As it is National Hedgehog Awareness Week, I was very happy to be sent this picture by Fiona, my Newcastle correspondent, who is taking care of two rescue hedgehogs.
Our spell of dry weather continued but I was glad that I had decided not to cycle today as there was a very fresh wind blowing and as a result, it felt quite chilly. It would have been hard and unforgiving work on a bike ride.
As it was, I made a sausage and bean stew for the slow cooker while Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing with the church choir and then went out for a walk. I was hoping not only that our bluebells would have reached their peak but that the woods would be full of wild garlic too. Sadly, the cool weather has slowed things up and there were only a few garlic flowers to be seen…
…and the bluebells were not much further forward than on my last visit…
..though they are still delightful, whether seen from a distance….
..or close up.
They might have looked better if the sun had come out properly but it carefully waited until I got home before putting in an appearance.
I did see these….
…and a few of these…
…and a lot of this…
…which I think is golden saxifrage. It has done very well this spring and the woods are full of it.
The show stopper was a rhododendron in the park.
If you could get out of the wind, it was quite a springlike day.
I went down to the river before going home and was pleased to see a pair of goosanders cruising along….
I followed them downstream.
I hoped to catch them from closer up as they went under the suspension bridge but they were too quick for me so I settled for some stationary trees.
Just before I got home, I stopped to take a picture of this very fine marsh marigold in the dam.
This was when the sun came out. Too late for the bluebells alas.
When I went in, I had to practise some songs for our Carlisle choir session in the afternoon but I had a moment to look at the birds in the garden.
Mrs Tootlepedal arrived and started on some garden tasks so I went out and mowed the drying green and was pleased to find a bee on the rosemary…
…though I would have been happier still to find it on the apple nearby.
I couldn’t get past the anemone in another bit of sunshine.
Mrs Tootlepedal is going to plant some more for next year.
There was time for another quick practice and some leek soup before we went off to sing with the Carlisle Community Choir. Our conductor worked us very hard as usual and I was quite pleased to be able to relax when we had finished.
The sausage and bean stew turned out to be rather dull (but nourishing) and may have to have some additions when it returns tomorrow evening.
The flying bird of the day is a rather grumpy looking siskin. He probably thought that it was a bit too windy as well.