Going downhill slowly

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew.  On his permitted walk, he revisited a blue bell wood that he found unsatisfactory when he photographed it on a walk not long ago and found it much more satisfactory today.

andrew's bluebells

We had another sunny start to our day and the neighbourhood alfresco coffee morning team enjoyed their physically distanced but socially engaged conversation while taking in some rays.

I joined them for a while and then went off to look round the garden to check on developments.

I found a stunning tulip just opened…

red tulip opening

…and another one developing a hint of a tint.

yellow tulip with tint

The lamium seems to add more flowers every day and is obviously enjoying the chilly mornings more than me.

lamium doing well

And this qualifies, I think, as a colourful corner.

tulips and grap hyacinths

I am hopeful that an anemone, which has been unfurling at an amazingly slow rate over the past week, will open fully soon.  Curiously, it likes to turn its back on the sun, and as it is at the very front of a border, it makes it hard for me to get a good picture of it.

anemone nearly there

Mrs Tootlepedal was busy as ever and after her coffee and conversation, she got the last of her potatoes planted out.

potatoes in

Rather annoyingly, she decided not to buy too many seed potatoes this year, but with hindsight, this was probably not the best decision that she has ever made.   The way that flour is proving hard to find though probably indicates that she should have been planting wheat anyway!

We are out of homemade blackcurrant jam, so I am keeping an eye on the blackcurrant bush and hoping that it will have enough berries on it to make a few pots this year.  It is looking promising at the moment.

blackcurrant buds

I took a pictures of these cheerful tulips and went in for lunch.

fancy tulips

After lunch and some creative time wasting, I went for a cycle ride.  The sun had disappeared behind some grey clouds and the energetic east wind meant that I was back to riding in my winter jacket again.

I didn’t need the warmth too much as I cycled up to the top of Callister with the wind behind me, but I was very glad of it on the way back.  It was miserable battling into the cold, cold blast coming straight up the road towards me.  This stretch of my ride had much of the enjoyment of being repeatedly hit in the face with a wet fish.

It took me 33 minutes to cycle the six and  half miles up the hill and even pedalling furiously, I could only knock two minutes off that time on the way back down into Langholm.  Hard work.

I pedalled along the river as I passed through the town and was pleased to see a couple of old friends, though the oyster catcher was scooting away from a dog walker…

oyster catcher moving off

…and the gull was looking round to see what the fuss was.

gull checking

I cycled through the town and out of the other side, taking the main road north until I got to the road junction where this memorial is sited.

rideel memorial

I visited the church at Teviothead where he was minister on a ride earlier this week.

(You can hear a 10 inch shellac 78 rpm recording of his poem set to music here.)

Opposite the memorial, new life was to be seen.

sheep and twin lambs

And across the valley, I could see the preparations for a new forestry plantation.hill ready for planting

The four miles home, gently downhill and with the cold wind now behind me, made me forget the hard work into the wind and I ended up feeling, slightly erroneously, that I had had a very enjoyable 21 mile ride.

Before I had gone out on my bike, I had mixed and prepared some rich dough and put a dozen tea cakes to rise.  When I got back, they were ready to go into the oven.  They came out looking quite inviting, flatter and more suitable for toasting (the proper destiny for a tea cake) than my last batch.

tea cake triumph

I spoke to my siblings courtesy of Zoom and then, as the sun had come out again, I went out into the garden to enjoy the evening sunshine.

sunlit daffs

I noted the Esau and Jacob of the starling world on top of Irving’s holly tree. (Gen 21.11)


I used the last of Mrs Tootlepedal’s mince and a tin of tomatoes to make an unsophisticated but enjoyable pasta sauce for our tea.

We have so settled in to the gentle rhythm of the lockdown that it will come as quite a shock when we suddenly get choices and have to make up our minds where to go and what to do….if we ever get to that time.

In the meantime, there was no flying bird of the day today, just a perching chaffinch.  By way of variety, you can have him looking down,,,

chaffinch looking down

..or up.

chaffinch looking up

Take your pick.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

34 thoughts on “Going downhill slowly

  1. Excellent looking tea cakes again.
    I’ll have the second one down on the right please 😃
    It’s not pleasant riding into a headwind as we know.
    My normal ride is typically five mls of uphill into a headwind apart from the odd time when it’s a north easterly.

  2. The tea cakes look very good!

    I haven’t tried growing currants here, yet. I’ve only eaten dried currants, but enjoyed them. Sounds like they might do well in a barrel planter. Today or tomorrow I hope to finish the new chive bed. I did a lot of digging yesterday.

    I am listening to “Scotland Yet” and have bookmarked it.

  3. The color of the anemone is exquisite. How long has this plant been in your garden? I would love to order some if I knew the name😉.
    I’ve been reading about the beginnings of Ornithology in the US all winter and just received a copy about the life of Henry Dresser (Henry Dresser and Victorian Ornithology). Judging from your interest in birds you probably would enjoy it in case you haven’t already read it. And he would have loved your photos!

    1. The anemone is anemone coronaria Bordeaux. An unfortunate name in these times but a lovely flower. You give me too much credit with regard to birds. I love looking at them and taking photographs of them but I am very ignorant about them and couldn’t be called an ornithologist at all.

  4. That anemone is a beautiful color. I’d like to have a plot full of them.
    The same goes for those bluebells. I never see them here.
    I would think you could get more seed potatoes, or maybe there is a run on them as well. I haven’t heard.

    1. They tend not to sell seed potatoes as late as this. I love the anemone but it is a bit tender for our garden so doesn’t do as well as it should.

  5. The red tulip has interestingly shaped petals – very pretty. The river shots look chilly.

    Exciting times in our household: tonight my husband gave me my “lockdown” haircut. He’s more used to wielding zip grinders and welders, so the clippers were an interesting diversion. All in all, not too bad a result!

  6. A beautiful colourful corner! I feel incredibly smug at the moment as I managed to track down some yeast this week. I am now rationing the flour… Those teacakes look like the real deal!

  7. Lovely to see the colors we are not yet experiencing. The lamium is interesting. And the cheerful tulips remind me that somewhere a squirrel has planted them in my yard, but as yet nothing has bloomed. Nice of the chaffinch to give you a choice. Both good.

  8. Tulips – love them especially that ‘posh’ one! Never tried growing anemones but if they look like that the bulbs will be in my shopping basket when we are allowed out again! The chaffinches are sweet little birds and you’ve really captured their little characters. The teacakes look delicious and worth a cycle ride to work up an appetite and use up some calories too!

      1. Well done- mind you you do keep very active and must have a strong will to only eat a couple of your delicious looking teacakes at a time!

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