Today’s guest picture comes from my brother Andrew who found himself standing under a bridge on the now empty Nottingham Canal. I suspect that one of his sons took the picture.
It was decidedly cool this morning, and even though it was another still day, we needed a jumper on to go out in comfort.
I put my jumper on after breakfast and cycled up to the Archive Group workspace in the newspaper office with a new cartridge for the printer. I fitted the cartridge but couldn’t get the printer to switch on, so I won’t know if it will work until the person who normally uses the printer comes in and tries it.
I called in at the corner shop on my way home, and then had time for a good look round the garden before coffee.
New roses are to be found. Crown Princess Margareta is making her debut for the year . . .
. . . and the Jacobite rose is flowering too.
The number of bees is still alarmingly low, but at least there were two about enjoying the poppies.
Peonies are enjoying the still, dry weather.
A new set of the very pretty Iris Siberica ‘Silver Edge’ has appeared. This is good, especially as they are in a place which makes them easier for me to photograph them.
Nearby, the nectaroscordums are putting out more and more flowers.
I used to think that they were one of the dullest plants in the garden but I have changed my mind now.
Beside the pond, one of my favourite flowers, the candelabra primula, is doing its best to make its mark in rather crowded conditions.
A quick check on the plums showed that some thinning out may be needed . . .
. . . but since we were afraid that the cold spring might have led to us having no plums at all, this is a task which we will gladly undertake.
When it was time for coffee, we got an excellent indication of how well the jackdaw communication system works. Mrs Tootlepedal threw out a few crumbs from our bread board onto the lawn, and before we had even sat down to enjoy our coffee, about ten jackdaws appeared from nowhere to peck up the bread. This was the ‘tweetersphere’ in action and it makes communicating by Twitter look slow.
Mrs Tootlepedal went to the back door and most of the jackdaws left, leaving these two wondering where everyone had gone.
After coffee, we paid attention to a tip from Mike Tinker and drove past the bird hide and down to the Tarras Valley to look at the wild irises in a water meadow beside the river there. They make a fine sight when they come out at this time of year.
As they like growing in boggy spots, it was quite difficult to get close to them and we encountered a mass of horsetail as we squelched across the field.
The horsetail is a striking plant too.
While we were puddling about, the sharp eyed Mrs Tootlepedal noticed an unfamiliar plant. We had a look . . .
. . . and when we got home, she consulted her books and discovered that it was Marsh Lousewort. She gains great credit for both spotting the plant and finding out what it was.
We were wandering about trying to get the best view of the irises, and photographing individual flowers . . .
. . . when once again, Mrs Tootlepedal spotted something of interest. She noticed several small dark butterflies flitting among the tall grasses. I tried to get a good shot of one of them but they were much more intent on fluttering than posing and these were two of my best efforts.
The pictures were just good enough for Google Lens to suggest that they weren’t butterflies at all, but chimney sweeper moths. The internet tells me that they are common in Scotland and like a soggy habitat with pignut flowers to feed on so they were in the right place.
It was good to see the irises and even better to combine that pleasure with a new plant and a new moth. As we walked back to the car, I couldn’t help noticing that the crosswort was doing well too.
When we got home, it was time for lunch but I had a look at the bird feeder first. I was very happy to see a chaffinch . . .
. . . as they have been very scarce recently.
Perhaps they don’t care for shouty siskins . . .
. . . and have found a quieter place to raise their broods.
I was intending to go for a walk or a cycle ride in the afternoon, but I found myself helping in the garden and even planted a few rows of beetroot while Mrs Tootlepedal prepared the ground for her new clematis.
The beetroot planting, watering the vegetable garden, shredding some material cut down by Mrs Tootlepedal, and dead heading poppies managed to take up all the afternoon until it was time for a cup of tea.
After that I mowed the middle lawn, and although it was the longest day of the year, time seemed to slip by and thoughts of exercise slipped away too.
I took a picture of some foxgloves . . .
…Zoomed with my siblings, and contemplated the inevitable shortening of the days until winter comes again.
After the novelty of the lousewort and the chimney sweeper in the morning, there was more novelty at our evening meal. Mrs Tootlepedal was given some pak choi seedlings some time ago by our neighbour Liz. They have grown well and we picked enough to cook. We have never cooked or eaten pak choi before, but Mrs Tootlepedal got some advice from the internet and wilted the leaves in hot oil. I approached the result with the usual suspicion that I reserve for ‘any fancy food which I haven’t eaten before’, but it turned out that pak choi wilted in hot oil is delicious.
Because of the long cold spring, midsummer day has rather crept up on us unexpectedly and caught us by surprise. Let us hope that we have a long warm summer to make up for the spring and that we don’t need to start thinking about autumn for a long time.
The flying bird of the day is one of the visiting jackdaws.
The flower of the day is Mrs Tootlepedal’s new clematis.
Footnote: Here is the link to the Carlisle Choir’s latest virtual performance.