Kind of blue, but not very

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary.  She got as far as Parliament Fields on her walk today and came across this rather odd tree stump.

mary's odd tree

One of the down sides of having too much time on my hands at the moment is that I tend to end up taking far too many photographs for want of anything better to do.  When I checked this evening, I found that I had managed to depress my shutter finger over a hundred times today.   This sort of thing makes it hard to keep to my intended limit of twenty pictures in a post and I have exceeded that limit several times lately.

On the plus side, it is possible that readers too may have more time on their hands than usual so perhaps a few extra images will not matter so much.

The picture glut leads to lots of panels like this ‘heart of a tulip’ selection…

four tulip hearts

…and this colourful collection.

four colourful tulip scenes

Mrs Tootlepedal likes the vivid primulas and grape hyacinths that sit in front of the pond and I like them too.

pond with flowers

Not everything in the garden is lovely.  The magnolia looks fine from a distance but…

magnolia flower damage

….a closer inspection reveals that almost every flower has been touched by the recent frosty mornings.

The chill doesn’t seem to have upset the pollinators too much and there was good selection at work in the garden again today.

three pollinators

Two late arrivals in the flower beds caught my eye today, this lovely plain fritillary…


…and this subdued but rich tulip.

deep red tulip

Mrs Tootlepedal’s morning coffee conference enjoyed another sunny morning but (metaphorical) dark clouds loomed when she tried to drive our car to the Co-op to give it a little exercise after some very quiet weeks.  A fierce warning came up stating:  YOU HAVE A PUNCTURE: STOP

She returned home promptly and we inspected the tyres to find that we plainly didn’t have a flat.  All the same,  obviously one or more of the tyres was low on pressure.  I have to take the car to Carlisle on Monday for its annual service so this was a problem.  Our local garage is shut and trying to use my bike pump proved to be no good.  Fortunately our neighbour Kenny came up trumps as it turned out that he has a portable compressor in his shed.  He kindly brought it round and pumped up the errant tyre.   We are now keeping our fingers crossed that it will stay up for long enough for me to get to the service garage on Monday.

We are fortunate with our neighbours both as far as conversation and compressors go.

In the afternoon, I went for a walk and chose a route which would take me past the bluebells so that I could see if they were fully out yet.

I set off over the park bridge.  The rivers are very low for this time of year.

low water wauchope

Then I went up to the Stubholm and down through the bluebell wood.  There were fresh buds and leaves, with promising wild garlic and the first sighting of stitchwort

buds, leafs, garlic and stichwort

…but there were not enough bluebells up to make a carpet.  You can see early birds here and there in the picture below.

start of bluebells

I think that another week will be required before the few that are up will have been joined by a crowd.   Looking at my records, I see that we are still a bit soon for the full show.

I continued my walk along the Murtholm, enjoying the sight of leaves on the trees in the birch woods on the other side  of the river.

early leaves on trees

The Murtholm track had its own delights…

signs of spring murtholm track

…and as it ends at Skippers Bridge, it is always good to walk down it on a fine day.

This was a fine day…

Langholm distillery low water

…and in spite of the low water, the bridge looked purposeful.

skipprs low water

The dry spell has led to the exposed rocks in the river turning white and the lichen on the wall beside the riverside road going grey.

dry rocks and lichen

But when I got to the track that leads up into the woods, there was plenty of green around, even if the oak trees are not in leaf yet.

four views of walk throuhg oak woods

The grass is growing strongly under the young birch trees,

grass in birch wood april

I got to the Round House and although I didn’t sit on the bench there, I did enjoy the view over the town.

Langholm view from round house

The walk back into the town was as good as the walk out, with perfect conditions under foot.

track, poplar and gull

The poplars in the park and a de[parting gull provided interest as I walked back along the river after I had come down Hallpath, where the wall had a lot of colour to keep me happy.

three wallflowers hallpath

The bank the riverside path was full of wild flowers but the pick of them for me was this gently blushing daisy.

beautiful daisy

I crossed the suspension bridge and reflected once again on how unnaturally low the rivers are at the moment.   There will be a hose pipe ban next!

low river april

When I got home I was physically refreshed by a toasted tea cake and spiritually revived by a WhatsApp visit to Matilda in Edinburgh.  She has recently acquired a small keyboard and gave us a recital of Twinkle Twinkle Little Star and Baa Baa Blacksheep.  We are hoping for the Moonlight Sonata next week.

