Reasonable comfort anyway. Unfortunately my stamina and physical abilities have lessened over the past year or so. I may not have a very big garden by some standards, approximately 3,600 square feet with about two thirds grassed. It had reached the stage where I couldn't get it all cut in one session and needed some time to recover afterwards. Walking back and forth pushing, or even following a powered mower, I cover over a quarter of a mile. I mentioned a while back I had been to a mower centre to have a look at ride on mowers. On a second visit I made my mind up that the smallest one they had would just go through my gates to the back garden. It was delivered a few days ago and I gave it a quick try out.
Battery starting so no heaving on bits of rope. Forward and reverse accelerator pedals make manoeuvring easy. Comfy padded seat which is just as well as there is more than a bit of vibration. Hardest is steering. After years of driving cars with power assisted steering one forgets how much effort it can take. I did find operating the long lever which engages the cutter needed both hands to pull as it is stiff and has the be engaged slowly otherwise the engine is liable to stall.
Yesterday the weather was fine enough to gave it a full run and soon got used to the various levers for engaging the cutter (need to press two pedals at once to cut in reverse), choosing cut height, etc.. Best of all, myself feeling fresh and lively when I had finished.
Still need to use the strimmer or battery mower to finish off awkward corners but the ride on breaks the back of the job.
It would possibly have been cheaper, even in the long run, to employ someone or rely on generous, helpful neighbours to cut the grass but I hate the thought of not being able to do things for myself when there is a solution to the problem.
Unfortunately none of the Blue Tit babies have survived in the camera nestbox.
Of the eight eggs, seven hatched out. Over several days many just disappeared until there seemed to be two healthy youngsters left, feathers growing, eyes open and healthy appetites. They were being fed frequently but first one suddenly died one night. The surviving one lasted a couple more day then suddenly stopped accepting any food. Not even opening its beak when Mrs BT brought a tasty snack.
I've no definite idea as to what went wrong. The box had been disinfected and thoroughly washed last Autumn.
As we were ambling along a lane I spotted what, at first, I thought was a fly scurry across in front of us. It stopped half way so I had a better chance to see what it was and take a couple of photos.
As far as I can deduce it is one of the wolf spiders, smaller and darker in colour than the ones I see in my garden. I would love to know what the seven pronged item is / was at the bottom of the second photo.
If you are reading this on 23 May 2019 the photos may not show as Flicker is making alterations to where photos are stored and access will be unavailable for a while.
Plenty of white flowers in the hedgerows now the Hawthorn is in bloom.
Blue Tit Nestbox News
Both parent birds are spending up to 14hrs a day finding food for their chicks.
Difficult to count them. It looks as though 7 of the 8 eggs hatched.
They are growing fast. Hope to put together some video very soon.
Yesterday I drove down to a mower centre on the coast to have a look at some ride on mowers. The route along the back country lanes takes me through the village of South Somercotes. Passing through the village I always have a quick glance at the village church. Very noticeable, even from a distance, is the size of the spire. I've been promising myself for years to stop and take a closer look but it is positioned near a narrow, dangerous Z bend in the road. This time, on the way back home, I found a nearby lane where it was safe to park.
The following photos were taken with my Nikon Coolpix S9050.
The tower and spire probably date back to the early 15th Century
The church is known as "The Queen of the Marsh".
Local legend suggests the spire was built so tall to act as a beacon for sailors.
The parish register dates back to 1558.
Once in through the North door
the 15th Century font can be seen. It is carved with the instruments of the Passion.
including two flails, two lances and four nails
The interior of the church is roomy and light.
Moving on through the chancel screen
one can see the altar table
and a harmonium. (I used to have one like that many years ago)
On a table there are two old bibles.
I had a close look at one of them
It contains many full colour illustrations. This is the title page.
Looking back towards the base of the tower
The belfry hold three bells, two dated 1423 and the other was cast in the 14th Century.
Outside -looking at the tower and spire from the South side
The South entrance porch
The walls of the church are a mixture of limestone, sandstone and greensand with some repairs patched with brick. The nave and chancel are roofed with Welsh slates and the aisles with lead.
Finally, a fascinating niche in the base of the tower
Information on the history of the church was gleaned from a small booklet produced by The Churches Conservation Trust.
I've mentioned Obooko a couple of times as a site where one can download free e-books. You need to register with the site. You will receive one notification email from them but no unwanted mail after that.
In the non-fiction - biography section is Blood, Sweat and Tea by Tom Reynolds.
The book is based on the entries made by Tom in a blog he writes.
He is an ambulance medic working in London and details some of his experiences on the job.
I found it very difficult to put down, a riveting read throughout.
It can be downloaded in pdf, epub or kindle versions.
It looks as though the original blog included some photographs but they don't show in the epub version I installed.
Back in 2003, an EMT (Emergency Medical Technician) working for the
London Ambulance Service began writing a blog. It turned into this book.
Hold tight and get ready for fast-paced, graphic accounts of the
daily life of an EMT on the busy streets of London. It's funny and
heartwarming yet tragic and profound in parts, reflecting the realities
of providing emergency services in an inner-city environment.
Today we were back at the vets for Penny to have a check up after her dental work last week. Just one part of the gum still to heal fully otherwise OK.
When we drive back through the village of North Thoresby I always admire the thatched farmhouse which stands near the centre of the village. This photo is a still screen grab from the video made by my iPod acting as a car video.
I remember how it looked in 1991 after the roof caught fire and wondered at that time whether it would still be standing for much longer. As we can see it did arise from the ashes.
This is a grade II listed building and was graded as the earliest surviving mud-and-stud building which retains many rare original features. The tie beam is inscribed with the date 1683. Originally of mud-and-stud construction on a brick plinth it was encased in red brick some time in the 19th Century.
While I was searching for information I saw one estimate of its value was put at a little under £500,000.
I was busily swinging the strimmer around some overgrown grass when this little beauty decided to land nearby. It seemed to take no notice of me photographing and only flew away when the four legged supervisor decided to walk past it.
It makes a nice change when the wildlife comes to me instead of me having to chase it.
A short piece of video:
Years ago Goldfinches were frequent visitors to my bird feeders.
Since then a few seasons of finch disease and reduced vegetation cover has lessened the chances of seeing one. So far this year I have managed to spot one. A very welcome sight.
Mrs BT is being a very dutiful mother in the Blue Tit nest box.
She is keeping her eight eggs warm and frequently turned.
Mr BT continues to bring her food.
Penny is coming along very well after her dental session last Friday.
Back to normal on the food front - always hungry!
She is enjoying her walks. Must say I'm more that a bit fed up with this cold weather.
Just the day for ....
a steaming mug of hot coffee as seen by the Seek thermal imaging camera.
Penny spent yesterday at the vets. It was time, again, to have her teeth cleaned, polished and checked for any which needed to be taken out. This seems to be a general problem with greyhounds. Last time she managed to get away with just a scrape and polish. Penny was last on the list for surgery as it can be a messy job. That meant it was 7.30 p.m. before she was recovered enough to come home. Unfortunately this time she had to lose five teeth. Needless to say she is feeling sorry for herself today.
She had a good night's sleep and is recovering far faster than I expected. After all Penny is eleven years old. A good age for a greyhound. After a careful start she has scoffed a couple of boiled cod steaks and some boiled chicken. Then she persuading me she wanted a walk and set out at a good stride despite the biting cold wind.
The only small problem is she hates the pain killer tablets she has been given though I have found that breaking them up and hiding them in small pieces of ham sandwich gets past any objections.