On the up

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary. She visited the Secret Garden in Regents Park on one of her recent walks. She was the only one there.

After a rather cheerless day yesterday, things got better today. The forecast of sunshine and showers provided us with a good deal more sunshine than showers for most of the day, and although the wind was pretty gusty, we were well sheltered in the garden while we got on with the drive project in the morning.

It was a rather odd day with occasional showers of heavy sleet which lasted for about a minute at the longest. We got so used to them that we just kept on working, confident that they would stop, which they did.

As a result we were able to lay the first of the six slightly uphill slabs which will take us up to meet the road. This was a very technical business requiring string and the summoning up of the spirit of the great Langholm engineer, Thomas Telford. The end product looked like this.

We are still trying to work out what we will do when we meet the road which isn’t on the level as it passes our drive end.

That took up a lot of the morning, though we did have a break for indoor coffee and ginger biscuits. (It was too cold for outdoor coffee with neighbours.)

I had a look at the birds over coffee and was witness to a heinous crime of violence by a chaffinch who just couldn’t wait..

After the slab was put in place, there was time for a garden wander in one of the sunny spells.

As soon as we stopped working in the garden, a steady stream of chaffinches returned to the feeder….

…though alert readers will recognise that one of the chaffinches is a coal tit. This was the only one that we have seen for ages and it didn’t stay long.

More crimes were being committed by impatient chaffinches.

After lunch, I thought that I would show my knees who is in charge round here, so I went off for a walk, hoping that the predicted rain would stay away for long enough to let me get ’round Potholm’ in the dry.

It did, and I did.

I started along the river and saw oyster catchers, gulls and blossom on my way to cross the Langholm Bridge…

…but I stopped on the bridge to lean over and watch a male…

…and a female…


They are excellent underwater hunters.

Going along the Kilngreen, I nodded to an old friend who looked as though he might be feeling a bit like I felt yesterday.

The weather was fitful and the sun came out as I walked up the low road to Holmhead….

…but retreated up the valley as I got to the North Lodge…

..and I was under a cloud as I looked across the river to see the wall beside the road that I would follow on my way back.

I was cheered by primroses beside the track…

…but mildly grieved as the sun scampered up a glen and over the hills…

…and left me in the shade for the rest of my walk.

But as this picture from my phone shows, it wasn’t a bad day for a stroll as long as you could get some shelter from the very brisk wind which was driving the clouds across the sky.

When I got to the farm house at Potholm, the drift of snowdrops in front of the house had been replaced by a carpet of daffodils.

Walking back along the road once I had crossed the river, I found myself heading into the wind for a while, and was very pleased that I hadn’t attempted a bike ride. That would have been extremely hard work.

The wall provided me with sufficient distraction to keep my mind off the battle into the breeze…

…and I liked the swirls at the end of rows made by the farmer who was rolling his pasture…

…and although I talk about going ’round Potholm’, it is more of a long, thin, out and back walk, and it was easy to look across the river to see the track that I had followed on my way out.

My last steps home were enhanced by lambs, moss and a daffodil…

…and I got home after five and a half enjoyable miles in very good order.

I had enough energy left to drink a cup of tea and eat more ginger biscuits, watch the birds…

Goldfinches were everywhere.

…and finally bicycle round to the shop to top up on supplies and pay my bill

I had got my timing right today, and it started to rain, this time in a more serious way, shortly after I got back indoors.

Mrs Tootlepedal had enjoyed an afternoon of gentle gardening, and we were both in a much better place than yesterday at the end of the day, especially after a sibling Zoom and a nourishing meal of cauliflower cheese and mashed potatoes.

The flying bird of the day is another chaffinch.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

26 thoughts on “On the up

  1. If you start slightly matching the road angle two or three slabs back the change in angle it takes to meet the the road won’t be so abrupt and shouldn’t be that noticeable as it would be if you do just the final slab. It looks like you’ll have to start gently raising the leading edges of the slabs as well. The trick is doing it all gradually but the further back you start the more gradual the change can be.
    The carpet of daffodils is beautiful and so are the primroses.
    The sunlit tree lined walk looks like a fine place to be in any weather.

  2. The Lodge Walk path is a favorite. I would like to walk that someday! I enjoyed your spring day there, somewhat sunny and so many beautiful photos.

    The poor goldfinches! Those chaffinches are a pushy lot. The lichen panel is excellent.

  3. I had to show the pictures of your fractious birds to Clif. He was suitably amazed. Our birds often twitter at each other, but we have never seen them attack each other at the feeders.

  4. Your shots of the male and female goosanders are fantastic. I miss seeing them down here, currently we are more likely to see a cormorant hunting fish in the local rivers. Some of them spend the night on the tall lamp posts strung along the middle of the M4 through Port Talbot. Possibly the lamps provide some heat? Great post, cheers.

      1. Struggling with two of the exercises still, but progress has been made. I have set a target to be back in work the end of next week. Cheers.

  5. Looks like a good walk despite the challenges of wind and weather. I’m sure Mrs T is up to the challenge of merging drive and road – if she can rebuild rocking horses I don’t expect a slope and a couple of slabs will trouble her. 🙂

  6. Your views never cease to amaze me- they really are wonderful especially when bathed in sunlight. Atrocious behaviour by some of your birds…no discipline! Is there going to be a new border where the old slabs lay…it’s like watching a serial and waiting for the final episode to find out what happened! It’s all good stuff…lovely post!

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