Today’s guest picture comes from Dropscone’s recent seaside holiday on the east coast. He climbed a dune to look at the beach and saw five people, two dogs and half a million razor clam shells.
We had a third and bonus sunny day as the weather turned out better than expected. It was frosty again at dawn so I was happy to entertain Dropscone (and scones) for coffee while the temperature climbed slowly up to cycling levels.
Before coffee, I had an early walk round the garden with Mrs Tootlepedal and we saw the first bumblebee of the year.
It was so bright that it was hard to miss. I think that it is probably a tree bumblebee, Bombus hypnorum.
After coffee, Dropscone went off to play golf and I looked out of the kitchen window while making some carrot and parsnip soup for lunch. Rather to Mrs Tootlepedal’s surprise, the parsnips came out of the vegetable garden after a hard winter in pretty good condition.
Rather to my surprise, there was a steady supply of flying chaffinches and some convenient sunshine for them to fly in.
We try to run a gender neutral blog so here are male chaffinches, both horizontal and vertical…
…and females with wings in and out.
Flying birds are like buses, sometimes you don’t see any and sometimes they all come at once.
After lunch, I went out for a pedal. Because my throat was still a bit rusty, I started carefully but it soon became obvious that cycling was doing no harm so I put a bit of effort in. For once, the wind was light and I enjoyed every mile of my usual twenty mile trip to Canonbie and back.
There were a few signs of life in the verges at last.
I stopped to admire a handsome tree at the Bloch….
…and some cows in a field who were happy to sit for a picture.
This one took her duties very seriously.
In times past, I would have been worried to see cows lying down as this was thought of as a sign of impending rain but this is a myth and the sun stayed out for me, giving me a fine view of the northern English hills in the distance.
I took another picture of the lambs at the Hollows.
Who could resist them?
When I got home, I found that Mrs Tootlepedal had been very hard at work in the garden on her new design for the middle lawn and its surrounds.
It takes a lot of skill and energy to lay paving stones.
I had a look round while she toiled.
The winter aconites were soaking up the sun..
…and a welcome hint of a flower or two could be seen on the drumstick primulas.
Dr Tinker, who was walking his daughter’s dog, Bob arrived in nice time to join us for a cup of tea and half a dainty cake.
In the evening my flute pupil Luke came and we made some progress which was helped when I found out that it wasn’t us but the computer that was making a mistake in one movement of the sonata we were playing. GIGO.
I was expecting to go and play trios in the evening but the playing was cancelled so I went off with Mrs Tootlepedal to see a screening of Lady Windermere’s Fan at the Buccleuch Centre. I didn’t know what to expect but in the event, I liked the slightly stylised production a lot. The setting, costumes and lighting were unfussy and bright (a very unusual thing in modern productions as far as I can see) and you could hear every word spoken. As the words are by Oscar Wilde this was a Good Thing. What came over very clearly was the relevance of the play to Wilde’s own life and this gave genuine pathos to a witty production.
The flying bird of the day is one of the busy chaffinches and for once, the photograph has not been cropped at all which shows how favourable conditions were this morning.
My twenty miles today got me over three hundred miles for the month of March. This is as much as I did in the first two months put together so things are looking up a bit.