Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew. He found himself beside the river on a lovely day today. Two geese had the water to themselves.
We had a much improved day here today with no rain and a lot less wind. It was still pretty grey in the morning whenI went off for a cycle ride….
…and Mrs Tootlepedal disappeared into the mists on the Langholm Moor to take part in a small ceremony to mark the completion of the community purchase of the land from the Buccleuch Estates.
The wind was still gusting at 20 mph and between that and my delicate knee, I took things slowly but managed to get round my customary Canonbie circuit and bring up 300 miles for the month. I thought that this was very satisfactory.
A hint of sunshine appeared when I was out of the hills and I was delighted to see the Canonbie cows on my way…
…as well as some lesser celandine and butterbur to show that spring really is coming.
I didn’t stop a lot as stopping is no problem, but starting again puts pressure on knees. However, I couldn’t pass a little European larch that I know of beside the river without checking for a flower and fresh needles. I found both.
Mrs Tootlepedal and I got home at much the same time, and we enjoyed a late coffee before going out into the garden.
Mrs Tootlepedal gardened while I raked gravel on the drive. Then she came to my assistance, and we raked, sieved and washed gravel until lunchtime.
After lunch we went off to the Buccleuch Centre where we received our second Covid vaccinations. This was a prompt and painless affair, though the doctor gave us a severe warning not to get overconfident and start breaking the lockdown rules. I was pleased to see Dropscone there too, getting his shot.
We suffered no ill effects and when we got home, I looked round the garden. It was wonderful to be out on a warm sunny day for once.
The tree peony is getting more exciting every day.
Then we had a cup of tea and watched the birds for a moment or two. When the dead Michaelmas daisies were finally cleared away from behind the feeder, we stuck in some pruned buddleia stems to give the birds some protection from sparrowhawks and a place to perch. They have worked very well, but they are so close to the feeder itself that I don’t have much time to catch the birds in the air before they land on the feeder.
I took a lot of pictures of birds very close to landing as my reflexes are not what they used to be.
However, they do making getting perching portraits a piece of cake. Some birds still prefer the old fake tree though.
After catching a glimpse of a dunnock…
…we went back out and spent quite a lot of time and energy in re-laying four of the drive slabs. The combination of heavy rain and having the car drive over them had caused them to sink slightly. Another two still need adjusting but we felt that lifting and shifting four was quite enough for one afternoon.
It was such a lovely afternoon that when we had finished the slab shifting, I contemplated the middle lawn. I found a blackbird doing the same. I went to get my bird camera and it obligingly waited until I came out again.
While I had my camera in my hand, the first grape hyacinth called out to me…
…a robin sang as loudly as it could…
…and a starling had a think for a second or two…
…before deciding to sit up straight for a picture.
You will doubtless have noticed in the blackbird picture above that the grass has been growing, so I got the push mower out and mowed the middle lawn. To my surprise I collected quite a lot of grass for the compost heap, and I sat on the new bench with Mrs Tootlepedal when I had finished and contemplated life.
It was quite good.
We felt that another cup of tea was in order by this time and while Mrs Tootlepedal went in to put the kettle on, I had a last look round.
The Jetfire daffodils looked good in the sunshine…
…and I saw the first daisies of the year and a promising magnolia bud.
I was thinking of going for an evening walk but somehow, once settled down indoors after quite a busy day, getting up and going out again seemed like hard work, so I looked out of the window instead.
And that concluded the activities of the day.
We are due to have another fine day tomorrow so I hope that we can make good use of it and don’t find ourselves laid low temporarily by the after effects of the vaccination. Fingers crossed.
The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch caught between the feeder pole and the feeder.