A day in the country

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary.  She went down to the Thames a week or so ago to catch a boat and spent so much time taking its picture that she almost missed it.

South Bank 002

We had another warm, grey, damp morning today but it wasn’t raining and I was able to take a look around.

The ginger syllabub rose has produced two or three late blooms and the mint is flowering.  I looked closely at the mint and admired the jewel like moisture on the tips of its flowers but I needed to hold the drooping head of the rose up for a ‘hand held’ shot.

mint and ginger syllabub

Mrs Tootlepedal is pleased with the picture presented by the bed at the end of the drive and even on a gloomy morning, it has its charms.

end of the drive bed

There was no time to hang around in the garden though as we had been invited to lunch in England by our friend Sue.

She lives in Cumbria near the town of Brampton about 25 miles away from us and is most notable for having turned a shipping container into a garden room.

We drove south, enjoying the recently improved surfaces of the roads as we went.  We were likely to arrive a bit early so we stopped to look back down on Talkin Tarn, a man made lake near Sue’s house.

Talkin Tarn

Sue lets her container room out through Airbnb and has no shortage of takers.  Many of them have remarked on their enjoyment of the birds visiting the feeders outside the windows….

bird's eye view
This is a bird’s eye view of the feeders with the container room in the background

…and so she asked me if I would take a picture or two of birds at the feeders for her website entry.

The light wasn’t great but there was no shortage of birds to shoot, especially blue tits but with several coal tits and great tits too.

coal tit, blue tit and great tit

A strange rustling in the leaves heralded the arrival of a featherless visitor to the feeder.

A squirrel appeared, looking as though butter wouldn’t melt in its mouth…

another squirrel

…but it didn’t take long before it was tucking into the bird food.


I had caught several glimpses of a nuthatch but it saw me and kept its distance.  In the end, I had to go into the container and shut the door before it would come forward.


Sue provided us with a delicious lunch and then took us for a walk round the neighbouring lanes.  There was plenty to see as the verges hadn’t been so cruelly cropped as ours and as I was accompanied by two wild flower enthusiasts…

Sue T and Mrs T
The experts getting down to business!

…I am able to name much of what I saw.

scabious, tansy, fungus, beech nut
From the top left clockwise: scabious, tansy, beech nut and unidentified fungus
bee, butterfly and rose gall
Co-operative nectar hunting and a twisted rose gall
The fungi are beyond me to name
umbellifer, deadly nightshade, honesty, corydalis
An umbellifer with at least six insects on it, deadly nightshade, a thriving corydalis (they like walls) and some honesty.

Mrs Tootlepedal thought that it was the best policy to collect a few of the honesty seeds so that she can try to grow some in our garden.

As well as the detail, the broader picture was delightful too.  The countryside there is full of little hills and hollows…

Talkin view 1

…but has wider views of the fells as well.

Talkin view 2

We walked down into the valley of the Gelt river and under this very tall viaduct, built between 1832 and 1835 for the Carlisle and Newcastle railway.

Gelt railway viaduct

We passed under the railway and over the river and walked up the other side of the valley, eating many deliciously ripe blackberries from the hedgerow as we went.

The amount that we climbed can be measured by this modest looking bridge…

railway bridge Gelt

…from which we were now able to look down on the railway.

Newcastle railway

We followed a path through a field, passing some really well stocked hawthorn trees…


…and admiring yet more wooded views…

Talkin view 3

…before finding ourselves back down by the Gelt River again.

We crossed it by a new footbridge…

Gelt footbridge

…and walked through a pasture in the welcome sunshine which had appeared…

Talkin view 4

…and then followed the lanes back to Sue’s house.

The walk was about three and a half miles in length by a rough calculation but had such variety of surroundings that it was thoroughly satisfying….as were the cup of tea and home made ginger biscuits when we got in.

It is always a pleasure to visit Sue and she is very clever at finding a good walk for us and if the sun comes out as it did today, it is hard to think of a better place to spend some time.

The drive home was smooth and uneventful and we settled down to our evening meal with the feeling of a day very well spent.

I even got a nearly flying bird of the day in Sue’s garden.

flying blue tit

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

31 thoughts on “A day in the country

  1. In any other garden, I would surmise that honesty would be all over it in a year or so’s time, but I’m sure that Mrs Tootlepedal will brook no such invasion.

  2. I love your friend’s container idea and wish I could do it here.
    I can’t name a single one of the fungi I’m afraid, but it was nice to see them.
    Gray squirrels love peanut butter and raspberry jam sandwiches. They might be cheaper than birdseed these days.

  3. Have I mentioned (more than a zillion times) that you live in a very, very lovely area? What a glorious walk you had! I like the acrobatic nuthatch.

  4. I love Sue’s container guest house. I am sure I asked this before….but do you have a link to her air b&b so I can dream about it some more?

    I had me a Ginger Syllabub rose but planted it in too much shade and it fizzled…Must reacquire. I love the name.

  5. Thanks for the great pictures and the bounty from your garden! I had a lovely afternoon with you both. Tell Ali that I have ordered the rewilding book so I won’t need to ask to borrow it from her!

  6. The reuse of shipping containers is catching on, some one in the next major city south of me just set up a few that are rented out to people who wish to begin a business, but can’t afford the rent of a brick and mortar storefront. The one that your friend rents out looks nothing like a shipping container, it looks quite inviting.

  7. I wonder if I might borrow your wild flower enthusiasts? Oddly enough I’ve only recently discovered that we have another visitor from Scotland taking over the fields and hills and dales here. I have no idea why it should be, but we have several introduced transplants from Scotland that don’t get along with our natives. There is the gorse which has been impossible to tame just to the north of us (recently seen heading toward us), There’s Scotch Broom and the Butterfly bushes and just lately I learned that some fields turning all yellow are an invasive Tansy. Some of the aforementioned plants are lovely, but they seem to like it here so much that they shoulder out the natives. I can’t imagine why that should be, but there you have it. I will be very interested to see if our California Poppy likes it in your neighborhood?

    1. The Californian poppy will survive but id doesn’t seem to be as invasive as the Welsh poppy. I am sorry about our plant intrusions but of course America is well used to incomers shouldering out the natives so it is all part of a long term pattern.

      1. Laughing!!! (about our shouldering incomers- me, being one of those)! I find it interesting that certain plants manage to behave themselves when in their natural environment, but turn into bullies when moved elsewhere. The gorse here is a particular challenge since it can grow in thickets that are rather deadly with those nasty thorns.

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