Today’s guest picture is a delightful pastoral scene which my Somerset correspondent Venetia captured a week ago on one of her permitted walks.
The temperature was back to being well down in single figures again this morning and I dressed accordingly when I got up after my usual lockdown morning routine of leisurely breakfast and crossword.
I made coffee and Mrs Tootlepedal took hers outside in spite of the chill. Luckily the sun had made an appearance so her regular al fresco but socially distanced coffee and conversation with our two nearest neighbours, Liz and Margaret could go ahead without anyone freezing to death.
When the world had been set to rights (again), Mrs Tootlepedal came back into the garden and set about moving a hydrangea from the pot in which it had been bought into a spot in a border.
While she slaved away, I made a batch of ginger biscuits. I was a bit nervous after my recent failure with the hot cross buns, but the biscuits turned out well. I enjoyed the indoor tulip while I cooked…
…and was pleased to see that the rest of the transplanted tulips were doing well in their new position when I went out to see what Mrs Tootlepedal was up to.
She had dug a hole and together we heaved the plant out of its pot and into the barrow, and we were all ready to put the plant in the hole when a serious setback was encountered.
This was the setback, an infestation in the root ball of the dreaded vine weevil.
They had probably come in the pot from the garden centre where the plant was purchased, and may well have accounted for the fact that Mrs Tootlepedal had wanted to move the plant because it was not doing well.
They found a use in the garden though as food for a sparrow.
On a more cheery note, the first Banya Luka tulip has come out to add a touch of gaiety to the garden.
While the big bumble bees go for dicentra, the smaller bees seem to like the euphorbia and the grape hyacinths better…
…but I hope that all flying insects will soon turn their attention to the plum and silver pear which are more than ready for pollinators.
In spite of the chill, I saw the first pond skater of the season….
It may need proper skates as the pond may well freeze tonight.
The dicentra is bursting out and there is more honesty to be seen in the garden every day.
I don’t know what has caused the scars on the dicentra flower and would be interested to hear any suggestions.
We are getting quite excited by the possibilities of azaleas and peonies.
Mrs Tootlepedal is slightly worried that I am losing my grip thanks to the lockdown. This feeling was brought about when she found me in the garden after lunch washing the bricks that make the paving around the newly tided log shed. She thinks that this may be going a step too far.
I think that every house needs nicely shiny bricks.
It had warmed up a bit by mid afternoon, enough to persuade me to stop washing bricks and put on my cycling gear and a peacock butterfly to try warming up its wings on a path.
As the wind was coming from the north, I headed north towards Mosspaul with the idea of getting blown home.
I took a couple of contrasting views on my way up the valley….
…which included one of the bases for the workmen who are maintaining the pylons. If you look carefully, you can see the power lines in the pictures.
I was cycling straight into the wind and I was hoping that the steep sides of the road up to the summit at Mosspaul would give me some shelter from it…
…but as the wind was coming straight down the road, I just had to grit my teeth, put my head down and puff on up the hill.
I went on down the other side for a mile or two until I came to the little church at Teviothead.
We are not supposed to stray too far from home on our cycle rides, so I stopped here and turned back.
The wind was very obliging on the way back. I had taken an hour and twenty minutes to do the first fifteen miles, mainly uphill and into the wind, but only fifty five minutes to do the fifteen miles back home…
…with a single stop to take another view on the way.
By taking my time to get up and then leaving my exercise until as late in the day as was sensible, I managed to fill the day painlessly. And as I did some compost turning as well as daffodil dead heading and brick washing, it was a fun day.
I didn’t get a flying bird today and I was going to use this chaffinch to fill the position of perching bird of the day…
…but just as we were sitting down to our evening meal, a loud quacking from the dam made me look out of the back window.
And now we have a swimming bird of the day today (and perhaps ducklings to come).