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Posts Tagged ‘melancholy thistle’

Today’s guest picture comes from our son Alistair, and shows his daughter Matilda in the nice new dress which her Granny has made for her.

Matilda in Mrs T's dress

No prizes for guessing the theme of the performance.

We had much better weather today which was very welcome, but it turned out that I had lost a filling from my sore tooth so I had a quiet morning entertaining Dropscone to coffee while Mrs Tootlepedal went to off to Hawick on business.  Our local duke is selling the Langholm moor and there is interest in a community buy out for at least some of the land and Mrs Tootlepedal was meeting an expert in community land matters.

Dropscone had brought treacle scones so I was happy to stay at home and eat them (carefully).  Following his golf buggy accident, it turns out that Dropscone has broken three ribs so he was taking things quietly too and trying not to laugh too much.

Before he came, I had walked round the garden to see what was going on and I couldn’t ignore Mrs Tootlepedal’s Sweet Williams which are strategically placed all round the place.

four sweet william

They are all pretty peppy but this is the peppiest.

vivid sweet willieam

The bees are still very busy on the chives which must provide an endless stock of pollen for them.

three bees on chives

Away from the flower garden, I was interested to see the first flowers on the potatoes…

first potato flowers 2019

…and some promising looking beans.

beans flowers

After Dropscone left, with a little rhubarb to speed him on his way,  I settled down for a rest and the crossword, keeping my free hand on the remote lead for the camera on its tripod at the window.

Siskins were about, eating messily and scattering good seed on the ground.

siskin chewing

Sometimes they waited in the wings…

siskin waiting in wings

…and sometimes they got impatient…

siskins squabbling nf

…but the sparrows paid them no heed.

siskin and sparrows

Mrs Tootlepedal got back safely from Hawick, full of good advice, and I made some soup for lunch.

After lunch, I sieved the last of the compost from Bin C and put the residue into Bin D.  Then, as I was in full composting mode, I turned the contents of Bin A ,which was full, into Bin B, which was empty.  The opposite is now the case…

empty bin A

…although a morsel of green waste found its way into Bin A later on.

When I was finished, I had a look around and found the the sunnier day had opened out an anemone which had been shut up against the rain and cold for the last few days.

anemone open

A bee was trying to cheer up a melancholy thistle.

melancholy thistle and friend

A Rodgersia has come out in the back border.

rogersii

And the roses were appreciating the dry, warmer weather as much as we were.

three happy roses

Men are coming to replace our aged and decrepit electricity pole next week so I helped Mrs Tootlepedal move a rose which had been growing up the stay wire for the pole.  We stuck a temporary pole in the flower bed, untied the stem from the stay and bent it back and tied it to the new pole.

rebent rose elec pole

We hope that there will be a new stay to tie it back onto when the pole work is finished.

The red peonies are almost over but the white and pink ones are still refusing to show themselves, perhaps as baffled by the odd weather as we are, but there are signs of hope.

potential peony

I had a last check on the lupins and found another busy bee there…

bee on lupin

…and then went off to the dentist.

My usual dentist doesn’t work on a Friday so I was seen by the other dentist in our surgery, a very nice lady whom I had not met before.  I had been able to get an emergency appointment and I was hoping that she would give me a temporary filling for my tooth until I could see my regular man.

Things didn’t quite turn out like that though.  She peered at my tooth and whistled gently in a concerned sort of way, and then suggested that I might like her to extract it.   She had such a kindly manner that I agreed and before I knew it, I was a tooth short.  Modern dentistry means that tooth extraction is a painless and relatively swift affair but even modern dentistry can’t stop your face hurting as the anaesthetic wears off so I spent the next few hours being very quiet.

Things are still a bit sore as I write this in the evening but I am hoping that all will be well by tomorrow morning and I will be able to get out on my fully serviced bike for a ride.

The flying bird of the day is a sparrow, rushing to get into the frame on time.  It nearly made it.

young flying sparrow rushing in

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The guest picture of the day comes from my Somerset correspondent Venetia.  She recently took a break in the Highlands of Scotland where she saw this lovely little tree creeper.

tree creeper

The forecast was for sunshine and light winds in the morning and rain and strong wind in the afternoon.  As I was hoping to have coffee with Dropscone to find out about the state of his health, this meant that I would have to be up early and be well organised to get a bike ride in before coffee time.

To my own astonishment, I managed it.

It was a lovely morning for a pedal…

Chapelhill road

…but as I didn’t have a lot of time in hand, I pressed on without looking for cows or wild flowers in the verges to photograph.   I couldn’t miss Canonbie Church though.,..

Canonbie Church june

…or the ‘leaping poodle’ tree…

laughing poodle tree

…and the beauty of the River Esk at Irvine House called me to a halt too.

river esk at Irvine hiuse june

I got back after twenty miles in good time to get changed and grind the coffee before Dropscone arrived.

