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Posts Tagged ‘Red admiral’

Today’s guest picture comes from our neighbour Liz.  She went for a walk in the woods today and got a big surprise.  The wood carver has been at work again.

Liz's monster

We had another lovely day today, but in spite of the sunshine it was still a bit autumnal as far as the temperature went.  I walked up to the town to do some errands in the morning because just as I was cycling out of the gate, I met Mike Tinker so I pushed my bike beside me as we walked companionably up to the paper shop.

I had a couple more things to do while Mike walked back, and I cycled back a little later, deciding that any more serious cycle outing could well wait until the sun had warmed things up a bit.

Between drinking coffee and not finishing the crossword, I walked round the garden.  The pale yellow dahlia looked rather chilly in the shadow of the house….

pale yellow dahlia

…but elsewhere the sun  made everything look very cheerful…

nerine, begonia, euphorbia

…especially the poppies.

bright red poppy

I have been dead heading the Icelandic poppies and they have repaid me with several new flowers.

morning icelandic poppy

I liked this leaf of a variegated dogwood which looks as though nature has been out and about doing some hand quilting.

embroidered leaf

Once again, the most conspicuous element in the garden was the flitting about of butterflies.  There were lots about, including this white on a spirea…

white butterfly on spirea

…and all four of our regular coloured types – the peacock…

peacock butterfly

…the small tortoiseshell…

tortoiseshell butterfly on daglia

…the red admiral…

red admiral butterfly

…and the painted lady.

painted lady on sedum

It wasn’t hard to find two or three together, jostling for space on the same flower.

three butterfly pairs

There weren’t as many blackbirds about as there have been, probably because the rowan berries have nearly all been eaten.  This blackbird was reduced to foraging for fallen berries on the ground.

blackbird with scavenged berry

A pale astrantia reached up to the sun.

pale astrantia

After lunch, with the thermometer at a heady 12°C, I got my bike out, spoke severely to my legs and set off to see how far I could go.

For once, the wind had dropped and although there was still a very light breeze, it wasn’t a great help or a great inconvenience.

The good forecast had encouraged farmers to cut more grass.

cut grass mid september

I cycled down to Longtown by back roads and dropped in at the bike shop there.  My bike has had a squeaking problem which had baffled the best brains among the bike shop boffins and although they hadn’t cured it when it was last in the workshop, they had made the bike ride-able again.  When the problem reappeared on a recent ride, I followed up on the mechanic’s suggestion and applied a little WD40 to a crucial point.  This had cured it, so I went to thank the mechanic.

He was very pleased to find the cause of the problem and undertook to provide a more permanent fix next time my bike comes to the workshop.  As it was, I was lucky that I was carrying the WD40 with me because when I went over a very dirty section of the road a few miles further on, the problem raised its ugly head again.  A good squirt cleared things up though, and I was able to pedal on without a problem.

From Longtown, I went past Arthuret Church…

Arthuret Church

…and enjoyed this little carving on a gravestone.

Arthuret Church carving

I then took a short off road section of National Bike Route 7.  It follows an old railway line across the River Lyne on a new bridge which they plunked down on top of the old piers..

NR 7 bike path

Although I had to duck to avoid brambles hanging over the path, and the final section was both muddy and very narrow, I reached the artistic signpost  at the far end of the track safely and rejoined the road gratefully.

I wound my way round the flat roads of North Cumbria, and then headed home past Gretna and through Canonbie

I paused for a drink as I crossed the main railway line near Gretna.  I love the geometry of railway lines.

railway geometry

I didn’t stop a lot to take pictures on my way but there were wild flowers to enjoy when I did stop.

three biking wild flowers

I was hoping to manage 50 miles but I came to a compromise agreement with my legs and settled for 43 miles instead.  The forecast is still good for tomorrow so I didn’t want to discourage my legs by doing too much today.

I had a cup of tea and some toast with plum jam when I got home and then had a last walk round the garden.  The calendulas are hanging on well.

evening icelandic poppy

I am off to see the podiatrist tomorrow to see if I can do something about getting walking comfortably again.  Cycling is all very well but you don’t see anything like as much detail as you do when you are walking.

