Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony. He is quite unhappy that his work as a painter and decorator has been unceremoniously stopped by government order but no provision for helping the self employed to pay their bills has yet been put in hand by the authorities who are happy to pay the wage bills of large firms. The sea at East Wemyss today looked a little angry too.
We had another dry day here and we are in danger of forgetting the awful weather of February. It will come as a shock when it starts to rain again.
We should have been in London today attending the civil partnership of our daughter Annie and her partner Joe but circumstances did not permit it. However, we were able to see them in the registry office immediately after the ceremony through the wonders of video calling. They looked very happy (and civil).
We spent a quiet morning in and around the garden while we were waiting for the call. There was a thin cover of cloud, thin enough to let some weak sunshine through and all our neighbours were busy in their gardens too. I sieved some compost.
Things are progressing slowly towards full springiness and new signs are about, like this berberis…
…and the first of the fritillaries.
The forsythia enjoyed the such sun as there was…
…and a sparrow and starling took in some rays as well.
There were quite a few bees of various sorts about and I caught two of them visiting the hellebores.
We had some conversation over the garden fence with our neighbours Irving and Libbie. They introduced us to Boris the badger who had been getting a fresh coat of varnish.
He didn’t say much.
After lunch, I went for a short walk. There were no birds visiting the feeder in the garden at all, so I thought that I ought to see what the waterside might provide.
I spotted a dipper in the Wauchope but it was living up to its name so well that I would have needed an underwater camera to get a picture of it.
A black backed gull was more conspicuous…
…as he roared across to the water to join his partner….and looked very pleased with himself when he got there. She looked demure.
There were only a couple of black headed gulls about and the sole oyster catcher flew off without waiting for me to get a picture so I was feeling a little underbirded until some loud song at the Sawmill Brig brought a grey wagtail to my attention.
And as I walked across the Castleholm, a pheasant passed me by.
And I felt that my walk in search of birds was very satisfactory.
I was well sheltered from the wind and the weak sunshine gave off a little warmth so I was in no hurry to get home and could take time to enjoy the light on this mossy tree…
…and to realise when i got closer that it was not just moss. It had a whole garden on it.
There was a lot to enjoy with heartening signs of growth on all sides (and a handsome fungus too)…
…but the high spot of the walk home was seeing this flash of colour in a tree…
…and finding, when I looked more closely, that it was a nuthatch. It obligingly flew to another tree nearby so that I could get better shots of it.
It was very busy.
As I got near to our house, I found Mike Tinker washing his car in his drive. He asked me whether I would like to see something interesting so of course I said yes. I followed him to his back garden (at a satisfactory ‘social’ distance) and he showed his Wollemi pine.
A Wollemi pine is one of the world’s oldest and rarest plants dating back to the time of the dinosaurs and Mike is privileged to be growing one in his garden. He is very excited as it has both male (left) and female (right) cones on it. I was impressed to say the least.
I saw a few other people out walking and we all gave each other a wide berth or changed direction when we came towards each other.
I found Mrs Tootlepedal hard at work in the garden when I got back and we went in and had a cup of tea.
Since the days are getting longer and it was still relatively warm and dry, I got my bicycle out and added another fifteen miles to my month’s cycle mileage. I found, when I got out of the shelter of the town, that the wind was quite brisk but I got the benefit of it on the way back and covered the last five miles home at an average speed of 19.7 mph I wish that I had known that as I was pedalling. I would have pushed a little harder to get the magic twenty miles an hour onto my bike computer.
I made the last of Mrs Tootlepedal’s chicken cacciatore into a curry with added mushrooms for our tea and then we waited for the prime minister’s address to the nation with some foreboding. The foreboding was justified as the upshot was a lockdown for an indefinite period, a rather depressing but necessary situation. Honestly, it is not too bad for a retired couple like us but it is a lot harder for people with young children and/or jobs to do so we feel a lot of sympathy for our children and their problems. It will also not be very jolly to say the least for my sisters and step mother who live in the middle of cities.
As we are officially allowed out for exercise once a day. I will be able to have a walk or a cycle, weather permitting, so I am lucky. And Mrs Tootlepedal will have her garden so she is lucky too.
The flying bird of the day is a crow which was having a drink at the river and flew off as I approached.