Today’s guest picture comes from Elaine, the sister in law of our neighbour Liz. She is over on the east coast enjoying some fine weather at Beadnell Bay in Northumberland.
We had some fine weather here too today, but sadly it didn’t even last until coffee time. It clouded over abruptly, and we sat in a rather chilly garden with Margaret, wondering whether this year is ever going to warm up properly.
The jackdaws had been busy again, so after coffee, I had to get the mower out and tidy up both lawns.
The front lawn, which is the more mossy of the two, is beginning to look a little threadbare after the persistent pecking by the jackdaws.
After the lawn care, I had a walk round the garden with Mrs Tootlepedal to check on developments.
The rhododendrons are just beginning to show a flower or two, both red…
One or two trout lilies have escaped complete devastation by the morning frosts…
…and in my view, there is never a bad time to put another euphorbia picture into a post.
A blackbird in the rowan tree was in full voice again at midday, and when I went out two hours later, there was a blackbird in the same place singing just as loud. Whether it was the same one, a better blackbird identifier than me will have to say.
I got out the hover mower and gave the grasss round the greenhouse and the vegetable garden beds a trim…
…and checked out some future eating possibilities.
There is a little bunch of bluebells in a corner of the veg garden too.
We made a final tour before going in for lunch and passed the first potentilla flower, a new anemone, and the fierce ajuga and gentle speedwell at the corner of the middle lawn.
Mrs Tootlepedal noticed an orange tip butterfly fluttering about, and I stalked it round the garden for some time before it finally settled for a moment. It wasn’t a shock to find that it had chosen a lady’s smock, one of the orange tip’s favourite flowers.
I had a rather large lunch including haggis, a tomato and feta salad, and a sardine pate sandwich. It took me some time to recover.
I watched the birds for a while. The chaffinches seem mostly to have gone to do their nesting elsewhere, and the siskins have taken over as top visitors.
Occasional goldfinches turn up too…
…but this one couldn’t persuade a siskin to shift. Another goldfinch waited for an opportunity.
I continued in resting mode by going out and sitting on the old bench to see if anything interesting flew over the garden. While I waited for aerial interest, three promising buds caught my eye…
…and I was sad that there seem to be so few bees about that the white dicentra are not attracting a buzz at all.
Some pigeons turend up, and one strolled along our ridge tiles like a tightrope walker…
It was joined by others and a stately chase ensued onto the bathroom dormer.
In the end, they all flew off and I went in to get changed to go out for a cycle ride. I had originally intended to go for a longer ride but found that it was difficut to get motivated earlier in the day. I settled for a 20 mile Grand old Duke of York job up to the top of the Mosspaul Hill and back down again.
It was grey, but the wind was light and I found myelf enjoying the pedal more than I had expected. In fact, I enjoyed pedalling so much that I didn’t stop for a picture until I had done eight miles. To tell the truth, there was nothing much to stop for, with the verges devoid of interest and the views looking rather dull too.
When I stopped for a banana at the top of the hill, I did see an adventurous sheep and lamb crossing a burn at Mosspaul…
…but I went so well back down the hill, that I wasn’t tempted to stop at all until I got home. When I did get home, I was very disappointed to see some familiar criminals at work.
Will they never stop? You would have thought that they must have eaten all of whatever it is that they are eating by now.
In spite of the grey, cool weather and the unadventurous route choice, I really enjoyed my cycle outing and my legs did too. There are no challenging hills on the route and I got into a good rhythm, so I managed an average speed of 14 mph, a very satsfactory effort for me these days.
We then watched a rerun of the last few kilometeres of today’s stage of the Giro d’Italia and saw some people who really know how to pedal.
It got even gloomier as the day went on, so I had no temptation to take an evening walk and spent some time instead in getting my new laptop to talk to my old printer before enjying an evening meal of one of the butcher’s meat pies with some spinach. Tasty and healthy.
The flying bird of the day is one of the departing pigeons, leaving the rooftop in a flurry of wings.