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Over the hill

The guest picture of the day was sent to me by my older son, Tony.  He was much impressed by this robot lawn mower mowing a public space in Edinburgh.  I was too so although it is not the sharpest photo, I have used it.

robot mower

We had another day of incessant sunshine and I was pleased to have been able to get up, eat breakfast and get out for a 25 mile cycle ride by half past seven in the morning.  The temperature was perfect when I started off but it was already getting too warm for comfort by the time that I finished.

I took a picture with my phone to give a general impression of the ride…

sunny day at Glenzier

…and was pleased to find an early silverweed flower at my foot.

silverweed

They seem to like the salt that gets put on the roads in winter.

Apart from avoiding the worst of the heat, my early start allowed me to be home in time for coffee with Dropscone and since it was Friday today, this involved treacle scones.  He had laid out some of his cash on a better quality bag of flour and this had paid off as the scones were first class.

While I was awaiting for him to come, I killed a little time chasing butterflies in the garden.

female orange tip butterfly

This is a female orange tip butterfly

small white butterfly and bee

I don’t what type this very plain white butterfly is. I liked the neat pollen bucket on the bee nearby.

I couldn’t help noticing a few flowers too.  Some were big and brash….

oriental poppy

Our first oriental poppy of the year

peony

Several peony flowers are on the go now.

Some were more delicate….

Welsh poppies

A floating cloud of Welsh poppies

Welsh poppy

A near perfect one

And the sunshine made for a couple of quite classy close ups.

Welsh poppy

Dancing feet

astrantia

Delicate petals

It was good though to get back into the cool indoors out of the sun and enjoy the coffee and scones.

After Dropscone left, with a few sticks of rather weedy looking rhubarb in a bag, I thought about mowing a lawn but decided that discretion was the better part of valour today and went back in and did the crossword instead.

Mrs Tootlepedal had been having coffee with ex work colleagues at the Buccleuch Centre but after lunch, she got busy in the garden and I went out to supervise.  I did manage to sieve another bucket or two of compost for dressing the vegetable beds and we put some netting on the strawberry beds,  but mostly I drifted about, trying not to get too hot.

I noticed the first yellow rose of the year…

Scotch Rose

…and enjoyed peering into an allium.

allium

Whenever I did get too hot, I went indoors and practised songs and/or flute and recorder pieces for the concert in the evening.

While I was out in the garden at one point, a tremendous racket announced the arrival of a bunch of starlings which sat on the electricity wires and chatted.

starlings

starling

They didn’t stay long though and were soon off in search of food for the youngsters elsewhere.

Other birds were available.

sparrows

Sparrows checking out some red pellets

I noticed that a blue polemonium had come out…

polemonium

…and the lupins are now going strong.

lupins

I went back in and made a feta, tomato and potato bake for our tea and then we picked up another choir member and set off for Newcastleton where our choir concert was being held in the church.

The thermometer in the car said 30°C when we got in and even driving along with the windows open didn’t cool us down at all.  I was hoping that when we got there, the church would be dark and cool but it was just as warm inside as the day was outside and by the time that the choir and a very satisfactorily large audience had piled in, it was a bit like a furnace.

The heat didn’t affect the singing too much but playing instruments when your hand is hot and sticky is not quite what you want so although the recorder piece went not too badly, the flute accompaniment was rather streaky.  The pianist complained that he too was making mistakes because his hands were slipping off the keys.

The audience seemed to thoroughly enjoy the concert.  As well as the choir, there were poems, solo songs and a terrific contribution by three of our conductor’s students from Carlisle who sang songs from musicals and some crisp close harmony work as well.

All in all, the audience got quite good value for their entrance money, though there was enough scope  for improvement in the choir to warrant a another practice before we repeat the concert in another church next week.

The almost flying bird of the day is one of the starlings.

starling

A garden visitor

Today’s guest picture, sent to me by her mother Clare, shows Matilda having fun in the Botanic gardens in Edinburgh this morning.

