The guest picture of the day is some splendid fungus in the garden of Zyriacus, my German correspondent. He tells me that various pressures are turning his lovingly tended garden into a nature reserve.
The main business of the day was attending our friend Jean’s funeral. The service was held in the garden of her house on the banks of the Esk, with friends and family present and an audience of three goosanders, birds which Jean always enjoyed watching, looking on from the river.
The service was simple and touching and we went to the cemetery afterwards where Jean was buried beside her husband. The day was still and warm and as the minister spoke, birds sang an accompaniment from the trees round about. With views over the hills and valley that Jean loved so much, this was as good a way as possible to say goodbye to a friend.
We joined the family for refreshments in the Buccleuch Centre but could not stay long as I had my usual Friday spell in the tourist office to go to.
I had taken advantage of the good weather to pop out for an early ride before the funeral to see if putting my bike seat back down the centimetre that I had foolishly raised it would cure my back problems. It worked like magic and I was able to potter along for eighteen miles in a pain free and leisurely manner. I was passed by a human bullet going in the opposite direction at one pint. This was Dropscone whizzing round the morning run in fine style.
I had time before I went to the tourist office to admire two poppies in the garden, a red opium poppy and a pale Shirley poppy.
After a very slow start at the tourist office, I was visited by Mrs Tootlepedal on her bike and her arrival heralded a positive late rush of people. First, five tourists arrived simultaneously and then Jean’s son and his wife, who were talking a walk round the Castleholm, came in and they were soon joined by Mike Tinker, who was also walking past. In this way my two hour spell ended very merrily and I locked up and went on a heron search.
Mr Grumpy was not at home and although there was a chirpy wagtail at the river, it evaded my lens and I had to make do with a passing gull.
Mrs Tootlepedal and I were invited to Mike and Alison’s for a cup of tea and I took round my macro lens to show Mike who is a keen photographer. I shot two of his dahlias while I was there…..
Tonight we watched an American trio called the Stray Birds. I append an extract from their website:
The band – multi-instrumentalists and vocalists Maya de Vitry, Oliver Craven, and Charlie Muench – hails from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. All three are classically trained musicians who’ve been making music of all kinds since childhood (before they reconnected through the local music scene, de Vitry and Muench first met in middle school orchestra); however, they were also all raised with a steady diet of music ranging from pioneers like The Carter Family and Bill Monroe & His Blue Grass Boys to the joyous invention of The Beatles and The Band, to the groundbreaking artistry of Jimi Hendrix.
They played and sang jolly well, although they were unnecessarily amplified for the modest size of the audience. Oddly for such a rhythmic ensemble, none of the trio tapped their feet as they played which might be down to their classical training. They sang and played a good selection of material but mostly on subjects of murder and loss and with such relentless intensity and feeling of suppressed violence that I longed for at least one relaxed and laid back number. I finally thought that that moment had arrived when they announced that they were going to sing Make me a Pallet on the Floor…but even this gentle number was turned into up tempo angst. Putting that to one side, it is always a pleasure to meet a band of accomplished musicians who are entirely new to you and Mrs Tootlepedal and I enjoyed the evening.
I spent what time I had in the garden today looking for coloured butterflies but in the end, this white was the only one there when I had a camera to hand.