Today’s guest picture is a look back at Venetia’s African trip. There are so few bees in our garden that I wondered whether a relative of this handsome carmine bee eater might be responsible for the dearth….but it is probably just the cool weather.
A cold and sometimes drizzly day made it easy for me to persuade myself that another more or less complete day of rest might be good for my feet so it was fortunate that we had plenty of visitors to brighten our day.
Our first visitor was Sandy, who came round to enjoy a cup of coffee and some biscuits. He has been very busy in his garden organising new fencing and a sitting area in front of his garden shed. He is also about to fly away from our cold climate and visit the Canary Islands with friends. All in all, he was very cheery as a result.
Just as we had finished the coffee pot, Scott our ex minister turned up with his wife Jane. Obviously living in a big city has slightly blunted his coffee radar but it was easy enough to brew another pot and we sat and caught up with their doings.
While we were sipping and chatting, the third visitor of the morning arrived in the plum tree.
It was a rook demanding attention.
Always eager to please, I picked up my camera and took two profiles…
…showing the rook as both sensitive and serious….
…and then, happy with the result, the rook flew off, leaving the centre of attention to a blackbird.
When Scott and Jane left, I took a moment to wander round the garden. There is little novelty at the moment because of the cold mornings and grey afternoons.
Such tulips as are still around are in a state of suspended animation…
…and only one more flower has appeared on the garage clematis.
I went back in and when I looked out of the kitchen window, I saw the power of a pigeon’s stare. The one on the left had caused the one on the right to completely lose its focus.
A chaffinch, though larger than the tiny siskin, still thought it wise to nip round the back of the feeder rather than try to oust the sitting tenant.
I made some vegetable soup, with added turmeric which is rumoured to benefit arthritic joints, for our lunch, and having eaten some, I went out and mowed the middle lawn in a very gentle way. While I was out, I noticed that the very first astrantia of the year had appeared.
Regular readers will know that they can expect many more shots of this flower before summer is over.
I went in and put a week of the newspaper index into the Langholm Archive Group’s database. I am a bit behind the data miners and will have to find time to put in more weeks soon.
When the week was entered, I went out to see what Mrs Tootlepedal had been doing in the garden all afternoon. She had done a lot of tidying up of the early spring growth and is busy getting ready for the next stage. Because of the stop start nature of the weather, the first azalea is now nearing its full glory before the others have hardly produced ten flowers between them.
It will be a pity if it goes over before the rest have come out as it will spoil the picture which the gardener has designed.
The marsh marigolds in the pond are out of my reach and so escape dead heading but the seed heads look quite pretty in their own right.
The bergenias are reaching up and still putting out new flowers…
…but this is just about the last of the trout lilies which have come and gone quite quickly this year.
I was just looking at a sturdy row of pea shoots growing in an old gutter in the green house…
…..when our fourth visitor of the day arrived. This was Mike Tinker and as it was four o’clock, we went in for a cup of tea and some ginger biscuits.
I am adding the shreddings and sawdust from his felled cherry tree to compost bin A in judicious amounts with other materials to try to get the perfect combination of green and woody layers which will result in rich compost later in the year.
After Mike left, the fifth visitor of the day was my flute pupil Luke.
We have been working hard on improving his breath control and today I finally managed to get my thoughts about this into an order which made sense to him and we made good progress. It is always useful for a teacher to remember that if a pupil isn’t learning something which has been explained clearly to him, then it is the fault of the teacher and the explanation not the pupil. Don’t just say the same thing again, try something different. This is sometimes a hard lesson for a teacher to learn.
Mrs Tootlepedal has a way with quorn mince that makes it very tasty so we enjoyed a good meal to round off an interesting day.
I did spend a few minutes before tea on the bike to nowhere in the garage just to make sure that my legs won’t drop off entirely from inactivity.
The flying bird of the day is a siskin, one of our most frequent visitors of the day.