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Archive for May, 2011

Today’s picture is of a strange plant sent to me by Bruce. It is growing at a fantastic rate near a new path that he uses to walk his dog. He wonders whether it is a triffid.triffid

With Dropscone away for the week umpiring juvenile golf matches, I have the cycling field to myself. I had two plans in mind for the day. Plan A meant getting up at 7 a.m to take advantage of the very light morning winds and cloud free sky and using the morning to pedal 50 or 60 miles before coffee. Plan B meant having a long lie in, getting breakfast after the B & B guests, and then sauntering round the morning run in a stiff breeze and with the risk of rain. I chose plan B of course. Luckily the rain held off until I had got round.

I had plenty of energy left to wander about in the garden with the camera.

sparrows perching

The sparrows like to perch on the fortress

sparrow maelstrom

..that is when they aren't inside having a set to

It’s not all competition though. We have John Lewis birds here too.

love in

The fortress keeps the jackdaws off but it doesn’t make for good bird pictures as this picture of a coal tit proves.

coal tit

Usually the oriental poppies come out, flourish for a moment and then are battered to bits by the rain and wind but this year, by some weird stroke of fortune, they have survived the wind and the rain  remarkably well.

poppy

Poppy upright

poppy

Poppy laid back

While I was wandering, I was hailed by Bruce and  Lesley and a conversation ensued in traditional style over the garden fence.

over the garden hedge

Bruce has received notice from people who know about these things that there may be an aurora visible in Langholm about now so he and I have been popping out into the garden on clear nights to have a look but without any success so far. He also told me about the triffid that you can see at the top of the page. If he disappears on his morning dog walk, we will know where he has gone.

While I was talking to them, I noticed this Weigela just coming into flower.

weigela

The dark irises are set off by a single Icelandic poppy.

dark irises

It is not easy to get the computer to show just how dark these plants are. They are in complete contrast to vibrant colour of this blossoming rose.

rose

 

I was pleased to see a goldfinch about. We only seem to get one or two every now and again at the moment. They look very exotic compared with the sparrows.

goldfinch

The sparrows are relentlessly active at the moment.

rude sparrow

After lunch, I went off to the Tourist Information Point to welcome visitors and generally give out tourist information. Last week I had no visitors. This week was infinitely better. I had one. He lived locally anyway and was just looking in to see what we had. I did three crosswords and read my camera manual so it was time well spent. My eye was caught by this colourful garden on the other side of the river.

mary st garden

Just for regular reader Joyce, I took a close up of the notable locals panel. I hope you can read it, Joyce if you click on it.

notable locals

When I got home, I found that Mrs Tootlepedal had dug out the old clematis root by the garage. This is the plant that has been killed by two hard winters. She is a nifty hand with the pickaxe.

clematis root

I saw a nice new geranium flower and tried to take a picture of a bee on a flower too.

geranium

bee

After a cup of tea, I put on the cycling gear again and went out for a run with Mrs Tootlepedal. She is cycling quite a bit at the moment and tells me that she is feeling the benefit. We went up Wauchope, past the Kerr wood to Mossknowe and back by the A7 cycle route. This is 13 miles and we did it in a whisker under 10 miles an hour which wasn’t at all bad considering the breeze we had to face at the start. You may think that I go on about the wind a lot but it has been very strong as these two pictures of felled trees taken today show.

tree

Snapped

tree

Felled

The ride started peacefully, with a good view of this heron at Pool Corner.

heron

The little camera is very good if you can get close enough. It was a lovely day for a pedal as I hope you can see from this picture.

view

You can see that the verges are very lush just now. Among others, we saw cow parsley, bluebells, campions, vetch, buttercups, geraniums, speedwell, tormentil and this field of bog cotton.

bog cotton

In the evening, the recorder players (or at least three of them,) came here to play because Jenny is away on holiday. We enjoyed a good play with perhaps some religious pieces by Byrd being the most enjoyable.

The high spot of the whole day was a feast of strawberries from the greenhouse. Well, they were strawberries and it was still May and we have never managed to ripen strawberries in May before. They went down well with a drop of cream and some caster sugar.

srtawbs

I hope these will be the first of many this year.

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Today’s picture was taken while on a jaunt to the Thames by my sister Susan. It shows Billingsgate.

