Today’s guest picture comes from Venetia, my Somerset correspondent, who has been away in France. The picture shows a charming boutique in Collanges-la-Rouge.
A cloudy and windy morning gave rise to quite a long internal debate over the pleasures of cycling. In the end though,my sense of derring-do just won out over my tendency to derring-don’t and I set off up the Wauchope road on the fairly speedy bike.
I was glad that I had gone as my legs and I were in harmony from the start and I even stopped to take a photo or two. Due to a combination of the cold spring and some wanton mowing of the verges by the council, there are not many wild flowers to see on the way but I was impressed by this display of blackthorn blossom near Westwater.
On the other side of the road, a splash of yellow in a ditch caught my attention.
Almost every flower had a little insect attached. Nearby an orange bee was busy.
I didn’t stop again until I was nearly at Paddockhole, my outward destination. One of my favourite views caused me to take the camera out to record ‘fifty shades of green’.
An indication of the power of the wind may be gathered from the fact that I glanced down at my bike computer on my way home to find that I was doing 30 mph along a pretty flat piece of road. I was more impressed by my outward speed than I had been at the time that I was puffing along against the wind. I really am getting fit enough so that a little wind shouldn’t be an excuse any more to stop me going out. It probably will be but it shouldn’t be.
When I got home, Granny and Mrs Tootlepedal were in the garden so I joined them and took a couple of pictures.
One of Mrs Tootlepedal’s two willows going great guns.
There are several colourful corners developing in the garden but I concentrated on some details today.
The day steadily improved and by the afternoon, it was a pleasant spring day (but still breezy).
After lunch, I took the two paintings which had been given to me to look after by Mrs Turner up to to one of our local picture framers. He agreed to frame them so that they can be hung up in our new visitor centre when it is ready. His studio was one of many locally that were open today as part of the Spring Fling and I visited four others while I was in the centre of town.
My favourite was the studio of Julie Dumbarton but as photography was not allowed, you will have to visit her website if you want to see what it is that I like about her work. I would need a bigger house (and a much bigger wallet) if I was going to buy one of her paintings though.
Because I was thinking about the two water colours that are being framed, I walked on down to Skippers Bridge to see if I could show the ancient and modern together. It was not entirely possible but I did my best.
The view upstream in 1859 as seen by William Nutter…..
…and in 2015 as seen by me.
What is most noticeable when you look at old paintings and photographs of the town is how many more trees there are today. I couldn’t get down to the river on the same bank as William used for his picture of the bridge but I scrambled down the other bank and got as far out into the river as I could. There were still too many trees.
Mr Nutter in 1859 saw this….
…and I saw this in 2015.
The bridge has been widened by about a half since the painting was made.
The scramble down the bank was quite exciting and so I thought that I would take some pictures of my own while I was down by the water’s edge. This is my view of the distillery.
And this is my view of the bridge disappearing into the spring foliage.
After a last glance at the river….
…I scrambled arduously back up the bank….and noticed a much easier path a few yards further along.
My walk back home on the west bank of the river was made very attractive by a river of daises on the Murtholm….
….a fine copper beech on the opposite bank….
….a burst of wild garlic at the end of the fields….
…a swathe of bluebells in the woods….
…and a final flood of garlic down the banking just before the park.
The walk was full of sensation for the eye and the nose too. It was rounded off by a cup of tea and a slice of banana and walnut loaf when I got home.
I didn’t have much time for bird watching in all this but a great tit is always a welcome visitor…
On the old feeder
…and greenfinches make me smile with their apparent solemnity.
On the new feeder
This reminds me that I found the new feeder on the ground when I came down this morning so the rooks have obviously been busy again. I must tie it up safely before I go to bed tonight.
My flute pupil Luke came and we had a useful practice. As we are playing in public on Saturday, I have arranged an extra go for Friday evening. You can’t have too many practices before a performance, however brief.
Mrs Tootlepedal took Granny for a short but scenic drive after tea while I practised a little singing and cut the seventy pictures on my camera card down to a nearly manageable number.
The flying bird of the day is a sparrow.
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