That was followed by a Zoom meeting with my four siblings who are certainly not letting distance keep us apart at the moment.

Mrs Tootlepedal couldn’t buy yeast or flour today but there is no shortage of rhubarb so we had more rhubarb and custard to follow some lightly boiled eggs for our tea.

The fine weather is due to last until the end of next week.  If it does, it will certainly make the extended lockdown more bearable.

Not one or two but twenty four flying birds of the day today, as I caught a flock of homing pigeons out for their permitted exercise this morning.

homing pigeons

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

38 thoughts on “Kind of blue, but not very

  1. A day of contrasts then between southwest Scotland and southwest England. It’s been dark grey and horrible and tipping with rain. But on the other hand I’ve had bluebells, planted in my garden just last year, out for a couple of weeks now, and that seems typical for round here. Tbe consensus is that they’re incredibly early.

  2. Don’t worry about including so many photos of flowers – they’re very welcome (it’s snowing here right now). I wish I could share yeast and flour with you – I managed to source a good supply of both last week. Good luck with the tire issue – hope the Zoe gets you to Carlisle safely.

  3. Those car warning lights are always straight to the point! Ours gives them in Japanese which is even scarier as it requires frenzied, roadside decoding just to discover that your next service is due in 100km. No complaint from me re: overactive shutter finger. Its all looking very pretty. And you definitely have the best neighbours!!

  4. We couldn’t have too many shots of your lovely countryside,and being a lover of gardens in general we look forward to seeing the close ups of your fauna and flora.
    Nice shot of the town again too.

  5. No worries on all the extra photos, as they are all appreciated. Those tulips are lovely and make up for all the tulips the gophers ate here.

    Good luck with the tire. It may possibly be a valve stem leak if you do not have a puncture. I have had bad valve stems before.

    The new chive bed is complete here. We had a grey day, with just enough rain to wet the grass, but no more. I do hope we get some tonight.

  6. That’s too bad about the magnolias. It doesn’t take much brown to ruin the look of the blossoms but that beautiful dark tulip might help make up for it.
    It’s nice to see the new spring growth on the trees. Nothing like that here yet.
    I loved all the photos of the countryside and that blushing daisy.

  7. Thanks Tom. Your walk today remains my favourite run after nearly 30 years of gentle foot slapping.

  8. I also enjoyed all your photos. I’m always impressed you know the name of so many flowers. One question… is flour and yeast being rationed there or just not available in the stores? I wasn’t able to find any near me, using the online apps for local grocery stores, so my son sent me two packs of flour and a jar of yeast from the state of Kansas. It seems there’s no hoarding of those supplies there.

    1. It is not rationed, just scarce as many people have taken to home cooking and the flour makers were not able to adjust their packaging to suit small retail buyers rather than large restaurant and bakery orders.

  9. No way too many pictures – let them come. Beautiful view of a beautiful town nestled in shapely hills. The dreaded lockdown is made bearable by a lovely garden, helpful neighbors and the internet. No scarcity in flour and yeast here, but toilet paper seems to be of utmost desirability.

      1. We are very sensitive about here as a town is a proper place with a town council and a town hall and a village is just a collection of houses!

  10. Can’t have too many of your lovely photos as the subjects are always so interesting. The two tulip collections are beautiful and fascinating to see the differences in the tulips hearts…maybe attracting different pollinators. Someone (the council?) does a grand job of keeping the river banks looking tidy and attractive. Good to see a great photo of Skippers Bridge was included in your ‘album’ today- good job choosing all the above photos from your 100…save the others for a rainy day!

      1. This weather is so bizarre! A lock in and everywhere is basking in sunshine- it’s all so surreal. I feel sorry for the children who have had a sunny Easter holiday for once and they couldn’t go outside to play!

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