Today’s guest picture comes from our son Tony. He saw not just one, but two butterflies on his walk with his dogs today.
We had a pleasantly warm and unusually calm day today. The temperature never got much above 18°C but thanks to the lack of wind, it felt warmer than that.
We had coffee in the garden with Margaret, and on either side of that, Mrs Tootlepedal was busy planting out her leeks and keeping the flower beds looking well tended. I offered moral support, dead headed poppies and took pictures of flowers.
Rose numbers are increasing every day . . .
. . . and there are signs of fruit on two of the espalier apples.
Sadly, the third apple didn’t manage to beat the frosts. On the plus side, we picked a good crop of spinach from the vegetable garden.
I took a stroll along the dam behind the house and marvelled at Kenny’s strange but beautiful lilies on the far bank, as well as the plants and flowers on our side.
I managed to spend quite a lot of time wandering about, but I did a crossword too, and there was also a moment to watch the birds and note the arrival of a male redpoll at the feeder.
I went back out into the garden after lunch and had another look at the flowers. Blue caught my eye this time . . .
. . . and I was happy to see that a few bees had found the lupins and were busy unlocking the flowers. The clematis to the right of the front door showed us its first flower.
There are some nice corners in the garden at the moment.
After a bit of dithering, I managed to persuade myself to go for a walk while Mrs Tootlepedal relaxed after some hard gardening by watching the racing from Ascot. The forecast was a bit gloomy so I packed a light rain jacket in my bag and set off hopefully.
I went through the park and up the track towards the summit of Warbla. There were so many wild flowers on the way that I had to ration myself or I would never have got to the open hill.
I hadn’t seen the flower in the bottom left corner of the panel before and research says that it might be red valerian. I would be happy to be corrected on this.
Far from raining, the weather got better as I walked up the hill and I was able to look around. A fine hawthorn tree stood out . . .
. . . but it remained stubbornly hazy, so the views weren’t much of a treat today, even from the top of the hill.
As a consolation, a small heath butterfly waited on the track for me to photograph it before it flew off, and in a surreal moment, I found a pied wagtail sitting on the trig point at the very top of the hill. It too waited patiently while I had two or three goes at getting a picture.
While I was taking the dull view from the summit, a painted lady butterfly fluttered past and settled in the grass a few feet away from me . . .
. . . so the lack of good views didn’t detract at all from the pleasure of being on the hill.
I walked across the rough ground on my way down the other side of the hill, and passed quite a few thistles . . .
. . . and a ruined sheepfold . . .
. . . on my way to Skippers Bridge.
The calm conditions at the bridge made a reflective photograph compulsory . . .
. . . and it was so calm that I have put the pictures in both ways up, and it may need a second glance to tell which one is the right way up.
I walked along the Tarras road and then took path beside Jenny Noble’s Gill up into the woods.
As I crossed the old railway, I came across a burst of blossom.
To my surprise, they turned out to be blackberry flowers, looking amazingly big and healthy. I haven’t seen any others as I have cycled about, so why these are so well forward is a mystery. Unless, perhaps they aren’t blackberries. I am open to correction again.
The walks through the birch and oak woods was enhanced by some sunshine . . .
. . . and it was hot enough in the sun to make me grateful for the shade of the trees.
Alongside the track at one point, I passed a crop of yellow wild flowers . . .
. . . and I was quite chuffed to be able to recall that they were common cow wheat.
I came down out of the woods at Skippers Bridge, and walked back to the town beside the river. Mike Tinker had told me last night that if I walked this way, I would come across something worth seeing. He was right.
There is a very impressive patch of melancholy thistles near the Co-op store. They are in prime condition.
As an additional reward for taking this route, I spotted a goosander on a rock a little further up the river.
I would normally have crossed the suspension bridge to go home, but as it is still shut, I had to walk up to the Town Bridge. It was in reflective mode too.
I had walked five and a half miles by the time that I got home, so I was quite ready for a cup of tea and a sit down to watch the last two races from Ascot. Mrs Tootlepedal was out on the garden again when I got back but she joined me for the last race.
I used the spinach from the garden to make baked eggs on a bed of spinach with a cheese sauce (using some of my Father’s day cheese gift from Tony) for my evening meal, and this rounded off a very satisfactory and peaceful day.
The flying bird of the day is a blackbird heading for its nest in the hydrangea on the wall of the house.