A land of milk and honey

Today’s guest picture shows that it is possible to visit a garden on just the right day as my brother Andrew discovered when he visited Lea Gardens this morning.

We had another warm and pleasant day here, often cloudy but with occasional sunshine. After our usual leisurely breakfast, I did the crossword and then cycled up to the High Street to buy milk and honey. On my way, I called in at the butcher and acquired an enormous sausage roll which Mrs Tootlepedal and I shared later for our lunch.

It was time for coffee when I got back, but I had a walk round the garden while the coffee was brewing. It wasn’t hard to spot a bit of bright colour in a sunny moment.

After coffee, we went back out into the garden and I cut back a lot of dead branches from the old fashioned fuchsia at the back gate. There is enough new growth coming from the bottom of the plant to hope that it is going to survive. As I looked along the back of the house, I could see some more bright colour. The first oriental poppy had come out.

I love these flowers, and I had a closer look at its working parts.

I shredded the dry branches of the fuchsia, and then strimmed round the edges of the vegetable garden beds. It has been some time since we last had meaningful rain, so I took the watering can and gave the raspberries, blackcurrants and gooseberries a bit of a soak. I don’t know if they really needed it, but it made me feel better.

Our lilac has had a hard time of it in recent years and has not looked well, so it was a surprise to spot a healthy looking flower . . .

. . . but even so, I don’t think that the bush will last much longer.

I was talking to Mrs Tootlepedal as she was working on a bed beside the front lawn when I noticed a little movement on the bench beside the middle lawn.

A quick zoom by my little Lumix revealed a sparrow busy catering to the demands of a youngster.

I was having trouble getting good flower pictures in the bright light, so I went in and got my bird camera out as it has a macro lens and more control over speed and aperture than the Lumix. I took a lot of pictures but these were my two favourites.

After eating the enormous sausage roll for our lunch, we settled down and watched a really good stage of the Giro. The scenery was fantastic, and the racing was good from start to finish. From time to time during the racing, I got up and checked on the bird feeder. There was plenty of action from sparrows there too.

I noticed a starling on the feeder at the end of the stage . . .

. . . as well as a striking pigeon below the feeder. Mrs Tootlepedal spotted that it had a band on its leg, showing that it is probably a homing pigeon stopping on its way for a snack on its way back to base.

I hadn’t intended to sit for as long as I did, but there was still time when the Giro stage had finished for a quick whizz round the 20 mile Canonbie circuit on my electric bike. Mrs Tootlepedal went off on hers to do some shopping at the Co-op. It is an indication that I am getting back to full strength that I was 15 minutes quicker today than when I first tried this ride after getting ill at the start of the month.

I took a few pictures as I went round.

Following some discussion with correspondents after my picture of the cyclists’ bridge at Ecclefechan in a recent post, I thought that I would take two more pictures of the cycling provision on my Canonbie route today. This is the old main road bypassed by a new section of road and now a cycle route . . .

. . . and this is the track a little further on, which was constructed when the new road was built.

As you can see, the track is narrow, overgrown and badly maintained, while the road is wide and well looked after. Hmm. The cycle path is most unsafe when it has been raining. The new section of road cost £8 million, so it is easy to see that there was nothing left for us cyclists.

The nights are getting so light now that I could have stayed out longer, but I was more than ready for my evening meal by the time that I got home. It is a sobering thought that it is now less than a month to the longest day . Everything will be downhill again after that. This year hardly seems to have started before it is nearly half over.

I refilled the feeder and a grateful greenfinch came for its supper.

I rang Dropscone up to see how he was doing, and he told me that he had felt well enough to go for a short walk today. This is good progress.

The flying bird of the day is a goldfinch.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

25 thoughts on “A land of milk and honey

  1. Two beautiful photos of the euphorbia and the Welsh Poppy…such a clear photo, and the colour…wonderful.
    Our cycle paths are marginally better than the one you showed, however, we have the added problem of electric scooters, usually used by University students at top speed…bikes and pedestrians beware!

  2. Good to see old road. Been in bus to Carlisle so many times when Audrey’s father was thr bus driver . Loved it.

    1. I think that the water dropwort is the same plant as the water hemlock. The racing pigeons are very pretty in general. People pay a fortune to buy one if they come from a family that has good flying records.

  3. Yay for Dropscone feeling well enough to go on a short walk. Progress! Your brother’s picture is nothing short of magnificent. What a treat it must have to see all those beautiful blooms. And, oh, that bike path. I can just imagine how slippery it must be when it rains. When it comes to transportation, we know what takes precedence, and it certainly isn’t bikes.

  4. Your brother enjoyed an eye full of magnificent colour but so did you in your garden from a range of beautiful plants…the poppy was the best though! It’s been a good year for hawthorn – there’ll be lots of haws! Lovely colours on the pigeon and pretty patterned wings too. Good to read that Dropscone is feeling stronger.

  5. The flowers and countryside brought joy this morning! My favorite today is the sparrow and youngster panel. That is a precious series! I am glad you noticed the movement, and caught them.

      1. They can be destructive, though this year it is the deer that are particularly bad. They have decided they like to eat lilies now, too, and I have a bunch in pots on the porch I have rescued.

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