Well oiled

Today’s guest picture comes from the garden of our daughter Annie, and shows the benefit of living 300 miles south of us.

We had another lovely sunny day here today but only after another subzero spell in the early hours. This pattern of chilly nights and dry days seems set to continue, and we are very soon going to be in the position of hoping for rain.

Some weeks ago, we got a visit from an agreeable young lady who told us that our electricity would be cut off for the day on the 16th April. We got a subsequent letter reminding us of this and the young lady paid us another call a week or so ago to check that we had got the letter. Then we got another letter just to keep us in the picture.

We had discussed this coming event several times with our neighbours and made plans to be prepared. Today was the 16th April and it came as a complete surprise to us when the electricity went off at 9 o’clock in the morning. Plans, what plans? I blame the lockdown which makes one day very like another.

We do have a reserve camping gas cooker for occasion like this, but it has got so old and rusty like its owners, that this seemed like a good day to get a new one. I went up to the town and came back with a very neat little stove and got ready to boil some water to make coffee. It came as a surprise again when the coffee grinder wasn’t working on account of the electricity being off. Still, I enjoyed a nice cup of tea with Margaret and Mrs Tootlepedal, and as it was actually quite warm in the sunshine, I was very content.

Because of the warm and pleasant sunshine, we lingered longer than usual over coffee and it was nearly lunch time when we stopped talking.

I took a picture of tulips…

… and went in to use the new stove to fry up some haggis for my lunch.

After lunch, I took a couple of bird portraits of a siskin…

…and a chaffinch.

While we were socialising in the garden in the morning, blackbirds had been busy carrying worms to a nesting site in the yew bush. Now I saw a lady blackbird getting some food for herself.

When the plumber backed his van into our drive yesterday, we noticed that he had found the line of slabs too narrow at the top of the drive so we resolved to use some old half slabs to widen that part for the benefit of people backing into the drive.

It was hot work in the sunshine but we got two pieces laid and have got one to go.

The gaps will be filled with artistic gravel.

After a visit indoors for a glass of water, a slice of bread and honey and another look at the birds…

…I got my bike out and went for a ride round my familiar Canonbie circuit to see if the gears were well lubricated. Things went very smoothly so I think that I must have followed the instructions correctly. Because I had left things a bit late, I didn’t stop at all on my way round and most unusually for me, I did the whole twenty miles in one go, no breathers, no snacks, no snapshots.

This left me a moment in the garden when I got back to appreciate a backlit tulip…

…potential silver pears and Victoria plums…

…and the “grapes” on the grape hyacinths.

Then, as the electricity was back on after the poles in a neighbouring street had been replaced, I had a shave and a shower before the evening Zoom with my siblings.

We are going to lay the very final half slab tomorrow and after that we hope to have laid the drive finally to rest, though Mrs Tootlepedal has a fair bit of work to do on creating the new flower bed beside it.

Plants are will need to be watered in the garden too, so we won’t be short of things to do.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

27 thoughts on “Well oiled

  1. We were getting very dry here but it rained and snowed today so that should help thirsty plants and trees.
    You have some beautiful tulips in the garden. I like the pink ones in the header.
    Living without electricity these days can be tough. Or at least it can seem so.

  2. My favourite trick is to flick the light switch as I go into a room, despite knowing the power is off.

    Hope you have electricity for when you finish the drive project – you’ll need to toast the event with a good cup of coffee, at the very least.

  3. That added some excitement to life during the pandemic, especially as you didn’t remember the power was to be turned off. We, too, have a little camp stove, and over the years we have put it through its paces during our many power outages.

  4. Your comment about pandemic days mimicking each other so closely is sadly true for one day often seems like another, despite keeping busy. I cannot help wondering at the quaint way in which you are informed of the forthcoming power cut both in person and by letter; we have become so used to irregular bouts of load shedding that we assume it is that when the power goes off. One can go to a site online to check if that is so. Municipal cuts are less easy to track and we simply have to wait until the power returns.

  5. I have enjoyed the birds and flower photos from your day, and wish I could grow tulips. The only ones I have now are growing in gravel next to the garage. Rodents can’t get them there!

    The days are rolling right along here, getting very dry and I heard brush pile burning was banned temporarily.

    1. That sounds like a sensible policy. Our hills look as though they would burn quickly if a fire got going.

      I am sorry that you can’t grow tulips as they are lovely flowers.

  6. Loved the header pictures and the grace of the flying bird. Bad luck forgetting the electricity would be off though, a camping gas stove was an excellent idea.

  7. Had to read your tale of surprise at the incredibly well-advertised power outage aloud. We all howled at the resemblance to an episode in our life. At least you didnt leave an officiously rude and condecending phone message on the power companies answer phone (blush)

  8. Another glorious sunny day with an ocean of blue skies overhead here in the Neath Valley, as I eat my breakfast. Hope this weather continues through the summer for me to have some fabulous pedals, though a cycle in the rain would be OK by me. I am with you about all this forelock tugging wrt HRH, all I see is the sad death of a man who had the very best of everything all his life, may he RIP. Even had heart procedures while others are dying from lack of treatment because of the pandemic and still are. The recent death of my twin sister and the very pitiful state of her last days make me very bitter about all this mawkish behaviour and outpouring.

      1. I agree with you from across the pond. I didn’t realize what attention the story was getting till I found my BritBox episode of Gardeners’ World had been postponed!

  9. The new stove sounds a good idea and will no doubt come in useful …cooking some of your haggis sitting on the side of one of those beautiful lochs and enjoying the scenery…I can picture it now! The tulips are looking wonderful even after all the frosty mornings and the fruit blossom looks healthy too…ours is all burnt around the edges! Lovely bird portraits.

      1. Such a shame when one looks forward to seeing these plants flowering …never mind there’s always next year now.

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