Today’s picture portrays New Zealand’s finest showing a healthy appetite.
Our spell of sunny and almost windless days came to an end and we had a grey, breezy day. There is too much pollen about for my comfort and I cried off from the morning pedal and did some useful work in preparation for the forthcoming photo exhibition instead while Dropscone cycled round the morning run in lonely splendour and at great speed on his new bike.
In spite of the extra weight, he kindly carried a set of scones round with him and we enjoyed them over a cup of coffee.
Out in the garden, more alliums nodded their heads and whispered.
As well as the more showy flowers, Mrs Tootlepedal has several sets of restrained geraniums about to contrast with the bright reds and pinks.
They provide a block of cool blues together with the increasing number of irises….
…and the polemoniums which are thriving.
A new blue will be added soon.
As instructed, I visited the vegetable garden and was saddened to see that the gooseberry sawfly has made an appearance. We are about to embark on a war with them which I know from experience, we will lose. Still, as the gooseberry bush has not got many fruits on it after the cold spring, I won’t cry too much.
The onions and broad beans are looking well in the centre bed with pr0mising growth from the raspberries and potatoes in the left hand beds..
I am particularly fond of soft fruit so I am encouraged by the early signs of a good strawberry crop.
The house sparrows have returned in numbers and they are vexing Mrs Tootlepedal by their habit of eating anything green in the veg garden. I don’t know where they spend the winter because we have hardly seen a single one for months.
I didn’t get out at all in the morning but after a plate of Mrs Tootlepedal’s nourishing mushroom soup, I went off to the tourist information point in good spirits and before I had even sat down, I had to deal with some visitors. They turned out to be a Danish couple and the man showed me his identity card. His name was Mr Langholm. He took away a lot of leaflets with the town name on them. He asked me what the name Langholm meant to us. I told him that as it was a Viking word, he probably knew already that it meant a long flat bit of land by a river and he agreed but he said that the Danes use holm to mean a small island mostly.
I had six more visitors, all from just over the border, and sold them several booklets and I also had time to do a week of the newspaper index and the crossword so all in all, it was a satisfactory couple of hours.
It was threatening to rain when I got home but it never came to anything so I had time to notice that the pond was full of small snails…
…and that the astrantia was looking quite expansive.
This is one of the flowers that getting a camera has taught me to look at. Before, I wouldn’t have given it a second glance.
The light wasn’t very good but I was so starved of the opportunity to take bird pictures that I put my little lens out on a tripod and used the remote control to stare at the bird feeders.
I made a potato and tomato casserole for our tea which went down well and then got a lift from Susan to our recorder group in Carlisle. We were all there tonight and we played away merrily. One of our members, Sue, has just been on a cycling holiday in Ireland. The way they had devised to get themselves and their bikes to and from their destination involved 14 changes of transport, using trains, boats and buses. Anyone who has tried hauling bikes with panniers full of camping equipment around will know just what an effort this must have been. Hats off off to her and her friend.
Among all the siskins, the little lens caught a lone redpoll and it is flying bird of the day.