The non flying bird of the day is a starling, standing fearlessly among the mess of wires on the top of our new electricity pole.

starling among wires

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary who has been visiting the Lake District where she enjoyed one of Ruskin’s favourites, the view of Derwentwater from Friar’s Crag.

Derwentwater from Friar's Crag

After our spell of cool changeable weather, we got back to a hot summer day today and I hardly like to say this, but it was too hot!

I started the day by going down to Canonbie with Sandy.  We met fellow camera club member Stan and between the three of us, we collected the photographs that had been on display at the Canonbie Church Cafe for the past months, packed them up and took them home.  The pictures will have a brief rest and then they will be off up to Eskdalemuir, where they will be on show for the month of September.

I had a cup of coffee with Sandy when we got back and when I had taken him home afterwards, I came back and had a look round the garden.

Mrs Tootlepedal had told me that when she went out into the garden before breakfast, there had been a lot of butterflies about.  They were still there after coffee.  I counted seventeen peacock butterflies on one of the buddleias.

There were a few red admirals and small tortoisheshells about…

red admiral and small tortoisehell butterflies

…and lots of white butterflies….

two white butterflies

…but peacocks were everywhere…

two peacock butterflies

…busy  feeding on buddleia flowers.

peacock butterfly

There were also a lot of painted ladies.  This kept Mrs Tootlepedal happy as they are her favourites.

painted lady butterfly

The buddleias attract bees too and I liked this little orange bundle of fun.

orange bee

Other insects were available.  Mrs Tootlepedal found a little moth clinging to her jeans…

moth on Mrs T

…and I spotted a tiny hoverfly on a leaf.

hoverfly on leaf

I had intended to go for a longish cycle ride but a combination of tiredness and the hot sun kept me sitting indoors staring at a difficult prize crossword long after I should have set off.  In the end, I did stir my stumps and went off up the main road to the north of the town.

I had a friendly wind behind me as I headed up the gentle hill to Mosspaul and I kept up a good speed.  I did stop from time to time to admire the views.  Although it doesn’t look like it from this picture…

hdr

…thin clouds covered the sun while I pedalled, and as a result, it wasn’t too hot for comfort.

It is very difficult to take a picture on this stretch of road without some electricity lines in it, as the main power line runs right down the middle of the valley.

hdr

When I turned at the top of the hill after ten miles, I was bit worried that the friendly wind that had helped me along so far,  might turn out to be a bit of a handful on the way home.  In the event, it wasn’t as bad as I had feared, and gravity gave me enough assistance to get me home at an average of 14.8 mph for the twenty miles, a very good speed for me these days.

The sun came out just before I got home and let me have this nice view back over my route.  I had pedalled right up to those hills in the distance.

view up ewes valley from A7

I didn’t rest for long when I got home because Mrs Tootlepedal was keen on a walk.  The cycling had loosened up my joints, so I was happy to toddle along too.

Mrs Tootlepedal is looking for some new walks so we drove a few miles up the road to Bentpath, and then took the narrow single track road to Glendinning, up the Meggat valley.

Leaving the car at the car park provided for visitors to the Thomas Telford Cairn, we left the farm buildings at Glendinning behind us…

glendinning

…and walked up the track along the west bank of the Meggat Water.  There was a delightful little cascade to set us on our way…

glendinning waterfall

…and the Corlaw burn leapt down the hillside to join the Meggat Water.

side burn to meggat water

You can see the path that  we were following as it follows along the hillside above the Meggat.

walk from glendinning

It was pretty warm and we were pleased when we got into the shade proved by a stand of trees.

meggat valley

We walked up the track until we could see the large commercial forest that covers the ridge at the head of the valley.forestry above meggat

We had hoped to walk up to a bothy which has been refurbished and is a refuge for walkers and cyclists in these hills, but it was half a mile too far for us and we turned and walked back down the track.  On our way we passed a couple who were intending to stay overnight in the bothy.

