Today’s guest picture comes from my Newcastle correspondent. She tells me that her husband Mario met these attractive creatures at at Weetslade country park, another of the North East’s redeveloped former pit sites.
I felt remarkably well when I got up but was quite pleased to find it was a grey and drizzly day which gave me an excuse for not doing too much in the way of outdoor activity.
I put the time to good use by putting a week and a bit of the newspaper index into the Archive Group’s database. I have been very idle about this and I am still putting in some weeks of 1893 while Sandy is busy entering data for 1894.
I did do a bit of gardening in a dry spell when Mrs Tootlepedal was singing in the church and I took the opportunity to admire the poppies. Mrs Tootlepedal’s packet of mixed seeds is beginning to show a bit of variety.
My favourite poppy gets a solo portrait and it shows that there are plenty more poppies to come.
On the down side, one of the disappointing peony poppies added to its lack of attraction by causing a mess on the lawn.
I cheered myself up with a look at one of the cornflower patches. They seem to last for ever.
With the bird feeder not in action, the garden is quite quiet as far as feathered friends go but there are still a few blackbirds to be seen every day.
When Mrs Tootlepedal returned from Church, we went off to do some shopping and returned in good time to watch the final stage of the Tour de France and the ladies’ race which preceded it.
As the real action doesn’t get going until the last few kilometres of the main event, I went out for a walk between the end of the ladies’ race and the end of the men’s stage.
It was still drizzling on and off and the light was poor but there was enough to see a good selection of birds. On the Esk there were the usual oyster catchers and pied wagtails but today I saw a grey wagtail as well.
Lurking under an arch of the Town Bridge a few yards away was the familiar figure of Mr Grumpy in a reflective mood.
I walked over the bridge and through the Clinthead garden, where I saw a thrush hiding under a bush…
…and was entertained by many flying birds on the Kilngreen.
There were black headed gulls in the sky and mallards over the river but the most obvious flying bird was almost right under my nose.
I got quite a start when Mr Grumpy flew past me. He had come to pose in better light for a portrait.
I walked over the Sawmill Bridge and onto the Castleholm, keeping an eye out for fungi. I didn’t have to look very hard.
Other creatures had obviously seen them first.
On the other side of the Castleholm, a large patch of colour beside the race course stood out.
It was lesser knapweed.
It started drizzling again so I took the shortest route home over the Jubilee Bridge, stopping to look at a tree as I crossed.
It had stopped raining by the time that I got home so I peered over our hedge and saw the view of the garden that casual passers by get.
Even on a very grey day, there is a colourful corner somewhere in the garden.
I got home on good time for the finale of the tour and wondered to myself what I will use as an excuse to be idle now that the three week race is over. Perhaps I will have to lead a useful life.
Yesterday’s sausage stew provided us with another meal and that ended the entertainment for the day.
The shot for the flying bird of the day reveals the complicated arrangements that Mr Grumpy has to make when he comes into land.