I have had a rush of good guest pictures sent to me recently but I thought that the most appropriate one to celebrate the warmest day of the year here in Langholm today would be this one from Mary Jo in Manitoba. It shows her weather today. She is a bit fed up to say the least.
Apart from the absence of a friendly shower of rain, it was another perfect day here. There were a few fluffy clouds about in the sky but it was genuinely warm and the socially distanced street coffee morning nearly had to be cut short because we were too hot from sitting in the sun rather than too cold from a nippy east wind.
Before coffee, I had had a look at the back of the house and found plenty of colour looking in both directions along the dam from our new bridge. Only the blue aquilegia is ours, the other fine plants are the work of neighbouring gardeners.
Back in the garden, yellow was the centre of attraction. I was pleased to see some white on the poached egg plant flowers.
Mrs Tootlepedal had kindly given me a haircut after breakfast so I was looking very spruce at coffee time.
After coffee, we went back into the garden and there was once again a good deal of watering to be done, this time mostly in the vegetable garden.
I mowed the drying green and the green house grass and did some garden wandering too.
Another ornamental strawberry flower has come out to join a new and fancy dicentra, while our lone pulsatilla flower tries to keep our attention with its seed head.
Tulips and primroses represent the old guard while allium and aquilegia are the coming generation.
A friend came round with his camera, complaining that it was habitually overexposing his pictures and wondering if I could help. Greatly to my surprise, I was able to help while keeping our social distance and not even having to handle the camera. He went off very cheerfully.
After lunch, I went for a walk. Mrs Tootlepedal considered coming with me but thought that it was probably too hot for comfort and stayed at home to do some useful gardening and enjoy some of the wonderful flood of arts programmes appearing on YouTube during the lockdown.
As far as I could, I chose a shady route and after passing Skippers Bridge, which was looking almost overcome by springtime…
…I strolled along shady lanes beside the river…
…and up the hill out of the Esk Valley…
…and I walked down into the Tarras water valley.
The water was low and just trickling over the characteristic little steps in the river bed as i crossed the bridge and walked along the river bank on the far side.
As I walked along the track beside the river, I could see a good example of where those little steps in the river bed come from.
It is fascinating to reflect on the different conditions which led to these strata being laid down perhaps 350 million years ago when this part of the world lay around the equator. (I may not be totally accurate about this as one of the many things that I wish I knew a lot more about is geology.) It does make you feel that we are only very temporary visitors when we tread upon the earth’s surface.
Still, I was very happy treading on the earth’s surface today as it was a beautiful day, the surface was dry underfoot and the woods were delightful….
I was heading for the next road bridge over the Tarras to make my return journey so I didn’t cross this footbridge when I came to it…
…nor did I attempt any bungee jumping. I can never quite make up my mind whether the person who affixed the notice (inset) to the bridge had a great sense of humour or absolutely none at all.
The track between the two road bridges is of very variable quality and in normal times would require boots or even wellies to negotiate the many boggy bits along the way.
Today, I could bound over dried up bogs and skip merrily over trickling streamlets.
Near the second bridge, there is an impressive stand of reeds and a large spread of wild iris.
I hope to come back and see the irises when they are in flower. In a good year, they are a spectacular sight.
I was welcomed by a spread of speedwell and some bristly crosswort when I got to the road.
I crossed the river and began the walk up the road towards the now unused bird hide. Out in the open, the sun was beating down and I got good views across the trees towards the Lake District hills.
I took the track from Broomholmshiels back to Langholm and in spite of the brilliance of a new broom flower…
…and the glory of the view over the oaks towards Warbla…
…I was very pleased to be back in the shade again.
I sat for a moment on the bench at the Round House and enjoyed the view over the town while I had a drink of water and a revitalising date.
Thus refreshed, I pottered home, stopping only to note an oyster catcher in the river below the Suspension Bridge when I got back to the town.
Once again, I hadn’t checked the distance of my walk before I set out and I was very pleased to find that I had managed just under eight miles without getting any complaints from my feet. A measure of the warmth of the day was the fact that when I checked, I found that I had lost three pounds in weight since I weighed myself after breakfast.
A couple of date rolls and an excellent meal of fuselli pasta and meat sauce cooked by Mrs Tootlepedal followed by rhubarb and custard should have put that back on again.
I spoke to Dropscone on the phone in the evening and was happy to find him in good form. He is walking and cycling a lot as well as doing a regular half hour on the bike to nowhere in his garage every day. He will be fit as a fiddle when the golf season is finally allowed to start again.
The flying bird of the day is a heron which flapped past me on my walk today.
Footnote: There are wild rumours of as much as a millimetre of rain overnight and the temperature is going to be 10°C or more colder tomorrow than it was today (and with a brisk north wind), so I am very happy to have made such good use of the sunshine and wamth today.