A welcome return

Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent, Venetia. She found this splendid knobbly tree when she visited Milton Lodge Gardens, near Wells.

We had another day here where the enjoyment of some welcome sunshine was tempered by very brisk winds.

We got out into the garden though, and spent quite a bit of time clearing up both lawns after more ravages by the jackdaws. I used the mower to clear up the front lawn and it looked semi respectable for a while . . .

. . . but it was not to last.

Mrs Tootlepedal earthed up the maincrop potatoes . . .

. . . and I wandered about taking photographs.

Other flowers were available.

It is an exciting time of year.

There were a few more visitors to the feeder today but not many more . . .

. . . but I did see a dunnock busy collecting seed under the feeder, and as I don’t see one in the open very often, I took several pictures of it and added a redpoll who was nearby to fill out the panel.

Just after lunch, I finally got the call from the bike shop to say that my bike was ready to collect. I went down in the car with Mrs Tootlepedal, and when I had collected the bike, she drove on to Gretna to do a bit of shopping at the shopping village there, and I cycled home, hoping to find the very brisk wind in a helpful mood.

It turned out that my old saddle had broken, so I was not only trying out my new handlebars but a new saddle too, and I set out feeling quite nervous. In the event, the wind was helpful, the handlebars were just what I had hoped for, and the saddle wasn’t too bad for a first outing. It always takes time for a saddle and you to get properly acquainted. I enjoyed the sixteen mile ride home on back roads, and stopped for a couple of pictures on my way. The hawthorn hedges are coming out . . .

. . . and my favourite oak tree has acquired a lot more leaves.

I took pictures of my refurbished bike when I got home.

Strong cross winds at times on the journey helped to prove my theory that the wider handlebars would make me more stable, and a very brisk wind pushing me along the flat at 25 mph at times gave me a chance to try the new brakes too. First impressions are very good.

I looked round the garden to find that hard working blackbirds were in evidence . . .

. . . but rather annoyingly, so were hard working jackdaws.

At least I got a chance to see what it was that they find so attratcive.

Mrs Tootlepedal got back minutes after me, and we sat down for a cup of tea and a ginger biscuit or two.

I had another look at the feeder and saw a goldfinch and a greenfinch clinging on to twigs waving about in the wind.

In the evening, my friend Susan arrived and drove us down to Carlisle to play with our recorder quartet. We had a good play, beginning with two Bach fugues arranged for recorders which got us off to an excellent start.

It was raining heavily when we drove back to Langholm, and it looks from the forecast as though it may well still be raining tomorrow morning. The rain will fill up our reservoir a bit so it is welcome, though it was not not much fun for the driver.

The flying bird of the day is that greenfinch which finally left the twig.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

33 thoughts on “A welcome return

  1. Those hawthorn pictures are wonderful!.

    It is interesting to see your bike. I’d never seen one without a metal chain before, so I spent a bit of time reading about belt-drive systems for bikes on the internet. I assume you are happy with yours.

    1. Very happy. I have not had to replace worn chains and gear cassettes at great expense, which I would have had to do if I had been using conventional derailleur gears for that many miles, perhaps twice over. There is no endless lubrication and cleaning to do either. The final bonus is almost silent running in the highest set of gears.

  2. The anthers on the hawthorn blossoms have great color.
    I’m looking forward to seeing your poppies again. They were beautiful last year.
    You can see where the birds have been but I don’t think the lawn looked bad at all.
    Glad you finally got the bike back.

    1. Some of the lawns are not too bad but there are place which the jackdaws have ripped to pieces. I should probably reseed them but I am more likely just to leave them and see what happens.

  3. The hawthorn blossoms are glorious, as is the shot of your favourite oak tree. I like the way the colours of the tree contrast with the clumps of dried grasses – beautiful!

    Your steed got a very thorough work-over. You should be good for another gazillion miles 🙂

  4. Why do you cover the potato rows with wire netting please? Here it would be to stop the badgers digging up the seed potatoes – as the neighbours who have a small allotment in my garden find year after year. Whatever your reason, I must pass the idea on to them.

  5. The hawthorn blooms are very beautiful. Ours will be a little while longer in opening their buds.

    The bike looks like it is ready for touring, and I look forward to more fine photos from your rides.

    The jackdaw looks like it has found something very tasty that is not identifiable.

  6. I’m sorry the Jackdaws keep tearing up your lawn for what I think is grubs, but it seems the more you attend to it the easier it is for them to find their prey. Congratulations on your reborn bike and the recorder quartet. Sounds like getting back to a new normal. The Greenfinch is beautiful.

  7. Amazing tree trunk one could spend time finding all the faces looking out of it! Wonderful hawthorn photos and lovely photos of all the flowers in your garden. Like the look of your bike too with its smart handlebars. Dunnocks are such shy birds and you are fortunate to see one out in the open unlike your jackdaws who seem very cocky!

  8. It’s always fascinating to see what gardeners in other parts of the world have to cope with. I’ve never seen a Jackdaw but the name just seems to fit their lawn marauding, pecking with great vigor to unearth jackpot grubs. Cats in potatoes? That’s a pest that never even occurred to me.

    As for the hawthorn blossoms, they make all the other flowers look gaudy and overdressed. Splendid shots.

    1. The cats make a real mess of newly dug beds in the vegetable garden if Mrs T doesn’t protect them. As they catch our little birds too, I am not a big fan of cats.

  9. What a fabulous bike. I’m glad the handlebars suit your needs, and I think those grips are ergonomic, but I’m afraid that saddle looks a bit unforgiving. I’ve had my Brooks B17 for, it must be 16 or 17 years now, it has moulded to my shape. And is great for several hours on the bike. The saddle on my single speed looks a lot like your new one, but, thankfully, I have grown accustomed to it. My handlebars on my Pioneer are much more swept back than the new ones on your Van Nicholas. I found I was leaning too far forward with the old straight pair, which caused my wrists to ache. Exacerbated by my “recent” loss of height to become an even shorter Welshman, no doubt. When I get the great garden revival completed, I will be looking at getting a Rohloff Hub and Gates belt drive for my Pioneer. Those jackdaws certainly love pecking your beautiful lawns, and that greenfinch certainly seems to be in dedicated mode flying on some kind of mission. Great to read your post as always. Cheers.

    1. I am probably leaning a bit too far forward on my new handlebars but I just wiggle my hands every mile or so to keep them from getting stiff.

      My old saddle broke in half so a new one was compulsory.

      I hope that the garden works go well.

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