Today’s guest picture comes from Venetia, my Somerset correspondent, who turns out to be in Namibia at the moment. She sent me this portrait of male and female Long-tailed Paradise Whydahs. The males are in full display mode.
Our welcome spell of fine weather continued today but with a reminder that we are still in the winter months in the shape of some early frost on the lawns.
The temperature was slow to rise and I was feeling a bit tired so I went back to bed after breakfast and read a book until midday. It was very relaxing.
I got up into my cycling gear although it was still rather chilly unless you were out in the sun. I gave Mrs Tootlepedal a hand in the garden for a while and then went in to make some lentil soup for lunch…
…and watch the birds of course. There were plenty of shady characters hanging around the feeder.
After lunch, I had another wander round the garden and after I had visited the pond, where I found a pile of frogs which had not been put off by the chilly morning…
…I helped Mrs Tootlepedal set up the boards for one of our new fruit beds. They are going to have cages on them this year to protect the crop from the birds.
I couldn’t pass by a particularly fine bunch of crocuses without my shutter finger twitching…
…but I finally pulled myself together and got my bike out and went off for a pedal. It was genuinely warm in the sun and I passed a cyclist coming the other way in short sleeves and shorts. I am glad that I had retained a few layers because by the time that I finished the ride and the sun was dropping in the sky, it felt pretty chilly.
My route took me past two ruined cottages. They are both getting more dilapidated with the passage of time not unlike the photographer. The first one is only a couple of miles from home.
I couldn’t have asked for a better day for a pedal as there was hardly any wind and the sky was cloudless.
It wasn’t quite hot enough to get the gorse flowers to smell of coconut though.
A correspondent asked me recently if there were a lot of poles and pylons in our area and I thought that I would show that there are and that they cast a long shadow too.
As I came down from Kennedy’s Corner onto the Solway Plain, I passed the second ruined cottage, which is now almost wholly holey.
The tree beside it looks a lot better than the cottage does.
Although the sky was blue and it was pretty clear in the hills, there was a very murky layer lying on top of the land below me as I looked ahead. It didn’t look very appetising at all.
When I got down that level, it wasn’t visible but it was colder.
There are telephone and electricity poles along almost every road around us and quite often a pylon makes its presence felt as well….
…but if you choose the right road, nothing interrupts the view at all.
There was quite a lot of traffic about today and I was passed by two low flying aircraft….
…and held up by a traffic jam near Glenzier.
The farmer told me that they were having to move the sheep out into the fields by day as it was too hot for them in the shed at the moment. This was them going home to bed for the night.
When I got back after 30 gentle miles, Mrs Tootlepedal had finished planting out the raspberry canes in the new bed. They are Malling Jewel and should fruit in midsummer (if we get one this year).
There are gooseberries and blackcurrants to be sorted out next.
I admired some hopeful wallflowers and went in to have a cup of tea and some ginger nuts (shop bought).
I was just getting up to make a slice of toast after I had polished off the biscuits, when my eye was caught by movement under the feeder.
Our part of the town seems to have two resident partridges now…
…as neighbours on both sides of our garden have seen them perched on their fences. I wonder where they are roosting for the night.
The day wound down with a shopping trip for me and then Mrs Tootlepedal created a delicious evening meal with the products from the shopping bag, a very satisfactory division of labour.
I was pleased to see that the proposed deterioration in our weather has now been put on hold for a day or two and we are being promised another sunny day tomorrow. We are really being spoiled and will get a big shock when normal service is resumed.
A questing chaffinch obliged by posing as the flying bird of the day.