Good use of a grey day

Liz in the dam

Today’s guest picture most unusually comes from Mrs Tootlepedal.  She took this picture of our neighbour Liz hard at work in the dam.

Liz in the dam

Unlike yesterday, I hardly stirred from the house and garden all day.  I did pop up to the town after breakfast to oversee the transfer of some unwanted stacking chairs from the Archive Centre to the Langholm Initiative.  As this involved merely opening the door and watching as two strong young men whisked the chairs out into a van and then locking the door again, it wasn’t very taxing or time consuming.

Once I got home, the day became all action.  It was dry and warm, even if it was cloudy, and too good a day not to get busy around the garden.

Because some work was being done elsewhere, the sluice to our dam was shut and this gave our neighbour Liz the chance to get busy cleaning out the part of the dam that runs along her garden and when I say busy, I am understating the case.  When she had finished, with a little help from Mrs Tootlepedal….

Dam cleaned

…the dam was auditioning for the role of Langholm’s first deep water port.

When most of the work was done, I made coffee for the workers and Liz and Mrs Tootlepedal and I were joined by another neighbour, Margaret and between us, we cured many of the evils that are besetting the world at the moment.  It is just a pity that no local or world leaders were present to take our sage advice.

I hadn’t been entirely idle while the waterworks were going on and had managed to mow a patch of grass or two….

middle and front lawn

…trying my best to ignore signs which may indicate that Attila the gardener has plans to mangle my sward.

lawn works

Then I dead headed a lot of dahlias, calendula and poppies.  The poppies are still looking a fresh as when they first appeared….


…or even fresher.


One poppy had something that was not a bee on it and I was curious and took a closer look…


…without being much wiser as to what it was.


Perhaps because it wasn’t sunny, the poppies were not being pestered by bees to the same extent as they have been recently but there were still quite a lot about…

poppy with bees

…and on the dahlias as well.

bumble bees on dahlia

The large bumble on the left loves this dahlia and stayed on it for hours today.   There are so many different kinds of bumble bee that I can’t identify this one.

***Spoiler alert***

Infantile humour arriving.  Beware!

One I can identify, thanks to my knowledge of Rachmaninov, is this one….


…which is of course, the bum of the flightlebee.  (Sorry)

***normal service has been resumed***

The Special Grandma rose, which is well sheltered from the elements, is going bananas.

Special Grandma rose

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal and Liz started on the dam behind our house on our side of the road and I did some more mowing….

green house grass and the drying green

….with the flymo…

….checked out a red admiral in profile and full wing…

red admiral
It is hard to recognise these pictures as the same butterfly

…..and then set about trimming the hedge along the road.



…and after.


As I explained to a passer by, I wasn’t aiming for geometrical precision.  Having just been to the south of France where the post impressionist painters worked, I told her that I had been inspired to create a post impressionist hedge, a hedge which didn’t look exactly like a boringly real hedge but a hedge which gave an impression of a hedge as an artist might see it, possibly while slightly drunk.  She seemed to think that I had succeeded admirably.

When I had finished the hedge, I went to see what the workers were doing.  Attila had her team beautifully regimented…

Dam team

…and their work rate was impressive.  The plan was to cut back the potentillas and thin out the dead wood until the side of the dam was clear, leaving the possibility of some variety next year. The plan was comprehensively executed….

potentilla clearing

…as were the potentillas.

I helped by barrowing away the prunings and offering helpful advice wherever it was needed….


…though I took time out to admire the fuchsia on our back wall….

bee and butterfly

…and celebrate the peaceful sharing nature of bee and butterfly on a sedum while I was dropping off a barrowload of branches.


There were innumerable barrowloads of clippings and I was happy to pause again to admire the nasturtiums and cosmos at the front gate on one of the trips.

nasturtiums and cosmos

In the end, even the indefatigable Liz and Mrs Tootlepedal proved human and work was stopped for the day.  To celebrate, I provided a large pot of tea and made some toast.  The toast was all the better for being eaten with some Saskatoon Jelly.  This had been very generously given to me by my Canadian correspondent Mary Jo when she met us in London at the weekend.