The sun had dropped behind the hill and we walked in shade until we got near Glendinning again where the sun shone on us for the last part of our journey.

looking down at Glendinning

If you can’t get to Shangri-La, the Meggat valley on a beautiful August evening will do very well to be going on with.

We safely negotiated the single track road (with some reversing in the face of oncoming traffic) and arrived home, tired but happy.  Driving slowly on narrow roads has a very pleasing effect on the power consumption of the Zoe so it was an economical outing as well as good fun.

It is going to be even hotter tomorrow according to the forecast.  I shall take things easy.

The flying bird of the day is a zinnia enjoying the sunshine.

zinnia

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Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Susan who was taking some refreshment in Russell Square when she noticed that she was being watched.

Susan's owl

We had a day of almost uninterrupted sunshine and light winds, ideal for pottering about the garden so this is what I did.  I thought of going for a bike ride from time to time as it was also a perfect day for cycling but by the time that I had pottered about the garden all morning and a bit of the afternoon too, the heat of the day had rendered me too melted to pull myself together enough to go cycling.

Through the day, flowers caught the eye, both singly…

four bright flowers

…and in clumps…

four bright clumps

…and they caught the eyes of insects too and the garden was loud with buzzing.

bee and hoverfly on poppy

In the face of hot competition, this was my favourite single flower of the day…

calendula

…though for a knock ’em dead effect, it was hard to ignore the phlox…

phlox phlurry

…which is phlourishing greatly.

another phlox phlurry

I kept an eye out for butterflies while I was picking beans and digging potatoes in the morning.

We had a good selection today:

A red admiral…

red admiral butterfly

…a peacock…

peacock butterfly

…a painted lady…

painted lady butterfly

…and a small tortoiseshell…

small tortoisesgell butterfly

…and lots of plainer butterflies too.

white butterfly

There were several of each variety and it was hard to miss the butterflies as they flew about the garden.

It was pretty warm in the sun so I had to go inside from time to time just to cool down.  Not being able to stand the heat outside at one point, I went into the kitchen and made some soup for lunch using potatoes, beans and an onion from the garden.

Later, I spent some time inside watching the birds and was pleased to see a few goldfinches about.

goldfinch sparrow siskin

The number of siskins has decreased lately so they must be moving on but the goldfinches still had to wait for a free perch…

goldfinch perching

…. because there are a great number of sparrows about and they are very boisterous…

sparring sparrows

…very boisterous indeed.

squabbling sparrows

Mrs Tootlepedal had been at a series of meetings in the morning but she buckled down to some serious gardening in the afternoon and only paused when these three wise men appeared at our gate.

three old men

Gavin, Mike and Charlie had been out on the hills checking on one of the Langholm Walks routes and replacing marker discs on the guideposts where necessary.  Their voluntary work is valuable as the walks bring many visitors into the town.

I mowed the front lawn and then I did some compost sieving.

As I found that I had emptied Bin D when I had finished, I shifted the compost that hadn’t gone through the sieve and which had been resting in Bin C back into Bin D and then, after a short sit down, I shifted the contents of Bin B into Bin C.

This is exciting work but I needed another sit down after it so I took a camera in hand and sat on a chair beside the front lawn.  I was greatly entertained as I rested by the persistent demands of a young blackbird to be fed by its long suffering parent.  One worm was never enough.

blackbird feeding young

Then I went in and made incessant demands of my own until Mrs Tootlepedal made our evening meal.

I haven’t done much walking lately, as I am trying not to make my feet worse but it was such a lovely evening after tea, that it seemed a crime not to go for a short walk, so I went.

A reflection in the dam caught my attention as I crossed the bridge when I left the house.

dam reflection

The park and the river beside it were full of children swimming in the river and cycling round the park so in Langholm at least, the idea that all children these days spend their time sitting inside staring at their screens is obviously not true.

The park was looking at its best.

 

Buccleuch Park

Several of the poplar trees along the river bank had to be cut down in recent years but the ones that remain look good on a day like today.

