Today’s guest picture is another from my brother’s recent trip to Spain. Santillana Del Mar is a Spanish village 20 kilometres from the Bay of Biscay, which has scarcely changed from Medieval times.
After the thunderstorm overnight, today was sunny and much brighter as the haze had been swept away by the rain. It would have been good to have had this bright weather for our trip yesterday but we made the best of it today.
Dropscone was busy and the wind was very brisk so I took the opportunity to give my legs a rest. After a leisurely breakfast, I went up to the town to do some business. This would have been more useful if the shop that I was going to visit had been open and the person whom I wanted to see had been in.
I spent a lot of time walking round the garden at various times during the day.
We are too far north to get a crop of walnuts but there is at least one flower this year as you can see.
The number of visitors to the feeder has gone down sharply and if this continues, I may even stop putting food out this year though I generally feed right through the summer. Looking out of the kitchen window is less of a full time occupation as a result but I still take the occasional peek.
I am still in the process of turning the compost heap into a new bin, doing a couple of wheelbarrow loads at a time to try to preserve my joints. We have a small shredder which works very well and Mrs Tootlepedal and I try to shred as much of the garden waste as we can with the result that the compost rots down very quickly and takes up less space than a conventional three year system. Mind you, we still have ten compost bins dotted about the vegetable garden.
After lunch, we went out to make good use of the sunshine. We started with a visit to the Langholm Moor and we were lucky to see a hen harrier fly past. It was too far away for the camera but well in range of my new binoculars. The were several other people out with binoculars in hand as well as us. As an added bonus we were serenaded by larks as we sat and watched. We moved on in search of wild goats and soon saw some not far from the road.
They were near some of the peat banks which locals still use to cut fuel for their fires.
The banks are cut and the top layer is replaced behind the cutting so that the trench advances across the moor by a metre or so each year, leaving a reinstated surface behind it.
Two peat cutters arrived while I was watching the goats and set to work.
After drying flat, the peats are tipped up into little pyramids to dry further. Peat cutting is very hard work and my back is still suffering from my efforts cutting peat nearly forty years ago.
I took two pictures of the Tarras valley before we headed back to Langholm. The hills are just beginning to ‘green up’ after the winter months.
When we got back to Langholm, we went in search of a nuthatch. We didn’t have to look hard because there was a nuthatch hanging at the entrance to the nest when we arrived. There was no shortage of photo opportunities in the next few minutes.
We didn’t stay too long as the garden was calling to Mrs Tootlepedal and walked back across the Castleholm to the car, enjoying the beautiful day as we went.
We had to watch ourselves as we crossed the race track as a sheep race was in progress.
Mrs Tootlepedal kindly allowed me time to stop at the Kilngreen on the way back to the garden. We enjoyed an ice cream from the Pelosi’s van there and I strolled along the waterside.
The heron was posing for the camera beside the car park….
… but obligingly flew off to a more photogenic spot after a while.
Beside the Ewes, a little wagtail was leaping up into the air to catch insects. I managed to get a quick shot of it before it shot off to feed its young.
Once back in the garden, we turned our attention to mending the main compost bin which was made out of the old surrounds for small raised beds and like its owners, is showing the ravages of time. With a bit of skilled bashing of three inch nails, it should now last for another few years.
I shifted another two barrowfuls of compost and then retired indoors for a cup of tea and a snooze while the indefatigable Mrs Tootlepedal worked away outside.
I am getting trigger happy on the camera these days and had to throw away a lot of pictures but even so I have put more than my daily ration into this post for which I apologise.
In the evening we went to our Langholm Sings choir practice and had to put up with an AGM for half the practice. AGM are necessary evils but they aren’t half as much fun as singing. Ominously, we were bitten by midges as we came out. If there is one drawback to life in Langholm it is the midges. Last year was very midge free after the severe winter. This year’s mild and wet winter may make for a very midgy summer.
The flying bird of the day is a blue tit, snatching a seed and making off at speed.