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.
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.
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.
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.
She is very pleased with the progress of the cow parsley which will soon be in full bloom…
…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.
And of course, there are always tulips…
…my current favourite being ‘Queen of the Night’ (bottom right) , a very dark variety.
Daffodils are piling up in the compost bin…
…but they are not all dead and gone yet.
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…
…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.
After lunch something on the lawn made a thrush and a blackbird find things to interest them.
Mrs Tootlepedal had scattered some chopped up cashew nuts and they also caught the attention of a rook.
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
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.
The trees on the Gretna to Longtown road were beautiful to behold….
…and the Longtown pond wasn’t bad either.
I was pleased to see this handsome tree in full leaf…
…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.)
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.
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.
Footnote: As I was writing this post, Mrs Tootlepedal called my attention to a nearly new moon.