Tremendously sociable

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.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

32 thoughts on “Tremendously sociable

  1. There must be hundreds of bedding plants in that one flower bed in The Regent’s Park. It boggles the mind to consider the size of the greenhouses that supply the royal parks. You’d be hard pressed to produce enough compost for them Tom!

    And just when most of the snow is gone . . . apparently a Colorado Low is going to be coming through mid next week, bringing anywhere from 30-80 cm of snow. That’s pretty far out yet though – time for it to be wrong (I hope!).

    1. 80cm of snow art this time of year would be hard to bear. I hope that the forecast is wrong.

      You are right about the amount of space needed for bringing on those plants.

  2. I’m glad the mallards left some tadpoles in your pond so you can have an unbroken chain of frog generations.
    I didn’t know that larch flowers did that. They become even more beautiful as they age.
    It was nice to see all the flowers, especially the stitchwort.

      1. The larch flowers I see here are small enough so I can’t see them without help. All I see is a splotch of color. Yours look quite a lot bigger. European larch, maybe? I don’t know. The flowers turn into cones, and I think that’s what your latest photo is showing. They’re very pretty.

  3. I very much like your tree with the lovely blue sky with fluffy white clouds in the background! I’m thinking it might just be worth the bit of chill.
    And I do like that view along the road to Pool Corner. It reminds me a bit of the creek that runs in front of our house.
    (Oh dear! your ‘like’ button appears to have gone missing???)

  4. A man like you was seen swaggering down to the Skipper’s bridge with a young lady.

  5. Loved the robin and those views. Thoughtful of your friends to take a Covid test before visiting. So pleased the ducks didn’t get all the tadpoles.

  6. Your flowers and trees seem to have come through the cold with flying colors. Here, it was 36 degrees this morning with a combination of snow and rain.

    It was good to see the tadpoles! They look healthy and close to breaking free of the jelly cases. The views of the countryside are stunning, and I always enjoy your birds and commentary.

  7. I’m not a fan of formal planting but I must say those borders in Regents Park look jolly lovely! A lovely walk with so many different and lovely views to enjoy. Are there many sheep farms around in the area now as I presume that Ewes Valley was named after sheep! Good to see the tadpoles survived the cold and your tadpoles survived the ducks! You’re correct that chaffinch is certainly happy!

    1. We are totally surrounded by sheep farms. Beef cattle are grazed too and there is very little crop growing of any sort other than grass for silage.

      1. Thanks for that. The fields around here are full of sheep and the fields around your walks rarely show flocks!

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