He has been given the all clear by the hospital after his golf buggy accident, but he will have to take things easily for a couple of weeks.  As he had just got his golf game working well after some months of poor form, he feels the accident was very badly timed but he is bearing up well and went off with some of Mrs Tootlepedal’s surplus runner beans to plant.

When he went, Mrs Tootlepedal and I took a walk round the garden.  Just as the sensational white clematis flowers to the left of the front door are fading away, a new set of blue ones has arrived to the right of the door.

two front door clematis

Elsewhere in the garden, the flowers were reflecting the sunshine with bright colours…

four bright flowers

…and more subdued ones too.

four yellow flowers

Mrs Tootlepedal pointed out the first of our melancholy thistles…

melancholy thistle june

…and it was hard to miss the bright Sweet Williams which are beginning to make a splash.

early sweet williams

Other flowers were to be seen…

four garden flowers

…and once again, there were a lot of bees about.

I put down the camera and got to work mowing the front and middle lawns.  As I was able to do this without having to use the box to collect the grass cuttings, it was an easy and pleasant task.  Cutting lawns every day or every other day is the secret of a happy life….and leads to good looking lawns.

Mrs Tootlepedal was busy clearing nerines away from the base of the chimney pot outside the kitchen window.  Now that the bird feeder has been moved, she has plans for creating a little colourful spot to please the eye of the cook or washer up when he or she looks out of the window.

At the moment it is a blank canvas.

cleaned up sundial

I dug holes ready for her to plant the nerines in a different bed and then edged both lawns, shredded some hedge cuttings and sieved some compost.

By this time, we were both ready for some lunch and a sit down!

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal, who had had a very heavy morning in the garden, went off for a siesta and I did the crossword and then looked at the weather.

In spite of the forecast, it didn’t look as though it was going to rain so I went for a walk.  I have cycled 100 miles in five lots of twenty gentle miles over the week and my feet and Achilles tendon have survived very well so I thought that I would see if some pedestrian exercise would help too and went for a two mile walk ’round the Becks’.

I went up the road first and passed under this very interesting tree with leaves within leaves.

varied leaf

As I was going slowly enough to stop easily, I kept my eye out for wild flowers…

four wild flowers

…but to tell the truth, I didn’t have to look very hard to find  them….

lots of wild of flowers

…as they lined my whole route from start to finish.

four more wild flowers

It was good to be out and about after not doing much walking at all for a month and I enjoyed the views even if the sun had gone in and the blue sky was disappearing.

view of whita from becks road

I crossed the Becks bridge when I came to it…

becks bridge june

…and very much enjoyed the little sunken buttercup meadow on the far side.

buttercup meadow becks

I haven’t had a good gate on the blog for some time so I thought that i ought tor repair that omission today.

gate june

I could have stopped for a picture very few yards but I didn’t want to get caught in the rain so I pushed on as fast as my feet would let me.  All the same, there were things to see on every side, slow worms at Pool Corner, moss recovering after the dry spell….

slow worm, hedge rose, moss and hawthorn

…hawthorn flowers turning pink as they go over and the first hedge roses of the year.

Two miles was as far as my feet would let me go, but the walk doesn’t seem to have made them worse and rest doesn’t seem to make them, better so I will try walking again as soon as weather permits.   The hills beckon.

When I got home, I had a look at the feeder in its new position.  Business was quiet with just a few sparrows coming and going…

sparrows coming and going

…so I went off to practise the songs for our forthcoming choir concert and the hymns for church on Sunday.

In the evening, Mike and Alison came round.  They had brought a bottle of white wine with them and this provided fine lubrication for music and conversation.

Altogether, it was a full day, both useful and enjoyable.  The forecast is for a mixture of sunshine and showers in the week to come so I hope to be able to keep cycling and walking if my feet permit.

The flying bird of the day, taken when the sun was long gone, is a sparrow.

flying sparrow

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Today’s guest picture comes from my eldest sister Susan, an inveterate traveller, who has just come back from Italy.  She saw this handsome church door in Ortesi in the Dolomites.

ortesi door

Like King Lear, I was going to do such things today but also like the King, I didn’t know what they were so in the end, I didn’t do them.  Instead, I took a leaf out of Brer Terrapin’s book and did a lot of lounging about and suffering.

The lounging was serious but the suffering was very slight and was greatly alleviated by the arrival of Dropscone for coffee bearing the traditional Friday treacle scones.

I had done some watering and weeding before he arrived and I did some more afterwards and as always looked at the flowers as I went along.

