Today’s guest picture comes from my friend Bruce who was impressed by this polite message on an Edinburgh tram…especially as the delay was only for three minutes.
The jet stream is currently rushing down one side of the British Isles and up the other, trapping some quite chilly air over the top of us and bringing some brisk winds and unsettled weather with it.
Under these circumstances, today was a pretty good day, quite cool for the time of year and windy too but dry from morning till night. As I was expecting far worse weather it took me some time to get adjusted to the reality but I managed to get going in the end and went for a cycle ride, mowed the drying green, sieved some compost, did some dead heading and shredded a lot of hedge clippings arising from the activities of Attila the Gardener so I didn’t waste the day entirely.
The first thing that I did was to take the new camera out into the garden and have a poke about with it.
A red poppy stood out, the first of the year.
Ironically, this is not one of the many that Mrs Tootlepedal is nurturing with great care in the flower gardens but one that came up of its own accord on a path in the vegetable garden. Such is the gardener’s life.
The ligularias are just beginning to show….
….and Crown Princess Margareta (top left in the panel) has come to join the other roses.
The philadelphus between the lawns is a great sight…
…but there are other varieties in bloom too. This one is in the back bed.
I took a walk round the vegetable garden where there are encouraging signs that Mrs Tootlepedal’s pea fortress is paying dividends. I hope to be able to provide pictorial proof of this soon. Meantime, the blackcurrants are colouring up…
…and it will be a race between me and the birds to see who can get most of them as it is too much trouble to net them.
The potatoes are flowering freely….
We have had radishes, lettuces, assorted leaves, beetroot, spinach, turnips, strawberries and gooseberries already so on spite of a cool dry spring, things are going reasonable well. If it wasn’t for a voracious flock of sparrows, Mrs Tootlepedal’s bêtes noir, things would be even better.
After coffee, Mrs Tootlepedal kindly cut my hair and left me looking very well groomed.
She then went off to help with the lunches at the Buccleuch Centre and I had a bowl of soup and got the fairly speedy bike out. I had watched my neighbour Ken set off for a 30-40 mile ride in the morning but my ambitious were more modest in view of the brisk easterly wind and I settled for a run round my 20 mile Canonbie route with stops for wild flowers.
The wind was strong enough to make me hold on to the handlebars pretty firmly as I went across the exposed hilly section of the route but by good luck, the wind mostly came at me from one side or the other and I hardly had to pedal straight into it at all. The result was a most enjoyable ride.
I saw that the orchids in the verge which Genghis the Grasscutter had missed were developing well….
…and they had company too so I was able to take all four photos within a few yards of each other.
The wind was very favourable as I went down the Canonbie by-pass so I admired the many orchids there in passing. I would like to have got some pictures as there were some fine flowers but stopping after you have seen a good subject when you are doing 20mph means that you have always gone too far beyond the photo to make it worth while walking back.
I waited until I got to a slower section where Genghis has not yet visited with his cutter before I stopped again. This is what a verge should look like.
I saw a fine thistle….
…the first rosebay willowherb….
…and lots of both of these.
Mrs Tootlepedal was busy in the garden when I got back and this was when I did the mowing and sieving.
And a little more flower shooting.
I had taken my old Lumix with me on the cycle ride as I thought it might rain and I didn’t want to get the new camera wet and these garden pictures were also taken with it. It is on its best behaviour just now and I will keep using it on cycle rides until it gives up entirely, as being stuffed in a sweaty back pocket and bumping up and down on poor road surfaces is probably not the best environment for a camera.
The nectaroscordum have finished flowering and are looking a little bit like the turrets on French Chateaux now.
The plums are looking promising….
…but we will need a bit of warmer weather to bring them along.
The bee population on the astrantia had changed today and there were a great number of white tailed bumble bees tucking in.
After tea, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to enjoy a screening of Verdi’s Otello from Covent Garden at the Buccleuch Centre and I went off to sing at a practice for Henry’s compact Common Riding choir.
We both enjoyed ourselves very much in our own way.
Thanks to the cooler weather, the bees were less flighty today so the non flying non bird of the day is one of the bumble bees on the astrantia. It posed for my macro lens on the Nikon.
I would like to thank all those who commented on yesterday’s post. You can imagine how good is it to receive such encouraging remarks. I will try to live up to them.