In the absence of any other guest pictures, today’s is another from Annie’s Chelsea visit. Mrs Tootlepedal and I were both pleased to see that the humble foxglove is back in fashion.
In spite of my bad back, I had quite good night’s sleep and when I woke up at seven o’clock and found that the sun was shining, I amazed myself by getting up and going on a nuthatch hunt before breakfast. The slow bike is an excellent form of transport for a man with a bad back and I got to the nest without any trouble.
The nuthatches were very busy.
As you can see, the sun was in the right place at that time in the morning and I was able to get a slightly better shot than yesterday afternoon.
The quality is not as good as it should have been so I might try again if conditions are suitable.
I passed our roadside hedge as I came home and was greeted by a very cheerful honeysuckle.
Its not often that I take flower pictures before breakfast.
My back was still pretty ‘twingy’ after breakfast so I lay flat on the carpet and Mrs Tootlepedal pressed with her thumb on a vertebra which a helpful physio had pointed out to her some years ago for occasions like this and, once again, the magic thumb had a very beneficial effect in loosening my spine up and I was able to pass the rest of the day in an almost human fashion.
I entertained Sandy to a cup of coffee and it turned out that he too had been up early and gone to visit the nuthatches. I don’t know how we missed each other. Anyway, we arranged an afternoon outing together and then I walked round the garden and chatted to the frogs, some rather shy, some cheerful…
…and some out in the open enjoying the sunshine.
I had a look at a forthcoming poppy spectacular.
After lunch Sandy came round for our outing. My back was in a happy enough state to allow for a gentle walk and I had had a thought about where to go. Sandy however had had a better one so we adopted his idea and went off to visit the Winterhope reservoir about seven miles west of the town. Mrs Tootlepedal was unfortunately too busy to come with us.
This is a place that we have been meaning to visit for some time but we have never got round to actually going until today.
You approach the reservoir from below the dam…
…and it gives you no hint of the beautiful scenery behind it.
We started at the left hand end of the dam…
…and made a clockwise circuit of the reservoir, looking back from the right hand end when we finished.
There is a good farm track for most of the way round with cattle on the way out and sheep on the way back…
…and at the far end, a deer leaping a fence and leaving its young to wonder where it had gone.
But mostly, there were views.
The reservoir lies in a little basin of green hills and on a day like today, it looked like a little slice of paradise.
It was really warm and the brisk wind may have ruffled the waters but it just served to cool us down to a pleasant temperature for a walk. To add to our pleasure, we were serenaded by skylarks as we walked along
There was so much to see…
…that another visit is definitely on the cards but with my back on the ‘take care’ list, we didn’t linger too long today.
I was just photographing some indignant oyster catchers at the water board buildings on our way back to the car…
…when I was hailed by a familiar voice from the garden of a nearby house. It was Jean and she and Wattie invited us in for a cup of tea and a biscuit in their garden, an invitation which we gladly accepted. It would have been tea and a scone if Jean hadn’t recently broken her ankle and been hobbling about on crutches.
We had a great chat about all the wild life that they see round the reservoir; foxes, otters, stoats, coots, moor hens, cormorants and gulls and listened to hair raising stories of the perils that their poultry flock runs from the fiercer members of this group. They have a lovely garden and I captured their dicentra and a visiting butterfly (probably a female orange tip) as a sample.
We left with an invitation to return at any time which we will certainly take up (and bring Mrs Tootlepedal too). It is near enough to cycle to so that may be our next means of getting there.
When we got back, I discovered that Mrs Tootlepedal, having finished her task, had been out on her bike and had pedalled 10 miles along the same road as we had driven along.
The gentle walk and the refreshing tea had had such a good effect on my back that I got the lawn mower out and mowed the front and middle lawns and then put the sprinkler on them. It is a sign of how good our weather has been that I have even had to think about watering the grass in May.
Usually I would be hoping that it might dry out soon but instead of our our prevailing warm, moist south westerly winds, we have been sitting under north easterlies for a lot of the past two months and this brings us cool, dry weather. In the last few days, it has been much warmer than customary with these winds and as a result we have been having the best of both worlds. Long may it continue.
The sunny day had brought on the peony that had showed promise last night…
Just for interest while I was at the reservoir, I took a tiny video to show the new windmill going round. It was taken with ‘slightly less wobbly cam’. Four of the five windmills that we could see are now working.
My back seems to have survived or even benefited from the walk and lawn mowing and I am hoping to be in full working order tomorrow. If not, it will be back to the therapeutic thumb of Mrs Tootlepedal again. It certainly worked wonders today.
The rather impressionistic flying bird of the day is from our reservoir visit. It is one of the oyster catchers which were trying to distract us from their nesting site.
PS: Sorry for the long post but it was a brilliant day for taking snaps.