A bit of a blow

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who went with my sister Susan to visit the refurbished temperate glass house at Kew Gardens.  It was worth the trip.

Kew glass house

The big question, after a night listening to the wind howling round the house and rain battering at the windows, was would there be anything left?

We got off lightly with no structural damage and the electricity still working but the plants were not quite so lucky.  Tall thin plants did the worst….

foxglove collapsewindblow in gardenlupin collapse

…while flowers sheltered behind stout hedges did the best.

peonyLilian Austinrose

It all depended on your point of view.  I felt that we had done well with plenty left still standing for me to photograph while Mrs Tootlepedal, who of course had done all the work to get the flowers to grow in the first place, mourned those that were gone.

The wind was still blowing rather alarmingly in the morning even though the rain had stopped.  Indeed, it didn’t seem to have rained as much as the noise in the night would have indicated and the garden soon dried up.  By the afternoon, the sun had come out and if you could get out of the persistent wind, it was quite a nice day.  I mowed the drying green and the greenhouse grass while Mrs Tootlepedal went off to do some shopping.

I also took a look at the birds.  I saw this young blackbird sitting on a fence when I glanced out of the back window while passing through the sitting room.

young blackbird

Out of the usual window I could see that here were plenty of sparrows at the feeder today….

sparrows at feeder

…and Mrs Tootlepedal had put out a suet ball on the kitchen windowsill in the hope of attracting sparrows there too.  It worked.

sparrows on windowsill

I had used the gloomy morning weather as a motivation to put a couple of weeks of the newspaper index into the Langholm Archive Group database but the afternoon looked good enough for an expedition so I got my new bike out and tested the wind.

It really is an excellent bicycle.  It turns out to be extremely stable in strong and gusty crosswinds and for some reason which is hard to explain, it is also almost a pleasure to cycle into the wind when riding it.  Whether it is the frame design and riding position, or the aerodynamics of the bike or the very user friendly gear system, or a combination of all three, riding into a strong breeze is not at all a discouraging experience.

This was lucky as the wind was certainly strong today, gusting to well over 30mph as I went along.

I stopped to see how much water was going over the little cascade near Wauchope Schoolhouse after the overnight rain.

wauchope cascade

The answer was not a great deal.

I noticed a pretty yellow wild flower in the grass beside the river.  It is probably a meadow vetchling.


A bit of the roadside verge had become waterlogged through poor drainage during the wet winter. Now it is home to a small forest of horsetail.


Because of the strong wind, I skulked about in the valley bottom and did two laps of the seven mile trip to Wauchope Schoolhouse and back.   I cycled  through the town and down to the river when I got home and checked to see if the young oyster catchers were still at the water’s edge.

young oyster catcher

They were there with their fluffy feathers getting ruffled by the wind.

The parents were there too, rather indignant at my presumption in  taking pictures of their children.

oyster catcher

I surprised myself by really enjoying my 14 mile windy ride and I had enough energy left to mow the middle lawn.

In the evening, Susan arrived and we drove to Carlisle to play with our recorder group. As we drove down there was a little rain but some sunshine too and this provided us with a splendid rainbow which we took as a sign that the stormy weather was over.

As always, some of the pieces we played went better than others but there were enough of the sound performances to make the evening good fun and the biscuits with the after-playing cup of tea  were very tasty too.

A flying bird of the day today, one of the sparrows at the feeder.

flying sparrow





Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

31 thoughts on “A bit of a blow

  1. I’m glad your place did as well as it did, although it is too bad about the flowers. It’s great that the bike holds up so well–that must be very gratifying.

  2. I can understand Mrs. T.s disappointment. It’s rare for lupines to look as good as those did. I’m glad the peonies and roses did better.
    I think the horsetails are home to stay. I doubt anyone will be able to rid the spot of them now.
    Glad the storm didn’t cause any damage to the house.

  3. Heavens! That must really hurt after all the work Mrs T put in, to see them in such a state! Hopefully they’ll recover when the weather improves! Good to hear the new bike is exceeding expectations! Perhaps the iron has done a bit of good?

  4. Oh dear, how sad. Sometimes it’s better if they’ve had to fight a bit more against the elements and they get stronger — your lovely blooms have had it rather easy this season.

  5. I feel for Mrs. Tootlepedal! A driving rain, whatever the amount, is never good for flowers.

  6. Poor Mrs T! I am so sorry her lovely garden got such a battering. I am pleased the bike is exceeding expectations and cycling into a headwind is almost pleasurable! I think you are probably right about the Meadow Vetchling.

  7. Hope those little sparrows kept Mrs T cheerful after the disappointment of seeing the wind damage in the garden. Sounds quite exhilarating pedalling into the wind!

  8. I’m happy for you that you received the much needed rain, but it’s a shame that the wind blew down so many of the flowers.

    I hope that you still find the new bike as enjoyable to ride twenty years from now as you do now.

  9. It was wild enough down here for Mr Uphilldowndale to find the two seater garden chair, over the wall and in the lane! Fortunately the glass topped table only got as far as the lawn! I think my plants wouldn’t have suffered as much if I’d been more generous with the watering, some of them were too soft to cope with being roughed up. Comfrey and marjoram most knocked about.

    1. We have been doing quite a bit of watering and Mrs T had the time and energy to stake quite a few but she regretted not staking more. The flying garden chair sounds alarming.

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