Today’s guest picture comes from another of Venetia’s visits to local gardens. She came across this fine gate at the walled garden of Cannington.
The temperature duly went down as forecast and we found ourselves with a 10°C (50°F) day. It felt cooler thanks to a north easterly wind and a pervasive dampness in the air. I was in no hurry to get out and about, and when I did stir my stumps, I put on cycling mitts, a warm jacket and a woolly hat for coffee in the garden with Mrs Tootlepedal and Margaret. We were tucked into the shelter beneath the walnut tree so it wasn’t too bad and we were able to enjoy two roses as we sipped and chatted.
At one end of the front lawn Lillian Austin (on the right below) smiled at us and at the other end, Special Grandma defied my pessimism and put out a second flower.
It is six months since we started these socially distanced outdoor coffee meetings and we recalled rather wryly how often we had said then, “Thank goodness this isn’t happening in winter. It would be hard to bear then.”
Mrs Tootlepedal had been much more active than me, and had already cut back and dug up an ailing azalea with a view to improving the soil and then replanting it. She got on with this after coffee while I admired the dahlias which have shrugged off the lower temperatures….
…and are looking as good as ever.
Then I mowed the middle lawn where the grass is still growing well.
I took a wander round the garden when I had finished, enjoying some colourful corners.
There were asters and astrantia….
…rudbeckia and verbena….
…and sedum and fuchsia….
…and I was surprised to find a small tortoiseshell butterfly on the sedum when I looked more closely.
This is about as late as I usually see these butterflies (though occasionally one does appear in early October in some years). It was the only one in the garden today.
There are still some poppies still doing their best to entertain.
I hope that they can survive some predicted low temperatures overnight.
I helped Mrs Tootlepedal do some shredding and took some material to the compost and then had another look round.
It is good to still have two astrantias out…
…and other flowers are not to be ignored either. A late and very tall aster is just starting to produce flowers, the mint is covered with flowers, one of the rhododendrons has got a secret late flower and the inula helenium just never stops. I don’t even have to dead head it.
And more nerines come out every day to join the calendula and nicotiana in the bed along the hedge at the end of the drive. There are doddering dillies there too.
I went off on my shopping bike to get milk, rolls and carrots from the corner shop and then headed indoors and made some sardine pâté to put in the rolls for lunch.
I noticed that the wind was pretty brisk as I cycled to the shop so I was happy to watch the birds for a while after lunch.
Every time that I looked out, chaffinches and greenfinches were flying about….
…but as the light wasn’t very good, I ignored them and took some portraits of birds standing still.
The wind ruffled a greenfinch’s feathers…
…while something annoyed a goldfinch…
…and a siskin got on with the job in hand, or perhaps the job in beak I should say.
The wind seemed to ease off a bit so I plucked up my courage, put several layers of warm clothes on and set out to pedal the twenty miles round the new windfarm.
The wind blew me to the top of Callister and down the other side at a very gratifying speed, and I only stopped to record the first totally bare tree that I have noticed this autumn so far…
…and a small commercial planting of willows a little further on.
When a local wood burning power station was opened at Lockerbie a few years ago, several farmers planted blocks of fast growing willows as renewable fuel for it. However, the economics didn’t work out and many of the plantations have reverted to being pasture again. I see that the power station is still 20% fuelled by willow so perhaps this crop is destined to end up in its boilers.
I was expecting a battle into the wind on my way home past the wind farm, but the wind had dropped a little and it was more across than against so I enjoyed my pedal along the back road.
I could count six completed turbines and three under construction…
…and I was trying to remember how many there would be when the construction was finished when a lady pulled up in a car beside me and remarked on what an eyesore the turbines were.
I rather like therm so I tactfully remarked that they were certainly pretty easy to spot. She told me that the original plan to build fifteen modestly sized turbines had been changed and now they are only building nine but much larger turbines. She sounded as though she would have been happier with the larger number of smaller towers, and even happier still with none.
I was glad to have talked to her though, as otherwise I would have been waiting in vain for the other six towers to arrive. Patient readers may be pleased too, as they have probably seen quite enough wind turbines to be going on with.
The horse in the field in front of the windfarm had changed its mind today.
On my way back, I stopped to photograph a family of grey squirrels that ran across the road in front of me.
Unfortunately they didn’t stop to be photographed but as you can see, I did get a picture of the tree up which they had scampered and disappeared. You can’t win every time.
Thanks to the accommodating wind, I got home considerably more quickly than I have done this route before, and as my back didn’t complain about that, I was very happy, especially as the ride took me over 300 miles for the month.
Mrs Tootlepedal was hard at work in the garden, and I walked round and looked at flowers with her…
…before we went in for a cup of tea and a slice of toast.
The day drew to a close with a sibling Zoom where my sister Mary showed us pictures from two art galleries which she and my sister Susan have visited with suitably socially distanced organisation of visitors.
The weather had improved while I was zooming and Whita was bathed in evening sunshine when I looked out of a back window before our evening meal.
The forecast temperature for the early hours of tomorrow morning is 4°C so we are keeping our fingers crossed for the flowers.
The flying bird of the day is a siskin.