Today’s guest picture comes from our friend Bruce who met an ugly customer when he was walking in the woods today.
We were blessed with a genuine summer day here, warm from start to finish, and with plenty of sunshine to be going on with.
I took advantage of the good weather to put a coat of decking oil on the old bench before coffee, and it was so warm by coffee time that we had to find some shade to sit in while we sipped and chatted.
After coffee, the garden beckoned. While Mrs Tootlepedal did useful things, I mowed the front lawn. It is by no means in top condition yet but when I looked at it from an upstairs window, it was certainly looking a lot better than it did a month ago.
I try to cut it in a different direction every time that I get the mower out and today was a diagonal day.
I had a look at flowers after I had finished mowing. Once again, I found it impossible to pass the peonies without giving them a glance…
The unusual orange potentilla is thriving and getting more flowers every day….
…and the tropaeolum is threatening to overwhelm the yew bush.
By contrast, the alliums are all but over, although they are going out in style.
After another lunch of healthy soup, I went out for a short walk. It had to be short as I needed to get back for the virtual choir practice of our Carlisle Choir. This was a bit of a pity as it was a lovely day for a stroll in the sun. I started off walking along the river bank and was impressed by how rich the grasses there are now…
…and how patiently an oyster catcher posed for a photo.
I was nearly deafened by the loud calls of a bird in the trees above my head as I watched the oyster catcher family. Hoping that it might be an interesting bird, I was a bit dashed when it turned out to be a chaffinch,. It was quite upset about something.
The Kilngreen was far busier than it has been for months, with a substantial but socially distanced queue waiting at the ice cream van and people enjoying fresh air and fun.
I crossed the Sawmill Brig and walked on to the Castleholm. I have been keeping an eye out for the first flowers on the red horse chestnut trees beside the cricket pitch and I was pleased to see that they had come out today.
The flowers are hard to miss!
There was a good selection of grasses about too….
…and a modest jungle of nettles beside the path.
When I got home, I was greeted by two roses, neither of which were doing very well but at least they offer promise of more to come.
Having made sure that I was back in time for the virtual choir practice, I was rather disappointed to find that it had been cancelled for ‘technical reasons’. I thought of dashing our for a quick cycle ride before the Zoom meeting with my siblings but I made the mistake of starting to watch a YouTube video made by an interesting art restorer, and two hours later it was time for the Zoom meeting. They shouldn’t make these things so interesting.
I had a quick look round the garden while tea was cooking.
The dark pansy was looking gorgeous.
But an outburst of noise made me look up at our neighbour Irving’s holly tree. A starling was flapping everything that could be flapped.
After our evening meal, Mrs Tootlepedal suggested a walk to the monument, so we drove up to the car park at the White Yett and walked up the hill. We hoped to see the short eared owl out hunting and we did catch a distant glimpse of it but the bird that sang to us and posed for us most was the ubiquitous meadow pipit.
There wasn’t a moment in our walk when we couldn’t hear the pipits calling.
It wasn’t a day for great views but it was extremely peaceful as we sat on the bench at the monument and looked up the Esk valley.
Down below us in the town, the church, freed from its surrounding trees, stood out as it hasn’t done for many years.
The surprise encounter of the walk was this red admiral butterfly which we met at the top of the hill.
It was a beautiful evening for a walk, and although the walk was not long, it was very satisfying.
I didn’t manage to get a flying bird of the day today but the birds had an excuse. It was just too hot for flying