A cold start

Today’s guest picture comes from my camera club friend Simon.   He came across a tree beside the river at Canonbie, about which it can be truly said that the bottom has fallen out of its world.

Jock's Pool tree

We had a frosty start to the day here but thanks to my policy of rising slowly and late, it had got quite a bit warmer before I was out and about.

Mrs Tootlepedal had enjoyed her socially distanced coffee morning with the neighbours and I had been to the shop by the time that I took this arty picture of plum and magnolia combined.

arty magnolia

We were serenaded in the garden by one of our dunnocks…

dunnock singing

…though to be truthful, it wasn’t singing for us at all.

I pruned a dying bough of our privet tree and then kept an eye out for pollinators visiting the plum tree.  I was happy to see several big bees flying in to do some work.

flying bee and blossom

Other bees visited the dicentra and after hanging around underneath the flower…

bee on dicentra bottom

…this one actually bore out what we had seen on a nature programme on the telly a couple of nights ago and drilled a hole through the side of the flower to get at the nectar.

bee piercing dicentra

The riddle of the scars on the side of the flower in yesterday’s post is solved.

As well as bees, birds visited the plum tree too.

chaffinch plum blossom

I spent quite a bit of time wandering around the garden and noted a few of the things that I saw.

The pulsatilla (we only have one) didn’t seem to mind the chilly morning.

pulsatilla flower

The blackbird kept an eye on me and Mrs Tootlepedal.  It was stable enough on the hedge but looked a little shaky when it hit the heights.

balckbird low and high

Some red tulips were eye popping and two lots of yellow tulips started to come out as the day went on.

tulips panel

Mrs Tootlepedal put some crumbs from the bread tray out on the lawn and this quickly drew a mixed bag of rooks and jackdaws to peck them up.

rook and jackdaws

After lunch, I went for a walk.  Looking for somewhere new to stroll, I chose to direct my feet up the Wauchope road, the route of many a cycle ride but a rare choice for pedestrian activity.

I wondered if I would see more than when I cycled and of course, I did.

I noticed dogs mercury which is growing in abundance in damp and shady spots and a lot of horsetail just coming up along the road verges…

dogs mercury, horsetail, mallard, fern

…and there were ferns with spore clusters growing on walls and mallards swimming in the river.

I stopped to look at my favourite little cascade at Bessie Bell’s.  In  spite of very low water, it was still a pleasure to watch the water spilling down between the rocks.

bessie bell wauchope cascade

…and it is always interesting to contemplate the forces that bent the rocks beside the river almost double.

bent rock bessie bell

I was able to see new growth on larch and spruce as I walked on (and a lot more horsetail)…

larch, spruce and horsetail;

…and there was a lamb too.

lamb at bull mountain

I stopped at the spot where Mrs Tootlepedal used to go to collect manure and walked down to the woods along the river there.

I had been keeping an eye out for larch flowers and to my delight, I saw some here.

larch flower april

I went down to the river bank and took a look at a noted local boulder called the Big Dowie.  It is a large mass of white granite deposited among the sedimentary rocks in the River Wauchope during the Ice Age.

big dowie

I walked for a few hundred yards along the river bank through the woods, stopped to listen the river gurgling over the rocks….

wood walk, wauchope, gate, larch flowers

…and then came back through this gate into the field, and on my way along the edge of the wood, I saw more larch flowers.

It was quite a pleasant day, with some spells of weak sunshine so I walked further up the road, enjoying the sunlit green woodland floor, interesting lichen on another wall….

trees, lichen, meadow pipit, slow worms

…and then on my way back, a small flock of meadow pipits and the slow worms at Pool Corner.

My walk had taken me as far as the progressively more ruined cottage at Blochburnfoot…

cottage blochburnfoot

…and by the time that I had got home, I had covered about five miles with an added half mile for the walk through the little wood (and having to go back to get a new battery for camera just after I had started).

I didn’t get in without one more stop though, as I bumped into Mike Tinker at the new bridge over the dam behind out house.  When I say that I bumped into him, I am speaking figuratively because naturally we observed social distancing.  We chatted for a while, and he admired the fine clump of marsh marigolds in the water and then a family with two small children arrived to admire the ducks that have taken up residence in the dam.

ducks marsh marigolds dam

As the area was now quite crowded, we went on our separate ways and I was glad to get the weight off my feet and enjoy a Zoom chat with my brother and sisters.  I also enjoyed several ginger biscuits and a cup of tea kindly provided by Mrs Tootlepedal.

I am going to take a diversion into the weather now.  After weeks of endless rain in February, the wettest on record, we have had no significant rain, as far as I can see from the blog, for exactly a month.  Looking at the forecast for the next ten days, there is no rain coming either.  One of the features of our weather, as far as I can recall, used to be its changeability.   Now, we seem to get one thing or another for long periods.  I believe that this may be due to a strengthening of the jet stream thanks to climate change so that it is more difficult to shift than it was before.  The extended lack of rain is adding to the unreality of the current situation.

However, I did get a genuine flying bird of the day as a goldfinch did its torpedo impression.

flying goldfinch torpedo

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

39 thoughts on “A cold start

  1. So you caught the bee in the act of drilling a hole in the dicentra! I have heard of this behavior, too.

    I have thoroughly enjoyed all the photos from your day, including your guest photo from Simon. That poor tree is in a precarious position.

    It has been below freezing here the last two mornings, although daytime temperatures have been close to 70. I harvested some asparagus shoots yesterday that were frostbitten, and made a makeshift tent for the patch last night before dark yesterday. We are due for some rain tomorrow, although it has been drier than normal for April here, so far. We are keeping an eye on the upcoming fire season.

    1. I hope that you don’t get serious fires. They must be very alarming. Simon’s tree doesn’t look long for this world it must be said. Another good flood might see it off.

  2. For quite a few years here in southeast Pa. I’ve been saying the weather patterns have been either feast or famine. Too dry, too wet, too hot. Yesterday my rain gauge had 4”. This is the fourth year of too much rain ( but a winter of no snow) go figure.

  3. It “bore out” that the bee drilled, did it? Sleeping in the knife drawer again, I see!

    Wonderful close-ups today – the suspended bee is brilliant. The Big Dowie rather puts us all in our place, at least in terms of transience, doesn’t it? Quite humbling.

    Blinking cold here lately – winds that will cut right through you, and ‘highs’ in the negatives. And yet a roofer working down the street today was wearing shorts!

    1. I think that the bent rock is the thing that impresses me most as it show the huge forces that have shaped our tranquil landscape. These people who wear shorts in bitter weather only do it to annoy.

  4. So many pleasurable photographs today, especially the gate and the falling down house – both favourite subjects of mine.

  5. Caw that rook sure has a big beak! So many great and interesting photos on your walk- a larch flower is a new one for me and a rock deposited in the ice age is fascinating. Lovely photo of the chaffinch in the plum tree and the torpedo goldfinch is brilliant.

  6. Your little brown dunnock is almost as adorable as your robins.

    No rain here either until last night when I was so grateful that the garden got slightly dampened.

    Love pulsatilla, have never seen a white one in person.

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