Poplars in Buccleuch Park

I walked nervously past two monsters…

two monsters Buccleuch Park

…and through the wood until I got to the Murtholm.

murtholm

It was such a lovely warm night that I was tempted to walk along the river bank to Skippers Bridge and back on the far side of the river but good sense prevailed and I turned back and walked home along the track on the top of the bank above the river.

easton's walk

This is the last post for some time in which birds on the feeder will appear, as the warm wet weather and the tendency of siskins to spill seeds when they eat has made the feeder area too smelly for comfort and I am pausing the feeding for a while.  There is plenty of other food for the birds about.

So the flying bird of the day today is a farewell sparrow.

flying sparrow

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Today’s guest picture comes from my Manitoba correspondent Mary Jo. She is currently on holiday in England and came across this fine gate in Salisbury.

Mary Jo's gate

Mrs Tootlepedal has been wanting a bit a manure to get her garden off to a good start for the next growing season so she had a word with a friend yesterday and early this morning, this arrived at our front gate…

Manure

…but even with the expert assistance of our neighbour Liz, the tractor was just too big to get itself turned round enough to back the trailer into the drive.

There was no alternative.

manure

What fun.

Luckily, Alasdair who had supplied the muck , was kind enough to stay on to help and with good teamwork….

manure shifting

…with Al and Liz filling barrows at one end of the drive and Mrs Tootlepedal creating an artistic muck heap at the other, the situation was soon saved.

manure shifted

I ran the shuttle service.

It wasn’t done in a few minutes but it was done just before Dropscone arrived for coffee and we sat down to a well earned rest, although some in the party didn’t think that they were getting a fair share of the scones.

Riley

This was the moment to test whether Mary Jo’s gift of saskatoon jam was the correct additive for a Langholm scone and after eating two of his scones with the jam on, Dropscone agreed that the jam passed the test with honour.  I must say that I thought that it went very well with a scone or two too.

After Liz and Dropscone left, Mrs Tootlepedal and I spent a happy hour trying to erase any sign of manure other than that in the neat pile at the end of the drive…

manure

…and thanks to expert work by Mrs Tootlepedal with a teaspoon and a toothbrush, things were left looking pretty tidy.  Mrs Tootlepedal is looking forward to spreading the muck about generously in the coming months.

I once gave Mrs Tootlepedal a half load of manure for a Christmas present.  It was a very successful present as it sat outside our kitchen window for some time and Mrs Tootlepedal often remarked that every time that she looked at the great heap of muck, she thought of me.

The garden is still reasonably colourful for the time of year….

garden late Spetember 2107

…and the insects keep coming.

insects on dahlias

The dahlias were very popular today.

hoverfly

It was pleasantly cool while we were muck shifting, which was good, but the sun came out shortly afterwards and it was a great pleasure to be out in the garden.

Special Grandma looked particularly pleased.

special grandma

I made some potato and carrot soup for my lunch and then went off for a quick stroll round Gaskell’s Walk.  It was quite breezy so I was not unhappy to have had too little time for a cycle ride.  September has been a very poor month for cycling with bad weather at the start and too much to do at the end of the month but luckily, I am well ahead of my schedule for the year and with some good weather in October, I should still reach my target by Christmas.

I had very good weather for my stroll and enjoyed the peaceful look of Wauchope Churchyard as I passed.

Wauchope Churchyard

In spite of the sunshine, the brown and swirling waters flowing under the Auld Stane Brig show just how much rain we have had over recent weeks.

Auld Stane Brig

The ground is sodden and the rain showers seem to be very heavy when they come so we may expect a bit of a flood if it rains for a long time soon. All this water came from some rain last night.

I kept my eyes open as I walked and enjoyed this large fungus….

fungus

…and I hope that someone will be able to tell me if the white rim round the edge means that it is still alive and growing.

I did see other fungus and lichen but the light was too poor or too bright so I didn’t get very good pictures.

fungus and lichen

I thought that an oak might be showing autumn colour but it turned out to be caused by the galls on the back of the leaves.  Some of the oaks are covered in these galls.

oak galls

Some peering about on the internet tells me that they may be spangle galls.  If this is true we should be in for a plague of gall wasps as there are hundreds of these galls about.

Some of the oaks are free of them and I liked this perky acorn further along the walk.

acorn

I resisted the temptation to sit on a handy bench provided so that elderly walkers can sit and look back across the river at the Wauchope Churchyard and think dark thoughts about mortality and enjoyed the open views further on instead.

Meiklholm Hill

Grey clouds were looming over Meikleholm Hill.

A curious sheep looked back at me.

stubholm sheep

I didn’t dawdle too much and I just had time to check out a battered butterfly when I got home….

red admiral butterfly

…before jumping into the car with Mrs Tootlepedal and driving off to Eskdalemuir to collect the Camera Club photos which had been on exhibition at The Hub there.

Thanks to the good curation of the exhibition by Sharon and the other volunteers at The Hub, our club members had sold quite a few of the pictures and I was modestly very pleased to find that three of mine were among those that had found buyers.

It had rained a little as we had driven up but we did most of the journey in sunshine and I wish that I could have had time to stop to take a few pictures.  Of course, I would have had to remember to bring my camera with me and as I hadn’t, the lack of time wasn’t quite so painful.

The reason for the rush was a concert at the Buccleuch Centre in the evening.  This was given by Aly Bain and Phil Cunningham, who are absolute masters of the art of providing a congenial evening of traditional music and amusing commentary.   Their musicianship on fiddle and accordion is superb and the commentary in between the numbers can make your ribs hurt at times. Even if a lot of the tunes and stories may have made their appearance in former concerts, you greet them with all the enthusiasm you would greet a much loved old friend who has returned after some time abroad.

They have played together for forty years and have supreme and justified confidence in their own ability so they have no need to pester us with questions about whether we are having a good time or to play very loudly or to jump around and stamp to prove that they are trying.  They just sit there quietly and pour out a stream of magic and we are grateful.

The flying bird of the day is sitting on the hedge prior to taking off.

blackbird

 

 

 

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Today’s guest picture most unusually comes from Mrs Tootlepedal.  She took this picture of our neighbour Liz hard at work in the dam.

Liz in the dam

Unlike yesterday, I hardly stirred from the house and garden all day.  I did pop up to the town after breakfast to oversee the transfer of some unwanted stacking chairs from the Archive Centre to the Langholm Initiative.  As this involved merely opening the door and watching as two strong young men whisked the chairs out into a van and then locking the door again, it wasn’t very taxing or time consuming.

Once I got home, the day became all action.  It was dry and warm, even if it was cloudy, and too good a day not to get busy around the garden.

Because some work was being done elsewhere, the sluice to our dam was shut and this gave our neighbour Liz the chance to get busy cleaning out the part of the dam that runs along her garden and when I say busy, I am understating the case.  When she had finished, with a little help from Mrs Tootlepedal….

Dam cleaned

…the dam was auditioning for the role of Langholm’s first deep water port.

When most of the work was done, I made coffee for the workers and Liz and Mrs Tootlepedal and I were joined by another neighbour, Margaret and between us, we cured many of the evils that are besetting the world at the moment.  It is just a pity that no local or world leaders were present to take our sage advice.

I hadn’t been entirely idle while the waterworks were going on and had managed to mow a patch of grass or two….

middle and front lawn

…trying my best to ignore signs which may indicate that Attila the gardener has plans to mangle my sward.

lawn works

Then I dead headed a lot of dahlias, calendula and poppies.  The poppies are still looking a fresh as when they first appeared….

poppy

…or even fresher.

poppy

One poppy had something that was not a bee on it and I was curious and took a closer look…

poppy

…without being much wiser as to what it was.

 

Perhaps because it wasn’t sunny, the poppies were not being pestered by bees to the same extent as they have been recently but there were still quite a lot about…

poppy with bees

…and on the dahlias as well.

bumble bees on dahlia

The large bumble on the left loves this dahlia and stayed on it for hours today.   There are so many different kinds of bumble bee that I can’t identify this one.

***Spoiler alert***

Infantile humour arriving.  Beware!

