Today’s guest picture shows two contrasting transport systems as recorded by my brother on his recent visit to Spain.
We used a combination of rail and bus ourselves today. After a convivial breakfast with my nephew Dan and my son Tony with his partner Marianne and her son Dylan….
…who were all getting ready to go north and back home, Mrs Tootlepedal and I met our daughter Annie at Paddington Station and took the train to Maidenhead. Our aim was to change there for the little single track railway line to Marlow where Mrs Tootlepedal’s brother and mother live. However, Sunday on the British rail network is often beset by engineering works and this was the case today so we were put on a bus for this part of our trip.
We arrived safely at Marlow and walked through the town. A few weeks ago, Marlow was figuring heavily in the news as part of reports on serious floods in the Thames valley and Mrs Tootlepedal’s brother had water only a few feet away from his door. Today the river looked full but benign.
We had a beautiful day for our trip and it was unseasonably warm for early March. So warm was it, that we were able to eat our lunch outside in the garden….
…and the excitement of the floods seemed a world away. In fact though, a short walk after lunch…..
….down the lane to the landing stage beside the river showed that the river was still much higher than it should be.
While we ate, we were being inspected from above.
I wished that I had brought my good camera and lens with me. The birds above us were red kites. Between 1989 and 1994, kites from Spain were imported and released into the Chilterns. They started breeding in 1992 and now as you drive along the motorways or walk through the towns in the area, red kites can be seen lazily circling in the sky above. Many householders will put out food for them and they will swoop down to get it. Our hosts put out a little meat and sure enough a kite swooped down and picked it up. Sadly though, I was looking the other way at the time and had to be content with a shot of a hopeful bird circling round looking for more food.
They were great fun to watch.
My sharp eyed daughter noticed a promising lichen glowing in the sunshine on a branch of a camelia bush in the garden.
The bush itself was getting ready to burst into flame.
With butterflies and bees in the garden, it was hard to imagine that there is still plenty of time for late frosts to arrive. Today it felt like summer as we sat outside chatting.
All too soon, it was time to walk back across Marlow Bridge.
It was still a lovely day when we got off the substitute bus and arrived on the platform at Maidenhead station….
…but the curse of Sunday rail travel struck again and the sun had almost disappeared by the time a train arrived to take us back to London.
Still, we arrived in time to have an evening meal in our hotel with our son Alistair and his wife Clare and this concluded three very good days of family meetings.
The flying bird of the day is one of those red kites from Marlow.