Winter draws (back on)

Today’s guest picture is a delightful pastoral scene which my Somerset correspondent Venetia captured a week ago on one of her permitted walks.

venetia's pastoral

The temperature was back to being well down in single figures again this morning and I dressed accordingly when I got up after my usual lockdown morning routine of leisurely breakfast and crossword.

I made coffee and Mrs Tootlepedal took hers outside in spite of the chill.  Luckily the sun had made an appearance so her regular al fresco but socially distanced coffee and conversation with our two nearest neighbours, Liz and Margaret could go ahead without anyone freezing to death.

coffee morning crew

When the world had been set to rights (again), Mrs Tootlepedal came back into the garden and set about moving a hydrangea from the pot in which it had been bought into a spot in a border.

While she slaved away, I made a batch of ginger biscuits.  I was a bit nervous after my recent failure with the hot cross buns, but the biscuits turned out well.  I enjoyed the indoor tulip while I cooked…

indoor tulip opening

…and was pleased to see that the rest of the transplanted tulips were doing well in their new position when I went out to see what Mrs Tootlepedal was up to.

transplanted tulips

She had dug a hole and together we heaved the plant out of its pot and into the barrow, and we were all ready to put the plant in the hole when a serious setback was encountered.

hydrangea being moved

This was the setback, an infestation in the root ball of the dreaded vine weevil.


They had probably come in the pot from the garden centre where the plant was purchased, and may well have accounted for the fact that Mrs Tootlepedal had wanted to move the plant because it was not doing well.

They found a use in the garden though as food for a sparrow.

spoarrow eating vine weevils

On a more cheery note, the first Banya Luka tulip has come out to add a touch of gaiety to the garden.

fancy tulip

While the big bumble bees go for dicentra, the smaller bees seem to like the euphorbia and the grape hyacinths better…

bees euphorbia hyacinth

…but I hope that all flying insects will soon turn their attention to the plum and silver pear which are more than ready for pollinators.

plum and pear blossom

In spite of the chill, I saw the first pond skater of the season….

pond skater

It may need proper skates as the pond  may well freeze tonight.

The dicentra is bursting out and there is more honesty to be seen in the garden every day.

dicentra and honesty

I don’t know what has caused the scars on the dicentra flower and would be interested to hear any suggestions.

We are getting quite excited by the possibilities of azaleas and peonies.

azalea and peony buds

Mrs Tootlepedal is slightly worried that I am losing my grip thanks to the lockdown.  This feeling was brought about when she found me in the garden after lunch washing the bricks that make the paving around the newly tided log shed.  She thinks that this may be going a step too far.

washed bricks

I think that every house needs nicely shiny bricks.

It had warmed up a bit by mid afternoon, enough to persuade me to stop washing bricks and put on my cycling gear and a peacock butterfly to try warming up its wings on a path.

peacock butterfly warming

As the wind was coming from the north, I headed north towards Mosspaul with the idea of getting blown home.

I took a couple of contrasting views on my way up the valley….

mosspeeble view 2

…which included one of the bases for the workmen who are maintaining the pylons.  If you look carefully, you can see the power lines in the pictures.

top of Ewes

I was cycling straight into the wind and I was hoping that the steep sides of the road up to the summit at Mosspaul would give me some shelter from it…

mosspaul valley

…but as the wind was coming straight down the road, I just had to grit my teeth, put my head down and puff on up the hill.

I went on down the other side for a mile or two until I came to the little church at Teviothead.

teviothead church

We are not supposed to stray too far from home on our cycle rides, so I stopped here and turned back.

The wind was very obliging on the way back.  I had taken an hour and twenty minutes to do the first fifteen miles, mainly uphill and into the wind, but only fifty five minutes to do the fifteen miles back home…

…with a single stop to take another view on the way.

mosspeeble view

By taking my time to get up and then leaving my exercise until as late in the day as was sensible, I managed to fill the day painlessly.  And as I did some compost turning as well as daffodil dead heading and brick washing, it was a fun day.

I didn’t get a flying bird today and I was going to use this  chaffinch to fill the position of perching bird of the day…

chaffunch perching with seed

…but just as we were sitting down to our evening meal, a loud quacking from the dam made me look out of the back window.

And now we have a swimming bird of the day today (and perhaps ducklings to come).


duck in dam

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

35 thoughts on “Winter draws (back on)

  1. Brick washing! You really do know how to enjoy yourself. As for the vine weevils, I just felt a pang as I learnt of their fate – though I’m sure Mrs Tootlepedal had no such sentiment.

  2. That’s a lovely little church at Taviothead.
    Another 30 mls towards your monthly total👍
    I’m aiming for my third ride this week on Wednesday,forecasted to be a good day.

  3. I’ve never washed bricks but I have dug the weeds out from between them many times. It’s a very tedious job.
    Good thing you found the weevils in that pot. It always pays to look closely when you buy plants from any garden center.
    The tulip, the butterfly and the views were all beautiful.

  4. Vine weevils – I know the feeling of moving a plant that does not appear to be doing well, only to find a pest or rodent damage as the culprit. Your sparrows got a nice healthy snack!

    I have enjoyed all the photos from your day. The dicentra looks like it may have been nibbled by some insect.

  5. The morning chat over coffee brightened my locked down thoughts and I feel satisfied on behalf of the sparrows which enjoyed a bonus meal.

  6. I rather like your clean bricks, I bet they look very nice. What a lovely chat to have with the neighbours!

  7. Excellent use of the sparrows, cleaning up the weevils. I always enjoy your butterflies; I don’t think we have anything as spectacular as your peacock here.

    I think the “bee” in your Euphorbia has very fly-like eyes, but I’m not at all sure.

    I have read that only very long-tongued insects can reach all the way up inside Dicentra flowers to get the nectar; I suspect yours is a victim of a necter-robbing small bee who chose instead to just nibble its way directly to the source.

    1. You are probably right about the bee eyes and I think that you are definitely right about about the mark on the dicentra. There is a picture of a bee doing just that in today’s post.

  8. Love the way that coffee get togethers can still be held with social distancing being catered for as well. Pretty little church on your cycle ride and a lovely duck to end with.

  9. That is an adorable photo of the friends and their morning coffee.

    I must say it will be awhile before I get around to brick washing!

    The next day’s explanation of the holes in the dicentra was interesting and well photographed.

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