Today’s picture, sent by my friend and near neighbour Bruce, shows that the local chaffinches can be found in force in more than one garden round here. The sunny weather was a couple of days ago.
We were far from sunny today. In fact it was raining seriously for the first time for a few weeks and even the hardy Dropscone didn’t consider pedalling. He did consider making the traditional Friday treacle scones though and he brought some round with him for us to enjoy with our morning coffee.
Mrs Tootlepedal went off to work quite early and I had some time before coffee to stare out of the window at the birds in the rain.
The rain eased off after coffee and I was able to go out into the garden to see what all the noise was. It was frogs.
The frogs were out in force to celebrate the disappearance of the regular morning ice. They were happy as Larry and there were things going on that were not suitable to show here. (Most of them ducked under the water as soon as I got the camera out so I couldn’t show them even if I wanted to.)
At the feeder, the traffic was as busy as usual and here are a couple of siskins doing some co-ordinated shouting.
Everyone was very busy and here we see three birds just dropping in and ready to go away at a moment’s notice.
There were a lot of bramblings about again today.
Mrs Tootlepedal came home from work, had lunch and then checked that everything was ready for our guests. I checked the central heating boiler which behaving in a slightly odd way but which seems to be working. It is making me a bit nervous.
I had another look at the frogs.
After lunch, the weather had improved so much that I finally pulled myself together and got my cycling kit on and actually went out cycling. So therapeutic is the very act of cycling that I was feeling better before I had even gone a mile. I used to enjoy running a lot when I was younger and running over the hills made me feel good but it didn’t have that same ability to make you feel instantly better that cycling has (if I don’t go too fast and wear myself out that is).
On a side note, Mrs Tootlepedal wondered whether if I sat in my comfortable chair with a fan blowing air into my face, I would get the same effect. Funnily enough, the bike machines in the gym have a fan that does exactly that and I found it very unpleasant to use.
I hadn’t set out with a plan as I wanted to see how I felt but there turned out to be a strong wind blowing so I resorted to riding three and a half mile sections up and down the road to Wauchope Schoolhouse and back. On the first leg I checked my computer and I took 18 minutes to get up the road and eight minutes to get back. That’s what I call a good following wind.
In the end I settled for three laps and stopped after 21 miles, very happy to have broken my idle spell. They are forecasting snow tomorrow so it may have to last me for a couple of days.
When I got back, Mrs Tootlepedal was crouched behind the greenhouse doing one of those things that gardeners do.
I didn’t ask. I got changed and it was such a nice day by now that I went to see what I could do to help in the garden. Mrs Tootlepedal had put new cloches out on the strawberry bed…
..and I thought that I would sieve some compost and put it where it would do some good.
By coincidence, Chris Beardshaw was just extolling the benefits of organic composted matter on the radio while I was working.
Then I went off to spike a little more of the front lawn. I actually found one or two blades of grass growing among the moss. The moss is depressing Mrs Tootlepedal a bit. After our wet weather last summer, there is moss in unexpected places.
On my way back from the lawn care, I spotted an entrant in the All Dumfriesshire widest frog competition.
Our visitors arrived as per schedule and I went off to do some shopping for their breakfast, pick up a little medicine and buy another big bag of sunflower seeds for the birds. If it wasn’t such an inappropriate metaphor, I would call that killing three birds with one stone. I hope we get a bit of warmth soon so they can go and find their own food as well as eating mine.
When I got back, I put the camera in my bicycle bag and pedalled down to the Kilngreen to see if I could catch a black headed gull or two in the evening sunshine.
There was not quite the low sun that I had hoped for as an annoying cloud put in an appearance but the gulls did their best to oblige.
The sun was more co-operative with a crocus in the garden.
In the evening, Mrs Tootlepedal went out for a final dress rehearsal of The Sound of Music and Arthur came round for some c0mputer assistance but otherwise I had a quiet time playing with photographs.
The flying bird of the day was a goldfinch putting the brakes on.