Today’s guest picture shows some delightfully green weeping willows in Parliament Hill Fields in London. They were noticed by my sister Mary.
We woke to a beautifully sunny day and as darkness fell, it fell on a beautifully sunny day and in between…it was beautifully sunny.
Mrs Tootlepedal spent a happy day in the garden doing all sorts of useful things. She only left to collect some more manure from her new manure mine.
I had a little problem in the morning. I was hoping for a cycle ride of a reasonable length but with the morning sunny but decidedly cool and the afternoon promising to be nice and warm, the choice of suitable clothing was a tricky one. In the end, I waited until midday when the temperature had risen enough to let me make a sensible choice.
I wandered round the garden while I was waiting. The sun had brought things out.
When I finally got going, I varied my usual route. With the wind being on the gentle side, I decided to take the hilly route north out of the town following the Esk valley. Luckily the gentle breeze was on hand to blow me up the hills to Eskdalemuir. I stopped to take a picture of the Girdle Stanes, one of the stone circles beside the route.
At Eskdalemuir, I turned left, climbed out of the White Esk valley and headed towards the Black Esk and beyond. I got a nice prospect or two as I went over the hills.
I had my lunch at an ugly bridge over the Dryfe Water north of Lockerbie.
I was walking about trying to find a way down to the river bank to take a picture of it as it is obviously a repaired old stone bridge, when a kind lady emerged from a nearby house to ask if I was lost. I told her that I was just trying to photograph the bridge and she was very surprised. “We hate it,” she said. She told me that the original parapet had been demolished by an articulated lorry and looking at me in a sympathetic way, offered me a cup of tea. I reluctantly turned it down and she told me I could find a much nicer looking bridge a short way along the road.
She was right.
It involved a short diversion from my route and a plunge down to the river with the consequent climb back up but I thought that it was well worth it.
Generally, it was a most enjoyable ride with wild flowers beginning to appear in quantity in the verges. I saw celandines on my left as I went out and on my right as I was homeward bound.
The gorse was looking good too.
As I neared home, I was quite surprised to find that the new windmill is visible from several places. They have worked fast and the twirly bit on the top is now in place.
A final six mile downhill and downwind section finished off my ride in fine style. Those interested can click on the map for more details.
Mrs Tootlepedal was resting from her gardening endeavours when I got back so after a cup of tea and a shower and a quick check on the bird feeder…
…we drove up onto the Langholm moor to see if we could see any hen harriers.
We saw a buzzard flapping along above the skyline but it wasn’t long before a hen harrier appeared too and after some sparring…
…drove it off.
It was very pleasant up on the hill in the warmth of the early evening.
On our way down, we stopped at the quarry where I had seen the toads spawning. I was interested to see what might have developed but there was no sign of toads and little sign of ‘toadpoles’. Only one of the puddles seemed to have any life at all…
…and we wondered if a pair of ducks, who seem to be resident in the quarry, are happily dining on them.
The low sun picked out the shrubs beside the lawn when we got home…
…and Mrs Tootlepedal pointed out this charming daffodil to me as we took a final walk round the garden.
Did I mention that the tulips were out?
And there are more to come.
A starling watched us as we walked about.
We were both quite pleased after a busy day that we had no activities in the evening other than a quiet sit down.
The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.