Very quiet

Today’s guest picture comes from our friend Bruce who is over in the east. He visited Chillingham castle and found a display of McLaren cars. I would have loved cars like this when I was young but now they just look difficult to get in to and impossible to get out of.

We had a very pleasant summer day here today, but I failed to make optimum use of it. I found that I was rather tired when I got up and I never really perked up at any stage.

I did manage to get out for a walk round the garden before coffee. I was impressed by how healthy the hostas are looking . . .

. . . and there were plenty of flowers enjoying the sunshine.

The deep red peony is looking gorgeous . . .

. . . and it shouldn’t be on its own for much longer.

I don’t usually take pictures of other people’s flowers without permission, as it feels a bit like stealing, but I made an exception for one of Kenny’s lilies, planted on the far bank of the dam behind the house. It is so close to our house that it feels as though it is quite at home.

I had filled the feeder, and I found a goldfinch visiting when I looked out of the window after I had gone inside to brew the coffee.

One of the few benefits of the lockdown has been the way that it has got us used to having coffee outside in all weathers. Today we sat on the lawn with Margaret, Liz and Ken and enjoyed the beautiful conditions when in times past, we might well have all been sitting indoors looking out at the weather through a window.

After coffee, I looked at Mrs Tootlepedal’s mini meadow on our drying green. The yellow rattle is coming on well.

I had been reminded by a picture in the New Hampshire Gardener’s blog that we have a red horse chestnut tree on the Castleholm. His was out, so I thought that I would walk round before lunch to see if ours was out too.

I saw a selection of birds by the water as I walked along the Esk . . .

. . . but there were far too many visitors at the Kilngreen to see any birds there. I took a picture of one of the new electric car charging points which are being installed, but not yet in operation, there.

I crossed the Sawmill Brig . . .

. . . and found the the red chestnut trees were flowering. I think that I was a day or two early to see them at their best.

I walked round the new path and noted the progress of the cones on the noble fir…

…and another conifer trying to break the record for most new cones on a single branch.

Although the Kilngreen had been busy, the path was very peaceful and I hardly saw another person as I walked along.

I admired the fine tree at the Jubilee Bridge…

. . . and I was very pleased to find a pair of blue tits very busily taking food into the nesting site in the trunk of the tree.

This nest hole used to be home to families of nuthatches. I took this picture in 2017, the last time that they were here.


In recent years, blue tits have moved in.

In spite of missing the nuthatches, it was good to see the blue tits because there was a recent report saying how badly they have done in the very cold spring this year.

I left the blue tits to their task and walked on to the Duchess Bridge.

On an earlier walk this year, I had noticed a lot of wild garlic plants growing beside the track up the other side of the river past the bridge. I took this picture on May 4th . . .

…and I wondered if the garlic had flowered, so I crossed the bridge, walked up the path and had a look..

It has.

The smell was glorious too.

I walked back down to the scholars field and tipped my hat to the wonderful corydalis that grows improbably out of the wall there . . .

. . . before getting home for a late lunch.

I had many possible plans for the afternoon but none of them matched sitting around watching a bike race with Mrs Tootlepedal for a hour or so and then getting as far as the garden but not to do anything more useful than sieve a batch of compost before taking a few pictures . . .

. . . and then going back in again.

Mrs Tootlepedal had been shopping and bought me some strawberries at a very reasonable price. As I had bought some sugar myself on an even better offer on a previous visit, I made them both into some strawberry jam.

And that was the sum of a day which should have been ideal for more interesting or energetic activities. You can’t win them all though.

The flying bird of the day is a passing jackdaw . . .

. . . and the flower of the day is sweet rocket.

Hedgehog update: the trail camera took pictures of the mother pottering around the garage last night but it also spotted an intruding cat which was most unwelcome. Mrs Tootlepedal has narrowed the gap into the garage and hopes that cats can’t now get in. We have put the camera out again so I will report back tomorrow.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

33 thoughts on “Very quiet

  1. You may have thought it rather a dull day but your pictures were anything but dull. That spread of wild garlic was most impressive and the colour in your garden was a treat indeed.

  2. Seems like quite a full day despite your protestations. The wild garlic looks good. I looked at a man getting out of a sports car just before lockdown and realised that my dreams of a sports car in retirement were wildly improbable. I would need a hoist.

      1. It was interesting to learn you once would have fancied such a car. Also interesting that you don’t feel right about photographing other people’s flowers!

    1. There have been two different cats. I really do object to people letting their cats out at night to roam freely across other peoples’ garden. At least in the day, we can chase them away if we see them stalking our birds. It is different in the country but in a town, I just think it is wrong.

      1. It’s certainly a hot topic here as well; the damage to our native bird populations (a great number are flightless) in particular. Our cats tend to be homebodies, the days spent lurking in the barn or environs and the nights on the end of someone’s bed and I think you’re right – your castle and your freedom to protect it should extend to your garden.

      2. People would be appalled of they found that their children were wandering about killing things in other people’s gardens and making messes in flower beds, but they seem remarkably calm when their beloved pets do it.

  3. I am also enjoying the Hedgehog Chronicles. The nest hole with the blue tits was my favorite photo from today. It is nice to see the same tree hole used for nesting by different birds.

  4. We all need a quiet day now and then and I’m glad you were able to have one.
    The wild garlic is like nothing I’ve seen.
    The red horse chestnut is beautiful even if it isn’t fully opened. I thought yours was earlier than ours but I guess not.
    The noble fir cones are very unusual. That’s a tree that just keeps on giving wonder and amazement.

    1. The fir certainly keeps me entertained.

      The red chestnut seems variable in its flowering as it has appeared on the blog as early as May 24th and as late as June 15th.

      Everything is late this year

  5. First of all, I find the many trees tranquilly delightful to see in their summer green; I always enjoy your bridges; and was impressed to see the ‘nesting’ hole in the tree – thank you for including the earlier photograph for comparison. Given that our cameras often ‘see’ better than we do these days, I wonder if you noticed the spider on the end of the corydalis flower.

  6. Is this tootlepedal or Spring Watch? Lol. Just like the latter we have to wait for the next episode to find out how the hedgehogs get on with the threat of the cat. I hope they are able to avoid its attentions. I could almost smell that wild garlic with you. I have pedalled to nowhere every day of Bike Week, but it is so boring!! I have to play games on my mobile phone to distract me lol. Still waiting for the SwytchBike to arrive, but actually took my Pioneer out of the shed, gave her the once over and pumped the tyres up with my new Lezyne floor pump (yes, I know, back to all the gear no idea). I was severely tempted to pedal off down into this beautiful valley, but basically was too scared to do it. Just like walking, currently I have dreadful fear of slipping.

    1. That is a well founded fear. Take care.

      I am sorry about the hedgehog suspense but we are in suspense too.

      Well done for doing a whole week on the bike to nowhere. You are a hero.

      1. A hero going nowhere. Pre op Covid test tomorrow, then self isolate till Friday when I go to hospital (gulp) for operation. Cheers.

  7. Love the garlic photo …just think how much pesto one could make with that lot! Fingers crossed the hedgehogs continue to thrive.

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