Laid to rest

Today’s guest picture comes from Langholm exile Tom in South Africa. He found a layer of mist floating above the river when he went out for his morning cycle ride.

We had a layer of frost on our lawn yet again when we woke up today, but once again it was followed by a beautiful sunny day. The constant frosts have done a lot of damage to the magnolia which was looking very promising a couple of weeks ago, and they have put paid to the drumstick primulas which looked like this at the end of March, full of promise.

I haven’t the heart to show you what they look like now. I saw a very despondent bee visiting the bent and withered flower heads this afternoon in the vain hope of finding at least a grain of pollen. It left disappointed.

I went to the corner shop and paid my bill after breakfast and then we had a warm, sunny and chatty coffee break in the garden with our neighbour Margaret. Our friend Nancy dropped in for some gardening advice on her way from her allotment, and when she had gone, our neighbour Liz joined us after her morning walk.

After coffee, Mrs Tootlepedal and I set about laying the final half slab for the drive project. It shouldn’t have taken long, but it had a mind of its own when it came to lying flat. It just wouldn’t do it, and it took an age until we were satisfied enough to go in for a late lunch.

The pattern was dictated by the available slabs!

If it wasn’t for the fact that Mrs Tootlepedal wanders up and down the slabs pursing her lips and shaking her head from time to time, I would say that we had finally finished, but I fear more adjustments may be required to meet exacting standards.

While we were working, I spotted a jackdaw on a neighbouring roof…

…and a blackbird came to check on our progress.

After lunch, I had a walk round the garden. The cold mornings are keeping things back but tulips are opening by the afternoon…

…trout lilies are beginning to show flowers…

…and the weird and wonderful world of euphorbias is unfolding.

I idled about while Mrs Tootlepedal drove off in the car to collect several buckets of horse manure and some useful mulch.

When she came back, I roused myself to watch the birds for a moment before she began gardening.

It was a quiet day at the feeder and even the siskins were more interested in feeding than fighting.

I decided that it was too good a day to waste entirely, so I got my bike out and went for a rather belated ride. I was a bit tired, so I chose an easy route to start my ride and went straight down the main road south of the town. There was a light breeze against me and I looked forward to being blown home, but I made a mistake in the route choice and found myself on a gentle but long climb with the wind often across and sometimes even against me. The effort so addled my brain that although I stopped to take several pleasing compositions on my way, I didn’t notice that the camera was on the wrong settings.

A couple pictures came out almost OK in spite of the settings…

(This is our version of the Rio Grande.)

…but it wasn’t until I tried to take some close ups of the Korean Pines in Half Morton Churchyard that I noticed my mistake. Even with the right settings, the evening sunshine made capturing these extraordinary trees tricky. They were covered with male flowers…

…and there were plenty of potential cones too.

These are possibly the busiest trees that I know. I will certainly keep an eye on them over the coming months.

A little further on, a gang of lambs was keeping an eye on me.

I was so cross with my poor camera work that I stopped to take my favourite tree just to cheer myself up, even though it was in a post only a few days ago.

I really enjoyed the last few miles, down hill and with the wind now firmly behind me.

I had a final look at the birds when I got in and the evening light turned a siskin an odd colour.

Today’s header picture was taken a couple of nights ago by our trail camera. Unfortunately a tiny bit of plastic on the battery cover has snapped and we are going to have to send the camera back. I was able to have an actual phone conversation with a real person from the online retailer and she emailed me a return label without making a fuss. I was pleased and surprised about that in equal measure. Apart from the fault, we are very happy with the camera and I will get a replacement. Mrs Tootlepedal was very pleased to see evidence that the hedgehog is alive and well.

The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

26 thoughts on “Laid to rest

  1. Liked your “gang” of lambs although one seemed to have his attention diverted elsewhere.
    I haven’t seen the Korean pine before,it’s an interesting specimen,we will see how the cones develop hopefully.
    You did unusually well with the damaged camera.

  2. The Korean pine is interesting. I hope you aren’t allergic to pollen. It looks ready to produce plenty.
    Your Rio Grande is much prettier than ours. And probably much less talked about.
    The lambs are very cute. I hope they’ll produce plenty of wool.

  3. I am glad to see your hedgehog is alive and well, and you are getting a replacement with no fuss for the broken camera. It’s always nice to hear when things go smoothly in this world.

    I agree, the Korean pine tree flowers are interesting and beautiful, though my favorite so far is the larch and its blooms.

    Your supervisor jackdaw and blackbird look like they have a critical eye. At our feeder, I have started seeing what I think are white crowed sparrows again. I tried to get a few photos through the window. The chickadees are still about.

  4. How splendid to catch the hedgehog on your fancy camera, glad the arrangements for the replacement went so well too. Loved all those pictures of the larch tree.

  5. Your drive looks great ! Furthermore, I was very surprised about your version of the Rio Grande 🙂 The lonely tree in the meadow landscape is beautiful and the lambs have stolen my heart.

  6. Great to see your resident hedgehog is still snuffling about your garden. Our back garden is plagued by magpies, nesting birds in the dilapidated and poorly maintained hedges hereabouts have little chance of fledging a brood. They are really aggressive, our pet cat Tipsy is scared of them, mind you, he’s getting on in years now. I remember the fiction writer, Frederick Forsythe, getting into a public outcry, when he suggested magpies should be culled, because of the damage they do to the song bird population. I have to agree with him. Glad you got a good pedal, the sun is splitting the trees here again today. So frustrating to hear groups of cyclists climbing the Rhigos bank out our back. I’ve only made it to the top once, years ago. Where is that SwytchBike when you need it? I’ve been looking at videos on how to install the wheel and rest of the gubbins, and getting quite confused. These guys on the internet make it all look so easy. Hopefully, when the time comes I will gain inspiration, lol. Cheers

    1. I am sure that you will manage the Swytch over with ease. We don’t have magpies in the town for which we are grateful because although they are photogenic, they are a pest. Good weather when you are injured is a pain but bad weather is not much better. It’s just being injured that is not good whatever the weather.

  7. Lovely photo of the lambs keeping an eye on you and your favourite tree looks good too. Sorry to read about your camera problem I usually find I haven’t charged the battery when we have gone out for the day! Love the road bridge with tree shadows photo…very calming . Best of all the glimpse of your hedgehog…wonder if there’ll be any hoglets later!

    1. Fingers crossed, I have been very alert to keeping a charged battery in the cameras. This was an eyesight problem as the pictures looked all right to me when I took them. It was just when I put my reading glasses on that I realised that they were out of focus.

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