It was delicious.

Interestingly, although I had never heard of Saskatoon Jelly, it turns out to come from the plant Amelanchier alnifolia and Mrs Tootlepedal thinks there is a variety of Amelanchier  growing in a neighbour’s garden.

Throughout the day, I was keeping an eye out for walnuts which had fallen from our walnut tree.


In spite of, or perhaps because of,  our cool summer, the are plenty of nuts around and quite a lot of them are full of nutty goodness.  Jackdaws pick them from the tree and then often seem to drop them so that neighbours quite a distance away sometimes come upon walnuts in their own gardens.

There was a certain sagging at the end of a busy day but I was sufficiently refreshed by the last of the venison stew to get myself out for a Langholm Sings choir practice.  It was very well attended and as the music was varied and enjoyable, I was pleased to have made the effort.

During the day, I visited Liz to check out her electric lawn mower.  It seems both efficient and easy to use.  I am thinking of declaring our Flymo past its use by date and her mower looks like a good type of replacement.  As well as the mower, I couldn’t help noticing a very pretty rose growing on a trellis on her wall and it is the flying bird of the day.

Liz's rose



Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

32 thoughts on “Good use of a grey day

  1. Such a lot of clearing, pruning and tidying going on in your garden today! The roses and poppies are looking lovely! Thank-you for the infantile humour – just my level!

  2. Garden expansion is just a thing gardeners do, but it does look like quite a chunk of lawn will be sacrificed.
    I’m sure that was a terrible lot of work on the dam but it does look very nice when finished.
    We call the native Amelanchier “shad bush.” It’s fruit was prized by native Americans, who dried it and used it in their pemmican. It helped them survive our often brutal winters.

  3. Very impressive bork on the dam indeed. A thoroughly and satisfyingly productive day. You well deserved the delicious jelly.

    1. I like a bit of mowing. It brings balm to the soul. But the new layout looks to have possibilities so I await the results with interest. (I avoided any dam buster references with great restraint I thought 🙂 )

  4. Today is a perfect example of why I would continue to read your blog even if you stopped shooting such wonderful photos. The post impressionist hedge and bum of the flightlebee both had me chuckling out loud!

  5. As always, your industry is amazing. Something in the air or water? We have an electric mower and like it very much. One less machine belching carbon into the the atmosphere. Now, for that electric car…

      1. Yes, the cost. Sigh. It is a major factor in preventing us from getting one. I’m hoping as production ramps up, that cost will go down.

  6. What a good read – greatly enjoyed your description of the hedge trimming project! Also liked the photo of the dam workers, dog included. Glad you enjoyed the jelly, and am not at all surprised that Mrs. Toot would know the Latin name as well as the location of some berries.

  7. Chuckling aloud is allowed when I read your blog! A hoot every minute. Was the road sign next to your artistic hedge warning about ladies at work ? Head gardeners always want to make larger borders it’s in their nature and they rely on the under gardener to keep the border edges trim and straight. Love the Grandma rose.

    1. The head gardener does a lot of the edge trimming herself as she does not like to wait too long for neatness which she might have to do if she relied on me. The road sign applies to the hole in the road over the bridge across the dam which may well never be repaired as far as we can see.

  8. Haha! Loved the reference to Rachmaninov! Nice one! Also the regimented workers, including the dog. I know I have some catching up to do in the reading department as I’ve been away for a few days but this post really gave my spirits a lift this morning.

  9. I have a photo of a wasp I didn’t post this month to match your flightlelbee. Perhaps at the end of October it will post. 🙂

    Liz and Mrs. T. make a formidable pair.

    I love the walnut panel. That should be framed and hanging on your kitchen wall.

  10. An absolutely perfect day. I love everything about it. The dam work reminds me of how I loved to work in my pond at the old house. Plus a funny bee pun and photos of the lawn and the intrigue of what Mrs T will do next. Five stars!

    Acquiring the Special Grandma rose is still on my list.

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