Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony. One of his dogs is demonstrating excellent catching skills.
We had a generally grey and rather chilly day for the time of year today, but the sun was shining for a while as we cycled to church to sing in the choir. The hymns, which were all settings of psalms today, were a pleasure to sing and our small choir even managed a simple anthem so we cycled home with the sense of a job well done.
I caught the enormous poppies on the back wall while the sun was still shining. More come out every day.
We joined Liz in her garden for coffee with Ken and Margaret, and had the benefit of a sheltered spot against the brisk wind. This came in handy when the sun went in and there was even a hint of a very faint raindrop or two. Our week of warm and sunny weather at the beginning of the month is beginning to fade from memory.
Still, it was quite possible to work comfortably in the garden, so after coffee Mrs Tootlepedal settled down to planting out sunflowers and I wandered about.
Mrs Tootlepedal is pleased by how healthy her Sweet Williams are looking, and I am pleased that they have just started to flower.
There is much to enjoy in the garden at the moment.
I like looking closely at lupins.
I like the geometry of nature.
I like the scent of the philadelphus.
I like the thought of eating our home produce.
I like waiting for the this flower to get some colour.
And I like the colour of the blue poppies.
I have been banned from dead heading the blue poppies because Mrs Tootlepedal wants to collect seed so that we can have more blue poppies. I have also been banned from dead heading the Welsh and Icelandic poppies. If I dead head them regularly, we got a lot more flowers, but on the other hand, if I do it too zealously, we won’t get flowers next year. Mrs Tootlepedal thinks that we might be short of Shirley poppies this year because I was too quick with the secateurs last year and she is probably right.
I looked at the birds after lunch and noticed a sparrow very close to the window.
It was part of a gang of cut-throat sparrows who were apparently pecking the buds on the cotoneaster under the window. I hope that they leave some as I like the colour of the berries later in the year.
There are young birds about, both blackbirds . . .
. . . and sparrows.
I had time for a short walk after lunch before my virtual choir practice so I went round Gaskell’s and Easton’s Walks.
I was thinking of photographing some dog’s tooth peltigera lichen, but when I went to brush away a twig which was spoiling my picture, it ran away. I just had time to realise that my twig was a small lizard before it disappeared. I didn’t get a picture of it and I forgot to take the lichen. I must learn to look more carefully and not make assumptions.
I couldn’t miss some slow worms (with additional ants) when I lifted up the bit of roofing felt under which they like to shelter.
The ivy leafed toadflax on the wall at Pool Corner is amazing.
If I had stopped to take pictures of everything that I saw, I still wouldn’t be home now! As it was, I took about 50 pictures on my walk, including foxglove, campion, hawkbit and Herb Robert.
The ajuga or bugle weed was very prominent beside the path on Gaskell’s . . .
. . . and although it was a grey afternoon, the hawthorns once again brightened up the view.
A lot of white clover has come out to join the red variety.
In the end, I think that my favourite wild flower picture from the walk was this one of two geraniums.
Gaskell’sWalk is looking very bosky at the moment.
When I got to the park, having walked back along the river, I found a rabbit pretending that it wasn’t there . . .
. . . and some nice colour too.
I got home in good time for my virtual choir practice and enjoyed a lot of singing, as far as it is possible to enjoy virtual choir singing.
I had thought of sneaking a short cycle ride in after choir, but it was still grey, windy and generally not very tempting to a cyclist who was slightly tired already. I resolved to do something useful instead and trimmed the hedge along the road.
Mrs Tootlepedal came out to help me get it finished neatly, and the end result was satisfactory without being inch perfect.
My knee was quite grateful that I hadn’t gone cycling so that was a good decision.
The flying bird of the day is a siskin lining up an innocent sparrow for a good kicking.