Today’s guest picture comes from a new correspondent, Mark. He was a co-leader of a very energetic 10 mile walk on Sunday as part of the ‘Tour o’ the Moor’ celebrations of the anniversary of the community buy out. He sent me this picture of his group tackling a ridge in glorious weather.
We found ourselves with a surprisingly sunny morning here today, and the temperature had kept up very well too. The good conditions allowed Sandy to walk down the hill to join me for coffee, and even more importantly, let him walk back up the hill afterwards. He is making slow but steady progress after his latest operation.
We took a turn round the garden before he went home. This tulip almost made it . . .
. . . but with grey skies, lower temperatures and some rain forecast, it might have to wait a few days before opening out properly.
The sunshine had encouraged other visitors to the garden while we watched. A large bumble bee dived into a hellebore . . .
. . . and a small tortoiseshell butterfly was attracted by the magnolia.
I walked up the road with Sandy as far as the wonderful flowering currant in our neighbour’s garden . . .
. . . and then, seeing him safely on his way, I went back in and took another turn round our garden.
I like the sculptural form of the tree peonies when they start to shoot . . .
. . . and it is a pity that by the time that the flowers actually appear, they tend to get hidden by the leaves.
The silver pear flowers are tiny . . .
. . . but at least you can see them clearly when they open.
The lupins are showing some early leaves, and I like the way that they collect and retain tiny drops of water like jewels at their hearts.
I went back in and then looked out at the birds. A female chaffinch looked lonely.
A male chaffinch perched on one of the willow stems that Mrs Tootlepedal has put round the feeder.
At the feeder, a male redpoll showed off its chest colouring . . .
. . . indicating that it is ready for the breeding season.
Another redpoll turned up too without a red breast. Perhaps this one is a female.
Other birds soon appeared and the feeder became quite busy.
Mrs Tootlepedal was watching the Duke of Edinburgh’s memorial service with out neighbour Margaret, and I had time to sieve some compost from Bin D before she came back for lunch.
The sun had gone behind clouds by this time, but the wind was light and it was still pretty warm for the time of year at 14°C, so I thought that a cycle ride would be a good idea. The wind was coming from the north and the forecast suggested that it might get a little stronger in an hour, so it seemed that pedalling up the main road north into the light wind with the hope of getting a good push home would be a sensible route choice.
This turned out to be a very good plan.
The fifteen miles outward bound took me and hour and fifteen minutes, while the fifteen miles back, mostly downhill admittedly, took me a mere forty nine minutes, with the last ten miles whizzing by in 28 minutes, easily faster than 20 mph.
In all this helter skelter cycling, I didn’t have time or inclination for photographs, and took only two – a fine show of daffodils in a drive at the bottom of the hill to Mosspaul . . .
. . . and the memorial to local poet Henry Scott Riddell at my turning point, where I paused for for a minute or two for some refreshment.
What the forecast didn’t mention was the short hail shower which pinged me just as I got back into town. Luckily, it didn’t last.
After I had had a cup of tea and a shower, the day brightened up a bit as the evening came on, and I had a final walk round the garden.
The magnolia is looking better every day. We just hope it survives some low temperatures tomorrow and Thursday night.
That shouldn’t be a problem for the aubretia . . .
. . . or the many clumps of scillas round the garden.
The sun reappeared for a moment and lit up an angry siskin.
As I write this in the evening, my knees have sent me notice in writing that they will go on strike if I try to go cycling tomorrow. I don’t like to give in to impertinent requests from my lower limbs, but as low temperatures and strong winds are forecast, I will behave graciously and accede to their request. Also there is a newsletter to prepare.
The flying bird of the day is a chaffinch shielding its eyes from the morning sun.