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Today’s guest picture is a second helping of vegetables from our daughter’s allotment.  She is obviously doing a good job there.  Mrs Tootlepedal is very envious of the beetroot.

annie's veg

I didn’t have very much time to look at our veg today as it seemed to start to rain as soon as I went out into the garden in the morning.  It didn’t rain very hard and soon stopped after I went in but when it had done it two or three times,  I took the hint and gave up any thoughts of flower pictures or lawn mowing and devoted myself to crosswords, music and occasional ill tempered muttering instead.

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal went off to see Matilda in Edinburgh and I avoided the garden and any more rain by making for the hills (or at least one of the hills).

Now that I was clear of the garden, the weather got much better and I was able to enjoy the flowers beside the track as I walked up to the Meikleholm Hill.

Meikleholm flowers

There were no cattle on the hill so I was free to walk where I liked and the sheep took my presence very calmly.

sheep on Meikleholm

I was vaguely hoping that I might see a lot of orchids as I walked round the side of the hill but the hillside was covered in tormentil for the most part….

tormentil

…and it was obvious that I was a few days too early for the orchids.  One or two were to be seen in an early stage….

vetch and orchid

…and there was more vetch than orchids to be seen.

I climbed gently round the back of the hill until I came to the gate on the col….

Meikleholm gate

…which marks the divide between Wauchopedale and Eskdale.

Eskdale was looking beautiful.

Eskdale

I did think about going through the gate and further on along the ridge but there were enough grey clouds about to persuade me that  a route nearer home might be advisable.  Indeed as I walked over the top of Meikleholm Hill back towards the town, the wind became very gusty and the temperature dropped a little so I feared the worst.

Whatever the weather, it is a treat to walk along the top of this hill….

Meikleholm Hill view

…and I soon got some splendid views across the town (click the pic for a bigger view).

Meikleholm Hill view

This side of the hill was covered in low growing cow parsley….

Meikleholm Hill

And although I saw one or two early orchids, the vetch was still easier to spot.

Looking across the Esk to Castle Hill, I could see a big scar made by clear felling the woods there.

Tree felling in the Longfauld

After a last look up the valley…

Milnholm

I love the gentle curves in this view and the many shades of green

…I left the open hill and took to tracks through woods and along meadows for the rest of my walk….and of course, the sun came out.

tracks and paths

On my way I saw a red admiral butterfly basking in the sun….

tracks and paths

…a wall engulfed by spleenwort…

spleenwort

…decorative wild flowers….

umbellifer

…and I crossed bridges both small…..

walk 2 bridge

…and large.

walk 2 bridge

I got home after a four and a bit mile walk in a very cheerful state of mind as I hadn’t expected to get such good walking weather.

When I went out into the garden to pick some spinach leaves for my tea not long after I had got back though, I found it was pouring with rain!

After tea, Susan came and we went off in her car to play recorders with our group in Carlisle.  We are meeting monthly now and it is an extra treat to meet and play when it is not quite so routine as it has been for many years.

The standard of biscuits with the après-tootling cup of tea has not dropped so it was a satisfactory visit all round.

No flying bird or bee today.  Instead a yellow dung fly takes the starring role.   I met it on the hill and I think it was finding a place to lay its eggs

dung beetle

 

 

Some welcome warmth

Today’s guest picture comes from Mike Tinker who is on holiday in Wales.  He tells me , “I came across this interesting ancient monument while walking here in New Radnor -it is strangely called Four Stones.”  I think that I have worked out how it got its title.

Four Stones Radnor

We had a really pleasant day today – warm and dry, not too windy and with some occasional sunny spells.  I should have been out on my bike all day as I am still short of miles for June but a combination of mild asthma and sore feet kept me off the bike in the morning.

This gave me the chance to go bee hunting again.

bee on geranium

This one was exploring a chive

bee on geranium

This one was getting really stuck into a geranium.

We are getting a good variety of bees which is pleasing.

There are plenty of  bright flowers for the bees to visit.

iceland poppy and iris

And lots of detail for the bees to admire when they make their visits.

flower hearts

I was very pleased to see some flowers on the potatoes…

potato flowers

…and I am looking forward to some new potatoes from the garden in the not too distant future.

