Cleaning up

Today’s guest post comes from our son Alistair. He found a welcome visitor in his garden and took this splendid picture of it.

alistair's bee

We had two unusual things to contend with when we got up. It had rained overnight and there was a greenfinch and a goldfinch on the feeder.

greenfinch and goldfinch

I was able to cope quite well though, as it had hardly rained at all, just enough to wet the ground, and the birds didn’t stay long on the feeder either.

It was cool and very windy so although a tulip looked as though it wanted to open up…

nearly tulip

…it looked exactly the same at the end of the day.

We had occasional little bursts of sunshine and the hellebores looked up expectantly to get the benefit of the warmth while they could.

hellebore looking up

The little primroses liked the sun too…

cheery primroses

…but living near to the soil as they do, they find things that like them, and they tend to get a bit chewed up.

two eaten primroses

A potential pulsatilla had retained a drop or two of rain among its furry foliage.

early pulsatilla

The main gardening business of the morning was more work on the tidying up of the paving stones around the woodshed.

cleared paving stones

It will be interesting to see how long we can keep the grass at bay once life gets back to normal. But it looks neat just now.

Contact with our distant families is virtual so I downloaded a handy app called Zoom on to my phone and we had a chat with Annie, Joe and and our granddaughter Evie through this medium during the morning. This stuff is very clever.

Mrs Tootlepedal had a WhatsApp conversation with our son Tony too.

It should have been a bicycling day but at 30 to 35 mph the wind was too strong for me to enjoy a pedal so I went for a walk after lunch.

In site of the chilly wind, a little sunshine at the start of the walk made things seem quite springlike….

first leaves

…and I enjoyed the views and the fresh larch trees as I walked along the track towards the Becks Burn.

becks track panel

I had a look at the little waterfall above the bridge when I got there, but the lack of recent rain has reduced it to a trickle.

becks burn cascade trickle

As a consolation, a very pretty primrose was growing in a crack between moss covered rocks beside the stream.

primroses becks burn

I crossed the bridge over the Becks Burn and as I walked down the road on the other side, I looked across the valley and decided it was nice enough to walk up to the track that climbs the lower slopes of Warbla.

track up wabla from hallcrofts

I don’t take the road from the bottom but go down to the left, cross the Auld Stane Brig and walk up the grassy slope beside that line of trees and join the road half way up.

One of the trees had some colourful fungus on a branch.

warbla fungus

The sky had clouded over by the time that I had got to the track and the sun was wasting its bounty on hills three miles away.

veiw from warbla far sun

As I walked down the track towards the town, the wind got up, the temperature dropped and a few drops of rain made me fear the worst so I dived into the Kernigal woods for some cover. I kept my head down and enjoyed a lichen covered tree stump and a mossy bank…

kernigal moss and lichen

…but when I lifted my head, I found that the clouds had cleared and the sun was out again.

kernigal wood view

One benefit of a brisk wind is that it brings quick changes to the weather.

I had met my friend Ada at the start of yesterday’s walk and she told me that if I looked very carefully when I came down the path from the wood, I might just see the first bluebell of the year.

I looked very carefully and, hey presto, there it was.

first bluebell

It is miles ahead of any other bluebell as the other plants are not even showing flower stalks yet. Some knowledgeable person will probably tell me that it is not a bluebell at all but if it is, it is remarkably early.

I had a look at the park wall when I got there, and a casual glance might make you believe that there was nothing very interesting there….

park wall

…but put your nose closer and peer hard and there, right in the middle of the picture above, are delights to be found.

soldier lichen

After I got home, I used Zoom to chat with my brother Andrew and my sister Susan. It is very smart to be able to see all three of us on the screen of my phone at the same time but it is tricky to get used to the fact that only one person can speak at the one time.

Later on we enjoyed a WhatsApp chat with Alistair, Clare and our other granddaughter Matilda. They were in good form. By the end of the day we had done a lot of family catching up. It will still be better when we can see our grandchildren in person though.

In the evening, we were able to watch a streaming of a very amusing play from the National Theatre archives for free, a kind gesture to help people put up with the boredom of having to stay in fro night after night. It was definitely preferable to watching never ending news bulletins of the spread of the pandemic.

The non-flying bird of the day is a jackdaw. Fed up with pecking the lawn, it was pecking the plum tree instead.


Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

31 thoughts on “Cleaning up

  1. Always great to see the first bluebells,especially so at the present time.
    Your biscuits inspired me to use up some bananas my better half was about to throw away,so I made a banana cake..a bit fattening yes,but comfort eating is the order of the day in lockdown.
    You might be interested in “pedalworks” recent blog on cycling and covid19 from cyclinguk
    Stay safe.

    1. I like a banana cake so I am pleased to have inspired you to make one. Warmer weather is on the way so you should be able to pedal off the surplus. I’ll look at that blog.

  2. That’s a great shot of the bee by your son. He has a good camera.
    It’s nice to see the opening buds. I’ve seen just a few here, along with fern fiddleheads.
    It’s amazing what you can do with a phone these days. A true computer in your pocket which not that long ago I never would have thought could happen.

    1. I am sorry to say that Alistair probably took the bee with his phone whihc is a bit humbling. Pocket computing power is amazing to those of us who remember early computing adventures.

  3. Your Jackdaws are quite pretty, but I’m not sure I’d want them tearing things up. We took a walk along the creek today, but our springtime buds seem to be late starters compared to yours.

  4. It is good to see beautifully open views. Although we forested our garden on purpose, the trees tend to cut off our view and as we are confined to our garden this makes for good arboreal studies. I have to go upstairs to see a ‘far view’ for the time being.

  5. Your usual good photography and touches of alliteration. I expect Quercus would appreciate ‘potential pulsatilla’. I am pleased Evie has not lost her language skills.

  6. The very clever apps make it so easy to keep in touch but nothing beats an in-person catch-up. Hope you’re able to spend time with Matilda (imagine how she’ll be at all those games after this) and Evie-and their hangers-on – very soon

  7. If only these very useful ways of keeping in touch were not so contrary in their demands on the technologically useless… Good to see spring springing do well.

  8. Good to see such a detailed bee photo – they are difficult to get as bees don’t beehave. The pulsatilla photo is really lovely . I can now use Duo/Facetime and now I see Zoom everywhere…even in your post! I can’t learn something else but I can see the family will think differently!

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