Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent Venetia, who recently had the opportunity to visit the wonderfully landscaped grounds at Stourhead.
We had another dry day here today, but mostly cloudy. With the wind coming from the north, it felt quite chilly when we were in the garden.
We were in the garden for most of the morning as my back had improved enough to let me work on the next slab of the great drive project. I was under expert supervision, and by the end of the morning, we had got the latest slab into position. It is not quite perfect as it is down at one corner, but that can wait for the moment.
We have arrived at the tricky uphill final section. It is going to take some thinking about.
There was a welcome break on the drive work while we had ‘coats on’ coffee with Margaret in the garden. She had brought ginger snaps with her, so she was even more welcome than usual.
We were serenaded for almost the whole time that we were sitting out by a very loud robin on the silver pear tree.
We could hear a vigorous reply coming from another tree, so the song may have been one of defiance rather than love or happiness.
I had remembered that massaging my lower back helps relax my muscles and stops the spasms. I tried it after breakfast and it proved very effective today. Not only was I able to sit down for lunch without pain, but I was able to get up afterwards, a much more remarkable event. Surprisingly, the slab work with its digging, raking, lifting and sieving had made things better rather than worse but all the same, I was happy to have a lie down and little snooze after lunch.
I did look out of the window too while I was upstairs. It was day for getting up close and personal among the birds, with siskins to the fore…
…but with goldfinches and chaffinches getting involved too.
I always enjoy literal examples of metaphorical phrases. Here is an illustration of getting a foothold.
That chaffinch was lucky to have a peaceful landing. Others got a harder time.
Siskins are always up for a fight and here are two who are leaving chaffinches in peace on the feeder while they fly off to find someone to annoy.
It was pot luck for the chaffinches, one lands in peace…
…and the next one gets appalling abuse, even though there is a perch free.
Some birds have obviously been to the Dominic Cummings School of How to Make Friends and Influence People.
This pattern of behaviour went on…
In the end, I left them to it, had a nap and then went cycling.
It wasn’t as warm and pleasant as yesterday, but after all it is still March so any good cycling day is a bonus, and I enjoyed a peaceful journey down to Canonbie with the wind generally behind me, and a slightly more hard working journey back. I didn’t take any pictures as I have been round this trip many times already this month and couldn’t find anything new to look at on a grey day, until I was nearly home and a hazel fluttered its catkins at me.
With my dark cycling glasses on, I couldn’t see any of the tiny female flowers but when I got home, the computer showed me that there were a few. I can see two in the enlarged picture on the right in the panel above.
I found that Mrs Tootlepedal had come out into the garden just as I got home. In the morning she had cycled down to the river and collected the final few stones for her cobbled arrangement for the kitchen window bench. She completed the task with the new stones as I watched.
I did some supervising while she was working and also walked round the garden. I noticed a large bumble bee visiting daffodils. It wasn’t interested in the larger flowers but dived into many of the miniature ones. I found chionodoxas and a pansy in the chimney pot out, and one of our willows showing promise.
The blackcurrants in the fruit cage are looking very healthy.
The day ended with a sibling Zoom. All my three sisters have had their second vaccination shots now and were pretty pleased about that. My brother, Mrs Tootlepedal and I are pleased for them too….but would like to get our second shots now.
My back is infinitely better than it was last night which shows that comprehensive moaning and groaning probably is a cure, but perhaps the back massage and judicious exercise have helped too. I hope to continue this plan and progress (with moaning) tomorrow.
The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.