After a look at the tropaeolum….

tropaeolum

…which I see has had to be tied down to stop it flying off, I got the hover mower out and gave the greenhouse grass and the drying green a haircut.  Mrs Tootlepedal has been busy with the strimmer so although these areas are in the working part of the garden, they look very neat.

I was just thinking about going for a cycle ride after lunch when a knock on the back door heralded the arrival of Dropscone at a very non standard time.  He had purchased four brioche rolls at such an advantageous price (10p for all four) when passing through Hawick just before the supermarket closed for the night that he felt he had to share them with me.  This was very kind of him and we enjoyed two each over a cup of tea.

After he left, I finally got kitted up and went off on the fairly speedy bike.  I pottered round the 20  mile trip down to Canonbie and back with plenty of stops for photos.  They haven’t got round to mowing the verges immediately out of the town so I was able to enjoy a colourful mixture of buttercups and clover….

buttercups and clover

…with an attendant bee…

bee on clover

This bee really is in clover.

..before pedalling on wondering how they could bring themselves to cut verges when they look like this.

There was a different sort of growth beside the road at the top of the hill on the Kerr road.

new trees

These tubes all contain broad leaved saplings as the landowners can’t get permission to plant conifers unless they provide a fringe of native trees round the new plantations.  On the other side of this little summit are rows of identical conifers.

I am looking for views taken in Canonbie Parish to enter into the Canonbie Flower Show in August so I tested out a few possibilities as I went from Langholm Parish into Canonbie and then back out again.

Chapelhill

A typical scene

baling the silage Canonbie

Baling the silage

The natives were interested in what I was doing.

Canonbie cows

In between taking those two views, my route took me down the main Canonbie by-pass. This is quite a busy road with fast traffic  and and I don’t usually stop for picture opportunities while I am on it but some bright colour caught my eye today and I applied the brakes.

orchid

More orchids

orchid

Lots more orchids

For a short section of the road, the verge was full of orchids.  They must bloom there every year but I have never noticed them before.  I couldn’t miss them today.

I stopped for my three favourite trees in full summer rig out….

Canonbie trees

…before cycling through the village and back up the Esk to Langholm.

The verges on the old road hadn’t been cut and I stopped twice for things that got my attention.

ragged robin

Ragged Robin

an umbellifer and friend

An umbellifer and friend

I was going to take a picture of a yellow rose in the garden when I had a walk round after I got home but on closer inspection, I decided that it might not be quite what the readers would want to see…

rose with flies

The downside of a warm and calm day

…so I didn’t take it.

After tea, another excellent fish pie from Mrs Tootlepedal, I went off to sing with the small choir that is practising to sing three songs in a concert in the town in July.  There were nine sopranos and trebles, four altos and three tenors.  I modestly took my place as the one  and only bass but I certainly didn’t oompah up and down the square.

We had a most enjoyable practice and I have got a month to try and get a bit of tone quality into my unused low notes.

No flying birds or bees today.

 

The unkindest cut

Today’s guest picture is possibly the last from our daughter’s Devon jaunt.  She visited the celebrated garden at Knightshayes and thought that I might enjoy a view of some handsome grass.  I did.

Knightshayes

I had no commitments so I was able to ease through the day at a gentle pace.  It was fortunate that it was a day of better weather, still breezy but almost entirely dry and occasionally even sunny in the afternoon.

I mowed the middle and front lawns in the morning and that was the most energetic thing on my programme.  For the rest of the time, I enjoyed the garden, a cup of coffee and a crossword until it was time to make some lentil soup for lunch.

Before coffee, I took a camera out with me.  The peonies were at their best today.

peony

peony

The tropaeolum tadpoles are turning into flowers.

tropaeolum

There is no shortage of colour.

sweet william, campanula and Lilian Austin

After coffee, bees became the focus.  For the first day this year, there were really a lot of bees about and it wasn’t a matter of finding one to photograph so much as not being able to choose which one to shoot.

The pale blue lupin was a popular spot.

lupin with bee

But lots of other flowers had their admirers.

allium, iris and weigela

The peonies and lupin in the vegetable garden joined in.

lupin and peony with bee

It was very cheering to see so much activity.

I took a couple of pictures of a more general nature….

orange hawkweed

We like the orange hawkweed a lot

kitchen window colour

Mrs Tootlepedal has provided a rich tapestry of colour to enjoy when looking out of the kitchen window.

…and went in to cook the soup.

