Back again

An elephant balancing on its trunk - Frieze scupture Fair - Regent's Park

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who met this nose diving elephant at a Regent’s Park art fair.

An elephant balancing on its trunk - Frieze scupture Fair - Regent's Park

Unfortunately, it was another fine day today.  I say unfortunately because my back was still giving me trouble and I had to waste it by doing nothing more energetic than wandering about the garden and groaning theatrically from time to time.

The sunshine brought out the best in the poppies.





And once again the bees were very busy.

From the shade of the walnut tree, a blackbird stared at me.


The most striking flower was a pot marigold pretending to be a dahlia.

pot marigold

Though I did like  a modest dahlia against a background of phlox.


My back kindly lets me lean forward without trouble so I got the hedge clipper out and trimmed two of the box balls on the front lawn and I was just about to put the clipper away when I was visited by my South African correspondent Tom, who was returning from a cycle ride.  He is staying with family in Langholm for a few weeks and called in to see how I was going on.

He asked me what pictures I would like him to send and I have requested some South African wild flowers so I will wait with interest for what he sends me. Listening to his tales of a months long drought, thorny bushes and venomous snakes made me grateful for for the gentler surroundings of Langholm even if does rain quite a lot here.

We saw a coloured butterfly, probably a red admiral,  whizz past us as we talked but even though I had several searches later on in  the day, I couldn’t see it in the garden and had to settle for one of the frequent white visitors.

white butterfly
There are a lot of these about

A recent picture of an American spirea in a blog that I was reading made me take a look at one of the bushes in our garden.

It has very tiny flowers

One of the astilbes is in top form.


Mrs Tootlepedal went off to Edinburgh to see Matilda.  Sitting in  a train didn’t seem like a good idea to me so I stayed at home.  This turned out to be a very good decision as her train was held up by a broken down train in front and the journey took an hour and a half longer than it should have.

This left me still wandering about the garden as sitting down for long is not an option at the moment.

The first rudbeckia is out…

rudbeckia and clematis

…and the Cherokee or Ooh La La clematis is lasting very well.

The day clouded over in the afternoon and I spent most of it inside relearning and instantly forgetting songs for the Carlisle choir concert in a month or so.

I did go out and look at blackbirds.


Then I set the camera up on a tripod upstairs and looked out of the window to see what the blackbirds were doing.  It mostly seemed to involve sitting on hedges…


…sometimes with friends.

blackbird and sparrows

I feel that there are more blackbirds about in the garden this year than ever before.

Mrs Tootlepedal’s return train journey was more successful than the outward trip and she got back safely.

I did go out on my slow bike to deliver a letter during the afternoon and I passed Mike and Alison hard at work in their garden on my way.  They gave me some sound back treatment advice and although I rather dismissed it at the time, I followed it when I got home and it turned out to be be very good.  It is possibly a sensible idea to take advice when offered from a retired doctor and nurse.

I nearly got a genuine flying bird of the day today.



Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

30 thoughts on “Back again

  1. You finally have a couple of nice days, and your back goes on the fritz, isn’t that the way it goes.

    I assume that you’re using a macro lens for the flowers, whether it is or not doesn’t matter, as the images are outstanding. Of course it helps to have such beautiful flowers as subjects to begin with.

    I’m looking forward to more bird photos shot with the new Sigma also.

  2. Back trouble. Occasionally, but fortunately, not too frequently, I get this. At risk of repetition but better twice than not at all, here’s what I do that works very well. Whereas I thought sciatica was the culprit, it turned out that lumbar facet syndrome was the cause. Standing upright, feet shoulder-width apart, turn slowly and as far as possible from side to side, holding the extreme position for three seconds or so. Only five turns each side brings relief. This might help you or there again, it might not.

    1. Sciatica is the culprit here. I had an operation on a disc in the early eighties and from time to time, often for no particular reason, I set it off again. But it should only last a day or two with luck. I shall try your exercise anyway. It can’t do anything but good.

  3. Very sorry back is still troubling you and hope the neighbourly advice continues to lead to improvement.
    Very clear images – loved the blackbird sitting on the hedge looking at you with a quizzical eye.

  4. I guess your troublesome back does give you more time to stop and smell the roses…or photograph the poppies. They are stunning and definitely deserve an oh la la if you ask me 😊

  5. Pot marigolds give such a great deal of pleasure and quite one of my favourite flowers as they just pop up and give a ray of sunshine even on a rainy day. The variety of beautiful poppies you have in your garden is amazing. The blackbirds look chirpy and bright. Keep doing the exercises!

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