Making an effort

Today’s guest picture shows the wonderful “Trees” in the Gardens by the Bay, Singapore.  It was taken by Mike Tinker on his way home from NZ.

Singapore treesWe had a very welcome day with lots of sun and no rain.  It even felt pleasantly warm if you could get out of the wind.  The down side, as you will gather, was that the wind continued to blow.

I managed to get out out on the bike and I set off after breakfast with an elastic view of how far I might go.  After a week off the bike thanks to the weather, my knee wasn’t very happy at all at first but it soon remembered that it enjoyed cycling and settled down to some steady, painless work.  I was less happy than my knee though and after 12 miles of being buffeted by the wind, I gave up and came home.

I went out past Paddockhole and when I saw a bright yellow field there….

Paddockhole field…I thought it was some early buttercups but on examination, it turned out to be a field of dandelions.  They have really enjoyed the cool spring and are to be seen everywhere.

When I got home, I had a wander round the garden to see if the sunny day had brought on some flowers.  It had.

Rhododendron
Two Rhododendrons were out, one big and one small.
geum and clematis
Some geums are out under the feeder and the clematis at the back door is just starting to flower.

Established flowers were enjoying the sun too.

rhododendron and rosemaryBut the star of the day was one of the last of the tulips.

yellow tulipI had a check on the apple blossom and the insects were obviously embarrassed by making an old age pensioner go round with a brush yesterday so they were out in force today.

apple blossom
Plenty of pollen.

We have hung one of the old feeders on the variegated elder outside the sitting room window so Granny can enjoy watching the birds without me standing in front of her with a camera.  The birds soon found it…

granny's feeder…and she was well entertained.  Every now and again she would cry out, “Big bird!” and on one occasion, I managed to catch the big bird before it flew off.

rookRooks are very impressive and could easily rule the world if they were aware of their powerful image.

The starlings keep trying the new feeder but it doesn’t give them enough to hang onto and they have to flap like the clappers to stay on for long enough to get something to eat.

starlingMrs Tootlepedal made an excellent pan of mushroom soup for lunch which Granny enjoyed a lot.  After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal did some serious pruning of the potentillas along the back wall of the house and I helped by putting some of the prunings though our shredder.

The aubretia beside the dam is looking delightful.

aubretiaWhile I was going to and fro with the shreddings, I saw what I think must be a dunnock having a really good spring clean and shake out.

dunnockIt was too good an afternoon to hang around though so I pedalled off to the Kilngreen and Castleholm on the slow bike in pursuit of dippers.  I didn’t see  a single dipper and saw but failed to take a photograph of two nuthatches who were making a lot of noise on a tree near the bridge.  A chaffinch was sitting on a branch above my head and laughing at me.

chaffinchI pedalled on to the Jubilee Bridge and waited for a blue tit to appear at the nest hole.  This time I was more fortunate.

blue titTwo of them came and went several times but they tended to coincide with passers by engaging me in conversation and that was my best effort.

I cycled back to the Kilngreen, pausing for another fruitless dipper watch on the way.

Mr Grumpy was posing on the water’s edge…

heron…but there was not much else of avian interest so I looked up the Esk…

View of esk…and then cycled home, stopping on the town bridge to look down the Esk.

Suspension bridge in SpringTwo ducks were swimming upstream, feeding as they went.

ducksIn the evening, Mrs Tootlepedal and I left Granny to her own devices (watching the Chelsea Flower Show on the telly mostly) and went off to the penultimate rehearsal of our Langholm choir before our two concerts at the end of the month.

We worked hard and although our performances at the concerts will not be flawless, they will be all the better for a good two hour’s work tonight.

The flying bird of the day is a herring gull, high over the river at the Kilngreen.

herring gull

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

26 thoughts on “Making an effort

  1. Glad the bees are doing their job on your apple tree. There was a feast of delightful pictures from your garden and I was pleased to read that you had a good choir rehearsal. Good luck in the forthcoming concert.

  2. Hi Tom – just a quick email to say that the nursing home management have bullied me into resigning – it has been an ongoing battle of wits for weeks so I am a bit shell-shocked. J

  3. Wonderful bird pictures. Looks as if everyone is enjoying the sunshine. I have to get caught up with your exploits over the past couple of weeks but it looks like you are having the same kind of erratic weather we are.

  4. Rooks would rule the world, if they weren’t smart enough to know that they wanted no part of such madness. 😉

    Hopefully now that the rains have let up, the wind will also, so you’ll be able to do more cycling.

  5. I’m not keen on being buffeted by winds either. I hope it lets up soon so you can go on more comfortable jaunts. I enjoyed your excellent collection of shots as always, in particular the flying blue tit. You captured the feathers fanned out beautifully. How lovely that your mother-in-law is able to enjoy your birds. Those “big birds” do look a bit intimidating!

  6. You are so funny! ” the insects were obviously embarrassed by making an old age pensioner go round with a brush yesterday so they were out in force today.” Every post has a gem like that!

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