Matilda in the Botanics

We were promised a wonderful day of sunshine here today but when I set off to fill the Moorland bird feeders after breakfast, the hills were covered with clouds.  By the time that I had got to the bird hide, the clouds were beginning to burn off….

Laverock Hide

…and by the time that I had filled the feeders, it was indeed a lovely day.

Laverock Hide

A pheasant had found a comfortable place on the roof  of the hide to enjoy the sun.

Laverock Hide

I was acting as a substitute feeder filler for Sandy who is on holiday in Greece and I thought that I would spend a little time watching birds while I was at the hide.  Sadly, there were very few birds indeed to watch, just a couple of siskins and a woodpecker.

woodpecker and siskin

I have never seen so few birds there.

I didn’t stay long but an indication of the heat of the sun, even this early in the day, was given by these sheep, wisely seeking the available shade as I went back down the road.

shady sheep

My trip wasn’t wasted though because  I was waylaid by Skippers Bridge on my way home and forced to take a few pictures.

I went from far….

Skippers Bridge

…to middle…

Skippers Bridge

…and finally, to quite close.

Skippers Bridge

I looked downstream before I moved on…

River Esk at Skippers

…and could have stayed much longer if I hadn’t had an appointment at the health centre to get some stitches taken out.

The stitch removal went well and I now look a lot less like Frankenstien’s nephew than I have been lately which is a relief.

I was pottering about in the garden when I got back, getting ready to take a flower picture or two when I was hailed from the road.

“Someone’s here to see your garden,”  came the cry.

It was Glyn, a regular blog reader from Langholm and his wife Liz.  They had a friend from Blackpool with them and Glyn told me that she reads the blog every day.  I think that this must indeed be true because when I invited the party in to see the garden, she knew all about it to the extent of hoping not to see any frogs in the pond (she doesn’t like frogs at all), recognising the well cropped topiary chicken and the garden bench with poppies…

bench with poppies

…and best of all, showing a proper appreciation of the compost bins.  It was a slightly strange experience showing someone who knew the garden so well round it but she said that visiting the real garden was a lot better than just looking at pictures of it so that was very satisfactory.

Her name was Mrs Hendry and by coincidence, it turned out that she had left Langholm at about the same time as we came to live in the town.   I took her picture with Glyn and Liz and Glyn told her that she will now be world famous, which I suppose is true in a certain way of looking at things.

Liz, Glyn and Mrs Hendry

It was a real treat for me to meet such an appreciative reader and garden enthusiast.

When they left to have a coffee in the Buccleuch Centre, I stayed in the garden and looked around.

veronica and azaleas

The sun brought out the best in the veronica and azaleas

geranium and ox eye daisy

A new geranium and the very first ox eye daisy

Rowan tree

The Rowan tree has started to flower

Mrs Tootlepedal went off to buy some garden supplies and I sieved some compost to put on her vegetable beds.

It was well over 20°C by now so I didn’t spend too much time in the garden, though it was very tempting to stay outside on such a lovely day.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to visit Matilda in Edinburgh and I went off to visit the nuthatches.  They were very busy taking food in and taking the rubbish out when they came to the nest.

nuthatches

I spent quite a bit of time trying to get a good shot from different angles…

nuthatches

…with varying success…

nuthatches

…and found it quite difficult to move away from the nest.  When it is busy as you always feel that as soon as you go, the perfect photo opportunity will arrive behind your back.

However, I did move on but I took a picture of the whole tree that the nest is in before I left…

nuthatches tree

It is the one on the right.

…and as I was in tree mode, I took a picture of another impressive tree not far away.

Castleholm tree

Mrs Tootlepedal is very impressed by the inherent strength in trees that enables them to support such heavy branches at such angles.

I pedalled on past the Kilngreen (without seeing any interesting birds) and up to Pool Corner where I checked on the slow worm hotel there…

slow worm

…before heading home for a cup of tea and a bit of cool shade indoors.

