Today’s colourful guest picture comes from my sister Mary who recently visited the Isabella Plantation in Richmond Park, London.
Apart from a couple of brief showers, we had a much better day today. It wasn’t a lot warmer in theory but a very welcome break from the recent strong winds made it feel a lot warmer in practice.
Mrs Tootlepedal had a busy morning of coffee and lunch meetings but managed to get some gardening in before she went out. Meanwhile, I got the slow bike out and did some slow bicycling down to Canonbie and back.
Before I went, we checked the pond to see if Mrs Tootlepedal’s improvements were still keeping the water in place.
And I saw a couple more signs of spring.
Once on the slow bicycle, it was a great relief not to have to battle against the wind for once and I enjoyed myself, although I didn’t try for any speed records.
There is enough grass growing for the farmers to be thinking about silage and I liked the rolled pattern on this field near Canonbie.
The dandelions in the verges are showing promise and I hope to be able to show some good clumps soon…
…and I saw my first bluebells of the year so I hope to see them in quantity soon too.
I stopped on the bridge at Canonbie to see how the ash tree flowers were coming on.
I think the branch that I looked at can truly be called an explosion of new growth.
I didn’t have to kid myself to see green leaves on the trees along the Esk at the Hollows today. Spring is definitely springing…
…although it has a bit to go before it is fully sprung.
When I got home, I found that the tulips were appreciating the better weather.
The euphorbias seem very popular with flies of various sorts as there is often one about when I try to take a picture of the plants.
This is what the plant looks like when the flies have flown.
I went in to have lunch, soup and one of Matilda’s rolls, and took some time to watch the birds.
The siskins had gone away again so the chaffinches were getting a look at the feeder today.
…but there was still some waiting around on the plum tree to be done.
A goldfinch approached the feeder in the manner of one showing that he wasn’t armed and dangerous.
After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal returned and found that our bench builder had arrived to cut an inch or two off the legs of the new bench. It needed to be shifted back a bit and Mrs Tootlepedal set to work on that. The result was very satisfactory and when she had finished, we invited our neighbour Liz (with friend) to come and try it out
By this time, as you can see, it was perfect weather for bench testing.
While Mrs Tootlepedal was gardening and working at the bench area, I mowed the front lawn and walked around with my camera. I had the macro lens on.
Tulips are popping up everywhere…
…and I spotted another colourful corner.
The plants in the foreground are dicentra and they were attracting bumbles bees again.
As were the paler variety in the back border.
Liz came in for a cup of tea and then, while Mrs Tootlepedal did some more gardening, I stayed inside to get some computer business out of the way.
I took the opportunity to look at last year’s cycling stats and found that I had done 500 miles more by this time last year so it is not surprising, considering the lack of decent cycling weather, that our spring is quite a bit later than usual this year.
I hope we get a good summer to make up for it.
In the evening, Mike and Alison came round and Alison and I had an enjoyable music making session while the other two chatted away. After playing, Alison and I joined the conversation and Mike, who is a retired doctor, made us all rather gloomy with a very downbeat assessment of the shortage of general practice doctors and hospital consultants in our area. We will have to try our best to keep ourselves healthy.
The flying bird of the day is a female chaffinch.