After lunch (the soup turned out well and there was a good selection of cheese to go with it), I got the fairly speedy bike out and went out to face the wind again.  Although there were some very heavy gusts as I started which nearly tempted me into hugging the valley bottom, I stuck to the task and took to the open country and was rewarded when the gusts calmed down and later in the ride, the sun came out.

The downside of the trip was that the council had been very busy mowing the verges so there were no wild flowers for me to see.   This blatant pandering to the supposed needs of motorists is reprehensible and I had to find other things to use as an excuse to pause and catch my breath from time to time.

Middlebie Church

Middlebie Church

A virgin train sweeps across the little viaduct over the Mein Water

A Virgin train sweeps across the little viaduct over the Mein Water near Middlebie

Mein Water Bridge

This is the road bridge that I crossed. In spite of the recent rain the water is very low.

When I got to the old A74, I was so cross about the verge cutting that I got off my high horse and stopped to take a picture of it…

A74 and orchid

…and was glad that I  did so because right on the edge of the long grass was an orchid, the first that I have seen this year.

Now that I had my eye in,  as I went on down the road towards Kirkpatrick Fleming, I saw dozens more orchids in the long grass.

orchids

This was the moment that the sun chose to make its appearance and as I was no longer cycling into the wind, I stopped muttering grumpily and started to really enjoy the outing.

Once I had the wind behind me, I was going too fast to look at the verges carefully, whether they were  mown or un-mown and it needed something bigger to attract my attention.

Gretna Windmills

As you can see, two of the newly installed Gretna wind turbines were not going round.  This is disappointing when there was plenty of wind to be harvested.  The dark clouds soon passed over.

I stopped one last time to admire a neatly scalloped roadside fringe of bird’s foot trefoil on the old A7 near Irving House.

bird's foot trefoils

Fortunately the council had not got to this verge with their mower yet.

My trip came to 36 miles and although it took me a long time, thanks to the wind in my face for the first and most hilly 12 miles, I enjoyed the outing.  After not cycling at all for the first six days of the month thanks to unhelpful weather, I have managed six outings in the last eight days which is a bit better.  If only the wind would drop, I would be very happy.

Mrs Tootlepedal had been trimming a Forsythia while I was out and she wondered if any knowledgeable reader can tell her what this curious growth is.

forsythia growth

It was on many of the branches.

Mrs Tootlepedal made an excellent fish pie for our tea and then went off to watch a live screening from the Royal Ballet, leaving me to have a restful time at home.  I admire the skills employed in ballet but the fact that it takes ten minutes to say something as simple as “Ooh, you look nice,”  taxes my patience beyond its admittedly small limits.  Also my joints hurt when I look at the performers.  I feel their pain.

The flying bird of the day is visiting the peonies and is not a bird.

flying bee

 

 

 

 

Today’s guest picture is another from our daughter’s Devon holiday.  She visited a famous garden but found her attention slipped from flora to fauna.

cat

She is obviously having better weather than us as we woke up to another cold, grey, occasionally wet and always windy morning.

I cycled up to the Archive Centre after breakfast to visit the data miners and got wet cycling home again.  There were compensations though.

I passed a female goosander sitting on the river bank near the church and when I got home, I got a camera and came straight back out to see if she would still be there. Luckily both the rain and the bird stopped.

goosander

Birds have a curious attitude to cyclists.  As long as the cyclists keep going, the birds will often stay still but as soon as the cyclist stops, the birds usually get going.  This proved the case today and after giving me a scornful glare, the goosander walked down to the water, launched herself….

goosander

…and paddled gently off downstream.

I was cheered up by the arrival of Dropscone with scones for coffee.  He has been very busy lately both refereeing golf tournaments and playing golf himself so he had much to tell me.

He went off in the hope that the rain would stay away and he could get some more golf in and I went out to the garden and mowed the greenhouse grass and the drying green.  I also looked around.

The flowers are very resilient for the most part and I thought that they were worth a close look.

allium, clematis, peony

honeysuckle and foxglove

There were a lot of bees about this morning in spite of the occasional rain.

allium, clematis, peony

The nectaroscordum was a particular attraction.

honeysuckle and foxglove

honeysuckle and foxglove

…and on several occasions, I actually saw a bee barge another off a flower.

