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Posts Tagged ‘scylla’

Today’s guest picture is another from Venetia’s African trip.  She met a number of alarming animals as she went along.

Nile crocodile

My day started with a visit to the doctor to inquire about the possibility of a miracle cure and consult about the blood test results following my mild anaemia.  The blood results could not have been better as all my levels were just about as good as they could be.  The doctor declared that I was in perfect health and I was almost embarrassed to mention my foot trouble and show her my swollen foot.

Her diagnosis was osteoarthritis due to wear and tear and the miracle cure was thus not available.  She has sent me off for an x-ray though in case I have got some other damage in my foot.  As that will probably take two weeks to happen, I shall continue to hobble around muttering balefully meanwhile.

It was a lovely day though so that cheered me up when I got back into the garden, especially when I found out that Mrs Tootlepedal had been busy putting a neat edge on the middle lawn.

edged lawn

Nothing makes a lawn look better than a neat edge.

I did the edges of the front lawn and then took a look round.  In the pond, the tadpoles are still in a heap but they are looking quite healthy and should start swimming around soon.

tadpoles

It was such a perfect day that I thought that I might test out the idea that had been put into my head by Stan at our last camera club meeting and try what a mirror could do.

The dog tooth violet seemed like a good subject as it hangs its head down so I stuck the mirror underneath it and had a go with my little Lumix.

violet with mirror

The result was very satisfactory in that I got a shot which I don’t think that I could have got by any other method without picking the flower.

violet in mirror (2)

I got my Nikon out, put the macro lens on and tried a few other flowers with the mirror technique.

A hellebore…

hellebore in mirror

…a scylla…

scylla in mirror

…and back to the violet again.

violet in mirror

I am grateful to Stan as it is obviously a really promising idea….though if I am seen walking through the woods with a shaving mirror in my hand, I may get some odd looks.

While I had the macro lens on, I peered at the euphorbia…

euphorbia in sunshine

…the doronicum…

doronicum

…and the nameless little white flowers.

two little white flowers

I noticed the very first dicentra of the year…

first dicentra

…and Mrs Tootlepedal noticed that there were several ladybirds about too.

ladybird in garden

Mrs Tootlepedal went in to cook some sticky toffee pudding and I stayed out in the garden and was very pleased to get a visit from a man from the power company who had come to inspect our wobbly electricity pole,  He gave the bottom of the pole some savage whacks with a hammer and decided that the telephone men had been wise not to climb up it.  It has to go and after some consideration of the possibility of digging trenches through three gardens (as the pole serves three houses), he decided that putting up a new pole would be the way to go.  To avoid wrecking Mrs Tootlepedal’s garden, the hole for the pole will be hand dug.  This will make for interesting work for the apprentices whose job it will be to dig the hole.

In the end, as we were going to Edinburgh as usual to visit Matilda, I had to leave the garden reluctantly and make a little lunch.  I watched the birds as the soup heated.

In spite of a free perch on the other side of the feeder, a lady chaffinch thought that it was quite all right to trample on an innocent goldfinch.

chaffinch stamping goldfinch

To try to tempt some different birds to come to the feeders, I have put out some peanuts.  Mrs Tootlepedal saw a blue tit visit but the only bird I saw nibbling on the nuts was this siskin.

siskin on peanuts

On the whole, the sunflower hearts seem much more attractive than the peanuts and the birds were jumping at the chance to get a seed.

siskin landing

The trip to Edinburgh was delightful, with the train on time and the countryside looking at its best in the sun.

When we got there, Matilda was away from home practising a dance routine for a forthcoming competition so I had a moment to take a very short stroll through the nearby Botanic gardens.

It was a good place to be.

sdrsdrdigdav

Matilda returned and we had time for a chat before a meal of asparagus and lemon linguine cooked by Al and Mrs Tootlepedal’s sticky toffee pudding.  Al and Clare are in the middle of moving to their new house and we hope to be able to see it with the furniture and floors in soon.

The journey home went well so apart from still having a sore foot, it was a very satisfactory day.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture comes from Venetia’s African odyssey.  I don’t mind getting close to small birds but I might be a bit nervous to get so close to a lion in the open.

Lion,

We had a grey morning and a wet afternoon here today so it wasn’t really the day for a gentle pedal with a camera in my pocket.  Instead I was happy to eat very good treacle scones and drink coffee with Dropscone and wander round the garden in a faint drizzle once he had gone.

The pond has not shown any sign of a serious leak….

fullish pond

…so the reason for its sudden drop a few days ago remains a complete mystery.

My inclination is to suspect that a mighty rushing wind had swept the waters away but Mrs Tootlepedal regards that as fanciful.  She has no better explanation though.  Any suggestions are welcome.  Very thirsty birds?

Beside the pond, I couldn’t help noticing this deep red primrose.

very red primrose

I tried to photograph a small clump of scillas but the only thing that I got absolutely in focus was the stalk.  I was going to have another go but by the time that I thought of it, it had started to rain.

scillas almost in focus

Beside the bird feeder, a charming white flower is emerging and Mrs Tootlepedal is going to tell me what it is when she remembers.

small white flower

During the morning, Mrs Tootlepedal had been surprised to find that the telephone wire to our neighbour’s house, which should have been attached to a tall electricity pole in the middle of our vegetable garden, had become detached.  Instead of passing safely above our heads, it was now stretching across the garden at exactly head height.

fallen phone wire

She rang up those responsible for the wire and after a slightly bonkers conversation with a man in India, she was told that someone would come within four hours and either cut it down or put it up again .  In the event, two young men did come just four hours later but they neither cut it down nor put it up again.

