Today’s guest picture comes from our friend Bruce who is on a break in Northumberland, where he took this picture of a bridge over the River Breamish.
It was a grey and faintly drizzly day here today so it was good to have a spot of indoor brightness supplied by the charming flowers that Sue had brought when she came for coffee on Monday.
Sandy came for coffee today. He is suffering from sore feet too and we have been unable to go for a walk for several weeks so it was good to see him and catch up with his news.
When he left, I checked to see what the birds were up to and found a brisk demand for fat balls among the sparrows.
The sparrows are eating anything they can get their beaks on at the moment and….
…they are monopolising the feeder for a good part of the day.
I went out into the garden to help Mrs Tootlepedal dispose of some of the surplus soil which we had removed from the lawn when we did the returfing. It was amazingly dry and dusty so we mixed it with some composted shreddings and Mrs Tootlepedal spread it on the front beds.
I did some shifting and sieving of the compost in Bin C and then had a wander around to admire the azaleas. Some of them have suffered badly because of the long cool spell and the lack of rain and have not been able to develop their buds into flowers but others have put on a fine show.
And the alliums don’t seem to have been affected by the lack of rain at all.
We have had an inch of rain recently but it has only been enough to dampen the top layer of the soil in the flower beds and if Mrs Tootlepedal digs down to plant out something new, it is still dry as dust below. Looking at the forecast though, we may be about to get a persistent spell of light rain over the next few days. Unhappily, this may turn out to be light enough to be annoying without being useful.
All the same, new flowers are appearing and the Scotch rose is developing well…
…and a little patch of cornflowers appeared as if by magic. One minute it wasn’t there and the next minute, it was fully formed.
The sparrows were interrupted on the feeder by the arrival of a starling…
…which I noticed as I was making some lentil soup for our lunch.
In spite of a forecast of a 60% chance of a long spell of light rain in the faternoon, I managed to get onto my cycling gear and get out for a pedal while it was dry.
The hillsides are bright with hawthorn blossom on every side.
I passed one of the busiest trees that you will ever see. It had growth bursting out of every twig. I think that it is a Norway Spruce.
The forecast was looking likely to be ominously correct as a drizzle started up before I had gone far. I pedalled on though and was cheered up by the sight of some late bluebells on a bank bedside the road.
There were plenty of wild flowers to look at too…
…and hawthorns and lambs made the day seem nicer than it was.
I had a good waterproof jacket on and the drizzle was very light so I pressed on to the top of Callister in the hope of seeing some developments in the wind farm that is being built there. There were sounds of working but nothing to see yet.
The drizzle didn’t last very long, and it turned out to be a good day for cycling with a light wind, so when I came back down the hill into Langholm, I decided to go through the town and out again to the south to see if the new road at the Tarras landslip was open for cyclists yet.
A lot of work has gone onto making the steep banking below the road stable…
..and the road itself was a pleasure to cycle down with a beautifully smooth new surface.
I was intending just to visit the road and then turn back for home but having swooshed down the new road and got to the bottom of the hill and crossed the bridge over the Tarras Water, it seemed a pity not to go on, so I cycled along a road that I haven’t used for three years or more.
This took me down the east side of the River Esk and having passed a splendid broom bush…
…I crossed the river by the Hollows Bridge and returned to Langholm up the west bank.
The bus stop at the Hollows, is a garden in itself.
The rain stayed away and I got home warm and dry after a very enjoyable 25 miles.
As it was dry, Mrs Tootlepedal and I then took the opportunity to go and collect some more woodchips for her vegetable garden paths. We didn’t have time to spread them on the paths as it was now time to cook our evening meal. I left this task in the capable hands of Mrs Tootlepedal and went and had a little sit down and rest.
My cycle mileage for the month has been very poor and I have only managed half the miles that I had originally planned to do by this time of the year, so I am hoping that June brings some very cycling friendly weather and I can make some progress. I am still quite optimistic that the worst has passed as far as my feet are concerned although I haven’t tried a good walk yet. Time will tell.
The flying bird of the day is one of our flock of sparrows.