The calm before the storm

From canal towpath looking towards the boatyard

Today’s guest picture is another from my sister Mary’s sunny visit to Bath.

From canal towpath looking towards the boatyard

We got up to another grey and miserable morning here although once again it was unseasonably mild.

Mrs Tootlepedal is partially recovered but by no means back to full working order.   She is very touched by the good wishes expressed by readers of the blog.

The grey morning was much improved by the arrival of Dropscone for coffee and his already excellent scones were improved in my case by adding some of Mary Jo’s gift of saskatoon jam to them.  In my view, Dropscone’s plain scones and saskatoon jam are a match made in heaven.

After he left, Mrs Tootlepedal and I set about getting to the bottom of whatever it was that had made our phone line go dead and our internet flicker intermittently. By using our powers of deduction and a small screwdriver, we found the problem and cured it, probably just in time for the town’s power supply to be knocked out be the coming storm Ophelia.

Ophelia has been wreaking havoc in Ireland but it was extremely calm here in the morning and early afternoon.   Our neighbour Liz popped into to ask if we had seen the sun.  We went to have a look.

It was very odd.

The camera found it hard to record the clouds and the sun both in the correct shade but this is definitely how the sun looked.

red sun

It kept changing colour as the cloud of dust passed and I had several goes….

red sun

…until finally it got too bright for both me and the camera to look at.

red sun

It was sufficiently striking to make the news later in the day and the experts say that it was either Saharan sand or Portuguese wild fire particles or both that had provided the film of rusty colour.

After lunch, I had a look round the garden.  The light had improved and the bees and hoverflies were back on duty again.

bees and hoverflyhoverfly on poppy

A late astrantia has come out to join the poppies.

astarntia and poppy

Lilian Austin and Special Grandma add a delightful feminine touch.

Lilian Austin and Special Grandma

Mrs Tootlepedal is going to make more of the ornamental strawberry next year.

ornamental strawberry

But the most exciting thing in the garden is the new tray under the bird feeders which means I can start feeding the birds again.

feeder tray

It is a heavy duty plastic cement mixing tray and Mrs Tootlepedal drilled the neat hole in the centre of it to let the feeder pole fit through.

It was warm (66°F) and fairly still so I took the opportunity to go for a short cycle ride in my outdoor gym and stopped for pictures on my way.

It was rather gloomy as I came back to town on my first lap….

Manse Brae

…but I headed down to Skippers Bridge to take a couple of pictures because I feared that if the storm is as windy as predicted, there may be few leaves on the trees when it is gone.Skippers BridgeLangholm Distillery

On my second lap, there were a few drops of rain and then the sun came out.Glencorf burnHawthornBlochburnfootAuld Stane Brig

Nowadays, the gloomy predictions of storm and tempest are often worse than the reality so keen are the weathermen for us not to be caught unprepared for bad weather so it will be interesting to see what scenes like these will look like in a couple of day’s time.

I looked round the garden when I got back.  I found some more colour.

charles ross applesclimbing hydrangea

…and then went in to see how Mrs Tootlepedal was.  She had been well enough to do a little work in the garden while I pedalling but she is still a bit fragile.

Although the light was fading, I looked at the bird feeders through the windows.

sparrow and blue tit
A gloomy sparrow and an astonished blue tit consider the sodden pink pellets
blue tit
A blue tit sits and thinks

A sparrowhawk flashed through the garden without it catching anything or me catching it.

It astonishes me how quickly birds find out that food of one sort or another is available.  I said to Mrs Tootlepedal only yesterday that I hadn’t seen a sparrowhawk about for weeks.

In the evening my flute pupil Luke came and we had a productive time.  He played at a practice of  our local orchestra yesterday and felt that he had been able to play quite a bit of the music.

In the evening, I went to the Camera Club meeting.  Ten members turned up and we were treated to a very interesting and varied selection of photographs from winter scenes to remind us of what is coming, through stunning local wildlife portraits and action shots and striking black and white studies to a record of a recent African safari, complete with lions, rhinos, hippos and elephants.  We were very well entertained.  One member had brought in some very beautiful large prints which led to a lot of discussion.

The flying bird of the day is having a rest.


It is blowing hard as I write this. Fingers crossed.







Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

32 thoughts on “The calm before the storm

  1. Orange sky here in Somerset here too. As for the big tray, I wonder whether you or the birds are the more delighted at the resumption of feeding!

  2. When you said you’d bought a tray for under the feeder I pictured one much less grand – quite an impressive size. Glad to hear that your portion of Ophelia’s damage was an odd looking sky. I had imagined you and Mrs. T. hanging on to the feeder, legs straight out like a flag!

  3. Great shots of the sun. I’ve never seen it like that, but I have seen it reddish.
    I hope Ophelia treats you better than she did Ireland. Usually these storms tend to blow themselves out once they make landfall here, so maybe Ireland took the wind out of her sails. I hope you’ll have plenty of colorful foliage left when she moves on.
    I’m glad that Mrs. T. is on the mend.

    1. We have had Sahara dust up here before, leaving parked cars covered with it but on this occasion it seemed to be quite high as it passed us and we haven’t seen any great evidence of fall out.

  4. Tray is a great idea good for Mrs T, also glad she is feeling better. We in the highlands have rain but not much wind so far, yesterday it got very dark very weird, course the sun wasn’t out so never saw a red one, the darkness drifted away and that was that. Take care Mrs T.

  5. So glad Mrs T felt well enough to do a bit of gardening.

    I read about your red sun and found it amazing to read that it was from Saharan dust.

    That blue tit looks like it might come up with something ingenious.

    Your autumn landscapes are so beautiful. I hope they don’t get all blown about. I’ll be glad to hear the storm has passed.

  6. Excellent looking tray under the bird table.
    What extraordinary pictures of the sun. We had very eerie light and extremely gusty winds in London but nothing like your dust colours.

  7. Glad Mrs. T is feeling well enough to go out in the garden. That sun had an odd look, to say the least. Stay safe during the storm. Hope it doesn’t do too much damage. Lord, what a season for water and fire (California) it has been.

  8. It will be a pleasure to see the birds and your fine photos of them again, I hope that the tray works as intended.

    The color of the sun there even made the news here, I’m happy for you that you were able to see it and not have it blocked by the clouds.

    The entire area around you seems to be filled with opportunities for great landscape images, but Skipper’s Bridge has to be on the top of the list. I’ll bet that some one could spend several days in that area alone shooting what’s to be seen there.

  9. Lovely to see the birds on the feeder again and hope the tray stops those straying seeds from landing in the borders. Do hope the storm passes you by so you can capture more autumn scenes of colourful woodland. The colour of the sun and the dark skies was really spooky!

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