Lightly spotted

Today’s guest picture is a very painterly photograph of a nesting swan on a canal taken by my Welsh correspondent Keiron on his way to work today.

Keiron's swan

There was a theoretical chance of rain today but once again we had a sunny morning and the street socially distanced coffee group (fortified by date rolls)  was able to chat away while sitting in warm sunshine, caressed by light winds.

All through the morning, Mrs Tootlepedal busied herself with watering in the garden.  The soil is very dry.

I did a little compost sieving and aimless wandering.  Well, actually it wasn’t entirely aimless as I pointed my camera at a lot of things as I went by.

There is no shortage of tulips to look at, although I have been dead heading quite a lot for a few days now.

tulip sextet

I was particularly pleased to see that we have got three perennial wallflowers showing life.  These tend to go on flowering for months and provide a photographer with a subject when all else has faded.

perennial wallflower panel

Sometimes anticipation is as good as realisation…

icelandic poppy bud

…with plants bursting with potential…

allium bud

…and just waiting for another warm day.

rhododendron bud

However, there is not much to beat Mrs Tootlepdal’s geums when they are actually out.

geum in garden

The collared dove arrived back on the seed feeder and let me get very close before it flew off

collared dove panel

When I went in to make lunch (soup and bread and cheese again) a rook posed on the plum tree for me.

rook in plum tree

A greenfinch paused for a moment on Mrs Tootlepedal’s fake tree before lunch…

greenfinch in fake tree

…and another one made an awkward landing on the feeder after lunch, surprising a siskin.

greenfinch landind

Once again, the forecast was rather shifty about when and if it would rain and my afternoon planning was made more difficult by the arrival overhead of some seriously thick and ominous black clouds.

However, beyond the clouds, the skies were lighter so in the end, I got my shopping bike out and went for a bike ride.

I was hoping to leave the dark clouds behind me…

dark clouds over Langholm

…and even to see a little sun as I went round my usual Canonbie circuit.

spot of sunshine

In the event, the blackest clouds kept away but sun was hard to find as I went round and from time to time a few tentative drops of rain made me nervous but came to nothing.

Curious cows checked on my progress…

two cows under trees

…and garlic mustard and cow parsley brightened up the verges.

mustard garlic and cow parsley canonbie

I didn’t stop a lot because being on the slow bike makes the journey long enough as it is but the view from Hollows Bridge was worth a minute or two on the journey time…

esk at Hollows

…and the sight of some very cheerful silverweed flowers near the Hollows village stopped me again a hundred yards further on.

silver leaf

I liked this lonely grass nearby.


The rain threatened on and off for almost the whole ride but only once was there enough to get the road even mildly wet so I was perfectly dry when I got back to Langholm. Just to annoy me, the sun came out as I crossed the River Esk.

sun over timpen from bridge

I got back in time for my daily Zoom conference with my brother and sisters.  I did take a picture of the four of them as they appeared on the screen of my phone but I will have to try again when they are not all making faces.

While I was waiting for our evening meal, there was a lot of activity at the feeder to keep me occupied.  You may think that it was raining when I took this picture of a chaffinch and a goldfinch discussing Brexit but it is just seed flying in every direction.

flying chaffinch and goldfinch

Mrs Tootlepedal cooked mince and tatties for our tea and that brought to an end a day that was remarkably like the 40 or so that have preceded it since our ‘lockdown’ started.

We have settled into a comfortable routine in the past month and are enjoying the sense of time on our hands.  We have excellent neighbours, no food shortages, easy communication with our children on a daily basis, a lovely garden in which to while away the time and quiet roads and paths round the town for cycling and walking.  We know that we are blessed and we are properly grateful for this.

An additional blessing was the arrival through the post today of a big box of Palestinian Medjoul dates, another surprise from our ever thoughtful daughter Annie.  As I now have the addresses of reliable providers of both fine cheeses and good dates, I am in a happy place as they say.  Some of Marjorie’s dates were very tasty in the date rolls.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

flying chaffinch

Footnote: If all goes well, I will pick up my road bike from the bike shop tomorrow.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

33 thoughts on “Lightly spotted

  1. I had always thought, when people were referred to as perenial wallflowers, they were being insulted. In light of your comments, I think it is quite the compliment; dependable, enduring, and beautiful…ain’t nowt wrong with that!

  2. As you so honestly put it, many of us are “ properly blessed “ including me and my small family..we can walk straight into countryside and I can cycle at will,or at least when the will is there.
    When you see the plight of so many less fortunate folks in lockdown it makes me feel slightly guilty and I would never complain about my own situation.
    If I wasn’t in my seventies and considered high risk I would love to do some helpful work,and perhaps I’m not really looking hard enough .This possibly isn’t the right forum for this,and if so I apologise and feel free to delete it.
    I like your two curious cows and the shots of the town are always welcome😊

    1. I feel the same, it has been very strange to suddenly be seen as old at age 65 and to have young friends bring us groceries. I’m used to being the one to do things for other people.

  3. My favorite this time is the shot of the trees along the river. You can’t get much more spring like than that.
    The rhododendron bud showing color was a surprise.
    I’m glad you aren’t finding food (even treats) hard to get and I’m glad life is going as well as it can. The same is true here.

    1. I just worry about the state pf the country as a whole. I don’;t have a great deal of confidence that those nominally running the show entirely know what they are doing and I am certain that they are not sharing as much of their plans with us as they should be doing. It is unsettling.

  4. I’m very happy to report we had close to two inches of rain these past several days. It’s extremely welcome. Lots of things sprouting. It’s more than I can do to try to keep up with the weeds. I admire Mrs T’s gardening results no end (including her handy helper as well!)

  5. I too admire Mrs T and her garden, your efforts with the lawn set it all off beautifully. How lovely to have a willing compost sifter. Today I liked the silverweed flowers, and the posing rook.

  6. I am happy to be able to report 5 millimetres (equalling 5 liters per square meter) which we were rained on yesterday. Much needed water, since the April was the driest I’ve ever encontered. I concur to your appraisal of modest life even in corona times. Happy to have a garden, have a good, quiet life. Lacking eyesight paid put to motoring and for shopping we can relay on our son.

    1. I am envious of your rain. We had about ten minutes today which was not nearly enough. I am pleased that you are finding circumstances tolerable.

  7. Love the geum photo such a pretty colour and shape and the cows look beautifully posed under the tree to complement the two sheep the other side. Good to read that even more delicious dates have arrived on your doorstep…as you say it’s not all bad at all!

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