Today’s guest picture comes from my sister Mary and shows Mr Grumpy’s London cousin trying (successfully) to outdo a work of art in the background in Hyde Park.
There were touches of frost to be seen when I got up. However, it was cheerfully sunny and the day got warmer as it went on. It might have been a good day for cycling but I had arranged to go with my recorder playing friend Sue to a “playing day” organised by the Roxburgh branch of the Society of Recorder players in Denholm, about 30 miles north of Langholm.
Sue arrived very promptly after breakfast and kindly offered to do the driving, an offer which I was glad to accept as I have done enough driving lately.
The playing was conducted by Helen Hooker, an accomplished player, teacher and conductor and she provided us with an excellent selection of music from Schmeltzer to Moon River by way of Bach and Steve Marshall. As well as providing good music, Helen offered us some very sound advice as how to play the pieces which, as far as I possibly could, I followed.
Both Sue and I enjoyed the playing and we took advantage of the fine weather to go for a walk along the River Teviot during the lunch break.
It is very useful for me to have a keen wild flower enthusiast to walk ahead of me and spot the wild flowers.
I am sure that I saw many more flowers today than I would have done if I had been walking by myself.
Here is a selection of what we passed.
There were some mysteries.
At first we thought the flower on the left in the panel above was just another dandelion but a closer look showed that it clearly wasn’t. Mrs Tootlepedal thinks that it might be a garden escape. The dandelions were in great form.
The most mysterious plant of the day was one that covered a woodland floor at one point. I took several pictures of it.
The flower stalks were triangular and tall so that the flower heads bent over. There seemed to be several flowers in turn on each stalk, leaving behind the shiny yellow spheres which you can see in the bottom right panel. The foliage in the bottom left panel is from another plant.
I would be more than happy to have my store of information increased by any knowledgeable reader who recognises this flower.
As well as flowers, we were able to watch a pair of goosanders scoot up stream under the eagle eye of a buzzard…..
…while we sat on a bench and ate our packed lunches. There were oyster catchers heckling the buzzard and delightful views as well…
…so the time passed quickly and we had to return to the village hall at a brisk pace.
I had enough time for a river view on the way…
…and a glance at Minto Hill.
The bridge at Denholm is fine….
…and it was a pleasure to walk across it twice.
We passed a neat thatched cottage in the village….
…though Sue remarked that it had a fashionable ‘green’ roof and we were nearly brained by some enormous catkins….
…as we went back to the hall.
The afternoon session was as good as the morning had been so we were very well satisfied with our day as we drove home.
And did I mention that we saw some excellent lichen too on our walk?
Denholm is a great place for this yellow lichen and the hedge plants are covered with it. I was hoping to show Sue some script lichen but there was none to be seen and the best that I could do was this.
When I got home, I had a quick look round the garden…
…where it looked as though the flowers had been enjoying the sunshine.
I saw the first potentilla flowers on the plants along the dam at the back of the house…
…and these will be the first of many as they stay in flower for months.
Mrs Tootlepedal had been very busy in the garden while we were tootling but she had enough energy left to cook a meal of mutton chops for tea and that rounded off a day which was firmly entered in large letters, underlined, on the credit side of the great ledger of life.
I just had enough time before I sat down to eat to look out of the kitchen window.
Note: I discovered during the day that Helen Hooker is not just a very good recorder player and teacher but a fanatically keen and expert photographer who has been posting pictures every day for many years. You can see the record of her journey to Scotland here.
It is well worth a visit.