Today’s guest picture is the final one from Venetia’s Moroccan trip. It shows a gecko basking in the sun.
It was another grey day here but slightly warmer and not actually raining as I walked to church in the morning. Our bus driving organist had been called to do an an extra shift owing to shortage of staff in Edinburgh but a late replacement appeared so we had accompanied hymns even if they were not the ones that we expected.
I went out into the garden when I got home to check on frogs. Once again there were none to be seen so I had to make do with a pulmonaria and a bit of colour on a viburnum…
…and some lawn talk with my neighbour over the garden hedge. Another sign of spring.
Things in the garden are developing very slowly in the continuing damp, grey and cool weather.
I went back in and watched the birds for a while. There has been a brisk demand for seed over the past few days and I have been kept busy refilling the feeder.
A siskin watched a queue of chaffinches filing past…
…and although this siskin has got its head stuck into the seed, its tail and wing position show that it is fully aware of the incoming chaffinch.
A bird needs to be alert as there is no knowing when a passing chaffinch might decide to give you a hefty kick.
Quieter scenes were also available.
In both directions.
We had a second helping of tomato soup for lunch and I printed out 200 more envelopes and covering letters for Mrs Tootlepedal. These are going to go down to Canonbie where other people will deliver them.
When I looked, I saw that the seeds had dropped below the top perch level and a helpful chaffinch had to explain to a pal that the seed was down here now.
Mrs Tootlepedal hadn’t come to church as she was busy again delivering brochures in the town for the proposed community buy out. She is not alone in this work and one of the team came round to collect more envelopes. While she and Mrs Tootlepedal mulled over the work in hand, a heavy shower of rain swept through the garden and by the time that they had finished talking, it had gone. Good timing.
Mrs Tootlepedal went off in the car to deliver envelopes to some of the outlying houses in the area and I didn’t go with her to help as I wanted to go cycling. There was alarming talk on the news websites of old people in the UK being made to remain in their homes for a long period in the not too distant future so I wanted to get some exercise while I still could.
I got my cycling gear on and just as I was going to go out, it started to rain. In normal circumstances, I might have got fed up and stayed a home but having told Mrs Tootlepedal that I couldn’t help her, I thought that I ought to actually go for a bike ride, so I set off.
I chose a route up the Ewes valley as this meant that I would start with the wind and rain at my back and not get discouraged too soon!
The rain persisted but never came to much so I quite enjoyed my wind assisted cycle up the hill to Mossspaul.
I wasn’t intending to stop for pictures in the rain but this unusual little waterfall in the middle of a field caught my eye.
When I looked at the scene more closely, I could see that I was watching a geography lesson in action. All the makings of the formation of an oxbow lake were before me.
It is not often that you see that.
There was plenty of water running off the hillside and every little stream was busy.
When I stopped at Mosspaul after ten miles, I took a moment to enjoy this pine tree…
…before setting off back down the hill to Langholm. I had feared that it might be an unpleasant battle with wind and rain but the rain had eased off and the wind came round a point or two and was often more across than in my face.
All in all, it was a much more enjoyable ride than I had expected when I started out, and as I managed to average just over 14 mph for an outing for the first time this year, I was a happy man when I greeted Mrs Tootlepedal who had returned from her post outing and was busily folding the letters which I had printed earlier.
She didn’t need any help so I went for a short walk. The day had dried up and there was even a hint of sunshine.
Waterside birds are paired up.
And other signs of spring are to be seen.
The birds still look as though they are finding life…
…a little chilly…
…but the crocuses on the Kilngreen are certainly brightening things up.
The sun didn’t come out so I didn’t dilly dally but willow and moss made me pause for a moment or two…
…and I went to check on the hazel catkins beside the Esk on the Castleholm. When I last looked, there were several female flowers but very few catkins. Today, there were a lot more catkins but I had to look very hard to find a flower and in the end, I only saw one and it was nowhere near the catkins.
The weather seems to have confused the hazels.
I made some corned beef hash for tea and we settled down for a quiet night in. It had been strange to have no Carlisle Choir to go to but at least we had got the delivery work and a cycle ride done between us so we hadn’t wasted the day.
The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch, approaching the feeder with the confidential manner of a head waiter at a posh restaurant.
Footnote: The Coronavirus news is everywhere.
Yesterday I read a headline that said “Borders Shut” so I thought that we had been closed down without us knowing about it. It turned out to be about the closure of international borders in Europe not the border counties of Scotland. Phew.
Today it said “UK over 70s to be confined to home for a long period”. That was most unwelcome. Closer reading showed that in Scotland, us old folk will be allowed some freedom to toddle about outside if we are prepared to ca canny, which we definitely will do. Phew again.
Don’t think that we aren’t taking this seriously, because we are.