Today’s guest picture is another from Paul’s Lake District stay. He found an interesting addition to a tree and an explanation.
We had another mostly grey, occasionally sunny, and always windy day here, although it seemed a little bit warmer when we got up. All the same, we had coffee (and treacle scones) indoors when Dropscone came to visit. He has been playing golf as usual, and he told me that he has qualified for the match play stages of the club’s seniors section championship. This achievement sounds impressive, but he also told me that there were only seven players competing for eight places so it wasn’t quite as difficult to qualify as it might have been.
Before coffee, I roamed round the garden taking in the brilliant reds of the rhododendrons and the poppy on the back wall. The wind and rain has given the poppies a bit of a battering. Alliums, the first philadelphus flowers and a pale pink rhododendron provided a contrast in colour.
This was my favourite garden view of the day.
We had been worried that our weigela, the oldest shrub in our garden, might have been fatally damaged by the frosts but it has recovered well and along with the climbing hydrangea is producing flowers. The red astrantia is getting up to full strength and a new geranium has come out.
I looked up from the flowers to see a siskin on a twig . . .
. . . and then looked down again to find a blackbird passing with a beak full of nesting material.
After coffee, I cycled round to the shop for essential supplies (Friday is cream cake day), and on my way back, I nodded to an oystercatcher standing on one leg beside the river.
When I got home, I mowed both the middle and front lawns. I am adopting a no fertiliser and moss killer policy this year, and letting wild flowers grow where they can. I am still going to mow regularly but not frequently to see what happens.
Looking down from above later on, there was just enough grass growing on the front lawn to make a pattern but the damage done by the pecking jackdaws is pretty plain.
Still, it’s fairly green and Mrs Tootlepedal has trimmed the edges so it doesn’t look too bad.
When I had put the mower away, I had leisure to appreciate the first of the yellow Scotch roses . . .
. . . and a very dark iris in the vegetable garden.
After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal had arranged to talk to Fred, the film maker, about the community buy out and the moor. As I had not been a part of the group that organised the buy out, I went off for a cycle ride to get out of their way.
The seed feeder had been busy with busy with sparrows today. . .
. . . but I had also put out some mealworms, and when I looked down from an upstairs window while I was changing, I saw that they had attracted the attention of a cautious jackdaw. It circled the bowl three times before taking a peck.
It was still rather windy, though a bit less so than yesterday, and as a result, I stuck to my regular Canonbie route in the hope that after a stiff three miles unto the wind, I might find it less of a struggle when I turned at Wauchope Schoolhouse. This proved to be an accurate assessment, and I enjoyed a helping hand for a lot of the rest of the route, both down and then back home again.
The roads are still rich in wild flowers as the verge cutters have stayed their hand, and it is a treat to cycle through country like this . . .
. . . or this . . .
. . . even with the rush of traffic that you can see in the top picture.
I have been keeping an eye out for the dark green patch of plants in the ditch near the bottom of the Canonbie by-pass and I saw that they had got flowers today.
Mrs Tootlepedal had had a feeling that they might be poisonous and Google Lens tells me that they could be hemlock. This looked like a good suggestion to me when I checked some pictures. I would be happy if someone could share an opinion on this.
Other wild flowers and grasses lined my route back up to Langholm. . .
. . . and a rhododendron at Irvine House made a splendid picture.
I got home in a very good mood thanks to the friendly wind and the profusion of flowers.
As I walked round the garden with Mrs Tootlepedal, who had just finished her interview, we noticed a lone bee on the beans.
The odd weather has left us very short of bees and butterflies at the moment.
In the evening, the day was rounded off by a visit by our friends Mike and Alison. A Friday evening visit from them was a regular occurrence in the good old days before the lockdown, so it was great to feel that a bit of normality had returned. Alison is a pianist, and she and I played flute and recorder duets while Mike and Mrs Tootlepedal put the world to rights.
We hope to meet again next week.
The flying bird(s) of the day is/are any of many simultaneous sparrows seen from that upstairs window.