Today’s guest picture comes from my Newcastle correspondent Fiona’s visit to the Netherlands. She and her family camped beside the river Vecht. She tells me that she passed up the opportunity to swim in its welcoming waters.
We had plenty of water on hand today but most of it was coming directly from the sky which was not very helpful and we have had more rain in the first two days of this week than we had in the whole of last week.
The result was another very quiet day, though it was brightened up by a visit from Scott the minister which quite coincidentally turned out to be at coffee time. He is off to his new parish near Glasgow soon and we shall miss him.
I watched the birds while I made some potato and carrot soup for lunch.
Sometime it is easy to imagine that birds are chatting to each other across the feeder….
…but a closer look reveals that they are simply finding the seed hard to swallow.
I did spot the occasional chaffinch and blue tit again….
…but mostly it was the sparrow maelstrom as usual.
I have put up a subsidiary feeder on the elder tree and filled it with seed which, according to the packet, will entice an extraordinary variety of small birds to the garden.
It is attracting sparrows.
I live in hope.
It stopped raining after lunch and I might have gone for a walk but by this time I had embarked on a scheme to make apple jelly with our windfalls so I cycled down to the Co-op to buy some preserving sugar.
The river was up enough after the rain to make use of all three arches of the Langholm Bridge….
…and create a bit of a ripple here and there.
As I cycled along the river bank, I could see the first signs of impending autumn.
I stopped for a look on my way home and was delighted to see a dipper on a rock. It was one of a pair but the other one flew off before I could catch it.
I noticed how well the potentillas along the dam are doing as I got home. They started slowly this year but are making up for lost time now.
I walked round the garden when I got in.
The dahlia with apparent internal lighting was brightening up the gloomy day…
…but this one looked more as though it was huddling up for some warmth.
Mrs Tootlepedal has at least four different sorts of cosmos on the go (one from a free packet of seeds on a magazine) and they are generally thriving.
There are even two buds on the Lilian Austin rose but they may need some better weather if they are to come out properly.
Fuchsias are appearing in several different parts of the garden which is good as I like them a lot.
The chives have produced some late flowers which are a bonus for insects. I can see at least four on this flower.
And the sedum is getting ready to welcome butterflies should the sun ever come out again.
I went in and set about making the apple jelly. Our apples are not ideal for this task and I will have to leave the mush to drip over night to get enough liquid to make the jelly.
Mrs Tootlepedal came out into the garden and while she dug up the rest of the roots of the blackcurrant bush, I cut down the gooseberry bush as part of the projected remodelling. It is an ambitious plan and we hope to have the energy (and the weather) to carry it through.
The evening was devoted to music making as first my flute pupil Luke arrived and showed the value of practice once again and then I went off after tea to play trios with Mike and Isabel (and demonstrate my need for more practice). The playing was as enjoyable as ever and rounded off an otherwise rather quiet day in a very pleasant way.
The flying bird of the day is one of the great tribe of sparrows.