Slightly flaky

Today’s guest picture comes from Langholm exile Tom. He sent it to me to show that the sun does not always shine in South Africa. It rains there too.

It rained overnight here, but by morning it was dry and really quite chilly, though the temperature stayed above freezing.

There were a few snowflakes in the air when we got in the car to drive down to the bike shop in Longtown. The intention was to get some new brake blocks for Mrs Tootlepedal’s bicycle. This would have worked out a lot better if it hadn’t turned out that these days the bike shop is closed on a Wednesday. We drove home again.

After coffee, I looked at the birds and found a goldfinch ready to pose for a portrait.

Then I buckled down and spent some useful time preparing for the production of this month’s Langholm Initiative newsletter. I have been sent plenty of material, and I should be able to get the job finished tomorrow, which, as it is the last day of the month, will be none too soon.

While I was waiting for a final contribution, I went back to look at the birds again, and found two more posers . . .

. . . though there was quite a lot of action as well as the day went on and the seed went down.

. . . and the fewer seeds there are, the more tension there is.

The threat of rain faded after lunch, and Mrs Tootlepedal and I ventured out for a walk, well wrapped up in our winter coats. It was 4°C, but there was a keen northerly wind blowing, and with the threat of rain or sleet about, it was not a day for dawdling about enjoying the spring weather.

All the same, there were signs of spring to be seen on our walk . . .

. . . and as a passing snow shower drifted over Whita Hill . . .

. . . and left us alone as we crossed the Becks Burn bridge . . .

. . . we were able to look about as we strolled on. As well as fungus and a pony, we saw two rabbits in a field. They were not bothered by us at all.

There was plenty of golden saxifrage about in ditches beside the track.

I looked it up when I got home and found that it is called opposite-leaved golden saxifrage, Chrysosplenium oppositifolium. I will try to get a better picture of this plant on a future walk, as it deserves to be shown at its best.

As you can see from today’s header picture, larches are showing a bit of green too, so I will also be keeping an eye out for larch flowers. I saw my first one on April 7th last year.

We were pleased to get back into the warmth of the house when we got home. After a cup of tea, I had another look at the bird feeder, which I had refilled, and found a lot more posers. A little sunshine appeared to shed some light on them

In between looking at the birds, I made a batch of Garibaldi biscuits.

Then it was time for two Zoom meetings. The first was with our son Alistair and our granddaughter Matilda, and the second was with my brother and sisters. The good news from both meetings was about recovery from Covid infections. Matilda is back at school, and back at her many after school groups as well, while my sisters, Susan and Mary are out and about in the busy London world again.

Between the Zooms, I sneaked out into the garden to enjoy the unexpected little burst of sunshine. There were flowers out . . .

. . . and nicely contrasting colours among the shrubs . . .

. . . and a rose covered arch which gave a completely false impression of the cold and wintery nature of the day.

The north wind is going to continue to blow, and we might get a frost over any or all of the next three nights, but it does not look as though they will be hard enough to do much damage in the garden. I realise that I am tempting fate by saying that, but temperatures will certainly rise again early next week, and we should be able to get back to enjoying spring again.

The flying birds of the day are a joint effort by a goldfinch and a siskin.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

27 thoughts on “Slightly flaky

  1. The goldfinch portrait was excellent.
    I hope you do find larch flowers. I have only one tree that I can get to and I can no longer reach its branches.
    All the flowers, the glimpse of the garden and the views were all beautiful. I’m hoping you don’t see any real cold.

  2. I enjoyed the spring photos, especially your bird portraits today. You caught some very nice poses, especially the side view “another male siskin” on the curved arbor piece, looking like a body builder showing off beak and muscles. We have gone back to cool here today, and it was 34 degrees before sunrise. It won’t be all that long before the weather is too hot, so I should not complain. 🙂

  3. Well you certainly found a lot of posers on your walk and in the garden! Beautiful photos of the goldfinch, blackbird, siskin and chaffinch and to top it all the lovely photos of the pony and rabbit. The flowers were great too!

  4. That rose covered arch interested me. I think I should try to find a couple of spots in the garden regeneration here. Keep on tootling. Cheers.

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