The first sweet peas are out…

sweet peas

…and ever more lilies appear each day.

lily

Mrs Tootlepedal planted two new roses this year and I saw that one was looking rather dry and droopy a day or two ago so I have watered it carefully and it was looking much more cheerful today.

rose Fru Dagmar Hastrup

The Queen of Denmark has responded to some water too.

Queen of Denmark

And the Common Riding rose is just sensational without any water at all.

rose excelsa

The camera simply can’t do its luxuriant growth justice at all.

While I was having coffee with Dropscone, the phone rang and a mystery voice asked if I was Tom.  I admitted to this and the voice said my wife was having trouble with her mobile phone and since I was the account  holder, he wanted to ask me a few security questions.   This was so obviously a scam that I put the phone down without saying any more.

A moment or two later, Mrs Tootlepedal rang up to say it wasn’t a scam and she was having trouble with her phone and I was the account holder for it.  I checked for a reputable number for the phone company, rang it, got a really helpful human on the line with minimum delay, talked the problem through and solved it within minutes.   The shock of getting a sensible and prompt  corporate response was so great that I had to have a sit down to recover.

Then  I watched birds for a bit.

A greenfinch arrived to take advantage of the sunflower seeds.

greenfinch

Greenfinches are a lot bigger than siskins but don’t always get their own way.

siskin and greenfinch

On the ground below the feeder, a blackbird with an elegant grey feather was finding its own food.

blackbird with grey

I had lunch and thought of a walk or a bike ride but actually did some more lounging instead and had to suffer by sitting through much of a Tour de France stage and two simultaneously  never ending tennis matches from Wimbledon.

Mrs Tootlepedal rang up to say that although her phone was working, now she was having trouble reading her emails on her tablet although she was properly connected to her brother’s internet router.  This was a puzzle.

I popped out from time to time to do more watering and weeding and dead heading too.

The melancholy thistle is looking more  cheerful every day…

melancholy thistle

..and looming over it, is the prettiest sunflower that I have ever seen.

tall sunflower

In the vegetable garden Mrs Tootlepedal has planted many small sunflowers and they are blooming freely with a great heap of honeysuckle on the fence behind them.

sunflowers and honeysuckle

Also in the veg garden, the French marigolds are thriving and time will tell whether they have helped to keep the carrot root flies of the carrots.  I thinned out a test carrot the other day and it looked straight, clean and promising…

french marigold

…but it was rather small still.

A new potentilla has come out.

new potentilla

In the course of time, I dug up another potato, picked lettuce, peas, beans and gooseberries and a large turnip for my evening meal.

broad beans

There are many more beanfeasts in store

The turnip was so large that I cut it in two and gave half to Mike and Alison when they came round in the evening for their customary Friday night visit.  Alison and I enjoyed some good playing of sonatas by old English masters while Mike, in the absence of Mrs Tootlepedal to talk to, watched the tennis.

I had further talk with Mrs Tootlepedal on the matter of her internet connection and suggested that although she was connected to the router, maybe the router was not connected to the internet.  This turned out to be the case and the problem was solved by the time honoured method of turning the router off and then on again.  I wish all problems were as simply solved as Mrs Tootlepedal’s technical glitches were today.

The flying bird of the day is a sparrow.

flying sparrow

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Today’s guest picture was sent to me by my friend Gavin who is over on the east coast on a walking holiday.  He passed this little memento of the war near Craster.

craster war hut

Mrs Tootlepedal spent most of the day embroidering in Hawick so I had a quiet day to myself.

It was another dry day so I had the opportunity to look at flowers in the garden though the brisk wind meant that I had to try to find the ones that were in a bit of shelter.

I didn’t have to look far to find some good colour.

rose

peony

sweet william

Mrs Tootlepedal introduced two Gauras into the garden this year, one white and one red.  The white one fell victim to the strong winds but the red one has survived.

gaura

The campanulas are getting a bit battered by the persistent breezes but some are keeping their heads up.

campanula

And the Martagon lily has got its dancing shoes on.

martagon lily

After a wander about, I went inside to drink, coffee, read the papers, do the crossword and keep an eye on the birds.

The blackbirds have been very busy and look as though they are starting another brood even though there are several developing young birds about.   I like the way that they go black from back to front as they grow up.

young blackbird

The feeder was busy with sparrows, goldfinches, chaffinches and siskins all competing for a place on a perch…

busy feeder

…leading to some unfortunate outbreaks of hooliganism.

stamping siskin

In the case, the chaffinch shrugged off the siskin and kept her place at the feeder.

After a good lunch of sardine and lettuce sandwiches, I got myself organised and went out for a cycle ride. The wind was gusty so I settled for a gentle 30 mile circuit and was happy to be blown home so that the return journey uphill was considerably faster than the outward journey downhill.

