A subdued day

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary. She found some lovely blossom on a sunny walk in Regents Park.

In contrast to that, we had a very subdued day here. It wasn’t frosty overnight but it was still cold and grey when we got up, and it stayed that way all day. There was a forecast of rain later, so I got out my winter cycling gear again, and went off for a morning cycle ride instead of having coffee.

My legs took to the colder weather very badly and my knee was a bit sore from yesterday’s walk, so I made extremely slow progress round a 20 mile ride down to Canonbie and back. I took the newly repaired alternative route and a lone tree summed up the rather bleak conditions quite well.

On the plus side, if you look really closely with the eye of faith, you can see green leaves beginning to appear on the tree.

There was certainly some nice blossom later in the ride..

…but it wasn’t a day for hanging about and looking for wildflowers so I didn’t.

I got back in time for lunch.

I was going to do a couple of compost tasks but I stayed indoors after lunch and took a few bird pictures.

There was heavy traffic at the feeder…

…and I liked the way a chaffinch politely pointed out exactly where an encroaching siskin could go.

Sometimes you could hardly tell one bird from another in the gloomy light…

…and there was never a dull moment as redpolls tried to get to the seed…

…and a chaffinch lined up a siskin for a good kicking.

It really was a busy time.

The most unusual event of the day was some afternoon rain which made us dash out to get the washing in. However, it was so light that although it continued on and off for some time, nothing in the garden got lastingly wet, and my rain gauge didn’t register a single millimetre.

After we had got the washing in, we broke out. Restrictions on travelling out of our area have been lifted today, so with great daring we drove into England and visited a garden centre 13 miles from home.

Mrs Tootlepedal made a couple of judicious purchases, but they didn’t have her main requirement in stock so we drove quietly home mildly disappointed.

We had stopped to shop for food on the way, and some out of season Spanish strawberries had mysteriously found their way into my shopping basket. They are not particularly good for eating so rather than let them go to waste, I made six jars of strawberry jam. As I have become very fond of eating plain yoghurt flavoured with strawberry jam, there will be no trouble about long term storage for the jars.

After the jam was made, I had time for a walk round the garden before the regular family Zoom.

New tulips have turned up.

I admired Mrs Tootlepedal’s very neatly laid out potato bed….

…and learned later that the fencing wire on top of the bed is to discourage other people’s cats from using the bed as their toilet area. As they kill our small birds too if they can, I am not numbered among the army of cat lovers.

The Zoom meeting went well, with some excellent pictures of the developments that my brother has been making in his garden thanks to having had time on his hands during lockdown.

The rhubarb is coming on well and I have been eating it regularly.

The silver pear, a well chosen gift to us on our silver wedding anniversary, has got flowers out.

It is a pity that it doesn’t produce eatable fruits as it is a reliable tree.

Despite dead heading daffodils in their dozens, there are still many left.

I made baked eggs in spinach with a cheese sauce for my evening meal and that added some gloss to an otherwise rather dull day.

The sitting bird of the day is a blackbird on a neighbour’s fence…

…and the flying bird of the day is a siskin in the light rain.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

25 thoughts on “A subdued day

  1. Lovely shot of the silver pear,the combination of the flowers and furry leaves are superb.
    I had a rare excursion on the bike as well today. I decided to put the bike in the car and take a ten minute drive to an area a bit less hilly. Today was a bit cooler than of late and I had forgotten my gloves so ended up with cold hands.
    Cats aren’t among my favourite pets either for the same reasons.

      1. Considering it was only my second ride in 4 months I didn’t do too badly,and actually annoyed it.
        I’m going try to have at least two rides a week though the better weather.,or get an ebike..something I said I would never do.but if it gets you out then why not,we’ll see.

  2. You caught some very good action photos at the bird feeders. Your cold mornings are probably prolonging your daffodil season. Only a few of ours are left blooming, the hybrids. The Dutch irises have been open for a few days, and the first German bearded iris oped today. The silver pear is intriguing. It has very beautiful blooms and silver foliage. It is unfortunate it does not produce fruit.

    1. We have had various states of lockdown for over a year but there was quite a big gap in the summer when we could go to England and we went and fetched out daughter and granddaughter from the station in Carlisle.

      If the gap had not been so wide, this last lockdown might not have been needed.

  3. Gosh, International travel without 2 weeks of quarantine on each end of your trip? Lucky you! We’ve just had our restrictions extended again…I’m wondering how many more “two weeks to flatten the curve” we can bear? Thank goodness for the (finally, snow free) garden.

  4. I admire the neat appearance of the potato bed and envy your rhubarb plant – mine succumbed to the drought a few years ago. When I first glanced at your lone tree, it looked as if it was being propped up – then I realised the pylon was far away 🙂

  5. I do like that silver pear blossom and furry leaves and the neatness of the potato patch….things are definitely moving on in your garden. I feel just like your blackbird who looks quite askance at the goings on at the bird feeder…such manners! Greta photo of the siskin air bombing the redpoll!

  6. Absolute with you on the cats. Our neighbour has three of them strolling through his and our gardens. As an effect there are no more frogs in our pond, and small birds are becoming very rare.

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