A cross word in England

Today’s guest picture is another from our son Tony. It shows a stunning dawn in East Wemyss with added dog appeal.

We had another fine day here as our spell of good weather continued. This was lucky, as we went off after breakfast to do some volunteer tree planting on the Tarras Valley Nature Reserve. I took a picture of young starlings in the walnut tree before we left to show that the tree is producing a healthy crop of leaves.

When we got to Broomholmshiels, a farmer was fertilising his fields near by . . .

. . . and it made a dramatic backdrop as the volunteers walked over the moor.

The haze was further away than it looks in the photo, and we had a peaceful and warm day to do our work. Coats were not needed.

This was the last tree planting session of the spring, and it was good to see that earlier efforts are paying off.

I noted cotton grass and tormentil as we walked back to the road.

It was lunchtime by the time we got home, and while Mrs Tootlepedal made some soup, I had a walk round the garden.

I checked on the birds after lunch and found a sparrow family in the willows round the feeder.

Dad was very busy flying down to fetch seed and feed one youngster at a time. The youngsters waited impatiently for his return.

The main business of the afternoon was giving Drospcone a lift down to the hospital in Carlisle to get his injured arm checked out. The journey went smoothly, but we had a bit of a wait before he was seen, so it was lucky that I had saved my crossword to do while we were waiting. It was quite a knotty puzzle, and it lasted perfectly. I had just completed it as Dropscone came out of his appointment. He didn’t think that it had been a very useful meeting, but he has now got a referral for physio treatment and he will have to return to the hospital for that. I can see another crossword or two coming up.

We got back to Langholm in time for me to drop the patient off at his home, and then get changed and go out for a quick cycle ride before our evening meal. I took the shorter route round the Solwaybank Windfarm, and got home in good time to enjoy Mrs Tootlepedal’s lightly poached salmon, enhanced by the first spinach from the garden.

I used a lot of electrical assistance to go round the 19 miles as quickly as I could, but I did stop for one or two pictures on my way to show what a grand day it was. The strong sunshine makes for deep shadows and this makes cycling under trees a nervous business as it is hard to spot potholes.

And there was time when I got back for a last walk round the garden with Mrs Tootlepedal while the potatoes were cooking.

We have some Herb Robert growing and the first flowers have appeared on the broad beans. I had seen the Herb Robert yesterday and I tried to show it to Mrs Tootlepedal, but when the time came, I couldn’t remember where it was. I was embarrassed. Luckily, she found it for herself today while she was gardening.

The industrial quantities of sparrows in the garden, all eating her growing vegetables, have led to Mrs Tootlepedal to ask me to suspend feeding the birds for a while, in the hope that the sparrows go elsewhere and leave her leaves alone. This seems a fair request, especially as we don’t seem to be feeding many other birds at the moment, so I will take down the feeder tomorrow. It will be interesting to see if the sparrows do try somewhere else.

In the meantime, a sparrow is the flying bird of the day.

Published by tootlepedal

Cyclist, retired teacher, curmudgeon, keen amateur photographer.

35 thoughts on “A cross word in England

  1. Your spring flowers are looking lovely. I can understand Mrs Toodlepedal wanting to protect her vegetables from sparrows, we are having quite a battle here with Bowerbirds (new to this area). They love our rhubarb, and just generally enjoy digging up the garden for worms.

    1. Between cats and sparrows our vegetable garden is having a hard time. Luckily nothing attacks our rhubarb. It is pretty poor all the same as it didn’t enjoy the cool early spring weather.

  2. I have trouble with shadows driving a car, so I know what you mean.
    I had an easy time with physical therapy on my shoulder and it helped a lot. I hope Dropscone finds the same.
    I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many flowers on an aquilegia.

  3. Our sparrows are eating the grass seed as fast as I replace it. It seems they’re not very popular anywhere!

    Tony’s dog makes a fine focal point for his lovely shot.

  4. When the weather is this nice, you should also take full advantage of it!
    Nice that the planting of the young trees is doing so well. They will certainly make an important contribution to our climate and CO2 absorption in the future.

    1. We are thinking more of biodiversity than carbon capture as far as these trees go. Restoration of degraded peat lands at the other end of the reserve will be much more important in carbon capture.

  5. Would have liked to do your crossword. I do several each day in German and one in English among them. Its a slight satisfaction to read about the punishment for the brexit. Sorry that the Scots are also a victim of English uppity.

    1. I am very impressed that you can do a crossword in a foreign language. I am very sorry to be a victim of English uppity as you so neatly term it.

  6. Lovely photo from East Wemyss – another classic. Your garden flowers are great subjects too for a pretty photo and the panel of family bird photos are delightful. Let’s hope the sparrows start eating all the greenfly, slugs and snails that they may have neglected! Seeing the early plantings of the trees starting to grow and develop must make it all worthwhile for you hardy planters.

    1. It is definitely encouraging to see that at least some of the trees which we have planted in our amateur way are making progress.
      We have been so dry lately that we are relatively free of slugs and snails at the moment.

  7. Herb Robert! I thought that was native to this side of the pond. We pick a few on every walk on our Chehalis Trail as if that could make a difference–they are even taking over some of the verges. Then we found two small patches on our land and discovered that our neighbor to the south seems to be cultivating them alongside our common fence. Sigh.

    1. I must say, I was very surprised to find out how much there is in our garden after discovering that single flower. There were dozens of flowers out today in different clumps. We will keep an eye on it.

  8. The spring photo selection is beautiful! Please do be careful of potholes in the shadows. I remember what happened to you once when you hit one. You are fortunate to have the NHS.

    I do love the sparrow youngsters, though I know they are destructive in the garden. Hopefully they will go elsewhere, though I am sure they will find you again.

    1. That pothole was on an icy day which made things worse. I am going more slowly these days which helps. There were just as many sparrows in the garden today!

      1. There were two male deer, 4 point antlers, at our bird feeder this morning, eating cherry tree leaves and slurping up seed. They just looked at me staring at them out the window. When I rapped on the glass, they casually moved into the neighbors yard.

      2. I did not get photos. My brain wasn’t working! I was so surprised by seeing the two seed eating velvet antlered bucks instead of the three does I didn’t think of it. I was thinking about all the seed they have slurping down, and me thinking the birds have been getting most of it. And so much green, lush grass about!

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