While I was inside, and being grateful for the good insulation of our ground floor, I spent a little time putting a week of the newspaper index into the database, a job I usually reserve for wet days.  Then I worked on the music for our concert tomorrow before having a tasty cheese flan which Mrs Tootlepedal had made in the morning and left for my tea.

After tea, Susan turned up and we went off to Carlisle to play with our recorder group. We have decided to play less frequently than we used to as we felt that perhaps we were getting a little stale after many years of playing almost every week.  This turned out to be a good idea as we thoroughly enjoyed our evening of playing….and luckily there were still the usual excellent biscuits to go with our post playing cup of tea.

We have one or two more very hot days to go before the weather is forecast to break and I will doubtless soon be back from complaining that it is too hot to complaining that it is too cold.

I did see a passing gull while I was at the Kilngreen and even though it was passing quite far away, it is the flying bird of the day.

gull

 

 

I found today’s guest picture while looking at last month’s files.  It shows two pelicans which my sister Mary met in St James’ Park in April and it should have appeared before now. She describes the pelicans as “resting from their ‘amusing the tourists’ activities.”

Pelicans resting from their 'amusing the tourists' activities

After the slightly cool air yesterday, today was back to early summer warmth and at 19°C, it was at the perfect temperature for me as I don’t like it when it gets too hot.

I had to start the day with a trip to the garage to get a new spare tyre fitted to the spare wheel as the one we have had on since we bought the car has mysteriously got a spilt in the side wall and was irreparable.

Then I mowed the middle lawn without finding very much grass on it and followed that by going on a nuthatch hunt by bike accompanied by Mrs Tootlepedal.

We passed a large bank full of ribwort on our way to the Jubilee Bridge.

ribwort

The nuthatches were very busy going to and fro to the nest with food when we got there.

nuthatches

I like they way that they always have a cautious peer out of the nest hole before emerging.

nuthatches

Mrs Tootlepedal kept an eye out for tree creepers but although she saw one, I couldn’t get the camera into action quickly enough.

She doesn’t entirely share my enthusiasm for hanging around for yet another few minutes to see if I can get a better nuthatch shot so we set off across the Castleholm to see what we could see.

There was no shortage of treats.

red horse chestnut

This is an example of the Aesculus × carnea, or red horse-chestnut an artificial hybrid between A. pavia (red buckeye) and A. hippocastanum (horse-chestnut).   I thought that you would like to know that.

hawthorn

Could this tree have tried any harder?

conifer

Or this one.

My favourites were the pair of Noble Firs on the corner of the new path,  They have more going on than most trees.

Noble Fir

We went back by the Jubilee Bridge and I stopped for another look at the busy nuthatches….

nuthatches

…while Mrs Tootlepedal went home for a cup of coffee and some gardening.

While I watched the nuthatches, a blue tit and a wood pigeon watched me.

blue tit and wood pigeon

On my way home, I passed a very furry flower.

furry flower

When I got back, I had a cup of coffee and got on with some gardening too.  I mowed the front lawn and then sieved some compost.  Mrs Tootlepedal is busy planting things out from the greenhouse and compost is always welcome.

While I was mowing the lawn, a neighbour called by and said that she had just been trapped in her house for twenty minutes by a huge swarm of bees in her garden and had only got out when the bees had moved next door.  She asked my advice as to her best plan of action.

Feeling that, “Run like the clappers!” was probably not the most useful answer, I suggested telephoning the council and she said that she would do that.  I went to warn my neighbour Liz of the possibility of a swarm of bees but when we went round to check, there was no sign of them at all.  They must have swarmed off somewhere else.

Mrs Tootlepedal and I had noticed a sparrow disappearing into a crack in Liz’s wall…

sparrow in Liz's wall

…but when Liz investigated, there was not enough room for a nest and the sparrow must just have been enjoying the shade.

In between mowing and having lunch, I took the chance to look at flowers.

peony

A peony was almost out.

Ranunculus

A new purchase which Mrs Tootlepedal describes as a ‘fancy buttercup’. Money well spent in my view.

Rosa Moyesii

The first flower on the Rosa Moyesii

Mrs Tootlepedal was glad to see the rose in flower has she had feared for the health of the plant earlier in the spring.

