Today’s guest picture comes from my Newcastle-on-Tyne correspondent and shows her children posing beside Stephenson’s Rocket.
It rained several times today but disappointingly not enough to register any amount on Mary Jo’s scientific rain gauge. Still, the lightness of the occasional drizzle and the sunny spells in between allowed me to spend a productive and enjoyable day.
We were both surprised (and pleased) to find that yesterday’s furniture removal work had not had any bad effects and Mrs Tootlepedal was out working in the garden at every opportunity.
I had a wander round while dead heading after breakfast.
I was impressed by the very straight back of the big white lily…
…and the fact that its flowers don’t talk to each other at all.
They are big flowers. By comparison, a new white poppy looked very modest.
The arrival of Dropscone bringing the traditional Friday treacle scones brightened one of the gloomier weather moments of the morning. It was good to catch up on his news after a gap of two weeks.
When he left, Mrs Tootlepedal decided to stop gardening and go off to buy some more plants and other necessities like fertilizer and bamboos sticks.
While she was gone, I sieved all the compost that was left in Bin D and then turned the contents of Bin C into the empty Bin D. To save my back a bit, I employed a nifty raking and kicking process which left me with minimum lifting to do. I haven’t taken any pictures of this as I felt that too much excitement might not be good for some of my more elderly readers.
I went in and had another round in my fight against the whimsicalities of my printer. I did a lot. I updated the printer operating system, I muttered imprecations both loudly and under my breath, I turned things off and on. I worked hard. The score so far? Printer 3 Tom 0.
I had lunch (courgette soup) and then set the camera up to look at the birds. Goldfinches have been scarce lately so I was pleased to see one today.
A rather ragged jackdaw dropped in too.
There were plenty of greenfinches again and the contest for available perches was continuous.
Mostly the sitting tenants won today.
Birds keep producing young and I saw a chaffinch feeding a youngster in the plum tree.
Mrs Tootlepedal eventually returned after visiting two garden centres in order to find what she wanted. As this meant that she had been able to buy some good cheese for me from the one that has a food hall, I was very happy.
I had a walk round the garden with her and we saw some peacock butterflies on the buddleia but I couldn’t get a good picture. The weather looked to be set fair for a while so I took a picture of the colourphul phlox…
…and then put my camera away and got out my bicycle.
It was one of those days when the shelter of the garden gives a false impression of how strong the breeze is. When I got out of town, I found that there was a decidedly brisk breeze in my face. Not wanting to overtax my legs, I settled for an up and down the road twenty miles so that I didn’t have to face into the wind for too long at a time.
As I cycled towards the bottom of Callister, a buzzard took off and flew lazily up the road ahead of me. It turned and flew over my head a couple of times and then hovered in the wind above the banking beside the road. I stopped, got my camera out and pointed it at the spot where the buzzard had been until two seconds before I pressed the shutter button.
Apart from the breeze, it was a perfect day for a pedal, warm but not too hot and with a little shade provided by white fluffy clouds from time to time.
My route took me through the town and out on the north side before I turned back and rounded off the trip with another six miles to Wauchope Schoolhouse and back, keeping in the shelter of the valley bottom.
The countryside is looking a lot fresher after our recent rain.
When I got back, I noticed a flurry of movement on the buddleia. We had been invaded by a small army of butterflies. There were our usual white butterflies but there were also several peacocks…
…two small tortoiseshells which I spotted…
..and a single painted lady which caught Mrs Tootlepedal’s eye.
It makes the heart sing to see such beauty.
I had time to enjoy the flower of another of the big lilies among the rose mallows….
…and to reflect on the clematis on the fence which apparently produces flowers with different numbers of petals.
…until you look more closely, before I went in for my shower and a catch up on my correspondence.
Mrs Tootlepedal used some of our courgette mountain to make courgette fritters for tea and then Mike and Alison came round for their customary Friday visit. Before we played, Alison told me that their buddleia too had been covered on butterflies this afternoon. This is good news as there were worries that the butterfly population might have been hit by the cold late spring this year.
The music was as enjoyable as ever and sometimes we both played the right notes at the right time and this created a very pleasing effect and rounded off a good day.
The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.