Today’s guest picture is another from my sister Mary’s visit to the Isabella Plantation at Richmond Park last week.
Our welcome spell of dry and often sunny weather continued today, although once again it came with enough added wind to make my morning pedal down to Canonbie and back quite hard work on the return part of the journey.
I had a quick look round the garden before I set off and was pleased to find another bee hard at work on the apple blossom.
Nearby, the strawberries are just beginning to flower….
…and I saw a strangely static wasp which looked as though it was glued to a rhubarb stalk.
I was a bit pushed for time on my cycle ride so I only stopped twice for photographs, once to look at the river near Byreburnfoot….
…and once to look at the bluebells in the wood at Skipperscleuch. They looked potential from the roadside….
…so I left my bike and walked up into the woods. I was a bit disappointed because although there were bluebells…..
…there wasn’t the complete carpet that I was hoping for. Mrs Tootlepedal thinks that I am looking a bit too early and they will come out fully soon. I hope that she is right.
I got back from the ride and as usual, I found Mrs Tootlepedal at work in the garden. She was in the greenhouse, preparing things to plant our later….
…although, as you can see on the left of the panel, some things are already out in the vegetable beds under cloches.
She is enjoying the dry soil which is much easier to prepare than the more usual heavy, soggy stuff we get in spring.
I had another quick walk round the flowers and saw the first blossom on the clematis by the back door and a potential allium giving notice of a fruitful flower future…
…while the grape hyacinths are beginning to wave goodbye.
The apple bee was really getting down to business and filling its pollen sacs.
Although Mrs Tootlepedal and I have dead headed a host of golden daffodils, there are still quite a few standing.
The cool weather has helped them last for a long time this year.
The geums under the feeders are looking superb.
After I came in from the garden, I had time for a shower and a light lunch and then we got into the car and drove to Dumfries where we visited the Infirmary and I had a small and painless operation to remove a skin tag from my eyelid and then Mrs Tootlepedal drove me home again.
Always keen to combine business and pleasure, she worked in a visit to the council civic amenity waste site (The Dump) on our way and dumped some of the wood from our old compost bin and several buckets of unwanted stones from the garden.
We arrived home in a cheerful mood.
My lawn co-workers were busy excavating the moss from the middle lawn.
They are jackdaws.
While I was out thanking the jackdaws for their tireless toiling, I took a look into the mystery of the dark heart of one of Mrs Tootlepedal’s Alnwick tulips.
I was just about to cook my tea when Sandy rang up and suggested that I should go out into the garden and look up. I did.
This is what I saw.
The oddest cloud that I have ever seen was rising from behind the trees…..
…and stretching half way across the sky. It was so long and thin that I couldn’t get it all in one shot.
Even Sandy, who was a bit further away, couldn’t quite get it all in. He sent me this shot.
The cloud ended rather like a feather just to the right of Sandy’s shot.
The conditions that could cause a cloud like this are a complete mystery to me. I thought that perhaps it might be a con trail from a long departed aeroplane which had condensed as the temperature dropped in the evening but Mrs Tootlepedal, and others who saw it, were of the opinion that it definitely was just a cloud, although a very strange one indeed.
Apart from it, there was not another cloud in the sky.
Once again, I didn’t have much time to look at birds and this goldfinch was the best that I could manage as flying bird of the day.