I was pleased to see more aquilegias.

aquilegia

As it was still a wonderful day after lunch, I mowed the greenhouse grass and the drying green and felt very virtuous for having completed a clean sweep of the grass during the day.

Mrs Tootlepedal was making a splendid job of edging the middle lawn with shears so I set about neatening the front edge of the same lawn with a spade and then edging the front lawn with the strimmer.  Though I say so myself, by the time we had both finished, the lawns looked quite neat.

Front lawn

The front lawn with azaleas

middle lawn

The middle lawn. Sparkling edge work from Mrs Tootlepedal

It is a pity that the plum tree in the foreground hides the rhododendrons which frame the top corner of the middle lawn.

In the course of the afternoon, the other two tenors from our Langholm choir came round for a practice as we have a concert this Friday.  It was one of those practices which leave you with the feeling that what you really need is some practice.

Later in the afternoon, I went up to collect the spare wheel with its new tyre and I sincerely hope that I have spent money on something that I will never use.

I left Mrs Tootlepedal in the garden when I got back and went in to make a belated cup of tea and I was rather surprised when she came in behind me in a great rush shutting the door firmly as she came.  The swarm of bees was back and in our garden.

However, by the time that I had picked up a camera and gone to have a peer through the glass in the back door, they had already moved on and were swirling about above our neighbour Irving’s roof.

bees swarming

A few minutes later and they were gone.  They seem to be on a tour of the New Town.  We are assuming that they are honey bees but we don’t know where they have come from as we don’t think that anyone nearby has a hive.

After tea, I went off to the final practice of our Langholm choir before the concert and my feeling that more practice was required turned out to be fully justified.  I will have to find some time to go over the music tomorrow.  It is unfortunate that both the choirs that I sing in are having concerts at pretty well the same time.  Being a very rough and ready singer, I am rather overwhelmed by the number of songs that need to be mastered.

My ideal choir would sing interesting music every week but never have a concert.

No bird of the day today but the flower of the day is the peony which finally came out fully in the afternoon.  It was well worth the wait I thought.

peony

 

 

 

Two long sits

Today’s guest picture is a striking picture of the sun seen by my brother on the ceiling of Malvern Priory.

With a golden sun

We had a forecast of a warm, calm day with good sunshine so I thought that it would be a good day for a long cycle ride.  The forecasters got one thing right, it was generally sunny but after yesterday’s genuine warmth, it was back to feeling a chill in the air again today….and it was far from calm, with a noticeable breeze blowing during the day.

Still, I got the fairly speedy bike out, adjusted the saddle a bit and set off to see where my legs would carry me.  I adopted my standard principle on a breezy day of cycling out into the wind and hoping that it would be still there to blow me home.

As it turned out, my legs felt extremely cheerful so I pedalled about for most of the day.

The predominate colour in the verges is white, with a combination of cow parsley and hawthorn….

cow parsley and hawthorn

…pretty well all along the journey.  There was a lot of green too of course…

near Middlebie

Near Middlebie

…and some striking yellows from gorse and broom.

gorse

I could often smell the coconut as I passed the gorse

The best hawthorn was near Cummertrees and if you look closely, you can just make out the railway line on which Mrs Tootlepedal and I travelled on Saturday among the bushes.

Hawthorn and railway

I got to Bankend and  and stopped to photograph the tower there but when I turned to cycle up the road to Dumfries, I got a second view and photographed that as well.

Bankend tower

The road from Bankend to Dumfries offers fine views over the Lochar Moss to the east….

View over Lochar moss

…complete with cows.  It is good farming land.

Once I got to Dumfries, I turned back down to the banks of the Nith estuary and cycled back towards Bankend on the low road.

Nith estuary

Across the river, the imposing bulk of Criffel dominated the view.

Criffel

This is the plug of an old volcano which spread its lava as far as Langholm and it can be seen easily in the distance if you climb any of the hills round the town.

