Today’s guest picture was sent to me by Bruce from his recent visit to Sheffield. I have never seen a public bicycle pump station like this before but it strikes as me as a good idea.
There was never a dull moment today with no less than three visiting experts. Ian painted the garage doors, Scott put a special socket on our outside wall and Jordan mended our central heating and got our boiler back in action.
Mrs Tootlepedal had a busy time distributing posters for the Buccleuch Centre and then helping out at the well used coffee shop there over lunchtime. In her absence, it fell to me to do a lot of watching other people at work. This was no hardship to me as I am like Jerome K Jerome. I like work, I can watch other people working all day.
In between times, as it was a sunny morning, I wandered round the garden admiring tulips.
They have come out a little early this year and they are going over a little quicker than usual but there are still enough around to give great pleasure to someone who likes tulips. I am included in that number.
Who could not enjoy sights like these?
Although almost every other daffodil has now been dead headed, a stubborn clump under the plum tree are still showing well.
I wouldn’t like you to think that everything in the garden has been cultivated to within an inch of its life. There are wild flowers about too.
Indeed we are just beginning to see a burst of cow parsley (planted intentionally) which will contrast well with the many alliums just waiting to pop out.
Mrs Tootlepedal got hold of some more woollen packaging from Matilda’s father (it comes with a regular delivery he receives) and put some of it out on the lawn to see whether nesting birds might find it useful.
A jackdaw jumped at the opportunity…..
…to collect a beakful.
And then two jackdaws did the same…
…and collected two beakfuls.
…and made off with them.
I saw a blackbird on our mossy front lawn…
…and was so appalled by the state of things that I treated the lawn with this newfangled no rake moss treatment and grass fertiliser which I had tried recently on the middle lawn. Rather to my surprise…no, very much to my surprise, it seems to be working well on the middle lawn so I am keeping my fingers crossed that it can cope with the much greater amount of moss on the front lawn. The front lawn lives in shadow for a lot of the deep winter months so it is always the more mossy lawn of the two.
I had to sit down on our new bench after the effort of spreading the mixture and this gave me the opportunity to watch a ladybird creep across a leaf…
…and a bumble bee get stuck into a dicentra.
I know that I put a lot of bee and dicentra pictures on the blog but I like bees and dicentras so I make no apology and on this occasion the attraction of the dicentras for bees gave me the opportunity of not just capturing the flight of the bumblebee but also…
…the bum of the flightlebee.
I think that these are white tailed bumble bees.
Other bees were available on other flowers.
I think that this is a tree bumble bee visiting a pulmonaria.
Mrs Tootlepedal came back after lunch to find all three visitors had completed their work so after a cup of tea and a ginger biscuit, we went out into the garden and erected the skeleton of a fruit cage over the gooseberry and blackcurrant bushes.
This may look like a simple task but it involved a hacksaw, measuring tape, a crowbar, a screwdriver or two, a spirit level and a good deal of “To you, to me”. However, we were pretty pleased with the regularity of the result and will add the netting later.
The new socket on the outside wall looks like this…
…and with its help I can now fill up our new little white thingy with electricity so it becomes a very zingy little white thingy and good fun to drive (as long as I don’t tread on a non existent clutch).
We had a second go at filling the boot with buckets of wood chips and this time I managed to get back to the house without spilling them. Mrs Tootlepedal was very pleased. The fruit cage and the wood chips are all part of the remodelled soft fruit end of the vegetable garden and things are looking promising. We just need the right weather now to give us enough berries to have made all the work worthwhile.
There was time left after all this to let me get out for another short 12 mile bike ride in the evening. Although the sun had disappeared behind thin clouds at lunchtime, it was still a warm and pleasant day with very light winds and even without the carrot of other cyclists to chase up the road, I managed almost exactly the same speed as yesterday.
The road verges all round us are full of dandelions and I stopped to record this contribution beside the road up Callister.
We had thought of rounding off our day with a visit to the Buccleuch Centre to watch a screening of Gounod’s Faust but a look at the small print revealed that it lasted for three hours and three quarters. That seemed to be too much of a good thing to us so I cycled and Mrs Tootlepedal relaxed instead.
I had no time to look at the bird feeder today but I did get a flying bird.