Today’s guest picture comes from Mary Jo’s trip to British Columbia. She was impressed by the thoughtfulness of this road sign.
When I woke up in the middle of last night and saw a starry sky, I expected to find a frosty morning when I woke up at the proper time. I was very pleased to find that I was wrong. We had a sunny morning, quite calm, and with the temperature five degrees C above freezing from the start.
The Tarras Valley Nature Reserve volunteering had been out forward to half past ten, so I had to be on my toes to have breakfast, go to the corner shop, get my volunteering socks on, and be at the appointed place on time.
Mrs Tootlepedal had an appointment for coffee with her ex-works colleagues, so I went by myself. Only three other volunteers turned up but we set to work with a will. We were back beside the Tarras Water again today, removing more of an old pheasant enclosure . . .
. . . and it was hard work. The ground is rough and often steep, and the bottom of the wire fences are well buried beneath grass and bracken.
All the time we worked, the Raegill Burn on the other side of the wall chattered away cheerfully.
And after a while we had added quite a lot more wire and fence posts to the pile by the road.
It is quarter of a mile from the road to the enclosure, and carrying stuff through the very boggy ground adds a lot to the work of removing the fences. After more than an hour of heaving and hauling at the buried wire netting, I made one journey back and took a rest while the other volunteers went back to fetch more wire and posts.
I spent a bit of time looking round the bridge over the river. It is a modern affair, replacing an older bridge.
I looked at the water running under it . . .
. . . the flourishing lichen on the metal parapet on top of it . . .
. . . and the equally flourishing hazel beside it.
The picture shows just how tiny the hazel flowers are compared with the catkins.
In time, the others returned . . .
. . . and we ended the session with the customary hot blackcurrant juice and shortbread.
Well sheltered from any wind, with the sun out and temperatures rising to 10°C by the time that we finished, I found that I was positively hot myself, and was quite pleased to get home and shed some of my working layers. I did take a walk round the garden before I went into the house.
The crocuses were enjoying the hot day.
They are doing so well, that in the afternoon, Mrs Tootlepedal went out and divided up some of the bigger bunches, and replanted them elsewhere in the garden. She is going for total crocus next spring.
I looked back out at the birds after I went in. Oddly, for such a nice day, there weren’t many about.
And one of the ones that was about, made a big effort to avoid becoming the flying bird of the day. by hiding its head.
After a lunch of fried bacon in a brioche bread sandwich, I made the mistake of sitting in a comfortable chair and found myself falling asleep.
Luckily, I caught myself at it in the nick of time and decided to make better use of a fine day by going for a cycle ride.
It was a good plan, but it turned out to have one or two defects in it. As I set off, the sun went and disappeared for the rest of the day, the wind was a good deal stronger than it was in the morning, and the temperature took a sharp downward turn. All in all, the ride was harder and colder work than I had planned, so I cut out any idea of a long and gentle pedal in the sunshine, and went round my familiar Canonbie route in a slightly grumpy mood instead, not stopping for many charming photographs on the way.
My legs forced me to stop for a breather at one point where I noticed an unusual metal gatepost . . .
. . . but that and today’s header picture were the only two that I took.
Mrs Tootlepedal had a busy day. As well as coffee with her colleagues, she did some crocus gardening, fixed a retaining hook to the garage door which had been repaired after being damaged in a storm . . .
. . . and varnished a little chair which she is preparing for the visit of our daughter and granddaughter at the weekend. She acquired the chair on a trip to our local dump where a lady was preparing to throw it away, but kindly gave it to her instead. With another coat of varnish, it will be as good as new.
I was sufficiently tired from hauling our fence wire and slow cycling that I almost missed the regular zoom with my brother and sisters and had to be reminded.
I think that the disturbing news from Ukraine has knocked a bit of the stuffing out of me.
However, I did manage a flying bird today.