I was intending to have a cup of coffee and a cake in the cafe of Caerlaverock Castle….

Caerlaverock Castle

…but when I got there, I found out that many other people, including a coach party of tourists had had the same idea so I left them queuing for service and cycled a mile or two onwards to the Wildlife and Wetlands Trust where I had soup and a roll in the company of two other diners.

I was greeted as I arrived at the WWT by this fine otter.

Lego otter

Up to this point, I had been generally cycling into the wind so I was more than pleased to find the wind had stayed honest and was quite prepared to help me all the way home.  The extra speed which this gave me, made me rather unwilling to stop for more pictures though I did stop at the bridge over the river…

Annan Water

….in Annan to have a snack and a photo op…

P1120679

…and again on the bridge over the motorway at Gretna for another snack and a look at the wild plants round and about me.

Gretna plants

The little flower was absolutely tiny. We are just starting to come into the era of grasses by the road.

Thanks to a policy of stopping every ten miles or so for a drink of water, a nibble of guava block and a bit of banana or a sandwich, I arrived home in very good order after pedalling 85 miles.  Mrs Tootlepedal was out having a celebratory reunion over tea and juice and coffee with a team of friends with whom she had won a WRI competition last year so I wandered round the garden and looked at the results of her hard work.

allium and peony

The alliums are getting satisfactorily spherical and the peonies are just about to come out

lupins and primula

Lupins and candelabra primula showing promise

aquilegia and geums

Aquilegia and geums

And then I thought, “85 miles is a rather ragged number,” and went off to cycle another five miles to bring up a round 90 miles for the day.  I felt so cheerful that I was sorry that I hadn’t added another ten miles and picked off a hundred.  My legs on the other hand said that ninety was quite enough thank you.

Mrs Tootlepedal came home as I went out and she was still in the garden when I got back and she pointed out out a polemonium that has come into flower and I noticed a new geranium.

geranium and polemonium

After a last look at various Icelandic poppies…

Icelandic poppies

Both elegant in their own way

…I went in for a cup of tea and a shower.  It didn’t seem long afterwards before Mrs Tootlepedal and I set out again, this time on foot to the Buccleuch Centre to see a screening of Tom Stoppard’s play, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead.

With a first half lasting nearly and hour and a half, this was a long sit but mercifully, the second act was shorter.  We had seen this play nearly 50 years ago when the London production came to Edinburgh on tour and I think that this was a disadvantage tonight because although the play was as funny and touching as ever, it wasn’t at all surprising which it certainly was when we first saw it.  Still, it was very well acted and unfussily produced so it was a treat to see it again.

I don’t have a flying bird of the day but I did see a rather winsome jackdaw through the kitchen window.

jackdaw

It was standing near some Solomon’s seal which also caught my eye.

Solomon's seal

Those interested can find details of my ride by clicking on the map below. You can see that I chose a nice flat route.

garmin route 23 May 2017 elevation

 

 

Today’s guest picture shows the west face of Hereford Cathedral.  My brother likes imposing church buildings.

Hereford cathedral West face

Having had their little bit of fun yesterday, the weather gods were in a cheerier mood today and helped me out.

After breakfast, Mrs Tootlepedal was looking out of the kitchen window when she thought that she saw a most unusual bird visiting the fatballs.  A second look showed that it didn’t have feathers but fur.

mouse

I went out to see of I could get a close up but it scurried off so I looked for new flowers instead.  I found a relatively new purchase and an old friend.

a ranunculus and astrantia

A lone high class buttercup and the first of many astrantias

There were many pleasures to be seen but the current star of the show is this rhododendron which is at its peak.

rhododendron

It sits in a colourful corner.

rhodedendrons

I had to sit for a couple of hours in the Welcome to Langholm office this morning, receiving tourists at the exact rate of one per hour.  I wasn’t bored though as I was able to put two weeks of the newspaper index into the Archive Database and as it was raining outside for quite a bit of the time, I felt very content.

When I got home, the rain had relented and I was able to walk round the garden where Mrs Tootlepedal was hard at work.