One I can identify, thanks to my knowledge of Rachmaninov, is this one….

bee

…which is of course, the bum of the flightlebee.  (Sorry)

***normal service has been resumed***

The Special Grandma rose, which is well sheltered from the elements, is going bananas.

Special Grandma rose

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal and Liz started on the dam behind our house on our side of the road and I did some more mowing….

green house grass and the drying green

….with the flymo…

….checked out a red admiral in profile and full wing…

red admiral

It is hard to recognise these pictures as the same butterfly

…..and then set about trimming the hedge along the road.

Before….

hedge

…and after.

hedge

As I explained to a passer by, I wasn’t aiming for geometrical precision.  Having just been to the south of France where the post impressionist painters worked, I told her that I had been inspired to create a post impressionist hedge, a hedge which didn’t look exactly like a boringly real hedge but a hedge which gave an impression of a hedge as an artist might see it, possibly while slightly drunk.  She seemed to think that I had succeeded admirably.

When I had finished the hedge, I went to see what the workers were doing.  Attila had her team beautifully regimented…

Dam team

…and their work rate was impressive.  The plan was to cut back the potentillas and thin out the dead wood until the side of the dam was clear, leaving the possibility of some variety next year. The plan was comprehensively executed….

potentilla clearing

…as were the potentillas.

I helped by barrowing away the prunings and offering helpful advice wherever it was needed….

fuchsia

…though I took time out to admire the fuchsia on our back wall….

bee and butterfly

…and celebrate the peaceful sharing nature of bee and butterfly on a sedum while I was dropping off a barrowload of branches.

 

There were innumerable barrowloads of clippings and I was happy to pause again to admire the nasturtiums and cosmos at the front gate on one of the trips.

nasturtiums and cosmos

In the end, even the indefatigable Liz and Mrs Tootlepedal proved human and work was stopped for the day.  To celebrate, I provided a large pot of tea and made some toast.  The toast was all the better for being eaten with some Saskatoon Jelly.  This had been very generously given to me by my Canadian correspondent Mary Jo when she met us in London at the weekend.

It was delicious.

Interestingly, although I had never heard of Saskatoon Jelly, it turns out to come from the plant Amelanchier alnifolia and Mrs Tootlepedal thinks there is a variety of Amelanchier  growing in a neighbour’s garden.

Throughout the day, I was keeping an eye out for walnuts which had fallen from our walnut tree.

walnuts

In spite of, or perhaps because of,  our cool summer, the are plenty of nuts around and quite a lot of them are full of nutty goodness.  Jackdaws pick them from the tree and then often seem to drop them so that neighbours quite a distance away sometimes come upon walnuts in their own gardens.

There was a certain sagging at the end of a busy day but I was sufficiently refreshed by the last of the venison stew to get myself out for a Langholm Sings choir practice.  It was very well attended and as the music was varied and enjoyable, I was pleased to have made the effort.

During the day, I visited Liz to check out her electric lawn mower.  It seems both efficient and easy to use.  I am thinking of declaring our Flymo past its use by date and her mower looks like a good type of replacement.  As well as the mower, I couldn’t help noticing a very pretty rose growing on a trellis on her wall and it is the flying bird of the day.

Liz's rose

 

 

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Today’s guest picture is another from Dropscone’s continental excursion and shows a fine bridge over the Schlei at Kappeln in Schleswig-Flensburg.  Dropscone points out that it is just the same as Tower Bridge in London….but without the towers of course.

the-bridge-at-kappeln

Our spell of warm weather continued today and it was up to a  most unseasonal 20°C by mid morning and when the sun came out, it became positively hot.

The fat balls on the feeder have become sparrow magnets.

sparrows at feeder

But I managed to tear myself away from the kitchen window and get the final stage of my Archive Group  charity return to the regulators completed. This was a weight off my mind.    It is one of those tasks, quite simple in itself, for which the word procrastination is designed.  I suffer from chronic formophobia but I should have learned to overcome this by now.  Still, it is done.

