Date with destiny

Today’s guest picture is another from Venetia’s recent walk.  She met a nesting swan and was very careful to keep her social distance.

venetia's swan

Our spell of dry weather continued today and it has reached the stage that talk of drought and water shortage is appearing in the national press.   Certainly it has been dry enough for cracks to begin to occur in Mrs Tootlepedal’s flower beds.  Considering that we were suffering from incessant rain and floods only two months ago, the change has been remarkable and a little disturbing.  We should have changeable weather, not weeks of one thing at a time.

Anyway, the street socially distanced coffee morning enjoyed the sunshine once again (and polished off the last of the date rolls).  I had a look round while I was there and saw the first Welsh poppy of the year against the wall of our house, aubretia and hosta beside the dam, and marsh marigolds in it.

poppy, hosta, aubretia and marsh marigold

Sparrows flitted about, one pecking at the mortar of our neighbour Liz’s house and they were joined by other sparrows and a collared dove when I went back into the garden.

sparrows and dove

The sparrows in the garden were doubtless hoping to get a peck at Mrs Tootlepedal’s  young lettuce but it is well protected.  They don’t seem to enjoy broad beans so Mrs Tootlepedal has been able to take the mini greenhouses off them.

lettuce and beans

She is very pleased with the progress of the cow parsley which will soon be in full bloom…

cow parsley

…and with the trilliums which are coming along splendidly.


Because I like eating fruit a lot, I am particularly pleased to see that it is apple blossom time.

first apple blossom

And of course, there are always tulips…

tulip panel

…my current favourite being ‘Queen of the Night’ (bottom right) , a very dark variety.

Daffodils are piling up in the compost bin…

daffs in compost

…but they are not all dead and gone yet.

daffodil pair

I don’t use weed killer on the lawn any more, as it is generally a bad thing and also means that you can’t put the grass cuttings in your compost unless you leave them there for ages.  And a result, there is a bit more colour on the middle lawn than an obsessional lawn person would want…

weeds on lawn

…but I am quite relaxed about it these days.  I may dig the worst of the weeds out later in the spring or I may just let them alone.

I sieved some compost and held the cable while Mrs Tootlepedal mowed along the back of the house beside the dam.  She also mowed the drying green, trying not to behead any of her new tulips.   She is aiming for a forest of tulips but has a little way to go yet.

drying green with tulips

After lunch something on the lawn made a thrush and a blackbird find things to interest them.

thrush and blackbird on lawn

Mrs Tootlepedal had scattered some chopped up cashew nuts and they also caught the attention of a rook.

rook on wire

I left the nut hunters to it and went off for my permitted cycle ride, my third in three days after three days of walking.  I will get back to my walk/ride alternation from tomorrow.

At 65°F (18°C) it was like a summer’s day and not only the cycling shorts but sun cream were necessary for a comfortable ride.

I went for a shorter and easier ride than yesterday and stuck to the lowlands.

Marsh marigolds and dandelions lit up the verges

marsh marigolds and dandelions

Gretna was eerily empty as I cycled through it, with weddings, tour buses and the shopping village all out of the picture.  The motorway was eerily empty too.

empty motorway

Strange times.

The trees on the Gretna to Longtown road were beautiful to behold….

trees at CAD

…and the Longtown pond wasn’t bad either.

Longtown pond

I was pleased to see this handsome tree in full leaf…

tree with leaves

…and I was happy to have the opportunity to set the record straight on a wild flower I had misidentified in yesterday’s post.  It wasn’t valerian at all, but wild garlic, also called Jack in the Hedge.  As you can see, this lot was living up to its name.  (Thank you to the kind readers who put me right.)

jack by the hedge

When I got back to Langholm after 32 miles of warm and sunny pedalling, I paused as I crossed the bridge to get the riverside blossom and the river in the same shot.

river with blossom from bridge

During the outing, I did finally eat the last date in my collection and I will now have to wait, possibly many months, until I can get to the shop that sells them. The lack of dates and interesting cheese is annoying but it is keeping me relatively slim.  Every cloud….

The trip took me over 300 miles for the month and I have also passed 1000 miles for the year.  These are not great distances but they are nevertheless satisfactory with a few days still left in the month.

WhatsApp and Zoom are keeping the family well connected and neighbours are always available across a road, hedge, dam or fence so we are constrained but not lonely and count our blessings.

The flying bird of the day is that rook going nuts.

flying rook

Footnote:  As I was writing this post, Mrs Tootlepedal called my attention to a nearly new moon.


Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

29 thoughts on “Date with destiny

  1. Everything is looking very new and clean on your side of the globe…even the moon! I hope you wont have to wait too long for dates and interesting cheese. It may be better for the waistline but those delicacies do add a bit of pizazz!

  2. Your rook is a fiercesome looking character,that beak could do some damage.
    A local farmer friend of mine once told me he’s known them peck the eyes out of new born lambs,though usually the ones that wouldn’t have made it anyway.
    It’s the natural way of things according to him
    Like your moon shot.
    Yes the roads are eerily quite atm,which makes cycling more relaxing.
    Apparently rain is forecast for the middle of next week.

  3. The moon is in the growing crescent phase now, so if our sky clears sufficiently by sundown, I should see it here.

    I love a lawn dotted with dandelions and sprinkled with clover, especially with dandelions being edible and bees love dandelions too. I particularly love that photo panel of the marsh marigolds and dandelions.

  4. You mentioned the cow parsley….I have looked all over for it here in the US, we have Queen’s Anne’s Lace, but it is not as nice. Did you sow it from seed, or have you always had it?

  5. Our weather has gone the other way, with cold and rainy or snowy days. And we’ve had it for weeks.
    The trees along the road and those along the river are beautiful things to see.
    That’s a great shot of the sliver of moon.

  6. My attitude to so-called weeds in the lawn is to enjoy them, but to make sure that dandelions are deadheaded after flowering to prevent the ‘clocks’ from forming and dispersing their seeds.

  7. I have to agree about this not so changeable weather, but it has made for very stunning greenery here in the Neath Valley. Like yours in the borders the trees are beautiful to behold. Cheers.

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