It was genuinely warm and for the first time this year, there was no nip in the air at all, just a balmy breeze.  The plants are enjoying themselves.

I took a picture of a not very impressive flower…

first rose of summer

…but it is a significant arrival as it the first rose of summer.

I took another picture of that colourful corner.

rhododendrons

I often take close ups of flowers but there are some nice clusters of colour to be enjoyed too.

clematis, iris and welsh poppy

Clematis, iris and welsh poppy

After lunch, the weather was warm and the rain had gone away so we hung the washing out and then  I went off for a short pedal down to Canonbie and back.

I had hardly got started before I had to stop when I saw an old friend at Pool Corner.

clematis, iris and welsh poppy

There were plenty of wild flowers to distract me as I pedalled along…

wild flowers

…and many small butterflies flitting about too but none of them would stay still long enough for me to get my camera out so I stopped trying to catch one of them and stuck to the flowers.

crosswort and clover

The verges are rich in cow parsley at the  moment…

cow parsley

…and some of the fields are full of buttercups…

buttercups

…so my trip was very easy on the eye.

It was pleasantly warm and I was able to get my vitamin D dose through my knees. This was a treat for me but maybe a bit of a shock for any passers by.  Cycling is so much easier when it is warm and even the wind doesn’t seem to bother you so much.  It was quite breezy out in the country and I was able to cycle uphill back home from the bottom of Canonbie much faster than I had cycled down there into the wind.

I stopped to look at the church at Canonbie….

Canonbie Church

…and then I stopped again while I was in the village to visit a friend from our choir who has recently had a bad fall and is currently laid up with a broken leg.  She was remarkably cheery under the circumstances and even seeing me in my cycling shorts couldn’t dent her good humour.

There were one or two dark clouds in the offing so I didn’t dawdle on the way back from Canonbie and I got home in time for another walk round the garden…

aquilegia

The aquilegia of the day

the first bean of the year

The first bean flower of the year

…while Mrs Tootlepedal got the washing in and then with perfect timing it started to rain just as we sat down for a cup of tea.

In the evening my flute pupil Luke came and when he showed marked improvement in playing quietly in a sustained manner, I accused him of practising at home, an accusation which he didn’t deny.  He is an excellent pupil.

We played all four movements of a trio sonata for treble recorder and flute by Loeillet with only one hiccup.  While we played, we were accompanied by my computer on the harpsichord, one of the wonders of technology for which I am very grateful.

After tea, I went off to play trios with Isabel and Mike and had another enjoyable musical time.

Before I went home, I popped into the Archive Centre to print out some more sheets for the eager data miners who are happily piling up work for me.  Sandy, who enters data too,  is on holiday in Greece so I will have to pull my socks up when it comes to entering the data in the database and try to do his share as well as mine.

The non flying bird of the day is Mr Grumpy who quietly sat by the water and let me get quite close.

heron

 

An experience

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew and shows Great Malvern Priory.  He tells me that when Henry VIII’s men came to sell off Great Malvern Priory, they accepted £20 from the parish for the Priory church (after removing the lead from the roof!)

Great Malvern Priory

We had one of those days which the weather gods must have found very amusing.

In the morning, when I was free to go for a walk and see nuthatches and wonderful wild flowers, it rained persistently.  The rain stopped as we were having lunch and then the day cleared up very nicely just as we had to head off for Carlisle for our weekly choir practice.

It was still very nice when we got back but by that time the light had faded and I was too tired to make any good use of a lovely evening.

The reason that we were both tired was that after whizzing up to Glasgow on the main line (in 90 minutes) late yesterday afternoon and enjoying a wonderful performance of Verdi’s requiem by the Bearsden choir (of well over a hundred singers) and the Orchestra of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland with top quality soloists under the direction of our choir conductor Andrew Nunn, we then had to catch a very slow train back to Carlisle.

Nothing condescends to go down the main line on a Saturday night so we found ourselves on a two coach local train which trundled through the wilds of Ayrshire and Dumfriesshire at a very sedate pace (150 minutes) and in the end, we got back home at half past one in the morning.

