Today’s guest picture comes from my Lancashire correspondent Paul. He has acquired a caravan near Kendal in the Lake District, and he tells me that he intends to do a lot of cycling on the quiet back roads in the area. It looks ideal to me.
We had another frosty morning here, followed by another sunny day. It was rather hazy again, and we didn’t get quite the warmth that we would have got on a clearer day.
While the day was warming up, I applied myself to some cooking, making a lamb stew for the slow cooker, and then some sausage rolls using ready made puff pastry.
Our neighbour Margaret came round for coffee, and she assured me that the best TV cooks are not too proud to use ready made puff pastry too. I can understand that, because when we had the sausage rolls for lunch with a bowl of Mrs Tootlepdal’s lentil soup they were delicious, with the pastry being light and crisp.
In between the cooking and the coffee, I had a look at the garden birds. There wasn’t as much traffic as there has been recently, but it was still quite busy, and I was pleased to see a lesser redpoll.
A number of chaffinches flitted in and out of the shadows cast by the sun . . .
. . . and I saw goldfinches, siskins and a greenfinch too.
After coffee, I had a walk round the garden to look at the daffodils, which are coming along well . . .
. . . and a bud on the magnolia is trying to open out. As is often the case though, the petals have been browned by the morning frosts.
Then I set about trying to put a new front mudguard on my bicycle. I got as far as taking the old, broken one off, but ran out of patience and the correct tool required for fitting the new one. As there is no rain in the forecast for a few days at least, I put the wheel back on without a mudguard and went for my lunch.
We came out into the garden after our soup and sausage rolls to enjoy the sunshine. While Mrs Tootlepedal had a sit down in the warmth of the greenhouse, I sieved some compost, and I have now filled the big bucket ready for Mrs Tootlepedal to make use of it.
It was not a windy day, so a bike ride seemed like a good idea, and I went off to ride round the Solwaybank windfarm loop. It was warm enough today for me to discard a layer of my cycling gear, but only just, so I packed a light jacket into my back pocket just in case.
The haze was still there, and when I looked back towards Whita from Callister, I could see a gloomy layer sitting on top of our hills below the bluer sky above.
Looking the other way, I saw a most unusual sight.
A closer look showed me that it was a small group of donkeys grazing the strip between the road and the forest.
I have never seen donkeys beside this road before.
They gave me a curious look and went back to grazing. I pedalled on.
At this point, the haze turned into light cloud overhead, and as there were no views available to photograph, I kept pedalling until I got the the tree tunnel on the road after the windfarm. Here I had to stop to let a car go by, so I took the opportunity to show that there is no sign of green on the tunnel yet.
The timber company has done a very through job of clearing the trees and the felled wood a bit further along the road at the Kerr. There are only a few loads left to go now.
Luckily, there is a special road for the lorries to take the timber out cross country . . .
. . . so there is no danger of me meeting one on the narrow roads in the area.
I came back into the sun as I cycled back down the hill onto Wauchopedale, but it was a thin and watery light and there was no danger of my getting over heated.
You can see by the pale surface of the timber route how dry it has been lately, and I had to make use of my buff as a mask when I met or was passed by lorries and vans on my way, as they were kicking up a big stour when they went along.
All the same, I breathed in quite a lot of dust, so I was pleased to have a mug of tea and a ginger biscuit when I got home.
As I drank my tea, I could see a vase with a daffodil which Mrs Tootlepedal had brought in from the garden . . .
. . .and this tempted into another walk to look at frogs and flowers.
Disappointingly, there were no frogs to be seen in the pond. Looking at my records, I see that this should be peak frog week in our pond, so it is a worry that there are none about.
I looked at viburnum in the back border. . .
. . . a daisy on the drive . . .
. . . and some promising shoots on the climbing hydrangea on the house wall.
The day continued with the regular zoom with my siblings, and this was followed by the consumption of the slow cooked lamb stew for our evening meal. It is hard to go wrong with a lamb stew in a slow cooker, so we had a very satisfying time eating it.
The (almost) flying bird of the day is a chaffinch.