Today’s guest picture is another from my sister Caroline’s recent sunny visit to her park in Southsea just beside the sea.
The weather continues to be odd. From early morning to late in the evening as I wrote this, the temperature has stayed between 14°C and 18°C, and is is warmer now at nine o’clock at night than it was at nine o’clock this morning. It might have got warmer during the day if the sun had come out, but it stayed resolutely cloudy all day.
I made a leisurely start to the day and after a visit to the corner shop, I just had time for a quick walk around the garden before going to our neighbour Liz for morning coffee.
The blue campanulas are continuing to thrive . . .
. . . although it is out of season for them. They’ve been joined by late flush of Sweet William also out of season.
The fuchsias are enjoying the weather a lot . . .
. . . and bees are obviously enjoying the weather too.
I always like to see a euphorbia in action and this one has an eye catching colour.
I took a look at the chimney pot garden . . .
. . . and went across the road for coffee. In a break with our lockdown habits, we didn’t take our own coffee and cups across, but sat down to drink Liz’s excellent coffee from Liz’s cups. It felt a bit daring, but we are all getting demob happy after a year and a half.
After coffee, I applied myself to cooking, and made lentil and onion soup for lunch and a batch of ginger biscuits. Now we have got our fan oven working again, the ginger biscuits came out looking a lot better than my last batch.
After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to visit a friend to lend her our magnifying embroidery light, and I went for a walk. There was a brisk wind about which discouraged cycling.
I didn’t walk far as the prime object of the outing was to pass as many bramble bushes as I could on the way. Or rather, not to pass them, but to stop and pick brambles.
I got a bonus as I walked along the Esk at the start of my walk when I saw a dipper, the first for some time . . .
. . . and a backward looking gull.
I know that I have mentioned it a lot, but the lack of water in our rivers is really remarkable. Usually at this time of year, we are worrying about the cattle show being called off because of the heavy rain and flooded field. Now there is only enough water to provide the centre arch of the town bridge with a full reflection.
I left the Kilngreen and set off up the hill road where my quest for brambles was reasonably successful.
I laid my walking poles down and got picking. The brambles appeared in patches as I walked up the road, and it took me a long time to get to the track back along the hill towards the golf course. It wasn’t a day for views . . .
. . . but the pines at Hillhead are always worth a look, whatever the weather.
When I got to the gate at the top of the Kirk Wynd, there was a pleasing combination of more blackberries and some lichen on a nearby wall.
Dropscone had suggested that I might find some brambles on the golf course, so I set off across the course to see if he was right.
When I got to the far side of the course, I found that Dropscone was right but that some other forager had beaten me to it, and there were slim pickings.
However, as I went down the hill, I found a good number of unpicked berries and proceeded to pick them. By the time that I had got to the ninth hole, I had accumulated two pounds of berries from my walk to go with the pound that Mrs Tootlepedal and I had picked yesterday. I also met some magnificent rose hips . . .
. . . a drift of fading goldenrod . . .
. . . and what I think is yellow toadflax looking very colourful.
I came back down to the town and finished my walk with a chat to Angela, the development manager for the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve, who was working in the Welcome to Langholm Office. This was followed by a very helpful hint from our friend Nancy about another bramble picking opportunity which she had passed on a walk today. If all goes well, I shall add to our bramble mountain with a visit there tomorrow.
Although I had had a leisurely morning, and only a short two and a half mile walk in the afternoon, it had felt like a busy day, and I was very happy to sink down after a sibling Zoom and our evening meal to watch an hour of the Chelsea Flower Show on TV.
I didn’t get the opportunity to look at the garden birds at all today, so a severe looking gull is standing in for the flying bird of the day today. (It is probably wondering where all the water has gone.)