Did I mention that everything is growing?

springfield road

There was only just room for the road between these lush verges near Gretna Green and I had to stop a little further on to let a rush of traffic go by.

pony trap

I stopped for a drink and half a banana after twenty miles and admired the ferns beside the road.

fernfern

I am trying not to take too many pictures but when I got home, the sun came out and so did my camera.

I am cycling slowly but consistently as my trip today was within half an hour

Mrs Tootlepedal’s orange geums are lasting well….

geum

…and the melancholy thistle looked positively cheerful today.

melancholy thistle

Rosa Wren, probably my favourite rose in the garden has produced its first flower…

rosa wren

…and the giant ornamental clover has come out too.

giant clover

I like to see the perennial nasturtium so I was pleased to see that it has survived the severe clipping that the yew it lives on got last year and has come back fighting.

tropaeolum

Mrs Tootlepedal was back from Hawick when I got back from cycling and she was soon hard at work in the garden while I mowed the front lawn and put the sprinkler on the middle lawn.  There is no rain in the forecast for the next ten days and with the temperature set to rise, I want to avoid the lawns drying out.

Following the doctors’ advice to get more iron into my diet, we had liver for tea for the second time in a few days.  As I am eating plenty of greens as well, I will so full of metal that I will be liable to set of security scanners just by walking past them soon.

We had a sporting evening watching bits of football and rugby matches on the telly.

There is not just one flying chaffinch of the day today but three of them.

flying chaffinches

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture shows an art installation by Christo in Hyde Park in London.  My sister Mary saw it and tells me that it is made up of 7,506 barrels.  I can see that it is really big but whether it is good art, I cannot tell.

Bulgarian artist Christo's pyramid in the Serpintine made up of 7.506 barrels

Our new spell of fine weather continued today with a fresh feel brought on by the brisk wind.  It was dry and sunny though and Mrs Tootlepedal got through a power of work in the garden.

Our neighbours Ken and Liz dropped in to say hello to Mrs Tootlepedal in the garden.  They were very impressed by the number of bees on the astrantias.

bee on astrantia

I was too.

I had to leave the gardener working as I went off to see the doctor.  The result was a clean bill of health, though I have to keep taking the iron tablets, and permission to go back to the church choir and try some singing.  I am going to take care to try and avoid straining my voice by improving my technique if I can.

As I crossed the suspension bridge on my way to the Health Centre, a passer by pointed out something strange under the town bridge.

tree at bridge 2

I had a closer look when I got back from seeing the doctor.  It was a substantial tree, snapped off near the base.

tree at bridge

 

The recent strong wind must have done for it and the rain that followed must have floated it down the river.  I don’t know how long it has been pressed against the bridge.

Back in the garden, Mrs Tootlepedal and Liz had looked at the cotoneaster and been even more impressed by the number of bees on it.  I went to check it out.

 

They were right to be impressed.  There were bees all over it.

bees on cotoneaster

I thought that the roses were looking well today and I took pictures of some of them.

lilian austin rose

LIlian Austin

rosa complicata

Rosa complicata

yellow rose

Crown Princess Margareta

rose goldfinch

Goldfinch

Among all these riches, our single Melancholy Thistle….

melancholy thistle

…did look a bit lonely.

As I like furry plants, I was happy to see that our Stachys or lamb’s ear has started to flower.

stachys

 

After lunch, I decided to face the brisk wind and go for a pedal.  It was hard work going uphill and into the wind at the start of the ride and I was happy to stop for a breather and a picture after 5 miles.

Callister gate

The countryside is very lush at the moment and the grass is growing at a good rate.

dock

As are the docks at the top of Callister.

I stopped again at 10 miles and saw plenty of vetch beside the road…

vetch

…but the most noticeable thing was another snapped off tree. This one was sticking through the hedge but luckily had fallen away from the road.

fallen tree

It is always a hard time for trees when strong winds arrive when they are in full leaf.

After the first 14 miles, the wind was less of a nuisance and I was just getting up some speed when I had to stop because of a number of these.

orchid

I like to see orchids and hope to see many more but these were the only ones that I saw today.

A friendly wind blew me home and made up for the struggle on the outward part of the trip and I managed just over 30 miles and this brought me up to my target for the month.  As there are several days of the month still to go, I am hoping to make a dent in my mileage backlog which is too large for comfort.

I stuck to my good resolution and instead of going for a walk or doing some mowing when I got home, I went in and put another week of the newspaper index into the Archive Group database.  I was inputting data for 1897 and noticed a report of a car being seen in the town.  Modern times are creeping up.

In the evening, Mike and Alison came round and Alison and I had a good time playing sonatas while Mrs Tootlepedal and Mike caught up on the news and sipped beer.

The flower of the day is another bee on the cotoneaster.

bee on cotoneaster

 

 

 

 

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