After a cup of coffee with Mrs Tootlepedal, I spent some time cleaning my fairly speedy bike as it had been wheezing and groaning a bit on my last ride.  When this was done, I sat on it and went for a pedal.

I was back home three minutes later as I had forgotten my bike glasses but this worked out well as Mrs Tootlepedal, who was toiling in the garden,  pointed out a painted lady butterfly….

painted lady and red admiral butterflies

…and I noticed a red admiral not far away.

I was going on my standard 20 mile pedal down to Canonbie across country and then back by the old A7 and  I stopped to add a picture of the bridge over the Esk at Canonbie to my recent bridge portfolio.

Canonbie Bridge

The rather ugly railing was added when the footway was widened a few years ago.

Although it was a lovely morning and the river was busy but not full, a glance at the bank above where I was standing….

Esk at canonbie

…showed just how high the Esk had been on Friday night after some heavy rain.  The level would have been above my head as I stood on the edge of the water.

All was quiet today though and I had a last look through the bridge….

Canonbie Bridge

….and then pedalled home in very good humour on dry roads in the warm sunshine with little or no wind.

There were more butterflies to be seen when I got back.

red admiral and peacock butterflies

The painted lady had been replaced by a peacock.

Mrs Tootlepedal was busy doing some severe plant shifting requiring a pick axe while I had a light lunch and then we set about trimming the hedge along the road.  It had got a bit hairy…

hairy hedge

…although it only seems like yesterday that I gave it its last trim.

As you can see from the wires along the pavement, we were intending to use our electric hedge trimmer but the rotten thing wouldn’t work and after trying every connection, we gave it up as a bad job and settled for hand powered shears.

Mrs Tootlepedal had been working too long in the sun though by this time and had to go in and lie down in a darkened room for a moment so I clipped away by myself until, providentially, the sun went in and Mrs Tootlepedal came out again.

Together we got the job done….

Trimmed hedge

…and though it is not a thing of dead straight lines and knife edge creases, we look at it as a creative work of art reflecting the troubled world that we live in and we are content.

Mrs Tootlepedal kept the shears at work by trimming a yew bush in the garden…

yew clipping

…while I snapped a few flowers….

clematis

…and spotted more butterflies.

red admiral butterfly

When you see one close up, you wouldn’t want to argue with it.

I am very happy about the number of butterflies appearing now.  It is not as large as in some previous years but it is more than we were expecting after cold weather at a crucial time.

I looked at some other flowers too and thought that the buds of a Fuchsia, hanging like lanterns, were perhaps just as pretty as the flowers in this light.

Fuchsia

I always enjoy an astrantia and our pale variety has produced some late flowers.

astrantia

On the edge of the freshly mown lawn, gently green nicotiana blended with yellow crocosmia.

nicotiana and crocosmia

I was able to pick apples for stewing and enough of our autumn fruiting raspberries to have a plate of raspberries and cream at tea time.  The front lawn had dried out enough to make mowing it a pleasure and  I even did a bit of dead heading in an effort to keep the dahlias and poppies going.  Some aspects of gardening are most enjoyable.

While I was clipping the hedge, my trio playing fried Mike had appeared with a new Mozart trio which he has just bought.  It is an arrangement of the trio in E flat K.498 (Kegelstadt) for oboe, bassoon and piano and will do very well for our flute, cello and piano trio.  Music for our combination is hard to come by.  I looked at it when I got in from the garden and enjoyed what I saw.

I went to make a cup of tea for the gardener and me and looked out of the window while we were sipping away….

jackdaw

…and received a hard stare for my trouble.

The jackdaw flew off however and was instantly replace by squabbling sparrows…

sparrows

…while a dunnock was happy to scavenge for tidbits under the feeder.

dunnock

If you have a glut of courgettes, I can heartily recommend courgette fritters.  Mrs Tootlepedal has a good recipe for them, and they are delicious, like potato latkes but better.   I could eat them every day which is handy as we have a lot of courgettes to get through.  Visitors almost always leave with a courgette or two with them.  We had some fritters for our tea with the last of the venison stew.

Later on we enjoyed some stewed apple and custard.  It was a good eating evening.