Billingsgate

It was a day of sunshine and showers and after breakfast, I went out on my speedy (relatively) bike in the hope of catching the sun and avoiding the showers. I didn’t quite manage it but I only had about 15 minutes of not very heavy rain to put up with. I went over Callister and came home by Chapelknowe and Glenzier in an undemanding 26 mile circuit. I should say that it ought to have been undemanding but the first seven miles, uphill and into a moderate breeze, were hard work. After that, I got the best of the wind but I still couldn’t squeeze the average above 14.7 mph for the trip. I am hoping that my asthma improves soon because I just can’t put any work into climbing a hill without my legs giving out at present. It never bothers me for long so I am quite hopeful of being back in good form by the weekend.

I took the little camera with me and took this picture of modern farming methods. There are a lot of fields like this round us. They are growing maize. If you see them in the distance, they look like little lakes.

maize

Amaizeing

The road sides are packed with wild flowers which makes for a very pleasant time as you pedal.

wild flowers

I met a result of the heavy winds on the cycle track on the old A7 beside the Auchenrivock diversion. Being on a cycle track, there will be no urgency to remove it. I might have to get out with my little saw myself.

fallen tree

It is hard to believe, looking at it now, that two years ago this was a trunk road, carrying log lorries, tourists and commercial traffic between the North West of England and the Scottish borders.

When I got back home, I had a look to see how the fat ball fortress was doing.

ball fortress

Sparrows and a blue tit

ball fortress

Sparrows with a coal tit leaving

The birds come into the fortress with care but they seem to be able to fly out at full speed. The starlings can get in but the jackdaws haven’t found a way yet.It seems to attract more sparrows than we had before but perhaps that is because there are new young birds among them.

It started to rain heavily almost as soon as I got into the house but fairly soon, the weather was fine again so I took the camera out into the garden.

Mrs Tootlepedal’s collection of irises has been added to by the appearance of this one with a delicate white border round the petals.

iris with edge

This rose shows the rain that there had been.

rose

And yet another new iris had made an appearance.

a new iris

The red rose by the road hedge is doing very well again this year.

red roses

Mrs Tootlepedal drew my attention to a number of Sweet Williams that have come into flower.

sweet william

I don’t know what the treble clef shaped object in the middle of the flower is. I did some research on the web but I couldn’t find a picture like it.The flower below has one too, though not so distinct.

sweet william

Somewhat battered by the weather

In the afternoon, Mrs Tootlepedal went to work and I put a week of the E&L into the database. Rather unnervingly, considering that we have been working hard for several years, I read an article in the paper today saying that the British Library is in the process of digitising thousands of pages of newspapers from the nineteenth century which will be put on-line and which will be searchable. If that includes the E & L, our work may be overtaken. I shall have to enquire about it. It won’t be free as ours is even if it does appear on-line. I also put some golf results up on Dropscone’s BGA website. He had spent yesterday organising a tournament in Duns. He is very keen.

We welcomed more B & B guests tonight. While I was waiting for them, I took another turn round the garden with the camera.

The lupins are reaching up. I hope that the top flowers will have emerged before the bottoms ones start to die but I wouldn’t like to put any money on it. I will keep an eye on them.

lupins

I took advantage of a sunny spell to mow the middle lawn and though I say it myself, it is doing not too badly considering the wildy variable weather we have had. They are forecasting much higher temperatures for the end of the week and we should get some good growth then.

lawn

Mrs Tootlepedal asked me to take a picture of the beneficial results of the pea stockade so here it is. You can see beans in flower behind the peas. They have needed protection from the birds but they are well braced against the wind.  The price of veg is eternal vegilance.

pea fortress pays off

I was tempted to take one last picture of the yellow azaleas before they are finished for the year.

azalea

A new flower has appeared near the flag irises. Mrs Tootlepedal tells me it is a codonopsis.

codonopsis

These drooping flowers are hard for an old man to photograph as they require a lot of stooping or even, if it is dry enough, lying on the ground. (Lying on the ground is easy enough. It’s getting up that’s hard.)

The flag irises have lasted amazingly well in the wind. They are largely unsupported.

irises

Also in the same corner of the garden, this white potentilla keeps steadily producing flowers.

white potentilla

 

Just to show how popular the fat ball fortress is, this picture was taken in the evening sunshine and it still full of sparrows. Perhaps one day soon they will have eaten so much that they won’t be able to get out.

evening sparrows

 

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Today’s picture is the seed head of a clematisclematis

I got an e-mail from Gavin today to say that Professor Robert Black had picked up the remarks I had made last night after seeing the Lockerbie play and reproduced them on his on-going Lockerbie Case blog. If you interested in the ramifications of the Lockerbie case this is a most interesting blog to read. You can find it at http://lockerbiecase.blogspot.com/ He is obviously a very thorough man indeed if he can pick up a casual review of a play posted at 11 o’clock at night and have it on-line in his blog by 7 o’clock the next morning.

