Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary. She encountered an unusual elephant in Regent’s Park while meeting a friend.
I was a bit surprised to hear some heavy rain beating down on the house when I woke up, but by the time that I had actually got up for breakfast, the rain had stopped and there was occasional sunshine.
I idled some time away reading newspapers and doing the crossword before going out to see what was what in the garden. The poppies are wonderful…
..and more and more arrive every day.
When it came to the time for coffee, a light rain started to fall. Our neighbour Margaret was quite up to bringing a coat and an umbrella. I got out an umbrella too, and we sipped and chatted as the rain started and stopped every few minutes. We were joined by Liz and when the rain started again, I lent her an umbrella. By the time that we had finished….
…Liz was using the brolly to protect her from the heat of the sun. It was that sort of day.
We had drunk our coffee serenaded by the buzzing of the bees….
…and fanned by the flapping of the wings of small tortoiseshell butterflies.
After coffee, I took a picture of some verbascum flowers and found that once again, nature is stranger than fiction.
Liz has just brought a new rotary mower with wheels and she kindly lent it to me so that I could see if it was an improvement on the hover mower that I use for the drying green, greenhouse and vegetable garden grass. It did a very neat job but as the vegetable garden grass is made up of narrow paths and many small patches, the wheels made manoeuvering the mower more trouble than the good result was worth, and I went back to using the hover mower to finish the job later in the day.
Then I spent some more time clipping the hedge and shredding the clippings. With a bit of luck, one more go will see the job finished. Next of course, all the internal box hedges will need trimming too.
After lunch, I did the hover mowing and then wandered about for a while in the garden. I took time to watch birds and although I spotted a blackbird and a pigeon…
…the bird life was not busy and I looked at flower beds instead…
…and took in a few more poppies.
While I was out in the garden, Mrs Tootlepedal received a delivery from our local butcher and then set a brisket of beef to cook slowly in a casserole.
I came in to see how she was doing and took the opportunity to look out of the window at the bird feeder. Greenfinches and siskins were the flavour of the day.
When the casserole was simmering nicely, we went for a walk.
The weather was sunny as we started out walking down to the river. When we got there, we followed the path between the suspension bridge and the town bridge along the grassy banking. It is very grassy at the moment, a miniature nature reserve.
I asked Mrs Tootlepedal to keep an eye out for wagtails and she spotted one immediately.
The Kilngreen was quite busy with visitors and locals enjoying the sunshine and eating ice creams purchased from the ice cream van parked there.
We walked on up the main road and noticed a great many flowers in the hedge at the Whitshiels log cabins as we passed by.
We passed the rugby club and continued up the main road the the High Mill Brig. There is no doubt that the traffic has increased a lot since the quiet time at the start of the lockdown, and we had to step into the verge a good many times to let lorries and cars go by.
It was a relief to get off the road and climb up the path to the field above. It had rained lightly as we walked along the road and looking up the Ewes valley, there were some impressive clouds to be seen…
…but in spite of a few further drops, we stayed dry and enjoyed our walk a lot.
We walked round the edge of the field, past a fine tree…
…and joined the Baggra track. Mrs Tootlepedal claims never to have walked along this track before so she found it especially delightful today, and who wouldn’t enjoy a walk along a track like this at this time of year…
As well as the general greenery, there were cattle to see in the field above the track…
…and my favourite lichen on the wall beside the track…
…and vast quantities of wild flowers everywhere we looked.
One flower in particular caught our eye, very much like a woundwort but plainly not a hedge woundwort.
Some research when we got home showed that it might well be a marsh woundwort. It was a very striking flower.
We came down off the track and walked home by way of the Kilngreen again. It was much quieter now and an old friend was doing a little preening on the river bank.
At just under three miles, it was not a long walk, but it was a good walk with plenty to look at on the way, so we were pretty cheerful, if a little tired when we got home. The temperature had been almost summer like but once again, the humidity had been high.
We got back in time for our daily sibling Zoom meeting. In a sign of the changing times, we agreed that there is now more to do in real life with the easing of the lockdown, so we are only going meet virtually three times a week instead of daily from now on. This is progress, but I shall miss the daily meetings.
The brisket of beef casserole turned out very well, and with potatoes and turnips from the garden, it rounded off an interesting day.
The flying bird of the day is a siskin, cleverly balancing a seed on its beak.