There may be serious concern about the lack of insects in general but today’s guest picture from Venetia shows that there is no shortage of them just now in Somerset.
We had a typical April day here today, breezy, cool and occasionally rainy but it was just warm enough to allow for gardening and the breeze was just steady enough to allow for a little cycling so in the morning, Mrs Tootlepedal gardened and I went for a cycle ride.
Before I left, Mrs Tootlepedal drew my attention to a small patch of violets tucked away against a fence in a corner of the garden.
Although the theoretical temperature was not too bad, the wind seemed to carry the chill of winter in its wings and I was well wrapped up again as I battled into the breeze. When the sun was out…..
…I was in a green and pleasant land, with the fresh green of the new larch growth…
But mostly, I was in the shadow over here and the sun was over there in the distance.
I looked more closely at one of my favourite trees.
There were masses of flowers to be seen on my way.
By lurking about in the valley bottom for the most part, I kept out of the worst of the wind but even so, cycling back down to Langholm with the wind behind me was enough to make the slow bike feel like Pegasus. I fairly flew along.
The twenty miles that I managed brought up my target mileage for the month and as it has all been done on the slow bike, that was very satisfactory.
I joined Mrs Tootlepedal in the garden on my return and mowed the drying green. This was a painful experience as it has almost as much moss as Mary Jo’s Danish lawn.
I had a look round and tried to get a better euphorbia picture but only succeeded in catching a fly.
The tulips are growing all the time but still keeping themselves to themselves.
And I found a daffodil of the day standing still enough to photograph.
Then it was time for lunch, the crossword and a look at the birds.
I very much enjoyed a little action sequence that took place over two seconds.
A chaffinch approached the feeder quietly…
…suddenly there was pandemonium as birds flew off in all directions and a lone redpoll was left to wonder what all the fuss was about.
After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off on business and I stayed in to greet the gas man who came to give our boiler its annual safety check. In a sign of the crazy way businesses are organised these days, it turned out that he had come all the way from Glasgow to do our check, which was already well behind its scheduled time, because the local engineers were too busy. Having finished, he was ready to drive back to Glasgow (90 miles away). It must make sense to someone.
While the engineer was busy, it started to rain and it looked well set in for the rest of the day. Mike Tinker dropped in for a cup of tea though and he must have had some good vibes in his pocket because when he got up to, the rain went too.
Mrs Tootlepedal and I walked round the garden.
There was plenty to see. A bee was buzzing about in the pulmonaria…
…and a blackbird was busy collecting more worms….
…and things were busy growing. Flowers on the gooseberry and on the silver pear.
I look forward to eating gooseberries (if we can avoid the sawfly) but the silver pear fruit is inedible.
The rain looked as though it might hold off so I went for a walk.
I hoped to see waterside birds and I did but the light was pretty gloomy and the birds were far away so although it was a pleasure to see the birds, it was a problem to get good shots of them.
I also saw a grey wagtail and I took a wonderful picture of the rock from which it had just taken off. I haven’t posted it here to avoid excessive excitement among sensitive readers.
I was doing the three bridges walk and I passed a lot of ladies’ smock which has appeared like magic on the banks of the Esk near the suspension bridge….
…a grand show of colour in the Clinthead gardens…
…some striking male flowers on the noble firs on the Castleholm….
….a very colourful tree (which I can’t identify. Is there a helpful reader out there?)…
…and the first broom flower I have seen this year. It was in the minister’s garden.
When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal was back out in the garden so I took a look round and was struck by this jewel on a leaf.
I had a little Archive business to catch up on as one of our members is kindly helping out a lady who wishes to visit the town for some ancestral research and then it was time to sit down and have a tasty curry for my tea.
The weather is set to continue in the present cool, showery mode for several days but if we can make as good use of the days as we did today, it won’t be too bad. Those three magically warm and sunny days last week have spoiled us though. Everything looks and feels dull by contrast.
The flying bird of the day is a reliable chaffinch. They should give hovering lessons to the other birds.