Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Caroline who came across this sturdy building on a walk beside the sea at Portsmouth.
We had another frosty night here, but as it was followed by a fine sunny day with calmer winds, we were reasonable happy.
The gang of blackbirds was back, considering a lump of peanut butter which Mrs Tootlepedal had put out on the drive in front of the kitchen window.
There was a lot of squabbling but in the end, the female made off with the peanut butter.
The sunshine let us have coffee in the garden with Margaret. We were joined by our friend Nancy who was passing on her way to her allotment. She was tempted to pause and join the conversation by the offer of a ginger biscuit.
Mrs Tootlepedal took advantage of the weather by working hard in the garden both before and after coffee. She transplanted a clematis and then moved a lot of Vinca into the new bed beside the slabs in the drive. I went to the corner shop before coffee and scarified the front lawn afterwards.
The front lawn gets very little sunshine over the winter months and as a result gets very mossy by the start of spring time. I removed a binful of moss but could easily have removed as much again if I had wanted to. However, with more frosty nights to come, I didn’t want to do it too much violence, so I got the mower out to gently press the moss and clear up the loose pieces still lying around after I had raked the lawn.
The finished product was best looked at from a distance.
After coffee, I checked on the tulips. They are barely able to contain their impatience at the run of cold nights which is holding them back.
I sat on the bench outside the kitchen window and watched siskins come to the feeder.
Of all our feeder visitors, they are the least afraid to feed while there is someone near, clicking away with a camera.
Encouraged by the siskins a female chaffinch flew in and was received calmly.
Things got a little more heated when a male chaffinch barged in.
Another chaffinch sensibly waited on the fake buddleia until there was uncontested space at the table.
After lunch, I had time for another look at the feeder, where chaffinches and siskins were still arguing.
The wind was in a more kindly mood today so I got my bike out and set off for a pedal of an indeterminate length. Unlike yesterday’s walk when I went much further than I expected, today’s ride was shorter than I wished. My legs were not at all in a co-operative mood and I only made it as far as Canonbie and back, and even that was quite hard work.
I was happy to stop at the top of the hill to enjoy a good clear view over the Solway.
When we coming back from our second vaccination a week ago, a fellow cyclist pulled up beside us and told us that the Fauldie road had been resurfaced, I thought that I ought to investigate so I changed my usual route for my Canonbie circuit and took the Fauldie road down to the bottom of the Canonbie by-pass.
Our informant was right, the road had been resurfaced…
…but sadly, only about half the distance from Glenzier had been done to this excellent standard. There were several very smooth new sections and the rest if the road had been left unimproved, still bumpy and occasionally potholed.
The wind had moved round a point or two since my last trip to Canonbie, and although it helped me on my way down again, it was rather across and against on the way back to Langholm. I kept my head down and concentrated on pedalling rather than photography. I couldn’t resist the daffodils at Canonbie though, neither individually…
…nor en masse.
And I equally couldn’t resist a look at my favourite larch beside the river…
…and following a suggestion from Mrs Tootlepedal, I realise that I have got male and female flowers in this picture, the colourful females standing up at the back and the dull male drooping down on the right of the frame.
Rather surprisingly, considering that the the sun never stopped shining, I got snowed on as I cycled back into the town. It only lasted a few minutes though and came to nothing.
As the sun kept shining when I got home, after I had had a look at the grape hyacinths in the garden…
…and had worried for a moment that this chaffinch had flown so speedily into the feeder that its head was jammed tight…
…Mrs Tootlepedal and I drove up to the Langholm Moor in the hope of seeing interesting birds.
The moor is at its brownest just now…
…with heather, grass and bracken all dormant.
The wind had dropped, and we sat peacefully in the car with the window open and enjoyed the total silence of the moor.
We wouldn’t have minded a bird call or two, but there were no birds to be seen. We watched clouds instead.
In the end, we left without seeing any interesting birds and retired home for a cup of tea and the very last of the ginger biscuits.
I am hoping that my legs will be more amenable tomorrow, as we are promised another sunny day after a another chilly night, and it would be a pity to waste it.
The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch who looks as though he too is not having the best of days.