Service with a smile

Today’s guest picture comes from our son Alistair in Edinburgh. He spotted a visitor on his garden fence.

We had some long awaited rain overnight which was very welcome. Conveniently it stopped for long enough to let us have our regular garden coffee morning, though it must be said that a light drizzle had started before we had finished. We are hardy coffee drinkers though, and didn’t break up the meeting at the first drop of rain.

The drizzle was light enough to let me have a quick garden wander after coffee.

The big red peonies have gone the way of all peonies…

…but replacements are on the way.

As always, I found it hard to walk past a lupin without a shutter finger twitch and this was today’s result.

The flowers look like a fleet of little sailing boats to me.

I went out to look at the damside and found that the rain had given the big poppies a terminal bashing….

…but had left the fuchsia looking refreshed.

Near the new bridge, a potentilla is looking promising.

Back in the garden, there was a drift of daisies outside the front door…

…and plenty of new Sweet Williams and a clematis to greet visitors.

I didn’t stay out long, partly because of the drizzle but also because I had to make up a picnic lunch (a honey sandwich and an apple) to take to Carlisle where the Zoe was going to get its first annual service. It should have been serviced in April but the garages in England have only just re-opened.

The twenty mile trip to the garage in Carlisle was the furthest that I have driven since March but I am happy to report that driving the electric Zoe has lost none of its pleasure in the interim, and I got to the garage safely and in good time.

Having handed over the keys, I looked at the sky and then at the weather forecast on my phone. The weather forecast said that it was raining heavily in Carlisle but the sky said that it wasn’t. I chose to believe the sky and went for a walk.

The garage is on the edge of the city, so I was soon walking along a road with fine roses in the verge.

I wasn’t out in the country though and when I looked over a fence beside the road, I was quite surprised to find a railway line going past me.

This was the Carlisle to Newcastle line and not long later, I walked underneath it…

…on my way into the village of Scotby.

Scotby has a church with a sturdy tower perched on a mound on the other side of the railway bridge.

I walked through the village and was surprised to find myself walking under another railway bridge, though not quite such an elegant one.

This turned out to be the Carlisle to Settle line which had branched off the Newcastle line a mile further back. This line has survived two attempts to close it and is now a thriving concern.

I took the picture of this bridge after I had decided that I had gone far enough and begun the return to the garage.

This was a smart decision, as it started to rain not long before I got back and I had to lengthen my stride to get into the customer reception area without getting soaked. At least I had had a three and a half mile walk which I hadn’t expected.

There were some well spaced and comfortable chairs for customers waiting to pick up their cars, but as I was the only one waiting, there was no one to be socially distanced from. I had prudently brought the crossword with me to keep me occupied and it didn’t seem long before the car was ready and I drove home through some heavy rain.

Apart from a possible slow puncture in one of the tyres, which the garage thought was due to a leaking valve, the car had had no problems. Mind you, as we have driven less than 6000 miles in it since we got it, I would have been quite cross it had had any.

I was quite touched when I got home to find that the garage had sent me an email with a video in it, showing all the things that they had checked on the underside of the car during the service. This was not something that I had ever seen before and I thought that it was a really good idea.

When I got into the house the rain persisted, although not so heavily, so I abandoned any idea of another walk and watched a programme on a Hans Holbein painting with Mrs Tootlepedal and then watched the birds.

Both the programme and the birds were interesting.

A young greenfinch sat on the feeder pole in the drizzle.

A young sparrow waited patiently while a goldfinch ate seed…

…but a greenfinch wasn’t so patient.

A great tit arrived, a rare visitor to the feeder…

…and made off with a seed to eat it in peace somewhere else.

I didn’t blame it as greenfinches are ugly customers when hungry…

…sometimes very ugly.

At times, the feeder was so busy with goldfinches and greenfinches…

…. that it was hard to pick a flying bird out of the melee.

In the end, I managed to find a solo young sparrow to take the starring role of flying bird of the day.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

25 thoughts on “Service with a smile

  1. Our supposedly “Ferrell” cat looks very much like your sons and also sits with the same fixed gaze into shrubs for hours on end in the hope some inexperienced fledgling will become its next meal,and sadly occasionally it gets lucky.
    Not something I like to see but it is natures way I suppose.
    I’ve also noticed the tit family always only seem to take one seed at a time to eat somewhere away from the feeders,they’re a very cautious bird indeed.
    That’s a fine old church .

    1. I think that the sunflower seeds in our feeder are too big for the tits to swallow so they take them away to a handy branch where they put their foot on the seed and peck at it daintily.

  2. Nice service from the garage. Glad to read the Zoe is still running well. Finally, yay for rain! According to the forecast, we are getting some tomorrow. We need it.

  3. The verge rose is a simple yet elegant beauty. I, too, like Ox-eye daisies. The grow abundantly here. You have caught the greenfinches behaving badly once again! The feeders look fairly busy today.

    The skies are clearing over here and the temperature went up about 10 degrees today. We should have a few more ripe strawberries before long. I did put bird net over them. 🙂

  4. I like the idea of the garage sending you a video…the cynic in me says that it at least shows they looked at it, the optimist celebrates the empowering of the car owner. Hooray for Settle and its thriving railway!

      1. They are considered a weed here, as you know, but I love them.

        I enjoyed your walk today, some different scenery, although I never ever tire of the scenery on your daily walks fro, home.

  5. Pleased you’ve had a drop or two of rain…looks like you may have more on the way! Good to see that Beeching didn’t have his way with the Settle line, however, I wish it was a finer bridge carrying the line! Great photos of all the finches.

  6. its belting down and I went shopping at 8.00pm. not something i usually do. The supermarket was quiet due to the rain but roads have started to flood now as it started raining abut 11,am and has stotted down all day

  7. I like to take my Pioneer with me every time I take my 15 year old diesel Yaris for it’s 10,000 mile services (current mileage just coming up to 180,000). The garage that does the service is in Swansea, usually there is at least a 4 hour wait while it is done, so I ride off on my Pioneer, and within 150 yards ( I remain in imperial mode ) I am on a dedicated cycle path that transports me to Mumbles and the Gower peninsula. A fantastic coastal ride around Swansea Bay, and then into the countryside of the Gower, so I am really lucky to have such facilities on my doorstep. I am sure you would love it Tom and Mrs T. Keep posting, cheers.

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