I was not so hard working this morning although I did manage to get a week of the E&L put into the database on the Langholm Archive Group site

I spent quite a lot of time looking at the lard ball fortress to see if the jackdaws would find a way to wreck it but it stood up to one or two attempts to pull it apart. I don’t think  it is very durable and I may have to upgrade it in the not too distant future.

starling

You can see a sparrow, top left, looking amazed at the cheek of a starling getting in. The starlings came a few times and had no problem flying in and out of what seem quite small holes to me.

The feeder is somehow more popular with sparrows now than it was when it didn’t have its mesh round it. There were sometimes as many as five sparrows on it at one time.

The sunflower seed feeder is quieter as a result but is still visited by greenfinch, siskin, chaffinch and tit.

chaffinch

A chaffinch scoring marks for elegance of arrival

bluetit

A rare shot of a flying tit. They are usually too quick for me.

coaltit

The coal tits are even nippier

It was very windy again today and so I delayed my cycle ride in the hope that the wind would ease off a bit. I waited a long time. I waited long enough to watch a whole Formula One race at Monte Carlo and was disappointed when a series of unexpected events deprived Jensen Button of a deserved win.

Mrs Tootlepedal was very busy in the garden for most of the day. She did heroic weeding, clipping box balls and erecting more protective care for her veg garden. This time it wasn’t the birds that were the threat but the incessant strong winds.

veg shield

She has been able to eat some home-grown ‘leaves’ as they are called these days, for her lunch. They are cut and come again so they will last her a long time.

A couple of months ago, she cut back a large hydrangea which stands against the wall of the house and she was afraid that she might have used it too severely but it looks as though it will survive.

hydrangea

I waited for the wind to subside for enough time for me to watch the PGA Golf tournament from Wentworth and was pleased that Luke Donald won it because he has had to put up with some unnecessary denigration from journalists on his way to becoming number one in the world. Considering that he seemed to hit most of his tee shots into the woods, the rest of his game was fantastic. Drive for show, putt for dough as the wiseacres at the golf club say.

In the end, shamed by two B&B guests arriving by bike from Peebles, I managed to drag myself out for a pedal in the early evening. The wind was supposed to have dropped but it was still pretty brisk. The evening itself was lovely.

blochburnfoot

On the road up to Wauchope Schoolhouse. (Taken while in motion.)

In order not to spend too much time pedalling into the stiff breeze, I went up to Callister and back for my first ten miles and then went up the A7 towards Hawick, turning off to go over Sorbie Hass and down to Burnfoot and back by the Galaside for the second ten. I managed 15.7 mph for the first ten miles but the hills and the stiff wind dropped my average down to below 15 mph by the time I got home. My chest is not at its best and my legs run out of energy quite quickly when I have to work hard. I was rewarded by some nice views on my way round.

esk valley

Looking down the Eskdale

When I got home, I took this picture of the latest rose to blossom.

another yellow rose

Dropscone is away on a jaunt all next week so I will really have to get myself motivated to go out pedalling if this wind continues.

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Today’s flower is a  gerbera given to Mrs Tootlepedal by our son Tony on Mothering Sunday and still going strong. They seem indestructible.

gerbera

From a cycling point of view, I wasted today. The best time for cycling came in the evening when I had an engagement and though the rest of the day wasn’t too bad, I found other things to do instead.

To start with, we had to say good bye to our musician guests, who had a good lie in and a spot of violin practice before they left. Then Mrs Tootlepedal and I went to a garden event in the Buccleuch Centre where we purchased a small fuchsia and a bucket of lard balls for the birds.

My new lard ball feeder was doing a brisk business.

new feeder

Sparrows liked it

tits

Tits liked it

sparrows and tits

Sparrows and tits both liked it. Note that the tit has been ringed.