The Rosa Goldfinch is coming along very nicely…

Rosa Goldfinch

…and by coincidence, I saw an avian goldfinch in the garden today too (but not when I had a camera to hand).

After lunch, Mrs Tootlepedal was looking out of the kitchen window and remarked that there were a lot of sparrows about.  Some were feeding young….

sparrow feeding young

…and some were enjoying a bath in a puddle.

sparrow feeding young

As it looked as though the rain would keep away, I went for a cycle ride in the afternoon and although there were one or two drizzly moments, they came to nothing and I got round dry.

The wind was pretty brisk again but not quite so rough as it has been so I ventured out into the open country and did a 27 mile circular ride instead of just pottering up and don the road beside the Wauchope.

The first seven miles were very hard work into the wind but good route choice meant that the subsequent 20 miles were less troublesome and for some of the time, I fairly scooted along with the wind behind me.

The cool temperatures and the brisk wind meant that it didn’t feel much like warm weather cycling but the countryside did its best to cheer me up either with daisies….

Gair road with daisies

…or buttercups.

sprinkell road with buttercups

I kept a close eye on the verges when I was was going at a suitably slow speed.

verge plants

There is almost always something interesting to see.

umbellifer and grass

And if I am not in a rush, it is a pleasure to take a close look.

hawkbit, trefoil and little pink flower

Flowers often have friends.

I took a picture of the Esk from the Hollows Bridge…

Esk at Hollows

We are at peak green

…and then scrambled down the bank to look back up at the bridge from near the river.

Hollows Bridge

It is a lofty bridge

I would like to have got a better view but the rocks were very slippery and I didn’t think that falling in the river was a good policy.

On my way back home, I passed a lot of Pyrenean  Valerian.  Seen from a distance it looks a little undistinguished but from nearer, it is a very pretty flower.

pyrenean valerian

The roadsides are full of daisies at the moment and I particularly liked this little scene on the side of the main road just where it is joined by the bike track.

daisies and rhododendron

My flute pupil didn’t come this week but I still got a musical ending to the day when I went to play trios with Mike and Isabel.  We made some good progress on out Mozart Piano Trio and enjoyed the new Telemann trio which has just arrived through the post as well.

As it looks as though the wind might drop a bit over the next few days, everything is good.

The flying bird of the day is two flying bees.

flying bees

Not very flash

Today’s guest picture comes from our daughter’s visit to Devon and shows the picturesque Royal Oak in Winsford, originally a 12th C farmhouse and now a hotel and restaurant.

Royal Oak Winsford

After a very dry month of May, we are suffering from a very wet June and things are not made better by persistently strong winds.  This morning it was merely showery but the very strong wind made cycling deeply unattractive so while Mrs Tootlepedal went off to sing in the church choir, I did some pro relaxing on the sofa.

I roused myself for a quick look round the garden but the wind made even ‘hand held’ flower photography a bit of a trial.  Luckily the peonies are well sheltered from the prevailing wind.

peony

The first of many.

peony

I hope we get enough sun to get these ones to open fully

One of the little roses is coming out but I will need a lot less wind to do it justice.  In the absence of birds at the feeder, this goldfinch is very welcome.

Rosa Goldfinch

Rosa Goldfinch

The first campanulas have arrived…..

campanula

…but they are finding it very hard to keep upright in the wind and the rain.

The Sweet Williams are much more stocky and sturdy.

Sweet William

Sweet William

And the patch of the little yellow allium moly is well sheltered at the front of a bed.

yellow allium

The main business of the day was the last flourish of our Carlisle Choir before the summer break.  A modest choral  ‘flash mob’ experience had been planned at the Cumberland Infirmary to celebrate the end of a prayer week there and a group of choir members met to be the mob.

We had a practice in our usual rehearsal place and it went remarkably well considering that there were only two tenors and three basses to offset a good bunch of sops and altos.

However, when we got to the Infirmary, the basis of the flash mob experience, i.e. that a few singers should emerge from a crowd and gradually accumulate more singers as the song develops, was slightly undermined by the fact that there were more of us than members of the public but the those members of the public who were there looked suitably amazed and reasonably entertained when we wandered up and started to sing.

The performance went as well as could be expected and we wandered off at the end and went home.  I am glad that this was the last time that I will have to sing parts from memory for a few months at least.

