An early start and a wet finish

kew gardens

My sister Mary has been visiting Kew Gardens and with a guest picture like this, who can blame her?

kew gardens

Our spell of good weather is rapidly receding in the memory and we are back to ‘business as usual’ –  grey skies, brisk winds and occasional rain.

Still, the first part of the day was forecast to be the least windiest so I got out on my bike after an early breakfast and did twenty miles and was home in time for coffee.  It was quite strenuous as I did nearly as much climbing in my twenty miles today as I did in Monday’s fifty miles.  I creaked alarmingly but got home safely.

I stopped beside a violet at ten miles…

wild flower

…and the camera played its usual trick of focussing on the dull background more clearly that the colourful  intended subject.  I should have taken more pictures just in case this happened.

On my way home, I passed a superb bank of wild garlic near Waterbeck….

wild garlic

…and several examples of Jack by the Hedge or garlic mustard a bit further along the road.

garlic mustard

I have passed this little glen at Falford many times but I don’t think that I have ever seen it looking better than today in spite of the grey weather.

Kirtle water

As forecast, the wind got a little stronger as time went by and thanks to sound route choice, I got blown home in  a very helpful way.

When I got back, I shifted a little of Mrs Tootlepedal’s manure heap and put some buck-u-uppo on the middle lawn in an effort to encourage more grass among the moss.

I had a look round too.

We have dead headed the vast majority of the daffodils now and only a few remain.  This one was my daffodil of the day today.


There are ferns springing up all round the garden.  Mrs Tootlepedal’s current favourites are the ostrich feather ferns…

ostrich feather fern

..which are gently unfurling in the back border.

There is a smaller fern growing between the stones behind the pond.


There are other things going on.

We are getting very excited by the development of the azaleas.


A bergenia is hiding its light under a bushel.


An alpine clematis is flowering modestly.

alpine clematis

And the river of grape hyacinths is still flowing.

grape hyacinth

I didn’t have much time to watch birds today but I was pleased to get my first sighting of a baby blackbird today before I went out cycling.

blackbird baby

Ironically the baby is the larger looking of the two birds.

I saw the mother again later.


The birds are making a mess of the lawns.  Both blackbirds and jackdaws are busy digging things up.

A jackdaw sat on Mrs Tootlepdal’s bean frame and tried to look not guilty…


…but I caught one at it later in the day.


There was plenty of seed eating on the feeder today, perhaps because there wasn’t so much gardening being done on account of the gloomy weather.

flying goldfinch

The birds didn’t look very grateful though.

redpoll and goldfinch

I made some soup for lunch and then a persistent rain started which lasted on and off for the rest of the day.

I found a dry moment to walk up to the garage to collect the car.  Mrs Tootlepedal had dropped it off there while I was cycling as we have decided that it is time to take the winter tyres off and have the summer ones put on.  Surely it can’t snow at this time of year……can it?

We put the afternoon to good use by doing the sort of tasks that need a wet day to get done and then we were cheered up by a visit for a cup of tea of not just Mike Tinker but by Scott, the minister too.

In the evening, I walked through the rain for the weekly practice of Langholm Sings where I sang several notes that were in the right place and at the right time.  Some of my other notes were not quite so accurate.  Home practice needed.

The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch supervising traffic at the feeder.

flying goldfinch



Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

21 thoughts on “An early start and a wet finish

  1. We had over a foot of snow one May after all the trees had leafed out. I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.
    I like that alpine clematis and I’m looking forward to the azaleas.
    My favorite photo is of the stream in the woods. It’s just the kind of place that calls to me.

  2. The birds leave quite surprisingly large holes in your lawn. If only they could be obliging enough to just dig away at the moss . . .

  3. Between the birds and the flowers, there’s always something that produces good images even on bad weather days for you. I especially like the daffodil of the day, and the wooded glen.

  4. Wonderful pictures on a cloudy day. I should start checking your posts for a prediction of what our weather will be like, as we are about to drop into cloudy, cooler, gloomier. The violet looks lovely where it belongs, but dozens if not over 100 of them have invaded my backyard and I am struggling to find the time to remove them all. Indeed they seem to have enjoyed the miserable pseudo spring and thrived in it over anything I have planted.

  5. Don’t even mention the “S” word. Very good to get in an early bike ride. I will miss those daffodil pictures..

  6. Beautiful guest photo of vibrant coloured azaleas whereas your lovely flowers have more delicate and refined colouring …but your goldfinches are vibrant and energetic. Jackdaws look quite evil especially when they are digging up your lawn.

  7. My favorite of the day was the alpine clematis. It seems I’m rather partial to that modest shade of violet. We did a bit of camping up in the hills that was cut a bit short by several tick bites. I don’t know if you have them in your world, but we had the sort that spreads Lyme disease. We’ve been put on a 3 week round of antibiotics to prevent complications. Never a dull moment.
    Hopefully I’ll find time to sort through the images before we were attacked!

    1. We do have ticks and they spread Lyme disease so we have to be careful too. In our younger days when we lived in heavy tick country we used to burn them off with our cigarettes.

      1. Our tick infestation seems to be increasing. Not long ago we were relatively safe from Lyme disease because it was said they hadn’t crossed the Rocky Mountains. Sadly the nasty critters climbed the mountains and have now appeared in our woods. Not so sure about burning them off with a cigarette. Luckily I’ve given up that nasty habit, but have become rather adept at pulling them out with all their mouth bits intact. Not a talent I ever dreamed of developing to be honest.

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