Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary. She was playing tennis in Regents Park again yesterday, and couldn’t help noticing that the park gardeners have been busy.
We had another below zero morning (-1°C, 29°F) followed by a fine day here. We hardly had time to notice the weather though, as we were the centre of a storm of sociability. First our neighbour Gavin brought his son and daughter, and their respective spouses round, and we enjoyed coffee with them. Gavin’s son Fraser and our son Alistair had been inseparable friends while they were at school. Once they grew older, the width of the Atlantic has separated them, and it was particularly good to catch up with Fraser and his wife whom we hadn’t seen for eight years.
No sooner had they gone on their way than our neighbour Margaret arrived for her regular coffee visit, and then, when she departed, our other neighbour Liz, who has been away for some days, also appeared, and we had a catch up with her.
After all that, we needed a quiet sit down for a moment. It is a sign of the times that Gavin and all his family had had a covid test before they came visiting.
The feeder was quite busy again too, though there was a marked absence of goldfinches today. This gave chaffinches their chance.
I had a look at Mrs Tootlepedal’s birthday flowers which are lasting well . . .
. . . and then went out into the garden to see what is doing well after our frosty mornings.
We have one more cold night to go, and then the weather is forecast to get a bit warmer. This will be welcome.
After lunch, we decided to go for a walk. In spite of the continuing cool northerly wind, it was very pleasant in the sunshine, and we enjoyed a walk down the waterside to Skippers Bridge, and a return journey via Skipperscleuch and the lower slopes of Warbla.
We were serenaded by a robin on the way down . . .
. . . and saw many signs of spring, including the first speedwell flowers of the year.
It was a lovely day for a walk.
On the track up to the hill, we passed many larch flowers, and what we think is a chiffchaff singing lustily in a tree.
Because the track through the Kernigal wood is still blocked by fallen trees, we had to divert along a minor track through commercial planting. It had a gloomy entrance into the wood and a cheery exit onto the hill, with a lot to see in between (including tadpoles in puddles).
Once we were out onto the open hill, we were greeted by fine views in all directions.
Mrs Tootlepedal pointed out that thanks to Storm Arwen, we could now see the end wall and roof of our house in the town below, a sight that had been hidden by trees for many years.
In no great rush to leave these fine prospects behind, we slowly came down the hill to the Auld Stane Brig, and walked back to the town along the road to Pool Corner . . .
. . . where we met a pair of ducks, possibly the pair that had visited our garden a few days ago.
The last sighting of our walk was a greater stitchwort on the banking across the road from the river.
Mrs Tootlepedal had a check of our pond when we got home. She was happy to find that quite a few tadpoles could be seen wriggling among the pond weed, having escaped the attentions of those visiting ducks.
In the evening, we ended our sociable day with a WhatsApp video call with our daughter Annie and her daughter Evie.
The flying bird of the day is one of the happy chaffinches.