Today’s guest picture was kindly sent to me by Tom, a Langholm exile, and shows a lovely scene from his early morning walk in South Africa.
It was only just above freezing when we got up today but it soon warmed up a bit and unlike yesterday, the siskins didn’t hang around this morning but got straight down to business.
As it was a fairly calm day, even though there was only the occasional glimpse of sun, I thought that a (hopefully) last ride on the slow bike before the fairly speedy bike came back from the bike shop was in order.
Mrs Tootlepedal’s train to London was due to leave in the early afternoon so after a cup of coffee, I set off to do 15 miles without stopping for too many photos on the way.
I did stop at the bridge over the Collin Burn…
…which was totally rebuilt in 2013 and is settling into the landscape quite well. It has even got some lichen on its parapet like a proper bridge should have.
By the time that I got home, the workers next door had already got some of the posts for the new fence in position.
The sharp eyed will notice that it shouldn’t be too long before the garden is full of daffodils.
My timing was very good and I had just the right amount of time for a shower and some scrambled eggs on toast for lunch before it was time to set off for the station in Carlisle.
There were even a couple of seconds to spare to look out of the window before left.
As is always the way when you leave in plenty of time, the roads were clear, the traffic lights were all at green as we approached and there was a convenient parking space just where we wanted so we arrived at the station with a lot of time in hand.
Rather than hang around awkwardly, I left Mrs Tootlepedal to read a magazine and went back to Longtown to pick up the fairly speedy bike. It had got a new gear changing mechanism installed and was ready to go. When I got home, I thought of taking it out for test ride but decided that a walk would be a better idea.
I sent a text to Sandy to see if he was interested in coming but he replied that he was actually in Carlisle himself and had seen me driving out of the station.
I looked at the busy feeders for a while….
…and then I had a cup of tea and went out by myself in the hope of seeing an oyster catcher or two.
There was some cheerful blossom on the river bank beside the birds.
I saw a couple of grey wagtails near the Sawmill Brig but they were too quick for me and I will have to go back and try to catch them another time.
I consoled myself with some pretty white crocuses on the river bank at the Kilngreen….
…and a moss close up on a wall opposite the estate yard.
There is a striking bush of pink flowers near the Lodge….
You might think it was a rhododendron but it is far too early so I rely on a knowledgeable reader to tell me what it is.
The snowdrops are nearly over but in some sheltered spots, clumps are hanging on well.
As well as oyster catchers, I had been hoping to find some male hazel catkins…..
…and check to see if the tiny female flowers were out yet. They were.
It is thanks to the excellent New Hampshire Gardener’s blog that I learned to look for these little gems, which are only a few millimetres long. The camera was very well behaved today as I usually find it a trial to get the flowers in focus.
There was a last burst of blossom as I walked past the school…
…so, in spite of rather gloomy conditions for my walk, I arrived home in cheerful mood.
My mood was rather flattened by the absence of Mrs Tootlepedal over the tea table but I was cheered up again by having one of her prepared mandarin jellies for my pudding.
When I look at the weather forecast for tomorrow, it is suggesting that the wind may be blowing at thirty miles an hour so perhaps I should have given the fairly speedy bike its road test today! Still, I enjoyed my walk.
No frog of the day today as the pond was very quiet but two flying birds instead.