Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who visited St Paul’s Cathedral in London today.
The sky was blue when we woke up and the sun was out, but as the temperature had been at 2°C (36°F) at six o’clock, it wasn’t very warm. An occasionally gusty wind did nothing to make the day feel less than very autumnal.
Mrs Tootlepedal was somewhat improved but not yet back to full strength, and wisely retired to her bed after breakfast.
I did the crossword, made Mrs Tootlepedal a cup of coffee, cycled to the corner shop and then wandered round the garden. Once again, I was delighted to find that by and large, the flowers had risen above the cold early spell and were greeting the sun with a smile.
Roses are blooming…
…visitors are still arriving…
…and all is well.
I did some useful things as well as wander. I watered the tomatoes and the peppers, dug up some swedes and stored them safely, picked some runner beans, cut a little more of Mrs Tootlepedal’s mini meadow and did some dead heading. I also dug up three turnips to show our sons that they are not the only ones who can grow vegetables.
I wandered some more.
After some years when they have not done very well, Mrs Tootlepedal is very happy that a change of bed and some special care has led to the fuchsias thriving this year. On the other hand, the red poppies near the greenhouse came up spontaneously and have had no care and they are doing very well too.
My last act of the morning was to dig up a couple of leeks, get an onion from the store, find a potato and turn all of them into a leek and potato soup for lunch.
While it was cooking, I watched the birds for a while.
A greenfinch posed for a portrait and then a siskin showed a watching chaffinch how to get a foot in first in a race for a perch.
Greenfinches didn’t always manage to find peace and quiet though.
Mrs Tootlepedal came down to join me for lunch and stayed up for the rest of the day.
After lunch, I swithered about what to do by way of exercise. I took a couple more bird portraits…
…and then killed a little time by watching the birds from an outside bench…
I couldn’t make up my mind whether to go for a walk or a pedal, and I was in serious danger of doing neither when salvation appeared in the form of a phone call from our friend Nancy. She had been for a walk herself and had passed a good clump of unpicked brambles which she thought might be of interest to me. She was right, and I put on my walking shoes and went to pick brambles.
I found enough to make the walk worthwhile, and when I got home I thought that I might as well drive down to Irvine House and pick the ones that I had seen on my cycle ride yesterday. I did that and while I was there, I checked to see if there were any more down by the river. There weren’t but I took a picture or two while I was looking.
It was a fine afternoon as you can see and when I got home, I had another quick stroll round the garden to enjoy the late afternoon light.
I hadn’t picked a great many brambles but as I had some jam sugar in the cupboard and we had been given a gift of some cooking apples by our neighbour Liz, I put them together and found that I had enough to make a few pots of bramble and apple jelly.
Jelly purists will be distressed by the bubbles trapped by the hexagonal jam jar, but as I said to Mrs Tootlepedal, it is not likely that the jelly will stay long enough in the jar for anyone to notice if I have anything to do with it.
I should say that I was looking on the internet before I made the jelly and it said, “Do not use hexagonal jam jars or bubbles will get trapped in your jelly.” Not everything on the internet is fake news.
We had fishcakes with potatoes, beans and turnips from the garden for our tea. We considered that we should probably be trying to grow more of our own food as we have enough space to do so. It would mean taking the storage more seriously than we do at the moment, as at present we eat most of the stuff that we grow fresh out of the garden and it is gone before winter sets in.
The flying bird of the day is a departing siskin.