The train was packed with young and youngish people returning home after a good night out in the city and a flavour of the journey can be gathered by the fact at one time, in the midst of some serious unrest, the nice lady sitting next to me leant over and said, “You’ll be all right dear, I’m a trained martial arts instructor.”

This was in fact, very reassuring.

Still it all passed the time well and we got home safely.

So as far as today went, I never got further than the far end of the garden with my camera.

The Japanese azalea is coming out.  It is a wonderful colour.

Japanese azalea

The last of the other azaleas is about to join the party too.

azalea

Geraniums are popping up all over the place but my current two favourites are these ones.

geraniums

I like the detailed work that the designer has put into these flowers.

What is better that one Camassia?  Three Camassias of course…..

camassias

…though I see that from a photographer’s point of view, these are one of those annoying plants that start dying at the bottom before they are finished at the top.  This is definitely one of those cases when you can’t have everything.

It fell to us to pick up Andrew, our conductor and Gillian, our accompanist  from the station in Carlisle today.  They come down from  Glasgow every week for our practice and I must say, Andrew’s energy seems inexhaustible and far from being a mere shadow of himself after last night’s concert, he was in excellent form and put our choir through our paces without flagging.

We are very fortunate to have the services of such an accomplished musician (even if he does give the tenors a hard time).

After the practice, we dropped Andrew and Gillian off at the station and then made our way home.

I had prepared a lamb stew in the morning while Mrs Tootlepedal sang with the church choir and in a moment of supreme efficiency, I had not only put the stew into the slow cooker but I had also turned the slow cooker on  so this week we were able to enjoy a hot meal when we got in.

I had time for a last walk round the garden before we ate.

An aquilegia turned its head and winked at me as I went past.

aquilegia

Our tree peony is thriving but its flowers are deeply and darkly buried among the leaves….

tree peony

…and need a helping hand if they are to be seen.

tree peony

In the vegetable garden the chives are flowering….

chives

…and the rosemary continues to do very well.

rosemary

With a busy day ahead tomorrow, it seems like a good night for an early bed.

No flying bird of the day today but a young sparrow stands in as ‘bathing bird’ of the day.

sparrow in puddle

Out and about

Today’s guest picture shows Great Malvern as seen from the top of a hill.  Needless to say it was my brother who had nipped up the hill to take the picture.  He likes a hill.

Great Malvern

I am posting very early today as Mrs Tootlepedal and I are catching a train to Glasgow to hear Verdi’s Requiem performed by one of our Carlisle conductor’s other choirs.  It should be a treat but thanks to railway line closures for maintenance work, we won’t be back home until the early hours of tomorrow morning.

It was a sporadically rainy day today and very grey so not a great day for taking pictures, cycling or doing anything useful in the garden.

The garden is enjoying the warmer wetter weather.

azalea and potentilla

Azalea and potentilla

hosta

Another flourishing hosta

Mrs Tootlepedal picked up a walnut flower from the ground.

walnut flower

Mrs Tootlepedal had an Embroiderers’s Guild meeting and I went for a walk in the hope of seeing something interesting.

I saw quite a lot of interesting things, like swallows glued to a wall…

swallows

…and a grey wagtail flitting along the river and a tree creeper living up to its name…

wagtail  and tree creeper

…and a few ducklings…

ducklings

…and a very busy nuthatch coming and going to its nest…

nuthatch

…and going and coming…

nuthatch

…but the light was so poor that it wasn’t taking any pictures of them.

I looked at trees instead.

Lodge Walks

The Lodge Walks

There were all sorts of things dangling off them.

tree

tree

tree

tree

So that kept me happy.

I noticed a few more things as I walked round the Scholars’ Field.

scholar's field

And a very fine honeysuckle flower in our hedge when I got home.

honeysuckle

The flower of the day is a standard rhododendron which I met on the Lodge Walks.

rhododendron

If we get up to Glasgow and back safely, I will report on the concert tomorrow.