Today’s guest picture comes from Sandy. It shows the impressive hotel where he and two friends stayed while on their recent holiday in Yorkshire.
We didn’t have an impressive day here today at all. It was cool and grey in the morning, and cool and wet in the afternoon.
In the morning, Mrs Tootlepedal e-cycled off to the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve to do some volunteering, while my day was brightened by the arrival of Sandy for coffee. He had had a restful and enjoyable stay in Yorkshire, and was in a cheerful mood. He has got an electric bicycle too, and he is hoping to get it out and give it a go soon.
We had a walk round the garden before he left, and I took a picture of an old old iris and a new clematis as we strolled along.
After he left, I took a close up of the tiny flowers on a spirea . . .
. . . and then put on a waterproof coat and wellies, and pedalled off on my e-bike to join Mrs Tootlepedal at the volunteering.
I got to the meeting point and squelched through a bog filled with extravagant horsetail . . .
. . . charming wild irises . . .
. . .and a good number of spotted orchids too.
Once through the bog, I scrambled up a steep and soggy banking, and battled across some rough ground to find the group of volunteers who were removing old pheasant enclosures. I arrived just as they were taking a break for lunch.
I slid back down the steep banking and splashed back through the bog.
We were joined this week by volunteers from the Borders Forest Trust who had brought packed lunches with them.
After an hour and a half of fence removal. Mrs Tootlepedal had done enough, and she cycled off to investigate the area where the Reserve managers are going to establish a tree nursery. After the break, I went back through the bog and up the banking, and helped take down the last of the fencing. Removing the wire netting and rolling it up is only half the task, as then it has to be taken down the banking and through the bog to the collection area. This is very hard work, so although we had cleared all the fencing, we didn’t have the time or strength to bring it all back down the hill. To tell the truth, I was so tired after the heaving and pulling, and carrying three loads of netting through the bog, that I couldn’t have gone step further. It was lucky that I had the e-bike handy to carry me home.
The fact that it had started to rain quite heavily was not helping.
Mrs Tootlepedal had done some useful clearing work at the tree nursery site, but she got home before me.
I took two more flower pictures in the rain. . .
. . . added a flourishing philadelphus . . .
. . . and went inside to collapse in a heap for the rest of the day.
I did rouse myself from time to time to look at the birds. They nearly all flew away when I first looked, leaving just two siskins behind.
. . . but they soon returned in numbers . . .
. . . and a goldfinch had to wait its turn . . .
. . . while siskins and sparrows competed for a place at the table.
Later on, two greenfinches arrived . . .
. . . and kept very calm while siskins . . .
. . . buzzed around them like angry bees.
When the greenfinches left, goldfinches, sparrows and siskins took their places, and did their best to fend off any attempts to make a comeback.
It got very busy for a while.
Mrs Tootlepedal sewed and watched Wimbledon while I did some professional resting for the rest of the afternoon. I was revived by a splendid evening meal of steak, onions and mushrooms, served with new potatoes and spinach from the garden, and cooked by Mrs Tootlepedal.
Early to bed tonight, I think. Volunteering is hard work.
The flying bird of the day is a siskin pondering on the wisdom of kicking a goldfinch..