Keeping out of the wind

Today’s guest picture is a very nice clematis in Manitoba sent to me from across the pond by Mary Jo.  She tells me that they are expecting snow.  It has not been a good spring here or there.

clematisWe had another fine day today but with a strong and chilly wind still very much in evidence.  I spent most of the day keeping out of the wind.  Dropscone helped me by dropping in for coffee and he was rewarded with several sticks of rhubarb of which is fond.

When he left, I girded up my loins and went outside to mow all three lawns.  I had just finished when I was visited by Mike Tinker, his son -in-law, Lorne and two of his grandchildren.  Sara and William immediately headed for the pond and were delighted to be able to surprise a frog while Mike, Lorne and I considered the state of the world in general and the lawns in particular.  I was bemoaning the fact that I no longer have the capacity to properly spike the lawn when Lorne offered to come down and spike it for me in the autumn.   It would be wonderful if he did.  Having a lawn spiked by someone called Lorne would be a clear case of nominative determination (and jolly useful too).

When they left, I had a wander round the garden.

lithodoraIn spite of things being very backward because of the cool spring, there is colour be seen and my currant favourite is this lithodora.  The blue flowers seem to float above the dark green foliage.

Brasher colours are to be seen too.

king cups and hyacinthSadly a couple of very cold mornings a week or so ago have put paid to two of our azaleas and killed off every bud.

azalea and rhodieSome have survived though and a rhododendron is just about to burst into flames.

After lunch, I spent a little time watching the bird feeders.

A goldfinch is thoroughly disgusted by another goldfinch doing acrobatic tricks with a siskin by perching on its beak.
Two calmer goldfinches itting for their portraits

Then Mrs Tootlepedal went off to Canonbie, where she had one or two items entered in a WRI competition and I went for a walk.  I was looking to see if the bluebells had improved at all but there were many other things to look at on the way.

Murtholm trees
The trees along the Murtholm fields.
Swallows flitting up the Esk. It is amazing what a difference a slight turn of the camera makes to the light.

The bluebells, when I got to them, were good but not great…

bluebellsbluebells…and I thought that the walk along the main road to get to them was just as rewarding visually.

A7I walked back over Skippers Bridge and took the obligatory picture.  This time, I looked downstream.

The EskAnd then I climbed up a path to the old railway line above the river.  There is a handy rail for the convenience of elderly walkers.

Skippers pathI took the path from the railway up towards the Round House…

Path to Round House…and then strolled back down the hill into the town.  Beside the track, I saw the first broom flower that I have seen this year. It was about to open.

broomA few yards further on, I saw two that had opened.

broomFurther on still, I had another look at the flowering nettle which I have photographed before without doing it justice.  This is one of those tiny flowers that you might well pass by without noticing it, if you hadn’t had your eyes opened by walking around with a camera.  I find it hard to capture yellow flowers well but this was my best effort yet.

nettleI went down to the river in the hope of seeing some interesting water birds on my way home but had to make do with some flowers beside the water.

cornflower and pinkbellWhite bluebells are quite common but I don’t think that I have seen a pink one before.

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal had returned and I was able to eat a couple of slices of her third-prize winning tea loaf with my refreshing cuppa.  It was delicious.  The first and second prizewinners must have been really good stuff.  I was also pleased to see a bee hard at work among the apple blossom.

bee in apple blossomIn the evening, I went off by myself to the Buccleuch Centre to hear a band called Elbow Jane play.  There was much to admire about them; their sound level was very reasonable, the bass and drum players were efficient and discreet and the three front men were all good musicians.  On the other side of the coin, their set went on too long, and their singing was a bit relentless so in the end it rather felt as though you had been shouted at for two hours.  As well as their own songs, they covered Paul Simon, The Beatles, Credence Clearwater Revival and Joni Mitchell which gives a good indication of their influences and although it is music that I like, they never really managed to bring an involuntary smile to my face or get my toe tapping for long.  Still, a live concert 300 metres from your front door is always a bonus and I enjoyed myself.

The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch.  The picture shows just how well balanced these birds are in the air while their wings are flapping furiously.

flying goldfinch

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

22 thoughts on “Keeping out of the wind

  1. It has been a very cool spring this year, but you have caught some fine colours here. I especially like the spring greens (not cabbages) in the trees alongside the Murtholm fields and downstream from the bridge. Fine fying bird of the day.

  2. I like the lithodora too. That’s a nice shade of blue.
    Getting a shot of that yellow dead nettle in full sun wasn’t easy I know, but I don’t know how you could have made that photo any better. It shows a lot of detail.
    I like the shot of the woodland path with a railing. If only all uphill climbs had them!

  3. I do hope Lorne is true to his word – it just seems so right 🙂 Lovely to see the bluebells coming along, congratulations to Mrs T on her prize and really love the broom photos. Sorry that the concert didn’t totally deliver – I always feel slightly cheated if I leave without having indulged in some involuntary smiling and toe tapping.

  4. Despite the weather, you’re treating us to a plethora of beautiful flowers very well photographed. It’s hard to imagine that the bluebells could get any better. I also liked the landscapes, particularly the one with the handrail.

  5. Well you certainly made the best of what flowers were out though sorry about the azaleas. Your interpretation of the birds behaviour was very amusing. Glad you have prospective help with your lawn, that sounds good.

  6. Well I sure do hope Lorne helps with your lawn! 🙂 These spring posts are so full of light and colour! Such beautiful photographs of flowers and landscapes and also your birds of course. How delightful your countryside is. I expect it would be difficult not to smile walking through such scenery.

  7. Glad you enjoyed the concert – a boon to have a concert hall so close. Congratulations to Mrs T on her prize winning loaf.

  8. The yellow flowers on the nettle are really pretty. I think having a concert so close to home must be nice, the bands they covered are great choices, but I can appreciate that some singers just need to calm it down a bit!

  9. The photo and your commentary about the acrobatics at the feeder is a hoot! Love that shot and caption. (I’m on a plane catching up on reading your blog. My life has been topsy turvy since we moved to Austin, Texas.)

  10. We have pink bluebells in our garden but I’m not sure where they came from, maybe they’re a cross between the blue and the white. That walk looked very peaceful and the bluebells were lovely.

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