Blue Sunday

Today’s guest picture comes from my Somerset correspondent, Venetia. She likes to take advantage of the National Gardens Scheme and found this inviting door while visiting Whatcombe, a ¾-acre mature Edwardian garden with colour-themed, informally planted herbaceous borders, in Winscombe in her home county.

We had another chilly morning, and when the sun wasn’t out it felt rather miserable. Luckily the sun was out when we walked through the park on a trip to see how the bluebells were getting on.

As we left the house, I noticed that the clematis over the garage door is showing its first flowers.

We hope for hundreds more!

There was plenty to see in the park on our way out. We looked up at a fine noble fir and down at a thrush on the grass….

…and on our way back, we spotted Herb Robert and a wild strawberry growing on the park wall.

The park itself was looking very peaceful.

When we got to the bluebells, they were making a good show in spite of the very dry, cold weather…

…but they are not at their best yet, with many flowers still waiting to open…

…so another visit will undoubtedly occur, probably next weekend.

Needless to say, Mrs Tootlepedal had brought her manure bucket with her, so while she paid a visit to the manure mine at John’s stables, I admired the nearby trees…

…and the view of Meikleholm Hill and Timpen in the background.

When we came to the bridge over the Wauchope from the park on our way home…

…I tried to remember when it was installed. A look in the extensive Langholm Archive Group’s photographic collection showed me that it was built and installed in 1989 by a local firm. I also found a picture of the wooden version of the bridge in 1931 and another of the old bridge being demolished in 1989 to make way for the present one. The photo archive, which is looked after by Sandy, is full of delights.

Luckily the sun shone for most of the time that we were drinking coffee in the garden with Margaret and we could see a strangely twisted con trail in the sky above us.

It got too cold to sit for long when the clouds came over, so Margaret went home and we got busy in the garden.

We were visited twice. Mrs Tootlepedal was planting some pansies round the chimney pot when a neighbour brought in a chaffinch which she had found in poor condition on the road after it had crashed into a window. After holding it for some time, Mrs Tootlepedal tucked it safely into the chimney pot to see if it would recover while she went on with the planting.

We were also visited by Gavin and his grandson Leo. Leo was hoping to see tadpoles in our pond.

Rather to Mrs Tootlepedal’s surprise, the chaffinch did recover and flew off, and much to my surprise, Leo did see quite a lot of tadpoles.

I sieved some compost into the wheel barrow and inspected the lawn where I was happy to find that a patch of daisies had escaped decapitation when I mowed the lawn a day or two ago.

I would have had those daisies out in years gone by, but we have a different attitude now.

Tulips are still the stars of the show.

We didn’t stay out long as it was chilly, and I made some lentil and celery soup for lunch, ate a bowl of it, and then watched the birds.

The forecast for tomorrow is not good, I don’t know if birds can recognise that there is a change of weather on its way, but the feeder was really busy, with sometimes as many as forty birds milling about. At the moment when I first looked out of the window, it was total world domination by goldfinches.

Some siskins got a foot in, but a chaffinch was consigned to waiting in the wings.

I was able to add a greenfinch portrait to the gallery of our regular visitors….

…and a female redpoll posed for me too.

We had considered an afternoon bike ride but I was struck by an unusual burst of good sense and decided to have a genuinely restful day. While Mrs Tootlepedal retired to read her book, I went out and sat in the garden.

After noting some future promise from trillium, allium and peony…

…I sat on the bench under the walnut tree and let life pass me by. A small flock of big gulls passed me by too.

From my bench, I could see that a euphorbia had got its claws out and that I hadn’t managed to kill the Wren rose when I pruned it earlier in the year.

Beside me, a bumble bee explored the dicentras….

…and a on the rowan tree, a blackbird once again provided a musical accompaniment.

It was very pleasant, and I might well have stayed there longer if it hadn’t been for the regular virtual choir practice with the Carlisle Community Choir. The virtual practice went as well as it could. I miss listening to the sound of a large number of competent singers. All I can hear in my kitchen as I sing along is me. That is not quite the same, to say the least.

My quiet day continued after the practice and there is nothing to report about it.

The overnight trail camera caught another picture of the hedgehog, but it was only of it walking away again. More thought will have to go into placing it in the right position to catch it walking towards the camera, but that will wait for a day or two.

We are battening down the hatches for a day of wind and rain tomorrow. The rain will be welcome, the wind less so.

The flying bird of the day is one of the passing gulls.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

26 thoughts on “Blue Sunday

  1. As always, the clematis set against the stone is very beautiful. And – it surprises me not that Mrs. T. is also the emergency avian vet in the neighbourhood!

  2. A quietly contemplative day is good for the soul every now and then, especially as you had already enjoyed a walk in the park. I don’t envy your cold weather at all and hope the warmer weather will move in to stay for a while longer than it has.

  3. It looks like a beautiful Sunday there. I am glad that poor little chaffinch recovered and flew away. I have heard of some people putting owl silhouettes in their windows to discourage birds from crashing into them. Perhaps a sparrowhawk cutout might work.

    The tadpoles are making excellent progress!

  4. Blue skies to nearly match the bluebells in their pretty setting on a lovely spring Sunday. Old photographs are so interesting and thank goodness they have been saved and looked after. Pleased the little chaffinch flew off safely – it’s remarkable how resilient some little birds are. Love the FBOTD – it’s so elegant and smart with its feet tucked in so neatly. Great header photo!

    1. The best thing about the Archive Group collection is that it is fairly easy to search though we have got a lot of pictures with no information. It is a lesson to people to always note dates and names on the back of photos.

      1. Wish I’d been told that years ago! Loads of old family photos…no dates or names! Now of course I have tens of thousands of digital photos on computer..must start putting them into named folders…maybe!

  5. I love the gate in your guest photo. Glad the little bird recovered! I it’s great that Mrs T is prepared to collect manure, and your compost is a beautiful sight.

  6. Just caught up with your “Blue Sunday”, which I missed. Nice that the chaffinch recovered. My son, Conor, had a blackbird fly into his window, it fell onto the lawn, but just as he went out to see if he could help it the local sparrow hawk swooped down, grasped the bird in it’s talons and flew off. Not a happy ending this time. Cheers.

    1. That’s a good story. We have a regular sparrow hawk visitor and one flew low over our heads while we were drinking coffee recently. Just checking us out, I suppose.

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