A delightful surprise

Today’s guest picture comes from one of my brother’s permitted walks.  He tells me that the bluebells were much more exciting in real life than they are in the picture, but that is always the case as any photographer will tell you.  That is why photo editing programs sell so well.  I think the bluebells look good.

Andrew's bluebells

We had a some rain overnight and although it had stopped by the time that I got out into the garden, there was still evidence of it to be seen…

drops on leaf

…and this was my favourite example.

drop on lupin leaves

The feeder was getting more attention than of late, with a siskin, a sparrow and greenfinch among the visitors.

siskin, greenfinch, chaffinch

Goldfinches appeared too, waiting their turn in Mrs Tootlepedal’s fake tree….

two goldfinches fake tree

…and so did this pair of chaffinches, who appeared to be a bit hard of hearing.

deaf chaffinches

During the morning I didn’t do much in the garden while Mrs Tootlepedal transplanted some alliums, though I managed some light daffodil deadheading.

I had a look in the greenhouse and marvelled at just how whiskery meconopsis plants are.

meconopsis greenhouse

Mrs Tootlepedal tells me that they are not looking quite as well as she would hope.  I have my fingers crossed for them as they are being specially grown for me to take pictures of them later in the year.

Lettuces and peas in the greenhouse are looking good.

lettuce peas greenhouse

Mrs Tootlepedal recently transplanted some tulips and in the course of the action, one tulip suffered fatal injuries.  The garden’s loss is the kitchen windowsill’s gain.

tulips indoors

When I came out of the greenhouse, I couldn’t resist taking another look at the rosemary plant just beside it.  It has really enjoyed the rather odd weather this year.

rosemary flowers april

After lunch, I went for my permitted walk.

My friends Nancy and Bob had told me two days ago that they had seen a few early bluebells on a recent walk so I went in the direction that they indicated to see if I could spot some for myself.  It didn’t feel like bluebell weather so i wasn’t very hopeful.

It still looked rather wintery as I got on to the Stubholm track on a chilly, grey afternoon…

stubholm track april

…but it is April and there were lots of sprouting leaves to be seen, and a bluebell.

green shoots stubholm track

Yes, a bluebell.

And not just one bluebell but several more as I went along….

early bluebells

…and a small carpet of bluebells when I got to the track up into the Kernigal wood.

bluebells kernigal

Just as my brother says, they looked better in real life than they do in the picture, but a few days growth and some sunshine should make a difference.  I will return.

While I was looking at them, I met fellow camera club member Mairi, also out for her permitted walk, and we chatted (at a distance) for a few minutes.

Like me, she is rather fed up at having to do the same walks all the time and longs for freedom but the coming of the bluebells had cheered her up a bit.

I walked up through the wood, pleased to see fresh green leaves on the young birch saplings beside the path..

young birches kernigal

…and then went onto the track that leads to the top of Warbla.

Even on a grey, chilly day it is an inviting prospect, especially when things are dry underfoot as they at present.

track to warbla

Not long afterwards, I heard a strange gasping noise behind me and I found myself being passed by a young fellow on a mountain bike.  He pedalled off up the track in front of me and must have been quite surprised when he passed me again before he got to the summit.  The track takes a wide route to the top of the hill and I had walked briskly up the more direct route across the grassy hill.

As the cyclist had parked his bike against the trig point at the top of the hill and was busy putting on a jacket for the descent, I didn’t linger.

It wasn’t a great day for views anyway…

view from warbla

…and after taking a single shot, I set off down the rough track towards Skippers Bridge….and was surprised to be passed by the cyclist again.  He soon disappeared from view though and I took my time over the tussocky terrain and didn’t see him again this time.

I had met a lady early on my walk who uttered those fateful words, “You should have been there with your camera yesterday.”   It seemed that she had been sitting under Skippers Bridge in the sunshine when she had seen an entertaining frog.

I thought that since I was there, I should see if I could see an entertaining frog today.

I couldn’t, but the view of the bridge never fails to please so I didn’t miss the frog too much.skippers bridge

The water is so low at the moment that I could get close to the bridge and look up to see how much it was widened to cope with increasing traffic.  It was built in 1690 and widened in 1807.

skippers two tone brodge

I took a puzzle picture while I was there.  The water was so calm below the bridge that is difficult to see what is above the surface and what is under it.

esk rocks at skippers

I walked back home along the right bank of the river and enjoyed this tree stump with a skirt of daisies and a lone lady’s smock flower on top, looking much like a candle on a birthday cake.

tree stump land's end

Some fresh green leaves down on the river bank caught my eye and I saw many little yellow flowers among them.  I had no idea what they are and indeed, I wasn’t even sure if the leaves and the flowers were related or just coincidental.

yellow flowers beside esk

(I have consulted Mrs Tootlepedal and she thinks that flowers are marsh marigolds and the leaves are not.)

When I got home, I once again reflected that you can get a lot of value out of a four mile walk round Langholm.

My good mood was further enhanced by an excellent meal of roast chicken, roast potatoes with stuffing and peas.  It had been prepared by Mrs Tootlepedal as an Easter treat.

Tomorrow is going to be even chillier than today, but with a bit of luck, the sun may come out in time for an afternoon bike ride.

The flying bird of the day is one of the starlings that zoom about above the garden.  They have very neat wings.

flying starling


Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

42 thoughts on “A delightful surprise

  1. I agree with Laurie, this was a nice Easter treat. Your walks and rides have so many things that catch your eye, and your lens. I especially like that carpet of bluebells and the birthday candle stump.

    Water droplets are often more beautiful than jewels.

    1. I didn’t question the lady closely about the quality of the entertainment. I think avoiding being eaten by a bird came into it. But I like your idea too.

  2. Good value indeed! The water droplet looks like it has facets, and the rocks under Skippers Bridge are beautiful. Both the original version of the bridge and the widened version are significantly older than Canada!

  3. Lovely to see the bluebells in the wood. Great photos of the water drops and the quiet water under the bridge. Your rosemary has very pretty colouring and I suspect the scent to go with it. I smell our rosemary bush every time I pass it ..when I remember …it’s supposed to help the memory!

  4. I hope those meconopsis do well!

    Wonderful bridge and water photos.

    Sounds like a perfect example, with the bicycle, of the difficulty of social distancing on trails.

    That is a big birthday cake for a first birthday. 🙂

  5. I love your bluebells. Such a glorious shade of blue. I would love to see a whole raft of them in person.

    I think your “marsh marigolds” are actually Ficaria verna, which I call lesser celandine, but I’ve also heard called fig buttercup. It has smaller flowers with more petals and smaller leaves that match the ones in the photo, and it particularly likes to close up that way, with the petals up and the bracts (or maybe they are sepals?) spread straight out like a saucer.

  6. An entertaining frog would have been a welcome diversion but as I get older I have become accustomed to disappointment. Julia just read this over my shoulder and agreed that life is full of disappointment.

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