Today’s guest picture come from my cello playing friend Mike. He found this poplar hawk moth in his shed today.
We woke up to a chilly, wet and windy day. The rain gave up after a while, and I was able to cycle round to the corner shop for supplies before Margaret joined us for coffee. Over coffee we found that we were not terribly surprised that a report into the criminal behaviour of the prime minister and his chief civil servant by a civil servant in the employment of the government did not call for the resignation of either the prime minister or the head of the civil service. The prime minister told parliament that he was very sorry for being found out.
By the time that Margaret left, the day had brightened up a bit, and the sun was shining on a pair of ducks who had paid us a visit.
They were scavenging for sunflower seeds. I found them in the pond a little later on, but they flew off before I could get a picture.
The rain had left flowers with some extra sparkle . . .
I went out to check on tadpoles in the dam and found the ducks had landed there . . .
. . .and looked quite at home.
Back in the garden, I found that the lupins are coming on nicely, and the ceanothus and geums are thriving.
I took some more random shots before I went in to make some soup for lunch. I was happy to see a rare insect on a euphorbia and the first flowers on a philadelphus.
The soup was a job lot of kidney beans, celery, cauliflower, carrots and onion in a chicken stock. It turned out to be very tasty, and will probably be added to my limited soup repertoire.
It was even windier today than it has been lately, so I abandoned any idea of a cycle ride, and went for a five mile walk ’round Potholm’ instead.
The sun was shining as I set out, and the honeysuckle in our front hedge was looking at its best.
I went up the road past Holmwood first, as I thought that this would give me the best protection from the wind. Engineers are replacing broken poles and rehanging telephone and internet wires which we were damaged in the storm last November. There is still a lot of work to do. The collapse of so many trees along the river bank means that I can look through a gap now and see the valley up which I would soon be walking.
I was pleased to find that my route choice was sound, and I was untroubled by headwinds as I walked along the road to Potholm. I had creatures great and small for company.
And the verges were full of wild flowers. Most have already appeared in the blog but I hadn’t seen chickweed or wall hawkweed so I recorded them, along with some fine fern and beautiful flowers on a rhododendron at the farm.
I looked down over the bridge across the River Esk . . .
. . . noticed the growth on the hawthorn hedges as I approached the bridge . . .
. . .and found that the recent rain has not added a great deal to the flow of the river under the bridge.
There has been a lot of work done in clearing up the mess made by the November storm in the woods beside the track back to Langholm on the other side of the river. I walked past several great walls of logs on my way.
When I got down to the Castleholm, I came across what I think is bistort beside the road and red chestnut beside the cricket field.
I kept an eye out for birds as I walked along the river at the Kilngreen, and was pleased to see a couple of grey wagtails popping about along the edge of the water.
An old friend was easier to spot.
I crossed the town bridge and walked along the Esk to the suspension bridge, hoping to see more waterside birds. I disturbed a small bird and it raced off across the river. From a distance, I could only get a poor shot of it, but it looks like a sandpiper to me. Nearer to hand, an oystercatcher marched along grumbling at me, but didn’t fly off.
I got home in time for a cup of tea with Mrs Tootlepedal and Mike Tinker, who is back from a holiday in Wales, before Zooming with our son Alistair and our granddaughter Matilda. They had been in the west of the country at the weekend, where Matilda had won her class in a song and dance competition. She practices hard, so it was good to find that her hard work had paid off.
There was just time after that Zoom for a slice of freshly baked fruity malt loaf before we were online again, this time talking to my brother and sisters.
My sister Mary had been to an exhibition in the Maritime Museum at Greenwich, and showed us a delightful selection of pictures of paintings of Venice by Canaletto which had been loaned to the museum by Woburn Abbey. My brother and sisters are very active and we get a lot of pleasant surprises in our Zoom meetings.
The slow cooked mince made a third and final appearance at our evening meal, this time in the guise of a pasta sauce, and as we watched some very exciting highlights of the day’s stage at the Giro after the meal, Wednesday turned out to be a lot better than it had promised to be when we woke up to miserable wet and windy conditions.
The flying bird of the day is a sunny gull from my afternoon walk.