Today’s guest picture shows a chaffinch who came to share a bench in the shade with my friend Bruce who is on holiday in Arran.
For the first time this month, the day started as a day should start with a morning pedal with Dropscone. Our diaries have just not been in sync lately so it was fortunate that this auspicious event took place in excellent weather. We pedalled the twenty miles out to Waterbeck and back cheerfully with the only fly in the ointment being the number of quarry lorries that appeared from every direction. It is not just the noise and dust created by being passed by one of these big beasts of the road that is annoying, it is also the knowledge that they are wrecking what is left of the road surface as they go.
The ride was followed by traditional scones and coffee and all was well with the world.
When Dropscone left, I had time for a look round the garden.
The roses were enjoying the sun.
Surprisingly, the very simple rose on the right is called Rosa Gallica Complicata. I checked this out on the internet and for once the internet was baffled as no one, as far as I could find, seems to know where it got its inappropriate name from.
I spent a little time looking at our Astrantias….
…and quite a lot of time looking at a large number of frogs sunning themselves on the pond.
Every lily leaf seemed to have a frog or two on it.
We were expecting our our friend Sue, the recorder player and choir member, for lunch so I had put some bread into the bread machine before setting off cycling. Now I mowed the front lawn to make a good first impression for her arrival and then went in to make some green lentil soup.
Sue arrived and was duly impressed by the lawn and the bread but the soup was another matter. Owing to making it in a rush, I had forgotten to add a stock cube and the resultant taste, or rather lack of taste, showed just how much we rely on salt to bring out the flavour in our food. We plied her with good cheese to make up for the tasteless soup.
The main purpose of her visit was to look at Mrs Tootlepedal’s composting arrangements in the garden and she was much struck by the sheer number of our compost bins and pens. Mrs Tootlepedal has five closed plastic bins, one open plastic bin, two wooden open pens and two concrete open pens with roof covers. The composting materials go through the system in anything from nine months to three years depending on how often they get turned. Although it is possible to put all your garden waste into a great heap and let it decompose over time, we have a small electric shredder and as far as possible, everything gets shredded before going into the bins as this both speeds up the composting process and reduces the size of the material considerably.
After lunch, we lent Sue Mrs Tootlepedal’s town bike and went for a short pedal in the glorious summer sunshine up to Wauchope Schoolhouse and back.
Mrs Tootlepedal is riding my belt bike as her touring bike had got a puncture.
We were struck by a wonderful field full of buttercups as we crossed the Auld Stane Brig.
After the pedal, Sue went off home full of determination to increase her composting capability and after a cup of tea, I checked to see how how our royal roses were doing. They were doing well.
Then Mrs Tootlepedal, who had had a busy day in the garden, retired for a well earned snooze while I went for a short walk.
I went round Gaskell’s Walk.
There was a lot of what I have always known as “cuckoo spit” about.
Considering the wood above the path was clear felled only a couple of years ago, leaving the bank looking like battlefield, the view as I walked along today…
…shows just how effective nature’s recuperative powers are.
When I got to the Stubholm track, I paused for a moment to watch the rabbits.
They paused for a moment to watch me and then disappeared into the woods….
…except one youngster who lurked around hoping that it would be invisible if it stood very still.
After passing another sensational show of buttercups….
I went down to the path along the park. The top of the wall beside the path is more like a garden than a wall at some points.
Among doing other things in the garden, Mrs Tootlepedal had been moving a baby chicken to be closer to its mother. She had finished by the end of the day.
In the evening, my flute pupil Luke came and as usual was able to show the results of some useful practice. He is a rewarding boy to teach.
Then I went off to do some playing of my own with Isabel and Mike and had a very enjoyable hour and a half playing both flute and recorder. All the singing that I have been doing since I joined two choirs has helped my flute playing a lot as I am struggling with my breathing a lot less now.
As far as the weather went, I think that this was the best day of the year so far but disappointingly, it had clouded over by the time that the International Space Station was due to fly overhead and yet another day passed without a decent picture of it to be flying object of the day.
As a result yellow Alliums will have to take their place as non flying flowers of the day.