Today’s guest picture comes from our friend Bruce who is over in the east. He visited Chillingham castle and found a display of McLaren cars. I would have loved cars like this when I was young but now they just look difficult to get in to and impossible to get out of.
We had a very pleasant summer day here today, but I failed to make optimum use of it. I found that I was rather tired when I got up and I never really perked up at any stage.
I did manage to get out for a walk round the garden before coffee. I was impressed by how healthy the hostas are looking . . .
. . . and there were plenty of flowers enjoying the sunshine.
The deep red peony is looking gorgeous . . .
. . . and it shouldn’t be on its own for much longer.
I don’t usually take pictures of other people’s flowers without permission, as it feels a bit like stealing, but I made an exception for one of Kenny’s lilies, planted on the far bank of the dam behind the house. It is so close to our house that it feels as though it is quite at home.
I had filled the feeder, and I found a goldfinch visiting when I looked out of the window after I had gone inside to brew the coffee.
One of the few benefits of the lockdown has been the way that it has got us used to having coffee outside in all weathers. Today we sat on the lawn with Margaret, Liz and Ken and enjoyed the beautiful conditions when in times past, we might well have all been sitting indoors looking out at the weather through a window.
After coffee, I looked at Mrs Tootlepedal’s mini meadow on our drying green. The yellow rattle is coming on well.
I had been reminded by a picture in the New Hampshire Gardener’s blog that we have a red horse chestnut tree on the Castleholm. His was out, so I thought that I would walk round before lunch to see if ours was out too.
I saw a selection of birds by the water as I walked along the Esk . . .
. . . but there were far too many visitors at the Kilngreen to see any birds there. I took a picture of one of the new electric car charging points which are being installed, but not yet in operation, there.
I crossed the Sawmill Brig . . .
. . . and found the the red chestnut trees were flowering. I think that I was a day or two early to see them at their best.
I walked round the new path and noted the progress of the cones on the noble fir…
…and another conifer trying to break the record for most new cones on a single branch.
Although the Kilngreen had been busy, the path was very peaceful and I hardly saw another person as I walked along.
I admired the fine tree at the Jubilee Bridge…
. . . and I was very pleased to find a pair of blue tits very busily taking food into the nesting site in the trunk of the tree.
This nest hole used to be home to families of nuthatches. I took this picture in 2017, the last time that they were here.
In recent years, blue tits have moved in.
In spite of missing the nuthatches, it was good to see the blue tits because there was a recent report saying how badly they have done in the very cold spring this year.
I left the blue tits to their task and walked on to the Duchess Bridge.
On an earlier walk this year, I had noticed a lot of wild garlic plants growing beside the track up the other side of the river past the bridge. I took this picture on May 4th . . .
…and I wondered if the garlic had flowered, so I crossed the bridge, walked up the path and had a look..
The smell was glorious too.
I walked back down to the scholars field and tipped my hat to the wonderful corydalis that grows improbably out of the wall there . . .
. . . before getting home for a late lunch.
I had many possible plans for the afternoon but none of them matched sitting around watching a bike race with Mrs Tootlepedal for a hour or so and then getting as far as the garden but not to do anything more useful than sieve a batch of compost before taking a few pictures . . .
. . . and then going back in again.
Mrs Tootlepedal had been shopping and bought me some strawberries at a very reasonable price. As I had bought some sugar myself on an even better offer on a previous visit, I made them both into some strawberry jam.
And that was the sum of a day which should have been ideal for more interesting or energetic activities. You can’t win them all though.
The flying bird of the day is a passing jackdaw . . .
. . . and the flower of the day is sweet rocket.
Hedgehog update: the trail camera took pictures of the mother pottering around the garage last night but it also spotted an intruding cat which was most unwelcome. Mrs Tootlepedal has narrowed the gap into the garage and hopes that cats can’t now get in. We have put the camera out again so I will report back tomorrow.