Party pooper

Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew.  He came across this very colourful field on one of his permitted walks.  He can’t say what it is that the farmer is growing.

andrew's red field

My day started with a Zoom visit to Australia. My sister Susan’s friend Stephen has contributed guest pictures to the blog and as she was scheduled to talk him, she thought that I ought to take this opportunity to visit him digitally too.  The technology is amazing and there seems to be no difference at all in talking to someone in Edinburgh or someone in Sydney.  My sister and I had a very enjoyable conversation with Stephen and his wife and I hope to get more guest pictures from him when he is able to get out and about freely again.

It was very cold here today and there had even been a little rain overnight.  A very brisk and cold wind was making an urgent case for a return to winter clothing and this was particularly annoying as it was the 89th birthday of our socially distanced street coffee morning participant Margaret.  We had hoped to give her a socially distant street birthday party.  In the end, it was a rather brief and huddled experience but we sang Happy Birthday and ate cake so we did our best.

All being well, we will have a really good street do for  Margaret’s ninetieth next year.

Although it wasn’t really a day for gardening, some gardening needed to be done.  Things needed watering as the overnight rain was pathetic, and things needed to be propped up and protected from the cold wind, and of course, things needed to be photographed.

I like the contrasts that Mrs Tootlepedal has between the softness of cow parsley and honesty and geums, and the brilliance of hostas and rhododendrons.

rhododendron, wild garden flowers, hosta

And I liked the prospect of lettuce and marmite sandwiches for lunch today and mashed potato in the future.

lettuce and potato

We didn’t stay out for too long and I was soon looking out of the window at the birds on the feeder.

There were contrasts there too, between small greenish birds having a nibble…

greenfinch and siskin

…and very big black birds eating us out of house and home..

rook on feeder

We went back out into the garden to check on a new bench.  It had been delivered with such expert social distancing that we didn’t even realise that it had arrived.

new bench

It will replace an old favourite which unfortunately has started to fall to pieces becuase people will insist on sitting on it.  As this one has been made long enough for Mrs Tootlepedal to stretch out and relax on it during those lazy, hazy days of summer still to come, we think that it might need another plank on the seat to stop her falling through the crack at the back.

While we were out, I noted the first flowers on a Sweet Rocket…

sweet rocket

…more euphorbia madness….


..and some lilac blossom.

lilac blossom

Not everything in the garden is full colour though.  There is always an element of greenness about too.

green garden

Then it was back inside for lunch and another look at the birds.

There was considerable goldfinch and greenfinch traffic…


…and one naughty goldfinch thought that it could hide behind the feeder pole and behave badly undetected.

goldfinches kicking

The forecast had been very gloomy and the morning matched the forecast, but by the afternoon, the sun was shining brightly enough to persuade Mrs Tootlepedal to go out for a walk, ignoring the still very chilly and brisk wind.  As it wasn’t an attractive day for bicycling, I was more than happy to go with her.

We stood on the town bridge and looked down. The rocks appeared under the clear water in the shadow of the bridge and the sun glinted on the ripples beyond giving this curious result.

reflection on bridge

We saw a gull, a small tortoiseshell butterfly and a thrush all enjoying their moment in the sun as we walked along.

gull, small tortoiseshell, thrush

We headed up the hill for the track along the top of the wood above the Lodge Walks and marvelled at the freshness of the colour…

track abive pathhead

…and the bluebells which were to be seen on every side.

bluebells near north lodge

I showed Mrs Tootlepedal the track above the North Lodge which I had followed for the first time a few weeks ago.  It ended at this beautiful tree.

bright tree

Going along the forestry road at the end of the track, we passed a lot of this lysimachia nemorum or yellow pimpernel.

lysimachia nemorum

I haven’t seen it anywhere else this year, but perhaps I haven’t been looking carefully enough.

There has been tree felling here, and as is often the case, the timber company has left one or two lone trees still standing.

tree above longfauld

Mrs Tootlepedal pointed out a particularly strong violet and it made the blues of the bluebells and bugleweed look a bit pale in comparison.

bluebell, violet and ajuga

We dropped down through another patch of bluebells…

bluebell woods longfauld

…and joined the track back to the Castleholm, passing any number of lovely trees on the way.

trees on castleholm may

If we had stopped for every photo opportunity on our walk, we would never have got home in time for a cup of tea and a ginger biscuit or two.  (I had providentially made the biscuits during the morning.)

The walk was three and a half miles of pure springtime pleasure, and it was all the more enjoyable because we hadn’t expected the weather to let us get out for a walk at all, let alone one that was so sunny and relatively warm (when we were sheltered from the wind).

I had my second Zoom conversation of the day with my brother and sisters and then enjoyed an excellent evening meal prepared by Mrs Tootlepedal (I did the washing up).

Looking at the forecast, we are due for another near freezing morning tomorrow but there is still no proper rain in sight so it looks like more watering in the garden.

The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch, probably searching for someone to kick.

flying goldfinch

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

37 thoughts on “Party pooper

  1. We also had a very cold and windy day with some rain. The skies only started to clear at sunset, unfortunately. I have been admiring your photographs on the Raptor Persecution site where they have been highlighting the Langholm Moor Community Buyout scheme
    I like your photos of the rascally rook, the yellow pimpernel and the shadows and sunlight seen form the town bridge. I hope you have many happy hours sitting on your new bench!

  2. Your new bench looks very strong and sturdy and should last many years.
    Are you going to give it some waterproofing? but still keeping it’s fine natural colour of course.
    Like your tree lined canopy path,is it beech?

  3. That bench looks decidedly odd. Did you order it like that, or have they left a plank off? Lettuce and Marmite sandwiches – now there’s a lovely thought. (Though I know that Marmite is one of those marmite things.)

  4. The Lodge Walks never disappoint – they always look so inviting. Your new bench has the same lovely rippling lines as your other one; I assume they were made by the same person?

      1. Oh my, it would be lovely to do a “comparison sit”. As things go, we will have to wait for the vaccine!

  5. Pleased to see the bluebell photos and the sunlit track..such lovely pictures! Spring passes so quickly that these images have to be captured as many times as possible! Who’d have thought you’d have been able to enjoy such an enjoyable walk …weather forecasts are not reliable! Must look out for the yellow pimpernel! The scarlet pimpernel is around but elusive!

    1. The cow parsley was a gift from a wild flower loving friend but it is absolutely at home in the garden. Today, gently swaying in the breeze under good sunshine, it was totally enchanting.

  6. That is a fine garden bench, and beautiful pictures. The weather here is forecast to be colder, but nothing too drastic, with a small chance of rain, so I should be following yourself and Mrs tootlepedal’s example to take a walk one early morning this week. I feel tired already. Cheers.

  7. I like that picture on the bridge. It reminded me of ones that Kat and I used to like taking… shadows! But yours is unusual, the rocks in the water looks like snake skin!

  8. The Lodge Walks are always a pleasure to take a virtual walk about.

    I have also noted that here, foresters leaving a lone tree or two on a clear cut. I am not sure why they do that.

    Your Flying Goldfinch of the Day does look as if he is cruising about for a fight. 🙂 Birds have stopped coming to our feeder for the most part. The towhee comes in now and then to kick seed about, but everyone seems to have found fresh local forage or has moved on.

  9. I can’t believe the Rook on the feeder pole. Sorry to hear you have been near freezing too. I am quite tired of it as well but the sunshine gives me hope. Glad you are enjoying Zoom meetings. I should try harder to embrace the two I attend since I have a feeling they will continue for the foreseeable future.

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