I was hoping to go for a walk when we got home but it started to rain just as we turned into the drive and I settled for a second go of pro relaxing in front of the telly.  We kept off the politics for a change and watched some triathlon instead.  It was very calming.

Looking at the forecast, the showers and strong winds seem set to continue for another week so I will find it hard to get any enjoyable cycle miles in.

Still, if we are confined to the house and telly watching, we should be royally entertained by the sight of our present incompetent government digging themselves an ever deeper hole to get lost in.

Mrs Tootlepedal made  a lemon surprise pudding for our evening meal but as she had told me that she was making it, I wasn’t much surprised when it arrived on the table.  It was very good though.

 

Today’s guest picture comes from our daughter who was walking in the Devon hills when she came upon these two nice young men who were wandering the hills looking for the internet – literally.  She thought that I should put a picture on the internet of people looking for the internet.  They work for a firm called Exmoor Technology  which tries to find good connections for people who live out in the country.

internet hunters

It was another day when we woke to strong winds and rain and owing to sitting up late again following the twists and turns in the political situation both here and abroad, I was glad of an excuse to spend a very quiet morning reading the papers and doing nothing.

We roused ourselves enough to go shopping at Gretna and we had a healthy lunch of egg and chips at my favourite cafe when we got there.

We both made judicious purchases and were pleased to find that the rain had stopped in Langholm by the time that we got home.

We had a cup of tea and when I looked out, there was even a glimpse of sunshine

This gave me the chance to get out in the garden to take a picture or two.

The peonies are wonderful.

peony

 

peony

However, the wind was so strong that if you look carefully in the bottom left hand corner of the coral peony picture, you might just be able to see my hand in my cycling mitt holding onto the stem to steady it.

I took a few more flower pictures and they gave a whole new meaning to the phrase hand held photography.

rose, troilus and iris

By coincidence, I glanced at a gardening programme on the TV while I was drinking my tea and saw one of Mrs Tootlepedal buttercuppy things so I know that it is a troilus now.

Considering how much rain there has been over the past few days….

wheelbarrow with rain

Our scientific rain gauge is almost full

…the garden is looking remarkably cheerful.

The cardoon is going well….

cardoon

…and the first of the pinks has come out.

pink

I am very fond of geometrically neat flowers but I also love the wild anarchic exuberance of the pinks.

I had my cycling mitts on because I was about to go cycling and in the end, I stopped pestering the flowers and set off to face the strong wind.  I think that it was stronger today than it has been recently so once more I hugged the valley floor and managed to get 20  miles in before I ran out of steam.

I was wearing new cycling shoes that I had bought at Gretna but they had very little effect on my speed sadly.

Taking pictures of roadside wild flowers wasn’t a possibility because of the wind so I stuck to more static things like the Glencorf Burn.

Glencorf Burn

Looking upstream…

Glencorf Burn

..and downstream

This is one of Mrs Tootlepedal’s  favourite little corners on the Cleuchfoot road.

Cleuchfoot road

As I passed through the town at the end of my first lap, I kept an eye out for waterside birds.  There was a small family of oyster catchers beside the river Esk and although it came out rather fuzzily, I still liked this picture of unison beak work.

oystercatchers

I got the feeling that those were the two youngster and that these…

oystercatchers

…were the grown ups.

Today’s answer to the question of where all the rain goes…..

Pool Corner

..is over the caul at Pool Corner.

If it hadn’t been for the wind, it would have been a nice evening for cycling as it was pleasantly warm and the the roads had dried out after the morning rain.

I had a look round the vegetable garden when I got home.  That tempting strawberry is sill not quite fully ripe so I left it for another day.   The potatoes are looking very promising…

apples and potatoes

…and there are so many apples on the espaliers that they will need thinning out unless we get a sudden attack of ‘June drop’.

The beans are flourishing and gratifyingly, the first flowers are showing in Mrs Tootlepedal’s pea fortress.

pea and beans

Oddly enough, the most colourful flower corner in the garden at the moment is in a small bed at the end of the veg garden where peonies and lupins are growing.

lupins and peonies

I passed a dozy hoverfly on a daisy….

hoverfly

…and went in to enjoy a beef stew for my tea. I had made it in the slow cooker this morning.

