Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary. As the azaleas in our garden are not out yet, she kindly sent me this stunning display from Kenwood House.
After more overnight frost, we enjoyed a bright and sunny day here, with very little wind. Mrs Tootlepedal was busy in the morning, so I went up to help the volunteers plant trees on the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve by myself. Because it was such a fine day, I went up on my electric bike (the push bike is still at the bike shop).
They tell me that about one thousand trees have now been planted, and we did our best to add to that total this morning.
As you can see, there is some natural regeneration going on, but new growth is getting badly nibbled by wildlife, so it is important that our little trees are well protected.
We worked for nearly two hours, and I was ready for lunch by the time that I got home. Mrs Tootlepedal was out for lunch, and while I was waiting for her to return, I wandered round the garden.
The tulips were enjoying the warm sunshine and had opened their petals generously.
Note: One of the flowers in the panel above is not a tulip!
The red tulips are eye catching on a day like today . . .
. . . and I was able to catch a reflection of a date stone in the pond behind a row of yellow tulips.
More apple blossoms are coming out each day . . .
. . . so it was good to see a bee attending to business.
Mrs Tootlepedal has allowed a lot of dandelions to flower, and it has been disappointing not to see any insects visiting them so far this spring. Happily, there were a few visitors today.
I stuck my nose into an ajuga.
I filled the feeder and watched the birds for a while.
Later in the afternoon, I saw a pond skater being rocked by the ripples created by whirligig beetles and one of the beetles stayed still for long enough to get its picture taken, a most unusual occurrence.
Mrs Tootlepedal returned from her lunch, and we were walking round the garden when a butterfly zoomed past us. I rushed in to get my camera but it flew off before I could get a good picture. Nevertheless, I am putting in this fuzzy picture of a peacock butterfly just for the record, so that I can remember when one first appeared this year.
Following her lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal had a parcel to deliver to one of her fellow lunchers who lives up the Esk Valley. As it was such a fine afternoon, we decided to make an outing of the task and pedal up to Enzieholm Bridge while making the delivery on the way.
As well as lambs, there are calves in the fields at the moment.
I found a rather gloomy picture that I took when we cycled through the Gates of Eden last night, and I have added a slightly brighter picture looking across the valley taken on our ride today.
We saw a lot of Lady’s Smock beside the road all the way round our trip, and I have added a bluebell, a stitchwort and some wild strawberries which we saw near Georgefield on our way back.
The route took us along the banks of the Esk . . .
. . . and just as we got near to Bentpath village, we heard the chimes of Pelosi’s ice cream van, so we were happy to stop and enjoy delicious ice cream. While we were there, I took the opportunity to take a picture of the church . . .
. . . and a curious structure on the roof of the village hall.
We pedalled vigorously back to Langholm, and got home just in time for an evening zoom with my brother and sisters.
Later on, our friends Mike and Alison came round for music and conversation. This is usually a regular Friday occasion, but for one reason or another, we haven’t been able to meet for some time. This was a very welcome visit.
While Mike and Mrs Tootlepedal chatted, Alison and I played recorder and keyboard duets, rather rustily, but still to our great satisfaction.
The last two days have been quite busy. I am hoping to sleep well tonight.
The flying bird of the day is a siskin, getting straight to the point.