Today’s guest picture comes from our friends Mike and Alison. They are on holiday on the shore of Loch Feochan in Argyll and this is the view from their front window. They have chosen a good week for their trip.
We had a day of perfect weather here too, although there was still some winter chill left in the breeze. The recent spell of dry weather means that pollen has been very heavy recently and our shiny new car often ends the day covered in a fine film of powder. This doesn’t help my asthma and although it doesn’t leave me gasping in the gutter it may explain why I found myself trying to sing a different hymn from everyone else at one stage during the morning’s church service. Still, I managed to get home safely after the service and prepared a beef stew for the slow cooker.
Looking out of the kitchen window while I cooked, I watched our siskins monopolising the feeder again.
…or rather , nearly monopolising it, as the occasional sparrow did sneak in.
I noticed something quite unusual going on beneath the feeder. A greenfinch was diving in and out of a mini jungle of old daffodil leaves and guddling about furiously. I don’t know what it was looking for at all.
When the stew was on, I had a short walk round the garden. Pulsatilla Corner was looking quite exciting.
…and I spent quite a lot of time waiting for a male orange tip butterfly to settle down for long enough to let me take a picture. It was too restless for me though and I had to make do with a female who did hang around for a few seconds. Although the females don’t have orange tips to their wings, they are beautifully decorated all the same.
It was such a pleasant morning that I thought that I would try a little more gentle cycling therapy to stretch my sore ankle and took the slow bike out for a seven mile potter up and down the Wauchope road.
In spite of the efforts of the council to mow down every wild flower in sight, there are some about.
And there were any amount of male orange tip butterflies too. I kept on stopping to try to snap one but they kept on going and once again, I had to make do with more stable female specimens. As they were flying alongside male orange tip butterflies, I naturally assumed that they were females orange tips but when I looked at the shots on the computer, it became plain they they are green-veined white butterflies.
This may explain why the male orange tip wasn’t hanging around.
To add insult to injury, a male orange tip actually came right up to my bicycle when I stopped at Wauchope Schoolhouse to take a picture of the locals there…
…and it actually sniffed at my front fork before heading off seconds before I could get my camera to focus on it. I’ll get one, one of these days.
The trip back to Langholm was very enjoyable with the wind behind and the sun on my back. I went down to the river before I went home and was happy to see an oyster catcher on the gravel beside the Esk.
I got back in time to have a plate of soup for lunch with Mrs Tootlepedal. She has been doing some heavy spring cleaning over the past two days. Spring has a lot to answer for.
After lunch we had the pleasure of gliding down to Carlisle in the the zingy little white thingy and in the sunshine, life felt very good.
Our choir practice was good fun. Our conductor is always cheerful and full of zest but the fine weather had topped up her energy levels to “extra high” and she was on sparkling form and drove us onwards and upwards. Two of our more senior choir members got married this week and in celebration, they came out to the front and the choir serenaded them with the appropriately entitled “O Love”. They were much touched. We were moved too.
The journey home was as enjoyable as the trip down. For some reason, the air, which has tended to be rather hazy in recent weeks, magically cleared up today and the views were every fine.
I had a walk round the garden when we got back and found flowers old and new enjoying the day.
This is the first allium to make it to a perfect sphere.
When we had finished disposing of some of the stew with parsnips for our evening meal, Mrs Tootlepedal went back to spring cleaning and I went for a three bridges ‘walk’ on my slow bicycle to enjoy the evening light.
It certainly was enjoyable.
And because the wind had dropped, it was still quite warm.
I met a bunch of cyclists on the Kilngreen. They were packing their bikes back into cars after a group outing. They had just completed a hilly 102 mile ride round St Mary’s Loch. I felt envious but a bit guilty too because we had done pretty well the same trip with Sandy not long ago but had needed a car to get round.
I pedalled gently on and was submerged in a sea of green
It was balm to the soul and banished any negative thoughts from my mind.
I cycled back along the new path and enjoyed the variety of shapes and colours among the pine and fir trees that I passed.
An elaborate candelabra on a pine…
…and the incipient cones…
…and packed male flowers on the noble firs.
And the best thing of all about the day was the fact that the gentle cycling seems to have eased off my sore ankle a lot. It is now only mildly painful and quite supple. If this remains true tomorrow morning, I will be very happy indeed.
The flying bird of the day is a siskin, getting ready to kick a friend off the feeder.