Service not included

Guess whose birthday it was today.  Guest picture courtesy of her mother Clare.

Matilda's birthday

Finding things to do in the lockdown is tricky.  Mrs Tootlepedal decided to put a stone edge on one of her garden paths today.

Mrs T's path edge

I had a couple of important things on my to do list today, take the Zoe to Carlisle for its first annual service and drop my bike in at the bike shop on the way as it needs some professional care.

I spent quite a bit of time worrying about this and working out how to take the best possible precautions but the worry was needless.  I checked the garage website before I left and found the the garage was completely shut until further notice.  I decided to take the bike to Longtown anyway and rang up to check that they were open just in case.  They were open but thanks to a misunderstanding, they were not expecting my bike.

I now have a bike appointment for next week and a highly provisional car booking for two months time.

Still, it meant that I didn’t have to worry about catching the virus.  Every cloud etc etc…

Not that there were any clouds at all here today as we had another day of wall to wall sunshine.  In fact, it was too bright to make taking garden pictures easy and a very brisk wind didn’t help things either.

Mrs Tootlepedal has been impressed by the vigour of our trout lilies…

trout lilies

…and intends to spread them about the garden a bit.

She likes this combination of tulips which were sold as a complementary lot.

mixed tulip

I like these two pairs.

two tulip twice

And these two too.  The one on the right is a tiny miniature tulip.

two tulips

In fact, I pretty well like all tulips, except very fancy ones..

It was too windy for most of the insects but one or two bees ventured out to do some work.

bee on plum blossom

I made soup for lunch and made a batch of ginger biscuits afterwards.

This all took time, so it was not until later afternoon that I set out for my permitted walk.  It was too windy to go up a hill so I settled for a sheltered lowland walk.

I started off along the Esk, with plenty to look at….

cherry gull. mallard, laurel

…headed onto the Kilngreen…

esk on lovely day

…where a very neatly framed drain cover caught my eye.

drain cover and daisies

Then I crossed the Sawmill Brig and walked up the hill to take the path along the top of the wood above the Lodge Walks.

There were lambs…

mixed lambs

…nice light and shade, and dry conditions underfoot…

track to north lodge

…not to mention bluebells (with, if you look very closely,  a peacock buterfly which I didn’t notice at the time).


I ventured on to a new track for me.  It was open and sunny at times…

new track above longfauld

…and dark and gloomy at other times.

dark wood

But I came out of the dark woods on to a familiar track and was able to enjoy once again the view across the river….

across the esk from longfauld

…and the view up the Esk Valley.

view up esk valley

My peace was shattered by the passing of a very large timber wagon…

log lorry passing

…but fortunately it disappeared in a puff of smoke.

log lorry going

Did I mention that it has been very dry for weeks?

I walked home by way of the Jubilee Bridge, passing the first wild garlic flower that I have seen this spring, as well as a handsome individual bluebell, a cheery robin, and some Corydalis on the Scholar’s Field wall.

garlic, bluebell, robin, corydalis

Just as I got home, I was nearly knocked flat by the stunning cherry blossom in our neighbour Betty’s front garden.

betty's blossom

If times were normal, we might have gone to Edinburgh to help Matilda celebrate her sixth birthday today but as it was, we enjoyed a video call and were able to sing Happy Birthday to her.  “That was very surprising,” Matilda said.

No flying bird of the day today but an oyster catcher, creeping away from me on my afternoon walk is the standing bird of the day.


Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

23 thoughts on “Service not included

  1. As I read your first sentence, before seeing the picture, I wondered how on earth you knew it was Bella (senior cat)’s tenth birthday today!

  2. It’s a pity you dont live a bit nearer,I service my own bikes and all my near neighbours too,and all their garden machinery.
    I’m a real tinkerer,and always have been, there’s nothing I like more.
    With the current lockdown folks are dragging their old bikes out the shed to find unsurprisingly they need some attention. It keeps me from the dreaded old folks boredom,a certain recipe for bad health.
    Impressive cherry blossom,and a nice corydalis.
    Great view up the river to Kilngreen👍

  3. Happy birthday to Matilda! That sure was a quick six years.
    I also meant to wish Sandy a quick recovery in yesterday’s post but your landscape photos made me lose the thought. It almost happened again today. The green fields are a pleasure to see and so are all the flowers. I like the corydalis. I’ve never seen a yellow one.

  4. Wishing Matilda a Happy Birthday! It has been 6 years already?

    I enjoyed all the views and photos from your walk. It is dry here, too. I hope we do get our rain on Wednesday.

  5. Happy birthday Matilda from all at the Homestead too. Six already?! That, to coin the birthday girl’s phrase, is very surprising! I agree : all tulips are equally gorgeous.

  6. How do I love the view of the sheep-sprinkled hills of Scotland!
    Best wishes to the aptly skirted 6year (time flies) young lady.

    1. I like the views too but I am not so keen on the sheep which eat everything and keep the land poor. But you can’t have those views without the sheep.

  7. Beautiful views on your walk with those green hills and little tracks. Lovely to see more tulips in all their shades of colour…talking about colour…good to see the 6 year old birthday girl in her rainbow colours too. Thank goodness for video calls!

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