Unfortunately, the jackdaws liked it so much that four balls disappeared in a matter of minutes. This was financially unsustainable so action was called for. Clapping loudly every time a jackdaw appeared  was effective but boring and so I cobbled up a fat ball fortress.

fat ball fortress

The fortress

It is, I think you’ll agree, a thing of beauty. That is if you agree with Plato that function equals beauty. Is it functional? The proof of the fat ball is in the eating.

fotress plus sparrow

A sparrow looks it over

fortress plus sparrows

The first visitor tucks in while others approach and look on

fortress with tit

A tit tries it out too

fortress with five sparrows

By the end of the day they were all at it

It doesn’t make for great photographs but it does keep consumption within reasonable bounds. I am waiting to see if the jackdaws come up with a strategy for getting into the castle.

Through the day, I kept on succumbing to the siren call of the easy chair and sport on the telly. It goes against the grain to watch rather than to be doing something but my chest has been a bit troublesome over the past few days and it certainly makes having a little sit down more attractive than usual. I managed to watch a bit of tennis, formula one, golf and rugby union and enjoy them all so I can’t really complain. It’s when you find yourself watching show jumping or snooker  that you know the time has come to move.

The garden tempted me out with the camera.

bright eyes

Bright eyes

azalea

Contrast in colour

contrasts

And of texture

old favourite  aquilegia

My old favourite, aquilegia

The pulsatilla seed head makes a striking pattern and the tips of the fronds glitter like fairy lights in the sun.

It worth clicking on the pulsatilla picture if you have a moment to see it enlarged a bit.

In the evening, we went to the Buccleuch Centre for the third time in two days, this time to see a one man play. It was a very well researched play based on the experiences of Jim Swire who has been campaigning for many years to get, at the very least, an enquiry into the Lockerbie disaster that is actually making some effort to arrive at the truth unlike the rather farcical trial that was held. It was a very well judged piece of work and well acted. I had not known what to expect at all but I found it very moving and at the same time intensely enraging. It has been very hard over the past two years to see pontificating politicians and journalists referring to Al Megrahi as a mass murderer when it is fairly plain that he wasn’t the perpetrator of the crime at all and this play just reminded you of how poorly the whole affair reflects on Britain in general and Scottish Justice in particular. Not to mention the Americans.

Anyway, I leave you with a picture of a siskin using the fortress as a convenient perch. Siskins induce feelings of calm.

fortress with siskin

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Today’s picture, sent to me by my sister Susan, is of a magnificent dessert which she encountered on a recent trip to Nottingham to see our nephews there.

The day started, for the first time for a week, as a day ought to start with a pedal in the company of Dropscone who is recovering from his recent cold. We went round the usual morning route at a calm pace in good conditions and enjoyed not only coffee and scones afterwards but a slice of carrot and walnut cake left over from his birthday as well.

Meanwhile Mrs Tootlepedal was doing the necessary work to tidy up the B & B bathroom. This involved raising the bottom of the door to accommodate the new flooring. To do this, she had to take the door off, take a bit off the bottom and put the door on again to see if she had taken enough off. In the end, she had to take the door off and put it on again three times until it fitted perfectly. When she had done this, she went off to the Buccleuch Centre to do some community weeding. She is tireless.

While she was out, I made a walnut and banana loaf  for the evening’s B & Bs and then wandered round the garden.

yellow iris

A new iris

rose

The roses have survived the wet and wind well

 

new yellow rose

This one is freshly out

 

old yellow rose

And this one is at its peak

At lunchtime, I was happy to see this goldfinch back in the garden. They have been away for a few days now and we saw one a couple of miles up the road on our morning pedal so I thought they had deserted us for the summer.

goldfinch

Because of the trouble with powerless batteries in our hedge clipper, I had looked on the web yesterday and found that I could buy a new one with a power cord for less than the price of a new battery for the old one so I ordered it. (The economics of retail are a mystery to me.) I was staggered when it was delivered to our door at 8am this morning. After lunch, I took it it out see what it could do. It seemed to me to have a bit more power than the cordless model and you can see the result on one of the bigger box balls.

haircut

After I had got bored with that, I mowed the lawns and then got the camera out again to see what I had missed in the morning.

astrantia

The darker astrantia has been joined by a paler companion

dicentra

Another dicentra has appeared

geranium

A new geranium to add to the colour range

In the greenhouse, there has been an exciting development on the soft fruit front. Following a suggestion from Sandy, I tried putting a strawberry plant in a hanging basket in the greenhouse and we are hoping to be able to eat a strawberry or two before the end of May.

strawbs

You can already buy local strawberries in the shop from a big glasshouse near Longtown but home grown ones always taste better (even when they don’t).