The political situation continues to engage our attention and we very much enjoyed a voter in the American Midwest telling an interviewer on CNN that he had always thought that Trump was an idiot but he very much liked his policies so he had voted for him.   Food for thought there for those who like cut and dried positions

We are also enjoying the sight of Mrs May, who was part of a campaign in the 2015 election which vehemently warned of the dangers of a coalition between Labour and the Scottish nationalists, making herself busy today cobbling up a coalition between the Conservatives and the Irish Unionists.   In the 2017 campaign, she had been very vocal again about the possibility that voting Labour might bring a ‘coalition of chaos’ and we can only say that it is lucky that she doesn’t seem to have much sense of irony or her head might explode.

I did get a picture of a flying bird today and as a bonus, it contains two of them…

flying oyster catchers

…though one might be more ‘jumping’ than ‘flying’.

Today’s guest picture comes from our daughter Annie who is in Devon where they make walls in their own particular way.

Devon wall

I was expecting to retire to bed at my usual time last night and to get up in the morning to be greeted by what would be, from my point of view at least, a rather depressing election result but we turned on the the telly late in the evening to get the exit poll result and it was so unexpected that I found myself still sitting glued to the telly seven hours later at 5.30 in the morning.

Mrs Tootlepedal had cracked and gone off at 3.30 but I stayed up until the final result was almost certain.  For those interested in this sort of thing, I chiefly watched the ITV election coverage and it was excellent; calm, with no gimmicks, with excellent guests and with a pleasingly light and un-portentous touch….and much to my surprise for a commercial channel, with no interruptions for advertisements all night.

As far as the results went, my feelings were mixed.  On the whole though, I am quite pleased that the results both in Scotland and the UK in general look as though they might force politicians to pay a little more attention to the voters and a little less to their own MPs, financial backers and media barons so that should be a good thing.  Readers of the blog from abroad can have no notion of how truly terrible much of the British press is, with no commitment to balance, truth, fairness or even the well being of its readers. If this election has knocked a little bit off the influence of the press barons, that can only be a good thing.

Anyway, getting up after only three hours sleep meant that I have been a bit tired and emotional today and I even turned down the chance of treacle scones as I was still in my dressing gown at coffee time and, in the end, only got dressed after lunch.

When I did get dressed, it was into my cycling clothes though and I went out for a 27 mile gentle spin up and down the road to Cleuchfoot in a brisk wind, stopping for photo opportunities.

There was still plenty of water in the Wauchope……

bessie bell's cascade wauchope water

My favourite cascade

…and in the Bigholms Burn too.

Bigholms Burn and Logan Water

Bigholms Burn joining Logan Water

When I went down to see the cascade at Bessie Bell’s, I passed a small group of friends hobnobbing.

flower with flies

A popular meeting spot

The wind  wasn’t quite as strong as two days ago and I got a better shot of a wild iris as a result.

wild iris

This little ride took me over 2000 miles for the year and in spite of a very light cycling month in June so far, I am on schedule for my annual target.

When I got home, Mrs Tootlepedal was at work in the garden and I took a walk round to look at the results of her work.

The pale peonies are just getting going.

peony

peony

And there are more still to come.

I had fun looking at irises.

iris

iris

And the weigela.

weigela

The honeysuckle is looking good this year….

honeysuckle

…and it is a good place to look for bees.

honeysuckle with bee

…of which there were a lot more to be heard and seen in the garden today.

bee on lupin

This one was on the lupins by the front lawn.

lupins

They have really enjoyed the weather this year

A combination of roses and philadelphus in a corner makes not just for a pretty picture but a good smell too.

rose and philadelphus

In spite of the heavy rain yesterday, the flowers seemed undaunted today and everything was looking strong and healthy.

astrantia, clovery thing and sweet william

A little yellow allium has arrived on the edge of the front lawn.

allium

I popped in and out of the house to check on the progress, or lack of it, of Andy Murray in the  French Open tennis and was sad but not surprised to see him fade away in the fifth set against the excellent Stan Wawrinka.

When things on court were going badly, I consoled myself with the promise of treats to come…

strawberry

…and the sight of flying floral tadpoles.

tropaeolum

My view is that I shall sleep well tonight as I am getting too old for late nights now and I am feeling distinctly tired as I type this.

The flying bird of the day are two oyster catchers on the Logan Water trying to see the political situation from both sides.

oyster catchers

Note: I know that they are not flying birds but we are living in a post truth world these days.  They are however probably more strong and stable than some people I know.