Today’s striking guest picture shows Bilbao.  My brother Andrew paid it a flying visit a few days ago.


I was enjoying a day of rest today, having exceeded my cycling target for the month by some 90 miles.  This resolve was assisted by some very grey and dreary weather which persisted all day.

It was quite warm though so I went out into the garden after breakfast and did my bit by dead heading a lot of the daffodils which have come to the end of their flowering season.

I also looked around with camera in hand.  Unless we are very unlucky with frosts or voracious pests, the fruit prospects for the summer look good.

From top left clockwise: apple, blackcurrant, gooseberry and strawberry.

We are welcoming some new flowers….

Welsh poppy
Welsh poppy
Spanish bluebells
Spanish bluebells


A rather faint looking clematis.
A geum. I had to hold its head up to the light to get the shot.

…and  waving goodbye to others.

Going out in style

I did a little business in the morning and combined that with doing a crossword and having a cup of coffee with Sandy and thus managed to pass the time quite painlessly.

Sandy returned after lunch with a suggestion that we should go to visit the new primary school where the powers that be are installing an artificial playing surface.

This was carpet laying on  a grand scale.

artificial pitch
Putting down the underlay

It looked even more impressive from the Galaside.

artificial pitch

We should have had one of these years ago.

On our way to see the pitch, we stopped to look at spring in the Lodge Walks….

Lodge walks

…and the inviting looking horse racing track on the Castleholm….

The first meeting of the season is on Saturday.

…and passed through the bluebell wood at Holmwood as well.

bluebells at Holmwood

At this point, Sandy, who had not been feeling very well, felt a lot worse and went off in his car to the Health Centre to seek medical advice.  I strolled on, hoping to see nuthatches but what with dog walkers and estate workers banging about, I soon gave up.  I admired some anemones…


…and just made it home before some serious rain set in.

I settled down to put some music for Luke and myself on to the computer and waited for Mrs Tootlepedal to return from a wheelbarrow wheel buying excursion.  Our old wheel had seized up after many years of loyal service and the wheelbarrow is always needed so she was in a very cheerful mood when she returned with a brand new, bright green replacement.

The gloomy weather hadn’t encouraged any bird photography and I had settled for a single perching bird for the day…


…and one example of rude siskin behaviour…


…when a loud cry from the kitchen summoned me from my keyboard.

It was a perching bird of a very different kind.


Knowing that the light was very poor, the sparrowhawk sat extremely still while I took the picture.

We had more of the delicious slow cooked venison stew for our tea with some very tasty new potatoes from Jersey to go with it.

In the evening, we went off to a choir meeting for Langholm Sings.  We are practising a specially composed Commonwealth Games song which we are going to sing later in the month when the baton relay passes through the town.  In contrast we also had a go at Va Pensioro from Nabucco which is a great sing so it was an enjoyable session.

Advice for the squeamish….look away now.

I would have got a really good flying bird of the day but unfortunately someone else got to the flying bird first.

Nature red in tooth and claw




Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

28 thoughts on “Carpeted

  1. The geum is a lovely colour. Hope Sandy is feeling better. A fine show of bluebells. The sparrow hawk proves it is as fierce as it looks.

  2. Not only do you get a great variety of birds in your garden, you also get these wonderful shots of them! Well done to get the hawk so clearly and I love the duelling siskins. You must have asked them to pose for you!

  3. Perhaps the sparrow hawk finally got fed up with the siskin’s rude behavior? 😉 I love the tree-canopied walk/roadway. What a lovely place! Wishing your friend a speedy recovery.

  4. The idea of getting the Hoover out on the grass rather than the mower appeals to Commando. I thought it would only be a matter of time before the sparrow hawk made a meal of one of your feeder birds. Nature can be cruel.

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