Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew. He has gone to Wales for a jaunt and on his way, he stopped at the ancient city of Chester.
I started the day by selling some postcards to the paper shop to help Archive Group funds and then visited the data miners in the new Archive Centre. They were working hard in cramped conditions as an art exhibition had taken some of their space.
We were promised some sunshine today but it was rather grey and windy when I set off south to visit Mary, my singing teacher for another lesson. After concentrating on basic technique and breathing in previous lessons, we moved towards singing a song today. This was exciting but it only went to prove how difficult it is to put lessons into actual practice as faced with having to think of notes and words at the same time, I relapsed into many of the bad habits that we had worked on eliminating. However, there were moments when things went well and I had plenty to think about as I drove home.
As I neared home, I met better and better weather and by time that I got there, it was a lovely day.
I had a toasted cheese sandwich for lunch and then went out into the garden with Mrs Tootlepedal. The drumstick primula is nearly spherical and a cheery daisy winked at me from the lawn but the recent frosty mornings have turned the tips of the magnolia petals brown…
There was some colour about too.
I helped Mrs Tootlepedal, who had been working hard all morning, to get the first of the new vegetable beds level and then left her to sort out the soil while I went for a pedal.
I aimed to add a couple of miles to yesterday’s distance and that was enough to let me go for a circular trip of fourteen miles up the Wauchope valley, over the hill, and back down into the Esk valley.
It was quite windy so I was easily tempted into stopping for some pictures along the way. I thought that I should note a bare tree as it will not be long until the trees are covered in leaves again.
I looked back down the Wauchope valley as I climbed up the hill. It was a pastoral scene indeed…
…with added calf.
I was accompanied by the bleating of lambs as I went round.
I liked this combination of blackthorn and pine tree at the Hollows…
…but I liked this newly surfaced patch of road there even better.
There had been some savage potholes the last time that I cycled through the hamlet.
Hollows Tower was open for business but the lack of cars in the car park showed that it probably wasn’t doing a lot. It is still early in the year to expect tourists.
I didn’t see much in the way of wild flowers but there were celandines and dandelions here and there…
…and I saw the wood anemone when I left my bike for a moment and walked down a fisherman’s path…
…to the river at Broomholm.
As the leaves are not out yet, I could see the bridge to Broomholm Island through the branches.
When I got home, I found that Mrs Tootlepedal had finished the veg bed and had added some compost at the far end to help the soil. She has also dug in her winter beans which were grown as green manure.
Nearby, she has a planting of tulips. They are Mystic Van Eijk, a pale pink variant….
…of the ordinary Van Eijk tulips….
…which look very lovely when some low evening sunlight shines through them
We sat on our new bench, enjoying the welcome warmth of the sun. We were sheltered from the wind and thinking that life wasn’t too bad at all.
Then we went on for a cup of tea and the last of the home made ginger biscuits.
I had a look at the birds. They had not eaten much seed at all during the day as not only had Mrs Tootlepedal been busy in the garden, but we had had builders in working on our roof as well.
It hadn’t improved the birds’ tempers at all.
Then Luke came round to play the flute and we rediscovered something that we already both knew very well, practice makes perfect. Well, we weren’t quite perfect but we were both a lot better than we were last week and you can’t ask for anything more than that.
Sunday’s slow cooked lamb stew made another appearance for our evening meal and Mrs Tootlepedal made a tasty broad bean hummus to go with it.
The better weather means that we are due to have some chilly mornings, but the days should be fine for some time ahead so I hope to be able to get a few more cycling miles under my belt. This will be a very good thing, as thanks to being off the bike for a month, I have a great deal more of me under my belt at the moment than is good for my health.
A chaffinch once again is the flying bird of the day. They are very reliable.