Today’s picture is another from the eclectic collection which my brother-in-law Huseyin has sent to me. This one shows his wife, my sister Caroline, enjoying some blossom this time last year at Hillier’s Arboretum in Hampshire, England.
Mrs Tootlepedal and I had a leisurely breakfast which, thanks to reading the Saturday newspapers, merged seamlessly into morning coffee and excellent ginger biscuits (courtesy of Mrs Tinker).
Rousing ourselves from our torpor, we went out to face the brisk wind on our bicycles. I had a check with my natural rain gauge as we got near to Wauchope School and it showed that it had rained quite heavily overnight.
The roads were pretty dry but the combination of the brisk wind and a few drops of rain persuaded us that a six mile ride would be quite sufficient for the moment. I liked the contrasting colour combination of these trees by the waterside as we pedalled home and resolved to take a closer look at them when a convenient moment came.
The rain had stopped by the time we got home and we walked round the garden.
She likes it so much that I took it (under instruction) from another angle.
In the foreground of the picture above, you can see a Rodgersia. I thought that it was worth a solo appearance.
After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to an Embroiderers’ Guild meeting and I got out the speedy bike and had another short ride. This one started with a second climb up the hill to the White Yett. I managed it a bit more quickly than my last effort and this could have been from one of three reasons: a) not having having cycled 12 miles before I got to the bottom of the hill; b) natural talent and determination; or c) the favourably brisk wind behind me. I incline to suggestion c).
I cycled back down the hill and then went up to Wauchope School to stretch my legs after the climb. I was going to look at those interesting trees on my way but I realised that I hadn’t got my camera with me so I left them for another occasion.
That occasion came sooner than I expected as Mrs Tootlepedal returned from her sewing group and eagerly took up the suggestion of a trip to see the trees again. This was because she could combine it with a visit to her manure mine. We drove up in the car as cycling with two buckets of manure on the handlebars is not recommended. One misjudgement and you could really be in…..difficulties.
As Mrs Tootlepedal filled her buckets, I walked down to the trees. The green ones were larches, showing their spring clothing…
…and the ones sprinkled with colour were spruces (I think). They were liberally festooned with flowers.
A close up.
I don’t recall seeing them as richly covered as this but Mrs Tootlepedal suspects that this is because I haven’t bothered to look at them properly before. She may be right but I still think that they are quite a bit richer than usual.
After the trees had been inspected and the buckets filled, we walked through one of my favourite gates….
…down to the river and walked along the bank of the Wauchope. We went a little way upstream first, battling through brambles and fallen trees.
Then we turned back downstream and came upon a delightful woodland path.
A movement on the ground ahead made me think of rabbits but it was a less common animal altogether.
It didn’t let me get close enough for a good picture but scampered off up the tree. It was curious about us though and stopped halfway up to see what we were up to.
It got our measure and disappeared into the canopy and started to throw things at us, chattering crossly. It was answered from another tree nearby. I will have to go back and sit quietly.
We walked on a short way to the end of the path which was at a beautiful spot.
The sun, which had appeared intermittently, had sadly gone off in a sulk by the time we got here.
The river goes into a narrow gorge here so we returned to the field through another fine gate…
…and then I rushed back to the car as the rain started to come down heavily and drove along to pick Mrs Tootlepedal up further down the road. I doubt that we had walked more than half a mile but it will be well worth another visit when the sunshine is more reliable.
By the time that we had done a bit of food shopping and Mrs Tootlepedal had suitably disposed of the manure in the garden and I had taken a photo of the first Icelandic poppy to appear so far this year….
…..it was time to start cooking tea. This was just as well because the rain had had enough of equivocation and started to pour down in earnest.
The flying bird of the day is one of our siskins. By coincidence ‘siskin’ appeared as a solution in today’s crossword..