Today’s guest picture comes from Tom, the Langholm exile in South Africa. He was up today for his morning walk while the moon was still high in the sky.
We got up to find that very annoyingly it had been below zero again overnight. We are beginning to question whether it will ever get warm this year. A brisk north easterly wind made things feel colder still and we did not have coffee in the garden. I managed to cycle round to the corner shop, dead head another hundred daffodils, sieve some more garden compost and then deal with crossword and coffee indoors.
My piano playing friend Alison kindly gave me two young tomato plants yesterday. Mrs Tootlepedal equally kindly made some space in her greenhouse and we put the plants in place this morning.
They may look over potted but Alison gave them to me enclosed in small containers of biodegradable material which will magically melt away over time, so although it doesn’t look like it, they are in quite small pots for the time being.
All this took up the morning and I didn’t look at the birds until after lunch.
The usual crowd turned up…
…and a chaffinch got an unwelcome peck on the cheek when she tried to shift a goldfinch.
There was coming and going among siskins and chaffinches…
…but the star of the session was a redpoll which caught exactly the right amount of light to show off its fine spring colouring.
On the other side of the house, a female mallard was wandering around beside the dam, quacking in a plaintive way.
I wondered whether she had lost her ducklings but she soon took off and flew over the roofs of Henry Street back towards the river. It was a mystery.
A quick walk round the garden showed me that Solomon’s Seal has appeared on the drying green…
…and that there are flowers on the berberis by the new bench.
Mrs Tootlepedal was anxious to stretch her legs so she and our neighbour Liz went off on their bicycles to cycle (and walk where necessary) round the back of Whita, a hilly trip of roughly ten miles that I had walked not so long ago.
When they had left, I put on my winter cycling gear and set off on my Canonbie circuit, hoping that a lot of clouds wouldn’t mean rain.
Although there were a few showers about, they went past without bothering me and I enjoyed a dry but chilly ride. I was wearing my ski mask which not only lets me wear my usual glasses underneath it but stops my nose from running in the cold wind.
The dandelions are impressive just now…
…and they are just about to be joined by Silverweed and Jack by the Hedge.
I will try to get better pictures of them when they are in flower.
I didn’t stop to take too many pictures as I was hoping to measure my outing so that I could turn off at Skippers Bridge and cycle towards Broomholmshiels in the hope of meeting Mrs Tootlepedal and Liz on their epic journey.
My timing was pretty good and I had only a brief moment to enjoy the view and some belated sunshine…
…before the intrepid travellers appeared over the hill.
They were in good spirits and I cycled back to the town with them.
My legs were in a good mood too so I left them to cycle home while I added two or three miles to my trip by pedalling on through the town and up the hill from the High Mill Brig until I came to my favourite view.
When I got back, Liz and Mrs Tootlepedal were enjoying a cup of tea in the sunny garden and Liz had even brought a home made scone across for me to have with my cuppa.
The wind had dropped, and it was a treat to sit out and chat in the sunshine. The tulips were enjoying the sun too.
…as were the pink primroses….
…but it looks as though it is going to get back down to zero again tonight. (Boo)
A bumble bee was buzzing around the pulmonaria. It might be a tree bumble bee or a carder bee. It was very orange.
When the tea party broke up, I had an extra slice of fruity malt loaf and then mowed both the lawns. There was not a lot of grass to take off because it has been so dry and chilly, but the lawns looked a little better for the attention.
There might be another millimetre or two of rain tomorrow but otherwise the weather situation seems to be unchanged for the next week.
The flying bird of the day is a siskin.