Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony, and shows that you can see interesting visitors when you look out from the shore at East Wemyss.
The nights have warmed up and there was no danger of frost, for which we were grateful, but there was no sign of any sun when we woke up, and it remained hidden all day. It was pleasant enough though for coffee in the garden with Dropscone. He arrived with four plain girdle scones and left with a present of rhubarb, the gift that keeps on giving. The rhubarb has really enjoyed the weather and we really enjoyed his scones with some home made strawberry jam to go with them.
I took the morning at an exceedingly leisurely pace but I did have time for a look round the garden before Dropscone arrived.
Mrs Tootlepedal pointed out the first of the Icelandic poppies.
I love these cheerful plants, and if I keep dead heading them, they will keep flowering for months on end.
I noticed a hint of blue behind a peony waiting to flower and Mrs Tootlepedal was mildly surprised to find a Camassia in flower. I was delighted as they are lovely.
There was a freshly out Veronica nearby…
…the ajugas are going great guns…
…and two more Himalayan poppies have popped up…
…so we are not short of blue(ish) flowers in that part of the garden.
After coffee, I had another wander round before going to the shop for supplies.
The clematis over the garage is in a strange condition this year, caused no doubt by the endless frosty nights. The top layer is flowering well, but the bulk of the plant, usually covered with flowers, is only just producing a few leaves and buds now. It looks most peculiar, a bit like those one of those balding men with a comb over.
The azaleas have not learned to trust the weather yet and are still holding fire.
It is supposed to get a lot warmer from tomorrow, so perhaps that will persuade them to flower.
The cow parsley needs no persuasion at all, and is producing an impressive bank of flowers.
There was more blue to be seen as polemoniums have appeared in many different beds…
…and the Spanish bluebells continue to thrive.
There was a lot of bird noise in the garden as young birds clamoured to be fed. Our long term resident blackbird is looking a bit worn down by life.
After lunch, I filled the feeder and stood back as the siskins arrived in force again…
…and the only interloper was a greenfinch.
It was warm and dry and with little wind about, and I should have gone out for a good cycle ride straight after lunch. However, Mrs Tootlepedal started watching the mountain stage of the Giro d’Italia on her tablet, and when she went off to meet a group of sewing enthusiasts, I inadvertently let my eyes stray towards the action and an hour later, I was still watching. Cycling racing is extremely addictive. Nothing much happens for quite long periods but there is always the chance of something interesting breaking out, and you hate to stop watching in case you miss that vitally important moment.
I did manage to tear myself away before the stage finished though, and went off to do some cycling of my own.
I was only a few miles from Langholm when I came across a hare lolloping down the road in front of me. I stopped to get my camera out, but of course it had disappeared by the time that I was ready. I looked about and saw that there was another hare standing stock still in a field beside the road.
I turned quietly round and took three pictures of it before it moved. They would have been perfect if I hadn’t had the focus set on manual and by the time that I had worked that this was why the results were blurred, the hare was off and running. Ah well.
The clouds were quite low and the light was dull and it clearly wasn’t a day for views…
…so I looked at my feet when I stopped rather than over the hedges.
There are masses of crosswort about and quite a lot of ribwort too.
If looking over the hedges wasn’t up to much, looking at the hedges and verges was often a treat.
My route took me over Callister, up to Gair and Kennedy’s Corner, and then down hill to join the Annan road at Chapelknowe. The road from Kennedy’s Corner to Chapelknowe is the one in the two pictures above. It had the advantage of being mostly downhill and downwind, as well as being picturesque. (I was looking back in the second picture.)
I called in to the churchyard at Half Morton to see how the Korean pines are doing.
Because of my late start, I didn’t have as much time as I would have liked to stop and take pictures, so I pressed on until I came to a good place for wildflowers about three miles or so from Langholm.
Bluebells and garlic mustard are lasting well and I took both the mass of flowers and some individual specimens.
There were plenty of red campion and geraniums about too.
The powers that be have not started to mow the verges again yet and I hope that this year, they will hold off for long enough to let wild flowers (and insects) have a decent chance.
I got back to find that Mrs Tootlepedal had returned from her meeting and was watching the final kilometres of the Giro stage on catch up. This was one of those moments when a lot of things were happening so I watched too. I would normally be supporting the British rider, Simon Yates, and hoping that he could pull of a surprise win, but as a long term member of the Bad Back Club, my sympathies on this occasion lie with Egon Bernal, and I hope that he can hold out to the finish.
The stage finished in perfect time for us to join the regular sibling Zoom and what with haircuts, tennis, visits to cafes and booking for concerts, my brother and sisters in England seemed to be having a good time.
Unfortunately, between watching cycling and going cycling, I completely forget to cook our evening meal so I had to make do with an omelette.
The flying bird of the day is a starling leaping off our neighbours’ holly tree.