Today’s guest picture is another from the Derby shopping centre insect infestation. My brother tells me that you can talk to the insects but I wouldn’t know what to say to a stag beetle.
I didn’t have much confidence in a weather forecast that said that it wasn’t going to rain today but I was proved wrong and the weather stayed fair until well into the evening.
It was only just above freezing when I set off on my slow bike to see our local vampire at the Health Centre and give a little blood. This was a check to see if my anaemia is under control. The process was prompt and painless as usual but the health centre computer server was on the blink so I wasn’t able to make a follow up appointment. The poor staff were absolutely flummoxed as hardly anything is written down these days and they had no idea who was coming in for appointments. Fortunately it was soon fixed and I made my appointment later in the day without trouble.
After coffee with Mrs Tootlepedal, and with the thermometer showing 4°C, I plucked up my courage, donned as many layers of clothing as I could and set off on my new bike to see how my legs were feeling.
I hadn’t been out on my bike this month so it was a bit of a shock to the system but the sun was out….
…my legs were very cheerful and the snow had retreated to distant hills so it wasn’t too bad to be out and about.
The wind was strong enough to make life hard when pedalling into it but the forecast gales hadn’t arrived. I stopped to take a picture of one of those little corners that make cycling round here so visually interesting.
And then I cycled to the top of Callister to see if there was any sign of the turbines arriving at the new wind farm. There wasn’t and as the road was very muddy from quarry lorry traffic, I turned back and pedalled down to Langholm, through the town and out of the other side. The snow was on distant hills there too.
On my way back through the town, I checked to see if the big gull was standing on its favourite rock.
I was pleased to manage 20 miles at a modest pace and after a walk round the garden when I got back…
…where the forsythia is just coming out…
…and some of the frogs spawn seems to have survived the frosty mornings…
…I went in to find Mrs Tootlepedal making a nourishing pan of bean and vegetable soup for lunch.
It went down well.
After lunch I watched the birds for a while. Goldfinches had got in early today under the watchful eye of a chaffinch…
…and there was no visit from the sparrow hawk to disturb them or this chaffinch’s moment of reflection beside a puddle in our drive.
Against my expectations, the weather stayed fine in the afternoon so I went for a walk. The wind was still nagging but otherwise it was a good day for sauntering about looking for signs of spring…
…which weren’t hard to find.
There were signs of life on the larches…
…and fresh flowers on the banks beside the track…
…and best of all, many clumps of primroses on every side once I got near the Becks Burn.
I walked through the felled wood, across the burn and up onto the road on the other side of the little valley, where I found incipient honeysuckle…
…curious sheep looking down on me…
…and any amount of lichen on different stones on the same one metre length of wall.
I visited the old curling pond and wished that it could be developed into a wild life area like the one near Lockerbie which we have visited before. It needs a real enthusiast with time and knowledge to a job like that though.
I didn’t linger for long as my foot was starting to feel sore and I soon headed down the road back to the town.
I passed this fungus on a fallen tree trunk…..
…and got right out of the way as this huge lorry passed me. It had been delivering sheep to the farm at the end of the road.
When I got home, I found Mrs Tootlepedal at work in the garden and together we put in the new blackcurrant bush and, having exhausted my gardening skills, I gave her moral support while she planted out a new lupin and pruned a rose.
Then it seemed like a good time to have a cup of tea and a slice of toast so we did.
The day was rounded off by a visit from my flute pupil, Luke and we had a productive half hour showing that practice makes you, if not quite perfect, then certainly a lot better. This is most satisfactory.
I don’t often watch Master Chef on the TV but this season, a young lady from Langholm is one of the contestants and it was very pleasing to see her do well and get through to the next round. We will follow her progress with interest.
The forecast for the next couple of days is for 50 mph winds so it was a good thing that we got as much out of today as we did. There are some sunny intervals promised so it might not be a total write off.
The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch with a determined air about it.