Today’s guest picture is another visit to Irene’s sunny garden in South Africa. Since they have been suffering from a drought, the colour is very commendable.
There was no sign of frost here this morning and there was a little sunshine to warm things up so I decided to ignore the ongoing coughing and try out a short cycle ride. It took me quite a lot of time to make up my mind to give it a go but I finally got on the road and clocked up a sensibly brief and gentle ten miles, turning when I got to the bottom slopes of Callister.
While the ride didn’t do me any good, it didn’t seem to do me much harm so I may try again if the weather stays kind. It was good to be back on the bike and to find that I remembered how to pedal after two weeks of walking.
I had to fill up the sunflower seed feeder when I got home as it had been well used.
Luckily Mrs Tootlepedal had a visitor before lunch so after my ride, I had a good excuse to retire to my bed and have a snooze for half an hour or so..
After lunch, in a rare outbreak of usefulness, I helped Mrs Tootlepedal plant tulips as she has a lot to put in. I managed to sink fifteen red ones into this bed….
…and now I will have to wait several months to see if I put them in the right way up.
I found two survivors when I looked around.
How the middle calendula survived when its two friends collapsed is a mystery.
More specialised skills in the gardening department were required than I could offer so while Mrs Tootlepedal toiled away, I went off for a walk.
I started along the river where the usual suspects posed for pictures….
…and then I followed the main road out of town and took the Newcastleton road up the hill.
There were neat hedges to admire…
…abundant lichen on the stone walls….
…amusing fence posts….
…and fine views up the Ewes valley to enjoy.
When I got to the quarry, I turned on to the lower slopes of Whita and walked along to Whita Well.
Here there were rather monochrome trees silhouetted against the weak sun….
..although the sky was still quite blue if you looked in the right direction.
Added colour was provided by gorse flowers. Gorse is an indiscriminate flowerer and all seasons seem to suit it.
I ended my walk by coming down the Kirk Wynd and looking over the Town Hall to Warbla in the background.
As you can see, it was only just past three o’clock by this time but already the day was growing darker and Mrs Tootlepedal came in from the garden when I got home.
During the morning and early afternoon, I spent a moment here and there staring out of the kitchen window. My new mixed seed feeder is doing no business but the suet balls are proving attractive…
…so I have taken the seeds down and hung the fat balls up instead. I will have to put some more out at low level for the dunnocks because they won’t fly up to the feeder.
I have got some pink pellets out too and they are proving quite popular. A starling was tempted down from its high wire for a visit today.
I am particularly pleased to see regular visits from several blue tits as numbers were reported to be in a bad state after a couple of poor springs so it is a treat to see them looking well.
The sunflower seeds are the main draw though and we had good numbers of chaffinches, goldfinches and greenfinches again today.
Sometimes the greenfinches dominated the feeder….
…and got quite ratty if anyone else pushed in.
Sometimes things were quieter….
…and, as usual, I was always looking for a flying bird picture opportunity. Such was the traffic today that on many occasions I didn’t know where to look….
…and missed them all.
It was easier to spot a static blackbird, one of many still in and around the garden.
I wondered if this one had been a lawyer in a previous life.
In the evening, Mrs Tootlepedal went out to see the local dramatic society’s annual play in the Buccleuch Centre while I stayed at home to nurse my cough and make a dozen bread rolls.
I did find one chaffinch who kept out of the general hurly-burly for long enough to be the flying bird of the day.