It turned out that they hadn’t been fully briefed on the nature of the job so they hadn’t brought the requisite ladder for leaning against an electricity pole.  This you will understand is a special leaning against an electricity pole ladder not just any old ladder…like the one we offered to lend them for the job.

open reach men

In the end, after some head scratching, they cut the wire and added a new middle section which made it long enough to cross our garden while it was lying on the grass.  We promised not to trip over the wire over the weekend and they promised to send some men with the requisite ladder who would hang the wire up again on Monday.

Before the rain came, I watched the birds and was fatally slow in trying to catch a flying chaffinch on two occasions.

two landing chaffinches

I liked the prompt surrender of this chaffinch caught with a seed in its mouth.

chaffinch holding hands up

Once the rain came, the light was only good enough to shoot sitting birds…

posing chaffinch with seed

…some of whom looked pretty fed up with the weather.

sad goldfinch

As I couldn’t get out, I took pictures of flowers inside.

two indoor daffs

The rain did finally stop in the early evening but it was still damp and grey outside…

damp feeder scene

…so I spent some time on the bike to nowhere in the garage listening to music instead of enjoying a view.

When  I looked out of the back door, I was struck by the colour of the sky.

false sunset

In the evening, there was a special treat as my Friday night accompanist Alison came round to play some sonatas for the first time this year.  She injured her shoulder badly before Christmas and it has taken her a lot of time and hard work to get back into playing duets again.  So while Mike her husband and Mrs Tootlepedal caught up on the news, Alison and I gave some old a favourites a go with a few errors here and there and a lot of enjoyment all round.  I will have to get practising.

After playing we joined the other two to watch a Langholm lass get to the final of Masterchef, a great triumph.

We are promised drier, calmer weather for the next week so I hope to be able to get out and about if my foot allows.

A standard chaffinch is the flying bird of the day.

flying chaffinch

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Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew who visited a garden in the sky on the roof of the Birmingham Library.

Birmingham library rooftop garden

Sadly my sore foot decided that the return of Mrs Tootlepedal was an excuse to stop working altogether and I was reduced to hobbling around for most of the day which was very annoying.  On the more cheerful side, we were visited by Dropscone for coffee and scones in the morning and Mike Tinker for tea and biscuits in the afternoon so socially it was quite a bright day.

As I seem to be catching a cold too, I spent a lot of time doing nothing in particular but doing it very well of course. There were plenty of birds to watch.

A greenfinch put on its lost threatening face in an attempt to dislodge a goldfinch…

greenfinch threatening goldfinch

…and having dislodged the sitting tenant, it imperiously took up its place on the perch…

greenfinch on perch

…and gave any other pretenders a hard stare.

greenfinch staring out chaffinch

(In the best traditions of wild life TV programmes, different greenfinches may have been involved in the creation of this story line.)

Chaffinches approached vacant perches with care…

two chaffinches landing

…but some chaffinches are so habituated to arguing that they can’t resist an aggressive approach even if no-one else is there.

chaffinch shouting at perch

At times there was a positive whirlwind of birds…

loads of chaffinches

…and at other it was  peaceful enough for the arrival of a second bird to come as a shock to the incumbent.

chaffinch surprised

Although I was watching the birds, the birds found plenty to look at too.

greenfinch on pole

Sparrows are more handsome than you might think when they settle down for a moment.  This one was making sure that I was noticing him.

sparrow posing on feeder

On the other hand, this goldfinch had other things to think about than posing for me.

goldfinch on pole

I made one brief excursion round the garden to while away the hours conferring with the flowers and discovered that Mrs Tootlepedal has planted out a recent purchase.  It is a doronicum or leopard’s-bane and it seems to be settling in.

doronicum

We haven’t got many scillas out yet but the ones that are out are doing their best to add a little colour to the garden…

scilla in back bed

…and the clumps of daffodils are beginning to fill out too.

daffodils under feederdaffodil clump

Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that the Rip van Winkle daffodils are noted for retaining moisture which makes their heads hang down.  As a result they get splashed when it rains as these ones have, but the forecast is a bit better for a while so they should look up a bit.

rip van wnkle daffodil

A day of heavy resting has eased my foot off as I write this so I hope to be a bit more mobile tomorrow, ready to greet the Spring equinox with a sunny smile.  (On researching, I find that it will arrive at 21.58 tomorrow.  This came as surprise to me as I didn’t realise that it was an event timed to the minute like that.)

I am suffering from a severe lack of exercise in March, having only cycled 20 miles and hardly walked at all.  I have a doctor’s appointment but it is not for eight days so I will have to wait patiently.  Fortunately my capacity for endless mumphing and moaning has not been affected in the slightest so I am never short of something to do.

Another female chaffinch is the flying bird of the day today.

flying chaffinch

 

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