Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony in sunny East Wemyss and features a sea bird and some seaweed….and some sea.
Disappointingly, we had another sub zero night so that things are still developing very slowly in the garden in spite of sunny days. We had another very sunny day today and by mid afternoon, it was almost hot.
The morning warmed up quite quickly and Mrs Tootlepedal spent most of it in the garden and the greenhouse. I wandered about in my customary fashion, doing some compost sieving and daffodil dead heading, while taking pictures to pass the time.
There is very little new in the garden because of the cold nights, but a dicentra, which has been hiding after poking its nose out a few weeks ago, decided that it was warm enough to have another go today.
New tulips are coming out too and well established ones are opening out well.
One of those tulips is a cowslip. I like to keep readers on their toes.
The grape hyacinths haven’t done as well as we might have hoped…
…but somebody loves them.
I had a look at the dam behind the house and found that our neighbour Kenny has got some very fine large marsh marigolds growing in a little water garden that he has made, and we have got a little outbreak of dainty Lady’s Smock on our side of the water.
The star of the morning was one of our resident blackbirds.
After lunch, gardening was put on hold while we went cycling.
Mrs Tootlepedal had arranged to cycle up to Wauchope Schoolhouse with our neighbour Liz, and she invited me to join them for the outing. As I do most of my cycling by myself, it was a pleasant change to have a social cycle and we had good time chatting and pedalling along. At Wauchope Schoolhouse, the ladies decided to add an extra couple of miles to their trip by going up to Cleuchfoot and back before heading home. I left them to it and set out to complete a larger circle on my own.
I went over Callister and was going to take a scenic picture up the Winterhope valley on the other side but was distracted by a curious calf…
…and took a picture of Falford Bridge instead.
I turned off at the bridge and went through Waterbeck and then visited Middleble again. There is a steep climb into the village so my bicycle was happy to make use of a handily placed bench opposite the church to have a rest.
The daffodils on the banking are blooming marvellous.
From Middlebie, I went down towards the shallow valley of the Mein Water…
…which, though small, has an impressive bridge to get the road across it…
…and an even more impressive viaduct to carry the main line railway across it.
If I had waited for three or four minutes, I would have been able to show a train crossing the viaduct, but I wasn’t to know, and by the time that it passed, I had pedalled on towards Eaglesfield.
From Eaglesfield, I took a poorly maintained road to Chapelknowe, stopping to admire this gorse hedge on the way.
I paused at Chapelknowe village hall to look up at the old Half Morton Church, now a private residence.
The graveyard beside the church is still in use and if you look to the right of the picture above, you can see the Korean pines that line the side of the graveyard. They are my favourite trees, I think, positively bursting with life…
…and this year’s cones are developing really well.
I took the opportunity to eat a banana while I was there and looking up, I could see a very rare sight these days, a four engined jet plane crossing above my head.
I wish it would remain a rare sight as the clear blue skies that we have been enjoying in the absence of aeroplanes in the skies above us has been a treat. There was more air traffic today.
Looking a bit further over, I saw a very odd sight indeed, a vapour trail that showed a plane making a U turn.
I can only assume that the pilot, like me on many occasions, had forgotten the shopping list and was going back to collect it.
I was on familiar roads by now, so I put the camera back in my pocket and kept it there until I got home after thirty of the warmest miles of the year so far.
Mrs Tootlepedal and Liz had enjoyed their eight mile outing and had positively whizzed back down the road into Langholm with a helpful wind behind them. Mrs Tootlepedal’s bike computer showed that she had hit 20 mph coming down the final hill.
I hadn’t had an opportunity between the gardening and the cycling to look at the birds, so while my post-ride pot of tea was brewing, I took my chance.
The feeder was peaceful at first…
…but there was a steady steam of traffic while I watched.
We are stuck in a weather rut a the moment and we are promised another near zero night followed by another warm day. There are worse ruts to be stuck in by far but we could do with some warmer nights and some refreshing rain to get the trees to go green and the grass to grow for the livestock in the fields.
The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch getting ready to give another chaffinch a nasty shock.