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.
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.
And I liked the prospect of lettuce and marmite sandwiches for lunch today and mashed potato in the future.
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…
…and very big black birds eating us out of house and home..
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.
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…
…more euphorbia madness….
..and some lilac blossom.
Not everything in the garden is full colour though. There is always an element of greenness about too.
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.
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.
We saw a gull, a small tortoiseshell butterfly and a thrush all enjoying their moment in the sun as we walked along.
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…
…and the bluebells which were to be seen on every side.
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.
Going along the forestry road at the end of the track, we passed a lot of this lysimachia nemorum or yellow pimpernel.
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.
Mrs Tootlepedal pointed out a particularly strong violet and it made the blues of the bluebells and bugleweed look a bit pale in comparison.
We dropped down through another patch of bluebells…
…and joined the track back to the Castleholm, passing any number of lovely trees on the way.
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.