    We have found that rolling up bird netting and putting it around plants seems to discourage birds and other creatures from digging around the plants. They don’t seem to like stepping on the polypropylene mesh. It is not very aesthetic though. Good luck with the ultrasonic cat deterrent.

  17. We had one of those cat-scarers at a former house. It seemed to reduce the visits from neighbours’ cats a little. We found the batteries needed replacing quite frequently as the signals were sent out whenever anything moved in front of the scarer; blowing grass, birds, gardeners etc. Also it works best when it is moved to different locations very regularly. The cats get used to the unpleasant noise and soon work out where it is coming from. It works best when used alongside other deterrents, which are all a bit hit-and-miss as you are aware.

  18. It was a bit startling to see a photo of my my Maine neighbor (almost), Laurie, on a blog in an entirely different part of the world. It’s a bit like an odd group of worldwide penpals. Lovely.

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