I saw a new plant and asked Mrs Tootlepedal what it is and she thinks it is a rock rose. It is certainly very vivid.

rock rose

I was pleased to see that the rather exposed flag irises had survived the battering from the weather. These are truly voluptuous plants.

flag iris

I was not neglecting the birds but their behaviour was not out of the ordinary.

siskin chaffinch

A siskin telling a chaffinch where to go as usual

In the late afternoon, I went down to Houghton to purchase a purpose built lard ball holder because the jackdaws have got so expert at vandalising the one I was using that they could take the top or the bottom off in moments and eat all the balls. To add insult to injury,  they never did it when I was watching. The new one has a smart lid so I hope it will keep them off.

new holder

It wasn’t long before it was in business.

holder with sparrow

Our two B & B guests tonight are members of the Scottish Chamber Orchestra who were playing at the Buccleuch Centre. We went along to their concert. They played a Haydn Symphony (No 70 in D), the first Weber clarinet concerto and the Eroica by Beethoven. The sound in the Buccleuch Centre is very dry and the players told us that they found it left them feeling a little exposed but I love it because you can hear every tiny detail of the music so clearly. It allows the orchestra to play extremely quietly without losing clarity and it means that when they play very quick tempos, the music is not at all blurred. They played the Beethoven with authentic valveless horns and trumpets which was very interesting.

The soloist in the clarinet concerto, Maximilian Martin, was really excellent and I was even more impressed when he turned up in the back row of the orchestra playing first clarinet in the Beethoven in the second half of the concert. We thought the orchestra played very well. They certainly made the Hadyn sparkle and gave the Beethoven everything that they had got.  We enjoyed the evening a lot. Our two players told us that it had been very hard work for them because the hall was too hot.

I have said it before but I will say it again, we are very lucky to have this quality of entertainment within easy walking distance.

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Today’s picture shows the new floor laid in the B & B bathroom.

flooringIt hasn’t been laid with wood. This is one of those very clever surfaces that look realistic but are easy to clean.

Dropscone went off to play golf again today so there was no pressure on me to do a morning pedal. After a leisurely breakfast, I spent some time putting a week of the E &L into the database. Then I went out into the garden to see what was what. Mrs Tootlepedal was erecting a second pea fortress to keep the sparrows at bay and I lent a hand. We also tied up as many of the raspberry canes as the gales had left us. The vegetable garden is looking a bit like Alacatraz at the moment.

veg protection

You can see two pea fortresses, a runner bean frame, a gooseberry castle and a blackcurrant citadel. We just hope all the construction work pays off.  As Mrs Tootlepedal pointed out as we were working, you can buy frozen peas and jam at a very reasonable price without going to all this trouble. But it just not the same, is it?

The grain crop which grows from the seeds dropped from the feeders by the birds is looking very healthy. We got three drop scones from the flour that we made last year and we hope to get more this year.

grain

I usually take close up pictures of flowers or else crop the frames in the photo editor so today, for a change, I have left the full frames that I shot.

poppies

roses

peonies

azalea

After lunch, I was waylaid by the temptation of watching Andy Murray battle his way through the first couple of sets of his match in Paris. He always strikes me as a typical Scot in as much as however brilliant he is, he is always aware of the possibility of failure. You need to have a confidence that is alien to us, if you wish to be a great champion in events that have a big mental element. I see him as another Colin Montgomery at the moment, a superb player haunted by the many ways it is possible to lose.

I tore myself away and put on my cycling gear in the hope of avoiding some menacing black clouds that were hanging about. Just before I went, I saw this sparrow going through the hoop.

sparrows

I got the slow bike out and went round the morning run in the afternoon and the wrong way just to show that I am either a rebel or bored.

Unlike the other day when I was out with Mrs Tootlepedal and got rained on, this time I enjoyed dry weather the whole way round even though I could see heavy rain showers in action in every direction.  On my way round, I saw two lapwings trying desperately to drive off a crow from their nest. I tried to get a good shot but this blurry effort was the best I could do.

lapwing

As I went on, the weather looked more and more threatening.

weather

The roads are lined with wild flowers at the moment as you can see. When I got down to the Esk valley, I saw this bank of trees in the sunlight set against the black clouds behind.

trees

Near Canonbie, I was struck by a swathe of what are probably campions where a wood had recently been cut down.

campion

Nearby, sitting on a bench in a sheltered spot in a wood, were two old gentlemen who are part of a trio whom Dropscone and I frequently pass on our morning run.

Gents

I asked them whether they had been there since the early morning but they told me that this was their second visit of the day to their retreat. They are famous as they were featured in our local paper last year and are well used to the public glare.

