Today’s guest picture comes from our younger son, Al. He came across this intriguing fungus outburst while on safari in darkest Leith.
We had another dry and occasionally sunny morning but once again it was freezing at the start of the day. As a result, the morning was spent killing time while waiting for the thermometer to rise to cycling temperature. Time was killed by making and drinking coffee, trying to complete the crossword, shopping for porridge and occasional checking on the robin scene.
It was an exciting day robinwise.
They took turns to go to the feeder so I really do think that these two are more than just good friends.
But the burning question is: are there actually three robins in the garden?
This next bird is definitely a blue tit.
Otherwise our visitors were the usual suspects, goldfinches, siskins and chaffinches on the feeder and blackbirds and dunnocks on the ground.
The temperature climbed to 5° before midday so I had an early lunch, wrapped up well and headed off. There was a chilly west wind blowing which made my first eleven miles heading straight into it quite hard work but the day was bright enough to illuminate an interesting tree…
…so I cycled on in good heart with the intention of taking a panoramic view of the new windfarm from the hill above Paddockhole at 11 miles. I then planned to return home by a circuitous route to make up a gentle 30 miles. You can imagine then that I was pretty miffed when my plan, which had been going well, was completely thrown into disarray as clouds came suddenly down wiping out any chance of a photo and it started raining just as I caught a glimpse of the windmills.
I turned for home, hoping to outrun the advancing rain and with the wind now behind me, I soon got into clear weather. Things looked so good that I added a four mile diversion into my homeward route and was just congratulating myself on my excellent route planning when I started to notice a few stray hailstones floating past me.
As I was on top of the highest hill on my route at the time, with not a tree to shelter under and six miles still to go, there was nothing for it but to grit my teeth and pedal for home. Within minutes I was being painfully pelted by a thorough going hailstorm and I began to get worried that the road might get covered and become too slippery to ride. I needn’t have worried about that though as the hail bounced off the road and melted when it settled back down.
What made all this even more annoying was the fact that I could see blue sky to both sides and in front of me while I was being subjected to the meteorological assault.
It was not quite the enjoyable ride that I had hoped for but I got home safely and found Mrs Tootlepedal at work in the garden!
Even more surprising to me was the fact the the crocuses had decided that this was the day to fling wide their petals.
There is no understanding the mentality of plants.
Single flowers stood out.
I changed out of my soggy cycling gear, had a shower and re-emerged to find a dry and pleasant afternoon in progress.
Since I hadn’t taken any pictures on my bike ride, I went for a walk by the river. It is the time of the year to see pairs of birds.
There were oyster catchers….
The sun came out and as I looked at a tree across the river…
…and admired the views…..
…it was hard to believe that I had been in the midst of a hailstorm only 90 minutes ago.
There was an article in our local paper this morning saying that someone has plans to develop the Erskine Church for accommodation so perhaps we will finally see the end of the very ugly scaffolding round its spire which mars the view of the town bridge. There have been previous plans which have come to nothing so we are not holding our breath.
I walked home over the Sawmill Brig and across the Castleholm, passing blue green algae on a wall and a conifer pretending to be a palm tree in the sun.
It was good to see sunshine on the hills which surround out town as I walked along Eskdaill Street.
As darkness fell, I made some cauliflower cheese for my tea and then went off to sing with our local choir. Illness and church services had reduced our numbers a bit but we had enough members to have an enjoyable practice. The choir is planning two concerts in May and June so we are working on some pieces for these events.
In spite of the hailstorm, I was very pleased to have started the new month off with a few miles and I hope to get many more in as the days get longer.
The flower of the day is a very decorative crocus on the Kilngreen…
…and the flying bird of the day is the pair of oyster catchers.