A song cycle day

Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Caroline. She found this extravagantly yarn bombed tree when out for her walk today.

We had another dry day here for which we were only moderately grateful, as a spell of overnight rain would be really useful. We are getting warnings to be careful on our use of water because reservoirs are getting rather too low for comfort.

Still, I was pleased with the dry, warm conditions when I had to cycle round to the Langholm Initiative office after breakfast to have a chat with Jenny and Angela, the two ladies who have the responsibility for making everyone’s dreams about the development of the Langholm Moor into the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve come true. I went in my capacity of interim LI newsletter editor, and the results of our conversation will appear in the next edition of the newslette. They should be of interest to anyone who contributed to the community buy out.

The ladies were very generous with their time, and after visiting our corner shop on my way home, I found that it was lunchtime. I did just have time to make two pots of raspberry jam with some good looking Scottish raspberries which I had picked up in the shop before tucking into a cheese and tomato toastie.

Mrs Tootlepedal had also had a busy morning stuffing envelopes with brochures at the Buccleuch centre. This is tedious work, but it is good that the Buccleuch Centre is able to get back to offering a programme of concerts at last.

I picked up a camera after lunch and looked at the birds. I was happy that a blue tit had found a spare perch . . .

. . . at quite a busy time.

When I look at birds’ claws, I am often surprised that they manage to get a firm grip on these thin metal perches and don’t just swivel round and hang upside down.

I put down my camera, picked up my bike, and went off for a short ride round my familiar Canonbie route. There were hints of blue sky about, but as is so often the case, the sun was over there, and not ever here where I was.

All the same, the dry weather has let farmers take a second cut of grass.

When I was taking the picture of the oak tree and the cut grass, I noticed that the field has a wonderful patch of mint growing along the fence.

I thought that this was a little tactless considering that there are often sheep in that field.

I chased around my route, seeing fleeting glimpses of the sun, and finally caught up with it when I got to Hollows tower.

It had turned into a lovely afternoon . . .

. . . and I thoroughly enjoyed the rest of my ride up the river back home. I even managed quite a respectable speed.

I had a walk around the garden when I got back, and did a little dead heading as well as looking around. I liked the sight of this sparrow pretending to be dangerous hawk as it sat on top of the holly tree.

I thought I might see a few coloured butterflies coming back into the garden because of the sunshine, but I only saw this one small tortoise shell.

As usual though there were plenty of bees and hoverflies around, and I saw two visiting Mrs Tootlepedal’s favourite dahlia.

She likes this dahlia so much that she’s going to dig it up when the time comes, and keep it safely indoors over the winter so that we can enjoy it again next year.

Other flowers were enjoying the sunshine as much as I was.

While I was looking at the bees on the pink dahlia, more butterflies turned up on other dahlias.

It is interesting to see that a butterfly can still flutter by with severely damaged wings.

When I came back out into the garden after watching a bit of the Vuelta with Mrs Tootlepedal, I found that there were a lot more butterflies about . . .

. . . and the sparrow on the holly tree had turned into a starling.

There were lots of white butterflies flying about in every direction. I spent a bit of time trying to capture one of them in flight and this was my best effort.

I went back in and cooked some mince for my tea, and after our regular zoom with my sisters, I ate the mince with some home grown tatties. Once again kings and princes wept in frustration at the simple pleasures of life that they are denied at their fancy banquets.

That wasn’t the end of our day though. For the first time for a long time, we went out in the evening to take part in a communal activity. This was a choir practice for the parish church choir.

We were a bit thin on the ground for one reason or another, but it was a great treat to have a chance to sing together and improve our sound, especially as there was a cup of tea and a chocolate biscuit involved too.

It was a beautiful evening as we walked home. Normally, a beautiful evening at this time of year might easily come with a pretty chilly morning the next day, but looking at the forecast for the next week, there are no chilly nights to come and only warmer and sunnier days. We are going to get into trouble if it doesn’t give us some of our usual summer rain soon.

The flying bird of the day is a sparrow.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

14 thoughts on “A song cycle day

  1. I’m happy to hear that we’ll be seeing that dahlia again next year. It’s a beautiful thing.
    I wonder about your comment about the stand of mint you showed. Do sheep not like mint?
    I hope you’ll get some beneficial rain so you don’t have to ration water.

    1. It is because we eat lamb with mint sauce here.

      I share your hope about the rain. Restrictions are bound to come in soon if it doesn’t rain. We have already been asked to save water,. Soon we will be being told.

  2. Lamb and mint sauce … your mention of low reservoirs and lack of summer rain is all too familiar in my part of the world. I hope all will turn out well. Meanwhile, those bright flowers are very cheering – soon it will be time for me to plant marigold seeds and enjoy their vibrant beauty.

      1. Don Marquis’ poem “aesop revised by archy” has a mention of a mint bed that would go unnoticed if you were unaware of eating lamb with mint. Marquis was such a clever satirist – I am very fond of his poems. Some of my students shared that fondness, but others . . . not so much!

  3. I tried dahlias one year. They are too much much work, digging them up every year, with everything else needing care here. We have had better luck with hardy gladiolas. They should have bloomed already, but they did not like our summer.

    1. Mrs T grows most of her dahlias from seed to avoid the bother.

      Our neighbour has some gladioli planted along the dam at the back of our house and they have done well.

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