Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew who was on a walk when he found that almost everyone needs a haircut these days.
We had a warmer night followed by a warmer day without going to extravagant lengths. It was pleasant in the morning while we gardened and had coffee with Margaret and Liz, and it got up to 64°F (17.7°C) in the afternoon.
We made the most of it, as the temperature is going to drop back down again soon.
After watering the soft fruit, I wandered round the garden dead heading daffodils and taking photographs while Mrs Tootlepedal did useful things.
She likes to do things properly so she has tied up the raspberry canes using raspberry coloured string.
A lot of the daffodils have been bent double by the frost in mid flower, so Mrs Tootlepedal picked some of them up to give to Margaret for a vase. I propped a particularly nice one up and took its picture.
It is an old narcissus, called the Poet’s Narcissus or the Pheasant Eye.
Tulips and primroses looked happy in the sunshine…
…and it was good to see a big bumble bee finding some pleasure among the pulmonaria.
Euphorbias again caught my eye…
…and although they don’t appear in seedsmen’s catalogues, wild flowers added to the floral cheerfulness in the garden today.
Although Mrs Tootlepedal is tolerant of wild flowers when pollinators need them, she draws the line at hairy bittercress…
…which is tiny but an absolute pest.
I went out to look along the dam at the back of the house. On our side of the road, aubretia is doing well, and on Liz’s side, there is a wonderful clump of marsh marigolds. There is Lady’s Smock on both sides.
In one of our back borders, an Amalanchier is going to be lovely. The first flowers are just appearing.
I learned that this shrub is also known as shadbush, shadwood or shadblow, serviceberry or sarvisberry, juneberry, saskatoon, sugarplum, wild-plum or chuckley pea but not by me!
After lunch, I had a moment to look at the birds where a goldfinch sat for a portrait…
…and flying chaffinches were ten a penny.
As regular readers will know, our hedgehog spotting trail camera broke. The retailer of the broken trail camera had sent me a return label and Mrs Tootlepedal had carefully wrapped up the camera and attached the label to the parcel. All that remained now was to take it to the post office. Thanks to the inexorable march of progress, Langholm no longer has its own post office. The visiting one comes twice a week but not until Wednesday. Impatient to get the parcel into the post, Mrs Tootlepedal suggested a cycle down to Canonbie, which though much smaller than Langholm still has its own post office.
This seemed like a good idea on a warm afternoon so we set out. After a couple of miles on the main road, we were able to turn off onto the bike trail which uses the peaceful old main road for a while.
We rolled on past Hollows Tower…
…and took the high road which let us look down on the village as we approached it.
A quick swoop down the hill brought us to the Cross Keys Hotel. This old coaching inn now has the post office under its wing.
When we arrived, we were dismayed to find that the post office was closed. To our relief, we found that it was due to open in five minutes. It was no hardship to wait for a while in the sunshine, take a picture of the Hotel, and collect up some energy for the return journey.
The post office opened promptly and Mrs Tootlepedal put the parcel into their care. Then we set off home, using the low road this time.
This took us to the Hollows Bridge and we paused to look at the Archimedes Screw working tirelessly for Hollows Mill. The water in the river was so low that I was quite surprised to see the screw turning. It is fed by the old water wheel lade.
We still had five miles to go so we didn’t linger too long. I took a picture of Mrs Tootlepedal speeding along the bike path at Hagg-on-Esk, past a row of dandelions.
We took a moment to catch our breath at the bridge near Irvine House and I noticed a small red plant growing among the green of the moss on top of the parapet.
I took a closer look.
I don’t know what it is, but it is a wonderful sight.
Mrs Tootlepedal noticed what looked like a white building on the hillside across the river. I got the Lumix to stick its zoom out and have a look.
It turned out to be communications mast catching the sunlight in its panels..
We got home after thirteen enjoyable miles, the furthest Mrs Tootlepedal has cycled for some time.
After a cup of tea and a date roll or two, I had a walk round the garden…
…before having a look at the birds, where a chaffinch got a hot reception from a siskin while a goldfinch looked on.
Then it was time for a Zoom with my siblings and our evening meal.
The flowers will be happy to know that it is not going to freeze tonight.
The flying bird of the day is an evening goldfinch.