Today’s picture (from my younger son in the US) is another example of German glass working skill from the Natural History Museum of Harvard.
The weather today was as good as anyone has any right to expect. The wind was kind, the sky was blue and the temperature was just in that perfect spot between being too cool and too hot. It was a day for gardening, walking beside the river and for cycling and I was able to do all three.
The cycling came first. I am in the middle of one of those short periods where I feel pretty tired so I picked an easy route, adopted an easy pace with several stops to take photos and managed to pedal 31 miles through green countryside without making myself any more tired than when I started. The route was full of interest. I saw a deer grazing among some sheep, two hares boxing and any number of wild flowers lining the roads.
In the time it took me to stop and get the camera out, the deer and the hares had disappeared and the bright sun washed all the colour out of my wild flower pictures so photographically the trip was not a great success. At least the brilliance of the gorse flowers was able to stand up against the sunshine.
And a field dotted with yellow will have to stand for the rest of the wild flowers.
I met a horse drawn vehicle and stopped to let it by.
The driver thanked me for stopping and said that the horses were calm in the face of cars and tractors but became excited on meeting a cyclist. “Don’t we all?” I said and she gave me strange look and drove on.
I stopped for a banana at Canonbie and enjoyed this view up the Esk valley while I munched it.
The thirty one miles took me comfortably over the 400 miles for the month at which I had been aiming and this made the ride all the more enjoyable. In case of terrible weather late in the month, I had been keeping a stock of sixteen illegal miles up my sleeve. These were miles which I had totted up during the month while cycling round the town in the ordinary course of events and I was pleased to be able to discard them as they don’t really count as cycling, although it is surprising how the miles add up when going to the shops and such like.
Owing to a late start and the leisurely pace, it was almost time for lunch when I got home and soon I was sitting down to a tasty bowl of Mrs Tootlepedal’s mushroom soup with a slice of sourdough bread and some Northumberland cheese on the side. The only thing to detract from my complete enjoyment of the morning was the realisation that while I was enjoying the weather and the countryside, there were people slaving over a hot computer in an office or toiling at a workbench in a factory. I was able to bear the sorrow that this thought caused me with remarkable equanimity.
I never cease to remember how lucky I am.
I was supposed to be filling the bird feeders at the Moorland Feeding station but Sandy kindly volunteered to do this for me while I was having my lunch. After lunch, I went up to the see his nest cam in operation. This is the scene in his front room.
While we were watching, a little drama was played out as a nestling hung onto the food in its parent’s beak so fiercely that it was pulled right out of the nest and disappeared from the picture. Sandy went to check that it hadn’t been thrown out of the nest box entirely and found that it was still safely inside. He is going away this weekend but I can thoroughly recommend a visit to his blog next week to check on the nest cam updates.
We left the nest cam with reluctance and headed down to the River Esk to have another walk along the bank below Irvine House. It is a beautiful spot and from time to time we sat and enjoyed the river flowing by us. We were hoping for some good bird pictures but they were few and far between. We saw a goosander at the start of our walk…
…and an oyster catcher at the spot where we turned to come back.
In between times, we sat and stared at the river…..
…admired the many views….
…and walked along paths among the wild flowers.
It really is a lovely spot and it would be hard to be there on a day like today and stay gloomy.
A little wagtail bobbed about on front of us as we walked back to the car.
…but it hadn’t been a day for bird watching.
I did take a picture of a tree that we passed which was in full blossom even though it it looked as though it had fallen completely over.
I have to admit that I only took the picture so that I could point out that here was a tree that was truly down and out.
When we got back to the car, we decided to take a quick look at the wood where we hoped to find a fine display of bluebells. We found the wood…
…but the bluebell crop was so thin as to be almost invisible.
When we got back, I attacked the front lawn with a combination of liquid feed and mosskiller. It is always tricky to put this stuff on evenly and tomorrow will show how successful I have been. The moss killer turns the moss black and it may be that we will wake up to view an almost totally black lawn. There is a lot of moss out there even after the scarifying.
In the evening, Mike and Alison came round and Alison and I had a very good rattle through works by Telemann, Loeillet and Marcello. You might almost think that we had been practising.
The flying bird of the day was the oyster catcher flying off into deep shadows with a ghostly reflection on the water just below it.