I stopped on the old A7 north of Canonbie to admire the bridge over the Byre Burn. It was built in the days when local skills were useful.

Byreburn

Looking over the bridge, you get a fine view of the Esk.

Esk

As I went past the new Auchenrivock diversion on the old A7 again, I was pleased to see that the bluebells which were such a feature of the woods here in the old days, had survived the disruption.

bluebells

The wind had picked up a lot since I set out and I had quite a battle to get home against it. Mrs Tootlepedal, who had been at work, was undeterred by my experience and immediately set out to go round a 13 mile circuit of her own. While she was out, I prepared an egg curry for our tea and after I had eaten this, I went off to the Archive Centre with Sandy and Jean. As usual, after a couple of hours of hard work, we refreshed both body and spirit at the Douglas Hotel. I look forward to our Thursday nights out.

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Today’s picture is a wallflower. They are coming to the end of their season but some are hanging on.

wallflower

Dropscone was too ill to cycle and was going to play golf (a paradox which those who know Dropscone will be able to decipher) so he was not available for the morning pedal. As it happened I was not available either as Mrs Tootlepedal had made an arrangement with a carpet fitter and someone had to stay in in case he came. Mrs Tootlepedal was called into work because some of her colleagues were detained by the volcanic ash cloud in Spain so I was elected to wait.

It was a pity because it was the first day for some time to have light winds and I was due to play golf myself but these things can’t be helped if people will go on holiday by aeroplane instead of staying in nice B & Bs in Scotland.

I put the morning to good use by entering a week of the E & L into the database and transcribing a set of letters concerning an almighty row about a bowling match in 1879. They amused me a lot and they also show that things haven’t changed much in a hundred and thirty years as we can manage an almighty row now and again these days too.

Before I set down to work, I had a wander round the garden. Mrs Tootlepedal is very fond of irises so I reflect that here.

iris 1

iris 2

iris 3

iris 4

It really is that colour

There is a saying that two heads are better than one and Mrs Tootlepedal has put that into practice.

alliums

peonies

I have been looking from time to time at the Chelsea Flower Show on the telly and whenever I see it, it seems that the exhibitors have popped up to see what is going on in Mrs Tootlepedal’s garden before they make up their exhibits. It is very flattering. They showed us Laurence Llewellyn Bowen’s garden tonight and all I can say is that he doesn’t know what a good lawn looks like at all.

The peas in their pea fortress stood up to the strong winds very well but the raspberries took a severe battering.

rasps

That'll be a blow to jam production in DG13

While I was watching the flowers, my eye was caught by a movement on Mrs Tootlepedal’s topiary chicken.

big chicken

It was a very small bird on a very big one.

little bird

When it settled down, I could see it was a coal tit.

coal tit

You can see just how small they are when you compare one with a chaffinch.

coal tit and chaffinch

Chaffinches photograph well when they are flying. They must flap their wings a little slower than the other birds because it is relatively easy to get a good  shot of them on the wing.

chaffinch

In the afternoon, I took the hedge trimmer out to give some of the box balls their annual haircut. The rechargeable batteries are obviously not recharging so after a while I put the machine away and fell back (but not literally) on a pair of hand shears.

I managed to clip three small and two medium bushes but that leaves quite a few to do. I took a picture of some unclipped medium balls at one end of the lawn…

unclipped box

..and two which I had clipped at the other end. You can just see the difference, I hope.

clipped box

I don’t like to get them to look too regular or it would be boring!

The chief visitors to the bird feeders at the moment are sparrows and chaffinches but there are occasional greenfunches too.

green finch

We get quite a few starlings as well but because of the canny shape of the feeder, they find it difficult to get on it and have to perch on the edge flapping madly to stay on. They soon get fed up (or not as the case may be).

starling

We had a well attended meeting of the culture and heritage committee in the early evening and then I woofled down a cheese toastie and went out for a twenty mile ride in near perfect conditions. I went to the far end of the top of Callister and back and then did another trip up to Wauchope Schoolhouse and back to make up the twenty miles. I was passed by a total of four cars in both directions in the course of the trip. I slightly startled an amiable group of young  scholars who were strolling up the road by passing them three times in opposite directions.

On my return, I rounded off a busy day by putting another week of the E&L into the database. We are back to windy weather tomorrow so I am pleased I got my cycle ride in today. I end with a picture of one of the azaleas which was at its peak today.

azalea

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