A spring in my step

Today’s guest picture comes from Dylan, the son of Marianne, our son Tony’s partner.  He spotted a big bee among some fine blossom.

dylan's bee

We had a day of wall to wall sunshine here.  Once again the wind was brisk and somewhat chilly, but if you could get out of the wind, it was very pleasant.

Mrs Tootlepedal had a busy day hunched over the computer doing rather dull administrative work for the community buy out group, and that left me at a loose end as far as the garden went.

I did go out into the garden a lot and I did do some rather unfocused and desultory work but my chief interest was to see if I could spot a butterfly or two in the sunshine.

Not a single butterfly fluttered by, but I did see some other things, like this first dog tooth violet flower of the year…

first trout lily

…and lots of tulips wide open to the sun…

tulips panel

…and an almost complete drumstick primula and some cheerful lamium flowers.

primula and lamium

I went round to the (corner) shop and on my way back I didn’t see any oyster catchers but I did see a profusion of Lady’s Smock which has sprung up on the bank of the river.

lady's mantle esk

Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that it is another Cardamine or cuckoo flower but we still haven’t heard any cuckoos.

I noticed that the heron which keeps watch over our pond seemed to have its spring plumage on today…

painted heron

…and I suspect that Mrs Tootlepedal has been been busy with her paint brush.

One thing that you can say about our handsome heron is that it won’t be a threat to this frog which appeared in the pond this morning.

frog april

Although our feeder is not at all busy, there are quite a lot of birds about.  This jackdaw looked as though it was holding on tight in the brisk breeze…

plum[p jackdaw

…but a sparrow on a stalk looked much more stable.

sparrow on stalk

There were a lot of sparrows about and this was my favourite of the day.

sparrow on branch

I made some tomato soup for lunch and then managed to get myself organised to take my permitted exercise in the shape of a walk.

Because we are not supposed to drive to somewhere to walk, I am following in my own footsteps a lot these days but when the weather is as nice as it was today, that is no great hardship.

I went up the road to the Auld Stane Brig and popped down to look at the Wauchope Water on my way.  It was very peaceful in the shelter there…

peaceful wauchope

…and the water was rippling gently over the stones.

stones underwater

Up on the hill past the bridge, it was a different matter which this tree summed up rather well.

balsted tree

As I walked back down the track, I saw a bird.  If anyone tells me that this is a thrush and not a meadow pipit, I shall be very disappointed as it really does look like a meadow pipit to me.

meadow pipit

I walked through the Kernigal wood again

four walk views

…but this time, I kept going and took the track down to the river at Skippers Bridge and then walked back along the Murtholm and up the track to the Stubholm. I had hoped to see bluebells but I didn’t spot any and had to make do with other welcome signs of spring on my way.

four sping branches

A reader asked me if the new larch needles were soft or bristly and I can report that they are very soft at this stage of their development.

I came down through the park and walked along to the bank of the Esk to see if the oyster catchers were back.

There were no oyster catchers but I enjoyed these sculptural buds….

blossom buds

…and a pair of goosanders fishing in the river.

two goosanders

I met my friends Bob and Nancy out for their walk beside the river and they told me that I must have just missed bluebells on my stroll as they had seen some very near to where I had walked. I will go back soon and have another look.

When I got home, I had a cup of tea and a toasted tea cake, and followed that with a walk round the garden with Mrs Tootlepedal.  She saw the thing that I had been looking for all day, a peacock butterfly.

peacock butterfly

The butterfly flew off, Mrs Tootlepedal went back in to do some more computer work and I checked on some more birds.  A jackdaw flew up on to our roof and revealed that it was the bird with the white wing feather.

flying jackdaw white

A dunnock stopped racing and chasing round the garden for long enough for me to take a portrait…

dunnock on hedge

…and then set off again.

I don’t lead a wildly exciting life at the best of times but the present situation is even less exciting than usual and there seems to be nothing to think about that offers pleasing prospects so I apologise if the run of posts at the moment are a bit lacking in zest.  Like toilet paper and yeast, zest is in short supply just now.

But I did get a very handsome starling for the flying bird of the day with its wings catching the evening sun.

flying starling

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

42 thoughts on “A spring in my step

  1. I enjoyed the photos from your walk. The weather looks beautiful there, and we are having a sunny and relatively warm day here. The windows are open.

    The Wauchope looks crystal clear. Are you near the head waters? The tree reflections in it are beautiful.

    The birds look very stately in those portraits, although the jackdaw looks a bit like a Muppet character on that branch. 🙂

  2. Mr. Tootlepedal – I love the flowers! I love the birds! I love the lichen! I love the landscapes! Reading your blog every day is as necessary for me now as my morning cup of coffee. BUT….would you ever consider including recipes in your notes? Making a pot of soup for me is a 5-hour extravaganza while your soup adventures sound about as difficult as buttering a cracker. I know the world sees we Americans as creating chaos wherever we go. With regard to making a “quick” pot of soup, I plead guilty.

    PS I also love your sense of humor!

      1. The soups are very simple and use ready made stock cubes or stock pots. Just cook the onions and garlic, add the veg, pop in the stock and a few herbs and hey presto, soup.

  3. Please don’t apologize for writing about your contented life in one of the loveliest parts of the world. Gentle and content is what we need at present. Thank you.

  4. We are still able to drive to our walking point thankfully.
    The view of the Wauchope water is beautiful. It looks just like our rivers here and the water is as clear as any of ours.
    Zest or not I like your local walking posts just as they are. You live in a very beautiful part of the world.

    1. We haven’t driven at all for two weeks. I had to start the car and go a few yards up and down the drive just to make sure that it was still working.

  5. Your flower and bird photos brighten my day. I enjoy seeing your walks, which may be quite familiar to you, but you show different bits most times, and when there is a familiar bridge or whatnot I get a thrill out of recognizing it. Your interest in the world around you inspires me to pay more attention to the little things I pass every day.

    1. I learned to look at things carefully only very late in life when I listened and learned from others so if I have passed that on at all, I am very pleased.

  6. I do envy you your space and access to an uncrowded wider world. People being arrested for sitting on the beach here. But soothing to the spirits to see birds, woods, water and time being constructively filled.

  7. A lovely day with wonderful photos in the sunshine of birds, flowers, trees and a butterfly… what more can anyone want? Of course, a frog in a pond!

  8. That’s wise to have a rule for now to not drive in order to take a walk. Still an awful lot of driving around here. Your posts are still of great interest to me even if you must stick closer to home.

  9. Yes, I agree, it’s definitely a Meadow Pipit. I wish I could find a supply of yeast for my mother and myself; we have enough bread flour for now but could do with some ordinary plain flour. Zest is also lacking here, too.

      1. We ran one for some time and the bread was very good but having to keep replenishing it with new flour went against the grain with me as we didn’t eat enough bread to make the whole thing worth while.

      2. This is the point we have been discussing. Do we eat enough bread to make it worthwhile and can we be sure of regular supplies of flour. The supermarkets have plenty of factory-made bread which we could buy if we had to.

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