The flower of the day is a sunflower which Mrs Tootlepedal found bent over to the ground behind some other plants.  She has staked it up and it is looking none the worse for its adventures.

sunflower

The flying bird of the day is one of the disputatious sparrows, flapping furiously as it approached the feeder..

flying sparrow

 

 

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Today’s guest picture is another of my sister Mary’s studies of the lakes and ponds of London’s parks.  This one is the small lake in Parliament Hill Fields

The small lake in Parliament Hill FieldsWe woke to the coldest morning of the autumn so far at a meagre 4 degrees C and to find the town well covered in mist.  It took some time for the mist to clear but by lunchtime, the sun had broken through and the afternoon was well up to recent sunny standards although it never got very warm.

I started the day with a visit to the health centre to get some blood taken for tests which I hope may give me an excuse for stopping taking statins.  While I was there, the nurse took the opportunity to give me my annual flu jab thus hitting two targets with one arrow.

When I got home, it was time for a late breakfast as I had not been able to eat for twelve hours before the blood test.  Then, in an effort to keep up with Mrs Tootlepedal, who was wielding the vacuum cleaner to great effect, I tidied everything off all the surfaces in the front room.  Looking around as I type this in the evening, many things have mysteriously materialised out of thin air and covered some of the surfaces again.  Tidying up is  not my forte.

I had time to make a pot of coffee and stare out of the window though.

blue titsI had put some brightly coloured pink bird food out in the covered feeder and it attracted the blue tits.

blue tits and pink foodI admire the way that blue tits cope with food that is too big to swallow in one go.

A coal tit approached the problem from a different angle.

coal titThere was an early visit from two goldfinches.  I was pleased to see them but I don’t think that they returned the compliment.

goldfinchesWe were intending to go to a garden centre straight after coffee to get some sand for the lawn but there was a slight hiatus while we searched for my debit card which had disappeared.  For a moment, we wondered whether it had been mislaid on the Edinburgh train on Tuesday and this involved a catch 22 conversation with that grand misnomer, ‘customer services’.  The Edinburgh lost property number was faulty and not working so I was advised by a kind lady in Fort William, who was working, to leave a message on the answer-phone at the Glasgow lost property office, the head office for lost property, and they would ring me back.  Luckily the astute Mrs Tootlepedal had found the offending card before they rang and we set off for the garden centre and lunch.

I got the reply from Glasgow later in the day on my answer-phone.  It said, ‘Please ring the Edinburgh Office.’

The visit to the garden centre went well in spite of the fact that they had no suitable sand.  We bought lunch, a moveable bird feeder, some bird food, some peat and logs for the stove in the front room and a small potentilla so we hadn’t wasted our time going there.

By the time we got home, the  sun was in full swing and the garden was full of bees and butterflies.

bees and butterflySomeone suggested that counting the bees must be difficult but as you can see in the picture above, the bees are behaving rather like sheep and are steadily grazing on the sedum rather than buzzing about.  There were well over a hundred here again today.

Unlike yesterday though, there was a good turnout of butterflies too.  There were well over a dozen flitting about, though there were none of the peacocks that looked so pretty yesterday.

Today we had red admirals…

red admiral butterfly…small tortoiseshells…

small tortoiseshell butterfly…and painted ladies…

painted lady butterflyThe painted lady gave me a profile shot.

painted lady butterflyLovers of the 1980s will appreciate the deely boppers which butterflies sport.

There were butterflies and bees wherever we looked.

butterfliesIt seemed that every flower had an insect friend.

poppy and daisy with insectsastrantia with insectsI was dancing about with glee like a little boy allowed a free run in a sweetie shop.

I calmed down enough to take a shot of a poppy for the poppy parade.

poppyI will miss the poppies when the season ends.

We were expecting Mike and Alison to come round for their usual Friday evening visit for music and conversation but Mike rang to say the Alison was unwell and had retired to bed.  This was sad but at least it let me practice a little choir music and write a business letter that had been waiting to be written for nearly a month so some good came out of it.

The flying bird of the day is a bee.

flying bee

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