Today’s guest picture is a second from Bruce’s recent visit to the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway. I make no apologies, I love steam engines. This one was built in 1896 and is a lot older than me.
We had yet another lovely day here with more wall to wall sunshine and no call for a jumper or jersey at all. It is going to be a shock when we get back to normal spring temperatures in a few days time.
Meantime we are enjoying the weather without complaint.
The tulips are enjoying the weather too…
..with new ones coming out each day.
Mrs Tootlepedal has a lot of dicentras spread about the garden and that makes me happy as both the bees and I like them a lot. I got a rare shot of one without a bee nearby today.
In general, the garden is looking very cheerful with plenty of colour on all sides.
I spent a happy morning pottering about, chatting to neighbours over the fence and dead heading daffodils as well as doing a little mowing while Mrs Tootlepedal planted some onions.
The plum blossoms are pretty well over and the birds are now posing among the leaves.
After lunch, I went for a short walk, crossing the Wauchope Water which has been reduced to a trickle by the lack of rain…
…and enjoying a rhododendron in the park as I climbed the steps…
…up to the Stubholm track, which was looking leafy.
While this adds to the pleasure of going along the track, it detracts from the views along the way.
The purpose of my walk was to take a second look at the bluebells to see if two sunny days had brought them on.
There were bluebells on all sides.
The individual plants are looking very healthy this year…
…and the combined effect is well worth a walk to see.
At the bottom of the hill, I saw the first wild garlic of the year…
…and looking along the Murtholm, I could see that the trees are going green in earnest.
My feet are still a bit troublesome so I turned and walked back to the park along the Beechy Plains.
Keeping an eye on the river as I went along.
Two gulls were in position on handy rocks. They were just too far apart to get them both into one shot
When I got home, I had a moment to look at the birds…
…but there were not a lot about, possibly because the sparrowhawk paid several unsuccessful visits to the garden during the day.
After a short rest, I got my bike out and stretched my tender tendon by cycling fourteen warm and sunny miles at a gentle pace, stopping only once to record a good show of blackthorn along the Cleuchfoot road.
The bicycle is a fine mode of transport because not only does it get you from A to B reasonably quickly and very economically, but it also has magical properties. You may be a fairly elderly person, with unreliable joints and poor eyesight but when the road is flat and the wind is helpful, even you can whizz along at such a speed and with such freedom and ease that you can easily imagine yourself as Young Lochinvar or one of the three men who brought the good news to Aix from Ghent and feel quite young again.
Of course any little hill or change in the wind direction can knock that fantasy on its head in a moment but there is nothing like it while it lasts.
And Mrs Tootlepedal cooked a delicious tea to round off a good day.
While we were taking a late turn round the garden, we were visited by an old friend who has returned from America after many years away. He is a good flute player and I hope that when he has time, he will give me some tips to pass on to Luke. (We didn’t have a lesson today as it was both a holiday and too good a day to waste time indoors.)
The flying bird of the day is a siskin getting ready for a landing on the feeder.