Todays’ guest picture shows the Monteath Mausoleum which overlooks the Lilliardsedge Golf Course where Dropscone was playing at the official opening of the Borders Golf Association season on Sunday.
It was another fine day in Langholm but slightly marred by a persistent and chilly wind which made me glad that I had an excuse not to go cycling in the morning. I was due to spend a couple of hours in the Welcome to Langholm centre so first I pottered around the garden in the sunshine….
…where the lamium, after a false start earlier in the year, has got going for real.
It lurks beneath our little silver pear tree which is just starting to blossom.
The ‘river of blue’ has not quite swept through the garden with as much force as Mrs Tootlepedal would have liked but it is very pretty in places…
…and comes in two shades of blue.
I was pleased to find that all the moss on the middle lawn was of some use to someone.
It had been extensively harvested for nesting material by birds before we got up.
I went off to the tourist office armed with a laptop computer and a week of the newspaper index to enter into the Archive Group database and the combination of a steady trickle of visitors and the archive work kept me fully occupied for the two hours so I hardly minded people coming in and saying what a lovely day it was outside, hardly at all.
When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal was at work in the garden, having had a busy morning catching up with business herself.
I noticed that a new fritillary had come out but it needed a helping hand to show its full colour to the world.
A fancy tulip needed no help at all.
My favourite though was the more modest pulsatilla nearby.
However, I stopped watching Mrs Tootlepedal gardening and went composting. I set about finishing turning the contents of Bin A into Bin B. When that was done, old Bin A made way for the sparkling new Bin A and with the help of Mrs Tootlepedal it was made level and built up. Compost City is now complete.
The beauty of the system is that Bins A and B are adaptable to the needs of the composter. At present, as it is in the process of getting filled up with new material, Bin A is kept low to make putting the material as easy as possible. As it fills up, the extra sections from Bin B can moved to Bin A. The compost in Bin B will have reduced in volume considerably and the bin can then be lowered layer by layer when the time has come to turn it into Bin C. The nameless plastic bin on the left can be used for anything that we don’t want to put in the main compost and can be left untouched for as long as is necessary.
I went off to look at the Euphorbias which grow more fantastic every day.
It is hard to imagine the small gains that have led the process of natural selection to come up with these elaborate designs.
Then I went in and had a toasted cheese sandwich for a late lunch.
After lunch, we went off to Carlisle to buy a hedge trimmer. We have been impressed by the new Li-ion batteries so we laid out good money to get a hedge trimmer with one. On our way there, I went into the bird food place and bought another big bag of birdseed and two new feeders. On our way back, we went into a garden centre and Mrs Tootlepedal bought a Spirea so we both came home feeling pretty cheerful.
Unlike yesterday, it was a really clear day today and from the garden centre car park, I could see the northern fells very clearly.
It would have been good to be out among the hills but you can’t do everything.
I tested the bird feeders on the birds when we got back. The old ones had got rather tatty and battered and have now gone in the dustbin so I hoped that our garden visitors would appreciate some better eating arrangements.
A chaffinch gave one a very wary look…
…but soon both feeders were being fully used.
A chaffinch gave a slouching goldfinch a lesson in how to sit up straight at the dinner table.
In the absence of siskins, the goldfinches were the biggest users and approached the new feeders with verve.
Though some waited calmly among the plum blossom.
While it was not the most active day that I have ever spent, it was enjoyable and fruitful and it was rounded off by a very good plate of rhubarb crumble and ice cream. Mrs Tootlepedal had forced some rhubarb under a bucket as an experiment and used the resulting crop in her recipe so perhaps this was why the dish tasted so good.
The flying bird of the day is one of the goldfinches giving the new feeders a hard stare.