I found today’s guest picture while looking at last month’s files. It shows two pelicans which my sister Mary met in St James’ Park in April and it should have appeared before now. She describes the pelicans as “resting from their ‘amusing the tourists’ activities.”
After the slightly cool air yesterday, today was back to early summer warmth and at 19°C, it was at the perfect temperature for me as I don’t like it when it gets too hot.
I had to start the day with a trip to the garage to get a new spare tyre fitted to the spare wheel as the one we have had on since we bought the car has mysteriously got a spilt in the side wall and was irreparable.
Then I mowed the middle lawn without finding very much grass on it and followed that by going on a nuthatch hunt by bike accompanied by Mrs Tootlepedal.
We passed a large bank full of ribwort on our way to the Jubilee Bridge.
The nuthatches were very busy going to and fro to the nest with food when we got there.
I like they way that they always have a cautious peer out of the nest hole before emerging.
Mrs Tootlepedal kept an eye out for tree creepers but although she saw one, I couldn’t get the camera into action quickly enough.
She doesn’t entirely share my enthusiasm for hanging around for yet another few minutes to see if I can get a better nuthatch shot so we set off across the Castleholm to see what we could see.
There was no shortage of treats.
This is an example of the Aesculus × carnea, or red horse-chestnut, an artificial hybrid between A. pavia (red buckeye) and A. hippocastanum (horse-chestnut). I thought that you would like to know that.
My favourites were the pair of Noble Firs on the corner of the new path, They have more going on than most trees.
We went back by the Jubilee Bridge and I stopped for another look at the busy nuthatches….
…while Mrs Tootlepedal went home for a cup of coffee and some gardening.
While I watched the nuthatches, a blue tit and a wood pigeon watched me.
On my way home, I passed a very furry flower.
When I got back, I had a cup of coffee and got on with some gardening too. I mowed the front lawn and then sieved some compost. Mrs Tootlepedal is busy planting things out from the greenhouse and compost is always welcome.
While I was mowing the lawn, a neighbour called by and said that she had just been trapped in her house for twenty minutes by a huge swarm of bees in her garden and had only got out when the bees had moved next door. She asked my advice as to her best plan of action.
Feeling that, “Run like the clappers!” was probably not the most useful answer, I suggested telephoning the council and she said that she would do that. I went to warn my neighbour Liz of the possibility of a swarm of bees but when we went round to check, there was no sign of them at all. They must have swarmed off somewhere else.
Mrs Tootlepedal and I had noticed a sparrow disappearing into a crack in Liz’s wall…
…but when Liz investigated, there was not enough room for a nest and the sparrow must just have been enjoying the shade.
In between mowing and having lunch, I took the chance to look at flowers.
Mrs Tootlepedal was glad to see the rose in flower has she had feared for the health of the plant earlier in the spring.
I was pleased to see more aquilegias.
As it was still a wonderful day after lunch, I mowed the greenhouse grass and the drying green and felt very virtuous for having completed a clean sweep of the grass during the day.
Mrs Tootlepedal was making a splendid job of edging the middle lawn with shears so I set about neatening the front edge of the same lawn with a spade and then edging the front lawn with the strimmer. Though I say so myself, by the time we had both finished, the lawns looked quite neat.
It is a pity that the plum tree in the foreground hides the rhododendrons which frame the top corner of the middle lawn.
In the course of the afternoon, the other two tenors from our Langholm choir came round for a practice as we have a concert this Friday. It was one of those practices which leave you with the feeling that what you really need is some practice.
Later in the afternoon, I went up to collect the spare wheel with its new tyre and I sincerely hope that I have spent money on something that I will never use.
I left Mrs Tootlepedal in the garden when I got back and went in to make a belated cup of tea and I was rather surprised when she came in behind me in a great rush shutting the door firmly as she came. The swarm of bees was back and in our garden.
However, by the time that I had picked up a camera and gone to have a peer through the glass in the back door, they had already moved on and were swirling about above our neighbour Irving’s roof.
A few minutes later and they were gone. They seem to be on a tour of the New Town. We are assuming that they are honey bees but we don’t know where they have come from as we don’t think that anyone nearby has a hive.
After tea, I went off to the final practice of our Langholm choir before the concert and my feeling that more practice was required turned out to be fully justified. I will have to find some time to go over the music tomorrow. It is unfortunate that both the choirs that I sing in are having concerts at pretty well the same time. Being a very rough and ready singer, I am rather overwhelmed by the number of songs that need to be mastered.
My ideal choir would sing interesting music every week but never have a concert.
No bird of the day today but the flower of the day is the peony which finally came out fully in the afternoon. It was well worth the wait I thought.