Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent, Venetia. It shows the Hood Monument at Compton Dundon. She tells me that Admiral Samuel Hood (1724-1816) was the son of the local vicar who took in a navy captain when his carriage broke down. Young Samuel (and his younger brother Alexander) were so taken by the captain’s stories that they both joined the navy when they grew up.
After breakfast our new car took us up to the bird hide at the Moorland feeders as I was once again acting as a fill in feeder filler. Mrs Tootlepedal came too in the hope of seeing hen harriers on the moor but the mist was lying so low on the hillside that she joined me in the hide and we watched a woodpecker instead.
Unusually, the woodpecker allowed a siskin to share the feeder for a while.
As we left, the mist lifted off the moor…
…but we still didn’t see any raptors.
We got home safely and I had a look round the garden.
A smaller bumble bee was visiting a white dicentra and Solomon’s seal and lily of the valley completed a white trio…
…while more colourful flowers added a contrast.
I always like our spireas but I like them particularly when they show evidence of overnight rain.
Dropscone arrived for coffee and after the interest shown in his drop scones last Friday, he brought a matching set of soda scones for today.
They were still warm from the cooker and went down very well.
While we ate, drank and chatted, I noticed a blue tit visiting the peanuts.
We haven’t seen one of these for some time so I hope that this one has a nest nearby and will be a regular visitor now. I like blue tits a lot.
After coffee, I gave Dropscone a very short ride in the new car and he was quite impressed by its smoothness and quietness.
When he cycled off, Mrs Tootlepedal and I set to work in the garden. We were distracted by a large aircraft making a tight turn above our heads….
…but we soon got back to work and added a second fruit cage skeleton to the new beds…
…laid the wood chips which we had collected yesterday on a path between the beds…
…and tied together an ingenious sweet pea defence construction made by Mrs Tootlepedal from bamboos.
We did this in spite of all that the weather could throw at us…
…though in fact, all that the weather could throw at us was a warm and gentle breeze with some very light drizzle so it was no great Hardship.
This took us up to lunchtime and I went in and watched the birds as I munched on my bread and cheese. I had filled the feeder in the morning and it was already more than half empty thanks to a steady demand for seed.
I was quite tired for no very obvious reason so I had a sit down with the crossword after lunch and then I took another wander round the garden.
It just needs a warm and sunny day to bring out the full force of the rhododendrons and azaleas but the first flowers have started to appear…
…and there are still tulips waiting to spread their wings.
After a last look at a goldfinch…
…I spread my own metaphorical wings and went for a slightly longer cycle ride round the 20 miles of my regular Canonbie circuit.
My favourite tree was looking very springlike with added lambs in a brief moment of sunshine..
…but the sun didn’t last and a few spots of drizzle and some very ominous black clouds made me think of taking a short route home.
I stuck to my guns though and was rewarded when the clouds went off to bother someone else.
There are fresh wild flowers in the verges now…
…and a full range of green leaves on the trees beside the Esk at the Hollows.
I stopped to stretch my legs at Irvine House and looked at a couple of trees in the field beside the road, If these are oaks, which I think they are, they are coming out rather earlier than usual.
A cow, grazing nearby, took a dim view of my photographic activity.
There are bluebells all over the place now and this display is all that is left of one of the best bluebell woods in the area. Most of it was cut down a few years ago and the bluebells have never recovered.
In the evening, I went off to sing with the Langholm choir and unusually, we had both an accompanist and a conductor today, so we got a lot of detailed practice done. This was handy as we have a concert coming up at the end of this month.
We are going to drive to Lockerbie to catch the train to go to Edinburgh tomorrow and this will be the first serious outing for the new car. We are keeping our fingers crossed that everything goes to plan.
The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch.