Today’s guest picture comes from our friend Gavin who is on holiday in the west of our region. He enjoyed the sight of the Bladnoch Distillery, and the aromas too. This is the most southerly of Scotland’s many distilleries.
We had the hedgehog camera out over night, and when Mrs Tootlepdal brought it in, we were a bit shocked to find that the temperature had dropped to -2 in the early hours of the morning. The low temperature hadn’t discouraged the hedgehog, but it had fogged up the camera so the last shot is a bit blurred. Luckily we had got two better shots earlier during the night.
I tried and failed to set the camera to video so I will try again next time that I put it out.
We got some welcome sunshine in the morning which helped to warm things up a bit, and I was able to get the mower out and tidy up the mess that those pecking jackdaws had left on the front lawn. I did a bit of tulip dead heading too, and then walked up the hill to have coffee with Sandy. It was very nice to sit and chat on his patio in the sunshine, especially as he had laid on a delicious slice of orange cake to go with the coffee.
I couldn’t stay too long as I had a visit from a BT engineer scheduled for between 12 and 2 o’clock. I left in plenty of time. This was lucky as Mrs Tootlepedal rang me up as I was walking back down the hill to tell me that the engineer had arrived twenty minutes early.
He was very cheerful and helpful and made sure that I had the best possible internet speeds all over the house, even in the garage where the bike to nowhere lives. If I want better speeds, he told me, I will have to wait until full fibre reaches every house in the street. He expects to be retired before then.
Just as he left, I got a delivery of a new laptop. This was the reason for my attempt to make sure that I had the best possible internet connection. My old laptop had got so slow that writing the blog, and especially producing the pictures for each post, had become a tedious task. My new laptop, bought with advice from my younger son who knows about these things, is lightning fast and I am using it to produce this blog. I am a happy person, though I would be even happier if I could get the spell checker to work.
All this activity meant that I didn’t have mich time for taking pictures but I did have a quick walk round the garden before I went up to see Sandy.
Late tulips are looking good…
…and there was a heavy hint of white rhododendron flowers to come shortly.
A female blackbird was busy collecting worms from the tidied lawn…
…and a bee was visiting the dandelions again.
After the engineer left, I unpacked my new computer. I didn’t dare touch it in case I broke it so I looked at the birds instead…
…and discovered that it had started to rain.
That didn’t discourage those pesky peckers who were back making a mess of the middle lawn.
I didn’t go back out into the garden but had lunch instead.
I spent quite a lot of time after lunch tidying up the room where I do my computing so that it would be in a fit state to welcome the new machine. Then I carefully connected everything up but didn’t turn it on. It looked so smart that it made me nervous.
There was some light rain continuing, but I put on my cycling gear and went off to have a short ride in the middle of the afternoon.
In spite of the rain, it felt good to be out with the wind behind me at the start and temperatures feeling quite springlike by this time. By the time that I had done nearly ten miles, the rain had stopped and I stopped too. Beside me in the verge, I saw the first plantains (I think) and some crosswort which is popping up everywhere now.
A little further on, the gorse was in great form but there were parts of the bushes that looked extremely dead as well.
I went up to Gair and turned off to take the road past the Solwaybank windfarm. There was a lot of this in the verge at one point…
Mrs Tootlepedal thinks that it is sedum. It looked amazingly healthy.
I had chosen the route for the conditions as some of it is tree lined, and not only does that bring balm to the soul in spring..
…it also provides excellent protection from the wind.
And it has a very good surface.
I had to go out into the open again to get home and it was a bit of a battle into the wind. A glance across the moor back towards the wind farm…
… showed that it was a pretty grey day even if the rain had stopped.
I got home safely but slowly, and found that MrscTootlepdal had had to spend longer at her upstairs window painting project than she would have liked as some masking tape had been very reluctatnt to become disengaged from the glass of the window. Therse things are sent to try painters.
I had another look round the garden and found a very open tulip…
…and a very pecked middle lawn.
Some flowers have lasted well past their sell by date in this odd year, like these grape hyacinths…
…while others have been made sad by repeated frosts. The magnolia looked so promising earlier on but almost all its flowers look like this now.
The pansies in the chimney pot outside the kitchen window continue to look very cheery.
I couldn’t stand the mess so I used the mower to clean up the moss from the middle lawn and then made a sausage stew for my tea.
While it was cooking, I bravely switched on my new computer and found it worked very well. Apart from having to get what seemed liked endless confirmation messages on my mobile phone to make progress, I have got most of what I need installed and running. It turns out that much of the slow repsonse and sluggish perfomance I have been blaming on app providers and internet signal suppliers was actually caused by my old laptop. I hope that my happy state of mind contiunues and that I don’t find any hidden drawbacks as time goes on.
In a busy day, I just didn’t have time to spend trying to get a decent flying bird of the day so a passing siskin will have to do.